Monday, July 31, 2017

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - Sh*t Motel Mix

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So much on my mind....  Thinking about people hurting and dealing with losses.  I rather glibly posted last week about emerging from a "blue funk", but I have known depression and depression is much more than a "blue funk". It's often not something one can just "get over" or "think about all the good things" to overcome. Like other forms of mental illness it is just that - an illness. Same with addiction. We use the terms addicted, addiction, addict rather casually about our obsessions with our phones or Facebook or various game.  And while things like that CAN rise to the level of addiction - the are usually just bad habits. I think people who can overcome bad habits with will-power or some variant of that - fail to understand and with addiction - at some point the power to make those choices goes away.  Lectures, discussions of consequences, reminds of what can and will be lost - all those are bound to fail.

There is hope, though, for addiction and mental illness. I have had my dark moments - really dark, and I am fortunate enough to have lived to see the light. Not everyone is that fortunate.

I don't always know what I should do or say... For now, I'll just offer a light, extend a hand, and play some music....


I do need to give a shout out to Mark Robinson for his excellent CD Release Show Saturday. My daughter and I had a great time.  If you haven't done so, get a copy of his new CD, Live at The 5 Spot. You'll thank me later for the tip.

It is Monday, and we shuffle up some locally sourced music from our "Music City" playlist.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - Leave it on the Shelf Mix

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Tentatively emerging from a blue funk I've been in, and a wonderful night of live music definitely helped out with that.

It started at The 5 Spot with Philly band Lady HD.  I really loved their sound. They said they were on their first tour and apparently the bass player was a fill-in from Nashville, but they sounded really tight.

Next up was Sean Quinn and the Tremblers. This version of the Tremblers featured Robbie Crowell on bass. Quinn is one of my absolute favorites.  His original songs reach a kind of pure power pop heaven for me.  He covered Chris Isaak's "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing" which I have heard him do before but last night the song just seemed to pop.

Kristen Englenz was up next with Sean Quinn sitting in.  This was my first time seeing her perform since week 2 of my residency and the first time with a full band. She sounded great. I only wish I could have stayed longer, but I had to hot-foot it over to the Basement East.

It was a night of the songs of John Prine -sponsored by Prine's label Oh Boy Records. It was a benefit for Jessi Zazu (Those Darlins) who is fighting cancer. The show was a sell out. The lineup included Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Ruby Amanfu, Lilly Hiatt, Elizabeth Cook, Cory Branan, Colter Wall, Caitlin Rose, The Whiskey Gentry, John Prine's son Tommy, Andrew Leahey, plus two E2TG Artists of the Year - Jon Latham and Darrin Bradbury (and more).  A great band backed several of the performances - led by drummer Jerry Pentecost and featuring Adam Kurtz of Buck N Stuff fame who played pedal steel, mandolin, and bongos.

I know I am biased but in my opinion (besides Jessi and John Prine's songs), the star of the show was Darrin Bradbury.  I say that because he performed solo and later with the band, he joined Elizabeth Cook for a fine rendition of "In Spite of Ourselves", and he ended up singing the last verse of the last song, "Paradise".

Overall, the music and the show was just about perfect and hopefully raised a lot of money for a great cause.  If you couldn't make it last night but want to help out Jessi, you may do so by visiting her You Caring site.

Whew!  And it is now Friday and the heat has at least temporarily broken... and we have a fine playlist of Featured Friday songs...  Now!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Topical Thursday Morning Shuffle - With Exceptions of Course Mix

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Farce: a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations.

I will just leave the definition here... and only add that farce is far more fun to watch than it is to live.

It was really great to drag myself out of my air conditioning to check out Ben de la Cour and Tommy Womack at The 5 Spot last night.  Ben de la Cour (who I first discovered through Couch by Couch West) is a relative newcomer to Nashville (well with the rapid influx of people, he maybe not be considered a newcomer) and Tommy Womack is a long-standing member of the Nashville music community.  I love it when the best of "old" and "new" Nashville share a bill.  As a bonus, I got to hang some with Too Much Country - a fellow music blogger/fan (who also writes about NASCAR and Schaefer Beer.

Tonight, a full-plate.  Kristen Englenz and Sean Quinn are at The 5 Spot early along with Lady HD from Philly.  I managed to snag a ticket to the Sold Out Oh Boy Records presents The Songs of John Prine at the Basement East.  If you didn't get tickets to that event, worry not, Jon Latham and Andrew Leahey are wrapping up their residency at The Family Wash - beginning around 9.

Don't forget Mark Robinson is having his CD Release Party at The 5 Spot on Saturday.

Well... we've sweltered through this hot week and made it to Thursday.  We call it Topical Thursday, and of late, that has meant that we delve into the music that has made E2TG what it is over the past six years.  We have a great mixed bag today, so let us dig in...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle - 56 Trees Mix

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The truth about writing a daily blog for six plus years is that you have to do it sometimes when you just don't feel like it. I have only had one significant time of not posting regularly during the entire six years of the existence of E2TG, and that was due to some significant life circumstances which forced me to take a break - and even then I tried to make some periodic posts to keep things going.  The internet is littered with blogs of all kinds that just stopped at some point.  No final post - just stopped.  Chances are the blogger thought they would post again soon and it just never happened. I get it.  I had a blog before E2TG (not a music blog - actually I'm not sure what it was) I wrote in it periodically and then at some point, I just stopped and after a time I realized it was dead.

I don't know why I am writing all this except that the past couple of weeks have been pretty stressful on several different fronts and levels, and I haven't always felt like blogging, but I have kept on. I figure, I force myself to get up and go to work, I listen to music (pretty much a given) so why not write about it. Also, I know if I give into the temporary apathy or whatever you want to call it, then I will likely start making that a habit and then one day, I will realize that E2TG is dead.

I assume that at some point I will stop writing E2TG, but I hope when I do that it is intentional and that I will go out in a blaze of glory.  Anyway, that day is not today.

Meanwhile don't even get me started on the latest from the Twit in Chief.

It is Wednesday. A day when we open up the barn doors and let all our horses run free... or to put it another way, we shuffle up the entire Song list in my phone and see what happens.  We call it Wild Wednesday - because things sometimes get wild and because it is like a "wild card" - it may be anything.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle - Not Like This Mix

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I genuinely try to avoid hyperbole. I may not always succeed, but I do try.  However, whenever, I try to write about the state of our nation and our world under the current administration, it always comes off sounding like hyperbole. To me it feels as if we have been in one long constitutional and authoritarian crisis since the inauguration, and it feels as if every single day comes complete with several more outrages against the nation and the world and common decency.  The Constitution provides for checks and balances to prevent one branch of government from having too much power, and while to some extent these checks and balances have at least slowed the pace of the corruption of our nation, I don't think the framers ever foresaw the wholesale dereliction of duty by the majority of members of Congress. It remains to be seen what if any action is taken on the Russian interference in the 2016 Election or the seemingly certain involvement of high ranking administration officials in that interference (up to and including the President).  Or if action  is taken if the president will attempt to exercise absolute power to pardon himself and others. Or if he does, if Congress and others will challenge that.  Or if the base of the current administration's supporters will ever admit that the people they supported are corrupt and damaging to our country.

Meanwhile, the Senate is attempting to shove through a "healthcare bill" -the details of which have not been revealed, but which seems like to deprive millions of Americans the ability to have affordable healthcare, and which will likely end up being a huge transfer of wealth from the poorest Americans to the richest.  And let's not forget that the majority in Congress have had years to come up with an adequate plan to either replace or fix the ACA and they seemingly have done nothing.

And all of that is not even to mention the President's reprehensible "speech" to the Boy Scouts yesterday. Or whatever other outrage that has popped up since I started writing this....

Some writers are saying this is the end of the American Experiment, and that the experiment has ended in failure. Is that hyperbole?  Is it?

Ah but for today, we still have music...  It is Tuesday, and on Tuesday, we check out what is "Trending" on E2TG. Fortunately, what is trending on E2TG is great music... not the kind of depressing things that are trending on social media sites.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - They're Giving Him Hell Mix

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Well, the heat wave has broken just slightly with some showers, storms, and clouds.

Meanwhile, another week has begun - the final full week in July. I know this is partially a sign of age, but really, where is the time going?

Oh well... whatever... never mind.   It's Monday and that means we have Music City Monday - featuring songs/albums/artists who have some kind of connection to Nashville, Tennessee.  To paraphrase Double Shot with Joe and Sue, it's Music City connected if I say it is... Onward...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - Me in the Corner Mix

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Well, it is Friday! Finally!  We are in the midst of a horrible heat wave here in Nashville. And between that and life and world things, I am zapped.  But, hey it is Friday, and I still have music...

On Friday, we feature songs from our New Music playlist.  Let's jump in!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Topical Thursday Morning Shuffle - Super Mercado Mix

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An enjoyable evening of music last night.  Headed over to the west side to catch Conrad Y Skordalia, Sergio Webb, and Maynard and the Musties.   All wonderful - with many shared players.

It's Thursday.... we continue to dive into the E2TG archives for old and new songs from the six year history of E2TG.  As I have said, I went through my entire music collection and selected one song for each artist that I consider a part of the history of E2TG (i.e. I featured, presented, whatever). Let's just dive in...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle - Sun Blown Mix

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Hmm... I'm just not feeling like a commentary today... maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's just life... whatever... ah more time for the music... music is a constant for me.  Hot, cold, good moods, bad moods... music is a balm, it makes me think sometimes, it makes me dance sometimes, it makes me nostalgic sometimes...

Today is Tuesday so we dive into the "New Music" playlist for our Trending Tuesday Shuffle....

Monday, July 17, 2017

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - Have a Nice Flight Mix

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Much on my mind, as we muddle through this post-fact, post-truth, post-decorum, post-civility, post-shared humanity, post-(you-name-it) world. Look, corrupt politicians are  nothing new. But, it does seem like in the past, there was at least some effort to conceal that corruption and often when it was exposed, it had real consequences. Nowadays, it seems like corruption is worn like a badge of honor, and it is at best denied or at worst accepted.

Also thinking about social media and Facebook in particular.  People tend to use this platform in many different ways. I still contend that all technology is neutral, that is only through man's use of the technology that it becomes good or evil. That being said, I have friends who use Facebook solely to share political posts, those who use it (almost) exclusively to promote their music, those who post humorous posts, those who post pictures of children, grandchildren, or pets, etc.  I think all of those are fine. There is, though, one phenomenon that I just don't get....   There are some people who feel th need to chime in and comment on things that really don't have any thing to do with them. I'll give a hypothetical example:  A friend posts something on my wall that is basically on inside joke or a reference that makes sense to only a small group of people.  Some people will jump in and make irrelevant comments. Another example, a celebrity passes away, and people are posting remembrances of that person and what they and/or their work meant to them. There is always that person who feels the need to add either by comment or post, "Eh, I never was a fan" or "I don't know who that is but...."  I guess it's a pet peeve of mine, but if a post doesn't directly address you or you have nothing meaningful to add, then just let it go.

To be honest, the only time I have "un-friended" AND blocked someone was for this very thing.  They were a friend who I had not really interacted with at all for several years. Someone important to me made a heartfelt post about something and this person (who did not know the original poster at all) jumped in and made a totally insensitive comment basically discounting the original poster's experience. Since I was the only link between the original poster and the person making the comment, I felt responsible for their behavior and so I deleted them as a friend and blocked them.

There is something maybe important in all my ranting, but I'm not sure what it is... something about how divided we are as a nation and the amount of incivility that exists in that divide....

Well, it's Monday when we jump in with our Music City Monday shuffle - songs with some connection to Nashville, Tennessee....

Friday, July 14, 2017

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - Drivin' Nails Mix

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As a music fan, I am aware of how amazingly fortunate I am to live here in Nashville. There is, of course, far too much live music going on every single night of the year for me to even see a small fraction of it all. On a given night, you may see up and coming (and established) singer-songwriters, world-class musicians, and incredibly talented bands.

Last night was such a night.  It began with the second week of the Fats Kaplin Gang's two week run at The 5 Spot. Fats Kaplin was recently seen in the PBS show American Epic playing alongside Jack White and others for the American Epic Sessions.  He has played on stage along side White and many others, but there is something special about seeing him do his own stuff on The 5 Spot stage. Joined by his wife - powerhouse singer Kristi Rose - along with the supremely talented Wes Langlois and Justin Amaral.

Next, I headed to The Family Wash to check out Stuffy Shmitt accompanied by Parker Hawkins.  They sounded awesome. After that it was week one of the Jon Latham and Andrew Leahey residency.  Their set started with a cover of Marshall Crenshaw's "Cynical Girl" (one of favorites) and continued with more great covers plus originals from both Latham and Leahey - all backed Jon's killer band Sean Quinn, Cory Nichols, and Raun Shultz.

This was an great night of music featuring supremely talented people, and it was in it's own amazing and unique and wonderful way just another night of music in East Nashville.

On with the shuffle. It is Featured Friday!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Topical Thursday Morning Shuffle - No Questions Mix

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I am a little short on time so no rambling commentary.  I know a lot of my friends in the East Nashville music community are mourning a loss. I am reminded yet again of the fragility of life and the importance of living in the present and fully experiencing each day.

After a couple of weeks off, we return to our Topical Thursday shuffle. The topic (since May) is E2TG and remembering where we have come from and where we are going.  The playlist features artists that have been featured in some way on our little site since May 2011 to the present day....

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle - Pass a Good Time Mix

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Okay - just a few short observations before we jump into the Wild Wednesday Shuffle...

1. If T-Rump were standing over a dead body holding a literal smoking gun, he would tweet that this fact proves he is innocent and his base would believe him, and the GOP leadership would say something like, "we just don't know".  Then again, I think he would - as he stated - shoot someone on 5th Avenue and would not lose a vote.

2.  I made the mistake of reading the comment thread on a couple of Facebook posts yesterday (one was political and the other was not). OH MY GOD!  The things people say to other people who happen to hold a difference of opinion - in some cases people they do not know... As a slightly socially awkward guy who likes expressing himself through the written word, social media has been a godsend.  Hell, E2TG would not exist without Facebook and Twitter. But, we do need to recognize that there is a very dark side to this technology.  To quote Allen Thompson Band, "People Are Assholes", and some of them like to prove this all over the comment section of other peoples posts. I have friends who seem to enjoy getting into "Flame Wars" with strangers on-line. To each his own, I guess, but when you look at the divisions that exist... it's easy to recognize that way differences of opinion are handled on-line is at least a symptom if not a contributing factor to the divide we face. As I said, one of the posts was a non-political post about something that happened near Nashville. Someone expressed an opinion that ran counter to the general thread of comments. I didn't necessarily agree with the opinion, but it was stated (in my opinion) in an even-handed manner. What followed was a nasty string of posts that included name-calling, inflammatory language, and personal insults not in any way related to the thread or the original comment.  I regretted reading the thread, but I could not look away.

3.  Finally, I have come to the conclusion that in recent years, I have come to accept some basic truths about myself. Not to discount the ability or value of changing bad habits or learning to overcome things that limit our ability to do the things we want to do, but there is tremendous value in just admitting to some core truths about ourselves even when those truths are unpleasant or undesirable or not highly regarded by society has a whole.  For me, one of the most superficial and benign examples of this has been my ability to accept my goofiness. Not to say, I ever did a good job of hiding it, but I think for some time, in some situations, I tried to act a certain way - maybe more serious or something. More to the point, I have always had difficulty smiling on demand for photographs. I kind of have the Candler of Friends smile thing going on.  Recently, I have started employing this big open-mouth goofy smile. It's silly but its better then the non-smile, scowl that used to be my stock in trade.

Okay!  It is Wednesday!  Today marks the return of "True" Wild Wednesday after a few weeks of focusing on the "new music" playlist.  On "Wild Wednesday", we shuffle from all the songs on my phone  and see what comes up!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle - Kingfishers and Snipes Mix

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Taking a short break from discussing the current insanity from the current resident(s) of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue... to take on maybe an even more controversial topic....

Americana.  As you may know by now, here at E2TG, I don't care much about genres or classifications of music. But, I do recognize that for some artists who are finding their place in a still relatively new landscape of the music business, it can make a difference in trying to find the right representation or the right people to approach or whatever...

While similar issues may come up about rock or country or pop or whatever, I think that Americana is it's own "beast".  According to the Americana Music Association, Americana is not a genre. In fact, it can encompass several different genres like country, folk, blues, even bluegrass, soul, rock...

Still, some "Americana" radio stations treat it like a genre - telling artists they are "too (fill in the blank) to be Americana."  Sue and I did our AMA themed show last year called it, "It's Americana is we say it is".  It was tongue-in-cheek.  Look, the Americana Fest each September is a blast (basically Nashville's live music scene on steroids - with lots of industry parties and showcases and the like). From an outsiders perspective, the decision on what is or isn't Americana can seem pretty arbitrary. An artist may be "too blues" for Americana - but a more established (and arguably) blues artist can be honored by the association.  This is not to mention the pop bands who had a fiddle or other "roots" instrument to their lineup and are suddenly "Americana" (especially if they achieve some level of success or notoriety).  But, I am not cynical about it all... (maybe because I am not a musician  trying to find my place).  There is a ton of great music being made and put out into the world.  I'm gonna try to hear as much of it as I can, and I am going to not worry about things that really don't matter to me.  To my artist friends, keep being you, keep doing your thing. If you are accepted as "Americana", wonderful. If not, keep on moving and let it go.  

So ends my (likely) simplistic take on what is a big deal for some artists...

Today is Tuesday when we jump back into the "new music" playlist and see what's hot on E2TG.  I will leave it up to you to decide (or not) which, if any, of these are "Americana".  To me it's all great music.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - Not Afraid Anymore Mix

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It is so easy to become overcome with cynicism. Truth be told, it's never been that hard for me, but nowadays, it is a real struggle. The problem with cynicism is that while it may "feel" good, it actually does not accomplish anything. I used to think that cynicism and idealism were opposites. Like you start off idealistic and over time become cynical or something like that, but I don't think that is the case at all.  I still consider myself an idealist, though, I can certainly be cynical at times.  I also do not think idealism and naiveté are the same thing at all.  I call myself an idealist, because I can envision the world/ a world when things work as I think they should. If I an naive, then I imagine that my vision of a "perfect" world is the only true vision and/or I expect that the world will work the way I think it should.  I know perfectly well that both of those are not true.  My vision (even if possible) would mostly like not work the way I think it would or would at least fall short of perfection.  And, I am fully aware that the world will never completely fall in line with my vision.

Cynicism is coming to this realization and giving up.  Hope or faith if you will, is to continue to fight for the ideal even while knowing that ultimately you are going to fall short.

It is Monday, and this Monday marks the triumphant return of Music City Monday to E2TG - where we sample of small sample of the variety of music that has and does emanate from Nashville, Tennessee - or at least has a connection to this fair city that I call home.

For Music City Monday - we have new music, old music, featured artists, big names, E2TG friends and favorites and more....

Let's Shuffle!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - Five More Minutes Mix

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Well what the heck! It's Friday!

Next week, we will get back to the regular schedule for E2TG:

Monday - Music City Monday featuring all music connected to Nashville. Old stuff, new stuff, loose connections, maybe some connections that exist only in my head...

Tuesday - Trending Tuesday featuring songs from the "New Music" playlist.  Mostly music submitted to me - occasionally a cool newish release that I just want to highlight.  "New" is relative - although I will be occasionally taking out lingering songs that are over a year old. That being said, if it's relatively new and new to me, I will also add stuff a year or so old (or older in special cases). It is what it is okay?

Wednesday - Wild Wednesday - we go hog wild and shuffle up all the songs stored by my device. New, old, really old, well-known, obscure, weird, normal - it's all possible.

Thursday - Topical Thursday - we shuffle off a of pre-selected "Topic" playlist. For a few months, we had a unexplained topic built around the current events of the world (loosely or tightly connected), since May we have been shuffling up a special E2TG anniversary playlist - featuring one song each from 250 or so artists who have been featured in some way over the six years of our existence as a blog. This topic will continue until it changes.

Friday - Featured Friday (see Trending Tuesday - it's the same thing).

So today is Featured Friday and we have a pretty cool shuffle so let's go!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Trending Thursday Morning Shuffle - Which Way to Jump Mix

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To me the biggest danger to as the weeks and months go by, is that the insanity that we are seeing will begin to seem "normal".  It is human nature, I think, to survive regardless of the circumstances. And sometimes to survive it becomes necessary to accept the unacceptable on some level just to make it through the day.  The fact is (I must repeatedly remind myself of this) that there is so much about the current administration that is not normal, is not "okay". From the fact that white supremacists still have a seat at the table of power, to the attacks on the press, to the attacks on science... it is not normal, it is not okay.

We have reached Thursday... and we continue to work our way through the "New Music" playlist.  Let's jump to it!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wild New Music Wednesday Morning Shuffle - No Ticket Mix

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Alright, I am back after the Fourth of July holiday.  Back to the reality that the United States of America is deeply divided. This divide did not start with the election of the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but it has gotten worse. The thing is, I don't think "united" is the context of the USA means that everyone agrees... the fact is there is a deep and fundamental disconnect between Americans as to how we see the world. Is this the fault of the media or the two party system or the information age?  Probably.  What is the solution? I don't have a clue. The saying goes united we stand, divided we fall.  Many, myself, included, wonder how far the current administration needs to go before the vast majority of Americans will say enough is enough and at least be united on that front?  Does such a threshold exist?  The pessimist in me, says if that mark has not yet been made, then it may not be made.

So...  for my part, just for today, I am choosing love over fear.  I am going to fight as hard as I can for the most vulnerable among us. I am going to #Resist and #Persist for as long as I must - for as long as I breathe.

As promised, we are continuing to shuffle from the "New Music" playlist.  Wednesday's are normally "Wild Wednesdays" on E2TG, and I think this shuffle is sufficiently "Wild" to qualify.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Manic Monday Morning Shuffle - Calculus Mix

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Well, it's July 3.  Tomorrow is American Independence Day.  I imagine many of us are not feeling much like celebrating.  After all, our government has been hijacked by people who seem intent on destroying the basic principals on which this nation was founded... or at least that is how I feel about it.  But, maybe it is important to celebrate...I've always had an uneasy relationship with the Fourth of July.  There is a fine line between patriotism and jingoism. Right now, it is unclear if the American experiment is failing or just in the middle of a very difficult test.  This year, I choose to celebrate the people who have and who are fighting for our freedom.  All of our freedom.  In the face of corruption and greed and fear and hatred and violence and boorish behavior and misogyny and homophobia - I celebrate those who practice and demonstrate love and compassion and acceptance.

We are officially into the second half of 2017.  As I promised last week, I am continuing this week to shuffle from the "New Music" playlist.  Next week, we will go back to our regularly scheduled programming.  But, as a compromise, I have added a bunch of new music to the playlist...

Let's shuffle!