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Friday, June 26, 2020

End-of-June FESTIVALS, via your glowing screen, plus lots o' news. June 26 edition 2020

An abundance of additional SUNDAY CONTENT brought aboard Sunday in 3 sessions.

Before that, more SATURDAY CONTENT was added Saturday morning 2x.

Here's the full weekend edition with FESTIVALS East & West and much more.

Friday's music-on-tv listings got their own edition Friday morning, and are not repeated here.


Friday, June 26


THOUGHTS FOR TODAY from one born on this date

"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death."

"Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness."

"You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings."

"To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death."

~ Pearl S. Buck (born June 26, 1892, died 1973), American novelist, essayist, short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate. As the daughter of missionaries, Buck spent most of her life before 1934 in Zhenjiang, China, and is also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu (Chinese: 赛珍珠). Her novel The Good Earth was the best-selling fiction book in the US in 1931 and 1932 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.

"In the years after World War II, Buck's literary reputation shrunk to the vanishing point. She stood on the wrong side of virtually every line drawn by those who constructed the lists of required reading in the 1950s and 1960s." -- Peter Conn in "Rediscovering Pearl Buck" from Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography (1996).


THOUGHT FOR TODAY from today's annual commemoration

"The sons of torture victims make good terrorists."

~ André Malraux, novelist, adventurer, art historian, and statesman (1901-1976)


Happy birthday today to 

Gretchen Wilson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Patty Smyth, American singer-songwriter and musician

Mick Jones, English singer-songwriter and guitarist

Gilberto Gil, Brazilian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and politician, Brazilian Minister of Culture

In memoriam to departed artists and influencers born on this date

Kenny Baker, American fiddler (1926-2011)

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), American novelist, essayist, short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate, and source of today's quotes

Abner Doubleday (1819-1893), American Civil War (Union) general, long credited with inventing baseball, but both sides were playing it in their camps before he is supposed to have invented it


On this day...

Today in 2000, rival scientific teams completed the first rough map of the human genome.

Today in 1974the first Universal Product Code was scanned at a supermarket cash register. BTW, roughly 14 years later when he was running for President, George H.W. Bush was amazed that such a thing existed.


Saturday, June 27


THOUGHTS FOR TODAY from one born on this date

A quick word on why we do this. We are living in a world of overhyped celebrities, too many of whom have no discernable talents, who seem chiefly to be famous for being famous. The tv time, internet bandwidth, and printers ink expended on such people may be reward for the money spent on publicists, but it yields nothing of value to civilization. And yet, all around us is an infinitely rich legacy of culture and wisdom and brilliance and creativity and enduring inspiration. So this is one of our ways of finding a mirror and directing a few beams of that light into daily routines that are being increasingly usurped by excessive fawning over narcissistic morons.

On this day in history, a person without peer was born. Today, many years after her passing was eulogized, we celebrate her time and contributions. Here are a few of her vitally living words, and for us, an exceptionally thorough biography.

She said...

"Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings."

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

"... no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost."

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

"I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light."

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

"Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows."

"The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision."

"People don’t like to think, if one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant."

"What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me."

~ Helen Keller (born June 27, 1880, died 1968) was one of the most remarkable humans who ever lived. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, after being completely isolated from the world as a child. She became an American author, political activist, lecturer, crusader for the handicapped, U.S. ambassador, and she won an Academy Award. The FBI monitored her due to her "radical" sociopolitical views as advocate for the blind and deaf and co-founder of the ACLU.

She never heard a single note of music. She never heard a bird song, or the surf, or the wind in the trees. Or a human voice. Yet she loved art and was a consummate communicator.

She composed roughly 500 essays and speeches during her life, and even performed in her own vaudeville show. She told her story and her teacher's, Anne Sullivan, in a famous autobiography, The Story of My Life, which she successfully adaptated for film and stage as "The Miracle Worker."

Surprising fact: it was the advice of Alexander Graham Bell that caused her parents to apply to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston for a teacher, who turned out to be the remarkable Anne Sullivan. Both Bell and Mark Twain would become her friends and advocates -- following Sullivan’s extraordinary instruction that enabled the little girl to learn to understand and communicate with the world around her, and go on to acquire an excellent education.

Helen Keller became one of the world's most influential advocates for citizens in need of assistance to enable them to contribute to society. During seven trips between 1946 and 1957, she visited 35 countries on five continents. She met with world leaders including Winston Churchill, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Golda Meir. In 1955, when she was 75 years old, she embarked on one of her longest and most grueling journeys: a 40,000-mile, five-month-long tour through Asia.

In addition to her youthful campaigning that helped win the vote for women, she was a committed socialist who took up the cause of workers' rights.

And yet, politics didn't play the absolutist role they do today. In 1948, she went to Japan as America's first Goodwill Ambassador -- sent by General Douglas MacArthur, who was in charge of Japan's reconstruction. Her visit was a huge success; up to two million Japanese came out to see her and her appearance drew considerable attention to the plight of Japan's blind and disabled population.

She was an antiwar pacifist whose optimism and courage reached many on a personal level, perhaps never more than during her visits to veterans hospitals to meet the wounded. Her message of faith and strength through adversity resonated with those returning from war injured and maimed. And it wasn't just her countrymen. Conditions in poor and war-ravaged nations were another of her particular concerns, and she went to those people in those places.

Helen was famous from the age of 8 until her death in 1968. Her wide range of political, cultural, and intellectual interests and activities ensured that she knew people in all spheres of life.

She counted leading personalities of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries among her friends and acquaintances. They included Eleanor Roosevelt, Will Rogers, Albert Einstein, Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, Charlie Chaplin, John F. Kennedy, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Katharine Cornell, Jo Davidson and many others.

In fact, in addition to the ones she knew, she at least met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland through John F. Kennedy.

She was honored around the globe and received many awards and academic honors that included honorary doctoral degrees from Temple and Harvard Universities in the U.S.; Glasgow and Berlin Universities in Europe; Delhi University in India; and Witwatersrand University in South Africa. She also received an honorary Academy Award in 1955 as the inspiration for the documentary about her life, "Helen Keller in Her Story."

And you and I tell people we don't have enough time.

When she died, her ashes were placed next to her companions, Anne Sullivan Macy and Polly Thomson, in St. Joseph's Chapel of Washington Cathedral. Senator Lister Hill of Alabama gave a eulogy during the public memorial service. He said, "She will live on, one of the few, the immortal names not born to die. Her spirit will endure as long as man can read and stories can be told of the woman who showed the world there are no boundaries to courage and faith."


Musician / visual artist Donna Barnes Roberts sent this comment:

"Thank you so much for this.  It reminded me of this poem ["Helen Keller"] by Stevie Kalinich and read by Stacy Keach":

Steam locomotive restoration guru Al Phillips commented:

"Thanks for a very interesting article about Helen Keller.  I learned a lot about her that enhanced my understanding of the lady's accomplishments and her influence. And shallow old Al thought of the old cruelty joke: How did Helen Keller burn her fingers?  Trying to read a waffle iron."

Livia Wyant commented:

"She was a brilliant woman. Beautiful tribute! Thanks 💖"


THOUGHT FOR TODAY given the news today

"If you don't want to wear a mask, leave instructions now not to put you on a ventilator."

(Feel free to quote us.)


Saturday's music on TV

9-10 am - "PIPE DREAMS" (2020) is a documentary about talented organ players who take part in the Canadian International Organ Competition in Montreal. It airs as an episode (s21ep19) of the PBS series "INDEPENDENT LENS." On PBS World.

Noon-2 pm - "JOHN SEBASTIAN: FOLK REWIND" is the 2010 PBS music reunion of purt near all the living '60s folkies. Every PBS station trots it out for pledge drive, and that's the only time you see at all, stretched to two hours for all the begging. This airing is on KOCE, aka PBS SoCal.

3-3:30 pm - "THE RECORDING INDUSTRY: OFF THE RECORD, IN THE CLOUD (2020) airs as an episode (s2ep1) of "RECONNECTING ROOTS." On KCET LINK, aka Link TV.

3:30-5 pm - "RISE UP: SONGS OF THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT" (2020) is airing for pledge drive on KOCE, aka PBS SoCal.

7-9 pm - "DON'T LOOK BACK" (music documentary, 1967) ☆☆☆ uses performance excerpts from BOB DYLAN's 1965 concert tour of England and features performances by JOAN BAEZ and DONOVAN, plus offstage footage. On Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

7-8 pm - "THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW" s1ep3 (1970) features GLEN CAMPBELL and MARTY ROBBINS. 1st of 2 episodes tonight on getTV.

8-9 pm -  "THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW" s1ep2 (1970) features RAY CHARLES, NEIL DIAMOND, and TAMMY WYNETTE. 2nd of 2 episodes tonight on getTV.

8-10 pm - "JOHN SEBASTIAN: FOLK REWIND" is the 2010 PBS music reunion of purt near all the living '60s folkies. Every PBS station trots it out for pledge drive, and that's the only time you see at all, stretched to two hours for all the begging. This airing is on KCET.

Sat night / Sun early am on tv...

12:30-1 am - "BLUEGRASS UNDERGROUND" s9ep5 (2019) features LUCERO. On KOCE, aka PBS SoCal.

1:30-2 am - "DAVID HOLT'S STATE OF MUSIC" airs a 2018 episode (s3ep6) with JERRY DOUGLAS demonstrating his Dobro techniques. On KCET LINK, aka Link TV.

2-3 am - "ALL-STAR ORCHESTRA" airs "British Enigmas" its s3ep3 from 2017, with Edward Elgar's "Enigma Variations" and Benjamin Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra."

3-3:30 am - "THE SONGWRITERS" s2ep8 (2019) spotlights MATRACA BERG. On KCET LINK, aka Link TV.

3-4:45 am - "42nd STREET" (musical, 1933) ☆☆☆☆ is the classic with WARNER BAXTER and BEBE DANIELS with the Pullman railroad sleeping car that splits in half lengthwise to reveal the occupants singing and dancing. On Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

3:30-4 am - " SUN STUDIO SESSIONS" s11ep9 (2020) features singer-guitarist ALVIN YOUNGBLOOD HART. On KCET LINK, aka Link TV.

4-4:30 am - "LOST RIVER SESSIONS" s1ep11 (2015) features performances by J.D. WILKES and ALONZO PENNINGTON. On KCET LINK, aka Link TV.

4:30-5 am - "SONGS AT THE CENTER" s6ep5 (2020) brings host ERIC GNEZDA featuring performances by CARLY FRATIANNE of the band SOUTHER and songwriter JAN KRIST. On KCET LINK, aka Link TV.


Saturday's FESTIVALS & events... 
Some already in progress


THURSDAY-SUNDAY West Coast music festival...

Kate Wolf Music Festival Virtual Weekend

Tune in June 25th through the 28th for a series of livestreaming and pre-recorded concert sets from artists previously scheduled to perform at the 2020 annual Kate Wolf Music Festival, including The Mammals, Laurie Lewis & Nina Gerber, Sam Chase, John Zipperer and more. 

There is an interesting connection between the virtual version of this long-running festival and the "Folk Alliance FAR West" organization. The latter tells us, "This event is extremely important to FAR-West and we REALLY hope you all will join us at this virtual music festival. In 2019, KWMF Director Cloud Moss attended our FAR-West Music Conference. Cloud is a long-time supporter of FAR-West and a former recipient of our Best of the West Award. He ended up putting about eight acts that he had heard at our 2019 Conference on this year’s festival lineup. Certainly, he had heard many of these acts before, but it was great to see that many FAR-West affiliated artists were deemed worthy of this outstanding festival."

They continue, "Well, the festival scheduled for this weekend had to be postponed until next summer, but Cloud has put together a VIRTUAL FESTIVAL to take its place. You can view the line-up and the schedule in the details portion of this link. There's lots of great talent!"

"Wonderfully, there are several of those 'FAR-West acts' taking part this weekend. The Black Feathers, Berkley Hart, Freebo, Alice Howe and John Zipperer - all performed at last year’s FAR-West Conference and will perform this weekend. Some of the other acts have FAR-West connections like David Jacobs-Strain and Laurie Lewis & Nina Gerber. The other good news is most of these acts will also be live at next year’s (2021) Kate Wolf Music Festival!"

Join the Live Stream at: 

They’ll save you a good seat.


FRIDAY-SUNDAY East Coast Weekend music festival...

40th Anniversary of the "Old Songs Festival," happening online from Altamont, NY

Last year's poster. Alas, this, the 40th annual, had to go pandemically virtual.
Those charming and accomplished Vermont-based touring folkies Steve Gilette and Cindy Mangsen do such a wonderful job describing this festival that we're handing it over to them:

"This weekend we're celebrating the virtual 40th Anniversary of the Old Songs Festival in Altamont, NY.  We've played there many times over the years: Cindy as a soloist, then Steve & Cindy, Herdman Hills & Mangsen, and Fourtold (our quartet with Anne Hills and Michael Smith).

"The festival has been one of the cornerstones of our year, a place to connect with old friends and hear great music, and we've always tried to attend whether we're booked or not.
This year, of course, the festival can't take place as usual, so many of the scheduled artists created 15-minute sets of music newly recorded for a "virtual Old Songs." 

"This weekend (Friday through Sunday) Ron Oleso's Folk Music Notebook internet radio station will be playing many of these recordings, so you can close your eyes and pretend you're out at the festival fairgrounds.

"Our contribution will be played during the Saturday evening concert.  Please click the above link to see the whole festival schedule, which also includes interviews with Andy Spence (festival director emerita) and Joy Bennett (current director), as well as recordings from the archives of the festival's impressive 39 years.

Most of these new sets were also recorded as videos, which will be available on the Old Songs Festival's YouTube channel in early July.

"We'll let you know when that happens, so you can break out your lawn chair, maybe let the garden hose drip on your head, and pretend you're actually at the festival. 

"And if you really want to prove you're a fan, you can even order a real (not virtual) T-shirt commemorating this year's festival.

"If you'd like something to watch as well as listen to this weekend, Steve's weekly blog (updated every Saturday morning) About the Song will feature 'Molly and Tenbrooks,' with audio and video tracks accompanying the article."

Keep up with Steve & Cindy at

You can also find Cindy & Steve on Facebook:
Like us on Facebook


Saturday, June 27 online event...

Virtual Collect + Connect Photo LA

"Unite or Perish, Chicago, 1968"
 © John Simmons. Courtesy of the artist.
Join "Photo LA" online June 27–28 for its first-ever virtual photo fair featuring 70+ 3D interactive gallery exhibitions, curated installations, virtual programming via Zoom, and more. 

Featured is "Activism through Photography," a panel discussion moderated by Getty curator Mazie M. Harris on Saturday, June 27, at 12:30 pm.

Learn more »


Saturday fiddle extravaganza

Alasdair Fraser's Sierra Fiddle Camp presents...


11:00 am California (PT)
2:00pm US East Coast (ET)
7:00pm UK (GMT+1)
8:00pm NORWAY (GMT+2)
Come and join instructors, campers and staff as we celebrate a wild, musical, hilarious week at Heart of Sierra
WE DID IT!!! We gathered in our newly built Heart of Sierra online village for a full week and we are ready to share the joy of music, song and dance locally, nationally and internationally. Come and join us to see what happened!!!
The online concert is free but please donate here if you'd like to support Alasdair Fraser's Sierra Fiddle Camp and the "Heart of Sierra" project.
Scotland - Cajun - Scandinavian
FIDDLE Alasdair Fraser ▪ Guro Kvifte Nesheim ▪ Mitch Reed ▪ Hanneke Cassel ▪ Laura Risk ▪ Deby Grosjean ▪ Janette Duncan GUITAR Oskar Reuter ▪ Eamon Sefton ▪ Connor Hearn CELLO Natalie Haas ▪ Aria DiSalvio ▪ Erin Esses CHAMBER JAM Joel Cohen BASS Anthony Rideout ACCORDION Jimmy Breaux MANDOLIN Kaden Hurst CEILIDH DANCE Summer McCall SONG Randy Vidrine ▪ Laura Corteses PIANO Neil Pearlman RHYTHM/PERCUSSION Jens Linell WILD CARDS Elias Alexander ▪ Galen Fraser
Heart of Sierra, the online reimagining of Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp (AFSFC), has been made possible through the generosity of donors and volunteers. Tax-deductible contributions to AFSFC will ensure the ability to offer dynamic programming featuring international faculty, and the ability provide assistance to musicians who need some financial support to attend camp. Donations by check may be mailed to: Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp
 P.O. Box 219, Nevada City, CA 95959 
a part of Scottish Fiddlers of California
California non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation #1532328


Grand Ole Opry this Saturday

featuring Brad Paisley & Keb' Mo'

Saturday at 5 pm Pacific, Brad Paisley and Keb' Mo' return to the Grand Ole Opry stage. Once again the show is coming to you live on Circle and WSM Radio.

They're also bringing back the Opry Radio Block Party this Saturday, June 27 at 4 pm Pacific on WSM Radio / WSM online. They’ll be spinning some favorite songs from Brad Paisley and Keb' Mo' before they step inside the historic Opry circle at 5 pm Pacific. Like always, stick around after the Opry to keep the party going until 7 pm Pacific.
Ways to Tune in to the Opry:

Mark your calendar...


Sunday, June 28


Correction to the following: the "three Korean War atrocities... all on this one day 70 years ago," while correct in that reference, had a typo. It originally read "1959" instead of the corrected "1950."

Nobody says "I don't know" anymore

Well, we will. We don't know why we find ourselves living in these improbable, unpredictable, insane crazy times. If you find someone who does, send 'em over for an interview to explain it.

Meanwhile, we found a venetian blind of past parallels. It's the legacy of just this one day in history. This very day.

A newspaper would need to pick just two or three things, or devote the entire day's edition. Their editor would be tempted to do the latter if he dug up all that we did. Since our online format is not limited to two sides of two sheets of four-fold newsprint -- and the story is so filled with jaw-droppers -- here it is. June 28th, in full.

On this day...

For starters, there are a pair of recurring themes: history-determining assassinations took place on this date. Some resoundingly famous, some obscure but hugely determinative. Sadly not even the most recent of them is the one that caused a World War. On top of that, the same assassination produced an outcome to that World War that led to another World War. And the other theme of this date is its bloodily uncanny recurrence in colonialism.

Even before either of those becomes evident as a recurring theme, this date had solidly established something that shakes the sensibilities: a nobody killing somebody can lead to millions of somebodies killing millions of other somebodies.

To wit...

Alboin, King of the Lombards, was assassinated on this day in the year 572 -- 1,448 years ago. Lombardi would remain part of a fragmented boot-shaped peninsula that would be unable to unify in the "Risorgimento" as the nation of Italy until 1861 -- 1,289 years later.

The invading European knights and others endorsed by the Pope as the Christian armies of the First Crusade bloodily defeated the indigenous leader Kerbogha of Mosul on this day in the year 1098 -- 922 years ago. (Hmmm, Mosul. That place name seems to ring a bell...)

Muhammed VI became the tenth Nasrid King of Granada after killing his brother-in-law Ismail II, today in 1360 -- 660 years ago.

Edward, Earl of March, was crowned King Edward IV of England today in 1461 -- 559 years ago. That was the first of two times he was crowned. He ruled from 1461-1470, and again from 1471-1483. In between, he assassinated his cousin Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, who was responsible for bringing him to power, but then opposed him for incompetence. His predecessor, Henry VI, who was likewise incompetent but with episodes of insanity, led to Warwick making Edward the divisive ruler in the Yorkist vs Lancastrian factions in the War of the Roses, which butchered a lot of people for an even longer period, between 1455 and 1487.

Charles V was elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire today in 1519 -- 501 years ago. The Church was busily looking for heretics to kill in gruesome ways to keep the masses fearfully faithful, and Charles played a role in the peak power decades of the infamous Spanish Inquistion. Few men in European history have ever been as powerful as Charles V. He was also the head of the Hapsburgs, the King of Spain, and the King of Germany. Ultimately, he abdicated, passing power to family members and retiring to a monastery to contemplate his deeds.

The combined forces of Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu were victorious in the Battle of Nagashino, today in 1575 -- 445 years ago. It was a key event in the Sengoku period of Japan, and a time when all the members of the losing side were butchered unless they committed seppuku, ritual suicide by disembowelment.

Peter the Great of Russia defeated Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava today in 1709 -- 311 years ago. Sweden had been a great power until Charles decided to invade Russia in 1707. Two years later, he had assassinated his nation's greatness. He was, however, a ruler of the early Enlightenment era, promoting domestic reforms of significance.

Today in 1776 (244 years ago) during the American Revolution, two things happened: the American victory in the Battle of Sullivan's Island led to the commemoration of Carolina Day, celebrated to this day; and Thomas Hickey, a Continental Army private and bodyguard to General George Washington, is hanged for mutiny and sedition. (Imagine if there was no Geo. Washington two weeks before the Declaration of Independence.)

The signature day for colonialist empire...
     The Coronation of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom took place today in 1838 (182 years ago). Her 63 year, 7 month reign was longer than any British monarch until the present one. The "Victorian Era," was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change marked by a vast expansion of the British Empire. To wit, she adopted the additional title of "Empress of India" in 1876. Today's sensibilities see past the dussemination of technology, to the brutality, repression, and wholesale murder of indigenous people by colonial empires.

Speaking of colonialism...
    The U.S. Congress passed the Spooner Act today in 1902 (118 years ago), authorizing President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal. Columbia wanted more than was offered, so the U.S. financed a revolt that created the separatist nation of Panama as a veritable vassal state where the Americans could build -- and until the presidency of Jimmy Carter -- rule and control, the waterway and its Panama Canal Zone.

And attempted colonialism...
     With all the Confederate forces finally surrendered and the last slaves in the South freed nine days earlier on June 19th -- "Juneteenth" -- the Union Army of the Potomac was disbanded today in 1865 (155 years ago). Some Northern politicians were outraged by that, wanting it to be used as an army of occupation to extract payments and "bleed dry" the defeated South.

And more colonialism...
     The Irish Civil War began today in 1922 (98 years ago) with the shelling of the Four Courts in Dublin by Free State forces. The British had controlled Ireland, dispossessing and denying basic rights to the Irish people since the late 12th century. The Emerald Isle would not become a fully independent republic until passage of the Republic of Ireland Act in 1949, and the fact that the six counties of Northern Ireland are still part of the United Kingdom was a cause of decades of strife and killing.
     Still, today in 1973, elections were held for the Northern Ireland Assembly, which would lead to power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland for the first time.

Still more colonialism, leading to WW II...
     The Japanese puppet state of Mengjiang was formed in northern China today in 1936 by the invading and occupying Japanese military. For China, World War II began three years earlier than anywhere else.
     Romania ceded Bessarabia (today's Moldova) to the Soviet Union after facing an ultimatum today in 1940.

And more WW II attempted colonialism...
     Nazi Germany started its strategic summer offensive into the Soviet Union, codenamed "Case Blue" today in 1942. This, following its invasion in "Operation Barbarrosa" the previous year, were efforts to fulfill Hitler's plan as laid out in "Mien Kampf" -- the taking of "lands in the East," where "sub-human" inhabitants would be exterminated or enslaved, and the lands given to German farmers to feed the Greater German Reich.

And more outcome of WW II colonialism...
     Poland's Soviet-allied "Provisional Government of National Unity" is formed over a month after V-E Day, today in 1945. It would lead to Poland becoming a vassal state in the Soviet Bloc and poster child for the Warsaw Pact.
     But today in 1956 in Poznań, workers from the HCP factory took to the streets, sparking one of the first major protests against communist government both in Poland and Europe. Still, it wasn't until the Solidarity labor union movement of the 1980s that Poland would finally achieve self-determination on the world stage.

And post WW II colonialism...
     Today in 1976, the Angolan court sentenced US and UK mercenaries to death sentences and prison terms in the Luanda Trial.
     Today in 2004, in the "if yoy break it, you buy it" Iraq War: Sovereign power was handed to the interim government of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority, ending the U.S.-led rule of that nation.

And three Korean War atrocities in 1950, all on this one day 70 years ago:
     Suspected communist sympathizers -- somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people -- were executed in the "Bodo League massacre."
     The North Korean Army conducts the Seoul National University Hospital massacre.
     Packed with its own refugees fleeing Seoul and leaving their 5th Division stranded, South Korean forces blew-up the Hangang Bridge in an attempt to slow North Korea's offensive. The refugees were killed the explosion and bridge collapse and the city fell later in the day.

Political assassinations in Iran...
     Today in 1981, the same year the hostages were released who had been taken by radicals in the seizure of the American Embassy, a powerful bomb exploded in Tehran, killing 73 officials of the Islamic Republican Party.
     Today in 1987, for the first time in military history, a civilian population was targeted for chemical attack when Iraqi warplanes bombed the Iranian town of Sardasht.

A killer, and bearing false witness...
     Today in 2001, Slobodan Milošević was extradited to The Hague to stand trial before an international tribunal for genocide.
     On this day 12 years earlier in 1989, he had delivered the "Gazimestan speech" on the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, at the site of the historically pivotal battle. His many enemies cite the speech's "possibility of armed battles" ahead in Serbia's national development. He actually spoke of "battles" in the context of "implementing economic, political, cultural, and general social prosperity" -- quote from the English translation by the National Technical Information Service, US Dept of Commerce. (Even when you hate somebody, it's not okay to lie about 'em.)

Coups and failed coups...
     Today in 2009, Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a local military coup, after a failed request to hold a referendum to rewrite the Honduran Constitution. It started the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis.
     Today in 2016, a terrorist attack at Turkey's Istanbul Atatürk Airport killed 42 people and wounded more than 230 others.

Our "On this day" June 28th feature story

Today is the assassination by one nobody that produced the killing of millions. We turn this part over to Garrison Keillor, for what he includes in his "Writer's Almanac" for today:

It was on this day in 1914 that Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, which began a chain of events that ultimately led to World War I.
In 1882, Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary signed a Triple Alliance. Britain was nervous about Russian expansion, but was allied with France, who was allied with Russia, so eventually Britain also agreed to an alliance with Russia; the alliance between those three nations became known as the "Triple Entente."
By the time that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, the alliances were so complex that any act of aggression by any nation toward any other was almost guaranteed to set off a conflict across all of Europe.
Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He went to visit Sarajevo, where he was not very popular. Sarajevo was the capital of Bosnia, one of the provinces of Austria-Hungary. But many Bosnians had no interest in being part of the empire, and there were radical militant groups like the Black Hand Gang trying to unite the various Slavic territories under their own rule. The archduke's assassin, Gavrilo Princip was a 19-year-old member of the Black Hand. Another member of the Black Hand had tried to assassinate Franz Ferdinand earlier that morning, but the grenade he threw had a 10-second delay, so it exploded under a car behind the royal couple, seriously injuring several other people. The archduke changed his parade route so that he could go visit the victims in the hospital, but his driver took a wrong turn. The driver stalled the car while he tried to back up, and Princip just happened to be on that street close to the car. So he pulled out a pistol and shot Franz Ferdinand and Sophie from just a few feet away. Both of them died before they made it to the hospital.
Austria-Hungary immediately blamed the attack on Serbia. The assassination was the excuse that Austria-Hungary needed, and Emperor Franz Joseph declared war on Serbia. Serbia was a small nation, but it called on a powerful ally, Russia, who agreed to fight its side. And suddenly, all the allies were falling into line: Germany sided with Austria-Hungary, and after Germany declared war on France and invaded neutral Belgium, England declared war on Germany.
From the beginning, there were staggering death tolls during what was called "The Great War." In the Battle of the Somme, close to 60,000 British soldiers died the first day, and by the time the four-month battle was over, more than 1.5 million soldiers had died. The 10-month Battle of Verdun ended with 540,000 French and 430,000 Germans dead. There are no exact death tolls, but an estimated 115,000 American soldiers died, 1.4 million French soldiers, 1.7 million German soldiers, and 1.7 million Russian soldiers.
On top of that, there was a huge financial cost, estimated at between $180 and 230 billion on direct military costs alone.
World War I is often represented as a pointless war — a war started by a relatively minor event, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, and marked by long deadlocked battles. But historians say the conflict had been building for years. There were already strong tensions among the European nations, not only from conflicting alliances and naval competition, but also from competing stakes in colonial territories — Germany wanted to undermine the British and French empires; and empires like Austria-Hungary were weakened by ethnic conflict and rebellion.
These days, the most famous literature from World War I depicts the horror and the futility of the war — poems by Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, and the novel All Quiet on the Western Front (1928) by Erich Maria Remarque, all of them soldiers as well as writers.
The historian Niall Ferguson wrote: "1914–18 was one of the great watersheds in financial history. The United States emerged for the first time as the rival to Great Britain as a financial super power. ... It's the point at which the United States firmly ceases to be a debtor and becomes a creditor nation — the world's banker."
~ GK

WW I history: THERE'S MORE. This same day resonates until the very day "The War to End All Wars" (which it wasn't), ended...

•  The Austro–Serbian Alliance of 1881 was secretly signed today in 1881 (139 years ago).

•  Greece joined the Allied powers (Britain-France-Belgium-the U.S.) today in 1917 (103 years ago).

•  Hostilities formally ended today in 1919 (101 years ago), as the Treaty of Versailles is signed, ending the state of war between Germany and the Allies of World War I. Tragically, President Wilson's warnings were not heeded, and impossible obligations for Germany to pay war reparations would directly lead to the rise of Nazism and produce the Second World War just 20 years, two months, and two days later.


Despite all that eerie congruence of June 28th in assassination and killing and all the resulting death it produced throughout history?

June 28th also brings these events...

Two Civil Rights landmarks and one that depends on your point of view...
     Today in 1964, Malcolm X formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
     Five years later, today in 1969, the Stonewall riots began in New York City, fighting back against police brutality and marking the start of the Gay Rights Movement.
     Today in 1978 the US Supreme Court, in "Regents of the University of California v. Bakke," bars quota systems in college admissions.

...and these arts notes...

•  Adolphe Sax patented the saxophone today in 1846 (174 years ago).

•  The Paris Opera Ballet premiered "Giselle" in the Salle Le Peletier today in 1841 (179 years ago).

•  Today is the birthday of: Richard Rodgers (1902-1979), American playwright and composer; Mel Brooks, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter who is turning 94; Gilda Radner (1946-1989), American actress and comedian; and Elon Musk, South African-born American businessman, gazillionaire, space entrepreneur and electric vehicle guru.

...and THIS cultural achievement...
     Labor Day became an official US holiday on this date in 1894 (126 years ago).

...and this spaciness...
The Nakhla meteorite, the first one to suggest signs of aqueous processes on Mars, falls to Earth, landing in Egypt today in 1911 (109 years ago).

...and this wacky history...
     The United States Court of Private Land Claims ruled James Reavis’s claim to "Barony of Arizona" is "wholly fictitious and fraudulent" today in 1895 (125 years ago).
     There are two instances of royalty claims in the American West. The other was "Emperor Norton" and his claim as ruler of California. But that never got ugly.

Any day is what you make it. We can all realign the legacy of June 28th -- or any day -- to be about kindness, charity, sharing abundance, looking out for those who need encouragement, and finding joy in creatively pursuing those things. In that context, happy June 28th.


Sunday's FESTIVALS & events... 
Some multi-day fetes concluding today


We are not repeating what's already above. So back-up and catch the festivals before they're over.

Here's the "today-only" action, including some LATE ADDITIONS...


On the web...

Sun, Feb 28:
7 pm Pacific --
ANDY & RENEE perform live on YouTube on Sundays at 5 pm PDT, and on Facebook live on Wednesdays at 7 pm PDT
*  Watch their Livestream #26 Sunday at:
*  Watch Wednesday for their Livestream #27: SPECIAL CANADA DAY CELEBRATION, "Fête du Canada" -- with all songs by Canadian Artists, with "Special Canadian Food and Drinks featured." Renee says, "Wear your Hockey Gear! Chill those Molsons! Everything played in the key of 'A'!" (Eh?)
Wednesday at:
*  These two are excellent, with or without their award-winning band HARD RAIN. They are the longtime performing hosts of the annual "DYLANFEST," and produced this year's delightful cyber version for the festival's 30rh year.


Sun, Feb 28:
7:30 pm Pacific --


with Valerie Perri

Don't miss the premiere of the new POPScast with television and theatre star Valerie Perri tonight at 7:30pm. Best known for her portrayal of Eva Perrone in Hal Prince's Broadway hit Evita, Perri discusses everything from her time working with Jerome Robbins, to working with her twin sons. View the entire POPScast series on demand at their website link.


On teevee...


If you have AXS TV in your cable, satellite, or web package, there's fun stuff.

3:50-5 pm Pacific -- CAT STEVENS in concert with his acoustic guitar. Repeats 11:10 pm-12:20 am.

7-8 pm Pacific -- JOAN BAEZ in concert from 1980. Repeats 10:05-11:10 pm.

And what we reported to you, first thing...

Top Ten Folk Songs of the 1970s on AXS

These are the songs that tell a story.

This week on The Top Ten Revealed, the trademark AXS tv show, they tell us they're "skipping looking at songs and instead focusing on poetry that might have a little music behind it." 
Uh, that's sort of an insult, but we stayed with their press release to see what they really have in mind.
Turns out we can recommend you join them as they go back to the '70s to count down your favorite folk songs of a singularly magical time in music. 
Armed with an acoustic guitar and thought provoking lyrics, these were the artists -- and still are the songs -- that got toes tapping, with lyrics that nearly everyone could relate to. 
We do know that John Denver -- who sold more records that decade than ANY artist or band -- will be featured. But who else? Jim Croce? Jackson Browne? Johnny Cash? John Prine? Judy Collins? Joni Mitchell? Joan Baez? 
You'll also find out which hits that were covers will top the list as rock experts Dee Snider, Kevin Cronin, Alan Parsons, and more count things down.
"The Top Ten Revealed" is all-new Sunday, June 28th. It airs twice:
5-5:30 pm Pacific,
8-8:30 pm Pacific 
on AXS TV. 

Then, stick around. 
5:30-6 pm Pacific, 
8:30-9 pm Pacific 
"Rock Legends" looks at the evolution and influences of Folk music around the world.




The equivalent of the GRAMMYS, just for bluegrass...


Announced June 26th

There are multiple stories here, all fresh today. We'll list 'em for you first, then organize things to tell you all about it.

☆  Due to a tie, there are six nominees for “Entertainer of the Year”: Balsam Range, Billy Strings, Del McCoury Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Sister Sadie, and Special Consensus 

☆  IBMA Announces 2020 Annual Inductees to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame: New Grass Revival, The Johnson Mountain Boys, and J.T. Gray, owner of Nashville’s world famous Station Inn. 

☆  Five Bluegrass Industry Innovators Announced as Recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award 
Nashville, TN, June 26, 2020 –Nominees for the 31st Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards were announced today in Nashville, Tennessee. Due to a tie in the voting, there are six nominees (instead of five) for “Entertainer of the Year” in 2020: Balsam Range, Billy Strings, Del McCoury Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Sister Sadie, and Special Consensus.  The six nominees for this year’s top award include two revered Hall of Fame members (Del McCoury, Doyle Lawson), past EoY winners (Balsam Range, Del McCoury), the first “Entertainer of the Year” nomination for Billy Strings, Special Consensus and Sister Sadie, and the first time a group composed of all female performers - Sister Sadie -  has been nominated for this top award. The IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards will be broadcast on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction on Thursday, October 1; additional details about the broadcast will be announced in the coming weeks. 
Also announced today were three inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame: owner of Nashville’s iconic Station Inn, J.T. Gray; hardcore bluegrass traditionalists The Johnson Mountain Boys; and one of the premier bands at the forefront of the contemporary/progressive bluegrass movements of the 1970s and ’80s New Grass Revival. Additionally, the following were named as recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award: festival pioneers Norman & Judy Adams, “Musicians Against Childhood Cancer” (MACC) founders Darrel & Phyllis Adkins, fiddle virtuoso/educator Darol Anger, San Diego’s KSON “Bluegrass Special” host Wayne Rice, and bluegrass innovator Jack Tottle
“Congratulations to this year’s Hall of Fame inductees, Distinguished Achievement Awards recipients, and Music Awards nominees! All of you have been selected by your peers for your excellence this past year - or over a lifetime - in bluegrass music,” said Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of IBMA.  “While we wish we could be in Raleigh to celebrate each of your achievements in person, we are preparing a special awards show to be aired on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction and streamed for those who want to watch the program. We will be announcing more details in the weeks ahead, so please stay tuned!”
Earlier this month, the IBMA and its Local Organizing Committee partners in Raleigh, North Carolina announced that due to ongoing health concerns relating to COVID-19, and the logistical challenges of creating a safe in-person event experience, this year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass will take place virtually. The planned conference, showcases, awards and festival performances will be presented as an online experience September 28-Oct. 3, with the possibility of extending event content beyond those dates. 
 IBMA is actively working to develop innovative, compelling activities and content for this year’s event, and will be releasing information and updates throughout the summer. As additional details about the Awards Show and other IBMA World of Bluegrass 2020 virtual events  are determined, they will be shared across the organization’s social media platforms, through email notification, and on and Updates will also be available via social media platforms and email newsletters of Raleigh partners, including PineCone, the Raleigh Convention Center, and Visit Raleigh.
Awards are voted on by the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), the professional nonprofit association for the bluegrass music industry. 
For more information about the IBMA’s awards, go to
Balsam Range
Billy Strings
Del McCoury Band
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Sister Sadie
Special Consensus

Balsam Range
Blue Highway
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Sister Sadie
Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
Mile Twelve
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Sam Bush Band
The Travelin’ McCourys

Chicago Barn Dance
Artist: Special Consensus
Label: Compass Records
Producer: Alison Brown

Artist: Billy Strings
Label: Rounder Records
Producer: Glenn Brown

Live in Prague, Czech Republic
Artist: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Label: Billy Blue Records
Producers: Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek

New Moon Over My Shoulder
Artist: Larry Sparks
Label: Rebel Records
Producer: Larry Sparks

Tall Fiddler
Artist: Michael Cleveland
Label: Compass Records
Producers: Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan

Toil, Tears & Trouble
Artist: The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
Label: Rounder Records
Producer: Dave Maggard

Artist: Appalachian Road Show
Label: Billy Blue Records
Producers: Jim VanCleve, Barry Abernathy, and Appalachian Road Show

“Both Ends of the Train”
Artist: Blue Highway
Writers: Tim Stafford/Steve Gulley
Label: Rounder Records
Producers: Blue Highway

“Chicago Barn Dance”
Artist: Special Consensus with Michael Cleveland & Becky Buller
Writers: Becky Buller/Missy Raines/Alison Brown
Label: Compass Records
Producer: Alison Brown

Artist: The Grascals
Writer: Harley Allen
Label: Mountain Home Music Company
Producers: The Grascals

“Hickory, Walnut & Pine”
Artist: The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
Writers: Slaid Cleaves/Nathan Hamilton
Label: Rounder Records
Producer: Dave Maggard

“Living Like There’s No Tomorrow”
Artist: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Writers: Jim McBride/Roger Alan Murrah
Label: Billy Blue Records
Producers: Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek

“Angel Too Soon”
Artist: Balsam Range
Label: Mountain Home Music Company
Producers: Balsam Range

“Because He Loved Me”
Artist: Dale Ann Bradley
Label: Pinecastle Records
Producer: Dale Ann Bradley

“Gonna Rise and Shine”
Artist: Alan Bibey & Grasstowne
Label: Mountain Fever Records
Producer: Mark Hodges

“I’m Going to Heaven”
Artist: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Label: Billy Blue Records
Producers: Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek

“Little Black Train”
Artist: Appalachian Road Show
Label: Billy Blue Records
Producers: Barry Abernathy, Darrell Webb, and Ben Isaacs

“Tall Fiddler”
Artist: Michael Cleveland with Tommy Emmanuel
Label: Compass Records
Producers: Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan

“Shenandoah Breakdown”
Artist: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Label: Billy Blue Records
Producers: Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek

“Soldier’s Joy”
Artist: Jesse McReynolds with Michael Cleveland
Label: Pinecastle Records
Producer: Jesse McReynolds

“The Appalachian Road”
Artist: Appalachian Road Show
Label: Billy Blue Records
Producer: Jim VanCleve, Barry Abernathy, and Appalachian Road Show

“Guitar Peace”
Artist: Billy Strings
Label: Rounder Records
Producer: Glenn Brown

Appalachian Road Show
Carolina Blue
High Fidelity
Merle Monroe
Mile Twelve

“Chicago Barn Dance”
Artists: Special Consensus with Michael Cleveland & Becky Buller
Label: Compass Records
Producer: Alison Brown

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
Artists: Jason Barie featuring Del McCoury & Paul Williams
Label: Billy Blue Records
Producer: Jason Barie

“Tall Fiddler”
Artists: Michael Cleveland with Tommy Emmanuel
Label: Compass Records
Producers: Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan

“The Barber’s Fiddle”
Artists: Becky Buller with Shawn Camp, Jason Carter, Laurie Lewis, Kati Penn, Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland, Johnny Warren, Stuart Duncan, Deanie Richardson, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Jason Barie, Fred Carpenter, Tyler Andal, Nate Lee, Dan Boner, Brian Christianson, and Laura Orshaw
Label: Dark Shadow Recording
Producer: Stephen Mougin

“On and On”
Artists: Gena Britt with Brooke Aldridge
Label: Pinecastle Records
Producer: Gena Britt

Ronnie Bowman
Del McCoury
Russell Moore
Danny Paisley
Larry Sparks

Brooke Aldridge
Dale Ann Bradley
Amanda Smith
Molly Tuttle
Rhonda Vincent

Kristin Scott Benson
Gena Britt
Gina Furtado
Ned Luberecki
Scott Vestal

Barry Bales
Mike Bub
Todd Phillips
Missy Raines
Marshall Wilborn

Becky Buller
Jason Carter
Michael Cleveland
Stuart Duncan
Deanie Richardson

Jerry Douglas
Andy Hall
Rob Ickes
Phil Leadbetter
Justin Moses

Trey Hensley
Billy Strings
Bryan Sutton
Molly Tuttle
Jake Workman

Alan Bibey
Jesse Brock
Sam Bush
Sierra Hull
Ronnie McCoury
2020 Inductees to International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame:

New Grass Revival, The Johnson Mountain Boys, and J.T. Gray


Earl "J.T." Gray is the owner of the Station Inn, Nashville’s hot spot for bluegrass music for more than forty years. He is a native of Corinth, Mississippi, and moved to Nashville in 1971 to perform with the Misty Mountain Boys. Other gigs for J. T. included dates with Vassar Clements, the Sullivan Family, and Tom T. Hall. He later joined Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys and performed on bass from 1979 until 1981.

His tenure with Jimmy Martin ended in 1981 when Gray purchased the Station Inn in Nashville. Initially the venue featured local acts, but it wasn’t long until J.T. began booking national acts, starting with the Bluegrass Cardinals. During the formative years of the club, Gray drove tour buses for several Nashville-based artists in an effort to keep the venue afloat. Eventually, the location morphed into a sought-after destination for performers.

The Station Inn is viewed by many artists as the nation’s hub of live bluegrass music and a place of honor to perform, despite its modest size and décor that is adorned with an array of vintage concert posters and seats which were taken from a tour bus belonging to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. In addition to most every legendary bluegrass artist performing on the Station Inn stage over the years -- including Bill Monroe, who was a frequent guest -- ground-breaking and award-winning bands have been formed through relationships built there. High profile country artists such as Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Dierks Bentley, Chris Stapleton, and Steve Earle have also spent many evenings performing bluegrass on that stage.

The success of the Station Inn is due to J.T.’s passion for bluegrass music, his relentless perseverance through the lean years, and his unwavering support of bluegrass musicians.


The Johnson Mountain Boys were a high-energy band from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., that specialized in hard-core traditional bluegrass. The group was unique in its success with a traditional format at a time when bluegrass as a whole was heading in a more progressive direction.

The Johnson Mountain Boys’ first festival appearance was in 1979 at the Bluegrass Unlimited event in Indian Springs, Maryland. That year, the band came to the attention of Rounder Records which, over the next decade and a half, issued nine albums by the group, all of them favorably received by fans and critics alike.

The one constant throughout the band’s history was guitarist/lead singer Dudley Connell. Citing Carter Stanley as a major influence, Connell developed into a soulful singer, a forceful guitar player, and a talented composer of songs. There was very little turnover within the group and, over the years, the principal players included mandolin players David McLaughlin, fiddler Eddie Stubbs, banjoists Richard Underwood and Tom Adams, and bass players Larry Robbins, Marshall Wilborn, and Earl Yager.

In the group’s heyday, they worked 200 to 250 dates a year, which included performances at Madison Square Garden, the Lincoln Center, the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, and the White House, where they were introduced by Nancy Reagan. Over the years, the band took their music around the world to Africa, England, Southeast Asia, and India, among other places.

The Johnson Mountain Boys were a visual treat as well: the members dressed in matching suits and western-style hats, and they didn’t just walk on stage, they ran! On February 20, 1988, while still at the top of their game, The Johnson Mountain Boys bid farewell to full time touring in concert at the community center in Lucketts, Virginia; the event was recorded and released as a double LP on Rounder, At the Old Schoolhouse, which was the first of their two Grammy nominated albums.

From 1988 through 1996, The Johnson Mountain Boys performed 25 to 50 concerts a year. During that time they also released their Blue Diamond Album, their second Grammy nominated album. The band performed its last concert in November of 1996.


The New Grass Revival was one of the premier bands at the forefront of the contemporary/progressive bluegrass movements of the 1970s, and ’80s. Both in appearance and in their approach to the music, they were a definite departure from bluegrass of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Their very name became synonymous with new trends in the music, and their sound owed as much to rhythm and blues, reggae, and rock and roll as it did to bluegrass and country. The band got its start in 1971 when four members of the Bluegrass Alliance broke away. The initial lineup of the New Grass Revival was Sam Bush on mandolin, Courtney Johnson on banjo, Ebo Walker on bass, and Curtis Burch on guitar.  In 1973, Butch Robins replaced Walker, and then a year later bass player and soaring tenor vocalist John Cowan joined the band.

The group had one album release on Starday, titled simply New Grass Revival. The band moved to Flying Fish, where they had five releases over the next seven years: Fly Through the Country (1975), Too Late to Turn Back Now (1977), When the Storm is Over (1978), Barren County (1979), and Commonwealth (1982). Taking their music to a broader audience, in 1979 New Grass Revival spent the season as the opening act and backing band for rocker Leon Russell. Then in 1981, Johnson and Burch decided to leave the band, and the new line-up consisted of Sam Bush, John Cowan, rock solid guitarist Pat Flynn, and cutting edge banjoist Béla Fleck.

The New Grass Revival switched to the Sugar Hill label in 1984. Their sole album there, On the Boulevard, signaled a complete makeover of the band. After signing with Capitol Records, they released three albums in three years: New Grass Revival (1986), Hold to a Dream (1987), and Friday Night in America (1989). Capitol released six singles by the band, with “Calling Baton Rouge” cracking the Top 40.

The New Grass Revival played their last show on New Year’s Eve in 1989. Sam Bush spent five years touring with Emmylou Harris and went on to form the highly successful Sam Bush Band, while Béla Fleck continues to enjoy an acclaimed career as a versatile, virtuosic, trailblazing banjo player.  John Cowan went on to front the John Cowan Band and is now a member of the pop group The Doobie Brothers, in addition to touring with Darin & Brooke Aldridge. Pat Flynn continued his career as a successful studio musician.  At the request of Garth Brooks, the group reunited in the recording studio in 1993 on his version of “Calling Baton Rouge” and again in 1997 for his recording of “Do What You Gotta Do.”
Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients

Each year, the IBMA presents five Distinguished Achievement Awards to individuals and organizations to recognize their significant contributions to bluegrass music with its highest honor outside of induction into the Hall of Fame. This year’s recipients of IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards include: 

Norman & Judy Adams - From Dahlonega, GA, Norman Adams was an insurance executive who, in 1974 with business partner Tony Anderson, launched their first bluegrass festival. This evolved into one of the most successful bluegrass festival production companies in bluegrass music. They were pioneers in developing both outdoor and indoor festivals and even hosting a bluegrass cruise. Anderson retired several years ago, but Norman and Judy Adams continued and expanded their festival reach with as many as nine major festivals each year throughout the southeastern U.S., drawing fans from all over the world.  The impact of the Adams and their festivals to help the genre thrive cannot be overstated. In 45 years, their festivals attracted hundreds of thousands of attendees. Norman’s love of traditional bluegrass music and keen eye for rising talent helped keep audiences entertained with both legends of the music and newer bands emerging on the scene. Scores of bluegrass greats talk about the Adams’ dedication to the music and their kindness to those who make it. While Norman and Judy retired this year, they have left an indelible mark on bluegrass music as some of the preeminent event producers ever in the genre.

Darrel & Phyllis Adkins - Darrel and Phyllis Adkins have touched both the bluegrass community and the lives of children by combining a passion for bluegrass music and a passion to raise money to treat and find a cure for childhood cancer. They began hosting festivals in the 1980s. Their Bluegrass Classic Festival at Frontier Ranch, and later at the Hoover Y Park in Columbus, OH, became legendary, drawing thousands of fans from around the globe. One of the hallmarks of this festival that continues today is the unique and historic collaborations performing on stage. In 2000, tragedy struck the Adkins family as their daughter, Mandy, lost her battle with cancer at the age of 22. Out of deep appreciation for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Adkins formed the charity “Musicians Against Childhood Cancer” (MACC). Through artist support, Darrel and Phyllis continued their festival and turned it into a benefit for St. Jude’s Hospital, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to cancer research. Since 2000, they have raised over $1 million for the hospital, and the MACC has become a favorite gathering of bluegrass professionals and fans to support this cause. Darrel and Phyllis Adkins are deeply generous to bluegrass professionals, helping them and hosting them in a variety of ways and places. 

Darol Anger - Darol Anger’s influence and impact on bluegrass come from both his virtuosity as a musician and his generosity as an educator. Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Darol has helped drive the evolution of contemporary string band music through his involvement with numerous cutting edge ensembles including Psychograss, The Republic Of Strings, Turtle Island String Quartet, The David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, the Duo with Mike Marshall, NewGrange and others. While his music has often blurred genre boundaries, his deep love for and grounding in bluegrass is at the core of everything he plays. Stuart Duncan comments, “Darol plays with fire and grace simultaneously.” And, “I love how he can energize a group of peers or students into thinking not just outside the box, but thinking of the box being much bigger.” Over the course of his career, Darol has shared the stage with some of the most celebrated and influential acoustic musicians of our time, including Stephane Grappelli, Mark O'Connor, David Grisman, Tony Rice, Béla Fleck, and Vassar Clements. Darol balances his touring schedule with his commitment to educating the next generation of fiddler players. He is an Associate Professor Emeritus at the prestigious Berklee College of Music and also runs an ambitious online fiddle school at

Wayne Rice - Although Wayne Rice has played a multi-faceted role in the bluegrass community, it’s as the host of KSON San Diego's Bluegrass Special weekly radio program that he is most well known. The Bluegrass Special is a true cornerstone of the San Diego bluegrass community and provides a beacon for bluegrass fans across the region. Wayne’s first broadcast of the show aired in March 1976, making this its 45th year – earning it the distinction of being the longest running bluegrass radio show on the same radio station and the longest running radio show of any kind in San Diego history. The fact that KSON is a major market Top 40 country station makes the achievement even more notable. But Wayne’s contributions to bluegrass aren’t limited to the airwaves. Wayne is also a longtime banjo player who began his musical career in the 1970s as a member of the ACM (Academy of Country Music) award-winning group Brush Arbor.  He is a lifetime member of IBMA, a past Awards Show producer, and frequent committee member. Wayne is also the creator of the Bluegrass Bios website which he maintains for DJs to provide a reliable source of accurate information about bluegrass artists and their music.

Jack Tottle - Described by industry professionals like Tim Stafford as “a true Bluegrass Renaissance man,” Jack Tottle has been at the forefront of numerous aspects of the music and industry. In the 1960s, he performed and recorded two albums with the Lonesome River Boys. Jack then joined Don Stover and the White Mountain Boys in the early ’70s before recording three albums for Rounder Records as a solo artist and with the progressive-yet-traditional bluegrass band, Tasty Licks, which included Pat Enright, Mark Schatz, and young Béla Fleck in his first professional job in music. Beyond his accomplished music career, Tottle wrote the best-selling mandolin instruction book Bluegrass Mandolin for Oak Publications in 1975, followed by additional books and videos for guitar and mandolin. In 1982, he established the Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies program at East Tennessee State University, where he instructed and mentored many of today’s well known performers, including Tim Stafford, Barry Bales, Adam Steffey, Becky Buller, and country star Kenny Chesney. If that weren’t enough, he continued to record with other greats in bluegrass music, and he has written songs that have become bluegrass standards. He served on the IBMA Board of Directors in its early days, and today he still writes for Bluegrass Unlimited and Bluegrass Today.

The IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards will be presented during an Industry Awards event as part of IBMA Virtual World of Bluegrass event this fall, with additional details pending. 
More info about IBMA World of Bluegrass 2020

IBMA World of Bluegrass 2020 is a virtual bluegrass music homecoming and convention. The IBMA World of Bluegrass 2020 event encompasses four events: the IBMA Business ConferenceIBMA Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of band showcases, the 31st Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards, and music festival IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC

According to data released by Visit Raleigh, attendance at IBMA World of Bluegrass has grown by more than 50% since moving to Raleigh in 2013. Over the last seven years combined, the event has attracted more than 1.2 million total attendees and generated more than $80 million in direct economic impact throughout Wake County. Last year’s event (2019) alone saw more than 200 acts perform, 218,000 attendees and generated $18.65 million in direct economic impact.

IBMA continues to offer a Community Resources page at its official website ― ― that offers updated information about COVID-19 that is relevant to the bluegrass community.

About IBMA

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the nonprofit professional organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s successful run in Raleigh is the product of their partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.


CineGear ON AIR Event Series

Cine Gear Expo, the industry’s premiere cine-centric event series has been dedicated to the technology and art of professional filmmaking and content creation for over 25 years.

"To support our worldwide community," they tell us, "we are excited to announce CineGear ON AIR— a new virtual resource to provide hallmark panels, seminars, workshops and screening series, year-round."

The first collaborative event will kick off July 1, 2020.

"Got Agent?" Live Zoom Panel July 1, 2020

CineGear ON AIR brings you, “Got Agent?” a Free Zoom panel of top industry agents ready to share expertise on getting the best filmmaking career representation amid the current fast-changing environment and beyond. Moderated by industry-favorite Jay Holben, guests will include Julia Kole--Artistry, Craig Mizrahi--Innovative Artists, Dan Burnside-- DDA, Kristin Tolle-Billings--WPA, and Brian Goldberg--WPA. The discussion will cover "meeting the right agent to suit goals," "standing out against competition," and "ways to establish your brand."

“Got Agent?” is slated for Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 11 am PDT.


The future line-up of ON AIR events will include, “A Tribute to 100 Years of ASC Magazine”, Technology Close-Ups, Online Film Series Competition, CineGear Hall of Fame, and more. 

The schedule of upcoming events and on-demand streaming of previous ON AIR programs are available at


GRAMMY Museum presents plenty of delights

Watch a new film online

Growth Rings

"Thanks to our friends at DW Drums, we are excited to announce the debut of: Growth Rings, a short film narrated by the late Neil Peart of RUSH," our friends at the GRAMMY museum tell us. Co-written by Peart and Jeremy Bout (Edge Factor), the film honors the way in which music marks moments in our lives. Be sure to watch it today.


Plus, remember there is...


A few that will interest our readers...

Friday, 6/26: A closer look at the exhibit, Monterey International Pop Festival: Music, Love, and Flowers, 1967. VIEW EXHIBIT

Sunday, 6/28: Vocal Mechanics 101: Understanding the body's role in Vocalization

Monday, 6/29: New Program - The Drop: Lucinda Williams

Visit their Museum at Home page each day to explore

And virtually revisit a great past exhibit...

Pride & Joy: The Texas Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan was the most significant guitar stylist of the post-blues-rock era. No musician did more to energize the 1980s blues revival than the Texas guitarist, whose roots and influences included everyone from Albert and B.B. King, Guitar Slim, and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, to Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy.

Vaughan ignited new interest in the blues at a time when longtime fans of the music were relying on fading legends for their blues fix and a new generation of rock fans had all but annulled the blues-rock marriage of the 1960s. Pride & Joy: The Texas Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan opened at the GRAMMY Museum in June 2014 before the exhibit traveled around the country.



Coronavirus financials wreck havoc

Music venues are subject to unique exacerbating factors. But don't expect any independent business to handle this on their own.

We have, on several occasions here in the Guide, discussed existential factors uniquely confronting music venue operators . Let's look at some overall numbers of how the COVID crisis is impacting independent business owners.

■  Business ownership during pandemic, Feb-Apr:

  •  41% decline in black-owned business

  •  32% decline in Latino- owned businesses

  •  17% decline in white-owned businesses

Most loan assistance during the pandemic has gone to white-owned businesses, but even there, assistance has strongly favored the wealthy.

(Source: SIEPR & CBS News)

■  Black and minority-owned businesses:

  •  12% have received the gov pandemic loan amount requested

  •  2/3 have yet to receive any help

■  National unemployment has hit its worst numbers since the Great Depression:

  •  13.3% across all racial / ethnic groups

  •  16.8% for African-Americans


Incredibly, the Senate Majority Leader denies there is reason for more assistance to non-corporate America, while the White House denies there is any systemic racism in American society.


Why music venues can't reopen, part 1...

If jumping into this report feels a bit obtuse, it's because this is about the big picture: seeing the forest with all the trees threatened by a forest fire. Not just standing at the base of one tree thinking it can be protected without regard to all the other trees around it.

Florida is reporting 8,942 new covid-19 cases on Friday, blowing past its single-day high of 5,511 set on Wednesday. It is the 19th day in a row the state has hit a new average high. Average cases are now up about 77 percent from a week ago, and 526 percent since Memorial Day.

Florida also announced Friday morning that bars must close immediately, a move echoed in Texas, a state also dealing with a surge in cases and nearing its hospital bed capacity.

“The trajectory that we’re on right now has our hospitals being overwhelmed, probably about mid-July,” Austin mayor Steve Adler (D) said during an appearance on CNN.

Less than a day after announcing it would pause reopening plans but not revert to stricter measures, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order that revives restrictions on bars, restaurants and certain types of outdoor recreation.

Nationally, 39,327 new infections were reported by state health departments on Thursday, surpassing the previous record set a day earlier.

Here are some significant developments:

•  Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease doctor, urged Americans to see their role in taking safety precautions as a “societal responsibility.” He begged them not to let their guards down even if the risk to their own health is considered minimal, because they can still transport it.

•  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Robert Redfield warned Thursday that the actual number of coronavirus cases in the United States is probably 10 times higher than what officials have confirmed through testing. More than 2.4 million infections have been reported nationwide, and the death toll has surpassed 122,000.

•  The World Health Organization said the virus could once again “push health systems to the brink” in Europe if new case numbers continue to grow. The dire warning came after 30 countries reported increases in the past two weeks.

•  In another sign that hopes of a swift economic recovery may be losing steam, the number of homeowners delaying their mortgage payments shot up by 79,000, reflecting increasing financial burdens on American borrowers as the coronavirus ravages businesses and forces steep job losses.

•  The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, even though thousands more Americans have signed up for Obamacare since the pandemic began. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denounced the move as an “act of unfathomable cruelty.”

In addition, here are the leads of some timeline filings today, to give you an idea of how contradictory words are from those who should be leading with competent, science-based direction...

1:31 p.m. - San Antonio health director resigns as many public health officers around the U.S. exit

12:59 p.m. - Almost one-third of black Americans know someone who died of covid-19, survey shows
12:39 p.m. - Trump administration delays end to management of five coronavirus testing sites
11:57 a.m. - Antibodies found in 42 percent of residents of Austrian ski resort, one of Europe’s earliest clusters
11:36 a.m. - Toddler girl dies of covid-19 in Tennessee, officials say
11:19 a.m. - Pence defends Trump rallies as a constitutional right, deflects question about masks
11:10 a.m. - Co-founder of ReOpen Maryland says he has tested positive for coronavirus, won’t cooperate with contact tracing
10:59 a.m. - Fauci pleads with Americans not to take risks with coronavirus
10:52 a.m. - Trump cancels weekend trip to New Jersey golf club
10:44 a.m. - Portugal to reimpose lockdowns for 700,000 people in Greater Lisbon
10:25 a.m. - Florida reports nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases, blowing past previous single-day record
10:18 a.m. - Pence: It’s ‘a good thing’ new cases are among younger Americans
10:08 a.m. - Pence says all 50 states ‘opening up safely and responsibly’
9:47 a.m. - Florida abruptly shuts down bars to indoor patrons as state faces rising infection rate
9:34 a.m. - British health secretary threatens to close England’s beaches amid heat-wave chaos
9:06 a.m. - Pelosi slams Trump for refusal to wear a mask, efforts to dismantle ACA
7:40 a.m. - Texas governor orders bars to close early and restaurants to cut capacity as cases surge
7:35 a.m. - Delayed mortgage payments rose by nearly 80,000
7:34 a.m. - As Americans weigh returning to school and work, the race to make buildings safe from coronavirus
7:08 a.m. - McCarthy ties spike in coronavirus cases to protests of racial injustice
     Excerpt: "While health experts cautioned that such mass gatherings could accelerate the spread of the virus, there has been scant evidence that the uptick in cases is closely correlated with states with the largest protests. In fact, one study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found no evidence that the first weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd “reignited COVID-19 case growth.”

6:58 a.m. - Austin mayor warns that pausing Texas’s reopening ‘will not make things better’

6:26 a.m. - (Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner) Gottlieb says surge in cases could mean higher death rate in weeks ahead
4:50 a.m. - How France’s skittishness about collecting data on race affects its coronavirus response
4:36 a.m. - London police chief vows to crack down on illegal parties after more than 20 officers are attacked and injured
4:16 a.m. - Trump ‘wasted his chance’ to show leadership on coronavirus, Wall Street Journal editorial says
3:56 a.m. - Toilet paper limits reintroduced as panic buying returns to Australia
3:45 a.m. - Biden says he would require Americans to wear masks in public
3:43 a.m. - White House task force plans first news briefing in nearly two months, with no plans for Trump to attend
3:22 a.m. - Local governments eye new taxes to make up for massive budget shortfalls
3:12 a.m. - Singapore punishes British men for illegal bar-hopping
2:52 a.m. - DeVos makes official her controversial plan to push virus aid to private schools
1:56 a.m. - ‘Herd Immunity’ festival changes name after backlash
     Excerpts: "The three-day event is now called the “Mini July Fest.” and, "Critics had blasted the festival for making light of the pandemic. At least one festival band, Nonpoint, decided to cancel."

Read the full stories by a great many WaPo correspondents (no WaPo subscription necessary) at: 


Why music venues can't reopen, part 2...

Nearly 1 in 3 black Americans know someone personally who has died of covid-19, far exceeding their white counterparts, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that underscores the coronavirus pandemic’s profoundly disparate impact.

The nationwide survey finds that 31 percent of black adults say they know someone firsthand who has been killed by the virus, compared with 17 percent of adults who are Hispanic and 9 percent who are white.

Adding in those who know someone with symptoms consistent with covid-19, slightly more than half of black Americans say they know at least one person who has gotten sick or died of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Fewer than 4 in 10 white or Hispanic Americans say they do.

Taken together, the poll’s findings attest to sharp racial differences in the sense that the virus is close at hand, after nearly a half-year in which it has sparked the nation’s worst public health calamity in more than a century.

According to authorities on health disparities, those differences arise from the nation’s deep-seated socioeconomic inequality and help explain the recent spasm of unrest across much of the country in a drive for racial justice.

“This pandemic has really unearthed — shone a real bright light on — the ways these disparities should not be accepted and are not tolerable,” said Joseph Betancourt, vice president and chief equity and inclusion officer at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The differing close-up exposure to the virus’s ravaging effects is accompanied by divergent attitudes about the best way for the country to recover. Asked whether it is more important to try to control the spread of the coronavirus or to try to restart the economy, even if one hurts the other, 83 percent of black Americans say trying to control the virus is a higher priority.

By contrast, when the same question was asked in a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month, just about half of white Americans said trying to control the virus is more important.

The differences in proximity to coronavirus sickness and death align, too, with political attitudes, the survey shows. More than 8 in 10 black Americans say that, in deciding which presidential candidate to vote for in the November election, the coronavirus outbreak will be one of the most important factors or very important. Nearly as many Americans who are Hispanic say they hold that view — but fewer than 6 in 10 who are white say the same.

The survey “tells us a lot about how the life experiences of individuals in the United States are different by race,” said Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “Life experiences drive a lot about how you view the world, how you make decisions and what you do.”

The poll’s central findings — the frequency of knowing someone killed by the virus — hold a mirror to the well-established pattern that the coronavirus has made its deepest inroads in the United States among black Americans. The virus has been more likely to infect black Americans and more likely to have a devastating effect on their bodies if they contract it.

Read the full article by Amy Goldstein and Emily Guskin (no WaPo subscription necessary) at:


How a nation CAN support its arts / artists / venues

COVID-19 Music Industry Updates:
  • Some good news for our friends Down Under: Yesterday, the Australian government announced a $250 million "creative economy package" to support the country's arts and entertainment industry. Read more
(received today via the Americana Music Association)


The pandemic virus is a piker compared to the planetary pandemic of climate chaos...


This past weekend, it hit 100° F (38° C) for the first time ever inside the Arctic Circle. It happened in Verkoyansk, Siberia.

If you're thinking of ice melt, and impending extinction of polar bears as the Northern polar ice cap fragments, that is but one part of impending doom. Fragile arctic ecosystems are being subjected more and more each summer to transoceanic shipping -- giant container ships and oil supertanker -- across vast, newly ice-free runs of the Arctic Ocean. Even a decade ago, that was impossible to do at all. Now it is commonplace, all summer, and each voyage brings us closer to some maritime disaster in a fragile environment with no assimilative capacity to deal with it.

Chinese commercial shipping across the Arctic Ocean. Photo:
In addition to risk of collision in narrow ice-free reaches early each season, it would be naive to think that modern ocean cargo shipping is safe from single-vessel catastrophes under the best of circumstances. Over the last ten years, there have been 39 sinkings of large vessels of just one type, the "bulk carrier." The current issue (June 27, 2020) of "Maritime Executive" magazine reports that, along with an average delay of 32 months after the loss of a vessel before the report on cause of sinking and loss of life is made available. So the latest numbers really cover the period from 2010 to 2019.

The ubiquitous containers piled high on container ships can be filled with literally anything, and they do fall off. A "bulk carrier" ship can be carrying in its tanks or huge cargo holds any manner of substance that is toxic to the fragile Arctic environment. And while older ships pose the greatest risk, the 39 ships (of just this one type) that sank from 2010-2019 include four vessels that were brand new and four that were lost lost to "unknown causes."

Source: Maritime Executive, June 2020.
Individual ships may or may not practice concern for the environment. Some routinely dump into the sea the accumulated waste oil from engine rooms and bilge tanks, and/or sewage, simply to save charges in port for removal and disposal. And the assimilative capacity of oceans farther south, where more complex ecosystems of warmer waters hold greater varieties of organisms that still struggle to eat pollutants, are natural systems altogether absent in the Arctic.

But As critically threatening as that is, it isn't even the most imminent Arctic Armageddon.

Because what could "do all of us in" isn't floating on seawater that used to be ice. It's what's on the lands and in the seasonally frozen lakes that fringe the once-frozen sea. It's the vast quantities of methane released as permafrost melts.

Melting arctic permafrost contains frozen plant and animal remains that have never defrosted for tens of thousands of years. In fact, the biomass in permafrost is comprised of many successional layers of frozen biological remains going back many hundreds of thousands of years, piled one upon the other to the deepest depth of where anything has ever lived, in the current context of biosphere. Thus, layers of once uniformly frozen ground contain more carbon than has ever existed at one time in atmospheric gases. And now the permafrost that has kept it safely locked-up can't keep it there anymore. It's melting. Rapidly. And it is headed for the atmosphere, all at once.

Sites of coastal villages for centuries are disappearing into the sea as the ancient permafrost melts beneath them. Photo,
Our society has generally acquainted us with concerns over limiting carbon dioxide, CO2, and keeping it out of the atmosphere because it's such a potent greenhouse gas. Methane, under the best of circumstances, does 10 to 20 times the damage of excessive CO2, and its synergistic effects as an atmospheric catalyst can make it two hundred times worse. 

Greenhouse gases let wavelengths of sunlight in, but they don't let infrared light back out. Infrared, in the atmosphere, on the surface, on forests, plants, our bodies, on the ground and its underlying permafrost, becomes heat. It has such a strong effect that it is raising water temperatures of entire oceans. Warmer water expands, raising sea levels, tides, and storm surges -- even before melting polar ice and vanishing alpine glaciers add more water to the seas. 

Thus, allowing arctic permafrost to melt might be great for fossil hunters and DNA collectors of frozen Wooly Mammoth remains. But all that methane entering the atmosphere is making the planet a giant atmospheric roach motel where everything checks-in, but things that need to leave, can't.

The science journal "Nature Communications" has published the most advanced study yet of the economic consequences of a melting Arctic. It concluded in April 2019 that thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and add as much as $70 trillion to the world’s climate bill. ("Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other cryosphere elements")

Notably, that is several times the amount of economic benefit touted by the most enthusiastic proponents of seagoing shipping across the Arctic Ocean.

Incredibly, there are still Climate Change Deniers in this world, and most of them are Americans. So if anything justifies violating social distancing during a global pandemic? It should be administering the cartoon slap across the kisser to intransigent adherents of ignorant stupidity before their support for unbridled economic growth kills us all. 

And that's not a simple rhetorical admonition. 

Listen carefully to the panicked calls to "reopen the economy." Those financing them are carefullly exploiting the existential fears held by all of us about paying rent and covering bills 100+ days into pandemic furlough. Why? Because the "usual suspect" exploiters are seeking to manipulate us into a fearful mob that will steamroll over environmental protections. 

We've seen it before, when rich interests protected their control of a for-profit health care system by hijacking a "Tea Party movement" that started out protesting taxpayer bailouts of corporate fat cats who wrecked the economy for personal gain. It seems impossible that could have led to protesters carrying signs that incongruously read, "Keep your government hands off my medicare!" But it did. 

We must not underestimate the power of motivated manipulators to protect their self-interest. The calls are coming for us to demand wholesale suspension or repeal of environmental regulations, everything from safe drinking water standards to surrendering protected wilderness in National Monuments to oil drilling, fracking, and mining interests -- and to support repeals of regulatory authority made by executive fiat -- all as "necessary" things to "save us" from economic ruin. 

We would be deep in expensive, manipulative ads of a tv campaign to that very purpose were it not for the sudden global phenomenon of George Floyd protests. For the moment, those whose greed exploits everything have been caught off-balance. They must retreat to whatever supports "law-and-order" rhetoric because, with chaos that does not derive from the stock market, they now feel fear. But it will never include fear for the common people. Only fear of the common people. And it certainly cannot include fear for what is happening to the planet as the direct result of exploitive, rather than sustainable, human activity. As F. Scott Fitzgerald told us in The Great Gatsby, "The rich are not like you and I." And as environmental economist Garret Hardin warned, "Everything is connected to everything else."

Thing is, the distant Arctic and its out-of-sight, out-of-mind, melting permafrost are, suddenly, the most connected thing of all. Whether or not we find it convenient to notice.


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♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS – and views of interest to artists everywhere – more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers -- and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The cyber porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.

We'll be back again soon with music news and more "News of the Non-Trumpcentric Universe." (c)

Til we catch ya again on the flip side 
in this new decade...
as Buford the Wonder Dog looks on 
and in our best Kathy Baker
"Hee Haw" voice: "THAT's all!"