jwgh: (content)
On Friday I left work early, at noon, to go to a dentist's appointment -- I went to the dentist for the first time in many years last month and learned that I had a small cavity. So after a little cleaning I got the cavity filled. This all went fine.

After that, I headed to Fabric Place in Warwick and got some 39-inch #8 circular needles to replace the busted 24-inch ones I broke on Thursday. While I was there, I stopped by the Barnes & Noble and picked up the latest Harry Potter book on tape.

Then I met [livejournal.com profile] chaos_are_me and [livejournal.com profile] fire_truck_yeah for dinner at Rasoi, a fairly new Indian restaurant on Hope Street. I had the chicken chittinad, which was very spicy and excellent. After that, we went over to [livejournal.com profile] plant_geek's house and we all headed to the Rustic Drive-In in North Smithfield for the 8:30 showing of the Simpsons.

pictures )

The Simpsons movie was good -- I agree with other people who have commented that it was more like a long TV show than a movie as such, but it was a very good long TV show, and I had a really good time.

Then it was home and to bed.

Yesterday I slept pretty late and puttered around the house for a bit before packing a sack lunch (almond butter sandwich, peach, almonds, bottle of water) and walking from Wayland Square to Prospect Park, which is a nice little walk. Then I walked back, went home, took a bath, had some dinner, and headed over to the Mediator to see the Providence Wholebellies play. The Wholebellies is a large, amorphous music group centered around Chris Turner and his wife Rachel Maloney (who respectively play harmonica and fiddle, though both also occasionally play other instruments) and featuring a somewhat random group of 5-15 musicians. They play without amplification and there's always a lot of dancing, singing along, and so on. (At this particular show there was another, less common, feature; there were some kids up on the balcony and they started throwing a rubber chicken down into the crowd below.)

Enough people asked me why I didn't bring my accordion that at the first intermission, at 9 pm, I drove home (the Mediator's maybe a 3-5 minute drive away from my apartment) and got it and played for the second set, which went from around 9:15 to 10:30. Partway through the set a friend of Chris and Rachel's from North Carolina (where they used to live) showed up with another accordion; between his and my keyboard accordions, and Wholebellies regular Phil Edmunds's button accordion, there was a lot of accordion-playing going on. Then, for the last song, Rachel switched from fiddle to button accordion.

I had a really good time. Here are a couple of pictures of people doing the Circle Dance:

circle dance )

Then I went home and went to bed.

Today I think I'll pack another sack lunch and head to Wickenden Street. I'll put up posters for Thursday's show at Nick-a-Nees, then have some lunch, then maybe head to Thayer Street for more postering ... maybe I'll bring my guitar and do a little street playing while I'm at it. We'll see how it goes!


May. 26th, 2007 07:21 pm
jwgh: (Van Halen)
The song I was talking about the other day that refers to both Barstow and Esperanto is Barstow by Jay Farrar; the recording I have features David Rawlings's guitar playing and Gillian Welch on backing vocals. I figured out the chords to it today, so I thought I might as well post the thing here.

I am doing this instead of unpacking groceries. OK, groceries call. Bye!

lyrics behind cut )

By the way, [livejournal.com profile] boutell, if you want to learn how to play this, that would be OK with me.


May. 25th, 2007 05:51 pm
jwgh: (bunny ears)
I can think of two songs that mention Barstow, California, and two songs that mention Esperanto. Also, those two sets of songs overlap.
jwgh: (killdevils)
I just got back from the Motif Magazine awards. Not to keep you in suspense, the winner of the Best Local Folk Act category (which the Killdevils was nominated for) was the Atwater-Donnelly Band.

the rest of the results )

Thanks to everyone who voted for us. I think the Phoenix Awards will also be announced this week.
jwgh: (Default)
The WFMU blog posted a video of John Cage performing his composition 'Water Walking' on a game show in 1960: http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/04/john_cage_on_a_.html
jwgh: (killdevils)
I put up a bunch of new live Chris Monti recordings on his website, including recordings of a few shows I was involved in (the Chris Monti Dance Band show and of course both Killdevils shows).

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] boutell for his help in getting the song player/'listen' links to work, and for his most excellent WWW FAQ!

I say 'completion' but actually Chris gave me a couple of other CDs of recordings which I will try to transfer, upload, and make accessible in the next week or so.
jwgh: (Default)
In the morning (at around 9:30 am) I'm getting on a plane to North Carolina, where I will be spending a few days with [livejournal.com profile] cgoldfish and [livejournal.com profile] wazroth. Man! I'll be back on Monday (supposed to be getting in at 1:50 pm).

[livejournal.com profile] katrinkles taught me how to crochet today -- which is to say that I managed to do a few rows of a bathmat pattern that I've been looking at since, oh, last May. Then I realized that I kind of messed up the first row or two and tore it all out. But I think the next attempt will go better, and hopefully won't have to do too much more ripping out.

Last week I started a baby blanket which is a sort of cable stitch sampler; it was something to work on while I was waiting to be taught how to crochet. It went faster than I expected, so the main bits are all done; all that remains is to sew the pieces together, then knit a border (unless I want to make it bigger, but I think it's actually an OK size, especially if I give it a big border). I'll work on sewing it together this weekend if the DHS confiscates my crochet hook.

After SNB I went to Nick-a-Nees to see a band called the Wippets. They were disappointed that I didn't bring my accordion. (They've never heard me play it; they're just aware that I own one.) I told them I would bring it to open mike on Friday.

While I was at Nick-a-Nees it is possible that a woman hit on me, although it was hard for me to tell because I'm not used to it and also she was kind of drunk. She also said that her friend, who was also at the bar and whose name I forget but who does a cappella renditions of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and 'Space Oddity' at open mikes around town, told her that I was standoffish, which might be true. (That is, it might be true that he told her that, and it also might be true that I'm standoffish.) Anyway, I talked to her for a little while until the meatball sandwich I ordered arrived, at which point she went back to her group of friends.

I'm not sure if I'll be checking livejournal or email before Monday, so if not, I hope you all have good weekends!
jwgh: (accordion santa)
Here are some blurry cameraphone pictures I took tonight of large hurdy-gurdies. Both hurdy-gurdies were made by Providence musician Steve Jobe, who also plays violin, viola, and regular-sized hurdy-gurdies.

The occasion tonight was an open rehearsal for a production that's planned for September of 2007, a collaboration with three dancers. As such, they're currently still working on nailing down exactly what they're going to do and how the production is going to work, and after they ran through a piece they would ask the audience if they had any questions, suggestions, or other feedback. It was pretty neat! I was there for about an hour, and would have stayed longer except that I had another social engagement I wanted to go to. (If I didn't have a show tomorrow I would try to go back then, just to see what changed between the two rehearsals.)

Steve Jobe is, as I understand it, the head musician for the production -- he designed and built conceived of most of the instruments (which, apart from the hurdy-gurdies, included some glass bells and a gong-drum, which is sort of like a bass drum whose heads have been replaced by gongs), and he wrote most of the music (although it sounds like some of it is improvised and other of it is emerging somewhat organically over the course of the rehearsals).

One of the hurdy-gurdies is, I believe, the first large hurdy-gurdy that Steve Jobe built. It's basically a drone; unlike other hurdy-gurdies there aren't the buttons that allow you to change the pitches of the strings while the instrument is being played. The body of the instrument is based on half of an oil barrel, and the frame reminded me of a cannon's enclosure or, to a lesser extent, a wheelbarrow. There's a basic hand-crank at one end, which drives a wooden wheel, which agitates the strings, which provides the notes. Here are a couple of pictures of it:

The cart's wheels occasionally squeak loudly as the instrument is wheeled around. The dancers drag it around and crawl over it during the show, and there was a discussion at one point as to how best to avoid getting maimed while they were doing this.

The other hurdy-gurdy is more complex, and unfortunately I didn't get to see it be played. While hurdy-gurdy #1 just has four bass strings and no way of changing the notes, hurdy-gurdy #2 has strings in three different registers and does have a bunch of buttons or stops which can be used to play notes in the top two registers (if I understand its working correctly). Each of the registers has its own hand-crank, so playing this instruments takes three people (one to man the bass crank, another to man the other two cranks, and a third to press the buttons).

On Steve Jobe's website there are some links to videos showing hurdy-gurdy #2 being played. They take a really long time to load, unfortunately, but they are pretty cool. movie #1 movie #2 (I would probably watch the second video first).

The strangest thing to me in watching hurdy-gurdies (of any size) being played is that, because of the way they work, they tend to be at a pretty constant volume -- which means when someone plays one they tend to go along full bore until the end of the piece, when the music abruptly stops as soon as the crank stops being turned. With pretty much every other instrument there tends to be a bit of reverberation or quick diminuendo even after the player stops playing the instrument, but this doesn't seem to be the case with the hurdy-gurdy, and it takes a bit of getting used to.

I signed up for Steve Jobe's mailing list and when the show actually opens I will try to tempt people I think might be interested to come to it. Be warned!


Nov. 13th, 2006 09:38 pm
jwgh: (head explode)
Why, Billy Idol? Why?

(That links to a video of him performing 'Jingle Bell Rock', by the way. I didn't link to the 'White Christmas' video because I would not do that to you.)
jwgh: (Default)
OK. [livejournal.com profile] cpr94 sent me this video: http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/10/best_worst_80s_.html (which is Journey's 'Separate Ways', just so you don't get blindsided).

I should just say out front that, as far as I'm concerned, there is one thing that makes this video stand out, namely: Keyboard-On-A-Wall. In fact, I think if this video was entirely Keyboard-On-A-Wall and I would have been happy.

However, there are some other notable things about it, such as:

- An object lesson in why Air Piano never really caught on.
- Hey, let's rent out a warehouse for the weekend and make a video!
- Meaningful looks into the camera.
- The Air Spazzing during the first chorus.
- Man, for some reason I want to buy some 20 right now.
- Oh, it was all a dream! (Or WAS IT????)

Total cost to make this video: $27.75.

A question

Sep. 19th, 2006 05:39 pm
jwgh: (accordion santa)
Do you think that the presence of the word 'funky' in the title of a song makes it more or less likely that the song will actually be funky? Pro: 'Funky Broadway'. Con: 'Funkytown', 'Play That Funky Music, White Boy'. Other examples?

holy cats.

Sep. 18th, 2006 03:06 pm
jwgh: (head explode)
Folkies out there may be interested in these recordings by a conservative folk musician from the 60s named Janet Greene. WFMU has some information here.

If you've never heard the version of 'Jimmy Crack Corn' that has the verses about the evils of Communism, this is your chance.
jwgh: (Van Halen)
Here, have some extremely blurry pictures of David Rawlings and Gillian Welch playing at Nick-a-Nees:
setting up
sound check
dogs are welcome at Nick-a-Nees
Dave and Gillian

Monday night I heard a rumor that this would be happening. Tonight it actually did. The one thing that is probably clear from those pictures is that I was sitting about twenty feet away from them. They set up where all the bands set up at Nick-a-Nees, which is to say where Chris and I set up when we play there; I'm generally off to the right where Gillian is standing and Chris sets up on the left where Dave is. There was no cover charge, but the bouncer did pass the hat a couple of times over the course of the night for the band;.

Over the course of the night they said a few things that cleared things up a bit. David Rawlings got booked to play at the Newport Folk Festival this weekend; since usually he backs up Gillian (he usually does one or two solo songs per show, I think) he didn't really already have a set or two of material ready to go. So they came out a little early (Dave grew up in Rhode Island and still has family around) and, rather than staying home and practicing in a room by themselves, they decided to go do some unannounced shows around town. This was their second.

Their first show was at Cafe Zog. The way playing at Cafe Zog works is that musicians sign themselves up; there's no booking agent. So Dave went in one day, asked if he could play, and the guy behind the counter said, "Sure, is there a pencil by the calendar?" He signed himself up, but because nobody was really paying attention nobody knew about it, and when they played there ended up being about five people in the audience. That would have been something to go to!

But that wasn't the situation at Nick-a-Nees, which was totally packed; they stopped letting people in partway into the first set, and only let more people in after some of the first batch left. (This led to a bunch of people peering in through the windows you can see behind Gillian and Dave in the pictures, which was funny.) Fortunately, I got there early. [livejournal.com profile] katrinkles and Greg turned up later, but happily were allowed in without too much delay.

I don't remember all the songs they did -- I didn't recognize a fair number of them -- but a few I did recognize were: The Big Rock Candy Mountain, Queen Jane Approximately, Elvis Presley Blues (sung by David Rawlings, not Gillian Welch as it is on the album). They did two sets and one encore: Revelator, which is a very beautiful song.

I was very happy for the entire night, but especially when they sang the Gram Parsons song Sin City. This is one of the first songs that Chris and I started playing together, and something about hearing them perform a song in the same spot where Chris and I have played it was just indescribable. (David Rawling's guitar solo in this song was particularly ridiculous.)

Apparently they'll be playing at some other small venue someplace tomorrow, but I don't know where. But I do know that they'll be playing at AS220 on August 4 at 9 pm. I will be there.

At 6 pm today I was afraid that I would have trouble staying awake for the whole show, but right now I think I will be awake for a while yet.
jwgh: (Van Halen)
Hey, I'm actually going to put something out on my podcast after work today! Yay!

But that's not what this post is about. See, I recently read this collection of John Brunner stories called The Book of John Brunner, and among other oddities it contains a bunch of folk songs he wrote with science-fiction-y themes! and it includes sheet music!

So clearly I should record some of these. The question is, which? The options are:

[Poll #763508]
The book also contains a crossword puzzle. Also, one of the essays contains the word 'muggles'.


Jul. 4th, 2006 12:33 am
jwgh: (accordion santa)
I went to the wedding of my friends Sarah and Meg today. They asked their guests to bring instruments if they wanted, so I brought my guitar and accordion. At one point in the evening, I was playing 'That'll Never Happen No More' on guitar and singing, and my friend from way back Rachel Ede was playing fiddle, and Rachel's fiance Larry was playing guitar, and her old bandmate Bill was playing mandolin, and Pam Murray (who also was the official picture-taker of the wedding) of the Super Chief Trio was playing trombone, and I thought to myself, "This is going to be pretty hard to beat as musical experiences go." (People were laughing at the right places, too.)
jwgh: (Default)
I had a dream last night where I was in a former Soviet republic and heard a Whitesnake cover band on the radio who sung all the songs in some Slavic language.

I don't remember what the translation for 'lonely street of dreams' was though.
jwgh: (Default)
Some of you might remember that a few weeks ago I recorded the Pete Seeger song 'Waist Deep in the Big Muddy', because it had been on my mind lately. (I heard my dad sing it a lot when I was growing up.)

For some reason it never occurred to me that other songs from that era might also be appropriated for similar reasons, but today on NPR I learned that Toby Keith has taken to singing Merle Haggard's 'The Fightin' Side Of Me', which has lyrics like "I read about some squirrely guy who claims he just don't believe in fighting, and I wonder just how long the rest of us can count on being free. They love our milk and honey, but they preach about some other way of living. When they're runnin' down my country, hoss, they're walking on the fightin' side of me." (My father's comment when I mentioned this song to him a few years back: "That song is so lame. Do you think Merle Haggard went to Vietnam? No.") [Also possibly worth noting: Merle himself has taken to writing anti-war songs these days.] Anyway, I thought it was interesting.

I guess I don't have a larger point to make here, so I'll leave you with another song that is screaming out for someone to rerecord, which is a protest song in favor of high fuel prices recorded in 1978 by the Folkel Minority.lyrics )
jwgh: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] manfire found a list of songs written by Diane Warren. This is handy, because now I have a quick way to find all of [livejournal.com profile] christychristy's least favorite songs.


jwgh: (Default)
Jacob Haller

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