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Monday Muse: Laurie Berkner

July 8, 2013

So far I have been blessed to to be spared the affront visited on all parents by their progeny, that they will have terrible taste in music.   It seems every generation is visited with this curse.  The old fuddy duddies hated, in no particular order; Jazz, Rock and Roll, New Wave, Disco, Rap, Trip-hop, Electronica, Heavy Metal, Chamber Music, Mozart,  The Blues, Swing, Sinatra, Choral Music, Country and Western, Bluegrass, AM I MISSING ANYTHING?

I’m positive that somewhere back in the mists of time there was a caveman lamenting to his cavewoman about the “Kids these days with their new fangled DRUMS,  Back in my day we banged two rocks together and that was damn fine music!  And don’t get me started on those obscene cave paintings grumble grumble…

Now there has been a slow infiltration of “new” music into the Hellions playlist.  Katy Perry pops up now and then.  The Peanut loves Thrift Shop for some reason (which is fine, because I do as well).  I’m fine with that though.  I don’t buy into generational music resentment.  There is always great music being made, and there has never been a better time than today to find it.  As the Who sang many years ago “The Kids are Alright”. They always have been.

Still, I’m glad that the most requested artist from the Hellions is still a “kids” musician.  And in my opinion the Queen of kids music today is Laurie Berkner.  Ms. Berkner  first appeared on our radar from her many guest spots on Nick Jr’s Jack’s Big Music Show, a delightful program that taught youngsters a lot about music  in fun and friendly fashion. It ceased production in 2007, but it’s absolutely worth your time to check it out. It will definitely be on my upcoming list of “Kids TV that won’t drive you bonkers or insult your intelligence”  It’s a longer list than I thought it would be.

Laurie mixes  her own takes on classics like “Wimoweh(the lion sleeps tonight” and “O Susanhah”, songs that grandma or grandpa can tap along to, with her delightful original compositions, little songwriting gems like “Victor Vito”, “Under a Shady Tree”, and “I’m a mess”.  And it’s in her original compositions that she really shines.  She writes inventive and challenging songs for an audience that is often ill served by Barneylevel dreck and recycled nursery rhymes  (Barney is definitely not on the list).

Still cranking out tunes at the age of 44 (she’s 6 months younger than me!),  The Laurie Berkner Band (Laurie, Susie Lampert on piano.  bassist Adam Bernstein, and drummer Bob Golden) are still writing and touring. In fact they will be in the Heart of it All at the Big Fun Kid’s Fest in Columbus, Ohio this September 1st.  Maybe we’ll see some of you there?


PS. The Wikipedia article on Laurie Berkner clued me into the term “Kindie Rock”.  I’ll be exploring that term and the artists it covers at a later date.


10 Years…

May 25, 2013

Ten years ago today the Girl  and Boy stood out in unseasonable rain and cold and exchanged vows in front of friends and family.  We danced and laughed and sang and turned that dreary afternoon into a night we will never forget.

10 years later, with three Hellions along for the ride, it is as obvious to me today as it was then that I’m with the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Today I celebrate 10 years with the love of my life, a love that has only grown deeper and more focused with the passing years.

Happy Anniversary Girl…


This is still our song…

The First of May… Not Safe For Work

May 1, 2013

It’s beautiful outside.  Just bought my tomatoes.  What, did you think cold winter was gonna last forever?

This is my favorite video of this song.

Better Bloggers than I: What’s Really Wrong With Congress? | The Weekly Sift

April 29, 2013

A new feature I’m trying.  I share a lot of links on my Facebook page, to other blogs, sometimes to news articles.  Then my conservative, religious or libertarian friends yell at me,  I yell back and a good time is had by all.   Which is great if you are my Facebook friend (if you aren’t my FB friend, well why not? I’m Facebook Easy; note I unfriend 9/11 truthers on sight).   But why limit the reach of my linkage to my Facebook friends when I can add a link here and nab both of my blog readers as well, besides it will automatically get linked to Facebook and Twitter anyways!

So my first installment will be to Doug Muder’s  excellent blog The Weekly Sift. He specializes in big thinky pieces and excels at the seemingly forgotten art of the long form blog.

What’s Really Wrong With Congress? | The Weekly Sift.

Today’s piece is a review of former Maine Representative Tom Allen’s new book “Dangerous Convictions:What’s Really Wrong  with the U.S. Congress”, a book that is on its way to my Kindle App as we type.  The Sift does a great job of hitting the salient points so go read there, because as the title says, he’s a Better Blogger than I.

Here’s a tease.

So the typical liberal/conservative debate in Congress these days looks like this: The liberal will present an evidence-based expertise-based plan to, say, deal with the economy’s measurable lack of demand by spending money to fix our roads and bridges. The conservative will respond with unquantifiable, uncheckable assertions that debt will destroy business confidence, and that unemployment will go down if we stop coddling the unemployed with extended benefits and instead cut regulations to give the “job creators” more freedom.

Where can the conversation go from there? There is literally nothing to talk about. As Allen says:

Our political polarization and dysfunctional public debate is largely driven by convictions and worldviews immune to contrary evidence and expertise.


Then go back and read everything else he has ever written. Go on… there will be a test…

Monday Muse: The Indigo Girls: Part the Second

April 15, 2013

So the Indigo Girls show at the Madison Theater show last month was so awesome that it broke the blog! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

So why am I a ginormous Indigo Girls fan?  Why am I one of those people in the crowd who knows the song they are playing by the end of the first chord?  That still freaks out the girl a little bit.  I guess it starts way back in the 90’s when I heard this song on 97X (BAM! the future of Rock and Roll)

First and aside about WOXY, modern rock, and the misunderstood term “alternative” music.  A few years ago on A Prairie Home Companion, host Garrison Keillor, after a performance by Wilco asked (I’m paraphrasing from memory) something to the effect of; “They call you guys alternative, but ‘alternative’ to what? That just sounded good!”.   Here Keillor makes the mistake a lot of folks make in trying to use “alternative” to define a sound or style of music.  What alternative means to me is not a style of music, but instead a style of music programming.  What made WOXY “alternative” was not that they played a bunch of music that fit a certain style or genre, but that they eschewed genre almost altogether and just programmed music that “just sounded good” to their dj’s and their listeners. And they were unafraid to mix things up. So you could hear Tori Amos, the Nine Inch Nails,  REM, The Throwing Muses,  classic Ramones, and then an Indigo Girls tune back to back to back.  Which is how I got clued in to this duo from Georgia singing about an Italian astronomer.

Back to the tunes…

It didn’t start out as fanaticism like my Over the Rhine fandom, it was something that grew slowly, building purchase by purchase, release after release.  The Indigo Girls became the comforting voice that filled the cold and scary times of my life with warmth, intelligence and passion.   By the time their excellent double live album “1200 Curfews” was released I was a dedicated fan. It was to see the Girls live for the first time that I went to the first Lilith Fair tour at Riverbend.  This is what they opened with and it still blows me away.

That’s actually from the current tour.  The young men forming much of the band are the Shadowboxers , who are just adorable, even though their sound isn’t quite up my alley they are damn talented and I expect them to grow into something pretty cool.

I could go on and on and on talking about the Girls activism for LGBT rights,  Amy Ray’s solo albums,  their support for independent artists, the way that consistently prove to be very cool people as well as accomplished artists, but that’s what wikipedia articles are for.  I’ll end for now by saying that I have more to say about my favorite band, but 500 words at a time is all my brain will bang out right now. More to come in future installments.  Seriously, I might end up going album by album at some point.


PS: There, I wrote a blog post… can I go back to blowing up large sections of Pandora now?

poor sorry sad blog…

April 8, 2013

So I let the blog go fallow for a couple of weeks and I’m not even getting spam anymore… Will fix that soon!

Monday Muse: The Indigo Girls

March 5, 2013




Ok… I’ll calm down…


It has been ten long years since I have been to an Indigo Girls show.  That is TOO FUCKING LONG!!!

That song wasn’t even RELEASED ten years ago!!!

Breathe man… deep cleansing breaths…

I’ll explain this later… I promise…


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