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.
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Harley's Lounge, my musical home base since the turn of the millennium, is closed for the next few weeks for renovations, allowing me some time to dig into some new music projects and watch the ferns grow.
This is quite an honor. I'm not quite sure how to respond. Our little town has a lot of great performers so thank you for noticing me! Here's a clipping from the Mining Journal that links to an article about it:
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.
We have been working like ants getting the house finished this summer. Painting, installing flooring downstairs, and building a decent woodshed- and then filling it with wood of course.
Now it's on to trim. This week we're hanging doors and planing the boards we milled up back in 2007, as mentioned in one of the first posts of this blog.
Everybody's eager to move into their own rooms.
My first plan for these videos was just to set a camera up by our wood stove where I usually like to sit in the evenings and play some songs as the kids go to sleep. Thank God Erica stepped in and made this series much more interesting. Here though, in the depth of a deep winter, a deep winter song seems best delivered in that quintessential place of shelter, the seat by the fire. We included a few images of the boys skating on a little pond Aya found and shoveled off.
Happy St. Lucy's Day! St. Lucy lived about 1700 years ago in what is now Italy. The stories are a little fuzzy after all those years, but my best understanding of her was that she was a teenager who stood up to a cruel authority who could not shake her of her stillness and bold speaking of truth. At one point the guy in charge threatened to sell her as a slave if she wouldn't comply, and she told him calmly that she couldn't be ashamed of that status if she was forced into it, that the shame would be on him. He then had soldiers try and carry her away (they couldn't move her, even when tying her to horses) and try to burn her (their matches wouldn't light) and then cut her with a sword (she stayed alive a while after her guts fell out and told everybody what was really going on.)
I'm not sure how her story became this Italian song –or this Swedish tradition of electing a young girl to be Sankta Lucia and wear candles on her head and bring saffron buns to everyone, but here's my best interpretation: In Italy I can see how this pure feminism would become a symbol of the beauty and power of the wind and water and the spirit of the place. And in Sweden, where it's awful dark and cold this time of year, I can imagine the innocence and boldness which is so well exemplified in teenage girls to be an important source of spiritual light and food. There's a girl kinda like this in my house, baking excellent things and speaking wisdom to her parents and friends.
Erica has collected images of many children wearing the crown of candles and fit them together. Thanks to Go Like the Wind School and St. Paul's Episcopal Church for allowing space for this.