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Etown is an exciting weekly radio broadcast heard from coast to coast on NPR, public and commercial stations. Every etown show is taped in front of a live audience and features performances from many of today's top musical artists as well as conversations and information about the world around us. At etown, we build community through music.

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Happy Fourth! Plus Info on this week’s Broadcast/Podcast

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 06:40

Hey, first, wishing you all a safe, fun and relaxing Fourth of July extended weekend. I hope whatever you plan to do, or not do, over these next few days nourishes your soul and recharges your batteries. And to those of you who must work over the weekend, you have my sincere sympathies. This is one of those years where we’re actually not recording one of our live tapings over the holiday, so we are all off from work here at eTown World Headquarters (which occupies a portion of the awesome solar-powered eTown Hall, located in beautiful little downtown Boulder) starting in a day or two. It promises to be a warm and sunny weekend, and I plan on taking full advantage of this rare break! Nick is off the road from touring with Hot Rize over the holiday, too, which makes it that more satisfying, getting to spend it with my baby.

We’ve got a really special show for you to enjoy over this holiday weekend, one of our ‘back by popular demand’ fare. Here’s what’s special about it:

etown Los Lobos and Damien JuardoFirst, the fabulous East LA band Los Lobos is with us. This iconic California Chicano rock group (whose name is Spanish for “The Wolves”) is both Nick and my favorite band.  We love these guys, both musically and personally. We’ve been friends since they were first on the show over 20 years ago (funny story: Those guys had been listening to a Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers CD on their bus during their tour; when they arrived to do the show, they learned in passing that Nick was in fact Wendell Mercantile and they instantly bonded with him! They’ve had a mutual admiration thing going ever since).

etown Los Lobos and Damien JuardoSecond, also with us this week, an amazing singer/songwriter Damien Jurado. His recent Indie CD projects have earned him glowing reviews and an ever-growing, enthusiastic fan base, and with good reason. He’s a brilliant musician and composer, plus he’s incredibly smart and quirky too. Creates mind-blowing stuff. Really cool.

Speaking of cool, we also have a cool eChievement Award story featuring a pair of friends from California who’re making renewable energy available at little or no cost to low-income families. Can’t beat that, right? I mean, with all the global warming and climate change going on, being able to keep cool on the Fourth of July using solar energy is pretty dang great.

So Happy Fourth y’all . . . Fire up the coals, crack open a beer, light up a sparkler and tune in!

Best always,


The post Happy Fourth! Plus Info on this week’s Broadcast/Podcast appeared first on eTown.

Categories: E-Town

Photos and Thoughts from Telluride . . eTown at Red Rocks with Iron & Wine / The Head and The Heart

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 04:39

HotRizeTelluride2015Just got back from Telluride, went to attend the bluegrass festival. I saw SO many wonderful old friends while I was there, from my days living in that mountain town in the 70’s and 80’s as well as various pals within my current musical community:
For example, Hot Rize (in the photo L to R: Peter Wernick, Nick Forster, Tim O’Brien and Bryan Sutton) played to rave reviews, SamNickTrideas did The Punch BrothersLake Street Dive, Sam Bush (pictured here backstage with Nick) and tons more.

Its always a pleasure coming back to Telluride where I spent my young adult formative years! And seeing the festival evolve and change is cool, too.


nick storecropHere’s a photo, too, of Nick in his summer cowboy hat, standing in the M & M Mercantile in Placerville, Colorado, a tiny town (couple hundred people maybe?) I lived in for several years. It’s a 15-minute drive or so from Telluride, kind of out in the boonies.

The Mercantile was – and still is – the only store in town. It’s the place you bought a loaf of bread or a carton of milk, some thread or a birthday card, it had a little bit of everything when I lived there. Everyone called it Mary’s store, for its owner who ran it for decades – I met Mary when she was in her late 70’s probably; and I knew her well into her 80’s, until I moved to Boulder in 1987. She was a salt-of-the-earth, crusty but kind Colorado woman, a no-nonsense gal with a heart of gold.

It was nostalgic indeed to revisit Mary’s store with Nick; It brought back so many memories! I went there hundreds of times to shop over the years. It was the neighborhood spot; and I enjoyed countless conversations with Mary and the other seniors who hung out there each day. She’s a legendary character who was a wise and wonderful addition to my world back then.

SamSpeaking of legendary, eTown returns to quite possibly the most legendary music venue on the planet – Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado – for a first time visit with North Carolina-based indie performer Sam Beam (aka as Iron & Wine). What a brilliant writer/musician. I am totally a fan now. Any ‘guy with a guitar’ who single-handedly can hold the rapt attention of 9,000 people at Red Rocks has my complete respect. He’s also a really insightful man (be sure to check out his conversation backstage with Nick; I love their exchange about being dads of daughters).

THATHAlso with us this week: Our young friends from the Northwest, The Head and The Heart, return to eTown for their second visit, treating us to one of their signature high-energy performances.

Join us for good music and insightful conversation, coming to you from eTown via Red Rocks!




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Categories: E-Town

Team Rubicon

Sun, 06/21/2015 - 05:06

In 2010, former Marines Will McNulty and Jake Wood were living on opposite sides of the country deciding what to do with their civilian lives. When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti that winter, Will and Jake traveled to Haiti with a team of medics, doctors, and military veterans, treating 3,000 patients in just 18 days. They discovered that disaster zones are eerily similar to combat zones, and many of the skills they had learned in the military allowed them to be effective in the realm of disaster relief while fulfilling their need for continued service. When they returned to the U.S., Will and Jake set up Team Rubicon as a formal nonprofit to provide ongoing and long term service opportunities to other veterans seeking a sense of purpose, community and identity as civilians. Team Rubicon responds nationally and worldwide to natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes, as well as engaging in domestic service opportunities such as Habitat for Humanity home builds and trail maintenance. Since 2010, Team Rubicon has led over 15,000 veteran, doctor, firefighter and medic volunteers to help hundreds of thousands of people get back on their feet after a disaster.

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Ruth’s Reusable Resources

Sun, 06/21/2015 - 05:04

In the mid 1990’s while her sons were in elementary school, Ruth Libby became aware that schoolteachers often pay for classroom supplies for their students out of their own pockets. Around the same time, Ruth read an article about a local project providing teachers with recycled materials, and she was inspired to start something similar to help the teachers in her district. In 1994, Ruth created Ruth’s Reusable Resources as a grassroots, community-driven effort to collect surplus office supplies and other items from individuals and local businesses and make them affordable and available to local teachers. Since she started, Ruth’s Reusable Resources has provided over $54 million in school supplies to tens of thousands of teachers and nonprofits in her area.

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Categories: E-Town

José González Shows Us Its Cool to Be Kind

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 06:25

I read a very sweet thing the other day. The wonderfully talented comedian, author and musician Steve Martin was quoted as saying one of the many things he loves about his wife, Anne Springfield, is that she’s a genuinely kind person.

Kindness. What a concept. Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I have to say that I, too, value kindness as a quality in others (my dear husband, Nick Forster, is truly one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I’ve ever known and I adore him for it).

IMG-1029These days, it often feels like kindness is not particularly being promoted as a personal characteristic to be sought after and cultivated, as least in this country. Used to be. But lately, maybe not so much. Try driving in rush hour for example, you’ll get what I mean. Or listen to your child’s sad tales of suffering at the hands of mean girls in class, or bullies on the playground. Its funny, it goes beyond being rude or thoughtless. It’s almost like nowadays its often not considered cool to be kind.

Well, maybe its time to bring kindness back as the ‘way to be.’ To embrace the concept that being kind is cool. I’d love to see a ‘kindness’ movement. You know, where being kind is a priority. Where we show by example and recruit each other to participate (that’s how movements grow right?). Where we teach our children well. Because kindness begets kindness. It spreads like wild fire. And it can be contagious.

You know, someone who embodies kindness is Swedish indie folk artist José González. He and his band join us this week for their very first visit to eTown, and it’s a pleasure to get to know him a bit. I’m struck by his gentle and kind nature. Considering his nearly year-long worldwide tour is completely sold out, Jose is pretty cool (we feel grateful indeed that he’s taken the time to be with us in our little solar-powered hall). Fans respond to his music and his manner, both of which exude kindness. And its real: amidst all the pressures of nonstop traveling and the relentless pace of the road, he and everyone in his group remain the sweetest, kindest people. Yup, Jose is a perfect example of ‘being kind is being cool.’

IMG-1050Also with us is the North Carolina-based duo, Mandolin Orange. These two young talented musical collaborators (and sweethearts) are reaping great press and earning an ever-increasing number of fans wherever they play (I’m now officially one of them). They’re also very nice – some might even say kind (there’s that theme again). And smart. And funny. Keep an ear and an eye for them, including tuning into (or podcasting) eTown this week.

IMG-1116Its great music as always, plus an eChievement Award story about a woman keeping office supplies out of the landfill and getting them into the hands of teachers whose students desperately need them but cannot afford them.

As you might imagine, she does this largely out of the kindness of her heart.

– Helen

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Categories: E-Town