Monday, September 29, 2008

Sorghum Festival, eastern Kentucky

We moved everything on Thursday and on Friday we drove 300 miles to Lexington. We saw comedian Brian Reagan live and in person! As many of you know, Brian really appeals to my sense of the absurd and the humor in daily life. As will happen when you do too many things in too short of time, you make oversights. Like the shift from Central to Eastern time zone. Twenty minutes early was quickly realized as forty minutes late. Sigh. I laughed my ass off anyway. Much of the material was familiar and the new stuff was just as good or better.

In the morning we drove to West Liberty, KY to visit my family who assembles during the Sorghum Festival. It was nice to visit with everyone. I realized the reason I don't go out there more is the solid five hour drive! Family is sure easy to be around. It is really neat to see my great-Aunt Ida Mae doing real well, soon to be 98 years old.

It is the first of the month, the beginning of our first unencumbered time in Nashville.

Enjoy the pictures!

Excuse my mess here, but I am going to write some senseless genealogy so I can sort it out later about my Dad's side.

My father's mother's side, Frances Leota Dale, and therefore me, is descended from Lewis from near Knoxville, TN; Newport in Cocke County. Andrew J. Lewis was born in 1869 in Knoxville to T.G. and Levina Lewis. These great-great-great grandparents of mine were also born in Knoxville. In my family tree, T.G. is the most recent identified immigrant. His parents were English. I don't know if I have this tree right, but interestingly, some notes I have here suggest I have more ancestors from Kentucky, named Ida Stanley Maloney Lewis born in 1876 in Kentucky, had two kids, Dovie and Jim Lewis. She was step mother to 6 Lewis children. She died in 1950. Andrew may have been a step-father to these children Dovie and Jim.
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A few hours later
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This kind of thing always weird me out, but I found a reference for this Ida. She was born today, 9/30/1876, Mt. Vernon, KY!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Americana music awards and moving

We attended the Americana Music Awards show on Thursday. It was my first time to see a show in the Ryman auditorium. Everybody you can think of was there and performed a song. Oh, first, at 5pm, we went to the Douglas Corner Cafe, and watched Casey Driessen open a show. He is really great. I first saw him with Tim O'Brien at the Nugget in Reno back about '04. He's a truly great musician and really fired me up. He had a good drummer and a good upright bassist. The similarity to Casey in size and appearance to my old friend and pedal steel player Adam is remarkable.

So up next was Darrell Scott. It was his CD release project. He played all the material from the album, which is entirely cover tunes. Good stuff. One of the spookiest tunes ever, "The Devil," written by Hoyt Axton, was played with a full band. Hoyt's version is a trippy vocals-and-drums thing. I wonder if it is a "stomp and scream," like Eric Taylor mentioned last year. It was good to be reminded of Paul Simon's "An American Tune" as well.

Well, so then it was off to the Ryman. It was great, though we were in the pews way up there, and I expected the sound to be better. But here's who I remember performing: Robert Plant, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, Justin Townes Earle, Kevin Welch, Kieran Kane, Levon Helm, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Sam Bush, John Hiatt, Tift Merritt, the Steeldrivers, Joan Baez, and James McMurtry. Yeah, it was a great night of music. So much that we couldn't get ourselves out again this weekend, though there were solo shows all over town from these guys.

The evil pressures of a house full of stuff waiting to be packed and transported to Nashville was heavy on our minds, and we ditched an opportunity to see Glenn Campbell and/or Buddy Miller, and arrived last night to pack and clean. On the way here was an ominous traffic accident involving a U-haul trailer attached to an SUV. Since there are two ways to go, I chose poorly for our state of mind (everyone seemed okay in the wreck). We got to Kentucky and it is going fine. We will be out of here in enough time for me to finish this important job application before it is due. Unfortunately, we're moving into a storage unit. It is a familiar but older way to do these things, and certainly easier than moving across the country in the first place. It gets me thinking about all of the apartments and roommates I had over the years in Chico. There have certainly been other times where I couldn't wait to get out, or had to move under less than good circumstances.

A strange series of coincidences first thing this morning got me on the right foot, and I am always glad to hear from my old friend Gene "Doc" R. He wrote to tell me about the show he saw, the great Tommy Emmanuel. Tommy recently drifted into my consciousness, as a legitimate heir to fingerstylists in country, like Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. He is a phenomenally talented musician and took my breath away, drifing in on a slow wireless connection this spring (find some YouTube stuff and see yourself). Before my tour with Hellbound Glory, I met some really neat folks on the plane: David G., Janice Y., and I was seated next to one of the nicest strangers I've ever met, Brian G. Brian is a huge fan of Tommy's and I belive he took lessons from Tommy, or is involved with the fingerstyle festival in Kentucky, Tommyfest. Brian was full of sage sentiments about performing music and made the point how it is worth it; seeing a good show makes you feel so good (so we should all go play those shows). Tommy's show in Chico did some of that I'm sure, and I'm so glad that Chico is able to bring musicians of that caliber.

I'm doing only all right. I injured my left should this summer, perhaps tearing my rotator cuff diving into a pool. So as long as I rest and heating pad, it goes okay. Eventually I can have it looked at. Sigh. Tomorrow is the last big push to pack and clean and we'll load the U-haul Tuesday. Keep the positive thoughts coming our way, it really helps. Just a few more days in this place...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On it goes

It has been a year since I moved away. A lot has happened, and yet, well, you know. We've been doing cool stuff, I don't have a job, and our sublease only gets us through the end of October.

Fall is in the air, and a quick trip up to Kentucky was intense. The storms associated with Ike really tore that area up. We were lucky to NOT be one of the 3.7 million without power. Here in Tennessee, there is a shortage of gas, and reports of gas gouging are on the news. I met a woman at the gas station that had never filled a portable gas can, and evidently it was worth it to her to have two gallons of gas sitting somewhere. She asked me where was safe to store it. Two gallons?!

I've directed my job-seeking efforts in a few ways. One of them is a return to the utility industry. That led to a screening of a Nashville filmmaker's project about making a difference called Kilowatt Ours. Seemed like a nice guy. Cool message directly relating what I've seen in Kentucky, coal burning power plants, to coal strip mining in Kentucky. Here in Tennessee, it is refreshing to see so much social/environmental activism all around. We've been meeting a lot of people, and curiously, they have been mostly natives. Seems like a good thing.

9/12/08. Vanderbilt campus. I've been studying karst landforms and processes.

9/13/08. Percy Priest Lake trash cleanup.

Waiting for the boat. I don't know what island we were headed to.

9/13/08. Four Corners Marina.

9/13/08. Small syncline in Ordovician limestones.

9/13/08. Part of the haul from five of us.

9/13/08. From our kitchen window

9/14/08. We went back to Kentucky to start moving the rest. Soy beans from the front yard.

9/14/08. It was mayhem in Owensboro; the sustained winds from Ike thrashed the city. Seemed calm at (old) home.

9/14/08. There are zillions of scattered branches and corn husks, blown off the crop, all over the yard. Can't wait to be done with that place.

Back to the blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm a Tennessean!

Yup, it was fairly painless to trade in my Nevada citizenship. It was the day before Nashville's 2002nd birthday. Even my car is now a southerner. Things were cheaper, with registration coming in at 36% of my Nevada registration. Insurance dropped 38% from Kentucky, too. The sales tax rate here of 9.25% is a little rough; maybe it all balances out.

I've been keeping myself very busy during the day and in the evening. Here are some photos! I'm excited about geology again. I hadn't really planned on that.

Oh, and it sure must be confusing to those who have it all figured out: bluegrass and politics shouldn't mix, especially in support of democrats!(note sarcasm) Ralph Stanley endorses Obama here, and here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Around Nashville this weekend

Here's some photos from this week. I've been hard at the business of finding a job. It is too early to say what direction things will go, but it is clear a steady income is first in line. Then, I hit the acoustic music scene.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Billy Falcon

Life, especially with me and music, is uncanny.

Allow the tale to unfold here before you. I went to a tiny high school, drove an old Camaro that I actually thought was cool. I listened to loud rap music. I had two 15" Kicker brand woofers in my back seat. As high school neared an end, I found myself rejecting rap music, openly questioning my choice and tastes in music. And started to ask what was the music for me. I got back into the Eagles and Steve Miller, and all the once-great-junk that became classic rock radio. (One simply has to turn on the radio anywhere, anytime, to hear a track off of Boston's eponymous album). So anyway, I was listening to KFM93.9, the Chico rock station. And I heard this song.

I dated this beautiful girl who tore my mind apart. But I loved her, and some events that didn't happen caused what needed to happen and we broke up. A lot of times. There was this song...

I graduated from high school in the spring of 1991. And I had this crappy Camaro. With a loud stereo. And this song called Power Windows played on KFM and really got to me. There was all kinds of stuff in it that made me think, like what is a 'statue of Mary', why would anyone have a '69 Dart? Because we had my stepmom's sister's old dead dart in the back field. Not a cool car. At least, not as cool as a '73 Camaro. It was a time and place because at 18, I imagined myself a simple needs kind of guy. And having your gal in your arm 'rumbling down the highway' was something I could dig. The Camaro had no air conditioning.

So I went to Warehouse records and purchased a cassette single. Lucky that the whole record wasn't available yet. I bought just a few of those cassette singles, and I'm sure I have Billy Falcon's Power Windows in storage. The B side was this really interesting music. An acoustic guitar and voice about a guy and a girl and 'all she had on was the radi-oh-boy'. I played it for the girl and I tried to explain, "I like this."

Over one year later, about the fall of 1992, I began to get music on Compact Disc. And there in the racks was an album that caught my eye. Pretty Blue World, by Billy Falcon. I was single. So you might wonder where all of this is going?

About a week ago, I played and sang the two songs from the cassette single from memory. I never really learned them, but they are in there so deep I just played them. Last week. In Kentucky, September 2008. So I'm telling my songwriting girlfriend all about this album, and how it was my first real singer/songwriter album, though it took a lot of years to realize this. Pretty Blue World masquerades as pop music, in the vein of 1990's Bon Jovi. No coincidence really. And if I had bought the album on cassette, it would be unavailable to me in that moment. All I had to do was go to my music server and play the tracks.

As I played Oh Boy and Power Windows, I said, "I wonder what happened to him. I checked him out back in 1997 or 98 when I was getting into songwriters." (But I didn't turn up much about him). So I put it in the computer. The computer playing back the CD versions at that moment. He was playing in Nashville on Thursday. He lives here. He's been here since about the time I wondered what he was up to. He's a hit songwriter.

Three days ago we moved to Nashville. Last night I saw, and met, and listened to Billy Falcon. That was cool. He was good, and gracious and sincere and dedicated Power Windows to me and Debbie.

Some things that shouldn't be forgotten sometimes are. But sometimes things just wait to be rediscovered. Billy Falcon, "I like this."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Good bye Kentucky. Hello Nashville!

My latest photos.

Ah the big changes. I retrace my life to get comfortable with the inescapable fact that I am a geologist... [blah] sunny day in downtown Nashville.

How does one explain that in 2005, [blah] That my task to understand alluvial fan dynamics as influenced by tectonics and climate in the northern Basin and Range led to an interest in paleoclimate? That I did more work with fundamentals of scarp morphology and degradation than anyone? [blah] Yes, the nature of men is why this world has such problems. Not mankind, but men. But not all men.

I spent many years of my youth in a university. I earned degrees in economics and geology in 6 years. I became an expert in a computer mapping software. I went on to spend 3 years finishing every course for a PhD [blah]. [blah]

Most of my adult life was spent in college. How can this be? Hungry. I'm hungry for knowledge, beauty, and music. [blah] Only a clueless person would write this shit. [big blah] How does one explain [and another big blah] [blah] [bitter blah]

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