I’ve been so neglectful about posting an updated blog that….
A: Most people have forgotten entirely about me
B: A few have actually reached out and asked about the blog
- Not because they miss me – they miss the photos
Life is so chock full of busy that I didn’t even realize it’s been a touch over six months since I sent an update.
So here in a nutshell – or rather photos….is what’s been happening.
(With a music update at the end – so you don’t have to wade through that to get to the photos)
Last fall was – as always – a great time to hike. Here’s what our town looks like from the top of Mt Battie as the leaves are changing:
Acadia National Park is not far away and hiking there is always good for the soul:
The annual Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) is a huge event in town. It’s rated as one of the top 12 documentary film festivals in the world. Quite nice for a town this small and so far off the beaten path.
But for good reason – it’s exceptional:
We had a great time at the anniversary showing of “Back To The Future” at a local theatre that showed it when it first came out (The Strand was built in 1926 – and is totally restored today).
Even better – a mysterious DeLorean showed up in front of the theatre for the film:
Can’t beat Halloween in a small town. The town closes down a number of blocks for a Halloween block party – and this year we had a flash mob show up to the tune of “Thriller”:
These weirdo’s were out trick or treating::
One of our favorite challenges – Beth’s Farm Market’s Corn Maze.
For the second year in a row we split up – me against the family – and they won.
I kept finding this sign over and over again – arghhhh:
Before you know it – it’s time for the annual Christmas parade….does yours feature a lobster…with Christmas lights on it?
How about a Lobster Trap Christmas Tree!
It was a year of weird weather patterns this winter.
But as always some interesting snowpeople appeared in the yard:
One great thing about winter is that the snow covers all the brush in the woods and with snowshoes you can hike places you can’t get close to in summer…..for instance you can find a tree that’s been ravaged by woodpeckers – hard to believe they can do this – but they do:
The hardest part about winter for us….it’s not the snow….it’s not the cold….it’s when the annual box of See’s “Nuts & Chews” box that my Uncle and Aunt mail to us from the West Coast every holiday season – turns into a box of empty wrappers….sighhhh:
Before you know it – Spring is here and it’s time for one of our favorite days in Maine – “Maine Maple Sunday”. The day when all the maple sugar houses open their doors for tours, free samples and the best maple syrup you can buy – straight from the tap.
We hit three houses every year. The first is Sparky’s (http://sparkyshoneyandmaple.com/) – close to us and besides great maple syrup – they also produce the best honey from their bees:
We also head to Simmons & Daughters (http://www.simmonsanddaughterssugarhouse.com/) for fresh “maple” cotton candy. Once you’ve had maple cotton candy you’ll never go back to the weird colored stuff they sell at fairs and circuses:
They really are two of the “daughters”:
Then it’s over to see Mark at Bradstreet Maple Farm (http://www.getrealmaine.com/farms/Bradstreet-Maple-Farm). Always a party with great samples (Didn’t get a photo of the maple fudge – the line was too long)
Waffles, ice cream with fresh maple syrup:
Great maple baked beans:
Mark always has a crowd around him because he’s always teaching people about making great syrup:
You cannot believe how wonderful the aroma is inside a maple sugaring house.
Can’t wait to walk in the door again next year:
A weekend trip to Portland is always fun….and it’s a wonder to take in the “Lock Fence” in old town by the harbor. There’s a chain link fence where people are allowed to put locks on – most with written or engraved messages:
I’ve already got a lock picked out for our family to attach next visit:
But spring time in Maine means it’s time to leave.
Well for a few days – our favorite family trip / vacation is to New Orleans for Jazzfest:
The fest as always was terrific – even after some pretty heavy rains – and we forgot our rain boots this year – which is essential for muddy grounds….but a little washing and a hair dryer in the hotel rooms dries out even the wettest and muddiest sneakers:
Everyone always asks who was our favorite act….and I always say – no matter who the headliners are…when we were there Paul Simon, Tedeschi-Trucks etc….
(Here’s the lineup for all 7 days – we were at the Fest 2 days:)
…my favorite moments are hearing artists that I’ve never heard before and are amazing.
This year my wife and I agreed that our fav this year was the PresHall Brass – led by 82 year old saxophonist Daniel “Weenie” Farrow. They are the resident brass band at Preservation Hall….and soooo good:
A great reminder – however – of how fortunate and lucky the musicians are that have had great successful full time music careers – are the bands that are playing outside the gates….in the street….for tips.
These two bands….of kids…..were amazing:
In New Orleans it’s like that every year. In the streets around Jazzfest, in the French Quarter – the quality of the street musicians is just stunning.
Besides the Fest itself….and of course the food…..can you say “Oysters at Felix’s”?
There’s nothing better than wandering through the French Quarter admiring the architecture. Such a beautiful, historical place:
A lot of the buildings have historical plaques that tell the story of the building:
It’s now an art gallery.
But my favorite find was this one.
A red house with a nondescript store:
Even the plaque was sorta dull…..until you got to the end…..you never know what you’re going to find in New Orleans:
Speaking of streetcars…..we’ve discovered if we time it right.
We can spend the day at Jazzfest,
Hit the French Quarter for dinner afterwards.
Finish the night at perhaps the best place to end any night – no matter what time it is (they’re open 24 hours a day – every day of the year):
And then catch the last streetcar of the evening on the line heading towards our hotel:
A wonderful end to a wonderful trip.
A word about music.
Most everyone I work with at Mishara Music has spent the year touring, writing, exploring but not recording.
So we’ve been working under the radar – marketing and building the audience for our artists.
Streaming….although some might feel angst about it….frees us up to do some very dramatic promotions.
As streaming replaces downloads – we realized that we have even more freedom to give more music away.
So….our 7th Mishara Music free song sampler at Amazon.com…..which contains some of our biggest selling tracks:
The free download is at:
Listen on Spotify at:
Listen on Soundcloud at:
PS Talk about tough decisions – my wife took a photo of me making one of the most difficult of the year (and truth be told – she took a lot of the photos above as well – probably the ones you like the most)….what boxset to buy on Record Store Day….so many boxes….so few funds!
My blog / email writing about life in Maine with family while running an independent music company has become a quarterly event it seems.
Simply because I write about our life and we spend so much time living there’s not much time left for writing.
But hopefully this makes each edition of my tales that much more interesting.
Summer in Maine is a time for being outside.
So I switch from the torture machine at the Y:
To the torture machine I use outside:
The biggest problem with the switch is a simple matter of gravity.
I use clip-in bike shoes and when you stop riding on the bike at the Y….
You just stop. The bike is on a stand. No problem.
My first ride this summer outside – I forgot about gravity.
At the end of the first big hill on my route I stopped for a break and a quick drink.
Forgot to unclip my shoes because I hadn’t thought about that all winter.
For those of you old enough to remember “Laugh-In” I looked exactly like the guy on the tricycle – who stopped and fell right over.
It was a slow-motion kind of moment – where you think “Oh oh….”.
You realize you’re going to fall over….you can’t do anything about it….even as it seems to take forever.
Landed on a rather sizeable rock.
Ouch that hurt.
Think I might have even cracked a rib or two.
But it only hurt to cough….for about three weeks.
I’ve had a great summer of riding….hopefully we’ll have a nice autumn and I can keep it up. Great changing leaves on my ride as fall comes.
I’ll take photos.
In the meantime – we made the most of our local lake swimming hole.
Usually a late afternoon stop:
Maine has unique events that we can’t seem to get enough of.
Different farms open up their premises for visits.
Our first visit this summer was to the Glendarragh Lavender Farm.
26 acres along the St. George River and it’s chock full of different varieties of lavender:
I suspect it has the nicest aroma of any farm anywhere.
Our friends Lorrie and Patrick Costigan started growing lavender in 2007. Their drying barn on the property dates back to 1790.
In 2009 – they made it easy for us to get all the different kind of lavender products we could want – they opened a lavender store on Main St. in Camden.
It’s so nice to have a unique shop in town that has no duplicate anywhere. The magic of a small town in Midcoast Maine is we’re too small for most retail chains so walking down main street is like taking a stroll in the 1950’s or 60’s. Independent, interesting stores.
Such a pleasure.
Check out Glendarragh at www.mainelavenderstore.com
Our next farm stop was for wild Maine blueberries.
Every year on Maine Farm Day we head to our favorite blueberry farm to pick some berries and buy some extras.
I never remember the name….but I always recognize the sign:
We didn’t pick this year because it was raining….but they had been busy:
This basket didn’t last long in our hands:
Summer is also baseball time.
We’re big Portland Sea Dogs fans (Red Sox Double AA Team).
A great stadium with a “green monster” wall the exact size of the one at Fenway and a perfect place to spend a few incredibly inexpensive hours:
This particularly night was one of their “fireworks” evenings and after a very tense, close game – alas they lost. Unfortunately the Sea Dogs after a great season last year are mirroring their big brother team in last place this season.
But a true baseball fan – especially the New England variety – isn’t so hooked on success – it’s the game we enjoy.
The Sea Dogs always do a great fireworks show:
Mid-summer – it’s time for the “Lobster Festival”!
Music, carnival rides, crafts and a kid who’s discovered the joys of the “bungee jump ride”.
This year he did a flip for the first time:
Mom and dad prefer the Ferris wheel:
Always love the view – take notice of the second big tent:
The object of the “Lobster Fest” is of course Maine lobsters.
They serve a lot of them over the five days of the festival.
All in that big tent.
We visited on Sunday – the last day of the festival.
Here’s the count of lobsters served up to the point we were there and the latest batch coming out of the biggest lobster cooker anywhere:
It’s also been a wonderful year for music.
Remember the old commercial for that weird “hair” company?
Where the guy in the commercial says “I’m not only the CEO – I’m also a customer”
Well that pretty much describes me.
I run an independent music company.
Because I love music.
Especially singer-songwriters – that’s what our company is all about.
It all starts with the songs.
Ever had a difficult time buying presents for your significant other?
From my own experience – it’s tough.
There’s nothing like working extra hard to get something I think my wife will love….and then get the….”Oh that’s nice…..interesting…..what made you think of that?”
It never even gets out of the box, hangs around the living room for about six months and then straight into a closet or drawer – never to be seen again.
I solved that problem
With tickets for her favorite artists in concert.
A triple win.
She loves the present and the artist – I love the artist – and get to go along to the show.
This summer she finally got the payoffs for her Valentine’s Day present and her birthday present.
Our 5th time seeing this guy together – nothing like a little “Steamroller Blues”:
Is there a better song than this?
We decided that this tour with a number of new songs from his new album was even better than the last time he came through Portland – how can a couple of Red Sox fans not love “Angels Of Fenway”:
A couple weeks later – it was the second payoff.
This time we had to travel to Boston and use some public transportation – the Green Line to Fenway Park:
Good news – bad news.
The good news – it was hard to get tickets – but we got in – and we were delighted – even though we were basically in the last row:
The bad news…..how is it that the largest guy in the stadium has the seat in front of me….and decides to stand up for the entire concert:
But no matter – it was a great night.
Can’t beat those songs – we love the “Piano Man”:
Speaking of songs.
That’s what Mishara Music specializes in.
I learned a long time ago that there are millions of great singers and musicians….but without great songs it’s basically a karaoke music world.
So we look for and sign great writers.
The challenge then for an indie music company – is how to connect the artists we have with the people that might love their music.
Love our radio play – but radio can’t play everything we have.
So we also love our steams on Spotify, Pandora etc and plays on Soundcloud.
But sometimes it’s best to go direct to our fans.
The best way to do that is give songs away – with no conditions.
Amazon has been a great partner in that.
In a number of different ways.
We’ve had six free song album samplers:
We’ve just recently starting doing individual song “sixpacks”:
Here’s our brand new “sixpack”:\
How do they do?
Through Amazon – Mishara Music has given away somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,300,000 free songs.
Feedback has been wonderful from the people that have downloaded free songs.
Here’s a sampling of the response:
Because of the response – more and more people keep downloading.
In the last week (Amazon changes the ranking hourly) I noticed at one point we had twelve positions on the Amazon Top 100 Free Album Chart:
And a few days later noticed that the songs from the latest “sixpack” were all inside the Top 30:
Here’s some links.
This link takes you to the Mishara digital page on Amazon – there are over 70 free song downloads there:
Wanna hear the music first?
All of the albums have YouTube Listening links – you can listen all the way through – just search YouTube for the artist and album name.
For example – here’s the YouTube Listening Channel for our latest release by Cass Dillon “Oregon Road”
Click on “Playlists” and you get a link that will play all the way through:
All our music is also on Soundcloud.
Here’s the two latest “sixpacks” as playlists on Soundcloud – just click on the link and start listening:
So it’s been a great music summer but today as I write this – is the first day of school here in Maine.
So we’ve been working hard to squeeze every last second of fun out of summer.
It was a very good weather summer here in Maine but it did rain from time to time.
A rainy day on a weekend?
A great day to head to the movies to see “Minions”
Of course – a new Minion was in order after the movie.
Had to be seat-belted in of course – Ethan is very insistent in that:
We had to have a “bring your Minion to work day”.
First he went to work with Kim at her office:
Then he took over my computer:
But maybe best of all – don’t know how he hasn’t had one for his first 9 years….Ethan finally got his first Pez:
The highlight of the summer is always the one week a year we get invited to join Kim’s Dad and Stepmother in the house they have for a week at Long Beach Island in New Jersey.
As soon as we arrive it’s off to the beach for Kim for her first beach walk:
I usually work during the mornings and head to join the family at the beach in the afternoon.
Beach and water? Check (I actually prefer swimming to hanging on the sand)
Umbrella? Check (I’m not a sun person)
Book? (The # 1 most important item for me on vacation) Check.
Ok, got everything I need:
We actually get up early every year and head to the beach to try and catch some sunrise photos.
Wasn’t the only one up early this year:
This past week was the Union County Fair.
I think we saw just about every parent we know with school age kids on the midway this year.
Ethan discovered the “YoYo” ride this year….over and over and over again:
The highlight of the fair for me is my annual caramel apple:
Three last photos for this post.
Yesterday was one last early morning walk on a Maine beach for Kim before school starts and signifies the change of season – even though it’s still officially summer for a while longer and we’ve got some fun things planned.
Beach walks are essential for her well being, No surprise when she gets photos like this:
As the sun starts to travel southward in the sky and our days in Maine are rapidly getting shorter – it’s a good time to post the opposite photo from Long Beach Island….this time the sun setting over the mainland….we spotted the sunset coming fast and actually ran as fast as we could to catch the last rays:
Isn’t that the way this summer has been?
It’s been the fastest summer I remember and it seems like we need to race to slow down…to appreciate what we have.
Especially when we look at the “real” world – it seems that the clowns have escaped from the Funhouse and we’re left watching them being covered 24 hours a day – day in day out.
Seems like this is where we need to build walls:
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:
Winter arrived / Autumn was terrific / This is the anti-cyber buying post – everything is free / The marcrescue blog – life in Midcoast Maine with music, family & an eight year old
Toboggan Terror (my own w / video) / books / Valentines / Creative 50 – the Marcrescue Blog – Life in Maine with an Eight Year Old
Maine winter snow & ice photos / life musings and a farm report you must read! Life In Maine With An Eight Year Old – The Marcrescue blog
No deliveries on the weekends.