Spring in Maine / Snow’s finally gone / Photos & Music / The best Presidential story gets better! – Life in Maine with family & music – the Marcrescue blog
It’s been a very busy few months since I last wrote an update about life in Maine and the workings of a very independent music company.
If you read my last update – there was a story about how my family has a handshake connection with Abraham Lincoln.
At the end of this letter – I’ll reprint a reply to that story from a friend of mine that has a similar story about another great American president. Side by side – the two stories are astounding and remind us that our history is not as distant as we might imagine.
When I last wrote – Maine was covered in snow.
Which impacted our annual spring Maine Maple Sunday visits to our favorite maple sugar / syrup producers. They open their doors up one day a year for everyone to visit and celebrate the process.
We hit our three favorites again this year – first off stopping at Sparky’s – where they were busy loading wood onto the fire that boils down the syrup in a contraption that resembles nothing else.
The first thing you notice is that unlike most years there was still snow on the ground – a lot of it:
A reminder of that:
This year was going to be a complete mystery on how much syrup he was going to be able to produce.
Every season he has a chart of the previous year’s production and holds a guessing contest on what this year will produce.
Winner gets free syrup:
They don’t do it for the money – they do it because they love it.
This year we hit a another maple celebration in Vermont when we went to visit family.
Another state that takes it seriously:
Forget about Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme etc.
They got nuthin’ compared to these:
Spent a few days in Philadelphia at the annual Non-Comm Music gathering – where public radio stations and music folks get together for meetings and amazing musical performances.
I was so busy running from one great performance to another I didn’t have a moment to stop to take any photos this year.
Except for the one time I slowed down for the yearly trip to Jim’s Steaks:
How do people resist the temptation?
I have no idea.
Of course the food in Maine isn’t too shabby either.
Backing up a bit to the end of winter – a snowstorm on Valentine’s Day is no surprise – but that didn’t stop us – a great night out at the Fog Bar in Rockland. Movie’s projected on the wall, a great new duck and sweet potato Shepherd’s Pie and fresh oysters!
Our indie music company Mishara Music released some very cool albums this Spring.
First a new EP by Cass Dillon – an amazing songwriter and performer. Second – an album unlike any other – poetry, storytelling and some great guitar licks by Dave Morrison and then – containing a track from both – our 6th free song sampler on Amazon.com:
Listen to Dave on Soundcloud – storytelling like you’ve ever heard before:
We’ve found that encouraging people to sample free songs from the company builds our audience exponentially.
Here’s a sampling of some reviews on Amazon from our samplers – you’ll understand why we do this – we’ve been building a brand:
Here are the listening links.
So now here’s the link to Mishara Music on Amazon – where you’ll find those ten free songs and another 60+ additional free downloads:
How do all those free tracks do?
Charts on Amazon (and iTunes) change hourly – but checking randomly right now as I type this – here’s what Mishara Music has on the Top 100 Free All Format Chart on Amazon at this moment.
10 of the top 100:
Build your audience – build your brand.
More new music, artists and always additional free songs are coming this summer.
In the meantime – maybe we can sneak out a bit and enjoy this wonderful change in the weather.
The blooms on the apple trees this year were the most bountiful in years:
My favorite aroma flower is the lilac:
The sailing schooners in Camden harbor have been prepping for a busy summer season.
You can sail on the biggest of schooners for a week:
We try to make the most of it.
A road trip ends up with a great view of the sunset over a small beach:
You’d be amazed at how many people find their way there.
(Of course – you need a lot of reading material around here startin’ about November for about five months or so):
Or because they just happen to be built in the most scenic spots?
I suppose we could do a survey – but once you’re there – who cares:
For us camping is not so much about going to a different place physically – it’s more about the psychological change.
So we went all of about five miles down the road to Camden Hills State Park:
Saturday was the annual Summer Solstice street celebration in our neighboring town Rockland:
Big fun – restaurants giving out free samplers of their dishes, games for kids, demonstrations, booths and on every side street they had music playing – acoustic musicians on one corner, a dj on the next, then a rock band – here’s a local jazz orchestra:
What’s the old saying? “Youth is wasted on the young”
As you get older you learn to never underestimate anyone.
My suggestion – don’t ever walk up to the guy with the big white beard and say “Hey, you wanna have a blues guitar showdown?”
Come to think of it – if ZZ Top is ever looking for an additional guitar player – I got the guy:
I ran into a T-Rex at a showing of Jurassic World:
I gotta say – there’s nothing better than home cooking.
I got treated like royalty on Father’s Day.
First off Kim made a bbq hash for brunch – with smoked turkey from our favorite bbq joint – “4 Points BBQ” in Winterport, Maine. Smoked turkey, onions, garlic, peppers, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, some secret seasoning etc.
Alas no photo – but – here’s a photo of a similar hash from a camping trip last summer – that used some “4 Points” beef brisket instead of the smoked turkey – you’ll get the idea:
Dinner at Kim’s mom was a total surprise – homemade strawberry shortcake for dessert – using corn bread instead of a hard biscuit – so much better – but the big treat was my favorite dish of all time – Crayfish Etouffee – made by Kim’s mom – who learned to make it when they lived in Lafayette, Louisiana years ago – with fresh flown in Louisiana crawfish.
I ate more food in one day than I usually eat in a month.
Nothing like Father’s Day with the family:
In the last post I wrote – I described the story of my father and uncle meeting an army veteran that my grandfather brought home from the “Old Soldiers Home” for dinner in the 1930’s when they were young kids.
Mr Carpenter shook their hands saying “Shake the hand that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln”.
Turns out President Lincoln came to meet with his generals in 1862 and Mr. Carpenter was a young soldier at the meeting location and was part of the line that Mr. Lincoln walked down – shaking each soldier’s hand.
Which means that my father and uncle were two handshakes away from Lincoln.
Which means that I and my son (who’s 9 and has shaken the hand of my now 91 year old uncle – (who’s got his own great stories – read about him in the last post) are only 3 handshakes away.
150 years after the end of the civil war.
But with this letter from my friend John Baker – who’s hand both my son and I have shaken – it gets better.
Here’s John’s story:
At my prep school in Groton, Mass, was a retired teacher, Mr. Richards, who had taught both my father and grandfather (class of 1909). Mr. Richards was revered. He died before I actually went to the school, but not before my older brother did.
On a “Parents’ Weekend” as it was called, in 1959 my father called on Mr. Richards (now THERE’s an old phrase) with me, my brother and my mother.
My father, after tea, became solemn, and asked Mr;. Richards to “tell my sons about the very elderly man you met and spoke of to my class back in 1934, my senior year, which was your annual story for the senior class.”
Mr. Richards nodded slowly, looked at us, and said “I haven’t told this story since I retired on 1951, but your father has asked.”
In 1888 when I was a student at this school, and home for Easter, my father introduced me to an aging member of our church in Boston. The man, it turned out, was over 100 years old. My father, who had seen and spoken to this gentleman many times, asked me to remember and revere that handshake, because, he said, “You have just shaken the hand of a man who, as a young boy, shook the hand of George Washington.”
Father then said that we two boys were to remember that we had just shaken the hand of a man who had shaken the hand of a man who had shaken the hand of the “Father of our country.”
Mr. Richards died a year later at the age of 90, and I must think that we may have been the last of his “boys” to hear that story.
So let’s recap.
History seems so long ago.
But in these instances – it’s close up and personal.
If we happen to run into each other and we shake hands….that means that you will be four handshakes away from Abraham Lincoln (I’m three) and five handshakes away from George Washington (I’m four).
My son is nine.
In 2076 – the 300th birthday of the United States he’ll be 70.
And astonishingly – only three handshakes away from Abraham Lincoln and four away from George Washington.
I love history.
But history doesn’t need to be about events hundreds of years ago.
I was lucky enough to celebrate history earlier this year.
For my son’s birthday in January we did a 3 day road trip to NYC.
We ride the rails:
I’ve been in the entertainment business for over 40 years and actually had been to the show before – escorting one of the guests appearing that night – lady named Cher. Now that was an experience.
But tickets to this show – for the audience – were never given out to anyone except regular people that wrote in for tickets.
They never cared about catering to any VIP’s or the record companies.
You want tickets – you write in like everyone else.
They even warned you – if you’re chosen to receive tickets – you have to answer a random trivia question about the show.
I knew the answer to the question when they called.
They only wanted real fans in the audience.
My wife and I were real genuine fans.
Watched every night.
And miss him so much.
But we got to spend one great afternoon in the theatre for a taping.
PS We’re all busy these days.
Everyone I know is busier than they’ve ever been.
But I guess there are still people out there that find the time to do the unexpected.
Have a bit of fun.
Something I have to do more of.
Don’t know who and don’t know why – but I sure did appreciate it:
(Look at the pictures, read what you want, download what interests you – but whatever you do….make sure you read the Presidential story at the end of the post. It’s mindblowing).
Now that it’s Spring officially I’m writing a blog about winter.
If you don’t live in New England you might have heard in a news report somewhere that we’ve had a bit of snow and some colder than usual temperatures.
As we all know the news media is always looking for something to fill their 24 hours news feed.
So they played up winter a bit.
As far as I’m concerned it’s simply my annual “Winter Conditioning Program”.
It did work a bit better than usual this year.
These past few months I’ve been able to utilize my conditioning program almost every other day.
Here’s what the weekly forecast looked like most every week – a day and a half without snow:
We have a double front driveway, a long back driveway and a deck that runs the length of the house that all need to be cleared of snow – plus some assorted sidewalks.
The back deck tends to build up in storms because of drifting and everything up there has to be lifted over the railing.
Can’t get a snow blower up there so it’s all by hand.
After I clear around us – I help four of our neighbors in the cul-du-sac for various reasons – out of town, young children, elderly etc – and then over to my mother-in-law’s house.
First thing – gotta charge my iPod.
Second – always fun to see how much new snow we got:
Then it’s time to work.
I mix it up.
Sometimes it’s a bit chilly.
Luckily Valentine’s Day is a heartwarming kind of day….because this is what we woke up to that morning:
But we have fun as well.
This year we built Ethan a snow cave / tunnel. (With a mini snowman on a beam to watch over it):
And it’s not just us – lots of people come out for fun in winter in Maine.
Our favorite winter event is the National Toboggan Championships held every year in Camden.
(Note I took this photo of the sign two years ago….this year they didn’t put up the Toboggan banner on the sign….they couldn’t get to it because of the snow:
This year it warmed up for the festivities:
Here are the rules – I love the part by the blue arrow: “No exposed skin except face. Face-masks and properly fitted ski helmets are recommended”. I wonder who they were thinking needed the reminder – this is Maine afterall?
The track is an old – fashioned wooden chute that’s ice coated.
It’s not long but it’s fast:
This was not a great run time – gotta get into the 8 second range to get into the finals:
Gettin’ four people on a flimsy wooden toboggan that travels 30+ mph is a challenge. The person at the back has no clue what’s going on – they’re just hangin’ on off the edge for dear life:
My team didn’t get registered in time this year so I sat this one out.
Whadda do if you’re not racing?
Eat of course.
Lots of nice folks haul out tents / shacks / trailers and hang out all day in really cold weather serving up some really good food.
Of course anything hot tastes great when it’s 5 degrees outside:
I made a major discovery this year.
I’m always on the hunt for the holy grail of fish chowder (way better than clam chowder) and this year I found it.
The trailer doesn’t look like much (and they got a lot of ribbing about the “Ice Cold Drinks” sign) but this innocent location had the best fish chowder I’ve ever had!!!!!
OHMIGOSH it was good:
Check out their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/debsdiner
But be forewarned – if you look at the page – it’s all about the things she’s making in the kitchen in the diner and it might make you jump in the car / board a train / hop on a jet to come visit – even in the middle of winter.
You’ve been warned.
Back to the races.
The racers take them very seriously…..
…..they come from all over with very fancy toboggans…..
…..maybe because they’re the coolest trophies ever…..
…..but as a racer checks the scoreboard…..you notice that many of the the team uniforms are unique…..
…..and some of the people cheering them on are strangely dressed…..
…..we do have fun in Maine in winter..
It’s also a great way to celebrate a notable birthday – with a sense of humor and a sweatshirt (that’s Deb on the right) that about 20 different people were wearing:
The toboggan races are also a great place to show off some toys.
I’ve heard it said that boys especially never really grow up – it’s just that the size of their toys get bigger.
Pretty hard to dispute that when it’s captured in photos.
I think I probably had a toy like this when I was a kid:
Meanwhile in the midst of all this fun there’s actually been some beehive type activity at Mishara Music and all the sudden there’s a bunch of new Spring releases coming.
Three to start – Cass Dillon, Dave Morrison and a new Amazon sampler:
(The previous five have had over 1,800,000 free song downloads)
Here’s the Amazon download link:
Here’s a list of artists (in order on the sampler): Barnaby Bright, Cass Dillon, Meggan Waltman, Chris Ross, Ken Yates, Connor Garvey, Dave Morrison, Peter Bradley Adams, Clarensau, Gabriel Mann, Merlowe & The Dry Tear.
Some notes about the songs.
“Just The Same” by Barnaby Bright starts off the sampler – a track from their upcoming new album (first in two years) and to my ears it’s simply the best adult love song I’ve ever heard. If that wasn’t enough from them we’ve included a live version of “Made Up Of” from the last album which includes a cellist in the performance. You cannot tell it’s a live performance until the applause at the end.
New Mishara Music artist Cass Dillon debuts with a song titled “Friends”. The title says it all – friends are everything in life. The melody will stay in your head for days at a time….luckily you’ll be happy about that. More about Cass to follow.
“Rain” by Meggan Waltman is a song that’s haunted me for years. Meggan recorded and played me the song a number of years ago….and then completely disappeared.
I couldn’t find her anywhere. Phone disconnected, no longer at that address and not a hint of her on social media.
Then out of the blue she calls.
Turns out she went to Japan for a few years.
That’s one way to disappear – travel to the other side of the world.
We quietly released her EP “Nomad” in 2014 and now with this track on the sampler a lot more people will discover her.
The song is the essence of a dark rainy day – I may hate days like that but I love the song.
(And a side note here – the female singers on Mishara Music – Meggan, Kat Maslich, Sally Caggiano from Clarensau and Becky Bliss from Barnaby Bright are among the best & purest singers / voices I’ve ever heard. One of these days I’d like nothing better than to have a concert featuring just them. Even though I could get in for free – I’d pay to see it.)
Speaking of Clarensau – “Dance With Me” – the lead track from their 2nd Mishara album “This One’s For You” is as great a modern “first dance” wedding song as you’re ever gonna hear. Need one? Or know someone that does? This song is special.
Besides the three new albums coming right away….and the new Barnaby Bright coming right afterwards….there’s a new Chris Ross album – 3 years in the making.
Chris – with a great new band – is finishing the album – which will be titled “Young Once” in the studio as I type.
Prepare to be astonished.
In the meantime – before the band hit the studio – Chris recorded an acoustic teaser track “Drunk Women” for the new sampler.
As you might expect from Chris – the story is much deeper than that title suggests.
How do you handle a call from the “ex” who needs a ride at 2am?
You’ll also find a new acoustic version of his lyrical masterpiece from the last album “Your America” on the sampler.
Ken Yates also has a couple tunes on the sampler – from his “twenty-three” album – including the song “The One That Got Away” that won him the 2014 Ontario Arts Council Songwriting Award in his native Canada.
As we just passed St. Patrick’s Day how could we not include Connor Garvey’s classic “Irish Song” from his live “Before The Meteors” album. It answers the question of how a seemingly Irish lad through and through (his hair is THAT red) does not know a single Irish song to play on St. Patrick’s Day.
To match the playful Connor we’ve also included the stunning “Tattered Shirt” from the studio companion album to the live release “Meteors And Beating Hearts”.
What you may notice at this point…..these are some of our all time favorite songs from the label.
We’re giving them away.
The more we get people to hear our music the better off we’ll be.
It’s not so important to sell a track here or a tune there….it is important to build the audience for the music we love.
If do that – it will enable all of us to keep on making music.
Ever watch tv? Are you a fan of “Modern Family”?
Turns out the music composer for the show and a whole bunch of others is a gentleman named Gabriel Mann.
Two of his singer-songwriter albums are on Mishara. Check out “This Feeling”. You’ll understand why he’s in such demand.
The last track in order on the sampler is from a friend of the label – Danny Owen – who’s band Merlowe & The Dry Tear offers up “Table For One” – with a sound not quite like anything else.
Hmmm, what didn’t I mention.
Two more artists.
Peter Bradley Adams – the artist that helped start Mishara Music gives us a very popular track from his Mishara album “Between Us” – “I May Not Let Go” and from his new album “The Mighty Storm” – that he independently released – a song titled “Hey Believers”. There’s no one like Peter.
Lastly I come to Dave Morrison.
Two tracks on the sampler from his new album “Poetry Rocks”.
Why is it called “Poetry Rocks”?
Because Dave is a poet.
Let me back up a bit.
I met Dave here in Maine a number of years ago and we became friends.
I didn’t know he was a poet.
I hate poetry.
Anyday back in my old school days that we had to study poetry was a hard day for me.
Poetry just didn’t work for me.
So one day Dave mentions “Hey, I’ve got a new book coming out and I’m doing a poetry reading can you drop by?”
So I’m stuck.
He’s my friend and of course I say yes.
With every intention of dropping in….making sure he sees me and then sneaking out as fast as possible.
Did I mention I hate poetry?
I was the last one to leave.
Like nothing I’d ever heard before.
Dave knows how people feel about poetry.
That high school kind of poetry.
That’s not Dave.
Turns out he’s released 10 poetry books.
He’s been featured a number of times on “The Writers’s Almanac” – the Garrison Keillor daily feature on NPR.
But Dave was also a guitar player in a band for years and years.
He was toying around with the idea of combining his two skills.
I encouraged him and the album “Poetry Rocks” (release date is April 14th) is unlike anything else:
On a more serious side is “Patricia Alone After 14 Years”
Mis-titled on the sampler – I left out the word “alone” – Dave said “Don’t worry about it”.
That’s the kind of guy he is.
Curious to know more? Read on. (But if I’d known his take on # 13 I would have re-evaluated this deal – they’re absolutely not!):
Here’s a link to a free download – no email or registration required (ever from Mishara Music):
The other new artist I mentioned was Cass Dillon.
His EP is “Oregon Road”:
The friend I’ve known longer than any other in the music business – Marc Nathan – called me up and said something like “I’ve been looking for the perfect artist for Mishara Music for years and finally found him. His name is Cass Dillon and you’re perfect for each other”.
He sent me the music.
I made a cd and put it in my car.
Cars are the best place for listening. Most cars have great sound and it’s about the only place these days you get alone time to listen.
But I didn’t have any driving plans for a bit – so it didn’t get heard right away.
Until my wife’s car had to go into the shop for a checkup.
My job of course – so she takes my car.
As she came in the door that night she didn’t say “Hi Honey”.
Didn’t kiss me on the cheek.
Didn’t pass “Go” and collect $200.
She said “WHAT IS THE CD IN YOUR CAR? It’s GREAT!”
Now you know the secret.
Our test marketing – even when it’s unintentional.
“Oregon Road” releases on Mishara Music April 7th.
Thinkin’ you’d like to know more about Cass?
You can hear “Friends” by Cass Dillon right this very second – and download it as well.
Here ya go:
Some odds and ends about winter that I didn’t cover above.
In spite of the cold and snow it can be incredibly beautiful.
The harbor is always a sight – winter or summer:
The sky against the whiteness of the snow just shines in color (thanks to my wife for these photos).
Lots of people I’ve met over the years have met various US President’s and there are some wonderful stories that’ll I’ll share the next time we meet up in person.
Though if we do meet up in person – this is the story to remember.
Don’t forget to shake my hand.
Ahhh, time for a history lesson.
Abraham Lincoln used to visit his generals and the troops during the Civil War.
Here’s a very famous photo of him visiting Gen George McClellan and his generals in October 1862 after the battle of Antietam (the Union name / the Confederacy called it Sharpsburg):
July 7, 1862 — President Lincoln and military party leave Washington on the Ariel to visit General McClellan and the Army of the Potomac at Harrison’s Landing at Berkeley Plantation.
July 8, 1862 — Lincoln arrives at Harrison’s Landing at 6:00p.m. He then reviews McClellans’ Army by corps and divisions until 9:00p.m.
July 9, 1862 — Lincoln talks with officers of the Army about military problems and records the results in a memorandum. He then leaves on the Ariel for the return trip to Washington.
Now here’s a note from the records of the Minnesota National Guard:
July 9, 1862- President Abraham Lincoln visits the 1st Minnesota, camped at Harrison’s Landing
This is important because?
Earlier this year we went to visit my Uncle Gene.
One of the few remaining veterans from the World War II battles of the Pacific.
He was a Marine and is one of those brave individuals who stormed the beaches of Saipan, Tarawa etc.
The stories – you can’t imagine.
My son Ethan is 9 and they hadn’t seen each other for a few years and it was a great reunion.
Here’s Ethan showing Uncle Gene how he uses his Kindle:
My favorite Uncle Gene story is not about WWII – it’s about the Civil War.
My grandfather (a WWI vet) back in the 1930’s when Gene was Ethan’s age used to visit the old solder’s home in Minneapolis and bring some of the vets home for dinner.
One day he brought the oldest vet in the home – Mr. Carpenter – to dinner as Uncle Gene tells the story.
When he walked in the door Mr. Carpenter walked up to Gene and my father Dave (who was a year older than Gene) and said:
“Shake the hand that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln”.
He told the story of hanging out one day with the troops….no fighting at the moment although the lines weren’t that far apart….and they saw a “tall drink of water” walking down the road with a tall hat on.
They yelled at him “Hey buddy get your head down before the rebs shoot it off”.
As the “tall drink of water” got closer they realized it was Abraham Lincoln.
Mr. Carpenter says they lined up all the troops and President Lincoln walked down the line shaking hands.
Let’s put this in perspective.
Ethan and I obviously have shaken my Uncle’s hand many, many times.
That puts us 3 handshakes away from Abraham Lincoln.
If you shake my hand the next time we see each other – that makes you – in 2015 – 150 years after Lincoln’s death – 4 handshakes away from him.
I find that astonishing.
But even more so.
Ethan will be 59 years old in 2065.
200 hundred years after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and he’ll be only 3 handshakes away from him.
Anyone shaking his hand will still only be 4 handshakes away.
A fifth of a century later.
I love history.
Welcome to Spring.
PS Wishful thinking:
Life in Maine w/ family & music – Photos of the year 2014 – the Marcrescue blog (Life in Maine with a nine year old)
(Note – If you’d like to be notified when these about monthly posts come out – you can sign up on WordPress on the right or sign up for my FB or Twitter feeds below. If you’d prefer to be left alone (I live in Maine where we all mostly prefer to be left alone – think it’s a New England thing) I understand.
As we all make “arghhh” type comments as we mistakenly write 2014 once more (and I will continue to do so until sometime mid April) here’s a collection of some of my favorite photos of the year.
Posted either because of the photo itself (most likely the artistic beautiful ones were taken by my wife Kim) or because of the memory of the moment.
I’ve also updated the latest events of the holiday season.
In no particular order.
Actually from the end of 2013 – we woke up to the aftermath of a rare ice storm on December 27th – where the particular mix of temperature and precipitation coated everything with ice.
Beautiful but dangerous:
Camden Harbor is always amazing.
Speaking of summer – I think my favorite photo of the year (taken by Kim of course) is Ethan in a swimming pool.
Swimming is a big part of summer in Maine.
Here he is checking one of the local swimming holes after a storm:
Now that we’re solidly into winter 2015 – it won’t be long until we see the ice fishing huts out on the same pond:
Once Spring arrives one of our favorite family days is Maine Maple Day – where all the sugar houses open their doors and you get to see the sugaring process which involves lots of evaporating and distilling of the maple sap. Each producer’s set up is different – some are using the same evaporators they’ve used for years and years and others are newer models of gorgeous stainless steel piping. The freshly made warm maple syrup is delicious no matter which way it’s produced. We always buy some from 3 or 4 different producers that day and it lasts us all year. (And it’s much less expensive than what you pay in stores).
The aroma in the shed is wonderful:
Spring also brings the annual iris blooming in our yard. My favorite flower – planted by someone long before we moved to Maine:
We try to do as many things as a family as we can and the opportunities in Maine are endless.
Summer camping by the ocean is a treat.
We go back to the same site at the Searsport Shores Campground every summer.
Kim loves to enjoy her morning camping coffee on the bench overlooking the ocean 20 yards from our campsite:
I look forward to the special breakfasts she makes.
Nothing like a beef brisket / sweet & white potato / onion hash made over the 1970’s era Coleman camping stove:
Is there anything more simple yet artistic than a shell on a beach – timeless (and taken by Kim of course):
Summer brings baseball and this year I managed to get one of the limited edition hats that the Red Sox official hat maker made after the 2013 marathon bombing.
It’s now my favorite hat and a reminder of how important and yet fragile life is and how important it is that we celebrate what we have every single day. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog you might remember that we were right across from the marathon finish line that day having just watched Kim’s cousin finish her first Boston Marathon and we saw both bombs go off. A day and tragic event we’ll never forget:
As most people are doing these days we are taking lots of selfies….as a family.
I had two favorites this year….this is the summer beach selfie:
Another favorite thing of mine this year was the Valentine’s Day card that Ethan made for me.
Better than anything for sale in a store:
After dinner nothing like a father son talk while walking in nearby downtown Rockland:
Ethan played his first game of adult Monopoly this year and it went perfectly as far as he was concerned….when dad went bust by landing on Ethan owned Boardwalk with four houses on it:
The other big game event that’s recorded in photo was our electronic candle lit game of Sorry – played during our 26 hour blackout that happened during the big snowstorm we had right after Halloween.
Dad got his revenge and won this time:
Thinking about old -fashioned things like board games takes me to Ethan’s new phone in his playroom.
During the blackout I took out an antique 1930’s era dial phone to see if the phone lines were working (all the new fangled electronic phones were useless of course) and Ethan loved it and insisted I hook it up in his playroom.
This is Ethan’s first phone – no mobile for him yet:
Summer in small town Maine brings out the community.
The library sponsors movie night in the amphitheater across from the harbor.
We all bring camp chairs and watch family films on an inflatable screen (don’t forget the bug spray):
Another summer vision – watching the ice spray waiting for your Sno-Kone:
Before you know it – it’s fall…..time for a cardboard sled on a grassy hill:
The end of summer also brings tomatoes from the garden in multi-colors:
Time to find a pumpkin:
Ethan planned the face for the carving this year and dad did a pretty good job of matching his design – Ethan was happy about that:
Every year the library has people bring their carved pumpkins to the town ampitheater for a get together – it’s always fun to see what everyone can do with their pumpkins:
My other favorite family selfie of the year – the “Halloween” edition:
As I mentioned – two days after Halloween we had a huge early snowstorm.
This is what we woke up to looking through the Halloween decorations on the windows.
I imagine that the tomato plants on the deck were not thrilled:
We all got to have fun outside.
Dad with a shovel:
Being so early in the year – Kim got to make the coolest snowman ever:
Ethan tested to see if the snow was any good for making snowballs to throw at dad:
My second favorite photo of the year – Kim’s “Moonrise”:
Time for holiday preparations.
In Maine – we head to the woods to find and cut our Christmas tree. Hard work when it’s 20 degrees but very rewarding:
Every year one of the simple pleasures Kim and I enjoy is finding a few new ornaments for the tree. This was this year’s haul – we loved the felt mistletoe, the Red Sox ornament was a birthday present from Kim to me and the star at the right was a school project that Ethan made:
We love the holiday parade in downtown Camden….we get creative with our floats…..where else do you see floats with a giant duck, a giant dog from the animal adoption center, a firetruck with a Christmas tree, the Rockport harbormaster’s boat, a giant lobster and of course our mainstay – a snowplow!
Afterwards we take to the streets and someone was out checking to see if the kids have been naughty or nice:
A few days later it’s time to head over to Rockport for their Christmas tree lighting and fireworks over the harbor.
Love the real lobster fishing buoys as decorations on the tree:
The wonderful thing about fireworks over the harbor is that you get to see the reflections in the ocean:
It’s very important every holiday season to make sure we’re thinking of other people – just not ourselves.
Ethan made donations to “Coats For Kids” and “Toys For Tots”:
With that done it’s time to make sure everything is set for Santa:
Ethan wanted to make it easier for Santa this year so he also prepared a checklist with an extra plate of cookies:
All the sudden it’s New Year’s Eve Day and time for us to set up the train set and get in some serious engineering:
Nothing like a another year in Maine.
A great place for a family.
It’s not a rich state – not a lot of money around – but we make up for it in creativity.
This gets my award for best Christmas decoration of the year.
I have no idea how it was done.
As far as I can tell it’s a real car.
It must be Santa’s for sure…..because based on the size of the trees and the rigging I can see…..there’s no way a regular person could set this up…..but then again it’s Maine…..and we make do with what we have:
Welcome to 2015 – my wish for everyone reading this and for all the people in the world is to have all the joy they hope for and to live in peace.
PS Mishara Music didn’t release many new albums in 2015 because all the recordings we were planning on – moved to 2015 – you can’t ask artists to write songs on a schedule. As we side more on the artistic side than the business side – that’s ok – we don’t force the issue at all….so we spent most of 2014 introducing our existing albums and artists to new fans.
But that means some wonderful new releases are coming – so while we prepare to delight and amaze in 2015 let me remind that we love to give away some of our favorite songs….because we can. We’re a small independent music company with no rules so if we want to gift great songs we just do it.
In no particular order here are 7 of our favorite free song pages – free downloads with no email or registration of any kind required – just click and enjoy.
From Ken Yates – “The One That Got Away”
The link – http://misharamusic.com/free/kenyates/
Takes you to this page:
From Barnaby Bright – “Made Up Of”
The link – http://misharamusic.com/free/barnabybright2/
Takes you to this page:
From Chris Ross – “Jack and Jill (Bottom Of My Grave)” – the hardest rocking song on the label
The link – http://misharamusic.com/free/chrisross/
Takes you to this page:
From Connor Garvey – “Old House”
Takes you to this page:
From Clarensau – “Dance With Me”
The link – http://misharamusic.com/free/dancewithme/
Takes you to this page:
From Meggan Waltman – “Rain”
The link – http://misharamusic.com/free/rain/
Takes you to this page:
And one more song from Chris Ross – a new live studio recording of “Mostly Sober”
Takes you to this page:
And there’s more where these came from.
The link – http://misharamusic.com/site/?page_id=18
Takes you to the Mishara Music website Free Song page:
A Day @ Jazzfest New Orleans / Last Year – This Year…what a difference / The Best Photo of All – the Marcrescue Blog – Life in Maine with an 8 Year Old
(If you don’t have time to read through the entire post….and who does? Jump ahead for the “Big Finish” – the best photo is there!)
Since my last posting – the snow is gone and the black flies have arrived in Maine.
Camden harbor is looking pretty spiffy as it fills up with ships and sails:
Gives you that easy peaceful feeling:
Everyone has been busy.
Barnaby Bright is in the studio recording:
Here’s a song – “Just The Same” – that will be on the new album – recorded live at WNRN Charlottesville:
Chris Ross has been playing a lot of new songs in concert – preparing for his new album – recording to start momentarily:
Of course – all those new songs written by the 2014 New England Music Awards “Songwriter Of The Year”:
Here’s a new tune from Chris – “Burns” – that will be on his next album:
What the heck – here’s another new Chris tune “Drunk Women”:
I’ve been on the road for much of the past four weeks.
Saw Connor Garvey in concert in Portland:
Once again Connor has won another award – he’s been raking them at festivals all over the country and this past weekend he was a winner at the Kerrville Festival in Texas. How cool is this award? John McGue the music director at WNKU in Cincinnati clued me in when I told him about it by sending me the Wiki bit about the award – whoa – nice company Connor!
Connor’s live album “Before The Meteors” – recorded in Bozeman Montana – will be released on June 17th. It’s a companion album to his latest studio recording “Meteors And Beating Hearts”:
“Before The Meteors” includes live versions of all the songs from the studio album – with different arrangements…..and has the wit and wisdom of Connor on stage….and also includes the only recording of his live masterpiece “Irish Song”…..which you can hear here:
It also has a wonderful live version of “Tattered Shirt” – one of the most popular songs on the studio album:
I traveled to NYC to see Ken Yates open for Barnaby Bright:
Ken’s in Nashville at the moment – recording some demos for his next album.
Here’s one of my favorite Ken tunes “The One That Got Away”…..which is available as a free download – details below:
And just about a month ago (with Kim and Ethan in tow) I was at my fav music work festival – Jazzfest in New Orleans….and what a difference a year makes.
Last year I hit the rainiest days the festival has ever had where they didn’t cancel the day’s festivities…..this year was exquisite.
With 12 different stages – there’s a whole lot of music going on all day long – including some mighty big players on different days on the two big stages at opposite ends of the festival (this year had Clapton and Springsteen among others on the big stages). We tend to avoid those crowds and enjoy some amazing music that may be out of the limelight but excels nonetheless.
Here’s how one day went.
For us – a family with serious food allergies – there’s no better place we’ve ever found for vegan & gluten free foods than “Meals From The Heart”. The best thing about it – even though you can get your order vegan & gluten free – you’d never know it. We’d eat here everyday even if we didn’t have any allergies. Roland is waving hi….the best counter guy you’ve ever met in your life:
On to Jazzfest (yes the sign is correct – this was their 45th year!):
Right off the bat we hit the Peoples Health Economy Tent and saw the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble:
Now I find this interesting…..this is the only stage (out of twelve stages) where I spotted this sign posted. When you look at the acts playing this stage….and the people attending – note the guy with the sun umbrella dancin’ up a storm – it appears that the most unruliest crowd is the senior citizens…tsk tsk:
Our two favorite venues this year were side by side – the Jazz tent and the Blues tent.
Here’s Marlon Jordan in the Jazz tent:
Next door at the Blues tent Johnny Sansome was holding court:
Then we made our way across the fairgrounds to the “New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage” for Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys. What a difference a year can make – the same stage a year apart – sun vs rain:
Back to the Blues Tent for Luther Kent & Trickbag:
Then (after a quick listen to Marcia Ball who we’ve seen a number of times at the Fest) off in another direction to the Congo Square Stage for The Wailers (with one original member from the Bob Marley years still playin’ strong). Lots of dancin’ goin’ on:
Ahhh…it’s food time!
One of the great traditions of Jazzfest is that – even though it’s held at the New Orleans Fairgrounds – there’s not a corndog, prontopup or tube of cotton candy anywhere around – the rules for the fest are that the food purveyors have to be local and serving traditional Louisiana fixin’s – check out those signs:
Two of my favorites – Crawfish Boil and Fried Green Tomatoes:
The food was just as good but the experience was a bit different last year:
Then we’re right back to music…..and a rush of acts to see.
We stopped for a moment for Lyle Lovett – but we’ve seen him before:
So we were off for a quick stop to check out Banu Gibson with special guests The Pfister Sisters (maybe they were the act they the organizers were worried about the audience moshing for – ya think?):
I loved the New Orleans Nightcrawlers on the Jazz & Heritage Stage – and what a difference the sun made this year as opposed to last in the rain:
Our last two acts of the day were back at the tents – first the Blues Tent for the Bernard Allison Group – some great guitar playin’ here:
Then next door to the Jazz Tent one more time for the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio – there’s no one better on the Hammond B3:
Ahhh now the walk out of the festival back to the various transportation sites…..(more on that in a minute).
This is what it looked like last year in the rain:
Though the day’s events at the fest are over at 7pm – (so people have plenty of time to enjoy the New Orleans nightlife) – on the walk back to transport the party continues on – the people in the neighborhood set up street parties.
This group was as good as many of those inside the festival:
There are a number of ways to get back to the French Quarter area – where all the tourist hotels are.
There are pre-bought shuttle bus tickets – sorta pricy – and the line is somewhat long.
Or you can get into the line for taxi’s…..it’s hugely long – at peak times it can be a 45 minute wait….and it’s pricey and you don’t get your own cab….they pile in as many people as they can…..and everyone gets charged individually.
Or – as we discovered a few years ago – you can walk up and get right on a city bus that takes you right to your hotel….and costs $1.25 per person.
Took us a few years but we finally got smart:
Time for some wanderin’ around the French Quarter
Jackson Square has great people watching:
After a number of years we’ve now discovered and revisit our favorite local food hangouts…. that aren’t quite as tourist oriented……our choice for oysters is Felix’s:
And of course – eventually everyone ends up sooner or later at Cafe Du Monde…..we prefer later…..something so special about late nights there:
But too soon another great trip to Jazzfest and New Orleans ends – we say goodbye to a great sunset over Jackson Square and hope to be back next year:
But as we all stay busy living our lives – things happen, time does pass and things do change.
Recently a horrifying event occurred that has happened so quietly that most people probably have missed it.
Not a horrifying news event in the traditional sense – we have way too many of those.
Which is why not a single tv newscast covered this disaster – but it’s happened nonetheless.
A quality of life issue.
Sometimes – even with the best intentions – we’re just too darn concerned about our health.
Ben and Jerry’s are so careful about their ingredients that they’ve decided to discontinue Vanilla and Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream.
They’ve replaced both flavors with their own “toffee” because they weren’t happy with some of the ingredients in Heath Bars…….and reports are not good.
It’s not the same…..not as good…..not even close.
Luckily a friend warned me……he’s a Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch fan and bought up all the remaining VHBC at the local grocery store……I made a mad dash…..and bought the last four remaining containers of CHBC in town.
Safely locked away in our freezer:
But what do I do now?
You have to understand….this is my ciggie……my whiskey……my heroin.
I don’t smoke.
I don’t drink alcohol.
I don’t do drugs.
I do Coffee Heath Bar Crunch.
That’s all there is.
That’s all there is…..sighhhhh.
I guess once it’s gone I’ll have to drown my sorrows with cafe au laits and beignets at Cafe Du Monde.
And once a year I do get to go to Philadelphia for WXPN’s Non-Comm Public Radio music meeting.
Another amazing benefit of being in the music business……a meeting of the minds of wonderful smart music fans from both the radio and record sides of the biz…..where I learn something important every time I go and have the chance to see a whole host of music acts close up performing for the attendees…..and no special treatment here…..almost all the showcases are open to the public as well.
A great time is guaranteed for all…..and I get to sneak out with a couple radio friends for our yearly treat from Jim’s Steaks.
Here it comes:
Our annual Philly cheesesteaks:
So I guess it could be worse.
And it has been.
Again just a year ago.
If you remember last year’s blog post – my wife’s cousin ran in her first Boston Marathon.
We were there to cheer her on and just after she passed the finish line my wife took this photo:
See the blue arrow?
That’s where the first bomb went off 60 seconds later.
We saw them both explode.
We weren’t hurt but a lot of people were and so was the county and the entire world….one more step into insanity.
We went back this year.
Many of us wearing our special caps:
Everyone came back and brought their friends and family.
The spectators jumped from a half a million last year to a million this year – all to show support.
We were there to cheer the runners and each other.
Security was much tougher but everyone had a friendly smile and I didn’t observe a single incident of any kind – just a lot of supportive friendly people of all kinds:
Our cousin – from Ohio – made special notes for her run:
Her time was a bit off from last year……even though she was capable of a faster pace this year……because as she said “I kept slowing down to highfive all the kids along the race route”.
This was a joyful year:
When I said everyone came to celebrate – I mean everyone:
But joy is not just a year to year thing.
As much as this letter has been about “last year – this year”.
If you do it right – it’s ongoing.
I’ve posted lots and lots of photos over the years……but this one is the best.
I didn’t take it and neither did Kim.
How could we?
We were both in it.
Ten years ago last Friday.
You want my favorite photo?
You got it:
Doesn’t get better than the last ten years with my honey!
I wish you all the same joy in your lives.
PS Please share in our joy of music.
To help spread the joy we give lots of songs away.
Both on our free music page @ http://www.misharamusic.com/freesongs (Get the Ken Yates track from above free on this page).
And on our five (soon to be six) free song samplers at Amazon.com -.we have given away in the past couple of years – at last count – 1,029,484 free songs.
Over ONE MILLION free song downloads!
Songs by the above mentioned Connor Garvey, Chris Ross, Barnaby Bright, Ken Yates…..and from lots of other Mishara artists and friends of the label as well.
All free to enjoy and share.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/marcrescue (The best way to keep up with these blog posts – join me on Twitter)
Broken! Lawn 2 – Marc 0 / Unconventional music biz / Summer life in Maine with a 7 year old – the Marcrescue blog
Gluten Free New Orleans / More Jazzfest / A Lego Mother’s Day / Life in Maine with a 7 Year Old – the Marcrescue Blog