Month: July 2015

Welcome to One of the Most Remarkable Landscapes on Earth

So, you have two guys of approximately the same age (and regular readers will know what that means) in a car driving the six hours from Salt Lake City down to the Southeast Utah town of Bluff (population 150+) through the awesome landscape of red rocks, wide open vistas, mountains, mesas, and deserts. What’s on the musical playlist when you have all day and long stretches of lonesome highway? Why the Stones (Sticky Fingers, double album with Eric Clapton playing on Brown Sugar).  Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. Merle Haggard and Big City. And most appropriately, Leon Russell and the Shelter People singing Stranger in a Strange Land. What better song to remind you that you’re not in Kansas anymore. Tom and I certainly tested the speakers in our little rental car. So crank it up! More to come… DJB

Summer Views

From deep in the American West (yes, I’m traveling again), here are some photos and very brief observations from the last two-three weeks that I’ve wanted to post…but haven’t found the time.  And I’ll begin with a few pictures from Tom Brown’s Excellent 90th Birthday Adventure.  (Or the Tom-Tom Palooza, as coined by my niece Rachel.) A vivid memory from family gatherings from my youth were my uncles Joe, Jimmy, and Paul – along with my Dad – sitting together and watching the children play. Here’s the next generation, although the vice has turned from cigars and pipes (everyone but my father smoked) to beer.  Here two of my nieces, their husbands, my brother-in-law Mark, and Candice join me in relaxing by the pool. And now for something completely different. We celebrated the start of the new (fiscal) year at work with that great Southern tradition – seersucker.  Unfortunately, not too many folks at the National Trust own any seersucker (at least not any that they would be caught dead in out in public), so …

Red Wing III: A Quick Look Back

After 12 hours of music on Saturday at a sold-out Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Natural Chimneys Park, I’m going to let the photos speak for Day Two of the festival, with only a few quick observations thrown in along the way. Scott Miller is a terrific songwriter and a good performer with a great sense of humor.  Is There Room on the Cross for Me? was only one of a number of smartly written songs in his set.  Fiddler Rayna Gellert was also a find.  Check them out. I liked Missy Raines and the New Hip better when they were all acoustic.  The electric guitarist was good, but her music lost some of its subtlety and just became more noise.  That said, she’s still a terrific bass player out flexing her chops and trying new things…and that’s all good. I’m not sure who booked Nikki Lane for a prime 6 p.m. slot on the main stage, but to my ear a little of her honky tonking trash from Nashville went a long way.  …

Red Wing III: This is Becoming a Habit

The inaugural Red Wing Roots Music Festival in beautiful Natural Chimneys Park held out a great deal of promise as The Steel Wheels pulled together friends and musical heroes for a wonderful three days of music in 2013.  So I returned last year for Red Wing II, and found that the festival had grown and built on that promise. Naturally, Candice and I returned this weekend for the third annual Red Wing festival with our friends Margaret and Oakley Pearson from Staunton.  This is becoming a habit. The signs of the festival’s growth and increasing popularity are everywhere, beginning with the size of the crowd. Then the line-up gets stronger, as bands and musicians learn about this wonderful, small (compared to Merlefest and Telluride), and welcoming festival with knowledgeable fans.  (Folks in the Shenandoah Valley know their music.) Candice and I were late arriving (don’t ask…part of it had to do with sitting still on I-66 for 20+ minutes), so we missed the first band I was hoping to hear – Mandolin Orange.  I enjoyed …

It’s a Wonderful Life – A Special #91 for Tom Brown’s 90th Birthday

Wednesday’s post about my father’s upcoming 90th birthday brought nearly 500 views (huge in my world) and elicited all sorts of comments from family and friends.  I heard from the head of the Heritage Foundation in Franklin who said she was “feeling proud that the Heritage Foundation not only saved his beloved Franklin Theatre but the Bearden House too!”  (They rescued the house after the city had let it fall into serious disrepair.)  A long-time musician friend said he had seen my father earlier in the week and, “He was truly excited about his upcoming birthday celebration.” Of course, major birthdays are not without their traumas in our family, and Dad’s 90th is no different.  On the day I posted my celebration of all things Tom Brown, he slipped on his patio and dislocated his shoulder.  My sisters and brother again came to the rescue, seeing him through an ER visit where they popped it back in place.  He’s now in a sling and moving a bit slower, but still ready to celebrate.  We’ve spent the past …

It’s a Wonderful Life (For Tom Brown on his 90th Birthday)

My father is celebrating his 90th birthday on Sunday, July 5th, and the night before fireworks will be set off in his honor all across America! Daddy told me recently he didn’t think he would live past 73. So while he may not be a very good prognosticator, he still has much to recommend him. That got me to thinking, and in the spirit of my 60 Lessons from 60 Years, I’ve pulled together 90 things about the wonderful life of Tom Brown on the occasion of his 90th birthday.  Just like George Bailey in the movie of the same name, life for so many people would be much the poorer if Tom Brown had not lived these 90 years (and counting!). These are all true, even if they aren’t all factual.  If you have others you would like to add, please list them in the comments section below.  (And thanks to Candice, Claire, and Andrew for their contributions to this list.  Besides being a pretty terrific dad, he’s an amazing grandfather and father-in-law.) 1.  …