A Bluegrass tribute to the fallen — Littlest Guardian Angels #newtown

My songwriter friend and Bluegrass collaborator Brink Brinkman wrote an amazing song that has a whole new meaning when they set some very special photos to it. Get out the hankies folks, this is a tough one to watch, but WOW, Brink can really write a song. It was originally written for Brink’s daughter Lindsey Jean.

Singing on this are Steve Gulley and Dale Ann Bradley along with Brink.

Thank You, that is all.

A Deliberate Life

As a small start up company SmithFly doesn’t get the opportunity to really “support” much of anything. So when Matt Smythe aka fishingpoet and founding member of Silo4 approached me about helping out with a film project they were working on, there was an easy answer, “Hell’s yeah.”

It helped that the very premise of the work is exactly the same point of origin that compelled me to put needle to fabric and start making some stuff.

To live deliberately.

This is just some truly spectacular work going into this and I’m honored to be mentioned in there along with some other great brands providing support.

 

Bill Evans’s new album in “In Good Company” is one of the best and most surprising albums I’ve heard in a long time.

Every once in a while I’m just totally blown away by an album. I’ve heard and played A LOT of bluegrass. It takes quite a bit to blow me away these days. I’m not saying I’m the Bluegrass Police or an old, grumpy picker who hates anything made after 1960, but I’m getting there.

That being said, this morning I was totally blown away when I popped in the new Bill Evans album “In Good Company” for the morning commute.

From the first note it manages to strike the perfect balance of new grass mellowness, taste and restraint with solid traditional  Bluegrass drive. It’s dry but with a hint of moistened reverb, clean with specks of dust, edgy when it needs to be but traditional in just the right spots without ever being cliché or ironic. (Thank the lord, because I’m really getting sick of ironic)

Honestly, I try to take an open minded approach to these things and listen without any pre-conceived notions, so going in to this I had no idea what this album was all about. But when I got to the office I opened up the liner notes to find out it’s a smorgasbord of bluegrass deliciousness. I then understood EXACTLY why I thought it was SOOO good. Check out the listing of contributors…

Bill Evans with The Infamous Stringdusters, Tim O’Brien, Joy Kills Sorrow, Darol Anger, Cindy Browne Rosefield, Tashina & Tristan Clarridge, Stuart Duncan, Corey Evans, Matt Flinner, David Grier, Rob Ickes, Dominic Leslie, Laurie Lewis, Ned Luberecki, Mike Marshall, Todd Phillips and Missy Raines. Produced by Bill Evans, Stephen Mougin, Darol Anger & Tom Size.

Good grief if you can’t make a killer album with that line up, you need think about doing something else. That being said it even exceeds the sum of it parts by an order of magnitude. Bill Evans really has put a good one together.

The first track called the “The Distance Between Two Points” starts it off perfectly and from there it was a joy to listen to all the way through. From the first note you can tell it’s a technical masterpiece where every note is placed with perfection and care. It’s not just the musicianship that stands out either.

The engineering and production values are off the chart AMAZING! The complexity and space surrounding the instruments is phenomenal. There is serious subtly in the bass tone.The woodyness of each instrument comes through in all it’s sparkling glory. It’s a rare beast indeed that brings this kind of complexity to the table without becoming too tedious, wonky, over-complicated or esoteric. This album has NONE of that, and for that, it’s a breath of fresh air to be sure.

It also manages to hang together as a cohesive idea too, which is rare on these all-star projects. Sometimes these kinds of albums can fall apart and turn into a few decent tracks with some filler. However “In Good Company” manages to maintain a solid feel and vibe that is consistent through out the entire length of the record. It has a nice change of pace and mix of feels but at the same a uniformity that seems to be elusive in today’s scatterbrained culture. I love that!

This is an album that should have a place in every Bluegrass fan’s shelf, it’s the work of a master and his good company.

My Old Dog, a new mandolin tune, in an old style. Just a video of me messing around…

So in February my dog went Blind.

Just like that. Blind as a bat.

He has a disease called Cushing’s disease which causes sudden blindness in dogs. One day he just started running into things, and now he does it all the time. The technical term is, Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS).

He’s coping ok, and it’s not going to adversely effect his health beyond his eyesight and some lethargy. I hope to still get him out and hunt, but obviously in a more grassy environment, not so grouse woodsy. Downed trees and briars would not be fun for a blind dog, can you say headache?

To make dealing with it a little easier I named a little tune after that whole scenario and I recorded a video of it last night on the back porch.

It’s simple, easy, no frills, but fun to play. It’s the kind of thing you play and people ask, “what is that?” and you say, oh just something I made up. But now days, those kinds of songs don’t often get written down or recorded. It has lyrics but I didn’t sing them in this version.

The lyrics for it go like this:

My old dog he went blind
He went blind in a week or two’s time

My old dog he can’t see,
He runs into the old oak tree.

That’s it. Simple and Old School.

Who Dey Nick – Getting his sleep on.

Cute chicks, good slide guitar, and vintage Cadillacs, Larkin Poe delivers.

What’s not to love about a couple of cute chicks one of which is a killer slide guitar player, riding around in a vintage Cadillac and singing a killer tune. If there was a “love it” button I’d hit it twice.

Meet Larkin Poe.

Twitter recommended them to me, why, I have no idea but they only have 600 some followers. How is that possible? You need to go follow them and then, buy their record and go their show when they come to town.

If they look familiar, it’s because they used to be called the Lovell Sisters.(because that’s their actual name)

Here’s the backstory from their site:

In their early-teens, after winning a prestigious award on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion on NPR, the then called “Lovell Sisters” toured internationally – from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN to Bonnaroo. At the beginning of 2010, after saying ‘farewell’ to The Lovell Sisters, the musical story of Rebecca and Megan’s young adulthood began in the form of a new band: Larkin Poe.

It’s nice to see a group take a turn for the better after being embraced and glammed up by  the Nashvegas Glitterati. These girls took the bull by the horns, turned in a new direction, and I couldn’t love that new direction more. Good solid soulful southern rock, with an alt country under tone without trying to be Steve Earle 2.0 or Wilco 3.0. It’s good stuff. We likey!

This weekend on May 19th they will be performing at Lulu’s in Gulf Shores. A place we always make sure to visit when we stay at Kiva Dunes, love Lulu’s too. Fish on!