Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Pete and Maura Kennedy at the Holleywould House Concert in Laurel Md. on August 24, 2003
Maura is talking to some fans as I enter. One is a young girl I saw at Falcon Ridge and see at many singer-songwriter concerts. Maura is telling them how she herself codes the Kennedy's web site, and how she is aware of coding to be found by search engines. How cool, discussing internet search engines before a house concert with hip young people and the performer. They know (but I don't until now) that there is another group called the Dead Kennedys.
Relatively new fans present this house concert. They have never attended one or hosted one before. How adventurous they are! About half the guests are at their first house concert, having been invited by the hosts who are either friends/neighbors/family members. Others like me made a reservation after seeing this concert on www.musi-cal.com or on the Kennedy's email list. I was on the waiting list but got in because of a cancellation. These 50 seats went fast. The hostess tells us the music playing before the concert is Pete Kennedy's Shearwater CD. I feel comfortable and welcome here.
The neighbor I sit beside is telling me how her house is like this one, but without the vaulted ceiling. I tell her that I saw the Kennedy's at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival; I so hope they do their new song Stand today. At the festival thousands of people stood and swayed to this song as the Kennedy's urged us to stand for what we believe. The song is not prescriptive - it is about finding out what you believe and standing up for it.
The Kennedy's set includes:
Life is Large
Get It Right
Pick You Up
Why Wyona Why
Steven's Green (written while living in Texas and touring Ireland, reflecting a lovely Dublin day of 50 degree drizzle in a park
Shearwater - title track from Pete's instrumental CD
River of Fallen Stars
Down at the Dharma CaféDay In and Day Out - Maura shares this is their first song, written within 24 hours of their first meeting
Anna and the Magic Gown - a British folk tale retold, to reflect a new heroine's perspective
Stand - the woman next to me nudges me. Is this the song? Yes I nod. I am in the back row and I can hardly stay put in my seat - I want to jump up like I did at Falcon Ridge - but no one else stands, and this isn't a festival
I came hoping to keep my festival memories alive. I wore my festival skirt (a $5 special from the discount bin that is so perfect) and my festival pin and earrings from LisaBeth Weber's jewelry booth. At the Kennedy's break, young people who camped at Falcon Ridge tell me about the song circles at the Nields camp, and the nearby Kennedy's camp. And how after 2pm, the main performers left and the circles were open for all singers - even up at the Big Orange Tarp where Scott Moore was M.C. They have some great Festival pictures of the Kennedys which they show Pete.
I don't buy the "How to Make Your Own Music Video" book the Kennedy wrote, even after Maura tells us the Nicheltown is on the included CD. However, I do tell Pete and Maura how cool I think it is that they are doing this.
The Kennedy's brought their own sound system. There are mikes for the voices, voices only I think. The dualing guitars are there and beautiful, but I can hear Maura voice strong and clear - I have never heard the vocals this well. I don't hear the folk rock sound of their videos and their CD tracks. This sound is so clear and beautiful, the music so lyrical, this is a quieter Kennedys experience.
I have never seen the Kennedy's at a house concert before. I missed them at the Panzers, and at all the local house concerts venues. I've seem them elsewhere and often. But this house concert experience is so special and the reason I particularly wanted to come. Thanks to the Holleywould hosts for a providing warm and lovely space for exquisite music.
I have been watching and listening to the Kennedy's music videos as I write. Why had I never checked out their web site better before? I enjoy all the videos. I really rock watching and hearing Nickeltown with the flashy Vegas colors. And "The Kennedy's Take Falcon Ridge" just makes my heart pound with fond memories of being their of seeing them there, with their friends the Nields and so many others. More videos please, more, more!
We’re About Nine (with Andy and Denise Opening) at Kittamaqundi Lakefront, Columbia MD August 20, 2003
Da Vinci’s Notebook started playing an hour ago at another free outdoor concert tonight; theirs is at Lake Centennial, about 10 minutes away from here. Residents here in Columbia MD have some of the best music of the summer to choose from tonight. We love Da Vinci’s Notebook, but we choose to see Andy and Denise and We’re About Nine. And so did many other people. I am pleasantly surprised by the crowd (given that another huge set of fans is probably over at Lake Centennial tonight). And another crowd is paying to see Radiohead at the closeby Merryweather Post Pavillion.
As we set up our beach chairs (oh thoughts of Falcon Ridge), in front of the stage I see that the white canopy is gone. The performers are on the large white stage platform, with only the large tree behind to frame them. From my perspective the tree is taller than 7x Andy and Denise’s height. They look so small in comparison to the towering tree.
Andy and Denise’s set includes:
Go – they dedicate this song to their poor departed car, Virgil, who jumped in front of a deer recently resulting in an untimely demise to the car graveyard. This is a song about change…
Big Wheel – They are from extreme East Philly (uh, New Jersey), or as was said at the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival, extreme Northern Maryland (uh, New Jersey). And they used to live in NYC. But cosmopolitan as they are, Andy has never gotten over the fact that he is too big for his big wheel.
Living in Suburbia – they moved to suburbia 2 years ago. This song reflects their fun in driving to see Christmas tree lights, along with more curious, but typical aspects of suburban life.
South – another road song – “I am heading South”
They are working on a new CD of their own which I am looking forward to getting. Today, they don’t mention that they helped produce Eliot Bronson’s new CD and We’re About Nine’s. These are great and talented folks, who are colleagues with artists we adore. Although I think Katie later talks about them working with her on producting Katie's solo CD.
We’re About Nine
Brian thanks Andy and Denise, and says something about they opened here but We’re About Nine could open for them. It’s not a big deal. And Brian remembers coming to open mikes at this Lakefront in past years. Columbia has a home town feel for this group.
In writing songs, Brian says he consciously thought about writing a song that would appeal both to the 40+ crowd, and to young people. He has succeeded with:
Born Again – of course the song about the reincarnated soul of a $5 per hour parking spot.
Reading You – sitting in class in middle school, Brian wondered “does a tree make a sound in the forest if no one hears”, and got so sad. This song is narrated from the perspective of the wind.
Pat Klink points out that if we look up into the night sky (it is dark now) we’ll see Mars which will be close to earth than almost ever next week. But the song he sings is more a Venus Song
Another Love Song
The Port Wine Song –
Move Like Light
Writing Again – Often songwriters explain that their songs are fictional, this is not their life story, but Brian claims this song is inspired by real life, and dedicates it, as always to every woman who ever helped him get over writer’s block by dumping him. He gives us a new factoid – the dog’s name is Elroy.
Albany – about inner turmoil and getting from one place to another; some of us can empathize with the feelings but not the methods.
Slow Sliding Funk
Katie – The Space in the Air (this will be on her new solo album)
For One More
Spirit – another new song
Weight of the Ocean – about what you may do on the last day of the world – this is the 10th track on the new CD, and is the liveliest end of the world song I have ever heard.
People on the lakefront tonight seem happy and relaxed. Is this the end of summer feel before school starts? A toddler looks up at Katie and she bends down toward him and mimics his dancing with dancing movements. Then there is a toddler on stage , so curious about the music and wanting to explore that space too. He is lead off the far end – and the music continues. Two of this trio (Brian and Katie) grew up in Columbia. Some of there are friends and family in the audience. Just back from a long tour, they are still energized and psyched tonight. I have never heard them sound better. More more! Yes I will hear them Saturday at Mofolk’s Country Roads.
Oh and join the “WereAbout9” Yahoo group (the yahoo membership thing is a bear but you only have to do it once. And don’t forget to sign in, click on Account Information, and after the list of your email address click on “Edit your marketing preferences”. There you should opt out of the email marketing, address and phone contacts which you don’t want.) Once done, there are so many wonderful fan lists on http://groups.yahoo.com - and be sure to choose this one – WereAbout9 – just this way with no spaces, and the number 9. I know I tried it other ways, but now I’m there.
Monday, August 25, 2003
August 25, 2003 - Soon, I promise, I will post notes on We're About Nine at the Kittamaqundi Lakefront in Columbia Maryland on August 20, 2003 and about the Kennedy's at a charming new House Concert in Laurel, Md on August 24, 2003.
Meanwhile, I have been planning to use this blog (web log) also to let my friends know what great singer songwriter music I am really really anticipating. I hope everyone else will come too. With word of mouth and individual emails I always forget someone. And in the next two weeks there is more good music coming up, more than I can ever cover well in this blog. The Falcon Ridge Folk festival was overwhelming and I wrote but a little; but there were many articles all over web emails lists and pictures on many web sites. Now there are 2 extraordinary one day festivals right here in this area. And 2 concerts. One is Wed with our favorite Rachael Bissex, and then next Monday another extraordinary, not to be missed, Panzer House concert. Details on these events are:
Vic's Music Corner, Wed August 27, 2003, 8pm - Rachel Bissex and Lucie Blue Tremblay
Country Roads Music Festival www.mofolk.com Noon to 10 pm Sat August 30, 2003 , I am particularly looking forward to hearing: We're About Nine, Vance Gilbert, Richie Havens, Beth Nielsen-Chapman, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, the Sons of the Never Wrong, the Pat Humphries Duo, the John Denver Tribute, The Hard Travelers, the Phil Ochs Tribute, Carey Creed, and Magpie - but there are many others appearing also. This is about an hour away (from DC-Baltimore area). To quote the website: "The entire community will enjoy this folk festival which will also feature: arts & crafts, a barn dance, childrens' activities, hay rides, juggling, food and beverage vendors, a nearby creek for cooling off, and camping for the diehards. An informal campfire song swap will begin Saturday at 10PM, with anyone welcome to participate. You're encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, and make a day or weekend of it with your friends and family. This event is rain or shine!" - Gate Prices Adult (over 12) $18/Day - Child (5-12) $9/Day - Family (2 Adults/up to 3 kids) $50/Day
Labor Day - September 1, 2003 - Panzer House Concert (7pm, doors open 6:30 pm) $12 donation. I always tell people this is the premier monthly house concert series in the DC-Baltimore area. George Wurzbach (of a trio Modern Men) and Dan Pelletier are both comics, wonderful song-writers and storytellers. This is not an evening to be missed! Reservations required. Call Steve or Sherry Panzer at 410-531-9233 or email them at email@example.com. The Panzer House concert often fills up; but don't despair - they keep a waiting list in case there are cancellations.
Sunday September 7 11:30 am to 6:30 pm- FREE - Takoma Park Folk Festival -
Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Rd, Many stages - Some highlights for me: Tom Prasada-Rao and Cary Cooper, Grace Griffith, Kim and Reggie Harris, Pat Humphries and Sandy O. , Lori Kelley and Cletus Kennelly, Donal Leace, Lisa Moscatiello, Christina Muir and Sue Trainor of the trio Hot Soup, Rick and Audrey, Mary Sue Twohy, We're About Nine, Zealot and many others. (There is a pre-festival concert the night before too , Sept 6 at 7:30 with Franklin Taggert and Magpie, two great acts at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, Tulip and Maple Avenues, co-sponsored by Focus, $12 )
Finally, when I began this blog I hoped to use it also to share information about blogging with others in the singer songwriter community. I do believe blogs can help any enterprise - musicians and music venues, non-profits and for profit busineses. I want to give credit to "teachers", who gave seminars on blogging for my computer club, Capital PC Users Group (www.cpcug.org). I give both teachers credit and neither blame. Jerry Lawson, author of The Complete Internet Handbook for Lawyers and an upcoming book on blogging especially recommended planning ahead for success and advised steps I have not yet followed yet, but will (eventually). And Phil Shapiro encouraged me to start, and do something and perfect it as I go. I now have a long blog that needs perfecting. See Jerry Lawson's blogs at: http://www.netlawblog.com/ - http://www.netlawtools.com/ - and Phil Shapiro's at - http://teachme.blogspot.com/.
There is going to be free workshop on the use of blogs for businesses Sept 9 at 6:30 pm in Northern VA. See this url for info. http://www.newmediasociety.org/