Thursday, March 29, 2012

Musical Families

I heard Justin Townes Earle on the radio this morning and was thinking that he and dad Steve *have* to be the best father-son combination of musical talent I've heard.  But then again ... my wandering mind thought ... there are definitely other pairs in the running for that:  Hank Sr. and Hank Williams Jr, Woody and Arlo Guthrie, Earl and Randy Scruggs (especially poignant since Earl died yesterday), Doc and Merle Watson, Bob and Jakob Dylan, Butch and Derek Trucks, Taylor and Jake Amerding come to my mind immediately ... I'm sure there are many others.

But, my diseased mind went on, what about mother-daughter combinations?  The only one I can readily think of is Kate McGarrigle and Martha Wainwright (though some might argue that there were genes from father Loudon involved in that).  Any others?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Winter and Kayaking

As noted, this has been an historically warm Winter in most of the US, including featuring very little snow in the Boston area.  We've had two snowstorms that I remember this Winter, and both were at most a few inches for us.

But they've got some snow up in New Hampshire and Dave (home for Spring break) and I went skiing at Waterville Valley on March 11th.  This was the opening day of Daylight Savings Time and we still got up there for first chair around 8AM.  It was really empty for 90 minutes or so and the snow was excellent all over the mountain.  The crowds really showed up after that and the snow turned to mashed potatoes by the end of the day but we had a great time and some excellent skiing.

The weather really turned warm this week and on Monday (March 19th, the last day of Winter), I went kayaking after work.  Put in at 225 and the water level was higher than normal but not much higher.  Paddled upstream and then down, getting back after about 90 minutes right at sunset.  The trees were all budding, but the bushes ... even though they showed new growth ... weren't putting out buds yet.  Came close to a beaver lodge and saw a swirl of water under my paddle and my kayak.  He was feeling a little testy at this time of year no doubt.  Many little bugs were out already too, though they seemed confused.

In Connecticut this past weekend (long story) the grass was growing and all over here the crocuses are out, the buds are starting, and the birds are making a racket.  Nature thinks Spring is here, though humans are reluctant to admit it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cowboy Junkies at Somerville Theater

The Cowboy Junkies are exactly the kind of iconoclastic, cross-over band I love and we jumped at the chance to see them at the Somerville Theater on Thursday, March 8th.  They've recently been in the studio recording the four albums of their Nomad series (how iconoclastic is that?!?) and then decided they'd better hit the road and be nice to their fans.

Joe Purdy opened and played a nice mellow set with some really clever lyrics.  They needed to turn him up, especially with the late-arriving crowd.  I think that all but the last few rows were packed by the time the Cowboys came on.  The great thing for me and Sarah was that we were sitting in the first row of the 2nd balcony ... not bad ... but then friends of the people sitting next to us turned up and asked if we wanted to switch seats with them.  So we ended up sitting in the 2nd row of the balcony, which is great at the Somerville.

The Junkies opened with a long stretch of songs from their studio sessions, which sounded great.  The core four (Margot, Michael, and Andrew Timmins and Alan Anton) are touring with Jeff Bird on some screaming mandolin and harmonica and Richard Bell on electric pianos.  Margot was a fountain of gab compared to when we've seen them before ... she can be a very nice hostess and talked us through the new material, promising that they'd cover some old stuff to keep us happy later.  As I say, the new songs were fantastic and they could have stayed on that vector for me, but then they veered into "the old stuff" and it was incredible!

The hits kept coming (ok, they never had any "hits" but to people who know their music these sure were): Powder Finger, Townes Van Zandt's Rake, Sweet Jane, I'm So Open, 200 More Miles (which is one of my favorite-ever of theirs), Bea's Song, A Common Disaster ... and then they ended the set and encored with the funkiest Working On A Building you've ever heard and Walking After Midnight.

Actually, I remembered those and then I see the complete set list on the web:

Sing in my Meadow
Wrong Piano
West of Rome
3rd Crusade
Late Night Radio
Damaged From the Start
Angels in the Wilderness
Bea's Song
Sweet Jane
Common Disaster
200 More Miles
Those Final Feet
Working on a Building
I'm So Open
Misguided Angel

Walking After Midnight
Fuck,I Hate the Cold Skippy

Damaged From the Start from their newest record was fantastic!  We had a great time ... I can't believe I didn't hang around the lobby and get at least one of their new records, but we were pretty exhausted, being a Thursday night, and took off soon after it ended.  Davis Square is so busy it's a pretty exhausting place all by itself these days.