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I had a great time at the Kerrville Folk Festival, even is it was muddy.  Great music, especially Aengus FinnanJohn Wort HannamJoy Kills SorrowJon BrooksSusan Werner, and Jimmy LaFave.

In two weeks I leave for Scotland and I think I have all the details worked out.  Fly into Aberdeen, stick my toes in the North Sea and then take a train down to Edinburgh.  Glascow, Tobermary, Nairn, Dunkeld, and back to Edinburgh.  Then on to Berlin to see Toby and family for a couple of days.  Lots of music, I hope.  Maybe some bree and fishing.  Who knows.

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Three Hares Studios

About 6 months ago I realized that I was having so much fun making my own beer that I wanted a logo so I could make my own labels and names for my beer.  So that led to “do I just want it for my beer adventures or do I want it to cover my art as well?”  While looking for a name that fit me, I came across the 3 hares symbol and liked it.  It has many meanings but the one that speaks to me most directly is the interrelationship with everything.  The “to be-ness” and peaceful aspect of it.  I started with Three Hares Brewery and then decided to change it to Three Hares Studios so that I could use it for more than beer.  Then I had to get the domain name just in case I really did anything with it.  So now I have the domain name and don’t know what the next step is.  But it’s a cool name and it just begs to have something done.

I saw Ed Miller, Jil Chambless, and Scooter Muse on Thursday.   Ed was in great form and seemed to really enjoy himself.  He probably knew 95% of the people there.  He sang some of his newer songs, but really did do songs with Jil and Scooter for the most part.  Jil sang a lot more than the last time I saw them together and she has a lovely voice.  I think we have a similar taste in the songs we like.  She did Anachie Gordon and she is only the second person I have heard do that one in recent times.  I got two of her CDs and like them both a lot.  It was fun to watch Scooter play and I am amazed how he blends so well that it’s easy to overlook him part of the time – until he starts playing some of his amazing harmonies.

Jack and I went to see “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” on Saturday afternoon and then went to eat sushi at Musashino.   We had a great time and the food was fantastic.  We stayed in town at the Alandale Hotel and had some maintenance problems  – personnel and physical.

Saw JohnSmith on Sunday afternoon.  He was recovering from a bad sore throat, but still sounded great.  Such joy!

Music week :-)

We went out for an unexpected dinner last night and they had a nice jazz duo.  The singer/pianist didn’t say their names clearly so I don’t know who they are, but they were really good and a nice surprise.  He said he plays at the Elephant Room and Continental Club so maybe I can search there and see who he was at least.  Okay, he is Rich Harney.  I will ask Suzi about him.  I am sure she must know him.  Jazz is a small world.

Tonight I am going to see Ed Miller with Jil Chambless and Scooter Muse.  Looking forward to that, even if it does mean a late night – for me.  Staying in town since I have to be at work at 7 am tomorrow.

Ed et al are playing at the Texas Scottish Festival in Arlington this weekend.   Really wish I could go because Brian McNeill and John Taylor will also be there and probably lots of others.  Can’t be everywhere and I don’t want to miss my date with Jack for his birthday.  That’s going to be better anyway :-).

Sunday I get to go see JohnSmith – one of my favorites.

I can’t say that I have “The Broom of Cowdenknowes” perfect yet, but is well on it’s way of becoming part of my repertoire.  I do need better chords so I will work on that and if Ed plays it tonight, I will try to be close enough to watch his hands.

I think my next song will be “Safe Home,” a JohnSmith song.  I started learning it before and then got side tracked.

Maybe I should tag some of this and get used to doing that.

ImageThis is Ed Miller and me at a pub in Edinburgh listening to a lovely song and a lovely singer – Maria singing “The Shearing na for You.”

I got to go to a birthday party last night at Onion Creek and saw Albert and Gage.  So much fun and they are so good.  Chris played Vicki’s old piano – I mean he really, really played it.  I could have listened to them all night, but have to work today. 

I am back to trying to play guitar each night (except on nights when I stay out listening to music and don’t get home until past 11 pm and have to work the next day) and I think it is the right course to take right now.  Working on “The Broom of Cowdenknowes” this week.  

Because of my fingers and hands starting to “feel” older (arthritis) I finally realized I just can’t try to take up the fiddle at this late stage.  It just won’t be rewarding and I have enough “want tos” on my list to keep me plenty busy.  Same for the banjo.  I really just need to concentrate on one instrument – guitar – try to do that well.  

Kerrville is coming up in about a month and I am looking forward to my second year going.  Last year I was just blown away by all the talent and I expect this year to be much the same.

 

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We started our music group’s next 10 weeks last night.  Our alto section is getting huge, which is why I guess it is good I can sing tenor most of the time.  I have not had a lesson with Susi in so long.  It seems that my schedule just always seems overwhelming and I don’t know if it really is or if I just “think” it is.  Seems like there are too many things I want to do and yet never make room for them.  So each day – each moment – I try to remind my self to focus on this moment and not waste my life planning what I will do next or when I have some free time. 

One thing that has been nagging me, and I need to figure out if it is a real problem or one that I have created in my mind, is the time I spend commuting.  So I want to find time to exercise, play, sing, meditate, read, make things, and the 2-3 hours in the car is starting to bother me a lot.  But like so many people, I want to be able to support myself when I retire so I am hanging in there until I have enough years to retire with a full pension. 

So, the only thing I can do now is to change the way I think about my commute.  I spend too much time listening to NPR and getting angry or sad so that needs to change.  I took a lot of my music out when my car was in for repairs so I can go through my music this weekend and get some back in the car.  That may help.  And maybe I should find a place halfway home where I could get out and walk for 10 minutes.  That place near the Galleria might be good.  I will try that starting today. 

There, I feel better already :-).

I forgot to talk about Drew Nelson last time. I went to a house concert on September 14 and heard Drew Nelson (and others). I was really impressed with Drew. He reminded me a little of Joe Crookston and a little of Billy Crockett, but only a little. He is his own sound. If you get a chance to see him, try to go see him.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jS_HiqK4Mc&feature=related

I went to an Onion Creek House Concert with The Sherpas (Tom Kimmell, Michael Lille, and Tom Prasada-Rao). So much fun and their songs blow me away. Every time I hear some of them I get yet another insight. Tom Prasada-Rao, in particular, speaks to many of the things I think about daily. Sometimes I think all musicians must be enlightened in someways.

Last weekend I got to see Tim Grimm twice – once at the Onion Creek House Concert and then Sunday afternoon at Arhaven House Concerts. He has some nice new songs out and coming out. A couple on his new album “Wilderness Songs and Bad Man Ballads” are really haunting me – Cover Theses Bones and Whippoorwill. Tim is one of those people with whom I feel a real connection. Have I know him before?

Lastly, I have started playing my guitar again, if only for short periods. It hurts, but the doctor said it might take 6 months or more to really feel better. I played for about 30 minutes the other night. Just need to build back up slowly.

Better get this posted. I started it almost two weeks ago :-).

I guess like so many people, I like the idea of blogging or jounaling, but I get caught up in the doing and forget to blog – or say “I’ll do that in a bit,” and a bit become months later.

Anyway, I went to Scotland and loved it. I loved the music, I loved the land, I loved the cities, and I loved the people. I heard so much good music and it inspired me to try harder at my music.

Shortly after I got back, though, I smashed my index finger with a hammer and it is taking a long time to heal. I still can’t play the guitar (or any stringed instrument that I have to press down on the frets) but I went back to the doctor yesterday and he said everything is fine – it will just take a while. He did say that it was fine to use the finger and if I could stand the discomfort (that’s called pain), that it would not hurt the finger. He said the main reason it hurts is because of my arthritis. I didn’t know I had arthritis in that hand, but he said when I whacked it with a hammer, it set it off. I would have noticed it soon or later anyway. So, I better start playing again.

One of the things I am finding fun is to learn traditional songs that I know and like to a particular tune, in a new tune. In Scotland I heard Karine Polwart sing “The Dowey Dens of Yarrow” to a completely different tune. Now, I love that song the way I know it, but I also loved her version and I am learning it now. The same thing happened with “Barbara Allen.” I love the versions I knew for years, but I also love the version that begins with “Michaelmas Day was in the year . . .” That reminds me of the paper I did for the American Folklore Society a few years ago where I looked at different tunes and versions of “Streets of Laredo” from the John Lomax collection. I really liked that paper.

Now that I think of it, that is one of the things I like to research – the different versions of songs, their similarities and their differences.

Enough for now. Got to get back to work.

I went to the Kerrville Folk Festival last weekend and was really blown away by the talent there. The new, up and coming songwriters were phenomenal. I didn’t hear anyone, even just walking around, that didn’t have chops (okay, the two guys hanging out at Mo’s Cafe were not exactly music wizards). In particular, Grace Pettis, Megan Burtt, Roy Schneider, The YaYas, and Steve Chizmadia are folks I want to keep an eye on and I want to hear more of Susan Werner, Seth Glier, Zoe Lewis, Kenny White, and the list goes on and on. So glad I finally went.

On another note, our Thursday night group had our end of the Spring party last Thursday and had a good time singing “requests” and new things that people brought. I really didn’t have a new song to teach because when Sally said to bring songs from your heart, I immediately thought of the “Dowey Dens of Yarrow” and just decided to sing it. I do, I do, I do love that song.

More later. Got to get to work.

Went to the house concert on Saturday and listened to Randal Williams. Really good and he has done an album on Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. Interesting pieces – he had Dirje Smith with him – cello. Fabulous sound. Talked to Light about the trip to Scotland. They are also going, but she seems more worried about clothes than I am.

Kerrville is in about 3 weeks. Looking forward to it, but really don’t know what to expect. I hope Jack comes to stay in Kerrville with me, even if he is not interested in the music.

I meant to practice at the piano this weekend, but with Jack working on the computer in the living room, it just doesn’t feel right. I wonder how much a small keyboard would be? Surely they make cheap little keyboards still.