Month: October 2010

Bush, O’Brien and Froggy Bottom

Two of my favorite musicians – plus one of this era’s best guitar builders – are all featured in the Fall 2010 issue of The Fretboard Journal which landed in my mailbox last week.  Let’s begin with those musicians. I’ve been listening to New Grass Revival founder Sam Bush (on the right in the picture by Thomas Petillo at the top) since about 1973.  A few years later I began to hear Hot Rize member Tim O’Brien in a number of venues.  Both are multi-instrumentalists who have stretched the boundaries of bluegrass since coming on the scene. The Fretboard Journal has a laid back yet informative “conversation” between Bush and O’Brien as the cover story of the most recent issue.  The topics are wide-ranging, from playing with jazz pianist Bill Evans at the Blue Note to the night when Bush and Mark O’Connor joined the Hot Rize alter ego band Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers for a set. When the conversation turned to hearing someone for the first time, my mind went back to the …

Bluegrass in the Barn

There are many great places to hear bluegrass – heck, just about any place will do.  But Candice and I have found a spot that’s become a favorite:  the barn at Evensong Farm. Which is how we came to listen to live bluegrass on 10.10.10. Evensong is a farm we support at the Silver Spring farmers market.  Here’s how owner Julie Stinar  describes their work: Heritage. Health. Harmony. These are the chords of Evensong Farm in historic Sharpsburg, Maryland, growing natural foods that sustain our land, our neighbors and our souls. Healthful, heritage foods cultivated at nature’s pace without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified inputs. Heirloom vegetables and herbs, pasture-fresh eggs, grass-raised poultry, pork and beef – healthful food grown to the rhythms of the seasons, to the patient melody of time. We’re just glad that part of the rhythms of the season includes hearing great bluegrass by Darren Beachley and Legends of the Potomac on the Columbus Day weekend in Evensong’s historic wooden barn. Beachley is a fine tenor singer who has played …

London 2010

After a day of work on Wednesday, I took an overnight flight to London and plunged into two full days of meetings with the Executive Committee of the International National Trusts Organisation (or INTO).  The days were full, including a lecture on Thursday night at the small and wonderful Garden Museum by my INTO colleague and friend Jeanine Perryck of The Gelderland Trust in The Netherlands.  I was running on adrenaline (because it sure wasn’t sleep), but the trip was very useful (from a business standpoint) and it had the added benefit of being in one of the world’s great cities. Thursday was an off and on day weather-wise (typical London), but Friday was a glorious fall day.  I went out on our lunch break, crossed the street from the English National Trust and INTO London headquarters on Queen Anne’s Gate, and strolled through St. James Park.  I’ll share a few pictures of that beautiful day. Before leaving for home on Saturday, I took a two hour walk in the more typical overcast morning.  I …

War Horse

I saw my first London theatre production this evening.  Wow!  I picked a great one to start. A colleague on the Executive Committee of the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) pulled together a group of six of us to see the New London Theatre’s production of War Horse, at the end of two days of meetings at the National Trust’s London headquarters.   After a late afternoon tour of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (motto:  it is amazing what you can build when you have the world’s treasures at your disposal), we walked past St. Martin’s in the Field, the National Gallery, and into the theatre district.  London is a great place at night! War Horse is an incredibly moving story of horses conscripted to fight in World War I, told in a remarkable way with life-sized puppets.  The trailer that I’ve attached to the end of the post gives an idea of the realism these actors and puppeteers achieve, but seeing it live tops any video.  As one of my colleagues said, “I knew I …

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

My daughter Claire goes to a wonderfully creative and nurturing school, where the administration and faculty are especially thoughtful as they work to bring important issues before the students and their families. Which is how I came to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. At the beginning of the summer, the Head of School sent out a letter to the entire school family – faculty, rising freshmen, and high school students – and asked everyone (faculty, students, and parents) to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  This is not the type of book I would normally read.  As a former history major I generally run from books about science.  (I still remember my high school biology teacher grabbing my ears in class one day to demonstrate to my classmates how ear lobes differ from individual to individual.  I wasn’t in favor of involuntary testing on human beings then and I’m still not!) But I’m so pleased we were “required” to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks because this is …