Jon Magnuson of the Cedar Tree institute has put together an event celebrating water which I am excited to be a part of. Barbara Rhyneer and I will be playing music in between a lecture on the physical necessity of water and a ceremony blessing our waters.
I’ve been a part of a few of these events put on by the Cedar Tree Institute and they make a lot of sense to me. The greatest threat to the health of ourselves and that of the planet I think is separation, and these events cobble together presenters from different religions and different professions to meet around some common interest, in this case water. These contrived convergences may have a few awkward moments, but the end result is a deeper understanding of both the topic and of human interconnectedness.
This past May I had the uncommon experience of learning a song, recording it with another singer, the amazing Beth Wood, and then recording a professional music video all in the same day. The song is called "It's About Us" and was written by two friends from the UP, Chris Brooks and Steve Swanson. As I understand they wrote the song to address the growing mindlessness and polarization in our country. Steve owns an RV dealership, Hilltop RV, and thought getting such a positive message out there would bring in energy so he set to having the song and video produced by Bottom Line Marketing and Video Concepts. I'm so grateful I was able to be a part. Beth stayed in the area for another day and gave a house concert of great original songs delivered masterfully and opened my heart and mind right up. Check out her website at BethWoodMusic.comWithin the first few days of it's release this video had 20,000 views on facebook. Holy Wah!
I've had the chance to form what I think is a terrific band. Neal Curran plays a mighty mandolin and sings, Barbara Rhyneer is playing fiddle, Bud Clowers plays drums, Harry South plays bass and my own daughter Aya Jane Waite is singing with us. Here's a poster Aya Jane made for our show this past weekend in Marquette:We are playing a wedding this weekend and another wedding next month, as well as two music festivals, Farm Block Fest and Harvest Gathering in September. I'm so delighted by how easy and fun it is to play with these musicians.
I had the chance to put a show together with Eclettico this week, and what a treat it was. We got together this past Tuesday morning to choose what music to work on. To tell the truth I wasn't too sure that morning if we would be able to pull it off. But the energy of this band made it clear that something fun was going to happen. Victoria Gabrielsen, the viola player in this video, clinked coffee mugs with me and said, "Here's to dreams coming true." Everyone in the band chose a song or two to work on, and we found a few songs already in the Eclettico songbook that I could sing with, and by the end of the week we had assembled a show of mostly original music. I'm amazed and delighted at the effect of the positive energy and talent of this group. We get to meet at least once more this summer, and I can't wait.
Charlie Lavoy shot this video and edited it in his home in New Orleans. He also included some shots of people and animals struggling with and enjoying the harsh winter we had last year.
One Saturday about a year ago we took a hike out to the Rock River Canyon, which in the cold weather becomes a place where you can walk behind a frozen waterfall. If you haven't ever been there, It's a 30 minute drive south and east of Marquette, MI. You park at the bend of a little road and hike in for about another half hour. You may want some sort of ice cleats for the last part of the hike down into the opening, but you probably won't need snowshoes or skis unless you want to explore off the trail or we just got a fresh snowfall, because it's a pretty well trodden path. Sometimes it's lonely out there, but the day we went there was a hot dog and cocoa stand and maybe 25 cars parked at the trailhead. Below is a link to a map to get you there from a site that features fun spots to visit in the UP.
You can hear and/or purchase a studio version of this song on the "music" page of this website
We had a chance to get together with some of our musician friends last week and make this video. We created with the intent to send it to NPR for their tiny desk concert contest. The winner gets to go to Washington D.C. to record a real tiny desk concert and the only main rule for submissions is that you have to shoot the video near a desk. So we went to the Peter White Library where there are so many nice desks.
I wrote this mini-disaster song being inspired by the old time song, "All The Good Times Are Over". Kerry and I have sung together quite a few times, and Randy and I have made music at his house and in the barn where he used to live, but this is my first time playing with Bud Clowers and Harry South, two musicians who I've seen around town in one band or another. It was a delight the way they both picked up the song and added to it tastefully.