Thursday, August 14, 2003
August 9m 2003 -Joanne Juskus opening for Pat Humphries and Sandy O. at House in the Woods in Adamstown, MD (just south of Frederick)
Lights illumine the path from the house to the barn area. Two dogs wander in and out among all the people. House in the Woods is a rustic house concert, a concert in a barn type structure on a working farm. The barn holds 100 in a combination of folding chairs and white plastic lawn chairs.
We have been advised to bring a flashlight, and bug spray (or some natural repellant.). My co-worker who comes uses a natural product, vanilla, to repel bugs which means she smells better than I do. When the sun goes down, there are spotlights on the singers on a raised platform at the front, and little green Christmas tree-lights in the back, and outside a lovely full moon.
The cicada's loud songs complement the singers, who luckily have a sound system to compete. The performers joke - are they tuning to the cicadas? Are they are the same beat?
The break takes us back to a lovely wooden house with a large deck, and a kitchen table full of desserts many people contribute to the event.
The hosts have a toddler. Unlike most "house concerts" this show is baby and child friendly and friends and relatives pass the children from lap to lap or take them for walks outside if they get restless. The weather cooperates and on this muggy wet August day, the predicted storm does not materialize, but a cool breeze does, and soon I add pants and a jacket to my scant daytime clothing.
Joanne Juskus opens on keyboard accompanied by Williard Morris on Violin. This is not the guy or gal with a guitar kind of music I usually hear. She has intriguing lyrics and sometimes hypnotic, other worldly rhythms. This is my second time seeing her. Her set list includes:
Rebel - Written right after the Berlin Wall came down. The lyrics address the question - what will you do now with all this energy?
Meet You There - I was hoping she would do this Rumi inspired song. I so love Rumi's poetry. I love that Joanne has created a song inspired by it.
Never Be the Same - The words tumble out, the song moves fast mimicking the panic it reflects. This relationship is changing me - I'll never be the same!
Happy Medium - about tangled relationships.
Birthday - what a lovely upbeat friendship song.
I Am - Inspired by a dream of a native American teacher this has a lovely other wordly quality.
Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow
My sister alerted me to the NPR interview on May 22, 2002 and I listened to it online soon after. I have been so looking forward to seeing Pat Humphries ever since.
She and Sandy O. do not disappoint. Like Marika Partridge of NPR says, Pat's song Swimming to the Other Side, and I would say all her music, just make you feel good to hear and to sing along with. It is no wonder that after Marika Partridge enthusiastic endorcement, Pat's CD was the number one CD sold on Amazon for 3 days in a row. This is the same week that Eminem's new CD was released! Does Clearwater know what people want to hear or not? NOT! Their set includes the following soulful, inspiring, hopeful songs. (Sometimes I guess at titles and use a first line or a line which may or may not be the title).
Bound for Freedom
Sandy O's song - Take the seed and plant it here - Give it Love
People Love - written for "revenge" in response to someone who asked what to tell her children about Pat being a lesbian.
If I Give Your Name - Incredible song about an incredible story, and is this story being told? There were so many undocumented aliens working in the World Trade Center's restaurant, and how many others in other capacities. And how many families did not come forward for fear of having papers taken and being deported?
Swimming to the Other Side - people are so hungry for hopeful songs.
Peace Salaam Shalom - At first after 9/11 Pat could not sleep. Not until these 3 words came. These words are the key to a response, and Pat and Sandy have spent their time since 9/11 traveling and being with people around these words.
Democracy Now - on 10/11, the same day (coincidentally?) that the bombing of Afghanistan started, there was a peace march in NYC with 10,000 people.
After the break
Silent Springs - This year is the 40th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carlson's book by this title. This song is about Rachel and about industry who make money from pollution and its results.
Hear My Voice - a song written for a conference at the Refugee's Women's Network which gives leadership training for women in resettlement camps all over the world.
We are One - Pat saw the 2 heads of North and South Korea meet on TV 3 years ago, and wrote this song as a hope for Korean unity. This song got them invited to a luncheon in DC in June 03, and then an invitation to Korea later in June.
Never Turning Back - some people who sing this say it is a traditional song, but Pat wrote this "traditional" song, a classic as so many of her songs are, in 1984.
I am hungry to hear those folks again, and we are promised more opportunities and soon. They will be at the Saturday, 8-30-03 Country Roads Festival in West Virginia (close by - just past Harpers Ferry) , and at the Sunday, 9/7/03 Takoma Park Folk Festival.
I plan to be here for the next two concerts at House in the Woods too before they close for the winter. (This is a March to October series only). The schedule is:
September 13 Peter Mayer with Rich and Audrey opening (half the seats are already reserved, these are going fast) I am one of those with a reservation. I sold my 9/13 Bruce Springsteen ticket to a very eminent local sing-songwriter so that I could hear (again) another eminent sing-songwriter, Peter Mayer. The House in the Woods audience is so enthusiastic about Peter, there will be a special chemistry here that night and although I saw Peter in July, I do not want to miss this October night.
October 4 Lou and Peter Berryman with Lori Kelley and Cletus Kennelly opening.
Focus Inn Music at the Potter's House, August 8, 2003 with Franklin Taggart and Carey Creed and a cameo by Donal Leace
This venue is a church. The Potter's House was founded by members of a liberal Christian social action oriented church in Washington DC, and its coffee house has existed in this Columbia Road spot for 43 years. I remember coming as a college student once in the late 60's. And again as an adult, on a field trip from a workshop at Wellspring (a related retreat center).
The mission churches of Church of the Savior (COS) created non-government funded low income housing units, a clinic for those who have no health care coverage, several homeless shelters and other social services within blocks of this coffeehouse. Columbia Md developer, James Rouse, was an active supporter. The various COS churches embody the theme of the new Kennedy's Song Stand which I heard recently at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. They stand for something in a way that stands for positive social change and with (not against) people of other creeds.
I have gone to silent retreats at their Protestant silent/meditation center Dayspring in the past. And I recently spent a Sunday morning with a part of COS, the Seekers Community Church, which is in D.C. now but is renovating a building to move to soon in Takoma Park Maryland. COS is not my religious home, but I admire what they do and what they "Stand" for.
I don't put in the time in community service that the COS people do. But I remember one Saturday, years ago, joining I think some folks from another part of this group, Manna, for a workday. My husband, and daughter and I gutted walls in an old building nearby in preparation for conversion to apartments (2 year) housing for homeless families. I don't remember how old the house was, but I found a newspaper fragment from the 1930's stuck behind something we removed.
So sitting in the Potter's House memories and feelings of the many COS associations I have flood over me. The Potter's House Bookstore, full of so many gems, is not open this evening. But the kitchen is open. We park around the corner on 17th street - well lit, and with police cars passing. We know that on 18th street there are many excellent restaurants, but we don't arrive early enough to get there and back in time for the concert. Instead, we order dinner here, and split one of each the items on the menu - salad, hummus appetizer, black beans and rice, and chicken and rice and have an incredible feast of food that tasted "homemade" and rivaled what we would get in any gourmet restaurant. And they serve something I have never heard of before - Cricket Cola, an incredibly wonderful combination of green tea and cola, that comes luckily in both regular and diet. And the diet variety has SPLENDA in it. I highly recommend it. See: http://www.cricketcola.com/
The music here is tasty too. I have been wanting to get to one of the excellent Focus Inn Music concerts all over this area, in venues in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. They keep scheduling performers I want to see. They are adding to the many choices in this area. This is my first Focus show, but not the last.
I have heard good things about FranklinTaggart and Carey Creed, but this is my first time seeing them. This small sample just leaves me eager to see them more and more. They are from the awesome folk community in Takoma Park Maryland, home of so many people I love to see.
And we happen to sit at a table with Donal Leace, a vaguely familiar singer-songwriter. name. Then Carey Creed invites Donal onstage for a song, He sings Rusty which luckily for me it is on the Donal Leace Washington Post MP3 Site, so I get to hear it again and again. But I want to get Donal's schedule. I am sure I am not the only one in the audience wondering, when can I see this talented man again?
FranklinTaggart plays guitar and sings. Carey Creed is singing and on keyboard for most of the evening. His melodies and playing have an old timey style to me. I love his personal contemporary lyrics which grab me where I am. I am a word focused listener, I often get irritated with too much of "just the guitar". But hearing Franklin, I do not resent it when he stops singing and does an extended guitar solo. The melody enhances the mood the words led me to
Carey Creed's voice is pure "songbird", and she creates a spirit and light and beauty with each phrase she sings. They back each other up, singing harmonies on each other's songs.
Everything I hear is great. I particularly like a new song, Franklin calls a sad little number, Wide Open Heart. OK Franklin, the everything is what you make of it is sort of post-modern, but in this song something else emerges - a post- post-modern song. Wow!
And Falling all the Way, the title track from Franklin's 2001 CD, has the words "anything could happen". Although Bruce Cockburn's has a earlier song "Anything Can Happen", the feel of this song is nothing like that one, it is more like the feel from Bruce Cockburn's new album, You've Never Seen Everything. I just think that times inspire more than one great artist. But the feeling that times are dangerous and the fear of "falling all the way" really evokes images and feelings that echo in the Bruce Cockburn's 2003 CD.
Carey Creed's song Buying Something, is another favorite. It is wonderful song about addictive shopping (a modern temptation). It is so catchy she wonders if teens, who love the song, understand the irony in it.
The music is great. There are brand new "favorites". I don't know if Focus Music will continue using the Potter's House. But there many venues and awesome schedules will be full in the fall, and will continue to challenge my ability to choose between so many wonderful people and venues in this area.
A Day in the Woods at Merryweather Post on August 2, 2003
Somehow We're About Nine's schedule was pushed up. We thought they were starting at 3pm, but their side stage show started at 2:35.
As I came in they were singing - If You See William
An exquisite cover of Bruce Springsteen's, 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)Born Again
Money for Floods by Richard Shindell
Another Love Song
This is not enough of this so engaging Trio but there is more to follow. They have another set, later today. It was so much fun seeing them at Falcon Ridge on the main stage and everywhere - seeing them here brings back that Falcon Ridge feeling. And Dar is later today too.
As I walk over to the Main stage to hear Matt Nathanson - he is engaging, singing a lot of relationship songs beginning with one of my favorite's
Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road
His other songs include (and I am guessing at titles)
Maybe I'm YoursI know all this has been said before
A fun cover of Prince's Starfish, Coffee, Maple Syrup and Jam - as a sing-a-long
I can fall alone
Back to We're About Nine on the side stage:
If I Move Like Light
Slow Sliding Funk -
Just One More - Brian reveals this is written from the perspective of an unknown woman named Teresa, who gets a marriage proposal, but all she wants from the relationship does not involve commitment
Weight of the Ocean - This is a peppy little tune about the end of the world - maybe...
Spirit - about truly being seen or truly seeing other people
I love their newer songs. When will the next CD be out?
It is so much fun seeing this trio on-stage at their premier hometown rock venue!
Dar William's set list on main stage:
If I Wrote You
Are You Out There - Teenage years were in Chappaqua NY, present home to the Clintons, but then sort of a hippy place. In the 80's things started to get so serious. And on the radio they were talking about government conspiracies and they taught me to keep alert; made me a little different. This song is for all the late night weird college radio stations I pick up on my travels.
Farewell to the Old me
The End of the Summer
Another Mystery - Dar just met with people from Empower to about talking to kids about depression. It should not be a glamorous thing!
The One Who Knows - dedicated to parents, grandparents, people who work with kids, all the people who made the world magic
As Cool as I Am
After All - Dar spoke touchingly about battling depression. When you emerge from the pit of depression it is like you are a rock-climber, in a special club. Rock-climbers discuss their techniques, and those who have been depressed discuss the "special metal cletes", what they used to get out of the pit. I love this song; it is so real and heartful.
The Christians and the Pagans - dedicated to the U.S. Supreme Court
The Babysitter - Ok this took place before the days of DVD's or VHS or even Beta. To find what was TV on you had to consult a printed newspaper schedule. TheTV screen was in black and white and but that's OK because it was the 70's and the rest of life was in bright colors. The movie mentioned in the song stared Raquel Welsh. Well, she was not so much about being in color as in being in curvesâ€¦
Keller Williams is the next main stage act. The front row area are all up dancing. He creates a beat then has electronic music echo it. This is about celebration and dancing.
Eddie from Ohio (EFO) are on last. They poll the audience, and it seems like more are from Viiginia than from Maryland, so people coming made a trek to see EFO. They invited the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (FRFF) crowd to come see them here with Dar Williams and We're About Nine. I don't know if any make it from northern states, but I do meet a woman from Virginia who was also at the FRFF. A camper, she says it has been so wet here since she got back she still has not been able to dry out her tent.
Highlights of their set (for me) are an Irish song they sang years ago at Bad Habits in Virginia, and their cover of Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice. Great Day is great too, but not as much fun as it was at Falcon Ridge Gospel Wake Up Call when the Kennedy's and others were singing along, and Da Vinci's Notebook danced/paraded around the stage and DVN member Paul did an onstage flip.
EFO is fun.
Pat Klink and Keller Williams join them onstage for an encore of a popular song years ago that has the words - Take a Load off