So, I am rushing out the door, but before I head out, I’m saving a draft of part two of my review of the emerging artists. This will probably end up simply as is, or with minor editing. With that, I don’t have a lot of notes on many of the musicians other than links and a few random thoughts.
One Woman’s Meat: If E.B. White were a twenty something singer songwriter from Maine in the beginning of the twenty-first century, I suspect he would have turned out a bit like Marie Moreshead (@mariemoreshead, EPK).
John Wort Hannam
John Wort Hannam (EPK), has a long list of festival appearances and awards and is frequently compared favorably to Gordon Lightfoot. I like Gordon Lightfoot a lot and it isn’t a surprise that I really like John Wort Hannam’s music as well.
Mia Adams & The Scenic Roots
This duo is my favorite of the ones I’ve listened to ahead of time. The song Gravity is especially touching. Nathan dedicated it to his father who passed away from AIDS and seeks to honor the struggle of everyone struggling with this tragic disease.
Karyn Oliver (@KarynOliver.) She is not one of the official emerging artists. However, according to this message), she will be playing in the Lounge Tent Thursday at 5:45 with Chris O'Brien and Vanessa Torres.
That’s it for now.
Friday afternoon, 26 emerging performers are scheduled to take the stage at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. The performers can be found on the website, as well as on Sonicbids. The list on SonicBids includes links to the performers Electronic Press Kits, or EPKs. In these press kits, you read about the performers and listen to their music. Some of the music is only streamed. Other music is available for download. I’ve downloaded what I can so I can listen to it from my cellphone, especially since my network connection has been flakey and not cooperative to streaming recently. I believe I’ve fixed this, but I haven’t ended up listening as closely to the various performers as I would like. That said, let me start provide initial reactions to the performers that will be appearing on the mainstage on Friday.
I should also note that my comments about the following musicians are based more on what appeals to me and who I am than any rigorous critique of the performers musical ability.
The first performer scheduled to perform is Shannon West (@shannonwurst, EPK) from Arkansas. She was a finalist in the 2009 Kerrville New Folk Songwriting competition and a semi-finalist for the Prairie Home Companion's Talented Twenties Contest.
Second up is the Wiggins Sisters (@wigginssisters, EPK). “Their second CD ‘Minnesota’ was produced by Lloyd Maines (of Dixie Chicks fame) in Austin, TX with some of the finest musicians that town has to offer.”
After the Wiggins Sisters, Chris Velan (@chrisvelan, EPK) is scheduled to perform. Chris’ background is particularly interesting. He was trained as a classical guitarist, became involved in a documentary about war-torn Sierra Leone, headed off to school to become a human rights lawyer and ended up back and being a musician.
The next performer is scheduled to be Nicole Reynolds (EPK). She was born into a family of Pittsburgh steelworkers and it comes through in the social consciousness in her music. It also comes through in the links on her website with information on mountain top removal, food not bombs, and progressive news sources.
So, of the first group of performers, Rachel Sage, Bobbie Lancaster and Shannon Wurst are probably my favorites. I'll see how I do with the second group later on.
Each month, provides an opportunity to reflect on the past month as well as hope and plan for the next. June has been a long hard month. Various conferences and family circumstances have taken a lot of time and energy, unfortunately, the billable hours have been lacking. This coming month brings us Social Web Week Connecticut 2010. This will be a weeklong collection of events in New Haven, July 10-16. The goal of Social Web Week is “to bring people together in CT to explore how best to use the social web to improve our quality of life.”
Later in July will be the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. This is a festival that I’ve been going to since the early nineties. We camp out at a farm, and spend days sitting in the sun, and occasional thunderstorm or worse, listening to music.
I am pretty excited about both events, and so I start off the month, like I try to start each month with the old childhood invocation of good luck, “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit”.
It was a cold January day on a remote highway in Idaho. A young man stopped to help other travelers who were trapped in an overturned truck. As the man was working to rescue them, another car skidded off the road and struck him at highway speed. That man was Lee Penn Sky.
On that grey day, Lee almost lost his life and nearly lost his leg; what he did lose was his fear. Until this day, Lee had been a prolific songwriter but never stepped from behind the shelter of a band into the spotlight himself. The risk of stepping into the spotlight seemed to pale in comparison to nearly losing his life.
I’m always skeptical when I read stuff like this. It feels too much like someone is trying to sell me something useless. I wonder about the parts of the story untold. I think, “Yeah, right, but what about the rest of us?” We all have our hurdles; our accidents on the road to Damascus.
Yet, since I was going to listen to his submission to the Orient Lodge Music Review via Sonicbids, I figured I should try to give him a fair hearing. It didn’t take me long to change my opinion. His music is really about all of us.
It’s been about two months since I first listened to his music. I put it near the top of my list, but there have been some other really good musicians fighting for recognition as well, so it is only today that I am getting around to this review.
Perhaps it is all timing and now is the time to write the review. Over the last week or so, one of my mother’s best friends died. A cousin died. Our dog died. Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks. At the memorial for my mother’s friend, some of us talked about all that is going on in the world. The BP oil slick, global warming, and conservative activists judges on the Supreme Court more interested in rewriting over a century of jurisprudence to protect large corporations, shield them from accountability and give them greater say in our electoral process.
Yeah, people were in a kind of down mood at the memorial. I tried to be upbeat, to recognize the power of individuals, reaching out in compassion to those around them, sending out ripples of hope. I spoke of nature’s power to heal and my recollection of run down parts of cities where nature has retaken the land.
Maybe it’s just a little bit like some guy getting hit by a car on a cold snowy Day in January as he tries to help out some people, and instead of getting bitter, stepping into the spotlight to sing his bitter sweet songs of hope in downtrodden situations.
It’s been a rough week, for me, for people on the Gulf Coast, for the widow of one of the men who died at the Kleen Energy explosion in Connecticut as she testified at a hearing calling for more protection for workers. In spite of it, I cling to the sort of hope that you hear in Lee Penn Sky’s music.
I keep waiting for something to happen, I can't grow younger
Patrick Rickelton (prattle on, rick), taught high school history and German for nearly seven years which he left behind to take up a busker’s approach to performing, “focusing instead on art shows, cafes, restaurants, museums, houses, etc.” Maybe he stopped waiting for something to happen and set out to make things happen.
How well has it been going for him? If we take his lyrics at their face value, perhaps not as well as he would like.
lately I walk on a lonely road
it's the only road I know
lately I talk with my shadow
no ear to hear my groan
no dwelling to call home
no shelter from the snow
lately I sing on a broken stage
no words upon my page
lately I stroll on an empty lane
it's easier that way
no one to see the pain
or to break my heart again
Perhaps we shouldn’t take the lyrics as reflecting how is career is going. Perhaps some of it is that he’s not playing the music industry game the way it is currently rigged and not enough people have discovered his music.
Patrick’s music resonates with me. There is something to be said about taking on the busker’s attitude and going on to share one’s music. Patrick was one of the first people to respond to my request on Sonic Bids. I liked his music right away and tried to find the right time in my schedule to review it.
As luck would have it, today was the day I had scheduled to write my review. As I started relistening to his music, I received a couple emails from family members. An old close friend of my mother just died as did my cousin Doug.
Although, the song ‘lately’ does not stay on a sad lonely theme. It ends with a sense of a promise.
someday we'll sing a perfect melody
in perfect harmony
we'll worship perfectly
see what we've longed to see
where everyone we meet
is long-lost family
no reason more to grieve
no need no more to leave
So, I stroll down my empty lanes, waiting for something to happen. Along the way, I will mourn the death of friends and family, but I’ll also keep listening to groups like prattle on, rick. It will make the road a bit more enjoyable and keep me reminded of the beauty in life.