Thursday, September 28, 2017

Love and Everyday Hope: The Wickham Brothers Go Solo



          Though they both have moments reminiscent of their great band Hadacol, this year’s two solo albums by Fred Wickham and brother Greg are a study in contrasts. Being brothers is no doubt polarizing, but being bandmates, it’s amazing they still work together two decades down the road. The great news is they’ve each found their own voices, intertwined by that Hadacol sensibility, but expansive in their distinction. A crude way to say it would be Greg goes big with a rare, brave excellence while brother Fred fingers heartache with quiet, heartrending precision. Another crude way to put it is Greg’s If I Left This World is a pop album, a pop album about death, and Fred’s Mariosa Delta is a blues album, a blues album about the promise of love.

           But all that’s too simplistic. Fred Wickham’s album is firmly rooted in a pop sensibility almost a century old while Greg’s album focuses on more recent sounds. They both reach wide for listeners, and the spindle of these two albums is mortality, the big tent anthemic album revolving around silent grief, and the humble swing record spinning round a tale of cold blooded murder.

            If I Left This World has been out half a year, so let’s start with that one. It’s a big record, but grounded. Greg starts and ends the record with prayers for his daughters. “Angel of Mercy (Song for Sophie)” uses a waltzing wall of sound to drive off his daughter’s pain and to encourage a life truly lived—“let her dance through the shadows til she finds her way home.” Closer “Elsie’s Lullaby” dreams equally grand dreams with a quieter, string-laden touch.


Sounds and styles shift gracefully--from the fiery bluegrass prayer of “Oh Me Oh My” to the rock anthem call for hope (against hope), “Waterfall,” to the dark blues of “Clear,” and the quiet country ballad “If I Left This World.” Greg Wickham sings of people befuddled, defiant, extraordinarily loving and somewhat suicidal. Whatever Greg is singing about at any given time, he’s singing life and death stakes with a sense of humor and a vision big enough to be his final act.

Fred Wickham plays at equally high stakes but he plays them closer to the vest. It takes a while listening to opener “Big Fat Moon” to realize this c’mon the singer’s making is to a memory in his head. For all his swagger, he may well be the saddest of the hard cases that follow.

            And there’s some pretty hard cases. The rockabilly grind of “Rock Bottom Again” promises that the worst so far is nowhere near the worst that’s yet to come. The stubbornly clear vision of the lost soul in “Red Light” promises no hope or redemption. The ‘Better Man’ of “You Don’t Need Me’s” only plan is to “get stoned.” There’s a murder at the heart of this story, and you find yourself wondering how close other fingers are to other triggers. 

Both albums are gorgeous, and daring. Both singers have astounding voices. Both emerge absolutely themselves, using strings and horns over hard-hitting combos that couldn't sound more different.

And they’ve both got me writing tonight at a point in my life where writing doesn’t come easy. There’s times when you’ve lost too much to count and yet you still can't help but count the losses. There's times when you can't remember why you do the things you do, but you still know you need to do them. Both If I Left This World and Mariosa Delta are albums that know how to take that loss and confusion and turn it into a way to keep going. I don't know whether to sing praise or give thanks.


A spare live version of Fred Wickham's "You Don't Need Me"--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JUgq7VN4nI featuring Fred and bassist Richard Burgess.

Greg Wickham's "Waterfall" from last March's record release--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyGH1yAnD2o featuring guest/co-producer Kristie Stremel. Springfield, Missouri's legendary producer Lou Whitney took the helm on the Fred Wickham record.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Love in Need of Love Today: Greetings from Kitchener-Waterloo

The leap going on in our society has convinced me to turn my attention to my eleven-year-old blog as the main story I am trying to tell. Occasionally, I will post stories here that were originally published elsewhere. Last spring, I posted at some length about Janice Jo Lee and Alysha Brilla, two Kitchener-Waterloo musicians I first heard at the 2017 KC Folk Alliance Conference, "Forbidden Folk." Their music has been central to my year so far, and I did brief profile interviews on both of them for The People's Tribune. I'm reposting these below. 

Covering the stories of those entirely left out of the mainstream media and deepening the understanding of headline struggles through the stories of the real people fighting for our survival all over the U.S. and the world, the People's Tribune has been central to my grounded understanding of conditions in America since 1990. Check out the paper here--http://peoplestribune.org/pt-news/

If I have any artist or musician friends who would like to do a similar profile for this forum for everyday fighters' hopes, dreams, struggles and triumphs, please let me know. You can write me directly at danny.dalexand@gmail.com

Alysha Brilla's New Album Envisions a Future Founded on Love, PT, May 2017


Editor’s note: Multi-instrumentalist songwriter Alysha Brilla’s new album, Human, has the power of a unifying manifesto. Inspired by singers Selena Perez, Amy Winehouse and Bob Marley, Brilla’s vocals are, at once, fun, soulful and exciting. The music she makes is every bit as remarkable as that mix. A Canadian of Tanzanian and Indian heritage, Brilla weaves a tapestry of sounds from every reach of the African diaspora. With eclectic hip hop-flavored mixes, R&B and jazz horns vamp off Indian tabla over reggae and African rhythms, creating a sound both inviting and invigorating. Thematically, Human climbs the walls people try to build between one another (“Bigger than That”), dreams of a future founded on love (“No More Violence”) and embraces the process of change before us (“Change the World”). In an interview with the People’s Tribune’s Danny Alexander, Brilla explains her vision, a brilliant counterpoint to that of our corporately-run government and media.

PT: When I first heard you sing “Bigger Than That,” I was in awe of how you could say so much so playfully. How do you remember music shaping your perspective as a child?
Brilla: Music was a huge life source for me as a child. I was always the odd one in my family and in general, so music became a language with which I could translate my thoughts and feelings, and one that people would respond to positively. My mom sang to me, making up lyrics, and my father played guitar on occasion. I was completely fascinated.
PT: How would you describe your approach?
Brilla: Growing up near Toronto, in a mixed household, I heard a lot of different music. I have always loved rhythm. Good rhythm. Good melody. Good lyrics. A song doesn’t need to be complicated. My love for pop music is that it embraces simplicity, as does most folk music around the world. It’s music for people to sing along to, and gather. It connects us to ourselves, each other and a greater unifying force.
PT: What is the story behind your decision to write “Human,” a song about being one of 7 billion others?
Brilla: I like the idea of objectivity. I like the idea of humans having a capacity to zoom out, over ourselves, and look from a bird’s eye view. To look at where we fit in our families, societies and in the world. I think there is nothing more important at this time in history than understanding ourselves and each other. It’s our only hope.
PT: You seem to be a part of a strong, nurturing community of musicians. How did that community and/or that approach develop?
Brilla: I was welcomed by different communities, especially in K-W (Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario). I have a friend and artist named Janice Lee [a wonderful musician herself] whose love for community always inspires me. Without community we feel empty.
PT: If you could change the world, what do you imagine that world might look like?
Brilla: It would look balanced because humanity would collectively be doing the work to ensure that voices formerly silenced now have a platform to express and teach us.It would be a lot greener, too. Borders wouldn’t be so strict because nationalism would be a dated value.


Without Justice There Can Be No Love, PT, June 2017

Editor's Note: Janice Jo Lee’s album, Sing Hey, begins with three deep breaths, as if she’s thinking through what she has to say before launching into a kind of slam-sung poem of tough self-talk. That opener, “All the Times You Were Silent,” kicks off a seamless and stunning mix of soulful folk, blues and hip hop about struggling to pay the bills, standing up for one’s self and fighting for justice and community. Known for her music, poetry and theatrical work in Kitchener, Ontario, Lee offered great insight into her work when she spoke with the People’s Tribune’s Danny Alexander.



PT: “Why do you focus on social justice?”
Janice Jo Lee: “When we talk about social justice, we are talking about society, which for me is made up of the relationships between people—friendships. I believe strongly in what Bell Hooks says, that without justice there can be no love. If you love me, and I love you, we must be dedicated to do the work to build bridges across our differences so that they do not become issues. This is what I write about in my music, the struggles of loving the people around you.”
PT: “And music’s role?”
Lee: “Music can transcend words because you feel music in your body, in your ears, in your head, in your heart, in your chest. There’s so much joy in music, and I think that’s necessary to prioritize as we build communities. To remember why we’re doing this. It is very celebratory.”
PT: “Many of our readers have suffered from the poisoning of their water supply, and you sing about this subject. What inspired it?”

Lee: “The song is called “Oil in the Grand.” It’s a new song.  It will be on my new album Ancestor Song. My song is directly tied to the oil spill in Michigan. There’s a pipeline that crosses the Grand River called line 9. It will be carrying diluted bitumen from the tar sands in Alberta all the way across Southern Ontario to Montreal. It crosses our watershed in Waterloo Region, the Grand River. It crosses Six Nations Treaty territory. And there has been a lot of organizing around stopping this pipeline and the reverse of its flow.”
PT: Your album begins with a kind of political toolbox, but climaxes with some gorgeous pop music, like the wonderful “40 km to Pickle Lake.” How did you see it fitting together?
Lee: My intention with the album was to put the songs I think are the most urgent at the front. Organizing, politics and education is the means, and living a fulfilled joyous wonderful life full of friendship is the ends.
“Pickle Lake” [a song Lee wrote about a time in her life when she had to walk all day to reach a store] ends with a sing-along on the oohs. I’m a folk musician. I want everyone to sing along always. It’s a love lullaby for friendship…
My art is embedded in my community. Building relationships takes time, building trust takes time. I think if we were able to communicate and not be afraid about what we feel, be patient and understanding with each other instead of suppressing our feelings, we could be so much closer.
Janice Jo Lee photo: Hannah Marie


We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.

Copyright © 2017 People's Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Final Note: Alysha Brilla has just finished recording a new album, Rooted, to be released at the end of September. Certainly more of what the world needs right now. Janice Jo Lee will also be playing the album release party.


Saturday, August 05, 2017

WoodyFest #2, To Serve The Song: Interview with Terry "Buffalo" Ware

Terry “Buffalo” Ware serves at the heart of the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival (Woodyfest). He’s seemingly everywhere at once—at every venue, playing his own sets with collaborator Gregg Standridge and up on the main “Pastures of Plenty” stage behind various artists every night before leading the band in the Hootenanny for Huntington’s (Chorea, the disease that took Woody) on Sunday afternoon. The first time I visited the festival, I only hit the hootenanny, and I was blown away by the way Ware’s band seamlessly gave lift to over twenty different acts during the two hour set. My most distinct memory from that show was Ware’s presence, not drawing attention to himself but making sure everything worked as it should. I particularly remember the performance by the stunning Australian singer Audrey Auld (herself taken by cancer just four years later). She playfully called Ware “Buffy” and bragged that she alone among musicians could get away with this.

As Ware told The Oklahoman’s Brandy McDonnell, “Buffalo” actually came from a trip home to Woodward, Oklahoma during his college years. By college, Ware was already in his second rock band. He looked the part. “I had shoulder-length hair, wearing a fringe jacket, and I wore knee-high moccasins. And a friend of mine’s father saw me and said, ‘You know, you look like Buffalo Bill or something.’” His friends thought it was funny, and the razzing settled into a term of endearment and a nickname that clearly suggests something legendary about the guitarist.

That’s why Auld knew “Buffy” was mildly inappropriate. Terry “Buffalo” Ware is a musician’s musician. He’s backed everyone from Wanda Jackson to David Amram, Sam Baker, the Red Dirt Rangers and Eliza Gilkyson because all of these musicians want to play with him. He’s best known as a sideman with three greats—Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jimmy LaFave and John Fullbright. His playing makes anyone up front shine more brightly. On the four instrumental records he’s released since 2004, he dazzles in surprising, unassuming ways.

Each of his instrumental albums uses a sort of surf and drag framework but tackles the whole of popular music. Unlike any 21st Century radio station or music “scene,” he ties 70s guitar rock to 50s dance music, ancient folk songs lace with cool jazz, a cinematic reverie called “Cloud Dancer” casually attains all the heights suggested by its name, and he follows that with the grounded Western trot of “Lonely Dreams of the Silver Sparkle.” Latin rock folds into country rock and a gorgeous closing cover of Lulu’s 1967, “To Sir With Love.” 


For all of us who increasingly wonder where our place is in today’s celebrity-driven, commodity-oriented, genre-divided and individualistic music world, the music and musicianship of Terry “Buffalo” Ware is a lifeline. I’ve certainly clung to his music over the years. For all of the reasons above, I am thankful he granted an interview for my blog.


While I’m going to focus on Man with Guitar and Amp, I want to ask you about your career as a whole. I know one thing my friends and I have talked about a great deal is your empathy as a player. Not that showing off is a bad thing, but it’s not your style. Your playing stays in service to the singer and/or the arrangement as a whole. Would you say there’s something about what drew you to the guitar that gave you that sensibility?

The first music that I remember really affecting me was the rock 'n roll on the radio in my childhood, I was born in 1950, and also what I saw and heard on American Bandstand after we got our first television set. The first record I ever bought was "Breathless" by Jerry Lee Lewis, and I ordered the "autographed" copy from Bandstand. As far as guitar music in particular, I was a big fan of Al Caiola and The Ventures. I started piano lessons at 9, even though I'd been pecking around on it since I can remember, but even though I loved the early Ventures and other guitar instrumental music like "Apache" and "Raunchy," it took seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan to really light the guitar fire under me. I got my first guitar for Christmas in 1964. It was a Kay acoustic that my folks got with S&H Green Stamps. The first thing I did on it was pick out "Pipeline."

Both you and John Fullbright have a long piano history before the guitar, does that play a role here?

I know the piano background had a big impact on my guitar playing from the start because I immediately could "see" the notes. I also think with those early instrumentals and The Beatles influence, I had the importance of melody ingrained in me. I think that's the basic reason that I'm empathetic when I back up other artists. There's also two other major things that really steered me musically early on. One was an elective music theory course I took that was offered after school when I was in the 9th grade by a wonderful music teacher. The other was an intersession improvisation class I took in college during a Christmas break one year. The teacher of that course emphasized that the whole idea of improvising was that you are creating another melody. So I feel like I've always had a melodic approach to my guitar playing. I can't remember who I heard say it first, but I believe that when you play a solo it ought to be something you can sing. And as you pointed out, the most important thing is to serve the song. Without it, you don't have anything.

How would you describe the progression between your albums? Is each one simply a series of new instrumental ideas, or have you found yourself looking at the goal of each album in a slightly different way? To that point, this album doesn’t have the “reverb” in the title [the past three were Ridin’ the Reverb Range, Reverb Confidential and Reverb Babylon], which suggests it’s not part of the trilogy, yet it sounds to me like an extension. Is there a break in your mind or simply a different title idea?

The first album I did, Caffeine Dreams, was in 1979. Side 1 was vocal, side 2 was instrumental. The vocal side is pretty painful. The songs really aren't good at all. I wound up putting the tracks from the instrumental side on my second album, Buffalo Tracks, which was those songs and some other instrumentals I'd recorded on my old 4-track reel-to-reel over the years. Not long after I threw that one out I started writing and recording Riding the Reverb Range. By that time the reel-to-reel had broken down and I had a hard disc recorder. That was before I had my little studio in my converted garage, and I had the recorder set up on the coffee table in my living room. I might add that my wife, Jeannie, is very supportive, understanding and patient. I followed that album with Reverb Confidential and "Reverb Babylon. I decided three albums with "reverb" in the title was enough, and even though they weren't conceived as a trilogy I guess they are so to speak. And yeah, I'd say that each album is pretty much just a series of new ideas. I've always got a few instrumental ideas in various stages cooking.

I love “Jessie’s Eyes” (a very good quality in an album opener) because I get lost in it every time it comes on. You begin with this Thin Lizzy-type rhythm and something like a 15 note riff that defies expectations. Then, a new riff structure slows down the movement over the rhythm before building a kind of cathedral of sound. Can you talk a little about the inspiration for this?

That song evolved from an idea I had for a shuffle type feel that I'd tried writing a couple of different times. I was revisiting it and wasn't getting anywhere with it, again. I put it aside and just started hitting a drone on my low E string and fooling around on top of it and came up with the melody of the first section. I made a rough recording of that much of it and the rest just fell into place. I think I should mention that I do all my tracking in my home studio except for the drums, which I do at The Mousetrap here in Norman. My friend, Carl Amburn who has the studio is a great engineer and he mixes all my albums too. Anyway, Michael McCarty who played drums on the album was doing the drum track. He made the comment that the groove reminded him of "Doctor My Eyes." I blurted out Jesse's Eyes! Jesse Ed Davis is one of my favorite guitarists and a huge inspiration of mine. His solo on that song is legendary.

Did you know him? [The great Native American guitarist was from Norman, Oklahoma, where Ware went to college.]

No, I never had the opportunity to meet Jesse Ed Davis. I first became aware of him and his playing when I was in college listening to the Taj Mahal albums, Taj Mahal and Giant Step. I loved those albums and I still do. The main band I was in back then also played Taj’s arrangement of  “Six Days on the Road.” Then when Jesse Ed’s solo album was released, I got it and wore it out. I did meet Roger Tillison who wrote “Rock and Roll Gypsies,” that’s on that record around that time. He was living in Norman and I first met him one afternoon after setting up for a gig at a bar called “The Bar.” 

Jim Hoke, who plays everything from King Curtis-style sax to pedal steel here, seems particularly valuable as an instrumentalist on your records. What can you tell us about him?

Jim's contributions to the album really put it over the top for me. He's, without a doubt, the best musician I've ever known. He can play just about any instrument you can think of and play it as well or better than anybody. He also has an encyclopedic musical vocabulary. I've known him since the early '70s when he lived in Oklahoma. The first time I remember seeing him play was at a little place in Norman around 1970 or 71. I really got to know him a couple of years later when he was playing drums and sax mostly with The Lienke Brothers City Band, which was a great band from OKC. Jim moved out to California for a few years and then relocated to Nashville in the early '80s. He eventually became a master session player and also has had a lot of other projects. I feel really lucky that he likes my stuff well enough to play on it.

I love the “To Sir with Love” cover. I hear you reveling in the melody, and the possibilities of how to deliver that melody for the first couple of verses, then it seems to become about this massive arrangement. How do you approach your covers?

It's all about the melody. My friend, and another of my big inspirations, the late Bugs Henderson used to do a killer instrumental version of "When a Man Loves a Woman." I've listened to it a bunch and got to see him play it a few times too and it made me want to do something similar. I knew that when I was putting Riding the Reverb Range together I wanted to do a cover of a vocal song. I was in my car one day and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" came on and halfway through the first verse I knew that was going to be the one. It's a great melody and I love Dusty Springfield too. Then with each album finding a song I love to cover has been something I intentionally do, but what I decide on has always happened when I hear something sort of out of the blue and I think it'd make for a fun song to do instrumentally.

You seem to have worked yourself to a place where you can pretty much do what you want to do musically…

Yeah, I feel like I'm in a good place right now. I've been really lucky in my career. I've had full time stints with three of the best, Ray Wylie Hubbard (two full time stints with him), Jimmy LaFave and John Fullbright. And I got to perform with John a couple of years ago on the David Letterman Show in the Ed Sullivan Theater on the stage where the Beatle lightning bolt zapped me from back in 1964. For me, it was a big deal. When we were there for the sound check, camera blocking and all that, there was some time to just go out and stand there and soak it in. I really had a reflective moment doing that. It really got to me. On top of all that, I've made some really great lifelong friends in the process of playing all that music and traveling all those miles. I'm sincerely grateful for all of it, too. 

Those three stints--Ray, Jimmy and John. Do you want to say a little about what it was/is like working with each of them? Is there something distinct you took from each of those experiences?

Working with Ray really shaped my career and set its course. Playing with him I got introduced to a lot of music I’d never known about and also met a lot of great songwriters and musicians, and a lot of them became good friends. My first full time stint with him was at the beginning of the “progressive country” movement in the early ‘70s and we were smack dab in the middle off all that.

I left Ray in early 1979 and played locally in a Norman based band, The Sensational Shoes, until I went back with him in 1986 and stayed full time with him until 1998 and saw him reinvent his career. We did a lot of touring in the states, Europe and Canada.

One of the tours we did was a songwriter tour in early 1998 with Kevin Welch and Jimmy LaFave. Randy Glines was playing bass with Jimmy and he and I backed all three of them. Ray and Jimmy were both being booked by Val Denn. Jimmy didn’t have a regular guitar player at the time and not long after that he was making a run to do some shows in Florida and asked if I could do it. I could and did. For a few months I wound up playing with both Ray and Jimmy. I’d do a tour with one of them, get home for a few days and then go out and do the exact same tour with the other. After a while, Ray started doing quite a few solo shows and I joined up with Jimmy full time.

The great pleasure of playing with Jimmy was getting to hear him sing. He truly had a distinctive voice both in texture and in his phrasing, not to mention a great range. He also let the band stretch out and I got to play with some really good players in his band. And as it'd been with Ray, I met a lot of great songwriters through Jimmy.

I left Jimmy in April of 2000 and instead of trying to find a full time gig with somebody, I decided to freelance. I worked semi-regularly with a band out of Dallas, Macon Greyson and also semi-regularly with a local singer, Camille Harp. I was also backing up a lot of artists at The Blue Door in OKC. Some of them were friends of mine and some were people I didn't know. Greg Johnson, who owns the place, would tell people about me and if they wanted a guitar player to back them up when they played there he'd arrange for me to be that guy. Between shows there with Ray and Jimmy and backing up other folks, I'm pretty sure I've been on that stage more than anyone.

I started teaching guitar in a local teaching studio in mid 2004. I enjoyed it, but by the time I turned 60 in 2010 I was getting pretty burned out. I kept teaching, but quit taking on new students. Not long before that, I started doing some shows with John Fullbright.

The first I became aware of him was at the Woody Guthrie Festival a couple of years before that. People were talking about this young kid from Okemah hanging around the campgrounds who was really good. It was Greg Johnson who suggested to John that he might ask me to back him up on some shows.

I started playing with John quite a bit and traveling some with him. Then I started traveling with him a bit more. Then we recorded the From the Ground Up record and I started touring with him a whole lot. I was down to about a dozen students and had been shuffling my schedule around my work with John. It didn't show any signs of slowing down. I'd been wanting to quit teaching altogether, so that gave me my reason.

Working with John is great. His writing and musicianship is at a really high level and it's been some of the most enjoyable and fulfilling music I've ever played. Through my playing with John, as with Ray and Jimmy, I've been lucky to play some great gigs and meet even more great songwriters and musicians. I guess that's what I've really taken away with my time with all three of them and I think that it's helped me become a better musician along the way. I'm still working on it though. You never stop learning.

What’s next?

I'm always working on something or another. I've got an instrumental project I've been working on. So far it's a bit more stripped down than the previous ones, but we'll see what happens. I've also been working on a vocal project that I think I'll eventually get out. It's stuff that I've written and that I've co-written with my partner, Gregg Standridge. We've been writing together for about 8 years or so and did an album together, Everybody's Got One. [Editor’s note: a beautiful record, by the way, reviewed in my year end list….Not on the album, check out their new protest single, "Can't Stand Still" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5HyFbuqd88 ]

I also play my piano quite a bit these days. I write on it and just for my own amusement like sitting and playing standards; looking for different ways to voice the chords. I even    took a piano lesson fairly recently with Louise Goldberg, who is just a great player and can play those tunes as good as anybody, looking at that kind of thing.

I made a decision this past fall that I wanted to take an extended break from touring, not just with John, but with anybody. I'd just like to not be in a lot of motion for a while. I'm still playing quite a bit, but I'm not going very far to do it. I haven't played a gig since September that I couldn't get back to my house after it was over. I'm producing an album for [Tulsa artist] Susan Herndon that we've been working on and are taking our time with, and I've got another possible production coming up in the fall. Over the last couple of years quite a few folks have told me I should write a memoir. I've written down some things and have a vague outline, so I may pursue that. I'm not sure the world needs another one.  I plan to keep writing more of my own music as much as I can, instrumentally and otherwise. Actually, I don't have choice in that matter.

Special thanks to Vicki Farmer for all the wonderful photos!





Sunday, July 23, 2017

WoodyFest #1, Grown-Up Anger

  It’s times like this when I know why I keep a blog. When I had regular writing gigs (which became a soul-killing complication for me after 25 years), I kept regular writing rhythms, telling one little story at a time. Now….I have these explosions of inspiration that lead to a burst of ideas, and then I can go back to the fiction and political analysis I’m working on the rest of the time.


Last week, I went down to Okemah, Oklahoma to see a group of old friends and to finally experience Woody Fest, which previously I’d only encountered during its end hootenanny. I couldn’t stay the whole time, but what I experienced--with my brother James McGraw, Blue Door owner Greg Johnson, singers and players Michael Fracasso, Chris Buhalis, Marie Burns, Sarah Lee Guthrie, the Red Dirt Rangers, Terry Ware, Gregg Standridge, Ronnie Elliott, Kevin Welch, Dustin Welch, writers Bill Glahn, Daniel Wolff, Dave Marsh and Barry Ollman, encountering the important new book about the “deportees," Tim T. Hernandez's, All They Will Call You, and sharing the excitement with so many others—is fodder for dozens of blogs. I’m resisting the urge to attempt a comprehensive one and focusing on one thing at a time.

First up, a review I wrote at Amazon.com regarding Daniel Wolff’s new book, Grown-Up Anger