Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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4Play: The Bihlman Brothers, Barbara Faith Jordan, Ron Harrison

Kristi Kates - September 28th, 2009
4Play: The Bihlman Brothers, Barbara Faith Jordan, Ron Harrison
Kristi Kates 9/28/09

The Bihlman Bros. - What U Want
Scot “Little” Bihlman and Jeff “Jabo” Bihlman, along with Charlie “Cornbread” Short and Gary Worden, make up the Bihlman Bros., a grunge-country-rock quartet in the vein of a more rustic Stone Temple Pilots or a Pearl Jam light, although the echoes of many different bands can be heard within their range of songs. Opening with the aggressive “I Wanna Fly,” the album quickly takes a turn for the mellow by track three, “Jubilee,” a Southern-rock influenced number with well-arranged harmonies. “Angel’s Wings” is another slow tune, showcasing a slightly Hendrix feel, and is followed by “Needle and Thread,” which recollects the best of Hootie and the Blowfish. The brothers’ vocals do blend well together, especially on the aforementioned “Angel’s Wings” and later track “Better Place,” and the guitar work is adroit and well-mixed; the one real misstep on the set seems to be “Shotgun,” which is a little too gimmicky and unfinished sounding amidst the rest of the album’s polished production values.


Barbara Faith Jordan - Passages
With her clean vocal lines and self-assured acoustic guitar work, Barbara Faith Jordan’s set shows off her thoughtful songwriting and narrative sensitivity, especially on songs like “There’s a Friend,” and “See What You Made Me Do.” A few of the songs here are slightly darker in tone, which makes for a nice change - especially “Loose Ends,” which features detailed characters, some interesting minor chords, and a shift into falsetto towards the end of the song that’s reminiscent of Tori Amos. Speaking of Amos, the piano work of Dave Proulx on “I Remembered to Forget You” also falls into that similar sound, and the keyboard tones line up well with Jordan’s vocals - her voice almost seems to stand out better at times against the piano than the guitar. Elsewhere on the set, she channels the likes of a Mary Chapin Carpenter or a Shawn Colvin on “You’re Too Much,” and closes the collection fittingly with the thankful “Blessed By It All.”


Ron Harrison - River Rd.
Recorded and mixed in Copemish, Michigan, singer-guitarist Ron Harrison presents a half-dozen jazz-pop tracks on his new album, which opens appropriately with a drumroll. First track “Can’t Have It All” features syncopated rhythms and plucked guitar, setting the stage for track two’s continued guitar work and soulful organ. The title track, “River Road,” is nicely anchored by several stringed instruments and a traipsing rhythm that’s well-suited to the road-trek feeling of the song, while the loungey “When I Met You” adds in piano and woodwinds for some added variety and texture. Harrison could use a little more soul in his vocals, though - while his tone is lucid and on-pitch, it seems he needs to summon up a little more emotion than what’s displayed vocally here, as oftentimes he seems to be singing on top of the rest of the instruments, instead of interacting with them and with the song itself. But overall, these tracks are concisely written, and would be a perfect addition to any easy listening radio station’s playlist.

 
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