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 musician 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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)