Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Rusted Root

Fame Hasn’t Ground Them Down

Kristi Kates - July 7th, 2014  


After the movie “Ice Age” outed them to millions with the hit, “Send Me on My Way,” Rusted Root’s commercial career took off, but the band has nonetheless stayed grounded in their original, world music jam sound.

Now, the Pittsburgh-based fan favorite is bringing their unique music to Blissfest, where they’ll play many of the songs from their 25- year career, as well as some new tunes.

ALBUM ON THE WAY

The band is celebrating its 25th anniversary by working on a new album, including some songs that fans will get a sneak peek of, said Patrick Norman, who plays bass.

“We have been playing some of the new material at the shows, sometimes spontaneously throwing one in a set,” he said.

Seeing how the songs translate live can be a critical part of the writing process because the band gets instant feedback, he said.

“Sometimes trying out a song for the first time live, you can clearly see what works and what doesn’t,” Norman said. “I personally find this enjoyable and helpful to the creative process.”

MUSICAL MOVEMENT

While Norman says he’s not a big fan of the term “world music” (“…because all music is world music,” he said), his band did help bring African and Latin American-inspired sounds to a broader audience.

“When ‘Send Me On My Way’ hit in the ‘90s, there wasn’t a lot of that kind of music on mainstream radio,” Norman said. “I think the Internet explosion helped enable people to discover more styles of music, and I’m glad we were one of the bands in the forefront of that movement.”

Norman remembers listening to bands from Africa like Baba Maal, King Sunny Ade, and Hugh Masekela during that time.

“Now you can hear that same style of music in bands like Vampire Weekend and Yeasayer,” he said.

TOURING TUNES

For their current round of songwriting, the band is finding that touring itself is providing plenty of material.

“I think that traveling 200-some days a year, playing with my band mates and performing for our fans is where we derive a lot of our inspiration,” Norman said.

The band is just kicking off their summer tour, during which they should traverse most of the U.S. by this fall.

“Summer is one of my favorite times to tour because there are always a bunch of great festivals happening and we get to see and play with so many fantastic musicians,” he said. “I try to remind myself to breathe and enjoy the moments during the tour, but it flies by so fast sometimes, it’s just a technicolor blur, and then the tour’s over.”

The band has already performed in Northern Michigan several times, and Norman says it’s one of the places they look forward to.

“It’s stunning there in the summer, and I can’t wait to come back. We always have a ball when we play in Michigan,” he said. “For the Blissfest show, we’ll be mixing classic with some brand new songs, and some spontaneous standup hijinx.”

Norman laughed. “Just kidding about the standup,” he said.

Rusted Root will be performing at this year’s Blissfest as the Saturday night headliner. For tix and more info, visit www.blissfest.org, and find the band at rustedroot.com

 
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