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New CD aims to beat Bush

Staff Reports - July 8th, 2004
New CD aims to “Beat Bush”

... but even the President might enjoy this polite CD

President George W. Bush doesn’t seem to be too popular with local musicians. Scores of top acoustic artists in the region have joined forces to record a new CD as part of the effort to dump Bush from office this November.
The CD, “Into the Blue,” was recorded as a Democratic Party fundraiser this spring out of frustration over Bush’s policies, says producer Tim Joseph, a self-employed builder and a musician with the Peacemeal band who also happens to be chairman of the Manistee County Democrats.
“We told musicians throughout the area that it was being recorded for a regime change and asked if they’d like to get involved,” Joseph says. “And everyone said of course.”
In fact, the musicians on the album, who represent the top flight of acoustic performers in the region, are privately calling it the “Beat Bush CD.”
Joseph says the idea for the CD came from Manistee County residents Judith Cunningham and Susan Mencarelli. Mary Sue Wilkinson of the Iowa Rose band got involved, rounding up musicians last year when feeling against the Bush administration’s war in Iraq was running high. “We started last October and lined up all of the artists over the winter,” Joseph says, adding later that, “I told them it was crazy because I knew it was going to be a lot of work to produce in such a short time.”
“Into the Blue” includes 15 songs by area musicians including Claudia Schmidt, Jim Crockett with New Third Coast, Robin Lee Berry, Seth Bernard, Peacemeal, Iowa Rose, Song of the Lakes, Ruth Bloomquist, Rachael Davis, The Pets, K. Jones & the Benzie Playboyz, Betsy Baye & Groove Engine, Jive at Five, Tim Joseph with Dale Scott & Fog Harbor, and Norm Wheeler. Including back-up players, there are a total of 77 musicians on the album, Joseph says.
Recorded at Frontier Recording Studio in Copemish with the help of Marlene Zalstra, 2,000 copies of the CD are being sold from the bandstand for $15 by participating acts. A benefit concert is planned for this fall.

If you’re anticipating outraged political overtones, however, you may want to stick to your Ani DiFranco CDs. Only two songs -- “Quiet Hills” by Claudia Schmidt and “The Last Believer” by Jim Crockett raise any suggestion that there is (as Schmidt sings) “a darkness on the land.” The rest of the CD is far distant from the rabble-rousing tradition of protest music. None of the songs indicate displeasure with the Bush administration, and there’s little of a confrontational nature on the disc, other than a 13-minute poetic rant by Norman Wheeler entitled “The Creation of Music.“ Nor does the cover -- a placid sand dune scene -- reflect the notion that this is a politically-inspired CD.
In short, “Into the Blue“ seems so eager not to offend that it comes off as more of a beg-your-pardon murmer than a Democratic Party battlecry. It‘s a CD that even President Bush might enjoy playing in the White House.
“There’s a lot of variety -- luscious, beautiful folk music,” Joseph says. “There’s some funny stuff, some raucous music and some rockin’ blues.” His own cut on the album, “Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Back Again/Nixon’s Farewell,” starts out with a light-hearted campaign tune from the 1930s.
Later, however, he expresses some of the anger that’s lacking on “Into the Blue.”
“There’s nothing about Bush on it,” he says. “We don’t want his stupid face on it -- we’re hoping he won’t be around next year and the CD will have some longevity.”
In a related development, a Democratic Party fundraising concert is scheduled for Aug. 14 at Elmwood Park on West Bay in Traverse City, with a dozen or so local acts expected to perform.
-- by Robert Downes

More proof that the Green Party may be a huge joke
Charlevoix County Drain Commissioner JoAnne Beemon found herself in the startling position of being nominated for President of the United States by a major political party in late June.
Beemon, 57, a member of the half-million member Green Party, was attending its national convention in Milwaukee, when she was asked to be one of several nominees to run for President of the largest superpower on earth.
“I thought, wow, I’m running for President of the United States in the third largest political party in the country,” she said in a phone interview.
Apparently, movers and shakers in the Green Party felt that Beemon’s credentials as a drain commissioner qualified her to serve as Commander in Chief and head of the world’s largest economic power.
Beemon said it was her knowledge of water issues that resulted in her nomination. She says she carried the Michigan delegation, but the party’s final nod went to lawyer David Cobb. The party declined to support Ralph Nader for a third go-round at its helm.
“The thing that was thrilling for me was to stand up before 1,000 people and talk about the Jordan River Valley, stream protection and grassroots issues,” she says.
Although Beemon may never end up as President, she does happen to be an excellent singer and will be fronting the Up North Big Band this Wednesday, July 7 at the Cherry Festival Swing Dance at High Pointe Golf Club for those wishing to congratulate the nominee.

Meet the Governor
Locals will have a chance to meet Governor Jennifer Granholm at the Cherry Festival this Saturday, July 10 at a Governor’s Breakfast to be held on the deck at the Holiday Inn in TC.
U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Rep. Diane Byrum and other political notables will also be in attendance. The buffet-style breakfast runs from 8 a.m. to the start of the Cherry Royale Parade and costs $15. The public is invited to attend.
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