Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Americana Festival

Sunday afternoon I took time out to visit The Sage, where the Americana Festival was in full swing. Lovely warm sunshine and an outdoor setting made this a very enjoyable experience. Due to time constraints I only got to see two of the bands.... but they were both brilliant. First up was Rita Hosking, supported by multi instrumentalist Sean Feder, a husband and wife duo from the US, playing Rita's songs which are mainly based on her life and upbringing amongst the lumber camps in northern California. Lovely soulful singing from Rita, with tasty licks and fills on banjo, dobro and harmony vocals from Sean, set the scene for an afternoon of great music.

Next up were The Grass Mountain Hobos from Canada (2010 ECMA Bluegrass Recording Artist of The Year). A barnstorming collective of wonderful musicians with a mixed set of traditional and home grown material, all done in an exuberant, classy and technically brilliant style. They exploded into view with the wonderful 'Red Headed Woman', with dynamic frontman Josh Ellis on guitar and vocals keeping the whole thing moving along with his banter and superb singing (brilliant yodel on 'Cowboy's Lament). Star of the lineup for me was Gordie MacKeeman on fiddle. With a style reminiscent of the late John Hartford, he whipped up a storm and delivered new licks in just about every tune, with high energy, the occasional buck dance step and an obvious relish for the music. 'Turkey in the Straw' was simply wonderful!

I attended this event last year and thought this year's was much better. Generally the line up was imho better class, so perhaps the event is gaining some momentum and popularity. The weather helped of course, and there was a great crowd who were obviously loving the music, me included!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Double Trouble!

Two of our lovely puppies left home yesterday (not the ones pictured I hasten to add). Marley and Jasper went to their new owners in Leeds and Whitburn respectively, leaving their two brothers and two sisters behind. No tears were shed by them or their mother at this parting as far as we were able to tell, and soon these two cheeky sisters were snuggling up to one another as if nothing had happened. Three more go over the next three weeks and the last one (her on the right) is subject to discussions regarding her future abode... ie; either here in Cramlington or somewhere else!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Scribes Summer Exhibition

The Society of Northumbrian Scribes Summer Exhibition 'Let Calligraphy Flourish' will be at Bede's World, Jarrow from Thursday 5th August until Wednesday 8th September. Hope you can try to get along and view some of the gorgeous work done by the Society. Here are my three offerings for this years' show...