Arts

The Arts section of Orient Lodge

Music Monday - Spuyten Duyvil

Back in May, I set off on a new experiment for the music section of Orient Lodge. I set up an account with SonicBids so that emerging artists could submit their music to me for review. The initial agreement was to run for three months, and at the end of three months see how it went and how best to proceed.

My goal was to put up a review on a weekly basis, or as close to it as possible. I recognized that in some cases I might be writing about other music as well, such as the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival which I regularly attend. So, I committed to reviewing a minimum of five submissions, but potentially reviewing considerably more.

As of August 4th, which was the end of the submission period, I have received 71 submissions. My review today will be my ninth review. I hope to get a few some more reviews completed before September 4th which was the date that I agreed to finalize my decisions about whom I will review. That said, some of my reviews might end up being posted online after September 4th.

It has been a great process and I’ve really enjoyed listening to some of the artists. I hope some of you have enjoyed finding out about some of these new artists as well. With that, let me talk about today’s selection.

I first listened to Spuyten Duyvil’s electronic press kit that they submitted for Falcon Ridge. I liked their music, but it didn’t wow me. Musically, they sound great but the lyrics didn’t resonate with my life. Then, at Falcon Ridge, I heard them play as part of the Thursday evening activities and I liked them much better, and they also sounded great on the main stage as part of the Emerging Artists Showcase.

What does resonate with me about Spuyten Duyvil is that for me they capture an important spirit of folk music. They are probably best heard at festival and farmers markets. On some Saturday’s they play at the Hastings Farmers Market. Local food, local music; it doesn’t get much better than that. Besides Falcon Ridge they also recently played at the Huntingon Folk Festival. They also Tweet about what is going on in the folk scene. Yet where they seem to be at their best is swapping songs and stories late at night on a hill in Hillsdale, NY, or other places where the hard core folk music fans gather.

So, pay attention to their calendar of events, and seek out opportunities the hear them live.

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#ff @fringenyc

@TheLostTheatre @raisinplay @DanishDuck @BAMATheatreCo @Bainbridge2010 @baristasplay @BurninginChina @francaverce @BSTARREVOLUTION @ifeedthemonster @shabanarehman @GEwShakespeare @ProjGirlTheatre @hamletshutup @insimplicities

In 1983, I was living in a third floor walkup on Mott Street in New York’s little Italy with two struggling actors. A few years earlier, I had moved to New York in hopes of being a writer, but the only money I was making came from writing computer programs.

As my contract at Bell Laboratories came up for renewal, I decided instead, to spend time traveling around the States and Europe. These travels landed me in Edinburgh during their annual festival. I had a great time attending many Fringe plays and for the next several years returned every August. I spoke with my roommates about how great it would be if New York had a similar fringe festival.

Eventually that came about, and now, over twenty five years after my travels, I am finally making it to the New York Fringe Festival.

Yesterday, I started reviewing the list of plays. I counted 197. However, I’ll be on Cape Cod the second week of the festival, so that rules out 14 plays that are only showing on the second week. When I used to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I would sometimes take in as many as five plays a day. Looking at the schedule, I’m not sure I could hit more than four plays a day, so the most I could make is probably 28. Realistically, I’ll probably not make it to more than a dozen plays.

So, I’m scanning through the list, highlighting the ones that are most interesting, noting the webpages, as well as Facebook Fan pages and Twitter accounts of various plays. All of this leads to this week’s Follow Friday blog post.

@fringeNYC is the Twitter account for the New York Fringe Festival. @TheLostTheatre @raisinplay @DanishDuck @BAMATheatreCo @Bainbridge2010 @baristasplay @BurninginChina @francaverce @BSTARREVOLUTION @ifeedthemonster @shabanarehman @GEwShakespeare @ProjGirlTheatre @hamletshutup and @insimplicities are some of the Twitter accounts for the plays or the companies following them. They are all worth looking into.

If you have details about any of the plays in this year’s New York Fringe Festival that you think I should see, leave a comment or drop me a note. I’m still trying to decide which ones to attend

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Music Monday – Hugh Morrison

For the past couple of weeks, the Music Review section of Orient Lodge has been dedicated to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Now, the mud is washed from my feet and most of the camping gear has been properly stowed away. It is time to return to reviews of performers that have been submitting their music via SonicBids.

I have now received about fifty different submissions. I’ve scanned all of them, and studied a majority of them. Listening to the performers’ music coming out of the speakers of my laptop as I sit in my office is much different than sitting on a rain drenched hill at Falcon Ridge, and I need to readjust my listening style back the solitude of my office. I’ve reviewed seven SonicBids submissions so far and today, I am adding my eighth selection.

Hugh Morrison was one of the more recent submissions I’ve received. He has a new CD out called, Robert Burns Rocks. If I didn’t like Morrison’s music so much, I would wait until the great bard’s next birthday in January, but I think this CD deserves to be highlighted right now.

I listened to various tunes, and when his rendition of Auld Lang Syne came around, my wife perked up her ears. It sounded a bit to her like the Pogues’ rendition. I won’t get into whether Morrison sounds more like the Pogues or the Drop Kick Murphys. No, he sounds more like Hugh Morrison, and Hugh Morrison sounds really good. Also, he’s Scottish, not Irish.

What I especially like about his music is that he has put together a whole CD of Robert Burns tunes. Everyone knows Auld Lang Syne. Fewer know Scots Wha Hae or Ye Jacobites By Name. Years ago, I learned to play the great highland bagpipes. I immersed myself in Scottish history, learning Scots Wha Hae and visited Culloden Moor. Yet for all my interest in Scottish history, the romantic poems of Robert Burns are closest to my heart and it is great to hear Morrison cover a few of them as well.

It has been fun exploring Morrison’s online presence as well. There is a video which I take to be his daughter’s first piano recital. There is a podcast, and it appears that Morrison plays with a bunch of different groups from time to time.

Check out Hugh Morrison’s new CD Robert Burns Rocks, and if you’re in Texas or Arizona, check out his schedule to see if he’ll be performing near you any time soon.

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Wordless Wednesday - #frff



20100724_010, originally uploaded by Aldon.

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Camping at #frff



Camping at #frff, originally uploaded by Aldon.

I'm having difficulty getting to the edit mode of my blog from my cellphone over the celluar network so I'm tring to blog a way I used to by sending pictures to flickr. Typing is slow on the cellphone so I'll probably be more terse for the next few days
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Sent from my Nokia N900 using Nokia Messaging

Update: I believe I took this picture last Thursday and tried sending it via Flickr to my blog. However, I was having problems with the Internet connectivity and the message only made it through today.

It is probably just as well. I've had a busy day. There is a blog post I really want to get written, but I'm so tired, I can't focus well enough right now, so I'm saving that for tomorrow.

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