Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Music · Hillbilly Music
. . . .

Hillbilly Music

Kristi Kates - November 8th, 2010
Hillbilly Music: Old Sledge brings the music of the mountains
By Kristi Kates
The sound of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia comes to Northern Michigan this week, with the arrival of Old Sledge.
“This winter is going to be a busy one for Old Sledge,” begins the band’s Sabra Guzmán. “we wrapped up a great summer with festivals and new venues, and for this fall, we’re getting to visit four new towns in Michigan. We’re really excited to be treading into new territory, and hope to make some new friends and fans!”
If you’re a fan of traditional “old-timey” music, whether fiddle tunes, Appalachian classics, or revitalized blues, chances are you’ll quickly become a fan of Guzmán and her bandmate, aptly named Chance McCoy. The pair of friends, who often round out their duo sound by adding frequent live collaborators Ben Townsend or Jake Hopping, will be performing in Petoskey this Saturday at the Crooked Tree Arts Center.

Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains - a beautiful rural area reminiscent of Northern Michigan, Old Sledge have made it their musical mission to hold true to the “mountain aesthetic” that they find so identifiable to themselves.
“I think we find this music appealing because, well, because it allows us to really take part,” Guzmán says. “We get to connect with others who we might not have if we didn’t play this style of music.
This kind of music is like a common language - there is a canon of standard tunes and songs in Old Time music that allows everyone, who has spent time to learn this canon, to sit down and play, unrehearsed
and without knowing each other.”
Pop or rock music, Guzmán feels, is a “whole different creature,” one that doesn’t necessarily have points of interest that she and her bandmates can connect to.
“You can’t just sit down and start playing with others as easily as you can with Old Time music,” she says, “and playing this music isn’t like a broken record or a mimicking parrot. We learn tunes and songs from recordings or other people that may have been played for over a couple of centuries, and we’ll try and emulate who we’ve learned from, but add our own character, our own personal twist. And when you add in other instruments, other people’s take on a tune or a song, a certain type of magic can occur that really makes playing that particular piece special or unique. This is folk music.”

Guzmán, referred to as the “gypsy” of the band, has traveled frequently back and forth across the U.S. She says that meeting
people and learning their stories has helped her feel connected to the land and the music that Old Sledge play.
While it took her a while to settle in West Virginia, her bandmate McCoy was early on steeped in the tunes of the mountains he grew up in; his fiddling and banjo playing winning him accolades throughout his home region.
Together, they’re a formidable folk-music force, “blowing the dust off the old tunes,” as they put it, and impressing audiences with their singing and instrumentals as they “carry the torch” for this brand of traditional mountain music. Guzmán explains that audiences are often surprised by the variety of music that Old Sledge plays, having been pre-programmed to expect, for instance, dueling banjos, or “Man of Constant Sorrow” run on repeat.
“The one comment we keep hearing from audiences is that they love our wide breadth of songs and tunes,” she says, “when the larger public hears the words old time, string band, southern music, they might instantly think of barn burning fiddle tunes, or kitschy vaudevillian type bands that dress and speak as if they’re from the 1930s. But we don’t really fall into any of those categories. We do like to play some barn-burning fiddle tunes that are great for dancing - but we also like to play the sweet love songs, or haunting murder ballads from the early country acts like the Carter Family or the Monroe Brothers.
“We like to play the syrupy old time blues from Georgia and Mississippi, and we like to play the ballads that were carried over from Ireland and England,” she continues. “a show with Old Sledge not only entertains, but we also try to add a little bit of history to the mix; some of these songs and tunes we play are quite old, and they have great stories that go along with them. We think that adding a little more color to the mix helps people to understand just how rich the southern Appalachians are with American history and culture.”

That’s not to say that Old Sledge are completely ignoring the rest of today’s popular music, though. Since both of the main band members arrived to Old Sledge from varied musical backgrounds, their road trips with the band are accompanied by an equally wide range of music to drive by.
“Traveling so much by car, we’ve taken up listening to Pandora, the Internet music site where you can search one musician or band and create a station that will feature that same artist you’ve entered and other artists like them,” Guzmán explains. “So a person riding with Old Sledge might find themselves listening to swing music and honky tonk, Cajun and Zydeco, Toots and the Maytals, Fiona Apple, The Band, The Roots, Nirvana, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Lady GaGa or Lil’ Wayne,” she laughs.
“But even though we like all kinds of music, we still find ourselves spending a lot of time listening to old bands from the early
hillbilly days.”
Yes, it’s true - even given options as diverse as Lady GaGa and The Roots, Old Sledge return to their own roots far more often than not.
“Old Time music is pretty catchy and invigorating to play,” Guzmán says, “and I think as musicians, we felt an instant draw to learn more about this style of music, and we wanted to be a part of this unique and special genre of American culture. The teachers or mentors that we had to teach us this kind of music were also instrumental in developing our interest, love and musicality with Old Time. Each of these people offered us stories of the older generation we were not able to meet, and in return, have helped pass on this old time tradition.”

Old Sledge perform at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey as part of the Blissfest Fall Concert Series on November 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets at www.blissfest.org. For more info on Old Sledge, please visit www.oldsledgemusic.com.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5