And now for some thing completely different…
We’re in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the 12th Annual Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp. Every year we have a few special guests at Camp. This year, one of our guests is Jim Connor, probably the best frailing banjo player in the world. Jim was a member of the New Kingston Trio with Bob Shane and Pat Horine. He also wrote Grandma’s Feather Bed which was a big hit for John Denver.
Jim is a great guy and a wonderful performer and story-teller. This is an old song but Jim has added lyrics and made it into a very timely piece of music. It’s called Ten Pounds of Possum.
Spencer Lewis. Some of you may know about Spencer. He’s been a long-time Bloodliner and supporter of John Stewart and his music. He’s been an outstanding multi-instrumentalist, composer and performer for even longer. Spencer lives in Vermont on 45 acres of land. He builds stone fences from old field stones and produces his own music. He also gives back to his community in many ways. One of the most enjoyable ways is through his music. On April 30, 2011, Spencer produced a concert in the Bethel Town Hall to benefit the Bethel Food Shelf. He was joined by some of his friends including some of the children from Randolph, Vermont.
This John Stewart song is perfect. It’s not a novelty performance as so many of the songs that feature young voices can be. This one is from the heart and is one of the sweetest songs I’ve heard.
Here is a link to Spencer Lewis and his music:
and here is Spencer and the children of Bethel, Vermont singing
One of the greatest gifts that John Stewart made was the gift of bringing friends together. Early on in the internet era John, Michelle Stevens, Ron Beffa and others started an internet chat group on AOL. It soon outgrew AOL and became Bloodlines; an internet group dedicated to John’s music. It also became the gathering place for some of the best people in the world. Lifelong friendships were made on the Bloodlines.
We recently lost one of the best. Mark Cashman passed of cardiac arrest on January 16, 2011. Mark loved music in general and John in particular. He was a frequent audience member whenever John played on the East coast and was known for his kindness and generosity to other Bloodliners. Mark was an accomplished musician and loved to play.
In 1999, along with a group of Bloodliners, Mark produced the Liner Notes cd that featured performances, by other Bloodliners, of John’s songs. Mark’s musical contribution was this great version of Cheyenne.
Our thoughts go out to Mark’s wife, Nancy. He will be missed by all of us.
photograph of Mark and Nancy Cashman at The Turning Point-2000 by the California Roadman
On August 2nd of 2010, Mitch Jayne passed away.
Along with Doug and Rodney Dillard and Dean Webb, Mitch entertained people for many years with the Dillards.
The Dillards were among the first of the bluegrass groups to feature electrified instruments. They were also known for their great humor and very high level of musicianship.
The song below is from a cd done by Jim and Salli Ratts and their group Runaway Express. I first heard this cd from my friend Bobbie Childress. She told me it was one of her favorites. After a few days of listening it was my favorite, too.
The cd is called Howling at the Moon and is available at the link below.
The song is called Ozark Nights and it is a tribute to the Dillards.
Let’s start with Floyd and a short history lesson. Floyd B. Olson lived in Minnesota in the early 1900’s. He was, among other things, a champion of the farmer and the workers of the state. In his early life he held many workingman jobs. He was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and a Populist.
In the 1930’s Floyd B. Olson became Governor of Minnesota. During his three terms as Governor, Olson was able to implement many progressive programs such as a progressive income tax, a social security program for the elderly, a guarantee of equal pay for women and a system of minimum wage and unemployment insurance.
Since his death there have been erected many monuments to him that proclaim him to be ‘Minnesota’s Greatest Governor”.
Today, Fred Grittner lives in St. Paul. I was fortunate in meeting Fred at one of the early Trio Fantasy Camps and became instant friends. Fred has great talent as a musician and a songwriter. He’s also one of the good guys. This song is written and performed by Fred. It is from a forthcoming cd of his music.The Floyd B. Olson Blues.
The first 30 seconds are the ringtone on my Iphone.
John’s fans are a mixed lot. Some of them come for the words. Some come for the music. Others come for the package.
Having been John’s partner in the music business for about 10 years I got to know these fans and appreciated their love and dedication to John.
One of the most interesting fans is a guy known only as Toft. When I first ran into him Toft lived in Hawai’i. He later moved to Thailand where he does graphic arts, photography and poetry.
He produced this piece of music. The song and performance was John Stewart. Toft is responsible for the rest of it. I don’t know if John ever heard it but I think he would have liked the result.
Toft calls it The Tiger’s Dance. We know the music as Dance With the Tiger.