November 30, 2006

Meet the cousins...

... or some of them anyway. These are some photos from Thanksgiving. That's Kara, Joey and Jack on top; me, Josh and Noah on bottom. Aunt Gwyn's idea, just so you know. Here's another picture of Josh...
and maybe some A-dults...
but I know all-y'all really care about is da BABY...
Yeah, he's a cutie. Well, I better get going.
I'll write more in December...
Christmas is getting close!
I need to start shopping!!
We need some SNOW!!!

November 27, 2006


Has anyone else noticed this problem? I think the folk music world especially has been suffering from a severe bout with 'hyper-eclecticism' for quite a while now. Okay, let me explain what I'm talking about. It's currently very hip to be eclectic. Multi-cultural. Genre-bending. "Combining elements of bla bla bla with a healthy dose of this and that while not neglecting strong roots in the tradition of so and so to create a diverse mix of gobbledigook." Now don't get me wrong... I'm all for people mixing styles to come up with something unique and different. But that's exactly what's not happening. Everyone is trying to be different in the same way. An Irish fiddle player sticks a djembe and an electric bass on a couple songs and he's an eclectic, multi-cultural, ground-breaking visionary. But when a Canadian fiddle player, a Scottish fiddle player, a folksy English group, a Swedish nyckelharpa player, a singer-songwriter from Massachusetts and an ex-jazz guitarist from San Fransisco turned Bluegrass flatpicker stick the same djembe and electric bass (and probably the same djembe and electric bass players as well) on their albums, it just doesn't have the same effect. It's a hard trap not to fall into I'll admit. Everybody sounds the same until somebody finds something different. The different thing sounds good so everybody does it but then it all starts to sound the same again. I think the better approach is to start with the music and let it go where it wants to. The instrumentation and arrangements are only by-products, not the starting point. So if a djembe actually adds to the sound, then by all means bang away. I'm not saying change the instruments, I'm saying change the approach. Play whatever sounds good, whatever makes a good noise. That's how you find something truly unique. Because personally, I don't care how 'multi-cultural' or 'eclectic' you are... if it doesn't sound good what's the point? Okay, that's all the ranting I have time for. Now I have to go clean the car.

November 25, 2006

Creepy Critters

Hello. I don't have too much to say today. Got back last night from PA (again!); Noah and I laid down a couple fiddle/mandolin/banjo/uke tracks for a friend's recording project. Now I've got most of the day to kill before meeting Sarah and the rest of the Zs at the airport at 8:18 PM. They spent the week in Florida visiting family. So, my post is just going to be a handful of pictures I've taken over the past few months of some creepy critters...

November 20, 2006


Hello everyone. Noah and I spent last week at Electric Wilburland, a recording studio just south of Ithaca, working on our new album. Here's a few pics...
The session went really well. We worked for four and a half days (Wednesday we clocked 10.5 hours) and made it through 10 out of the roughly 14 tracks we hope to include on the album. Our engineer was Will Russell. I first met Will when I was playing with the vintage/retro bluegrass group The Lonesome Road Ramblers (I was probably thirteen at the time). When I was fourteen I played on John Rossbach's album From the Mountains to the Mills which was also recorded at Wilburland but both Driftage and Dancing Again were done at Chuck Eller's Studio in Charlotte, Vermont. I love working with different studios; different engineers and recording spaces. You learn so much more that way. Anyway, here's some info about the new album. It's all original material and Noah and I play all the instruments as usual. Two things are obviously different about the instrumentation on the new album: 1) for the first time we're both doing some singing and 2) there's very little percussion. With the accompaniment, we wanted the focus to be more guitar and mandolin oriented to keep it distinct from the piano and percussion that we use so much in Great Bear. There's still plenty of fiddles, banjo, bass, bouzouki, banjo uke and a two part piece written for a mandolin quartet: two mandolins, mandola and mandocello. We also worked hard at getting good tones out of the instruments so I think it'll turn out pretty decent once it's done. I'm happy anyway. The tentative name of the album is None So Lovely although that could still change. I'll let you know how things go in December.

November 03, 2006

Syracuse (performed by Sexfist)

I've been meaning to post this for some time. Check out this clip on YouTube. A friend sent it to me a couple weeks ago. Finally, a song that captures the true heart of our great city. And what better means of conveying this heart-felt message than the sensational bluegrass sextet, Sexfist?! Look out Del, Ricky, Doyle, etc... there's a new band on top who's ready and willing to punch and rape their way to acoustic music stardom. Lets hear it for SEXFIST!!!!

"Syracuse" performed by Sexfist

PS Did I mention the name of this band is SEXFIST?