I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

March 16, 2016 - 4:22 p.m.

Four Musicians You Need to Know

I hopefully just stopped doing something idiotic. I always complain that the default style for MS Word involves skipping a line every time you hit enter. You can change that for every time but the first. It will still skip a line the first time. Today I looked at the different templates and noticed one called Single Space that should give me single space, right? Let's see.

It did! It did! Now I don't have to click on No Spacing every time I start a new document; I just have to click on Draft View. I appreciate every time I personalize an app. I prefer to be in control of such things.

OK, it's late, 2:42 and I have to get down to brass tacks. Not so much brass as strings but there's no such thing as string tacks. What the hell am I talking about? Music of course. I'm taking a break from politics and philosophy and writing something My Gentle Readers will enjoy. Facebook shows me my memories from this date in previous years. One that popped up today was a video I posted of the Brittany Haas 4-tet. I reposted it and said that most of my friends don't know them but they should. And that's my inspiration for today. Here are musicians that most of you won't know but will enjoy. My rules were no one that I discovered at NERFA and nobody that I know has played more than a few times for my presenter friends. None of these have been Falcon Ridge Most Wanted. None have even played the The Budgiedome though all have been invited. I have seen them all at least twice. It's more than a bit New York Centric as it's easier for me to discover local musicians. That and the fact that 40% of the best musicians in the US live in Brooklyn.

  • Brittany Haas: On appropriate I start with Brittany as inspired me to write this. Brittany is a fiddler and I've never seen her solo. You might very well have seen her in bands supporting other people. I discovered her in Crooked Still, she just got back from touring with Dave Rawlings Machine. I just saw her playing with Michael Daves and has played with Tony Trishka and Steve Martin. You need a top notch fiddler you call Brittany. She heads this list because she also has a plethora of her own projects. Here's a list that I don't think is comprehensive, it doesn't mention playing with her sister Natalie Haas, Projects. A few years ago I saw her with Haas Kowert Tice with Paul Kowert and Jordan Tice at a house concert. Jordan is also in the 4-tet. That was one of the greatest shows I've even been to; full stop. Not one of the best house concerts, not one of the best concerts that year, one of the best ever. Most of what she does in instrumentals and I know that limits the appeal to many people but you should give it a try. It's chamber folk, folk music performed by conservatory trained musicians. Everything she does combines virtuoso musicianship and fun. Here's a video that's representative.

  • Calamity Janes : The Calamity Janes are an Old Time band from that hotbed of Old Time music, Brooklyn. They went on hiatus right after the first time I saw them, a baby was involved, but now they are back. This is a side project for everyone in the band but it's a side project I try to never miss. Their album, Hold Right On made my best of 2015 list. They are just so much fun. Your feet will not stand still when you hear them. Yes, I said, when not if. I expect everyone to check out all these musicians live.


  • Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton: There's pretty much nothing that Jerron can't do. He plays Appalachian fiddle, bluegrass banjo, ragtime piano, blues guitar, and whatever else catches his fancy, as in the video I'm posting. Oh he also does a totally filthy but faithful rendition of Stacklee as rap. There's amazing musicianship and showmanship. He's one of a kind. A show he did with the next artist was out of this world

  • Mamie Minch: Mamie Minch is a blues guitarist and she's a hell of a guitarist and a hell of a singer. She delivers the blues straight, with no prettification. She sings with an attitude; it's no wonder that she loves Bessie Smith. She is on my short list of favorite blues artists. Her day job is musical two, she's half of Brooklyn Lutherie. I can't personally vouch for her luthering skills but my musician friends have high praise for her. The word "luthering" is in dispute. It has no substitute so I'm for it.

I'll keep the list short. I eliminated Miss Tess because I think too many of you might know her and I eliminated Dagmar because I have not actually seen the band live. I have seen its members in a previous band. If you don't know them check them out.

This has less words than most of my entries because I expect you to take the time to listen to the music. I'm letting the artists speak for themselves.

I would love my presenter friends to book these people but I realize it's hard as the audience doesn't want to come hear people they don't know. So book them with people they do know. The listeners will be won over. They are all extraordinary. Do you book house concerts? Give these videos a listen and explore deeper in their catalogue. Are you a DJ? Play them. That gives me an idea. I need to do a set of these artists next time I'm on Brian's show.

I just remembered that I never told you how the peanut butter matzoh brei came out. It was fantastic, even better than a peanut butter omelet. It makes sense. I like peanut butter on omelets and I like in on matzoh and matzoh brei is the love child of an omelet and matzoh.





Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile March 16, 2016
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