Blabbings about family, community, sustainability and life from Frederick, MD.

Funky India – Jazz Fusion July 16, 2007

Filed under: frederick,music — tobymurdock @ 3:49 pm

On Saturday I went and saw Satabdi Express at my church as part of its Second Saturday concert series that my friends Butch and Ed organize.

Every band says that they are a “unique fusion of blah, blah and blah.” But these guys are truly a unique fusion.

First, they are dead-serious jazz artists. Great stand-up bass guy. And then the kind of serious, precise drummer who uses the brush drumsticks and gets his head really close to  the cymbals as he taps on them ever so slightly.

But then the guitarist, Dave, plays a hybrid western guitar-Indian sitar. It has 19 strings. You can see it above. And he plays it with a bottleneck slide.

The result is fantastic. After a long day in the sun at the lake with the fam, this concert was a far-out, meditative experience. I bought the CD and continue to jam to it. You can jam to it here yourself:


Summertime Perfection June 18, 2007

Filed under: Children,Community,family,frederick — tobymurdock @ 12:35 pm

Many of our friends and their kids camped out at Greenbrier State Park this weekend. With Noelle coming, we didn’t spend any nights there, but we were there from 10am to 8pm on Saturday.

What a day! Sunny, pleasant in the upper 80s.  Canoeing. Guitar and singing. Hanging out on the beach.

My best memory of it was heading across the lake on the canoe towards the end of the day. Breeze had died down and the water was smooth and glassy. The image of the mountains that ring the like was reflected in the water.

Awesome! I’ll take that one with me all week. And just 20 minutes from home. Thanks Frederick County!


Kid Camping May 25, 2007

Filed under: Children,Environment,family,frederick,Friends — tobymurdock @ 6:04 pm

On Mother’s Day weekend a number of other dads and I took all of our kids camping in a shelter on the Appalachian Trail in Frederick County.

It was great to be able to get the kids in the outdoors. And great to be able to do so so close to home.

And great, of course, to hang out by the fire after the kids went to bed.

Though it was a long night and a bleary morning.


Country Prodigies Dowtown May 9, 2007

Filed under: frederick,music — tobymurdock @ 1:47 pm

On Saturday Kita and I went to the West Side downtown saw Brennen Leigh, a country duo that we’ve seen before (forgive my horrible camera phone shot).

They a brother-sister pair and are insanely talented. Brennen has a beautiful country voice that has twang and “yipee-kai-yea’s” but is also strong and smooth. She switches off between guitar and mandolin. Seth is a pickin’ freak: he is playing a base line with his thumb while doing a melody with his fingers, all at turbo speed. He’s someone that has complete control of his instrument and can truly do whatever he wants with it.

They play really, really old-school country, the kind that is rarely played anymore. It is extraordinary music when it is played by such talented musicians. Kita and I discussed how the evening makes you feel proud to be American given what a beautiful art form our country has uniquely produced.

The nice thing about such small shows is, among other things, being able to talk to the artists. Brennen and Seth are really nice, but as always it is alarming to learn how hard going it is for the small-time musician. Especially Brennen & Seth who play a genre that is not perceived as popular today. Alas, the crazy music industry.

I’ve told them that they are much better live than on their CD’s; they jam much more live. Nevertheless, here is one of their songs, “Give It Up to Jesus”:

It was yet another great night in our beautiful city. The streets were packed with restaurant, gallery and concert goers. There was a great blues band playing in the street. Best was the old-school, chrome microphone and fedora on the steel-guitar playing lead singer:


Caleb Stine & Roots February 26, 2007

Filed under: frederick,music — tobymurdock @ 12:17 am

We were back at Frederick Cellars last night for more music. This time it was Caleb Stine, a roots rock artist from Baltimore. We’ve been on such a roll seeing music around Frederick but it still continues. Caleb was awesome. More living proof that great music is everywhere and has really nothing to do with what is at the top of the charts.

Caleb plays what I think is my favorite sort of music right now. Some sort of mix of old-time country and folk that people like to call “roots.” He referred to his Mt. Rushmore of roots rock which he sees as Woody Gutherie, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, and Louis Armstrong.

Caleb is a super nice guy and mixed lots of conversation in with his music. Our humanity is what he’s looking to explore in his music, and he achieves it very well. Here’s one of the songs that he played, “Devil”:

It is such a blessing to have our little city bringing in such great music. And it is such a treasure for all of us to have such great musicians around such as Caleb. I wish him the best: I’d imagine that it is a tough road to hoe. Somehow we need to better connect listeners with musicians, and instead of a few mega-stars have many, many more great musicians making a good living doing what they do. Let’s hope that’s what Qloud achieves.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing him again. And he’s inspired me to learn some other old songs: “This Little Light of Mine,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and “I’ll Fly Away.”


Montgomery Transit February 8, 2007

Filed under: frederick,transit — tobymurdock @ 1:58 am

I got an e-newsletter from the Action Committee for Transit today that said:

The County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to add to the county’s
annual list of transportation priorities the statement that improving
transit is the county’s top priority. County Executive Leggett has
indicated he will sign the amended document. It will be forwarded to
the Governor, Transportation Secretary, and Legislature, and serve as
the basis for discussion at the state level of future transportation
funding in the county.

That’s great. My question would be: why can’t we do the same in Frederick County? Why do we have to wait until we’re desperate?


Righteous Blues, Downtown February 3, 2007

Filed under: frederick,Friends,music — tobymurdock @ 11:56 pm

Last night Kita and I met up with some friends last night at Frederick Cellars, which is a great new place in downtown Frederick.  A guy who owns a vineyard in Frederick county moved his wine presses and everything into an old warehouse downtown. The wine and the ambiance are great.

We saw a great local blues musician there for the first time, Kelly Carmichael. He was fantastic. Righteous, old-time sound. Could do whatever he wanted with the guitar.

I bought his CD. Below you can listen to his cover of Robert Johnson’s “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom”:

It was another great night in our town. Our city is both so small and mellow. But we also have great culture like this that we can walk to. It is a blessing.