All posts tagged: Tony Rice

60 Lessons From 60 Years

Here are 60 things I’ve learned in my (now) 60 years of life: 1.  Discipline is remembering what you really want. 2.  The graveyard is full of folks who thought the world couldn’t get along without them. (Mary Dixie Bearden Brown and others) 3.  Baseball is (much) better than football. 4.  I have been lucky in love. 5.  Few things sound better than a solo acoustic guitar played by Doc Watson (Deep River Blues), Tony Rice, (Shenandoah), or Norman Blake (Church Street Blues). Or, if you want to go next generation, Bryan Sutton (Texas Gales). 6.  Good things can come from bad situations, if you’ll stop wallowing in your sorrow and seek out the good. 7.  I have become my father.  I repeat many of the same stories. (Did you know that I paid more for my last car than for my first house?)  I read funny articles from the newspaper out loud at the dining room table, sometimes to the consternation of my wife and children. I cackle when I laugh. I am a …

The Sound of Genius

I opened the paper this morning to the wondrous news that Chris Thile – celebrated l’enfant terrible of the mandolin – was one of the 2012 recipients of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship grants. You gotta love it when a kid who starts off in bluegrass ends up being recognized as a MacArthur “genius” – the popular term for the winners of the $500,000, no strings attached annual award. Here’s the description from the MacArthur Foundation website: Chris Thile is a young mandolin virtuoso and composer whose lyrical fusion of traditional bluegrass with elements from a range of other musical traditions is giving rise to a new genre of contemporary music. With a broad outlook that encompasses progressive bluegrass, classical, rock, and jazz, Thile is transcending the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres in compositions for his own ensembles and frequent cross-genre collaborations. Although rooted in the rhythmic structure of bluegrass, his early pieces for his long-time trio, Nickel Creek, have the improvisatory feel of jazz; his current ensemble, Punch Brothers, evokes the ethos of classical chamber …

DJB is listening to…

Many of my younger (read “hipper”) Facebook friends have regular status updates that read, “Joe Cool is listening to Still Sound by Toro Y Moi  on Spotify.”  Or something similar. I’m behind the times (what else is new), so somehow I haven’t gotten around to letting everyone know what I’m listening to at any time.  Plus, my children would be mortified.  They run from the room when my iPod is in the dock. But every now and then I listen to something and want to tell someone.  I have to do it the old-fashioned way:  through my blog. I don’t usually drive in to work, but today was different.  And so instead of the iPod, I picked up a couple of CDs (you remember them) – Norman Blake’s Live at McCabe’s (which I’ve written about before) and the Tony Rice/Norman Blake duet album.  These are two beautifully simple albums that are anything but simple musically. Blake and Rice are in the upper pantheon of acoustic country/bluegrass/newgrass guitarists.  They’ve both played on seminal albums that set …

Economic Meltdown, Transitions, and Roots Music: Recent Books on the Nightstand

My last post said More to Come… was going on sabbatical, but in cleaning up the  nightstand today I realized I’d been holding four recent books that I planned to review on the blog.  These represent my eclectic interests (which is what More to Come… is all about) as well as priorities in my life at the moment.  So in the hope that I can now hold to my promise to take the blog on sabbatical,  I’ll pass along thumbnail reviews of the four and put them in my mental “checked off” category. The first is Michael Lewis’ terrific (as in well-written) and sobering (as in scary) The Big Short:  Inside the Doomsday Machine. This is, by far, the best known of the four and much has been written about the story of three small hedge fund managers and a bond salesman who knew what was coming before the economic meltdown of 2008. I don’t need to elaborate because Steven Pearlstein said it all in a Washington Post review I highly recommend.  As Pearlstein  writes, …

New Wave and Old Standards Shine at Merlefest

Merlefest Day 2 began bright and early for me this morning, with a rousing performance at the Americana Stage by the DC-based band Scythian. I caught the irony of having a band fronted by two Ukrainian brothers opening up the Americana stage, but that’s the joy of Merlefest and hey, it is a post-Obama election world. Then came the first great surprise of the morning. I went to the Traditional Stage to hear the New North Carolina Ramblers, but walked in to a packed tent listening in rapt attention to 86-year-old festival patriarch Doc Watson playing a set with old time banjo wizard David Holt.  (It turns out the Ramblers were double-booked and so Doc and Holt were on-call.  And when I say packed, I mean packed.  The picture below was taken from the side because the front was crammed with kids and grandparents alike.)  Doc was in fine form, playing guitar and singing with lots of strength and emotion. Fiddle tunes (Whiskey Before Breakfast paired with Ragtime Annie) were interspersed with Travis-style picking (Deep River Blues) and even …

Getting Ready for Merlefest

Later this week I’ll head to North Carolina for four days of bluegrass, blues, and Americana music at Merlefest.  I was reviewing the lineup tonight to begin to get a sense of how to schedule my time among the 14 stages.  In the process, I was reminded of recent stories about some of these musicians on More to Come…: Tony Rice Missy Raines and the New Hip Wayne Henderson and Doc Watson Jerry Douglas (with two posts) and the Lovell Sisters. I’ll be adding reviews and updates from Merlefest later this week, so return to find out what’s caught my fancy. More to come… DJB

Five Albums for a Desert Island

Facebook is full of lists – 25 Random Things About Me just being the best known of a recent flurry.  When I was on Facebook tonight, I saw a friend’s posting of Five Favorite Albums and thought, “Now that’s a list I could enjoy compiling. It took me less than 3 minutes to come up with five albums that I’d want on my iPod if I were stuck on a desert island.  But the Facebook application doesn’t let you say much about the choices.  So I’ll turn to More to Come… and over the next few nights will tell you about: The David Grisman Quintet Will the Circle Be Unbroken Time Out Sgt. Peppers Aereo-Plain The David Grisman Quintet’s self-titled debut album blew me away the first time I put needle to vinyl back in the mid-70s and I still love to listen to the amazing musicianship of Grisman, Tony Rice, Darol Anger, Todd Phillips, and Bill Amatneek.  The cover of the album (see above) told you this record was all about the instruments and their players.  …