Posts Tagged With: bands


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Summer solstice, the observance of the longest day of summer, or the beginning of summer, is cause for celebration in many cultures. Five thousand-year old Stonehenge is mobbed on June 20th with people hoping to see the sun, at its highest point, shine through the altar stone. I skipped the evening program, but I enjoyed the afternoon  music, Bryce Station Wine and food at Quyles. Bear and Summer Moon Dyken played one slot of three in a beautiful setting, under the trees on a  beautiful Saturday afternoon.

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Bear and Summer Moon are multitalented and well-known in the Mother lode for their music and instrumentation.

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But the real star of the venue was Jill Warren, a newcomer to our area. WOW!  She can make her guitar talk. And, her rendition of old favs, like Summertime?  Amazing. I couldn’t get enough. I tried to buy a CD?  She hasn’t got one. If you are looking for an entertaining, very talented musician, Jill Warren is a great choice. I don’t often do this, but here is her phone number (599) 280-9123. And, She is also on facebook. Jill Warren rocks. I’m hoping the Arts Council will pick her up, but their schedule for this summer is already filled. Hey, Mary Jane, take note for next year.

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So, between events, I poked around Quyle’s to see what’s new or interesting. The blacksmith forge was up and running.

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They have lessons the first Saturday of the month. And then meet and play the third Saturday of the month.  These two boys are the youngest practitioners I’ve ever seen at the forge. They were surrounded by people watching them.  I’m guessing 9 years old and 13?

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Marlene Bradford teaches at the pottery. Her signature style.  An unfired bust is drying before firing and glazing. Don’t know who made her. Jim Bass was giving lessons on the patio, but he was gone when I returned to take pictures. Always something going on.

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People travel so much with their dogs, these days. This well-behaved pooch was, I’m sure, glad to be out and about, and not in a backyard. Quyle’s has several old dogs that found  rescue here.

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I stopped this woman because her boyfriend was hassling her a bit. I told him she was cuter than he is.

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I want my feet to look like hers. Love the colors.DSC06963 (Copy)

This bug isn’t real, but I found  two horn worms on an anise plant in the garden. Dolores Quyle, who planned the women only singers for this venue, since the sun-god was a female, told me everything is organic. They even buy organic compost put together from Diestel Turkey Ranch droppings with organic mulch. I once got straight turkey poop for my orchard and it stunk so bad the neighbors held their noses when they walked by my place. Voila!  Now I know where to get good stuff that doesn’t stink. Of course, I’ve neglected my orchard these last five years, one can hardly call it an orchard. Maybe someday it will be again.  It was a fun day. Night time revelers were invited to bring a tent and stay the night if they don’t mind sleeping on the grass. Too cool!



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Yesterday was a struggle, with an extended brown out, 50% power. Bitterly cold for us with eight and a quarter inches of snow. I couldn’t open my electric garage door. Karen chanced our driveway and went to town. A guy living on our road plowed the main road. The return was dicey. She slid and slipped back up the driveway and with heart racing,  barely made it back to the house. Since temperatures last night were predicted at 12*, she knew the ice would be a more harrowing journey today, when the slush freezes. It did melt some yesterday, then it snowed some more. Then we  had a full power outage for several hours. I saw PG&E working the pole on my property at 10:00 p.m. So, another day of ice and snow. I hope to walk later in the morning and take pictures. It is nice to have electricity back. So, to continue Murphys Open House where Becky, Janice, Leslie and I met Jan at the emergency shelter, see yesterday’s late post:

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Becky talked with another shelter worker, Tammy, mostly about the beds and blankets. The beds are red cots. The blankets  are made of ugly grey felt, unwashable,  and are thrown away or given to the person who uses them. I thought that was interesting. One person used the shelter last night. And, Jan reported to me this morning she left at midnight, barely made it home the snow was so heavy, got into her house and a tree went down on her driveway after she got in. (She has 4 wheel drive.)

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The wine tasting rooms were busy and filled with tasters. At Hovey’s we had a chocolate tasting as well. Everyone was in a festive happy mode, as we were. Enjoying the cookies or treats with cider.

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A new store had its grand opening that night. The owner has a lavender farm in Arizona and kids that live in Arnold. They have all kinds of lavender based soaps and products. Very nice. We tasted a delicious lavender cookie. Reminds me of that song:

He was only a lavender cowboy, the hairs on his chest they were two, he wanted to be a big hero, and do as the heroes do. Red, green many color hair tonics, he rubbed on his chest every night. But when he woke up the next morning, no new hairs grew in sight. He battled for Red Nellie’s honor, and cleaned out a hold-up’s nest. He died with two six guns a blazing, but only two hairs on his chest.

Sorry but that song has been buzzing through my brain lately. I tried to sing it for Jim.

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I like bags and hats. We have a great bag shop. This Little Volkswagen bag reminded me of Janis Joplin’s Volkswagen. Such a sad story. We visited her home town of Port Arthur, Texas earlier this year. The owner was a Joplin fan. Me too.

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A Christmas tree made from rough bits of left over wood. I’m an avid recycler and it appealed to me, along with the home-made decorations. I used to lavishly decorate for Christmas. I’m now in favor of items I can haul out that are already decorated and just need to be set up. (It is an age thing, I think.)

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Stores in Murphys have changed hands so many times, I always remember the original name. This was Riedel’s Grocery. I met neighbors Bitsy and Mike Cameron.

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And, Suki Tutthill. She used to own a business in town. We were in the Business association together in the mid 1980’s. Running into old friends is another thing I love about Open House.DSC02082 (Copy)

My very favorite store in  Murphys, though, is the IDEA store, which carries bathroom machineries and sooooo much more. I tell everyone to go. New on this visit was a child size antique porcelain bath and sink.

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And, a more modern child size toilet. Tom  imported a truckload of porcelain one-and-a- half- pint, flush toilets, which will be the new law in California soon. I forgot to take Tom’s picture, another old friend from Murphys Business Association. We chatted and enjoyed cookies and cider. The best thing about the place is his ghost story and the story of the over too hundred tons of keys and locks he got from Great Britain. All antique. Marvelous place. Just ask and he will tell you. DSC02089 (Copy)

The open house was officially over at 8:00 p.m. People lingered beyond that, enjoying the fire pits, hating to leave, music still wafting in the air from somewhere. The Highway Patrol patiently waited and didn’t come in like commandos and reopen the street to traffic.  It started snowing just before we left town. It was heavy about 500 yards from my driveway. What a lovely night.

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Two days ago, we visited Vermillion Ville and watched part of a three hour Cajun Jam. The way it works is the old masters have a musical jam session with young people wanting to learn. The woman in turquoise is leading this particular song. She has a band of her own. And the students are watching her every move very carefully.

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And then the student gets to show what he or she can do. There is a lot of praise for these young kids who come to learn and hope to hold their own with the masters who learned at their daddies knees in a similar fashion. Realize, there is no sheet music to follow.  The girl on the left plays guitar and accordion and sings. She has a lovely voice.


This young man, I believe his name is Jacob, was pointed out as the best young fiddle player of the novices. He has attended jam sessions for quite some time, apparently. The established musicians come to help students EVERY Saturday. Some kids travel long distances to attend these sessions because they are invaluable for young musicians to save this Cajun tradition.

21 year old

This young man, 21 years old, waited his turn to sit in.

21 year old who does very well.

When he got his chance, he sang and played very well. It amazes me that there are five accordions, four guitars and nine fiddlers all playing the same song at the same time with no leader or sheet music.

listening intently

When August Broussard plays and sings, he has a strong voice, and the students listen and try to follow and sometimes watch carefully every move he makes.

The youngest fiddler get's his solo chance.

When this young fiddle player played his solo, he appointed himself very well. It’s tough to play the fiddle and then sing with it too.

The attention makes him nervous and he covers his face with his hat.

Then, red-faced and embarrassed, he pulled his hat over his head. The audience is there for him and they appreciate how hard it is to be on the “hot seat”. And he will someday be a great musician.

Dean Chase also solo's. He chooses an Appalachian tune the others don't know.

And this second youngest jammer, I believe his name was Dean Chase. He chose an Appalachian song that no one was familiar with. He played several phrases before they “caught it” and played with him. His ear and face were bright red, but he held his place with the jammers. It is hard to do. Commendable.DSC04116 (Copy)

I loved the jam and wish I lived close enough to watch it often.  I caught some video and you can listen to it at the links below:

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Renola Simon, Sue and Cliff Granger

Jim and I often comment how lucky we are. We met Renola Simon and Sue and Cliff Granger in Lake Charles. We had planned on going back to Lake Charles to see them dance. A change of plans put us farther East, and Instead, we met them at the Liberty Theater in Eunice. Renola bought our tickets and we had no idea who was playing.

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This is the setting. The narrator on the left, and some members of the Jambalaya Cajun Band. The narrator is also a curator at the Arcadian Museum in town. He, and a local man, the steel guitar player, are experts on Hank Williams. They have put on a Tribute To Hank Williams program for 14 years.

Hugh Harris

Hugh Harris is one of the Hank Williams Impersonators. He sounds eerily like Hank Williams.  Williams was prolific. He had 11 # one hits between 1948 and 1953. I remember harmonizing his tunes with my sister while washing dishes, “…slipping around on me…your cheatttttttin heart…” Oh, the memories.

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Terry Huval, not only plays the steel guitar, but he also sings and impersonates  Hank Williams.

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Pope Huval is another impersonator, here with the excellent violinist with the band. She is really good.

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Eighty-two year old D.L. Menard is the fourth impersonator. He made a round of the crowds during the intermission. They tease him about his fancy clothes. He doesn’t look or sound as old as he is. He met Hank Williams when he was 19 years old. Hank gave him advice:  “When you sing you got to feel like whatever you are singing about, a broken heart or a party,  is happening to you.”  D.L. admits he didn’t get it-then.

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You can see the pain on Hugh Harris’ s face.  Picture taking on a lighted stage is kind of a hit or miss, and they didn’t all turn out well.

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Hank Williams band didn’t have a drummer, nor an accordionist. But when the bands accordionist came on stage and played a couple of times, the crowd really voiced their approval. They are obviously very popular in the area. We had a terrific time. All of the impersonators were good. I heard songs of Williams’ that I’d never heard before. I didn’t know that he wrote some of them. He was not only prolific but varied in his style and we enjoyed the tribute as did the full house at the Liberty.

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We moved on to a VFW within range of Lafayette and other nearby towns we want to visit. We had no intention of stopping in Rayne, which bills itself as the Frog Capital of the world. In fact, we passed through here in 2010 during a drenching rain. Jim stopped, I ran into a mom and pop grocer and asked why it was called the frog capital of the world?  The guys in the little shop said they didn’t know?  It is personal with me. I’m from Calaveras County, which bills itself as the Frog Jumping Capitol of the World and we take our frogs seriously. My boys graduated High School as Bullfrogs.

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The gray frog had an interesting plaque about humanity in a racially mixed Southern town.

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We saw cute painted frogs all over town. This one in front of the Police Department.

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They are cute, but not as cute as OUR painted frogs. (My kids would call that sour grapes.)

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And then…and then…? I found out why they call this the frog capital of the world.  OMIGOD. People in my county would balk if anyone even suggested eating frog legs. That is a no,no. We like our frogs hail and hearty. Of course, I’m playing here. But the truth is, Mark Twain wrote the tale “The Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County.”  People do come from all over the world to jump frogs during the Calaveras County Fair and Frog Jumping Jubilee.  Mayor La Guardia came to the jumps in 1931 I believe was the year. Anyway, Jim looked on a website and it turns out they dress frogs in jockey uniforms and have a frog race during their festival. I’m sure they deserve their title.

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They also refer to Rayne as the City of Murals, and they do have many of them. Hey, it is all fun.

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The gumbo cook off was a tasty, wonderful, loud mob scene. We went late and spent about two hours. This is outside the Civic Center which had gumbo booths we didn’t ever get to.

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From above, you can see what it is like. You pick up a bowl and taste and walk to the next booth.

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Inside the building, it was the same, gumbo booths around the perimeter with about 30 booths and every one tasting different.

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The Krewes compete for best gumbo and they don’t stint on ingredients. Sausage, chicken, ham, bacon, duck and at this booth a hock in every bowl. OMIGOSH! Everyone I tasted was better than Steamboat Bill’s gumbo. You can’t describe the flavors, and how they differ, but I was in foodie heaven. We would beg them to give us one SMALL bowl, then Jim and I with two spoons would  taste. Everyone throws what they didn’t eat in the garbage. I quailed at the waste.

Krewe du le Originales et les enfants

These ladies are from Le Krewe Du Le Originales Et Les Enfants. Toni, on the right,  has a son in the State of Washington at McCord Airforce base, Jim’s old stomping grounds. We may be going to their ball and chicken run.

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This Sasquatch looking guy, a big guy, poses so you can’t see a bit of his flesh. He was very proud of his costume and wanted to show us how he can become very small. DSC02397 (Copy)

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While you taste, the band plays and people dance.

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This character, we assume from the winning Krewe in the parade the night before, walks around holding this scepter?, or whatever it is,  with his entourage. He makes a swing periodically through the crowd to much applause and noisemakers, and hoots.

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At one point, a member of a different crew stole the prize and everyone hooted and yelled.DSC02430 (Copy)

When the band identified a Krewe, they all hollered and made sure you knew who they were.

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Members of the Entourage from the winning Krewe, danced along with everyone else. The Krewe is the Madelaines.

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These two women were the best dancers on the floor. The woman on the right  moved so fast, it was hard to get a picture of her.  Cajun and Zydeco tunes are  jumpin’. It was wonderful to watch the dancers.

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This woman was, I think, trying to help the band play and dance at the same time. I might mention that this fun fueled event is not fueled on alcohol. Beer is available, but people don’t seem to swill and get drunk. We enjoyed the spirit, the mobs of friendly people and hated to see the end of all that good food though we could eat no more.

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Then we went to the children’s parade. Many cars carried “winning, elected” children honored for something.  A local event of some type  decides who rides an honor, from very young like this tiny girl on top of a car throwing candy to teen-aged kids.

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Everyone loves a good band.

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This little girl was standing next to me.She and her mom kept offering me candy the kids picked up. I gave her my beads before we left.  Kids are so photogenic and responsive.

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We weren’t sure where the dog parade was; we were told two different sites. So, we followed these dogs.DSC02449 (Copy)

This little puppy is only seven weeks old.

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The dogs have to be registered, and this great dane could hardly stand still. It took five people to get her dressed for the parade.

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It looked worth the effort.

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These two ladies were pointing at me, trying to get their sweetie to face the camera.DSC02466 (Copy)

Like a true princess,  she did!DSC02481 (Copy)


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A handsome brace of…, well, whatever they are. DSC02476 (Copy)

This woman was hugging, and cooing and comforting her baby who was shaking and reluctant to be part of this mob of dogs.

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She finally got brave enough to peer away from her mom’s knees. DSC02506 (Copy)

There were cute kids everywhere. This little girl was peering warily at Jim as he tried to get her to smile.

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Little brother kind of waved at me and moved closer to his sister. Shy, but he wanted his picture taken too.

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And this little girl too. The kids love the camera.

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This little fellow wasn’t sure he wanted his green glittered spike photographed. I told him I had a redheaded grandson and then…DSC02435 (Copy)

…he gave me a big smile and showed off his missing tooth. I love it when kids respond like that. DSC02524 (Copy)

After the dog parade, we went to the second floor in the Civic Center where a Zydeco Band was playing.DSC02525 (Copy)

All these bands play “modern” washboards, two of them. Quite a difference from the first Cajuns who used a washtub, washboard or whatever made sound to get their joy and spirit across.

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We watched the dancers for about an hour. This couple were outstanding dancers. For a big guy, I’m guessing, 6’6, he could really move in those heavy boots. And, her too, dancing in boots. Fantastic.Pam, Hawiian nurse age 65

Sitting next to me, Pam, a 65 year old nurse who still works. She was originally an entertainer in Columbia. I loved her hair and she was obviously very proud of her beautiful tresses. Oh, that I could have hair like that. I’d show it off  too. So much talent and beauty in one day. Wowzer, baby, wowzer!

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The Angels-Murphys Rotary Club holds an all you can eat Shrimp Feed each year as a fund-raiser. I’ve missed the last four years since I’m usually back on the road by now. It was fun to go to the park, listen to the music, visit with friends, eat lots of shrimp and feel like I’m supporting a good cause at the same time.

My son breezed through this morning and asked me a question. “I see Rotary uses that little gear on their literature, so, what does it stand for, Rotary? I basically knew they were a fraternal, charitable organization. But his question stumped me.  I hadn’t given it much thought. I went to Wikipedia and learned that they stand for Service Above Self.  The cogged wheel symbolizes a rotating wheel  because the original founders rotated their meetings at each others houses. Rotary was so popular,  it grew  rapidly and steady meeting places are used by all Rotarians, now.  If you’d like to check out the link and read more:

The park is friendly and summer casual. Not many places can you dance bare foot.

Everyone was having a grand time including the band members:


I have a special spot in my heart for Rotary because they sent my youngest daughter to Egypt on a Scholarship after she graduated High School. Her experience there was life changing, meaningful and rewarding. I am ever thankful to this group,  as is she.

Another highlight for me, is visiting with friends like Ginger La Jeunesse.

Shelly and Gene Cervantes.  You never see this couple without big  smiles.

Cindy, whose daughter I had only met once, yet I’ve known Cindy for twenty years. (I’ve misplaced Cindy’s last name, somehow.)

And Matt, who owns a coffee roasting business, informed me he had given up drinking coffee. He said he doesn’t need a pick-me-up in the morning and he just got bored with drinking it. And, I’ve just started drinking coffee after 38 years without it. I’ve only had four cups of coffee, these past four mornings. I decided to do it after reading in my Medical newsletter how good coffee is for you. In moderation, no more than six cups a day.

And, I chatted for a while with Liz and Steve Milliaire, the winemakers I credit with getting the wine movement really moving in this area. Liz doesn’t make wine but she was chief promoter when they moved here to make wine for Bardon Stevenot in 1979. They produce wonderful wines under their own label as well.  Ahh! Time well spent is its own reward.



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