My friends, Jessica and Robert, sent me the lastest CD by Mike and Ruthy as a get well gift. They even got it signed.
I cannot imagine a better way of recuperating than listening to Mike and Ruthy’s great mix of music. There are songs and instrumental numbers. Some of the songs are great political commentaries, and the instrumental numbers include fast folk dance tunes, including a great mandolin solo by Jay Ungar on Dust Bowl Blues. It was this mix that caused me to fall in love with The Mammals in the first place. If nothing else, I am inspired to start playing my mandolin again.
My Mum even approved, which is high praise indeed as both my parents are committed classical music listeners. They scorn other kinds of music, but Mum commented on this CD without me saying who it was. She even asked who was playing the fiddle and said she could see why I liked them.
Hopefully, I’ll get to see them in concert before the year is out.
On Friday Aug 29th Tom Russell was in concert at the World Cafe in Philadelphia. He is a singer-songwriter from Texas who writes topical songs that are quasi-political. Yesterday (Sunday Sept 7) he was on NPR’s Weekend Edition talking about the impetus behind the song “Whose gonna build your wall?” which was the first song of his that I heard over a year ago (?). I was impressed enough to purchase the EP which lead me to hear some of his other songs and and I finally attended his concert.
Naturally as I am very selective about who I go to see, the concert was excellent. One exciting moment was when feedback from the microphone somehow caused his guitar to bust a string or two. He did, thankfully, sing Whose Gonna Build Your Wall as I would not have forgiven him otherwise, but otherwise he said his show was mostly new songs, which were great. He has an anthology coming out in Oct so I intend to buy that to catch up with my Tom Russell history. Unsurprisingly, he seems to have performed or co-written songs with every one – that is the folk music world is small.
Michael Martin on mandolin with Tom Russell
Michael Martin accompanied Tom Russell on lead guitar, mandolin and high harmonies. He was an amazing performer increasing my mandolin desires exponentially. I want a mandolin NOW! I am surprised that I did not phone up a music store and buy a mandolin the next day. Probably doing my accounts before I made the call was a good move.
Sellersville is a lovely venue, pity it is so far away, it was like being part of a small community; especially as behind me were people I knew from Clearwater Festival.
I am still psyched about the show; hearing great folk music and joining the singing along, as you are obliged to do at a Pete Seeger concert, means that I am really excited about going to Ashokan at the weekend.
Last month when Lisa and I went to Longwood Gardens we mostly went to see OSFT, one of my favorite folk bands. I had seen them the month before at the Baby Grand, but the concert at Longwood Gardens was much better; not only because I could take photos.
On Saturday Mike and Ruthy came down, with Will, to open for Jeffery Gaines. They only did about six songs, but what a great six songs. And I got to meet the baby.
I still need to work on taking photos in venues like the Tin Angel where the lighting is poor. Perhaps if I had been using my more powerful camera, it would not have been such a problem. I did accidentally take one with the flash:
As it was an accident, they have red eyes!
At least the Tin Angel lets me take as many as I want. Here is one of Mikey in the dark:
At least there is only one of him. Some of my other shots were blurry and others showed two or three of images imposed on top of each other.
Of course their show was great. They are coming back to the Philly area in June. Check out their website for details.
Jeff Gaines, who was the main act, was good. He was very funny. I liked his spiel as much as his songs, even so he was an excellent singer. As he was new to me I have to listen to more of his music to appreciate it.