Thursday, January 05, 2012

Be Good Tanyas

In response to my Country and Northern post, Sheryl Robinson, better known to Fray veterans as Dawn Coyote, asked why I hadn't mentioned the Be Good Tanyas. My first thought was that I don't think of them as "country", but, as I noted at the close of my post, it's a thin line between "country" and "folk". I do like this Vancouver based group of three women, shown in the clip above--the only one I can find that shows them in live performance--doing "Scattered Leaves", a song I hadn't heard before, with bass and drum backing. I like them despite Frazey Ford's singing, as a critic once wrote of Natalie Merchant, "in English as if she'd grown up speaking some Polynesian language."

Here they do "Oh, Susannah", probably as classic a "country" song as there is.

For a more contemporary country sound, here they do Townes van Zandt's "Waitin' Around to Die."

They do blues, too. Here's their cover of Josh White's (or is it their cover of Dylan's cover) of "In My Time of Dying."

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Year's shout-outs.

Skaket Beach, Cape Cod Bay, morning, January 2, 2012
Last year, Blogger started telling me what are my most popular posts. Leading the pack is Grace Slick at seventy; so, leading my shout-out list is Michael Simmons, who sent me the lovely pic of septuagenarian Grace that led to the post. Second on my hit parade has been Pierre Bonnard, "Late Interiors", at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; so, a salute to Mark Crawford for inspiring me to take an interest in that painter's work, and to the Met for mounting a great show. Other posts that have drawn lots of visits include Jazz and the visual arts, featuring a painting by Mike Sorgatz, and Gabriel Fauré, Le Jardin de Dolly, another post that attempts to draw a parallel between painting and music, for which I can thank WQXR, New York's classical music station.

I'll give special mention to John "Homer Fink" Loscalzo, publisher of Brooklyn Bugle, which re-publishes many of my posts, and Brooklyn Heights Blog, which is my alternative forum for writing about matters of local interest. One of my most popular posts is Do you curate? If so, you rate?, which was inspired by my BHB colleague Heather Quinlan. I also tip my hat to Eliot Wagner for introducing me to new musicians and groups about which I've posted.

Finally, as always, thanks to my loyal readers--you know who you are--and to my wife and daughter.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Greetings from Cape Cod

I'd been to Cape Cod once before. In 1988, I was asked to speak at the fall meeting of the Insurance Accounting and Statistical Association in Hyannis in November. It was held in a Holiday Inn that was undergoing off-season renovations, and new carpet was being put down in the hall outside my room, so I was inhaling carpet glue fumes as I put the finishing touches on my speech. My company's CFO and I decided to venture out for dinner one evening, and got caught in the season's first snowstorm. So, when friends invited my wife, daughter, and me to join them for New Year's at their house in Orleans (see photo above), I was skeptical. The drive up was through fog and rain, which inensified my doubts. However, New Year's Day dawned bright and clear, and after breakfast we drove to Nauset Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape Cod Peninsula.

We weren't the only people out enjoying the beach.

Some were enjoying it with gusto.

There were seals with their heads out of water, but too distant to get a good photo.

Here is a very gnarly piece of driftwood.

These are dunes above the beach.

The dunes are a nesting place for threatened seabirds.

Behind the dunes is the Orleans Town Inlet.

On the shore of the Inlet, I found this water dwelling snail and its track. These snails prey on oysters, drilling through their shells to eat them.

A gull paddles across the surface of the Inlet.

High-flying cirrus clouds betoken another change in the weather.

I'm delaying posting my usual New Year's shout-outs until we return home. Happy New Year!