Long ago someone made up a lullaby or beat a hollow gourd in anger. Blew into a piece of hollow wood, or strung a gut-string tight and twanged it. Whatever its humble origins, this combination of sounds and rhythm is an essential part of being human. We create sound, we find sound, we imagine things, and within the complexity of notes and beats, we seek ways to translate our singular experiences and inspiration into something universally accessible.

Music has been part of every step of our American history too...

Reflecting on the many contradictions in our nation's history as a milestone anniversary passes, and the author ponders the influence of where we've been on how we go forward.

At 3pm today, bells will ring all across this great land to mark the sesquicentennial of the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, about 3 hours south of my home here in the tranquil foothills of the Blue Ridge. The book of the American story is opened to these pages this week, for us to revisit, and reflect, and remember. And in so doing, all eyes are once again on us - the state where the most blood was spilled, the home of the rebel capital and the fertile Shenandoah Valley, the "breadbasket of the Confederacy"...

I often joke that I am a professional driver, and when I quit for the day I pull out my guitar and play for people. There's really more than a kernel of truth to that. My friends often ask for an opinion or advice about traveling, which I happily share to the best of my ability.

I've also witnessed a lot of bad behavior and less than stellar driving. I'm one of those who believes that a little education can go a long way, so I've distilled down some observations and helpful tips from over 20 years of traveling both the blue highways and the heavy truck thoroughfares...

Some thoughts on honesty and storytelling, "Deflategate" and Brian Williams, and the "Grab Their Attention" ethos in the Age of Information Overload.

I've long ago grown deep bonds with most of our local professional sports teams, most based in the nation's capital. It was easy when baseball came back to DC - we've been here since the beginning. But even as a little kid, I adopted the Washington Capitals during their first days of existence. I even tuned in a lot of their games on the staticky AM radio, over 400 miles away. We're still waiting for our first Stanley Cup, the royal hardware that goes to the champions of the sport.

One local team has never earned my allegiance.

Mary Cliff's "Traditions" Pulled from the Airwaves
February 8, 2015

For over 40 years by my reckoning, there has been one consistent voice on the public airwaves for folk and roots music in the mid-Atlantic region. Mary Cliff has anchored a weekend night hosting her show "Traditions", featuring music from world-renowned artists to local pub singers, listing the exhaustive area event calendar of folk, bluegrass, blues and anything else roots or world music oriented, and all broadcast at some 50,000 watts in all directions.

An artist reflects on the profound changes in his livelihood and calling, faces up to fears and failings, and resolves to move forward.

Resolutions. At this time of year in particular folks get hung up on them - making them, breaking them, writing them off all together. Resolution comes from the word resolve, a word that I have been doing a delicate dance with lately. It feels like re-solve, as in having to solve an old problem all over again.

I deliberately stepped away for a couple weeks over the holidays to recharge my batteries and enjoy being with family - successfully I might add. Thus this first morning back in my office I came face to face with a host of fears and anxieties strewn about my desktop that had been anxiously awaiting my return, and ready to challenge my resolve.

One way to insure everyone drowns in a concept is to devote a day to it. Today is #GivingTuesday and thus everyone is getting a million emails from lots of good causes, and I want to participate, but what about the other 364 days? Is this one an attempt to balance our karma with the excessive shopping we've been goaded into since Thanksgiving, or an end-of-year-tax-writeoff opportunity? I'd love to encourage people who follow my page here to do something today, but who the heck would read it when we're all drowning in so many emails & posts?

All Souls Day has never been a big milestone for me. But after a week of profound discoveries about my family with my Mom on Ancestry.com, this morning's message "We Remember Them" by our friend Rev. John Manwell at Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun really put so many beautiful thoughts into context for me personally.

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Tour Dates

  • 10/25/2017
    The Music Cafe - Damascus, MD
     
  • 10/29/2017
    Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Greater Cumberland - Cumberland, MD
     
  • 10/29/2017
    Tree of Life Yoga Studio - Bedford, PA
     
  • 10/30/2017
    Institute of Musical Traditions, Saint Mark Presbyterian Church - Rockville, MD
     
  • 11/02/2017
    The Blue Side - Frederick, MD
     

HAPPENINGS

SPECIAL THANKS

Andrew is a grateful Endorsing Artist for Elixir Strings and Fairbuilt Guitars, and a member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Artist Roster. He also is a member of The Standing "O" Project and Concerts in Your Home.

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