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 · Driftwood’s Striking Sound
. . . .

Driftwood’s Striking Sound

Kristi Kates - March 31st, 2014  

A great little band you’ve probably never heard is making its way to northern Michigan, stopping at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, and Sleder’s Tavern in Traverse City.

They’re called Driftwood, and the alt-folk world is starting to pay attention.


Influenced in part by fellow upstate New Yorker bands such as Old Crow Medicine Show and The Horseflies, Driftwood is an unusual combo of traditional American folk plus jazz, prog-rock, bluegrass, and a collective love of harmonies.

Violinist Claire Byrne’s aggressive fiddle playing helps define the band’s striking sound.

“The sound stems from a few different things,” said Byrne, who also leads and backs up on vocals. “We have all studied classically, and I think that, combined with our various musical influences, anything from Hendrix to Doc Watson, gives us the sound we have. Since we don’t have a drummer, we also try to utilize dynamics as much as possible.”

Those dynamics – and some solid songwriting – are on full display in the band’s eponymous album. It features eleven songs in all, and was produced by Grammy winner Robby Hunter.

“Driftwood,” recorded in an Ithaca, N.Y. church with questionable heat and a noisy fire station next door, covers everything from youthful pursuits to politics to romance. It almost captures the band’s energetic, noholds-barred, difficult-to-cage stage sound, which is bringing them solid sales.


The band formed when guitarist Dan Forsyth and banjo player Joe Kollar met in a Binghamton, NY high school and began playing together.

When Forsyth temporarily moved to Colorado, he discovered bluegrass, and brought those sounds back home with him.

After adding Joey Arcuri on bass, the group later picked up Byrne on the side of the road – literally – when she needed a ride to a distant gig. On that car ride, the conversation turned to music, and Byrne was folded in to Driftwood.

“The dream was to travel around the country playing music,” Byrne said. “That has always sounded appealing to me and to Joey as well, so it was a good fit.”


In the past three years, the band has played more than 475 shows.

“People seem to really like the album, which is encouraging to us as artists,” Byrne said. “It’s doing quite well, and we’re also working with a radio promoter and publicist this time around. We’ve noticed that we are getting airplay in markets that we haven’t toured through yet, so it is exciting to be bringing the music to new cities.”

And that, of course, brings us back to Driftwood’s upcoming Michigan shows, a follow up to their 2013 appearance at Blissfest.

They’ll be taking the stage at the newly renovated Ramsdell Theater in Manistee on April 4; performing as part of the Blissfest Music Series at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey on April 5; and jamming at Sleder’s Tavern in Traverse City on April 6.

“We’ll be playing mostly original sets of music, with high points and softer spots as well,” Byrne said. “It’s nice to play in settings where we feel like we can play ballads and fiddle tunes in the same show. We like to focus on the songs, but also have the opportunity to stretch out and jam.”

And fans of this particular trio of shows might also get an extra treat - namely a sneak listen to some of Driftwood’s newest songs.

“We are writing new material, although none of it is recorded yet,” Byrne said. “It’s always fun to play developing tunes at shows, so Michigan fans can definitely look forward to that.”

Byrne said Driftwood is ready to come back, both as musicians and as tourists – sun or snow.

“It feels good to be returning and hopefully getting to know the area a little better,” Byrne said. “And being from upstate New York, the weather doesn’t concern us, either.”

For more info on Driftwood, visit driftwoodtheband.com or the group’s Facebook page. Visit crookedtree.org, ramsdelltheatre.org, or sleders.com for ticket information and show times.

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