Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Art of Craft

I've been thinking about the art of craft lately. And vice versa. It seems as though the line between the two is very fine. When does a cooking trade become a culinary art? And when does wood working become sculpting? It's not the tools you use or even the ingredients it seems. Is it a matter of utility and purpose? If the pipe were to be a real pipe instead of a painting of a pipe, it would serve the purpose to burn and enjoy tobacco. But isn't it also sometimes the pleasure of holding the wooden shape in your hand? Enjoying the hand carved curves, and feeling the passage of time smooth its wooden contours? So how is that different than enjoying the idea of a pipe? I guess to me, the drawing of a pipe tells a story more than anything.

All these thoughts were brought up after playing a show in Johnson City, TN. Why? Maybe after speaking to various people about their various crafty university programs, such as: Bluegrass and Old Time, and, my favorite of all, Storytelling. Yes you can get your masters degree in the (art?) (craft?) of storytelling.
There is also the International Storytelling Center right outside of town in Jonesborough, tn!

I think part of me keeled over and fell in love with that town. Now sure, you probably don't need to go and spend money on a program like that if you already live in the Appalachian mountains and could learn from you old neighbor down the street, but if it's beginning to be a lost art, then why not? I'm glad it's out there. And people go to school for all kinds of crazy useless things, like philosophy and literature, so I don't really see the big difference frankly.

When it comes down to it, isn't everything a story to be told? Don't know what exactly this all has to do with my question about art and craft, but I know it relates somehow. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hey folks, I got a job. After living on nothing for 2 months (I'm still living on basically nothing), I miraculously got a job picking up shifts at a vegetarian restaurant. And it's the first one I've ever cooked for! I strangely love it, but that may be because it's one of the most friendly, easy going work places I've ever been in. Everyone works hard, it's just that we all help each other out and no one's grumpy about their job. I's a bit creepy. The other part of it is that they let me go on tour! And I'm not alone. You can't throw a stone without hitting a musician there.

Other news is that my roommate chopped all my hair off yesterday. Actually more like buzzed. It was the first time I had a buzzer taken to my noggin, and I have to say, it was quite liberating. It's definitely got character seeing as how some parts are longer than others, but I like it because i don't have to worry about it. I know it's not really hair buzzing season now that it's cooling off, but I was sick of the previous. Don't have any pictures, so you'll have to use your imagination.

I have to be going...I'm going into the restaurant today to help with a deep cleaning. So I must say au revoir for now.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On the road again

This tour has been a roller coaster unpalatable to those with weak stomachs. In other words, we have not coasted, but rather have had severe highs and lows. Musically speaking, we've had some rough luck. Some due to canceled shows, and some due to no-show shows. Non-musically speaking, we've witnessed a shooting in Cleveland, and we missed a show in Iowa due to our car breaking down in Minnesota. Good news? Our car is fixed, (it was just the glow plugs that needed to be replaced), and instead of moping around in Iowa, we sold a large handful of CDs at an open mike which not only made up for our lost show, but for the car expenses we'd acquired too.
So here we are in Salt Lake City, getting ready to embark on a 2 day journey through desert winds and heat so we can make it to the great supple earth of California (or so people like to think), in hopes of completing the remainder of our tour with high spirits and worthwhile shows.

It's hard to even try to summarize our trip so far since there's been many ups and downs, and it may be the full moon and my hormonal body speaking, but I could certainly use a moral boost. Maybe a couple of days in the desert 100 miles out from any working toilet will be a good place to cleanse my mind and clotted notion of where we are and where we're headed in life.
For those of you that actually read this blog when I actually keep up with it, I thank you for taking the time to stop and tune in to my little stories. It means a lot to know that even a couple of people are connected to me at a time when my life is transitory and friends are a distant idea. But I want to let you know that if I was at one point lucky enough to have cooked dinner with you, played scrabble with you, listened to music with you, come up with unforgivable but decidedly good puns, then you can be sure that I have a sentimental corner in my brain kept just for you.

I have been too cheeseball today. But these are my sincere thoughts. I doubt I will gain access to blog until out of the desert, so until then, stay cool and go for a swim!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fall Tour '09

Richmond, VA

This is our friend Alison who is 'Alison Self' who played a house show with us in her lovely Virginia home.

Old friends embracing.

Our musical traveling partner Rae, or, 'One Tough Cookie' saying hello to a house cat.

It's a stand-off.

Dave and Stu and Williamsburg on our way to get delicious Italian food.

These are all views from Dave's uncles' apartment balcony/fire escape. Beautiful, no?

"View from Brooklyn no. 1"

"View from Brooklyn no. 2"

"View from Brooklyn no. 3"

Goodbye New York.

Detroit, MI
The Trumbullplex. Just your average crumbling mansion.

And just your average across the street crumbling mansion neighbor.
Oh Detroit, I think we have a future together.

More pictures to come...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

what to say in the new year

Well, it's true. I haven't said a thing since June, and I apologize. This is awkward because I am trying to type every so softly while Dave sings earnestly in front of me to record a song we're doing on our upcoming full length. I'm tuning out a little, but there are words that keep turning up: "Cause there's nothing left to say."

"I know as little as one can know"

There are so many lines in the song that are quandaries in themselves.

That's how I've felt for the last 6 months or so. I've had trouble surmising the words to paste up here on this page. I feel like there have been so many transitions for us this year. We finally made one more to start off the new year though. We made a move to a cozy new house with some friends. We'll have Food Not Bombs here, we'll have shows in our shed, (which we've dubbed "The Outhouse"), and we're getting settled in our really comfy attic space which is our new bedroom, music studio, office space, meditation room and library, all in one.
It is indeed out with the old, in with the new this year and a new life has been birthed in this dwelling. It should be just the thing for our time here in Nashville when staying still between tours.
Let's see if we can manage to stay in one place this time for more than 6 months. And I'll try to find some place within me to spout thoughts and words and things that I don't know the meaning of, even if "there's nothing left to say."

Friday, June 12, 2009

'Everywhere it goes it rains on me'

I only say this because two of my best memories so far on tour are the cooling rains that have come after a very hot day. One was in New Orleans and one was in Austin. So the title is not a complaint, but rather a suggestion that the universe is taking care of us.

For the first time, I understood the meaning of summer. Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, I don't think I quite comprehended it. But somehow, traveling for only a week, I've gotten used to small doses of the thick omnipresent heat. New Orleans, that was like walking through a swamp at all times. But oh how lush, beautiful and vibrant a place that was. We were mainly hanging out at the local infoshop, Iron Rail, all day, and on our way back to the car, we were walking down a street as it started to drizzle a nice warm rain, and before us was a beautiful, large majenta tinted Crepe Myrtle tree. It's flowers were glowing amid the greying, cloud-absorbing sky. Standing below them was an older man, maybe in his 60s, wearing a mirror image of the tree's color. He stood barefoot in the damp warm street with his red-pink shirt barely buttoned to stay on, and his bald smiling face waited expectantly for the rain to cool down his city. I commented on the trees flowers and how they perfectly matched his blouse, and he proudly agreed saying I was the second person to stop and notice this. He then explained the history of the Crepe Myrtle and how he adored it, which is the only reason I am able to write about these trees in a mentionable way. For instance, I did not know it was called a Crepe Myrtle until he told me (and even spelled it out for me).

The next day, Dave and I walked to the Mississippi and sat in the shade, and while he sat through meditation, I read and took pictures.

So there's New Orleans for you. But just a tiny piece of it.

Last night we were in Austin, and we had an amazing show at Monkey Wrench Books with our friend Jordan Moser, and That Damned Band, who are AMAZING people and musicians. You MUST listen to their music. They have humbled me until I die and I have the deepest respect for them. The second rain on our tour came in Austin, and started right as the show began with a gigantic black cloud that filled the sky until the rain poured and didn't recede until the show ended. It was very fitting especially because That Damned Band had a song about hurricane Katrina.
We all went to the damn band's house and played music all night until the wee hours and when Dave and I went back to our friend Jordan's house, we both passed out happily and drunk on their couch. I wish I had a picture to show us in such a state, but sadly I do not.

Okay friends, I will have more to tell soon. So far, this trip is so good, I might just have to think twice about going back to work when I return.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Springtime = Sneezetime and more...

May has been a crazy time for me. Aside from the sneezy springtime blues, life has been full of some promising moments and new direction. Dave and I have started to work on a farm about once a week as a part of a working share for a local CSA. It's our friends Stephanie and Brett's farm called Bramble Hill Farm. They're wonderful people and are so devoted to what they do on their land. If you visit them, prepare to be inspired by their hard work, beautiful land, and tasty vegetables. You can read about all their recent accomplishments as young farmers in the magazine Table, which talks about local and sustainable food in and around Nashville.

It's slowly been getting hotter and hotter during the day, but luckily has been cooling down at night somewhat, which won't be the case later this summer. Especially not when we'll be in places in the heat of the summer such as Alabama, Texas, and Arizona. Fun hot times. We're only here in Nashville for a week more before we hit the road, and that leaves very little time to get ready, pack and move. I always forget how much I detest moving out of an apartment, and then I remember as soon as I have to empty shelves and drawers, clean scuffed walls, and take down art. This time around, it's also been an omen, telling me to appreciate our last days before we have no home of our own for at least a month.

So the traveling musicians flee once again, only hoping to return with some tales.