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!
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)