Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Surprising Benefits of Good Musical Taste

My favorite singer of all time is Cindy Kallet. She is a singer-songwriter-guitarist from Maine. Her guitar playing is fantastic, her voice is rich and warm, and her songs capture the vivid sense of the rocky shores, seas, and forests of New England.

I can't say enough about her first three albums: Working on Wings to Fly, 2, and Dreaming Down a Quiet Line. Right now she's doing collaborations with another musician Grey Larsen, and they have a new CD Cross the Water.

Although she has performed and taught guitar playing across America, outside of a narrow folk music scene she's unknown. She's not a superstar, and, in fact, doesn't devote all of her time to her music and promotion. She's a "soccer mom".

Which happens to be very good, for me. Why? Read on ...

Whenever I visit the US or Canada (or anywhere else), I look up events in the areas I will be staying: music, theater, festivals, game clubs, and the like. Much of the regularly scheduled culture in Israel is not in my original language, and the scant English speaking events we get from abroad are expensive, or simply few and far between.

I don't get out of Israel that often. So I drink up as much culture as I can in the places I'm visiting when I do. I do a lot of web research. I usually know far more about what's going on in an area than my hosts do.

When I went to the first BGG.con back in 2005, I found a number of events that were happening in Dallas over the week. One was a U2 concert. I love U2, and if ever I was going to go to a rock concert, U2 would be it. But tickets were sold out, and in any case expensive ($80 or $100 or so). Lots of other big name events events also were happening that week: expensive, crowded, sold out.

Another, much less publicized event was a house concert by Richard Berman, a folk musician. I had never heard of him, actually. But I listened to some samples on his website and decided that this would be the best use of my time and money. Entrance was only $10 and he played for a few hours. And he fantastic. Actually, as with many folk musicians that shine in house concerts, he was far better live than he is on his recordings.

Which brings us to this year's trip in November. I scanned the event calendars for Cincinnati, the theater and club schedules, and the tour dates for my favorite musicians, especially the ones that I had yet to hear live. I found some interesting theater events and the local game club schedules for Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus.

To my surprise, I also found that Cindy, who tours so rarely that I have never gotten anywhere close to her in the dozen years I've been looking, would be performing on Friday and Saturday in Louisville, KY area, on one of the two weekends I would be in the Cincinnati area. OMG! Louisville is only two hours away from Cincinnati.

But ... I'm a sabbath observer. If she performs at 8:00 pm on Friday night, I can't hear her, and at 8:00 pm on Saturday night, I can't possibly get to the concert in time even if I leave directly after the sabbath goes out.

Oh no! A tragedy.

Now here's where we come to the title of the post.

If this were U2, or any other popular, well-known superstar band, that would be that. You can't ask U2 to change their concert time or add another performance to their tour schedule.

But this is folk music we're talking about.

So I wrote to Cindy through her website:
Is there any hope, any hope at all, that you will be giving a morning or noon performance on [Friday] Nov 13 in Louisville? And not only at 8 pm? *whimpering doggy eyes*
Not expecting much, but hoping for a reply, at least. This is what I got back:
Your whimpering doggy eyes have led Grey and me to the conclusion that we need to do a house concert in the Cincinnati/Oxford area on the Thursday or Sunday surrounding our Louisville and New Harmony concerts. How does that sound?



Anonymous said...


- Ian

Jeremy said...

Mainers are good people.