I've always loved lilacs. We used to have a large lilac bush at our old place on Snickersville Turnpike. I've been known to clip a couple when I've been on the road and stick them in a water bottle to freshen up the van during a spring tour, even once or twice without permission (see "The Great Lincoln Lilac Larceny")....

Plain and simple, my life might have been a whole lot different without Chuck Berry.

Chuck Berry passed away last month. It is bittersweet for me to acknowledge both the influence of my childhood mentors decades later and the realization that they too have aged and will not live forever. Chuck Berry certainly didn't get cheated by the vagaries of time at least, finally ending his final encore at age 90 and releasing a new recording too!

It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that Chuck Berry taught me how to play guitar...

A solo artist marvels at the intimate machinations of a large performing arts production, and some special kids who bring it to life.

The stage life of a performing singer/songwriter is usually fairly solitary. There is of course always the audience, and the interaction and energy between performer and audience makes each show unique. The sound engineer and the stage lighting crew play vital roles in shaping the experience. But ultimately, the performer plans the presentation in some fashion, and a like a one-person show, rolls it on stage and delivers.

From my background, theater is a totally different animal...

I think I've found something upon which most of us can agree.

Bacon - just about everybody loves it. The #1 food vegetarians say they miss. The smell of bacon cooking drives us nuts, and drives most every other cogent thought from the brain. Bacon. Mmmmm.

I think I've figured out what's wrong with our country, and more importantly, how to fix it...

As we Americans experience another period of societal and cultural upheaval (aka change), a few reflections on the lasting legacy of a few committed individuals who were also determined to change the status quo.

I spent more than a few miles on this tour reflecting on all the natural splendors I've visited in the southeast - swamps, maritime forests, barrier islands, salt marshes and other natural and geological oddities. Over twenty years I have amassed quite a passport book of out-of-the-way treasures of the southeast and south Atlantic coast, even when I leave out the many stunning lands in the southern Appalachians, a region where I have spent considerable time on repeated visits.

There is of course a maelstrom going on right now in Washington on several dozen different important issues, some of which will have profound impacts for many years to come...

Once again reveling in and revisiting the odd rituals that come with the New Year, and reflecting on how strange the journey is turning out to be, now that I've turned a few.

In case you missed it, in the Western world the calendar has flipped again. Our annual revolution around our beloved nearby star has reached this particular spot in the heavens, and because we draw 12 pages with an odd number of boxes on each, we must have a starting point for each of those collections. Thus, January arrives, heralding a New Year, and toting along all of the assorted rituals that we have tethered to it.

I'm not big on resolutions, but I do like to check my progress (or lack thereof) in a variety of ways, and of course count my blessings - including the ones that I might overlook...

Attempting to make sense out of a "post-fact" society, and place seemingly absurd moments into historical context.

There were some who predicted that Hell would freeze over if the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Let's just say that strange things have happened in this year when the Cubs finally did. I have a big crack in the side of my beloved Martin guitar. A whole lot of great musicians have left this earthly plane, including this month Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell. And then there is this election thing...

We think naturally of the past on Thanksgiving, remembering cherished family elders and traditions from our childhood. My never-ending exploration of my family stories and genealogy dropped an interesting and startling one in my lap this morning. It turns out that my 10G grandfather, Capt. Nathaniel Turner, was lost at sea on a voyage back to England out of the new settlement of New Haven in 1646. His ship, the Phantom, was immortalized in verse centuries later by Longfellow. I am grateful that he was not lost before he had children, or else I wouldn't be here!

Read Longfellow's "The Phantom Ship" here.

I just returned from a silent prayer vigil at the Quaker Meeting in the village. On this night when we seem to be drowning in a virtual sea of violent rage, deceit and conspiracy theories, what I needed was a moment of peace. Silence. Reconnection with real souls in person. Simply being present with each other and the unseen. Time to gather and sift through my swirling thoughts and conflict a final time. This night feels like our American dreams and ideals have been heaped onto a blazing pyre of our own virulent anger. I walked home alone in the dark, lit only by the late autumn moon through the trees...

How fitting an end to this All Soul's Day, El Dia de Los Muertos. Slowly these last few years I have pieced together my family story near and far, recent and distant. I have connected my grandparents siblings, even my father's father's family who scattered every which way in a trail of mystery and intrigue. Two years ago I was wondering if I'd ever find his sister Margaret, the opera singer who went west and seemingly vanished forever. This May we finally found her family, and while I haven't met most of her descendants - my west coast cousins - in person yet, I'm thrilled that they are part of my virtual life and that we share rich musical DNA...

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Tour Dates

  • 04/29/2017
    House Concert at Susan's - Keswick, VA
     
  • 05/05/2017
    Asbury United Methodist Church - Bristol, CT
     
  • 05/06/2017
    The Vanilla Bean Cafe - Pomfret, CT
     
  • 05/07/2017
    Unitarian Congregation of Mendon and Uxbridge - Mendon, MA
     
  • 05/16/2017
    Concert Window - ,
     

HAPPENINGS

SPECIAL THANKS

Andrew is a grateful Endorsing Artist for Elixir Strings and Fairbuilt Guitars, and a member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Artist Roster. He also is a member of The Standing "O" Project and Concerts in Your Home.

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