Check out this photo I took last week while out for a walk around the neighborhood. Wild . . it was still March! As I write this, it’s currently in the 70’s, but snow is on the way in a few days. Yup. That’s springtime in the Rockies. We tend to have what you might call ‘bipolar weather’ here, with lots of temperature swings (it drives us all crazy; most of us are actually craving summer at this point). And this week is no different. We’ll be experiencing cold again soon unfortunately. However, the good news is this week’s eTown broadcast’s line up is HOT.
One of our favorite singer/songwriters, Paul Thorn is back with us, bringing his compelling mix of Americana, country, blues and Southern rock. Paul is an uber-smart, down-to-earth guy with an interesting and colorful past (former professional boxer, son of a preacher and nephew of a pimp . . those are all just a part of his rather extensive bio). And he is, in a word, FUNNY. The conversation alone with Nick is way worth tuning in for.
Also with us: Gifted Grammy Award winning, soulful blues singer and songwriter Ruthie Foster. Ruthie’s been with us for several shows now, and each time just gets better. She’ll rock the house.The award story this week is pretty amazing, too, about a husband-and-wife duo providing much needed clean water to people in Haiti, impacting the lives of countless people.
So, unlike the weather here in eTown, it’s a solid, consistent sizzler of a show this week. I hope you’ll tune in.
The post Even More Thoughts on Spring . . Plus, this week’s show with Paul Thorn & Ruthie Foster appeared first on eTown.
Something happens to me every spring as the weather begins to warm, and the chances of snow become fewer and further between. I’m sure I am not the only one who gets the overwhelming sensation of newness, of starting fresh, shifting concentration to health and well being. It’s hard not to feel this way when you look around and see that all of the plants and trees are sharing in this experience. It’s undeniable, and after decades of experiencing it year after year, it never gets old to me. Music, much like everything else, can be a living, breathing thing. It can be planted in a musician at an early age, but it has to be nurtured. If treated with care, it can grow into a beautiful thing that can germinate and give life to the people, places and things that are close enough to it to absorb its seeds as they scatter into the air.
Fittingly, this week’s broadcast/podcast features a dear friend of eTown who is equal parts gardener as songwriter. We are lucky to have Gregory Alan Isakov living in our neck of the woods, and even luckier to have been able to have him as a guest on the show several times in eTown’s more recent history. Just as a gardener takes great care to plant in fertile soil, and provide attention to his or her crop as it grows, it clear that Gregory takes the same great care in his songwriting process. You can hear patience in his music. The leaves are trimmed so that the plant can grow into something beautiful, without carrying the dead weight of elements that may drag it down. He sings about landscapes. He sings about the weather. His music is organic. Here at eTown we find his musical crop to be the perfect compliment to our conversations about common sense stewardship and living sustainably. It’s a great fit.
Also with us this week is Denver-based singer/songwriter Nathanial Rateliff, who brings his own unique voice to the program. This was Nathaniel’s second visit to the show, and this time he comes stripped down to the bare essentials – his voice and a guitar. Nathaniel’s music is powerful in any format, and his sense of humor is keen and sharp. Both times I’ve heard him interviewed by our host Nick Forster, I’ve found myself cracking up behind the camera. It’s clear that Nathaniel takes his music seriously, but when he puts the guitar down, he can be a really funny guy too.
Along with the great music this week, we’ve got a really interesting eChievement Award story about a New Hampshire man who has come up with a creative way to reduce waste on college campuses by keeping reusable materials out of college dumpsters and getting them into the hands of people who can use them.
Very cool program all the way around this week. Be sure to tune in, podcast and watch the videos from this week’s episode.
eTown just got back from Anaheim where we were the featured event on Saturday night at the Natural Products Expo. Our show, which was a benefit for the non-profit organization Just Label It, raised over $100k for the effort to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws. Our guests included Ziggy Marley & his band, The Both featuring Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, Gary Hirshberg, founder & CEO of Stonyfield Farm Yogurt and chairman of Just Label It, and Adrian Grenier, star of HBO’s Entourage and an avid and outspoken environmentalist. The show, taped in front of nearly 1,000 people, marked eTown’s triumphant return to Expo West after many years.
The show begin airing on stations nationwide and abroad April 8th. To find a station near you, click HERE or check back to the eTown website & iTunes!
This week we take a second look at a broadcast/podcast we originally aired last year. It was a pairing that turned out to be a gem, and we thought it might be nice to let it roll through our fingers once more. While both of this week’s artist’s origins are separated by a giant expanse of water, they both find musical grounding in the subtleties and nuances of using space and emptiness as a member or instrument in the band.
First up, Laura Marling makes her first visit to eTown to share songs spanning her last five albums, as well as a wisely chosen Townes Van Zandt cover that had our taping audience on pins and needles on account of it’s beauty. (See the video for “Colorado Girl” below) There aren’t many distractions in Laura’s music, and that is the way it should be with her. Her voice is unique and captivating, and the space she leaves between her lyrics and guitar playing really reel you in.
Also with us is singer/songwriter Matthew Houck who performs under the moniker Phosphorescent. I enjoyed getting to know Matthew while he was with us. We share a lot of the same roots, and it is always cool to see where those initial roads can take people. Matthew is originally from Alabama (where I lived for several years) and got his musical start in Athens, Georgia (another town I played music in quite a bit in my 20’s). When I was a kid, Athens, Georgia was the musical mecca of the south. Countless bands were sprouting there, and growing into legendary musical groups. It’s a cool town, and I wasn’t surprised to learn that Matthew got things going there. I could hear the town buried in some of his music. Much like Laura Marling, Matthew’s music is sparse and beautiful, and translates well no matter how he chooses to interpret it instrumentally on any given performance. Nick, Helen and the eTones join him for a beautiful rendition of his tune “Song For Zula” that you can check out in the video links below. Great stuff!
Lots of great music and conversation with these two artists this week, plus an inspiring eChievement Award story about a woman who came up with a simple way to help AIDS-affected families in Tanzania – All in this week’s broadcast/podcast.
Be sure to listen, watch and come back again next week!
The post A Lesson In Less Is More – The Beauty In Sparseness appeared first on eTown.