Month: July 2012

G.A.S. Continued (Or How I Ended Up With Another Guitar)

I hadn’t planned to buy another guitar.  Seriously. But sometimes good things happen when you least expect it. I HAD planned to try to meet the maker of my Running Dog guitar on my next trip to Seattle. Since I bought it used from a guitar shop in Amherst, Massachusetts, I didn’t know Rick Davis, the builder who made my parlor style instrument back in 2001. But after playing it for a couple of years, I wanted to meet the guy who built such wonderful small guitars with the beautiful tone. A recent trip to the west coast gave me the opportunity to stop by Rick’s shop in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle (aka, The Center of the Universe). Rick shares his shop with his partner, Cat Fox, and they couldn’t have been more welcoming. Rick told me the provenance of my 2001 Parlor guitar.  I learned he was the subject of Tim Brooke’s 2005 book Guitar: An American Life.  And I played a beautiful 2011 Ought-3 model. (I also noodled on a baritone guitar, …

Shark Attack in Downtown Silver Spring!

As I walked to the gym this morning I saw cranes around the Discovery Building. My hopes were confirmed on the way home: SHARK WEEK! Three times since Discovery Communications moved around the corner from us in downtown Silver Spring, a giant, inflatable shark has shown up swimming through their landmark building to celebrate Shark Week.  A friend who works for Discovery told me that they call him “Chompie.” Throughout the day I wandered over to Discovery to check on the progress of Chompie’s arrival in our fair city and I’ve posted photos below of everything but the dorsal fin. (I don’t have access to the top floor of the NOAA building, which is about the only place short of an airplane where one can appreciate the entire ensemble.)  A job foremen told me today that each element has two tubes that continuously pump in cold air to keep it inflated.  They didn’t bite on my suggestion that they put a Nats cap on Chompie this year to recognize the good season that Roger “The …

The Steel Wheels: Rolling Through The Hamilton

  Washington, DC can be a tough place. But from the opening chords of Shady Grove to the final notes of Working on a Building, The Steel Wheels had the enthusiastic crowd at The Hamilton in the palm of their hands on Thursday evening in downtown Washington. I first heard this band live at Merlefest 25 in April, and was blown away by their musicianship, tight vocals, and energy. All of that and more was on display last evening in the intimate and beautiful music venue The Hamilton. Singer Trent Wagler has a very distinctive voice and a writing style that continues to grow and mature as you listen to the band’s offerings on CD. He also fires up the energy that is a hallmark of this group.  Jay Lapp on mandolin and guitar along with Eric Brubaker on fiddle played off Wagler and each other perfectly throughout the show.  Their rhythmic dancing and bobbing reminded me more than once of the Soggy Bottom Boys performance on stage in O Brother, Where Art Thou?  – and …

Everyone Loves a Parade

Few things top a small town parade on July 4th. Especially when the small town is Takoma Park, MD – home to one of the quirkiest and liveliest parades around. Takoma Park has – to put it mildly – a progressive bent. I’ve written about these sensibilities, and their wonderful July 4th parade, before in More to Come. So besides the obligatory Uncle Sam, the antique cars, and the politicians, this July 4th parade has a few things you’re unlikely to see in your average small town salute to liberty and independence. Like the precision grill team. Some of the entries are just silly. (This is a parade that gives out a “Wacky Tacky Takoma Award!) In the past, the Takoma Park parade has featured a precision drill team of environmentally friendly reel mowers.  Those good folks were missing this year, but in their place was the precision grill team. Outfitted with their aprons, beaters, and spatulas, they marched along with the local organic food market, holding signs that asked, “You want a piece of …