Month: May 2012

Doc Watson, R.I.P.

Doc Watson, who passed away today at age 89, was among the most authentic, talented, and influential musicians to emerge from the 60s folk music revival. He was also the reason I play guitar, attempting to flatpick fiddle tunes or pick out a lead note or two on traditional bluegrass and country songs. Of course, I have to get in line behind tens of thousands – if not more – guitarists who would make the same claim. So read the New York Times story I’ve linked at the top of the post if you are looking for Doc’s history, background, and influence.  This is a personal post. I was in high school in the early 70s, learning to play guitar and noodling around with music by singer songwriters and their ilk.  Then one day I brought home this funny looking album – Will the Circle Be Unbroken – and my life was changed forever. Here’s how I described that moment in a More to Come… post in 2009: In fact, I suspect that the first …

By a Neck

There are only three times a year when my wife’s sports knowledge trumps mine: the three times we sit down together to watch horse racing’s Triple Crown. When the topic’s baseball, basketball, football, hockey – it really doesn’t matter – we can talk about a game but I know that Candice is just being kind in carrying on the conversation. She would much rather discuss food, cooking, the spiritual life, architecture…pick a topic. But I’m delighted to see her anticipation rise as post time draws near. There’s a good chance I’ll learn something new. Candice grew up around thoroughbred racing and the sport comes naturally to her. As she wrote in the obituary for her father, Dr. Andrew C. Colando: While in high school Pop began to race trotters at Yonker’s Raceway in New York on the weekends and his love affair with horse racing began.  He moved on to thoroughbred racing when his father bought some race horses.  In 1950 he married Irene Holsey and his 58-year love affair with my mother began.  A …

Hot Stuff at the Ballpark

Every baseball game has a better than 50-50 chance of showing you something you’ve never seen before. After yesterday afternoon’s “Hot Stuff” game, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Yes, I played hookey from work yesterday afternoon to catch a day game with a friend at Nationals Park.  (Question:  can it be hookey if  you tell your boss and your assistant…and wear blue jeans to work with a Strasburg t-shirt underneath your regular shirt?) When I chose that game from my season ticket pool, I had no idea that Stephen Strasburg would be pitching! It was a muggy and overcast day, and I arrived just in time to see three Nats stand in left field and let a routine fly ball from the first Padres hitter  fall between them for a “double.” (Where is truth-in-scoring?  That was an error. Just assign it to someone and get over it.)  Jeez, these guys are in first place? But that was just the beginning. Stephen Strasburg (he of the miniscule ERA and over-powering stuff) looked uncomfortable …

Remembering Merlefest 2012

A week ago I was sitting under the North Carolina moon listening to Sam Bush, Derek Trucks, and a host of talented musicians at the 25th anniversary of the Americana music festival Merlefest. Today was back to reality.  At 6:30 this morning I posted the following status on my Facebook page: What kind of airline doesn’t know where their planes are? Waiting at a United gate for a flight to Chicago that was to leave 10 minutes ago. The gate agents say a plane is being towed from the hangar. I just heard the pilot calling someone asking, “Can you tell me where our plane is? The gate agents don’t seem to know.” Welcome to the Third World. I made my meetings in Chicago (in spite of the plane in hiding) and came back to DC without incident, but tonight seemed to be a very good time to breathe deeply, take it easy, and reflect on Merlefest 2012. This year was my fifth Merlefest, and it was – by a good measure – the best …