This was the magnificent December 12th moonrise through the sycamores on Tuckahoe Island at perigee, the closest our only planet comes to Mother Earth. A full moon always fills me with nostalgia and melancholy...in a good way. And this one, at the end of a year filled with personal joys and planetary struggles illuminated the gratitude I think we all feel this time of year, for friends and family, for the place where we live and for the music that helps bind us. I'm especially grateful for all those mentioned in the previous thirty-nine journal postings over the past twelve months who have enriched my life immeasurably. January 1st is just another Thursday but breaking out a whole new calendar is an exercise in great expectations and hope that all the challenges we face as individuals, as families and as a nation can, with work and wisdom, be managed if not solved.

Congratulations to Anita Conner, who won tickets to see Robin & Linda Williams' holiday concert at Ashland Coffee and Tea last week for knowing they first appeared on Prairie Home Companion in 1975. And kudos to veteran Tidewater keillormusician Bill Gurley who won the drawing for the UofR/Modlin Center appearance of Garrison Keillor on January 18th at the Landmark. He knew that Peter Ostroushko played fiddle on Robin & Linda's album Visions of Love. The Williamses will open the Richmond show as well. Tickets are still available.

NPC_Toads_Place_2008 I've got some more freebies to toss out to my loyal readers and you'll have to hurry for these. On the Saturday after Christmas, the 27th, Toad's Place welcomes Charlottesville's pre-jam band Indecision (think Phish meets Steely Dan) opening for D.C.'s New Potato Caboose, a reunion tour of a "Deadly" 80's ensemble that also helped forge the improvisational rock band culture. The Caboose hasn't played Richmond in a decade, and if you can name their keyboard guy (he's from Hopewell), I've got a pair of tix for you. I actually have three pairs, so the first three with the right answer win. Hurry. Submit answers to mail@timtimberlake.com.

Tommy E amused If you haven't heard, Aussie Tommy Emmanuel's happily coming back to The National on February 22nd, so grab your tickets now to witness the six-string magic Tommy can create like no one else. They'd make great stocking stuffers.

A couple of fine shows round out the year for Ashland Coffee & Tea, The Taters and The Grandsons tomorrow night (Saturday) and on the 27th, Last Train Home. You may have gotten wind that our favorite listening room is up for sale and there have been a couple of offers. The future of continued live music at AC&T is uncertain at this point although as-yet unlisted bookings have been made for the first few months of '09. If nothing else, catch a show there soon and express your appreciation to Jim & Mary and Kay & George for all they've done for the music. And hope for the best.

All of us at JAMinc and In Your Ear Recording are seriously jazzed about our next Studio A concert on the first Friday of the new year. Old School Freight Train's jesse website guitarist/vocalist/songwriter and all-around impressive fellow Jesse Harper will be holding forth for what promises to be a memorable evening featuring some very prominent friends like globetrotting ivory tickler Daniel Clarke and OSFT bandmate Darrell Muller on standup bass. There will be others you've heard of...just can't confirm at this writing. We'll begin with our pre-show social with bring-your-own beverages and snacks at 6:30 and then two sets of top-drawer folk/jazz/pop that you'll be so glad you were there to witness up close and personal. And all will be recorded for later broadcast on Page Wilson's Out O' The Blue Radio Revue. Tickets at JAMinc.org. (Jesse's photo from his MySpace page)


April in December...

The annual transition that sees many of us thrust kicking and screaming into the holiday season when we're not quite ready for it, is now complete. Our daughter in Boulder has had a couple of snowfalls already with more on the way. The Thanksgiving leftovers are fully consumed and the GardenFest lights are aglow at Lewis Ginter. And the attic has been emptied of our growing collection of Christmas decorations that AprilVerch1bigare in the process of finding their proper place. Thank goodness for a few musical diversions to season the twelfth month, including Canadian songbird/fiddler April Verch who lights at Ashland Coffee and Tea this Thursday night. If you haven't heard about her, do explore her Website and MySpace page and better still, head to our favorite room on the tracks...old friend Lincoln Meyers will be joining her on guitar. (April Verch photo from her Website)

Adrienne Young returns to AC&T this Saturday, and then Robin & Linda Williams with Their Fine Group (which now includes former King Wilkie fiddler Nick Reeb) are set for a special holiday show on December 13th. Want a pair of tickets? Just email me (mail@timtimberlake.com) and tell me the year R & L first appeared on Prairie Home Companion. I'll draw from all correct responses on December 8th. Let me encourage you to get out to some of these great shows at AC&T before they fall prey to this deadly economy. Listening rooms like this Ashland jewel are closing all over the country for lack of audience and the only thing that can turn that train around is more passengers, like us. As your gift to those who serve up this live music we love...catch a couple December performances. It'll feel good.

Also on the 13th, Jackass Flats is back at The National downtown after their successful CD launch back in August.jackass flats cd The Richmond-based bluegrass band's latest project is an ambitious one that represents lots of woodshedding. A bunch of originals ranging from crankin' instrumentals to some pretty progressive stuff like "The World Today" reveal musicians striving for the next level. This ought to make that happen for Travis Rinehart, Stephen Kuester, Eddie Carlton and Joe Bird. Nice guys...nice work.

Finally this go around I'll announce another chance for free tickets that might end up in someone's Christmas stocking. Robin & Linda Williams, the Shenandoah Valley's touring lovebirds will swing back this way yet again on January 18th at the Landmark Theater as the Modlin Center for the Arts presents America's favorite storyteller Garrison Keillor. gkellior_trench_large Robin & Linda are regulars on Garrison's enduring and endearing public radio show, Prairie Home Companion. They appeared in the Robert Altman feature film of the same name and Mr. Keillor even produced the real-life duo's 2002 album Visions of Love. Now if you can tell me who played fiddle and mandolin on that project (hint: he did one of our JAMinc/InYourEar Studio Concerts back in 2006) I've got two comps for you and yours. Again, if we have multiple correct answers, I'll do a drawing on December 15th. (Keillor photo by Brian Velenchenko)

Finish your musical year with Page Wilson's Out O' The Blue Radio Revue on Saturday, the 27th from 8-10pm on 88.9 WCVE as he welcomes Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers to the Chickahominy Swamp kitchen. I was there and it was delectable...