July 26, 2011

Somebody Loves Me

As I was setting up my tent last week at Falcon Ridge, I marveled at how neatly the tent had been put away - all the pieces neatly bagged, the tent nicely folded and put away dry. And I realized that the tent had probably not been pulled out since it was packed up at the end of fest last year; that I had carefully and mindfully put it away last year; sending a message into the future. Jude of 2011, Jude of 2010 loves you and wants you to have a wonderful festival week.

It was a sweet moment of realization. Sometimes I get down on myself regarding my messiness or my lack of discipline around some areas of my life. But having that realization brought me a sense of being taken care of - by myself surely, but also by the universe.

And of course, as I pulled down the campsite at the end of this year's fest, I kept that same sense of mindfulness and reverence for whoever I will be as I set up my campsite in 2012.

July 25, 2011

RIP Bill Morrissey

While in the merchandise trailer at Falcon Ridge on Saturday, I got the news - Bill Morrissey had passed away. Such sad news, especially when contrasted with the joyful folk community underway in Hillsdale - many artists mentioned Bill during their sets. It's going to take me a few days to come down from the Falcon Ridge high to start to process Bill's death.

Others have written more and better tributes; you can find some links on a fansite as well as a short blurb on Bill's site. I've been a fan for over two decades; having heard Handsome Molly on a Legacy compilation. After listening for many years, I got to see him play live, and was surprised at such a deep voice coming from such a slight man. I own a handful of Bill's albums (North, Standing Eight, Inside, Night Train, You'll Never Get to Heaven), and have always been struck by his portrayal of working class New England, and his bittersweet songs about relationships. But I have to say that Friend of Mine, a collaboration with Greg Brown, remains a favorite. Just two good friends, sitting around with a couple of guitars and trading licks, verses, and laughs.

As I unwound from the folk fest, I put five of Bill's CDs that I own into the CD player. The very first notes of Pantherville brought me back to the early 90's - I covered that tune at open mics for a while. Married Man is both hopeful and tickles the funny bone. Handsome Molly, the first song to draw me in; think that's Suzanne Vega on backing vocals. These Cold Fingers - a darker song foretelling perhaps some of his personal struggles. Off-White is another beautiful relationship song, kind of reminds me of David Mallett's "I've Been Around."

Night Train features Birches, one of my favorite songs about relationship - the metaphors and imagery are so beautiful. And on that album, the sad (right now) Letter from Heaven and Time To Go Home

All in all it's amazing how little the quality and tone of his songs changed from the earlier CDs to the later ones. he got a little darker, a little more serious, but one could drop a random song from the earlier days into the later albums and it would not be that out of place.

This year, Falcon Ridge featured a tribute to Jack Hardy who also passed away this year. Folk music has lost a couple of good ones. So it was so sweet to rub elbows with and lend my ears to those still with us - John Gorka, Greg Brown, Eliza Gilkyson, Lucy Kaplansky, Mary Gauthier, so many more.....

July 16, 2011

Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase 2011

In the order of appearance, with weblinks!

Grace Pettis-Harrisonburg VA
Occidental Gypsy-Boston MA
Karyn Oliver-Boring MD - eMUSIC
Brooke Annibale-Pittsburgh PA - eMUSIC

Lori Diamond & Fred Abatelli-Metro West MA - eMUSIC
Gail Wade-Colchester CT
Paul Sachs-NYC - eMUSIC
Brittany Ann-Philadelphia PA - eMUSIC

Bulat Gafarov-Moscow RU - eMUSIC
ilyAIMY-Baltimore MD - eMUSIC
Suzie Vinnick-Toronto ON - eMUSIC
Putnam Smith-Portland ME - eMUSIC

Pesky J.Nixon-Boston MA - eMUSIC
Louise Mosrie-Nashville TN - eMUSIC
Jason Myles Goss-Brooklyn NY
My Brothers Banned-Westchester Cty NY - eMUSIC

Friction Farm-Greenville SC
Sharon Goldman-Metuchen NJ - eMUSIC
Devlin Miles-NYC - eMUSIC
Layah Jane-Toronto ON - eMUSIC

Blair Bodine-Ambler PA - eMUSIC
The Whispering Tree-NYC - eMUSIC
Ellen Bukstel-Southwest Ranches FL - Free MP3
Split Tongue Crow-Rutland VT - eMUSIC

And every artist labelled eMusic has their latest album up on eMusic; I downloaded all of those and am gonna have SHOWCASE ARTIST SHUFFLE going in the merch trailer / tent on Wednesday and Thursday!

Falcon Ridge Preview

Falcon Ridge is already getting started, with some friends on the farm alrehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifady and the rest of us making final preparations. The schedule is already posted online here.

As part of my work as performer merchandise coordinator, I've been web surfing to all the artists pages to collect their CD list for the spreadsheet. Some of my highlights and thoughts:

Supergroups: This year we have two folk supergroups (similar to Cry Cry Cry a bunch of years back). Red Horse features Cry Cry Cry's Lucy Kaplansky, along with John Gorka and Eliza Gilkyson. Can't complain on any front there; they are (collectively) the Friday Night Song Swap, and individually, opening up Saturday's mainstage (John / Lucy / Eliza). In addition, we have Brother Sun, consisting of Greg Greenway, Joe Jencks, and Pat Wictor - Joe and Pat were Showcase artists (and Pat was "most-wanted" a few years back), it's been a while since Greg has been featured at the fest.

Long Time No See: Welcome back, Greg Brown!

Old Friends: Tracy Grammar, Gandalf Murphy, Dan Navarro (who never fails to amuse and entertain the merch crew), Red Molly, Susan Werner, Mary Gautier, among others. I'm particularly hape to see Jay Makita (workshop and family stage only) need to make a point to get out to the satellite stages to see him.

Headliner: Mary Chapin Carpenter is one Sunday night headliner I am excited to see.

You'll Be Missed: No Dar this year, no Pete and Maura Kennedy, no Eddie From Ohio, no Girlyman. Most surprisingly, no Nields (who are kind of fixtures at the fest).

Showcase Artists: As usual, Falcon Ridge has culled 24 artists (from 100s of entries) for the Emerging Artists Showcase. I've visited each of their websites and looks good, with some ensembles, some earnest young singer songwriters, and folks with a few miles on 'em. Some that caught my eye: Gail Wade (from Colchester, CT, the only nutmegger), Lori Diamond and Fred Abatelli (Metro West MA. No really. It's Framingham, right?) A handful of colorful names: My Brothers Banned, Occidental Gypsy, ilyAIMY (an acronym for I Love You, And I Miss You, cute....), Friction Farm, Pesky J. Nixon, and Split Tongue Crow. And all the way from Moscow, Russia - Bulat Gafarov.

I'll post a canonical showcase list with links in a bit....

Looking forward to it. I head up on Tuesday; with a brand new car-top carrier on my little Saturn the better to carry the mad mix of camping supplies, clothes, beverages, office supplies, yoga stuff, and instruments that I bring up!

July 14, 2011

On the Sidelines

I just pulled my retirement account out of the stock market until this debt ceiling thing gets resolved. The media drumbeat, the Moody's rating, it's all getting a little worrisome, and I'm going to be off the grid for the next few weeks. If the Tea Partiers' antics crash the stock market I am gonna at least get back in at the bottom.....

I'm usually a "ride it out, long term investment" kind of gal, but when one is a fanatic / zealot, one will (for example) strap-on an explosive vest and wander into a busy marketplace. Part of me thinks these bozos would love to take the economy down just to hurt Obama's chances in 2012.

The Dow is at 12,491.61, the NASDAQ is at 2,796.92. Let's see where things are 2-3 weeks from now...

July 13, 2011

CT Hackerspace

When I moved into my condo a year and a half ago, the basement featured a pool table, a suspended ceiling, some 48" fluorescent lamps, and an open electrical box with a hanging light fixture in the storage closet.

The pool table went to a friend; the ceiling tiles got tossed (smelled of smoke), but the ceiling grid, the fluorescent lamps, and the open electrical box remained. Last weekend, in a rare burst of motivation inspired by my wiring work for a friend, I (a) removed the ceiling grid, (b) removed the fluorescent lamps (required a bit of electrical work) and (c) closed up the ceiling box.

I put an ad up on Craigslist to find a home for the lamp fixtures and a carton of bulbs - and one of the first to reply was a guy from CT Hackerspace in Watertown, CT. He stopped by this morning to collect the lights to outfit his space, noticed my pile of suspended ceiling rails, and inquired if they were being tossed. Indeed they were, and he took those as well (saving me the hassle of calling the city for a pickup)

CT Hackerspace is "...collaborating to build a community and space to support a wide array of technical and creative disciplines through infrastructure, inspiration, making and sharing." Or more succinctly, a bunch of electrical and mechanical geeks creating a shared space to geek out in - with tools, instrumentation, workspace, etc. I approve....

In fact, I'm gonna go through my piles and see if there is anything that's been sitting idle around here or in Zippy's basement that I can toss their way.....

July 11, 2011

New Laptop

Just ordered a replacement laptop. My last laptop (a Sony Vaio that I've had since February '08) clearly does not owe me anything. It's been a bit flaky / slow for a while, and at the start of the month, it gave up the ghost completely, refusing to power up at all.

Once upon a time I spent a lot of time researching laptops - with a remote office my main computer was often a car-ride away; my laptop was permanently set up in the house. I traveled a lot for work, actively maintained multiple websites, and did a lot of remote powerpoint / production gigs. But these days, my office (and desktop) are in the basement, and I have an iPad that does almost anything I might want a laptop upstairs for, and I travel just a few times a year. So I picked up a relatively middle of the road model from a decent brand, with good reviews. Stuffed it with RAM, picked up Office Home & Student (I refuse to use Outlook) and away we go.

A while back I left my laptop at the yoga studio for close to a month and never missed it; if it were not for some engineering software and applications that are Windows only, I might step back from a laptop completely.