Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Attack of the guitar gods
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Attack of the guitar gods

Ross Boissoneau - August 23rd, 2007
This year’s Guitar Masters Series at Interlochen includes axe-slingers that other guitarists stand in awe of, guitarists from the area who have made it big elsewhere, and at least one guitarist nearly everyone has heard, though they may not heard of him.
Got that? Well, that’s what you get when you include fingerstyle master Leo Kottke, and Traverse City’s own Jeff Bihlman from the Bihlman Brothers/Son Seals Band and Kenny Olson of The Flask. Then there’s Howard Alden, who’s played on albums by a who’s who of jazz musicians but is perhaps most notable for being the musician behind Sean Penn’s leading role in Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown.”
As was the case last year, the series is split into three nights, with days given over to classes for guitar students. The shows will be held each night at Corson Auditorium at 8 p.m.
The first night’s show on Thursday, Aug. 23, features Kottke, who has been enthralling audiences and dumfounding other guitarists since the late ‘60s. His breathtaking technique and unusual tunings on the guitar have earned him a cult following since his 1971 disc “6 and 12-String Guitar” on fellow guitarist John Fahey’s Tacoma label.
Kotke entered a folk phase shortly thereafter, even including vocals. After signing with the Private Music label, his work was labeled New Age, though mostly it was and continues to be Leo Kottke music.
Kottke’s rich imagination and fluid fingerstylings have enabled him to play with a host of other musicians, including his mentor John Fahey, Chet Atkins, Lyle Lovett and Rickie Lee Jones. He has recorded tunes by the likes of country legends Tom T. Hall and Johnny Cash, rockers Fleetwood Mac, The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kuakonen, and jazz band leader Carla Bley. He’s done two albums with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, and is a frequent guest on the radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion.”

The second night of the show on Friday, Aug. 24 emphasizes classical and jazz, and features classical guitarists Jason Vieaux and Martha Masters, followed by jazz masters Gene Bertoncini, Howard Alden and Lee Dyament with Emre Yilmaz.
Alden may well be the best of the lot, though the humble musician probably would never suggest that. But consider; he’s worked with Ruby Braff, Joe Williams, Woody Herman, and Dizzy Gillespie among many others. He’s made soundtracks, played in large bands, quartets, guitar trios and duos, and perhaps most demandingly, as a solo artist. Through it all his dazzling style remains understated and enjoyable.
Sometime too much so. While his music always sounds fully realized, his egoless solo style could be amped up considerably without losing its musicality, but Alden prefers to say things simply. His undeniable technique often translates better into live performance.
For Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown,” Alden even gave the notoriously prickly Sean Penn guitar lessons, spending six months working with him. Alden gave Penn, the student, high marks, but it was Alden’s playing on the soundtrack that received accolades.

Saturday, Aug. 25, the last night of the series, focuses on Hot Rock and Blues, with Kenny Olson, Jeff Bihlman, and John Defaria (guitarist for Gloria Estefan and Kenny Loggins) joining with rising stars Stoll Vaughan and Pablo Signori, as well as Interlochen’s own John Wunsch, who put the series together.
Wunsch noted that producing, coordinating and performing at the event is a challenge, but one that he finds very satisfying. “It’s exhausting, but it’s really great,” he said. “Jeff Bihlman, Kenny Olson and I have been rehearsing, and I think we’re going to have some pretty cool stuff.”

Much the same could be said for any of the nights. For ticket information, contact the Interlochen Box Office at 276-7800.

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