Day: October 12, 2014

Beer and Bluegrass

Beer and bluegrass.  Betcha never thought of that combination before. Yeah, right. At a festival that took “parking lot picking” to its logical conclusion (i.e., it was held in a parking lot next to the Clarendon Courthouse Metro Station), Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen rode to the rescue when the organizers of the Clarendon Arts & Crafts Beer Festival’s Acoustic Music tent were struggling with a bad sound system and horrible logistics (the sets were almost an hour late in starting). When the Dirty Kitchen band finally began their set  in the tent’s lengthening shadows, we were only ten minutes away from the festival’s posted closing hour. Somehow, with six Virginia Craft Brewers and about a dozen local food trucks to choose from, it didn’t seem to matter! The artist who was really shortchanged in the logistical and sound mess was Christie Lenee. This finger-style guitar tapper was new to me, but she has obviously been making waves in the acoustic music world for a while. Her inventive sound reminded me of Michael Hedges, but …

Cheerfulness

In the recently published The Keillor Reader, Garrison Keillor begins the book’s final essay with these insights: Cheerfulness is a choice, like choosing what color socks to wear, the black or the red. Happiness is something that occurs, or it doesn’t, and don’t hold your breath. Joy is a theological idea, pretty rare among us mortals and what many people refer to as “joy” is what I would call “bragging.” Bliss is brief, about five seconds for the male, fifteen for the female. Contentment is something that belongs to older cultures: Americans are a hungry, restless people, ever in search of the rainbow, the true source, the big secret. Euphoria is a drug. Keillor wrote the essay on cheerfulness after his mother died at age ninety-seven. He noted that she possessed cheerfulness, as did his father, but that it was a new topic for him. Yet as he realized in the writing, he is a cheerful man.  Later in the essay he notes: Cheerfulness is a great American virtue, found in Emerson, Whitman, Emily Dickinson, …