1. I met Utaph Phillips (R.I.P) at the Kate Wolf Festival last year. I told him to wait around, I was going to sing him a song. I opened up with his great tune "Rock, Salt and Nails." After I'd sung one line he turned his golf cart around and sped away with an angry look on his mug. What the hell? Six monthes later somebody wrote me an anonymous email: "Utah hates that song! He wrote it about his ex-wife." Solved.
2. Rain Perry, who wrote the great little song "Yosemite," has a folk opera out about growing up with "bohemian nomad" parents. It's called "Cinderblock Bookshelves" and it's out on her own label, produced by Mark Hallman. Check it out at http://www.rainperry.com/ or http://www.villagerecords.com/product_info.php?cPath=23_151&products_id=4973. Quiet masterwork.
3. Penny Lang's "Stone+Sand+Sea+Sky" has tracks that haunt me - like John Herald's "High Muddy Water." Chilling - especially knowing John killed himself a few years ago in upstate New York. This song is worth the price of admission. She also does Dylan's "One too Many Mornings."
4. And speaking of Dylan, I just finished Suze Rotolo's "Freewheelling" book about her days as Dylan's girlfriend in Greenwich Village. Interesting, but no new revelations. I think so many hundreds of people (like John Herald) were marked and moved by their association with Dylan - but they never quite knew what hit them. And they never recovered. She seems to still be searching for her "artiste soul"...well, you know what somebody told me once? "The store is open where you can buy the same colors that Van Gogh used...ya know?" Get with it. Get to work.
There is one revelation: she claims Ian Tyson turned Dylan on to Marijuana. Well, then if Dylan went on to turn on the Beatles to weed...that makes Ian Tyson a cultural (or cult) icon of the 20th century. The rise of the poetic lyric. He's coming here tomorrow to hang out so I'll ask him.
All the news that fits. TR