Music Monday – The Harpeth Rises Again

Last week, I received a copy of the new CD by Harpeth Rising, Dead Man’s Hand. There is quite a back story here. I reviewed them on my blog quite a while ago. Then, Fiona interviewed Jordana on her radio show. This was shortly before Harpeth Rising played at the Buttonwood Tree last winter. It ended up being one of those nights when a heavy snow storm hit Connecticut, so Fiona and Kim couldn’t make it up to the show, but since it was across the street from where I worked, I managed to make it.

As I listened to the new CD, I tried to find the song that resonated best to me, and perhaps the one that jumped out most at me was “Tough as Nails (Love song for a Toyota Corolla)”. Got love a rhyme about conservatives that snicker about a liberal bumper sticker. As I listened, another song came to mind, Neil Young’s “Long May You Run”.

We've been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather
Long may you run

Thinking about it, another song comes to mind, Half a Million Miles by The Kennedys. I guess any musicians that do a lot of touring are likely to have something special to say about their travels and the vehicle’s that carry them, and Harpeth Rising does some great travelling. In a couple days, they will be starting their U.K. tour. So, any of my friends in the U.K., check out the Harpeth Rising Tour Dates to see if you can catch one of their shows live, because it is really a special experience to catch them live.

I’ve been told they may be back at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, CT this coming fall or winter, and I can’t wait.

To get a sense of their performances, check out this YouTube video of them playing the title song from their latest CD.

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Music Mundy – Fourth of July – Bruce Springsteen playing Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land

This morning a friend posted a link to a YouTube video of Bruce Springsteen playing Woody Guthrie’ “This Land is Your Land”.

Guthrie wrote this song in response to the jingoistic “God Bless America”, and included some fairly pointed verses that often get left out at elementary school assemblies. Springsteen highlights one of those verses:

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

This Fourth of July, Congress has been asked to stay in Washington to address the debt ceiling, something the Republicans repeatedly voted to increase under President Bush but are refusing to do under President Obama. The key sticking point is their refusal to ask those who have benefited most from the American Dream to help out those less fortunate. It seems as if they are abandoning the very American principles that helped make this country great, the dream of a better life, equal opportunity to everyone, and a willingness to help the less fortunate.

How do we understand this? It is sort of like the story of the man who ran up the credit card debt buying a bunch of guns. Later, his son got laid off, and his wife added to the debt trying to help the son. The man told his wife, that unless she stops spending so much on the son, he would make sure that the credit card bills do not get paid, forcing them into default and bankruptcy.

Already, S&P has lowered the U.S. credit rating outlook, and now they’ll drop the U.S. debt rating from AAA to D in August if the debt ceiling is not raised.

It seems like the credit agencies ought to be looking at something similar, with an across the board cut it the credit score of any congressperson who refuses to raise the debt ceiling with no strings attached., to be followed by lowering the credit score to the equivalent of bankruptcy of every congressperson who holds to that position if the country does, in fact, get forced into default on August 4th by their actions.

But back to the song: Woody Guthrie’s son, Arlo Guthrie wrote a famous song, “Alice’s Restaurant”, about the draft years ago. As part of a monologue incorporated into the song, he says,

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in say "Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice's restaurant.". And walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

And that's what it is, the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the guitar.

With feeling. So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and sing it when it does. Here it comes.

Well, maybe that’s what we need right now, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Default Movement. Well, there isn’t a draft board to sing this to, but there are Facebook pages. So…

Can you imagine fifty people a day, posting on their Facebook wall Bruce Springsteen singing Arlo’s dad’s song about this land being for all of us, and not just the corporate jet owners?

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

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Music Monday – The Rogues

Last December, I wrote a blog post about The Rogues as part of my Music Monday posts of people who had submitted music for me to review via SonicBids. It was about the time that I started my new job, so I haven’t been doing as much for music reviews recently.

Part of what I was doing was inviting the performers to come onto Fiona’s Radio Show. Typically, I suggest that they try to arrange their interview when they will be performing in Connecticut.

Well, The Rogues will be playing at the Fairfield County Irish Festival this coming weekend. The following weekend, they will be at the CT Irish Festival in North Haven. So, Fiona ended up interviewing a member of the band last night. It was a really good show. Check it out here.

As is often the case I like to end off with a YouTube video

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Social Music

Music, like other forms of media is very social, from the mix tapes of my youth to the social media tools of today. This weekend, I started thinking about where we are with social media. For a long time, I’ve used Pandora and I’ve liked tools that have mashed up and Pandora as well as listed music I’ve played on my N900 on However, there have been some interesting developments since I started playing with Pandora and I just wish I could find an app that would scrobble the tunes I’m listening to on a Pandora android app to

What got me thinking about this is over the weekend, I noticed a lot of my friends posting YouTube music videos on their Facebook Wall. I started adding them to a playlist on YouTube. With that, I can then play the playlist on my cellphone or on my Roku Player. (Yes, I loaded the YouTube Private Channel before it got shutdown, and I hope to use it until Roku and Google work out their issues and make YouTube fully supported).

Of course, I started thinking about how it would be nice if I could just click on the video to more easily add it to my Social Music playlist on YouTube, similar to the way you can get to save information about music you’ve listened to or easily like songs on Pandora. Perhaps someone will come up with a nice way of doing this.

I also took a quick look at Vevo. So far, I am very unimpressed with it. It won’t allow me to upload my avatar and won’t save a bunch of my settings. Most of the music seems way to mainstream for my tastes, and I couldn’t find a way to associate my online profile to the Vevo Android app.

Meanwhile, music is moving to the cloud. The app on the Android doesn’t seem to scrobble music from Amazon’s MP3 cloud. Perhaps that will get fixed at some time. However, Amazon’s MP3 cloud really hasn’t caught my attention. I’ve thought about experimenting with Ubuntu One, but it costs $3.99 a month to have mobile access, and it just isn’t worth that much.

So, what are you doing to share music?

Music Monday - Stephen Colarelli

With my new job, I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to writing blog posts as I would like. It’s been compounded by computer problems at home and just doing a lot of writing at work. Yet there is an interesting overlap between some of my work writing and my personal writing. Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post AmeriCorps Members a Decade Later. It was about two doctors at CHC who had been AmeriCorps members and are now doctors.

I thought of this as I started writing my blog post about Stephen Colarelli. His bio on Sonicbids includes:

Steve went to Senegal, in West Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer. He lived in a small village working on agricultural projects. During his spare time he continued to play the guitar and write music. He formed a rock band with several other Peace Corps volunteers, and they would play for dances when they were in Senegal’s capital city, Dakar. After the Peace Corps, he earned a doctorate in psychology, began a career as a college professor and put music on the back burner. Years later, he got a call from one of his Peace Corp buddies about a reunion, and they talked about getting the band back to gather to play at the reunion. They did, and from then on, Steve has devoted much of his free time to writing, producing, and recording music.

There is something deep, tuneful, yet simple about his music, something I imagine it would have been great to listen to in Senegal, or on a college campus in Michigan. You see, Dr. Colarelli isn’t just Peace Corp alumnus and a performer; he is also a psychology professor who is currently working on a book, “Handbook of The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior”.

As with other Music Monday posts, let me end off by providing a video.

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