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:
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)