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Friday, September 9, 2011

Acoustic Americana Music Guide NEWS FEATURES, September 9, 2011 edition

    This section of the Guide is the NEWS, including a quick look at September's highlights.
The Guide's SPOTLIGHT EVENTS – the big ol' huge catalog and full abundance of the acoustic music spectrum – are a click away at   
Let's get started!
        Welcome to the  
    Tied to the Tracks  
                              MUSIC GUIDE
                                        NEWS FEATURES
                                                       September 9, 2011 edition
  1) Frightful Heat Comes and Goes, but Upcoming Music is Delightful  
  2) Performance Workshop: Learn from Successful Indies, Saturday at the Autry  
  3) And Now for Something Completely Different: PHIL WARD, this Friday Night  
  4) “Equinox Folk Music, Dance & Storytelling Festival” is this Weekend  
  5) Blues in House: HUGH LAURIE the Musician  
  6) “Songwriter Sanctum,” Local Recurring Event, Gets Media Attention  
  7) “Millpond Music Festival” Brings Fine Lineup, September 16-18  
  8) 9-11's Legacy: The Part Played by Artists, and What's Still to be Done  
       Here are this week's news feature stories, listed above...    
Our # 1 Story
    Yikes! Summer is ENDING!? ALREADY!? That even effects stuff indoors, as the “Grand Ole Echo” series ends its 2011 season this month. Fortunately, some fine festivals are still ahead, starting this coming weekend. Lots of detailed, chronological listings and write-ups are in our current Spotlight Events Section, and the highlights are previewed right here.
    Briefly, here's a look at September's key events, starting with the FESTIVALS...
    THIS WEEKEND will thankfully be 20 degrees cooler than it's been, just in time for the 2nd annual CTMS “FALL EQUINOX FOLK MUSIC, STORYTELLING & DANCE FESTIVAL,” on the 10th & 11th. (See our separate feature story; keep reading for more on this weekend.) Meanwhile, in OC, there's the annual “TALL SHIPS FESTIVAL” at Dana Point Harbor, and east of San Diego is the annual “JULIAN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL.”
    Then, the following weekend brings the always wonderful “MILLPOND MUSIC FESTIVAL” near Bishop; that's the 16th-18th, in the beautiful Eastern Sierra country. (There's a feature story here on that one, too.)
    The “INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY WEEKEND” arrives September 17, with maritime music in San Pedro and a celebration for the kids at the L.A. County Fair in Pomona.
    September 24, there's the 17th annual “HARVEST FESTIVAL OF DULCIMERS” Plus, the same day brings the annual “CASTAIC DAYS” at the big reservoir just a little ways up I-5, with a 7 pm happy feet Cajun set by Grammy nominees LISA HALEY & THE ZYDECATS.
    CONCERTS happily continue – BIG – all this month, weekends and weeknights, back-to-school sales or not. The veritable cavalcade of acoustic concerts mostly moves indoors, but you can still catch some sun with your music. It all just keeps on comin' here in Southern California.
    OUTDOORS in September, the Ford Amphitheatre's annual Celtic extravaganza arrives the 18th, and the big bluegrass show happens there on the 25th. DON HENLEY (EAGLES) plus LUCINDA WILLIAMS play the Greek Theatre on the 17th, and EMMYLOU HARRIS plays there on the 27th with her RED DIRT BOYS plus PATTY GRIFFIN & BUDDY MILLER.
    THIS WEEKEND – OUTDOORS, on Saturday, at 7:30 pm is “ONE LIGHT: AN ECUMENICAL COMMEMORATION OF 9-11-01” at Los Angeles City Hall, west steps, downtown L.A., performed by a chorus of one hundred voices.
    Sunday, in addition to the EQUINOX FESTIVAL, there's the annual “TALL SHIPS FESTIVAL” at Dana Point Harbor, and the annual “JULIAN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL,” and the “BEST OF THE 2011 TOPANGA BANJO•FIDDLE CONTESTANTS” are in concert, including WOMEN ON THE MOVE, in a free performance co-sponsored by the National Park Service and the Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest organization at Peter Strauss Ranch in the Santa Monica Mtns. Nat’l. Rec. Area. (Plus what's happening in Dana Point and Julian – see above.)
    Friday, September 9 brings the fabulous HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN to Boulevard Music, and THE SCARLET FURIES plus THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR are at the Coffee Gallery Backstage. Either way, a good prep for the weekend's Equinox Festival.
    Saturday, the 10th, there's a VERY impressive afternoon performance workshop for artists at the Autry with five top Western artists (the contents will help any performer in any genre; see the feature story). Up nawth in Goleta, San Diego-based BERKLEY HART play the Song Tree Concert Series.
    This Saturday's CONCERTS are plentiful. From 3-5 in Pasadena, you can catch MURPHY'S FLAW. Later, the “Four Friends Acoustic Music Series” returns for its second season with DAN NAVARRO and MATT CARTSONIS, plus VICKI PETERSON of THE BANGLES for a few solos; that's in Thousand Oaks. The monthly “GRASSROOTS ACOUSTICA,” named “Best Acoustic Show" in Los Angeles Magazine's “Best of L.A. 2011,” brings JUDE JOHNSTONE, RONSTADT GENERATIONS, GARY ALLEGRETTO, MARVIN ETZIONI, IAN ESPINOZA, BYRON PFEIFER, & MARK ISLAM, at The Talking Stick. MOIRA SMILEY & VOCO are at the Folk Music Center in Claremont. FREEBO plays Westwood Music. Or, dust off yer boots, 'cause RUSTY RICHARDS (SONS OF THE PIONEERS), plus WMA Best Female Artist of 2010 MARY KAYE are t the Autry on Sunday afternoon. (She's at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, solo, Saturday night, and ELI BARSI plays that venue Sunday afternoon, after playing Out West in Newhall on Friday night.)
    Sunday afternoon the 11th, MARK ST. MARY plays the zydeco dance in Long Beach. The weekly “GRAND OLE ECHO” has only 3 shows left this year; this week brings CRAIG ELKINS (formerly of HUFFAMOOSE), RIVER ROUGE, MAXIM LUDWIG & THE SANTA FE SEVEN, & MARK LENNON, all at the Echoplex. The renowned GONZALO BERGARA QUARTET plays the Coffee Gallery Backstage Sunday evening.
    Tuesday, the 13th brings “ALL FOR THE HALL” with ZAC BROWN, SHERYL CROW, VINCE GILL & EMMYLOU HARRIS at Club Nokia in downtown L.A. Meanwhile, THE GOURDS plus EAGLE EYE WILLIAMS are at The Echo.
    Thursday the 15th, SALTY SUITES, the acoustic ensemble of SCOTT GATES, CHUCK HAILES, & CHELSEA WILLIAMS, returns to the Coffee Gallery Backstage, plus a set by THE WIMBERLEY BLUEGRASS BAND.
    September's NEXT weekend is a horn of plenty! If you're not at Millpond, don't sit home:
    Friday, September 16 brings entirely too many choices, with SLAID CLEAVES at McCabe's, MICHAEL CHAPDELAINE at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, and CHRIS STUART & JANET BEAZLEY (both of BACKCOUNTRY) plus RACHEL SEDACCA at the “Camarillo Café Concert Series” in Ventura County.
    The next night, Saturday, the 17th, TRACY GRAMMER plays “The Living Tradition” series in Anaheim, SLAID CLEAVES plays the Folk Music Center in Claremont, MOYA BRENNAN and CORMAC DE BARRA (masters of the Irish harp) play the Caltech Folk Music Society series on the campus in Pasadena, MARY GAUTHIER & LORI McKENNA are at McCabe's, BLAME SALLY plays Russ and Julie’s House Concert series, and there's a long awaited ELDERLOCKE reunion show at the Coffee Gallery Backstage.
    Sunday the 18th brings a pair of afternoon special events, as FUR DIXON & STEVE WERNER record a show for a live CD at Alva's Showroom, and “THE BERNIE PEARL L.A. BLUES REVUE” with BARBARA MORRISON, plus SHERRY PRUITT and BIG JAMIE POWELL, is the latest “Ash Grove Concert Series” offering at Tropico de Nopal Gallery in L.A. THE GRAND OLE ECHO nears the end of its season and September 18th brings “Gramathon” with roots artists celebrating the works of the late GRAM PARSONS; backed by the THE PALAMINO RIDERS, JESSE HARRIS, GREG HARRIS, JAY DEE MANESS, MIKE BAKER, & DON HEFFINGTON, are guest artists BRENNEN LEIGH, SUSAN JAMES, BRIAN WHELAN, LESLIE STEVENS, DAN JANISCH, & DAVID SERBY, at the Echo. TRACY GRAMMER with JIM HENRY are at the Coffee Gallery Backstage that evening. And don't overlook the outdoor shows or the Millpond Festival that same weekend.
    Looking ahead with a “tickets alert,” Sunday the 25th brings JIM LAUDERDALE plus PIETA BROWN to McCabe's. The same evening is the very last GRAND OLE ECHO for 2011, with
SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS, and it may sell-out. Tix are $12 advance, $14 doors, and this one, unlike the season so far, is an 18+ show; it's at the Echo.
    Elsewhere along the left coast, there's the annual “Mt. Hood Festival of the Forest” (September 11, in Oregon), the annual “Cascade Zydeco Dance Camp” (September 16-18, in Oregon), and the annual “Seafarer's Marketplace & Pirate Festival” (September 24 & 25, in Sacramento) all are listed in our Spotlight Events section to help anyone planning a road trip.
    This month will be so lively that we'll hardly notice it's autumn. (Hey, in Southern California, it's not like we usually notice that, anyway.) Here are some song lyrics to help us note the passing of the seasons:
            It seems a shame to see September swallowed by the wind.
            More than that, it's oh-so-sad to see the summer end.
            And though the changing colors are a lovely thing to see,
            If it were mine to make the change, I think I'd let it be.
            But I don't remember hearing anybody asking me.
                  – John Denver, from “Fall” – part of the “Season Suite.”
    Perhaps we'll see you at the Equinox Fest or Millpond, or at the Ford or the Greek or the Hollywood Bowl before they close for the year, or at one of Southern Cal's fine indoor venues!
Our # 2 Story
    Organizers have assembled a panel of successful men and women artists who ask, “Do you offer a complete performance package? Is your tip jar empty? How's your calendar? Too many open dates? Do you find yourself alone at the CD table? CD stock gathering dust? Are you riding the crest of social media or drowning in its whirlpool? Have you reached a plateau in your career?”
    Saturday, the 10th, an afternoon performance workshop titled “PUT YOUR 'BEST FOOT FORWARD'” will bring FIVE top Western artists to the Autry to address these issues and more, and though the artists work in one genre, the contents will help any performer in any genre.
    Promising “Your questions and experiences are welcome! This is all about YOU and your audience!” the panelists are award-winning grassroots indie musicians and one who has recorded on a major label.
    And WHAT a panel! Here's a look...
    * BELINDA GAIL is a six-time WMA Female Performer of the Year.
    * TOM HIATT has earned WMA nominations as Entertainer, Male Performer, and Songwriter of the Year.
    * MARILYN TUTTLE, Grand Dame of Western Music, won the 2007 WMA Pioneer Trail Award and was TV and Capitol Records recording artist.
    * ROB WOLFSKILL is leader of the TUMBLING TUMBLEWEEDS, the group that won the WMA's 2008 Crescendo and Harmony Awards, and 2008 AWA Best Western Group award.
    * MARY KAYE, 2010 WMA Female Performer of the Year.
    * The moderator is BOBBIE JEAN BELL, nominee for WMA DJ/Radio Program of the Year (“Around the Barn,” KHTS 1220 AM co-host and SCVTV co-host of the OutWest Concert Series on cable TV.
    This rather amazing program is presented by the Western Music Association's California Chapter, it's at The Autry National Center (Autry Museum), 4700 Western Heritage Way, in L.A.'s Griffith Park. (Be aware that entering the park closest to the zoo often brings traffic jam delays, so it's best to enter near Travel Town or from Los Feliz.) Info and reservations, 818-365-8709; The workshop runs 1 to 4 pm, and the fee is $20.
Our # 3 Story
    PHIL WARD, talented multi-instrumental musician-songwriter-actor-comedian and Trough Records recording artist, has a one-show-only opportunity that really is right up his alley. It's Friday, September 9 at 10:30 pm at the ComedySportz Theatre in Hollywood. Sure, he's the go-to-guy anytime they need a substitute at Disneyland for the BILLY HILL & THE HILLBILLIES show. But this will allow him to really stretch.
    Phil says, “I have the honor of being the musical guest when 'Up Late With Adam Fisher,' a fake late-night TV talk show that’s written as it’s being performed, moves to prime time and starts Season Two. I'll be playing a made-up famous musician, improvising a song based on an audience suggestion. Other guests include PAUL F. TOMPKINS and the lads behind the 'Superego' podcast. The show comes complete with a writing staff (featuring actual late-night TV writers), a house band, and comic guest bits, all improvised before your eyes. See it to believe it.”
    Tickets and directions at More info and funny stuff at Catch up with Phil's larger world at    
Our # 4 Story
    First, this weekend will be MUCH cooler, about 20 degrees below what Southern California has been experiencing with the sudden arrival of triple-digits and high humidity at the end of an unseasonably cool summer. So there's no reason to fear heatstroke at the 2nd annual “Equinox” event presented by the California Traditional Music Society.
    Second, if you're broke, you can become a volunteer, commit to 3 hours, and your admission is free.
    It all happens this Saturday & Sunday, September 10 & 11. It has a rather unusual aspect, with Saturday night's two concerts a long ways from one another. Saturday and Sunday ARE all-day affairs at the main festival site, with workshops, performances, and lots more.     Featured artists are MICK MOLONEY, GINNY HAWKER & TRACY SCHWARZ, OLD SLEDGE, the East Coast based LISSA SCHNECKENBERGER BAND; more on them and others is below, so keep reading.
    In addition, new info has been recently added to the festival page on the sponsoring organization's website, at    
    Saturday evening brings a choice of TWO concerts. One is a Celtic-themed concert with THE MULCAHY FAMILY and MICK MOLONEY at 7:30 pm (7 pm doors) at Throop Church, 300 S Los Robles Av, Pasadena 91101. The other is an old-time concert with TRIPLE CHICKEN FOOT, OLD SLEDGE, and THOMAS MAUPIN at 8 pm (doors at 7:30) at HM157, 3110 N Broadway, Lincoln Heights 90031.
    Saturday and Sunday's DAYTIME festival events are thirty miles away from Pasadena. That's where you'll find “The Rancho,” Rancho Cordillera del Norte, and the multi-stage, multi-workshop all-day, two-day festival, at 9015 Wilbur Av, Northridge 91324.
    Altogether, it's 43 world-class “traditional” performers (with more being added), 70 workshops, 12 hours of dance and an all-day children’s area.
    Performers include:
Legendary Irish musician MICK MOLONEY
Old-time fiddle and banjo icon DAN GELLERT
World-class New England fiddler and singer LISSA SCHNECKENBURGER and her fine band
Outstanding Appalachian singer GINNY HAWKER
Multi-instrumentalist TRACY SCHWARZ, a former NEW LOST CITY RAMBLER
OLD SLEDGE, among the brightest new generation of Appalachian performers
Champion buckdancer THOMAS MAUPIN
16-year-old banjo prodigy DANIEL ROTHWELL
and other musicians still being added.
    Other daytime activities include live music for the Dance Area; a “participatory folk dance tent” with live music,;dozens of workshops on everything from shape note singing to spoons to songwriting to storytelling; jam sessions (bring your acoustic instrument, from strings to hand percussion to whatever you don't need to plug in).
    A “Family Area” will include dance, music, games and crafts, so this is very kid-friendly.
    An expo of local folk arts non-profits will be on hand, along with craft and food vendors.
    CTMS tells us, “The Fall Equinox Folk Music, Storytelling and Dance Festival is a two-day, teaching arts festival that exemplifies CTMS' guiding principles. CTMS believes that through sharing and celebrating traditional arts, we can better know ourselves, our neighbors, and can become more compassionate citizens of the world. Through artistic interaction, we create opportunities to dissolve misunderstandings, break down stereotypes and increase respect for one another.”
    A Weekend Pass, with your choice of one of the Saturday evening concerts, is $55. A one-day pass for either day is $25. Students with ID (verified at the gate) are $10 for one day, or $30 for a weekend pass. Children age 10 and under are free. Two-day Advance tix, available now, include the Saturday evening concert in Pasadena, and “are an even greater value.” Purchase tickets at    
    If you're broke, you can become a volunteer, commit to 3 hours, and your admission is free! Contact Wyatt Stone at before all the choice volunteer time slots are filled. Visit for the actual job descriptions. The Workshop schedule is posted on the CTMS site, so you can try to schedule your volunteer time and be free to attend what you most want to see. More info about CTMS is at or call 818-817-7756. 
Our # 5 Story
    Actor HUGH LAURIE, TV's cantankerous doctor “House,” is rapidly gaining notice as a blues musician. He has a new CD that's #2 on the Blues Chart. And he's out promoting it, making the rounds of late night and early morning shows, revealing his British accent and his credible blues singing voice. Like ERIC CLAPTON did a generation ago, Laurie is introducing a consummately Americana genre to Americans who've never heard it.
    That brings us to his latest performing appearance, Thursday morning (September 8) on NBC's “Today” show. It brought a maddening and repetitive reference by co-host ANN CURRY, who kept calling the music “jazz” and seemed incapable of grasping that it is THE BLUES.
    Note to Ann: check out some HOWLIN' WOLF and LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS and KELLY'S LOT and BERNIE PEARL and DOUG MacLEOD and TERESA JAMES. Ann, you don't hear blues in an elevator, and anyone doing a boring and incongruous five-note motif on the saxophone in a blues band – over and over and over like a brain-dead broken record – would be shot.
    Curiously, Hugh Laurie the bluesman never corrected her. Note to Hugh: Dr. House would NEVER have let that error go unchallenged.
    Of course, beyond the blues, Laurie-as-musician is consistent with a trend: a successful actor assembles a band of top session players that most singers or singer-songwriter-guitarists could never afford to take on the road, and someone goes on the payroll who knows how to do good arrangements and match keys and chords with the actor's ability to sing; the collective power of the actor's name recognition and the musicianship of the band gets notice, powered by segments on national TV, resulting in sufficient sales for a place on the charts.
    Some actor-musicians reveal themselves as instrumental virtuosos – like STEVE MARTIN on the banjo – and some are first-rate songwriters whose acting ability assures marvelous banter and storytelling at their live shows, like folksinger-guitarist RONNY COX and voice actor / performing songwriter WILL RYAN (WILL RYAN & THE CACTUS COUNTY COWBOYS). All have been musicians for years, though known first for their other artistic pursuits.
    There are plenty of other actor-musicians of varying musical merit, from the KEVIN KLEIN BAND to THE BACON BROTHERS BAND to KEVIN COSTNER to DANNY BONADUCE to JOHNNY CRAWFORD.
    In Laurie's case, his singing voice and his band propel his live performance; Laurie can barely play the acoustic six string he holds on stage. (We haven't heard his CD.)
    Still, we can't help but observe that the best, musically, on the “actor-becomes-musician” scene is trending toward the genres of folk-Americana. Contrast that with the “musician-becomes-actor” crowd of the past decade, who parlayed their soundalike sh-thump-thud, electronically altered, pounding pop music and tabloid pop-celebrity into pop-acting careers, like JENNIFER LOPEZ and EMINEM and MARIAH CAREY.
    We celebrate the arrival of HUGH LAURIE the blues singer, just as we continue to celebrate actors STEVE MARTIN and RONNY COX and WILL RYAN as wonderful musicians. All are introducing larger audiences to American roots music. It's an age when national fiddle champs, and flatpicking champs, and fingerstyle champs, and slide guitar champs, and national mandolin and dulcimer champs get neither TV appearances nor mainstream radio airplay. So the role of the actor-musician in recruiting some of the best instrumental artists and fielding great acoustic bands has reached new importance. They're broadening exposure for roots music virtuosos and for the ongoing folk-Americana resurgence in our celebrity-obsessed culture. And they're doing it by using their own celebrity to bring the media and the people.
Our # 6 Story
    “Songwriter Sanctum,” produced and booked by DANA CHARNOFSKY, is a monthly showcase series held at the Church in Ocean Park, a few blocks from the beach in Santa Monica. I
    The series was profiled in a recent article in UCLA's campus newspaper, “The Daily Bruin.” The focus? “Folk music is alive and well.”
    It was a message shared with 40,000 university students. You can read it at    
    Dana was already celebrating because folk historian-songwriter and Legend Award winner ROSS ALTMAN had just mentioned the series “as one of the folk music events to catch around Los Angeles.”
    Performing at the most recent show, September 4, were LISA SANDERS, JAMES HURLEY, GARRET SWAYNE, and ANNA MONTGOMERY. There's always a good mix of male and female performers, as solo acts and acoustic bands.
    The series runs the 1st or 2nd Sunday each month, so always check before you go. It's always free, though donations for the artists are appreciated. A potluck is included, with snacks and beverages provided by the hosts.
    Dana adds that “Kids and calm, quiet dogs are welcome.” Wagging tails are common here.
    Some free street parking is in the neighborhood, but always bring quarters in case metered parking is all you can find (this IS near the beach).    
    The venue is The Church in Ocean Park, 235 Hill St, Santa Monica 90405. Though the church is not the sponsor, some info on the series is on their web site at or by phone at 310-399-1631. Unfortunately, it's not handicap-accessible; there are stairs. 
    The series has a new web presence,    
Our # 7 Story
    The Annual “Millpond Music Festival” is, reliably, year-after-year, the best “end-of-the-summer” traditional and new acoustic music festival in California. You'll see headliners DAVID LINDLEY, LOS LOBOS, RAY BONNEVILLE, THE BILLS, MARC ATKINSON TRIO, and INCENDIO, plus plenty more.
    This year's festival is Friday-through-Sunday, September 16-18.
    If you can drive to Mammoth to ski, this is closer, up the same Hwy 395. (The 14 Fwy from L.A. or the Valley is a good cutoff to reach 395.) It's at Millpond County Park / Campground, six miles northeast of Bishop (zip 93514).
    Here's the lineup, day-by-day:
    Friday Night - Main Stage
6:30 pm Fiddlin' Pete & Friends     
7:35 pm David Lindley     
9:10 pm Mumbo Gumbo     
    Saturday - Main Stage
1 pm Buster Blue     
2:10 pm Marc Atkinson Trio     
3:30 pm Joe Craven Trio     
4:50 pm The Bills     
7 pm Poor Man's Whiskey     
8:45 pm Incendio     
    Saturday - Workshop Tent
There are seven time slots, with various festival artists leading sessions.
    Sunday - Main Stage
9 am Xitlahuac Estrellas de Mexico Latin Dancers
10 am Sage Romero
11:05 am Eddy Evans Band
12:10 pm Ray Bonneville     
1:20 pm Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan
2:35 pm Cafe Musique     
4:05 pm Masanga Marimba Ensemble     
6 pm Los Lobos     
    Sunday - Workshop Tent
There are seven time slots, with various festival artists leading sessions.
    This festival isn't overcrowded and you don't wait interminably long at the snack bar (which offers good food.) You can take your own chow, ice chest, whatever you like. Tent camping is around one side of the picturesque mill pond, and early birds get spots shaded by big cottonwood trees. Car parking is close enough you can access it easily (but you can't sleep in your car in the regular parking lot). Jamming in the RV campground is always good, and the campground has token-operated showers for all festival participants.
    There's more info at or you can contact or call 760-873-8014. For Bishop area lodging, restaurants & more, go to
    We'll have more in our next edition, but this motivate you to indulge yourself in one, last, summer festival fling, get your tickets, and reserve your campground space or a motel in town.    
Our # 8 Story
    Saturday at 7:30 pm is “ONE LIGHT: AN ECUMENICAL COMMEMORATION OF 9-11-01” at Los Angeles City Hall, west steps, downtown L.A., performed by a chorus of one hundred voices. It's just the Preamble of a larger work in progress that sets the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to music. (There's more in our Spotlight Events section.)
    Perhaps you wrote a song – or more – following 9-11, to help yourself or the rest of us comprehend or cope or make some kind of sense of it. Perhaps your song should be resurrected, or perhaps you now see it as something that served its purpose at the time. Have you moved on? Have we, as a nation, as a society, as humanity, moved on? Will we ever? And is the phrase, “moved on,” one that sounds too abrupt, insensitively dismissive, regardless of what we individually intend if we apply it here?
    Who can cite the date without delving into a well of emotions? Once, it was the number you called in an emergency. Then it was a day so tragic that no one bothered to note the irony of countless 9-1-1 calls made on that on 9-11 and the unprecedented loss of life to emergency responders trying to protect others.
    9-11 became forever engraved in history, as indelibly as December 7th. 9-11 became the shorthand date of an appallingly shocking and ultimate disaster, one wrought by fervently misguided religious zealotry that manifested as the inhuman hatred of man. It was a disaster, though not one brought by the mechanics of nature. It's become even sadder as one invoked and exploited by opportunistic politicians and fear-mongering profiteers ever since.
    A decade later, the charity of countless Americans has contributed to ease the dreadful pain of loss to families of 9-11's dead. Even so, thousands of sick and struggling r9-11 responders – poisoned by breathing toxic dusts during the months of search and recovery phases – are still struggling to get help with health care that could ease their suffering, bring hope of saving their lives (often terribly diminished) and provide for the needs of their families after their careers were cut short by a myriad of respiratory and nervous system-related disabilities.
    Inevitably, each of us will pause to contemplate the events of this day, a decade ago. See our News Features, August 26 edition, #2 feature, for a story on how Red House Records is remembering the day; that's at    
    In that piece, we noted, “In the weeks following 9/11, singer-songwriters everywhere wrote and recorded an outpouring of songs that collectively helped our society deal with what had happened. Indeed, artists were among the first to seek some meaning, immediate or enduring, contextual or universal, from the appallingly shocking events of that day.
    “But the vast catalog of quick-response 9/11 songs had a short shelf life. It wasn't the usual reason, a nation with a notoriously short attention span. No. Americans were ready for 9/11 to be as galvanizing as Pearl Harbor. That unity was a brief window of opportunity that could have been powerful and lasting. Perhaps any meaningful 9/11 song was obsolete at the moment President Bush encouraged Americans to respond to 9/11 by going shopping.
    “Ultimately, the messages of those thousands of songs were supplanted by an installment-plan war in Afghanistan, ostensibly in response to the 9/11 attacks, and the division over the incongruous invasion and occupation of Iraq and its silly era of Freedom Fries and Homeland-everything and support-this-or-you're-with-the-terrorists. Together, military over-commitments and a select few no-bid civilian defense contractors bankrupted our economy, cost us our space program, cost us any chance for spending on arts education, cost us renewal of our decaying bridges / highways / city streets / utility infrastructure, cost us building any major new public works projects, and essentially cost us our vision for the kind of 21st century future promised by '2001: A Space Odyssey.' Meanwhile, our drone-based wars have cost our troops unprecedented numbers of re-deployments to war zones, record numbers of suicides, and record numbers of PTSD cases that all but assure us a tragically plentiful supply of homeless disturbed individuals for decades to come.
    “Against the backdrop of that reality, song lyrics like the early post-9/11 Nashville country bravado, “We're coming to kick your ass,” seem pitifully naïve.
    “But what of other, more hopefully focused songs that came from the hearts and souls of artists following 9/11? What of the songs that came with the perspective of a bit of distance following the events, that indeed reckon with things that followed?”
    That's what we examined in the piece on the Red House Records compilation in the last issue.
There's more to consider.
    Does history automatically teach lessons? Hardly. If it did, we would not hear the cliché that “history repeats itself.” History merely offers lessons. It is left to each of us to assign, ascribe or distill meaning to, or from, our reckonings with reflections and contemplations, taking the opportunities offered to us by historic events, even if those events are stunningly horrific – and to our products of rhyme and rhythm, melody and harmony that we create in our efforts to understand or to comfort or to grieve or to voice something more meaningful than a primal scream.
    Each of us should pause to contemplate the events of 9-11, that day a decade ago that confronted us with the darkest and most awful manifestations of hate – and in the midst of it, showed us the most selflessly heroic acts of courage and kindness. It showed us devotion to duty by firefighters and police who had taken the oaths of their profession. It showed us courage and goodness by so many others who knew, without time to think about it, that they must act to help their fellow humans.
    How could we ever fail to remember those who ran into burning buildings that day as others were running out? How can we forget they are there still, and be grateful they are among us? My God, “we” include people who will, on any given day in the face of any large or small disaster, run into the face of danger to help the rest of us.
    9-11 is a fitting time to consider the larger implications of our thoughts and feelings, then and now, and our progress (or the lack of it) as the dominant, yet sadly divided species on this small blue planet.
    It's a fitting time to ask our politicians whether contrarian intransigence is worthy of their silenced constituents, those whose unfulfilled promise and creativity and ability to contribute were lost on 9-11 – or worthy of their constituents who rushed to help that day and in the days and months following, and who now suffer as a result, yet receive little or no help from what should be a forever grateful nation.
    Just as Congress appears unable to help 9-11's surviving first responders, both political parties appear bereft of any real vision for a better future for all of us.
    Clearly, the role of the artist isn't yet over.
MORE STUFF >>>>>>> Resources, etc
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...with OVER 500 acoustic-music-friendly venues in Southern California, is available at   
RECENT EDITIONS of The Guide's NEWS FEATURES are still available!  
    Just check our archive! Read the contents bar on the left side of the page at and click the appropriate month.   
The MOST RECENT past editions (last 30 days) are easy to find HERE:
August 26 edition is available at    
                       and the stories are:
  1) “Americana” Music Added to Webster's Dictionary  
  2) 9/11 Commemorative Project from Red House Label
  3) Blues Musicians Team-Up to Play Cancer Benefit on Sunday, August 28;
    Proceeds Support The City of Hope
  4) “Remember The Music” Benefit will Bring Grammy Winner SHELBY LYNNE, plus
    PATRICK PARK & BRIAN WRIGHT, to Fight Alzheimers, September 1
  5) Saturday's “FAR-West Folk Alliance Benefit” Promises Fine Americana Artists
  6) DON McLEAN & Broadway Stars Headline Saturday's “BELIEVE Only in Love”
  7) Guitar Goddess VICKI GENFAN Plays Altadena, August 26
  8) DAVID GRIER, IBMA Guitarist of the Year, Plays Culver City, August 26
  9) “The Drop: JOHN DOE” At The Grammy Museum, August 31
10) JONATHAN McEUEN & NATHAN McEUEN Together for Two Rare Shows
11) LAUREN ADAMS Plays a Birthday Show, September 2
12) Acoustic ALARM 30th Anniversary Tour Hits L.A. September 4
13) Musical Memorial Service For KEN GRAYDON is September 4
August 17 edition is available at    
                       and the stories are:
  1) Massive Loss: London Rioters Burn Indie CDs in Sony Warehouse  
  2) Inaugural VENTURA FOLK FESTIVAL "Bound For Glory" is POSTPONED
  2a) Airshow has Musical Dimension, is an Option in Ventura County this Weekend
  3) Musical Celebration for Zoey's 5th Anniversary this Weekend
  5) Tix Alert: DON HENLEY (Eagles) & LUCINDA WILLIAMS
  6) Free Download: New Music Business Handbook from BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC
  7) Uhh, the Music Biz is “Exactly Like a Silent Movie?” – Really?
  8) “FOUR FRIENDS ACOUSTIC MUSIC SERIES” Announces 6 Month Schedule
  9) Opportunity is Where You Find it: L.A. Pianist Accepted to Atlanta Horror Film Festival
10) “THE 1861 PROJECT:” Civil War Sesquicentennial Americana, Folk, Acoustic, Bluegrass
12) NASA Research Confirms “It's a Small World, After All”
August 12 edition is available at   
                       and the stories are:
  1) “ROOTS ROADHOUSE 2,” this Sunday, is L.A.'s 2011 Americana Music Event   
  2) A Record Forty-Four “SHOW-OF-THE-WEEK” Picks Over the Next Ten Days
  3) Banjos? in Rolling Stone Magazine?
  4) LOAFER'S GLORY, A California All-Star Bluegrass Band, Plays Saturday
  5) Great Opportunities to Enjoy WOMEN MUSICIANS, but Tough Choices
  6) RODNEY DILLARD, Already an IBMA Inductee, to Join New Missouri Music Hall of Fame
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