Saturday, February 21, 2004
Tinsmith and Kim Buchanan at Focus Inn - Mount Rainier, MD on February 21, 2004

Rachel Cross introduces Kim Buchanan as her sister (not literally but as in sister in song - sister in spirit). Kim is from North Carolina, a wife and Mom and tells us that getting to go out and tour and leave the family behind is like a mini-vacation. A treat for her and a treat for us.

Kim's Set Includes:
We Belong- “the word’s that really hard to say is I was wrong”. Belonging means taking responsibility and keeping the communication going.

In her next breath, Kim tells us that many of her songs are about her family. Well from her first song we could guess she knows about family life. She tells us she has a husband and 2 girls ages 12 and 14. And she loves being a mother of teens. But when one daughter started dating, she wrote a reality song
Once Upon A Time – a song that says “life will be what we make of it, maybe. There are no guarantees”

The Dress Code Song – high politics for those in high school. This song gets the most laughs – and we in the audience are singing the very ironic chorus with gusto “Three cheers for the dress code. Three cheers?”

The God Game – “they can do as they like as long as they do it in his name” - again high irony

The Strong Woman Song – “buckle up and view me as I am”

Rachel Cross adds percussion on the drum for the White Girl Rap Song – “If only the White House was run by a dame, we’d have a different view from our window pane”

Kim’s amazing songs continue. One song is for deep breathing, for using the breath to get perpetually high. Another song celebrates Harry Potter and talks about what he carries in his heart. In a darker view there are people with Borderline Minds, whose minds meet borders and get stuck; they can’t get across and see outside their own rigid lines. Let’s hope that Kim gets many more working “vacations” in Maryland.

I’ve found recently that there are some uppity Southern women who have a lot to say. Southern women who think. That reminds me of a new friend, Kent Anderson Leslie, a Southern academic I just met and admire,. Her book is titled, Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege, Amanda America Dickson, 1849-1893. (There was also a TV movie, A House Divided).

Southerner artists. So many now are now exploring the negative impact of slavery and segregation on whites. A few weeks ago I heard Michel Bowers sing his song Selma. Michael uses the word shame. And Pierce Pettis has the incredible song, Legacy. Greg Greenway (a renegade Southern) too has several eloquent songs about the South and why he left it.

But I digress.

There is a break and another great act

Next is Tinsmith, at trio. Each member is an extraordinary musician, and togher they share their unique Celtic interpretations. Tinsmith members, Brooke Parkhurst and Rowan Corbett, have a very new band member, Avril Smith, who is also a key player in the powerful all woman band Zeala.

This is Avril’s 2nd gig with Tinsmith (not counting the lst one at a noisy bar). The reconstituted trio will be doing a new album soon.

This music is sort of Celtic. Tinsmith’s web site says “Traditional Celtic collides with American Folk/Rock…Hard”! I am not very familiar with Celtic music so I don’t know most of the song titles. The sound is luscious though.

An instrumental piece combines the penny whistle, guitar and Avril’s mandolin. Brooke Parkhurst “plays a mean banjo”, to quote my husband. Rowan Corbett adds tremendous energy with his guitar, drum like instrument and the bones. Avril and Brooke play guitar too, but also, well it is a long list. As Avril says, “we’re still the band with too many instruments”.

Brooke teases that Avril doesn’t like it when they play songs in D all the time. All the instruments are great harmony with these craftsmen like musicians. The energy is high and we in the audience are fully engaged.

The pieces with words have the Traditional Celtic kind of tragic love tales. Several times the audience sings along to a sailor kind of tune. This is a group to see again and again.

I talk to several folks at this concert about the Six Points Music Festival that was mentioned in a Washington Post article today. Sponsored by the Arlington Music Scene , this is more than singer-songwriter music, it includes many genres. Still what a dynamic concept - music of all kinds every night for a week at venues in one concentrated geographic area! And a musical community which is fairly sophisticated about getting the word out. They have a prominent article in the Washington Post. And article cites their blog!

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