Letters

Letters 09-22-2014

Lame Duck Move

Twenty three states are controlled by Republican state legislatures and governors including Michigan. It is reported that Michigan Republicans are planning a sneak attack during the lame duck session to change the way electoral votes are allocated in presidential elections...

Lessons From The Middle East

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” That statement applies in the Middle East....

Student Athletes, Coaches Worth It

Are coaches at major universities overpaid? A simple Google search will show quite the opposite. These coaches do not get paid with taxpayer money. The coaches get paid by media companies, equipment companies, alumni groups, as well as revenue from ticket sales and merchandise...

Mute The Political Ads

Mark Sunday, September 14th as the opening of the flood gates, with TV political attack advertising. Fasten your seat belts until November 4th...

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Monday, January 17, 2011

4Play: Polar Bear; Sufjan Stevens; Secret Sisters; Black Dub

Music Jack Pine Polar Bear - Peepers (Leaf Label) 1/17/11
Here’s a concept: Jazz that is fun, musical, adventurous and not at all boring. Polar Bear is a small combo from England that features two saxophone players. Polar Bear plays jazz that is more about the compositions than any lengthy jazz trance solos. There are touches of Sun Ra, Morphine and Tom Waits (sans vocals). Some songs groove and some float, but it is all fresh and inviting music. It all seems so natural; it is a wonder a band with Polar Bear’s sound hasn’t happened sooner.


 
Monday, December 27, 2010

Emma Cook

Music Jack Pine “Days of Wonder”: Leelanau singer/songwriter Emma Cook
releases debut CD
By Jack Pine
Emma Cook is an example of how a young artist can be successfully nurtured, mentored, and inspired to be creative. As it turns out, folk singers do not have to hit the road and stumble around several years to make good music. Cook, a Leelanau County singer/songwriter, will host a CD release party for her debut recording “Days of Wonder” on Sunday, January 2 at 5 p.m. at the Loading Dock in TC.
Both of Cook’s parents are musicians. Her dad plays mandolin and her mother is a piano teacher. Cook grew up a child of Blissfest and has attended the folk festival almost every year since she was a baby.
“It is always fun” Cook says. “There is this moment when you crest a hill and see all the tents. It is a sigh of relief, almost. I feel so comfortable there.”
Instead of rebelling against her parent’s music, Cook has connected with it and is inspired by the performers at the festival.
 
Monday, December 27, 2010

4Play: John Mellencamp, Hank Williams III, She & Him, Jeff Beck

Music Jack Pine John Mellencamp - No Better than This (Rounder Records)
“No Better Than This” is the second down-to-the-basics, Mellencamp and an instrument or two, mono recording produced by T-Bone Burnett. This time they take an old tape recorder and one microphone to the Sun Studios in Memphis, a Baptist church in Savannah and a hotel room in San Antonio where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson recorded. The mood is slightly more chipper than on the last one “Life, Death, Love and Freedom” and starts out with a real good, moving song “Save Some Time to Dream,” but Mellencamp is still no Bob Dylan. There is more pretense than substance on this one.
 
Monday, December 20, 2010

The Bohemians

Music Jack Pine Old Friends, New Sound: The Bohemians Get Funky
By Jack Pine
It’s an early December night at Lil’ Bo Pub and Grille in TC. Outside it
is cold, snowy, and the roads are slick. Inside, singer Dawn Campbell is
trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with their sound system.
None of this is doing anything to mess with the enthusiasm she has for her
new band, The Bohemians.
 
Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter music

Music Jack Pine Winter Music: Familiar faces join newcomers for sounds of the season
By Jack Pine
While others are singing “Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” and waxing their
skis, I  am mumbling to myself the lines of “In the Bleak Midwinter”
and thinking, “Now there’s a Christmas carol written for me.” Perhaps
I’d be wise to put up something of a fight, get into my car, scrape
the ice off the window, turn on the defroster and see a Northern
Michigan concert or two.
 
Monday, November 29, 2010

11/19/2010 4Play: Doobie Bros., Girl Talk, Neil Young, Leon Russell and Elton John

Music Jack Pine Doobie Bros. - World Gone Crazy - HOR Records
This is the first collection of new material from the Doobie Bros. in a decade, who amazingly have stayed together all these years in some form except for a two-year hiccup in the early ‘80s. To call them new songs is a bit of a stretch. It is possible this album was computer-generated based on the Doobie’s pre-Michael McDonald, “Long Train Running” era, with Tom Johnston singing most of the lead vocals. Producer Ted Templeman is re-enlisted from the Doobie’s glory days, McDonald and Willie Nelson show up for guest appearances, but it is not enough to make it interesting. But who knows? Maybe they’ll be one of the next bands from the ‘70s to play at the Cherry Festival.
 
Monday, March 23, 2009

Angelo Meli

Music Jack Pine Angelo Meli
Jack Pine 3/23/09

When guitarist Angelo Meli was asked if someone could become a better musician after 50 years and beyond, he pretty much scoffs at the question.
“Oh yeah, unless you have some physical impairment,” Meli says emphatically, after finishing his weekly Tuesday solo gig at Oryana Food Co-op in Traverse City. “I’m sure I am a better guitar player than I was a week ago.”
His response wasn’t anything like a boast. Meli, 58, knows that practice and focus brings positive results. He has been playing guitar most of his life and is currently playing more than ever. In addition to Tuesday’s at Oryana from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., he gigs regularly with the Neptune Quartet and the Rhythm Kings and he now has over 20 guitar students. He is one of a handful of local musicians that run around town with their equipment, from lessons to gigs, just like in the big city.
Meli began playing guitar in his teens and started to get serious about it when he worked for renowned guitar maker and player Dan Erlewine in Ann Arbor. Meli also had a job working maintenance at the University of Michigan Medical School.
“My boss would say ‘If you get your work done, you can bring your guitar here and practice,’” Meli says. “I would get my work done in four hours and practice four hours in a little janitor’s closet.”
 
Monday, January 19, 2009

Breathe Owl Breathe

Music Jack Pine For an acoustic trio, Breathe Owl Breathe plays some pretty danceable music. A song starts with Micah Middaugh, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, playing a syncopated rhythm on the bass strings of an acoustic guitar. It’s enough to get the crowd swaying to the beat. Andrea Moreno-Beals on cello and Trevor Hobbs on drums join in and fill out the groove. Middaugh starts singing and the journey of the song begins - off to the land of polly wogs, jungle gyms and saber tooth tigers.
Middaugh describes their music as “Leonard Cohen on an ice skating rink.” Moreno-Beals adds “But with a funny hat and holding an ice cream cone.” The Leonard Cohen part refers to the gravity of Middaugh’s voice and the poetic imagery of his lyrics. The funny hat and ice cream cone describes the kid-like playful nature and subject matter of their songs.
Middaugh, who also is an accomplished artist and printmaker, lives in East Jordan. Moreno-Beals is a grade school teacher in Ann Arbor and Hobbs is studying geology at Michigan State. They get together on weekends and have been busy the last few years playing festivals and small venue gigs all across Michigan.
 
Monday, November 24, 2008

Matthew Hazelwood

Music Jack Pine For the last 15 years Matthew Hazelwood has been conducting youth orchestras at Interlochen Arts Academy. Now, he is taking on a new challenge and will be conducting orchestras in Colombia in South America. Over the next six months he will be a part of a program sponsored by the government of Colombia called Batuta -- the Spanish word for baton.
Batuta’s mission is to give children throughout Colombia the opportunity to play classical music, improve their opportunities in life and strengthen communities with a network of 193 regional orchestras. The program began in 1991 and now includes over 40,000 young musicians.
“Professionally, what’s fascinating is being able to work with music for a cause,” Hazelwood says from his home studio on the Old Mission Peninsula. “Usually the cause is making a living, if you are lucky. This is an opportunity to actually make a difference.”
Hazelwood is already familiar with Colombia. After graduating from the Mannes School of Music in New York, he auditioned and won a position with the National Symphony of Colombia as a percussionist. In Colombia he also directed symphonies, operas, and met his wife Constanza. “I got there and I loved it,” Hazelwood says. “I thought I was going to stay two months and I stayed there nine years.”
 
Monday, November 10, 2008

Susan Fawcett

Music Jack Pine Susan Fawcett, 25, sits in her sparse-but-hip home in Building 50 at the Grand Traverse Commons. The October sun is pours in and she is surrounded by a wide variety of stringed instruments. It would take some time to count them all. There is a mandolin, fiddle, a couple of guitars, a banjo, an auto harp, a Chinese string instrument called an ehru, four-string Venezuelan quatro and a bunch of others still in their cases. Her phone rings every few minutes, but she never jumps or flinches.
She is co-owner of a music and film production company, a singer-songwriter-musician, plays several instruments and is a talented illustrator and painter. What might be more amazing, is how relaxed she is about it all.
Fox on a Hill, the music and film production company Fawcett created with Petoskey resident Patrick Schaller, is now two years old. She got the idea for the company when she was in Venezuela working as a botanical illustrator.
“When I was down there, I had a lot of time to think,” Fawcett says. “I was playing music and studying and thinking about Michigan and my involvement with the Earthwork Music Collective. I really wanted to come back and pour a lot of energy and whatever skills I have and try to apply them to this community.”
 
Monday, November 3, 2008

Coming up Daisies/ May Erlewine

Music Jack Pine “Daisy” May Erlewine, 26, is already a part of a small, but rich tradition of women folk singers who make their home in Northern Michigan. Like Claudia Schmidt, Robin Lee Berry and Rachel Davis, May has a beautiful voice and creates honest and emotionally resonant music that connects with her audience.
As Daisy May, she usually performs with her partner Seth Bernard, but she is also her own woman and performs as a solo act with three recordings by herself to show for it.
On her first three CDs, she called herself Daisy May, and with her youth, charm and cowgirl twang, it fit her well. But as she continues to grow through her music and get closer to her audience, the Daisy part is beginning to fade.
 
Monday, October 27, 2008

The Fundubmentals

Music Jack Pine There might be a debate about the fundamentals of our economy, but the Traverse City reggae band, The Fundubmentals are rockin’ steady.
The Fundubs, as they are affectionately known, have been busy gigging around the state in Lansing, Grand Rapids and Flint. Locally, they have been playing regularly at the Union Street Station. On Devil’s Night, Thursday, October 30th, they will be playing at the Serenity Tea House in downtown Traverse City.
 
 
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