Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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Monday, August 16, 2010

Reggae meets Finland

Music Kristi Kates Reggae meets Finland, eh? Take a multicultural vacation with Conga Se Menne
By Kristi Kates
It’s one thing to try and describe your average band to readers. One generally narrows down the band’s genre to something easy to describe, like “funk-rock group” or “folk four-piece.”
It’s another thing entirely to attempt a translation of Upper Peninsula band Conga Se Menne.
Formed in 1994 by Derrell Syria, Conga Se Menne takes Syria’s original compositions and songs, arranges them utilizing elements of both Finnish traditional music and Jamaican reggae, adds in comedy lyrics about “Yoopers” and other facets of U.P. life, and performs them on guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion instruments (and occasionally horns). Whew. So how did they get to this admittedly zany mix of musical styles?
“I am 100 percent Finnish - second generation American - and I’m influenced by many different genres of music,” Derrell Syria explains. “Our aim when Conga Se Menne was founded was to perform my tunes in a reggae-slash-traditional Finnish style. The name of the band is a play on words taken from the Finnish phrase ‘kuinka se mene,’ meaning ‘how are you doing?’”
Syria says that the band started out as a three-piece, but today has evolved into a “floating cast” of musicians, ranging from two to seven, depending on the gig and venue. They include Syria, Dave Ziegner, John Kumjian, Jerry Kippola, Gary Parkonnen, Paul Neumann, and Kay Smith.
 
Monday, August 9, 2010

Sanborn‘s everything

Music Kristi Kates Sanborn’s Everything arrives at Interlochen
By Kristi Kates
Saxophonist David Sanborn’s studio and live performance resume reads like a Who’s Who of jazz, R&B, and pop/rock music.
He’s performed in-session and/or live with -- among others -- James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Carly Simon, The Eagles, Elton John, and, perhaps most recognizably, David Bowie, for which Sanborn contributed the distinctive sax solo on Bowie’s 1975 classic hit “Young Americans.”
 
Monday, August 9, 2010

Goose Lake

Music Rick Coates Goose Lake : America’s Forgotten Festival
By Rick Coates
The abundance of music festivals now taking place in Northern Michigan probably are better known than one of the largest and most successful in American history.
Last weekend marked the 40th anniversary of Goose Lake International Festival that originally took place between Jackson and Ann Arbor August 7- 9, 1970 and attracted more than 200,000 attendees.
While Woodstock received full fanfare from the media last year in honor of its 40th, little is being made about Goose Lake, despite the fact that Billboard calls it one of the most successful music festivals of all time.
“I will take the blame for the lack of media coverage,” said Tom Wright, one of the organizers and production manager for the festival. “All this media from Rolling Stone Magazine to others showed up looking for backstage access and I wouldn’t give it to them. I gave them free passes to get in an’ sit with
 
Monday, August 9, 2010

4Play: Various Artists, The Ready Set, Various Artists, The Drums

Music Kristi Kates Various Artists - Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: The Songs of John Prine - Oh Boy Records
Progressive bluegrass/folk artist John Prine has been called one of the most influential songwriters of his time, and his poetic lyrics and tunes been compared to everyone from Neil Young to Bob Dylan. Today, a who’s who of current indie-rockers pay tribute to Prine’s songwriting, from The Avett Brothers’ version of “Spanish Pipedream” to My Morning Jacket’s attempt at “All the Best”; Conor Oberst’s (Bright Eyes) take on “Wedding Day in Funeralville” to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s version of “Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow).”

 
Friday, August 6, 2010

Red Wanting Blue

Music Kristi Kates Red Wanting Blue:Has Designs on Union Street
By Kristi Kates
“We have performed in Traverse City only once before, and fell in love
with the town,” Red Wanting Blue singer/guitarist Scott Terry says.
“This time it won’t be in the middle of winter, which we are excited
about.”
 
Friday, August 6, 2010

Mt. Holiday gets a musical makeover

Music Robert Downes Mt. Holiday gets a musical makeover
Music-lovers who check out the “new” weekly concert scene at Mt. Holiday Ski Resort in Acme may be surprised to learn that it has it actually has a fairly old and distinguished background.
In fact, folk superstar Joni Mitchell and her then-husband Chuck performed in the lounge atop Mt. Holiday way back in May of 1966 when she was an unknown singer-songwriter trying to make it in Detroit.
“I can remember her standing on the fireplace at that show when this was a coffeehouse called the Bucktooth Clam,” says Sandy Blumenfeld, who has seen many shows and performers come and go at Mt. Holiday through the years. “She didn’t have anything going on nationally at that time -- it was just before Joannie Collins and Tom Rush recorded her songs and she became a star.”
 
Friday, August 6, 2010

4Play: Sheryl Crow, Carole King & James Taylor, Rosanne Cash, Lady Antebellum

Music Kristi Kates Sheryl Crow - 100 Miles from Memphis - A&M
Crow grew up 100 miles from Memphis, in a small farming town, and
returns on this set to the music she used to listen to then. Echoes of
those influences, from the Stax records to Stevie Wonder and Al Green,
are heard throughout these songs, with their funky/bluesy rhythms and
AM-radio retro arrangements. “Summer Day” is a well-honed pop-rock
number, while “Stop” shows off her vocal range. Crow’s friends show
up, too - old pal Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) stops by to add
distinctive guitar riffs to “Eye to Eye,” Justin Timberlake drops
backing vocals into Crow’s cover of D’Arby’s “Sign Your Name,” and
Citizen Cope duets with Crow on his shoegazy-blues tune “Sideways.”

 
Monday, August 2, 2010

Dunegrass

Music Kristi Kates Dunegrass gets Back to its Roots: The best of Michigan’s music crop blossoms in Empire
By Kristi Kates
Founded in 1992, when it was “more of a private party,” according to
current festival overseer/producer Ryan Lake, the Dunegrass Music
Festival’s goal was simply to promote local music and help people
enjoy it.
 
Monday, August 2, 2010

Jim Crockett and Fred Ball

Music Robert Downes The River Runs Deep for Old Friends Jim Crockett and Fred Ball
By Robert Downes
Thirty-seven years ago, Jim Crockett set a pen to paper in a
reflective mood and wrote “The Manistee River,” possibly the
best-known folk song ever to come out of Northern Michigan.
Through the years the song, which is a waltzing melody of family
troubles washed away by a peaceful river, has been performed so often
at folk festivals, concerts, and on college radio station WNMC, that
the mantle of ‘elder statesman’ of Northern Michigan’s folk community
has settled on Crockett’s shoulders.
 
Monday, August 2, 2010

Blues Traveler

Music Rick Coates Blues Traveler dishes up Paella in the Park
By Rick Coates
The Paella In The Park event on Friday night in Traverse City will
focus on the Spanish peasant dish, Paella (see Tastemakers). The
evening will be highlighted by wine pairings from the Wineries of Old
Mission Peninsula. The question is, what will be for dessert?
How about a full serving of Blues Traveler?
 
Monday, August 2, 2010

Got Soul?

Music Rick Coates Got Soul? Collectively, soulful rockers keep it together
By Rick Coates
Even in the world of rock and roll, a lot of times it is about who you know versus what you know. Just ask Collective Soul lead guitarist Joel Kosche who joined the band in 2001. Kolsche and his bandmates, Ed and Dean Roland and Will Turpin (all founding members) will take the stage at the Odawa Casino in Petoskey this Saturday.
“Yeah I was a part of that same music scene in the Atlanta area that Collective Soul was a part of. I had my day job painting in a body shop and fronted a band at night,” said Kosche. “Well, I was getting tired of the day job and so I asked a buddy connected with Collective Soul if they needed anybody and eventually he passed my name along and I got hired.”
But not to be a member; Kosche was hired to be the guitar tech for the band in 1996.
 
Monday, August 2, 2010

Lyle Lovett

Music Kristi Kates Lyle Lovett: Livin‘ Large
By Kristi Kates
Four Grammy Awards, one Large Band, 40 cities on the tour schedule, and one acclaimed all-American performer. The components that make up Texan Lyle Lovett’s success are varied and many, but for the singer-songwriter himself, it all breaks down to the songs.
“My songs can be just a stray thought that’s a reaction to something going on, or a reflection of what’s going on in my own life,” Lovett says. “My songs are about people, about trying to figure out what every day is like, what every day means.”
But writing those songs is most definitely more than just a job, Lovett explains.
“It’s not something that ever seems like work, or that I have to do,” he says.
 
Monday, August 2, 2010

Graham A. Parsons

Music Kristi Kates Going ’Round with Graham A. Parsons
By Kristi Kates
Self-taught Upper Peninsula singer-songwriter Graham A. Parsons got an
early - and heavy-metal - introduction to music while he was still in
his teens.
 
Monday, August 2, 2010

4Play: Herbie HAncock, Esperanza Spalding, Stanley Clark Band, Lee Ritenour

Music Kristi Kates Herbie Hancock - The Imagine Project - HH Records
Hancock took “collaboration” to the nth degree on this, his latest album. No less than 18 fellow musicians assist Hancock in his goal of sharing themes of global peace and universal responsibility on these songs, which blend world music with Hancock’s own distinctive electronic sounds. Highlights include an “Imagine” suite on which Hancock works with Seal, Jeff Beck and India Arie; “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” with Irish talents The Chieftains; and a left-field assist from Dave Matthews on Hancock’s version of “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
 
Monday, July 26, 2010

Ted Nugent

Music Rick Coates The Nuge Goes Ballistic: Ted Nugent brings politics as well as rock to Leelanau show
By Rick Coates
The political season is in full swing and the Motor City Madman Ted
Nugent is definitely campaigning. While not running for political
office as of yet, Uncle Ted believes for now his best platform is the
rock and roll stage and living by example. But he says the “threat is
there, it will always be there, (to run for office).”
 
 
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