Posts Tagged ‘folk music’

The long awaited May Newsletter

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

I feel like the kid doing homework on the bus on the way to school. I was never that kid. But here it is May 26 and we hit the road again tomorrow and the newsletter hadn’t been written and sent.

So here’s what happened this month:

We played a show in Asheville and it was awesome. Our friend Julie Maccarin hosted a house concert. Her house looks out over the Blue Ridge Mountains, what a killer view. We played with Sarah and Darby who are in a duo called Adele Cotton. They rock! cello, guitar, snailalele (I can’t explain, you have to see it). They are from Greenville too, but we hadn’t met them before. Found out that Julie is also a singer and songwriter and has a CD of children’s music out… why has she been keeping this a secret from us?? Barry and Sonia from Georgia showed up (they surprise us all over the country). He’s been hiking the Appalachian trail.

Went to Serfa. You’ve heard me mention Nerfa before and this music conference is similar, but smaller and with a southern vibe. Oh, and I was one of the organizers (hence really late newsletter). Its a gathering of 200 musicians and music enablers for a long weekend of music, learning, music, sleep deprivation, and more music. FUN.

Aidan finally finished his video for “Why, Why, Why” . It is a photo montage of people and their dogs. Its his first ever video and I think its pretty cool (I might be a little biased) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHrBL8GBzvo Please take a look, it will make him really happy, We are trying to figure out how hook this up to a place to donate to the aspca or other animal adoption charity… anyone know anything about how to do that??

Finally, we head to Kerrville TX this weekend as finalists in the NewFolk songwriter competition. You know how folks always say “its an honor just to be nominated” and you wonder if they really mean it? Well we mean it. We have a lot of friends that are also finalists – The YaYas, Twangtown Paramours, Rob Lytle, Karen Oliver, Phil Henry – they are all immensely talented and they are really nice people. So we are honored to be in that company.

I’ve been slacking on booking shows. I’d like to blame it on being busy, and I have been busy, but I’ve also been slacking. We’re heading through the Mid-Atlantic states and will be in the northeast November, Florida in January and February. Also have a day or two June 30 – July 2 driving from G’ville to upstate NY and back. If you have any ideas or want to host a house concert please get in touch.

Tomatoes, hot peppers and squash starting to look good, herbs rocking, blueberries being shared with birds, figs will be ripe next month.

Hope we see you soon,

Christine (and Aidan)

Another Wednesday, another world to conquer.

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

We’re taking on health-care.  Don’t panic, there is no political content this time, no nationwide consensus to be reached. No equations, complicated formulae.  

Forty-one economists, includind a few nobel laureates, filed an amicus brief in Florida arguing that the health-care bill is not unconstitutional.  They argue the unique characteristics justify the congressional mandate.  I am quite sure there is nothing I can do to influence a federal judge.  However, I am also quite sure it is not unconstitutional for me to tell you that if we all try to be a little healthier and help others to be healthier we can go a long way in solving the health care crisis.  And, I don’t think it is an over-reaching, over-confident assumption.

Again, don’t panic.  I am in no position to talk about your eating habits when I share a pie a week. I am not a fitness fanatic or in any way medically schooled.  Nope.  What I am is happy… and healthy.  I’ve always thought those two things were related and now I have found some support in science.

An Australian study of 9981 people found that folks who described themselves as happy and satisfied with life reported good health for the following three years and a much higher rate than folks who said they were not happy.  A Columbia University Medical Center study of 1700 people found that people who called themselves happy were 22% less likely to have heart disease.  (The study was on Canadians, but I think its still valid !)  So, if we are happier we will require less medical care, and put less strain on the health care system.  Simple.

So how do you get happy?  Less sciency studies seem to indicate that happiness is mostly a choice.  For me its always been my default state so I wasn’t sure I was qualified to tell you how to be happy.  So I hit the street.  I smiled and said hello to everyone I could.  Some people ignored me. Some nodded.  Some looked puzzled.  And some smiled and said hello. I asked that later group if they described themselves as happy and they all agreed that they were, to some extent, happy people. I followed up by asking if they ever did things to help themselves be happy.  Surprisingly, the folks that were the most sure about their happiness did modify their behavior to amplify their happy state. So from that pool of experts:  “when I am having a difficult day at work, I look at a picture of my kids”  “if I am feeling down I call a friend who tends to be upbeat”  “I take a few deep breaths when I first start to feel stressed.”

I engaged a few people in deeper conversations and found a few surprising similarities.  They had a good understanding of what mattered to them as individuals… and what didn’t.  They were focused on others, giving and sharing of themselves in service to others.  And finally they had hobbies and interests.

No one said music.  What?!? Music makes me happy.  Especially live music. When I hear other people play and sing, share that experience with a group, I feel energized, transformed and happy.  And that makes me healthy – I have the science to prove it.

Do you have ideas on promoting happiness?  Share them.  And smile, you’re fixing the health-care crisis.

December News

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Its the second consecutive monthly edition of the Friction Farmer’s Almanac.  This shatters my previous record of one consecutive month.  Our monthly newsletter will tell you all about what we’ve been up to, musically and otherwise, and what’s on the horizon.  This month: the November travel update, thoughts about winter and the holidays, plans for January and a plea for help.

November on the road…

We started at Nerfa.  For the unindoctrinated that stands for northeast regional folk alliance.  It is officially a business, booking, educational conference.  I call it the meeting of the tribe.  It is amazingly rewarding to get together with 750 other folk and acoustic musicians, writers, DJs, producers, venues, photographers, managers, enablers… Not just rewarding in the business sense (although it is) or the educational sense (although it is) but in the spiritual and emotional sense.  I always leave feeling physically exhausted and emotionally recharged.

A few highlights; playing in the round with Annie and Rod Capps, Buskin and Batteau and percussionist Marshall Rosenberg.  The comradery of playing is so much fun, and getting to play with that caliber of “back up band” is amazing.  Self proclaimed folk relic David Amram sat in with Buskin & Batteau – a real treat.  Speaking of Amram, one of the workshops at the conference was “Wisdom Of The Elders” with Amram, Theodore Bikel and Oscar Brand.  That’s a lot of talent and a lot of history for one room to hold.  And those guys have lived a lot of life.  It was a great session.  Finally, one of the highlights for me is discovering new music.  Here are my finds –  Round Mountain, two brothers from New Mexico on guitar, accordian, trumpet, kora (west african harp) etc.; Kath Buckell, who played at our post Nerfa gathering where we were so pressed for time we could only have her do one song, but it was great; Carolanne Solebello, okay not exactly a new discovery as we’ve  known her for years, but she was with Red Molly and now she’s playing solo and has some really great songs.  Google them, listen.

We also played at the American Folk Art Museum among a display of old quilts, then went out for an over-priced but fabulous martini in Manhattan.  An evening of contrasts.  Next night we played with Aidan’s sister Siobhan and her husband Michael at Urban H2O in Yonkers.  A fun night – google them, listen.

Spent a couple weeks in the old neighborhoods – West Village and Park Slope, ate my way through the city, did lots of fun stuff.  I miss New York.  (not moving back) Although one of the reasons for moving back south was my dislike of winter.  It was 26 degrees here this morning and 32 in NYC.  I blame global warming.

On the way back from New York we had a show in Fredericksburg VA hosted by guitar maker Bob Gramman.  We stayed at the Gramman’s.  They are wonderful hosts.  But the house is filled with guitars, which is a dangerous thing for Aidan.  I was afraid one of them would follow us home and we’d have to keep it.  But we agreed to give two musicians from Sweden a ride to Charlotte NC so the car was really full.  There’s a weird thing about being on the road, magic happens.  These guys from Sweden were planning to Greyhound their way across america, but they have been meeting people who are headed their way and getting rides instead.  Magic.  Our already overburdened Subaru managed to hold two more people plus two more guitars, suitcases and laptops.  Magic.

The Holiday Season

Its here Hannukah, Christmas, winter solstice, or as we call it around here – baking season.  I’ll be putting a cobbler in the oven before the end of the day.  I’ll also be baking a lot of cookies this season.  I have three standards. The first is the christmas miracle cookie, so named because I was able to make cookies for guests out of what was around the house.  Sort of like pecan pie filling on a shortbread.  Second are almond triangle things, we need a better name, gooey almond cookies with a corner dipped in chocolate.  Finally fruit cake cookies.  Aidan likes fruit cake.  I don’t.  The cookies are sort of a compromise.  What are your favorite holiday cookies?  Post a comment here.

We’ll be putting up lights soon.  Our neighbor Molly will be somewhat pleased.  She does a great job decorating.  We don’t. I think Aidan would decorate the place like the Griswold’s if I let him.  But I caution against too much excess.  When did he become the extravagant one and I the practical one?  I blame global warming.

So now we are at the much anticipated or dreaded socio-political section of the news.  Its mild this month.  Its about shopping.  We’ll be doing all of our shopping at locally owned stores.  It is, I believe, the economically correct thing to do.  There’s a study out of Michigan that says that 73% of the money spent in locally owned stores stays in the local economy, compared with 43% in non-locally owned businesses.  I looked at their data, and I see some flaws, mostly in areas of business spending.  Even with my unscientific adjustments, there is a nearly 50% increase in money remaining in the local economy. If you are in Brooklyn, I recommend “Green in Brooklyn” and “Scaredy Cat”.  In Greenville a gift certifcate for massage from Lucy Allen.  In Florida photography from Jeremiah Jenner or a massage from Terri Flowers.  Need contact info?  ask me.  Know of another great place, post a comment.

Oh right, music makes a great gift.  I’ll gift wrap and mail “Every Miles Is A Memory” for you.  If you need another, I suggest the new one by the YaYa’s.  Google them, listen.

Back on the road in January.. Florida

It better be warm in Florida in January.  We’ve got a great tour scheduled and I am really ecited about seeing friends.  And here is the plea for help… We could use  a few more dates in Florida.  They are surprisingly hard to come by.  I blame global warming.  We have available dates throughout the state (see calendar below) and specifically could use a show in Palm Beach County.  Ideas?  please email me.  Anyone interested in hosting a house concert?  Not sure what that is – visit www.concertsinyourhome.com Also a new idea that concerts in your home is suggesting – dinner and song – a smaller mid-week gathering details at www.dinnerandsong.com

Wow this newsletter got long.  No I won’t blame glocal warming.  Thanks for reading.  Hope to hear from you and maybe see you in January.  Next month, we fix everything that’s wrong in the world (really!).  Happy Holidays!

Christine (and Aidan)