Giving voice – with special thanks to Taylor Swift

sophienashville

When we moved out here to Stanstead, the century-old house we moved into held the unlikely key to a treasure. It came in the form of a broken-down third-rate department-store guitar with five intact strings and a slightly warped neck.

Sophie, our eleven-year-old daughter, adopted the guitar as her own. A family friend added a sixth string and tuned it by ear.

And Sophie took her guitar to her bedroom and taught herself how to play. She used her iPod to download how-to videos from the internet.

Sophie loved the music of Taylor Swift. So she armed herself with chord charts and lyric sheets. And she practiced ceaselessly.

And slowly the sounds became songs.

She entered the town’s talent show with a friend and together they captured second prize after singing a beautiful version of ‘Our Song.’ They went back the next year and won first prize with ‘Mean.’

Almost two years after she first picked up that old guitar Sophie and I made our pilgrimage to Steve’s Music in Montreal where she chose a Big Baby Taylor.

And then she went back up to her room with her new guitar and practiced every evening. We must have heard ‘Love Story’ and ‘Red’ a hundred times.

She sang ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’ in her first appearance at her high school followed by ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Santa Baby’ at the holiday show.

Sophie sang ‘Love Story’ at her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration in a restaurant at Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont. It was an amazing few minutes and when she was done even the folks at other tables applauded loudly.

We were primed for the release of ‘1989’ long before the latest Taylor Swift album was released. Almost immediately, Sophie was working her way through the new songs – capturing their essence while singing and playing guitar.

And now, six years since we moved into this old house, seventeen-year-old Sophie has harnessed her dedication and passion – and having successfully auditioned last Spring – is now studying Pop Voice in the Music program at Vanier College in Montreal.

I count myself among the legion of loyal Taylor Swift fans. For good reason.

In my case, I give thanks for Ms. Swift’s ability to help Sophie find her voice – and for providing continual inspiration to keep making sweet sounds with her guitar.

Be well. Practice big medicine.

Hal

PS: Big Medicine is my nod of respect to a First Nations expression that, roughly translated, means the right people working together at the right time will be Big Medicine. I’ve been saying ‘Be well. Practice big medicine’ for as long as I can remember. It is my own very personal version of ‘Sawu Bona’, the Zulu greeting which means ‘I see you’… I see all of you, I see your good works, I see the difference you are making in the world.

An evening with Amanda McCoy – St Johnsbury VT

An intimate concert with the wickedly talented bassist/guitar-slinger/songwriter Amanda McCoy – all the way from Nashville TN.

Bassist, guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, pianist, educator, and artist – these are only a few words that describe Amanda McCoy. Amanda is one of the most in demand musicians working in the Nashville music scene. If Amanda isn’t touring with one of many bands or artists, you will find her performing original material in Nashville, recording in the studio, or getting messy with charcoal and paint.

Since stepping onto the scene in late 2009, Amanda has delivered a power packed punch to Nashville. Since then, she has shared the stage with Tristen Smith, Black Shag, Pavlov’s Dog, Kevin Skinner, George Jones, Clint Black, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw, Marty Stuart, the Charlie Daniels Band, Cowboy Troy, Little Big Town, Daisy Mallory, Neil McCoy, the Eli Young Band, Eden’s Edge, Lorrie Morgan, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, and Molly Hatchet.

Amanda has also had the privilege of studying extensively with some of the best musicians in the world. They include Pandel Collaros, Victor Wooten, Regi Wooten, Kenny Aronoff, Frank Gambale, Steve Bailey, Howard Levy, and Molly Pauken.

Ticketing info will be released shortly from Catamount Arts. $15 adults.

An evening with Amanda McCoy will be a dinner/concert on Sunday, July 31th in St Johnsbury VT

Here’s the essential info:

This will be an intimate concert with a max capacity of about 50 folks.

Dinner will be 6-ish and will be potluck vegetarian.

If you’re coming for the concert only, seating will be open at 19h.

We hope to see you there.

 

An evening with Amanda McCoy – Stanstead QC

An intimate house concert with the wickedly talented bassist/guitar-slinger/songwriter Amanda McCoy – all the way from Nashville TN.

Bassist, guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, pianist, educator, and artist – these are only a few words that describe Amanda McCoy. Amanda is one of the most in demand musicians working in the Nashville music scene. If Amanda isn’t touring with one of many bands or artists, you will find her performing original material in Nashville, recording in the studio, or getting messy with charcoal and paint.

Since stepping onto the scene in late 2009, Amanda has delivered a power packed punch to Nashville. Since then, she has shared the stage with Tristen Smith, Black Shag, Pavlov’s Dog, Kevin Skinner, George Jones, Clint Black, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw, Marty Stuart, the Charlie Daniels Band, Cowboy Troy, Little Big Town, Daisy Mallory, Neil McCoy, the Eli Young Band, Eden’s Edge, Lorrie Morgan, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, and Molly Hatchet.

Amanda has also had the privilege of studying extensively with some of the best musicians in the world. They include Pandel Collaros, Victor Wooten, Regi Wooten, Kenny Aronoff, Frank Gambale, Steve Bailey, Howard Levy, and Molly Pauken.

Seats can be reserved via RSVP at 819-704-0662 or Email: newman.hal@gmail.com

Adults $20, Teens $10 – and kids, as always, are free & welcome.

An evening with Amanda McCoy will be a dinner/concert on Saturday, July 30th..at the Brunelle-Newman House – 18 ch de Fairfax in Stanstead QC.

Here’s the essential info:

This will be an intimate livingroom concert with a max capacity of 35 folks on chairs, sofas, benches – or sitting on the floor.

Dinner will be 6-ish and will be potluck vegetarian. Send Hal an email to let him know what you’re bringing for potluck. E: newman,hal@gmail.com

If you’re coming for the concert only, seating will be open at 19h.

We hope to see you there.

An evening with Amanda McCoy – Montreal QC

An intimate house concert with the wickedly talented bassist/guitar-slinger/songwriter Amanda McCoy – all the way from Nashville TN.

Bassist, guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, pianist, educator, and artist – these are only a few words that describe Amanda McCoy. Amanda is one of the most in demand musicians working in the Nashville music scene. If Amanda isn’t touring with one of many bands or artists, you will find her performing original material in Nashville, recording in the studio, or getting messy with charcoal and paint.

Since stepping onto the scene in late 2009, Amanda has delivered a power packed punch to Nashville. Since then, she has shared the stage with Tristen Smith, Black Shag, Pavlov’s Dog, Kevin Skinner, George Jones, Clint Black, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw, Marty Stuart, the Charlie Daniels Band, Cowboy Troy, Little Big Town, Daisy Mallory, Neil McCoy, the Eli Young Band, Eden’s Edge, Lorrie Morgan, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, and Molly Hatchet.

Amanda has also had the privilege of studying extensively with some of the best musicians in the world. They include Pandel Collaros, Victor Wooten, Regi Wooten, Kenny Aronoff, Frank Gambale, Steve Bailey, Howard Levy, and Molly Pauken.

Seats can be reserved via RSVP at 819-704-0662 or Email: newman.hal@gmail.com / lenny.pinkas@gmail.com

Adults $20, Teens $10 – and kids, as always, are free & welcome.

An evening with Amanda McCoy will be a dinner/concert on Friday, July 29th..at the Wiedemann-Pinkas Home – 3820 Old Orchard in (NDG) Montreal QC.

Here’s the essential info:

This will be an intimate livingroom concert with a max capacity of 35 folks on chairs, sofas, benches – or sitting on the floor.

Dinner will be 630-ish and will be potluck vegetarian. Send Lenny an email to let him know what you’re bringing for potluck. E: lenny.pinkas@gmail.com

If you’re coming for the concert only, seating will be open at 19h.

We hope to see you there.

10 String Symphony – Brunch & Concert

10String3

“They do things with fiddles you wouldn’t expect” NPR All Songs Considered “The Newest and Most Promising Voices in Americana”

“…a dynamic musical stew that covers a wide spectrum of acoustic-based roots music, hitting on old-time, folk and bluegrass, all delivered with a dash of rock and roll spunk.”
American Songwriter Magazine

“When each song ended, the two pressed tight into their microhphones, savoring the last strains of the harmony – and even the bartenders seemed to be leaning forward breathlessly, awaiting someone to clap first. Their self titled recording aptly demonstrates the power of a spare, tightly-connected acoustic performance that is given room to evolve – for bluegrass fans, the lightning fast harmonic runs on dueling fiddle is worth the price of admission alone. But it’s the off-road experiments, especially from Christian’s biting bow strokes that will make future audiences take note.”
The Bluegrass Situation

“…Stirring together Old-Time flavors with the broader range of influences brought by an omnivorous musical appetite”
The Nashville Scene

“Really, really beautiful.”
Ricky Ross, BBC Scotland

Nashville duo 10 String Symphony began as a partnership of mutual admiration­­ a much needed creative release valve for Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer, two 5­-string fiddle players and veteran sidemen of Nashville’s music scene. Rachel, a former Illinois state fiddle champion in the old time tradition, needed an outlet for the new sort of songs she was writing, while Christian, originally a classically trained violinist, now a current touring member of the Jerry Douglas Band, was looking to get in touch the impetuous spirit of the rock bands he played in before his arrival in Nashville. With the love of the 5­string fiddle and its musical possibilities as its focal point, the band’s mission statement was as clear as it was expansive:

Two fiddles. Two Voices. Epic music.

And yet, “Weight of the world,” the band’s latest batch of recordings to be released on Oct. 23rd, is not at all the record one might expect from a duo of seasoned Nashville fiddlers. This is not a record of showboating­­ no mere polished showcasing of technical virtuosity. Rather, at its core, “Weight of the world” is raw and intimate­­ a nuanced and patient record with designs to move rather than merely impress its listeners. Rachel and Christian’s musical prowess and chemistry is certainly on display for those in the know, but listening deeply reveals that these flourishes are always in service of reaching the listener emotionally­­ the spiritual earnestness of song­craft which keeps us perennially returning to the roots of American music.

ALL THINGS MUSIC has described the band’s’ sound as a “new take on old ideas,” a concept and tension that the duo continues to explore throughout “Weight of the World.” This is showcased on songs like “Someone to be Good For,” where a timeless fiddle melody is underscored by Rachel’s acutely personal and timely take on the search for romantic fulfillment in the midst of brokenness. Or in the searching harmonies and exploratory fiddle runs of a song like “I’m Not Lonesome”­­ While the title may hearken back to the tradition, Christian’s haunting melodies and searching cadences bespeak of an artist that has spent as much time with Wagner and Pet Sounds era Beach Boys as he has with the Seeger brothers.

And perhaps this is what makes “Weight of the World” such a brave record: Its the soundtrack of a process­­ a picture of a band striving to maintain the purity of purpose of the American old­time tradition, while simultaneously stretching its limitations with unique arrangements, unflinchingly personal lyrics, and a bravely progressive melodic palette.

“Weight of the World” is a snapshot of an impetuous band in mid­stride­­ old­souls who are passionately determined to speak to our contemporary moment. From the sounds of it, this is just the beginning. – James Wilson (Sons of BIll)

 

Suitably named for the number of strings animated by the duo’s playing—Baiman, who also occasionally adds flair with her five-string banjo, and bandmate Christian Sedelmyer both play a five-string fiddles—the ensemble released its second album Weight of the World in October and landed at No. 3 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album chart for the week of November 28. Quite an exceptional feat for a semi-newfangled band and an album funded by an Indiegogo campaign.

“It’s cool to see that kind of support,” Baiman says of being pinned on the Billboard chart between Rhonda Vincent and the SteelDrivers, “and to be on that chart with the Punch Brothers—it’s a big deal. We’re a pretty new band so to sell that many albums is exciting.”

http://www.allthingsstrings.com/News/News/Fiddle-Duo-10-String-Symphony-Celebrates-No.-3-on-Billboard

10 String Symphony – will be a brunch/concert on Sunday, February 14th..at our home – 18 ch de Fairfax in Stanstead QC.

Here’s the essential info:

Brunch will be at 12.30h and will be potluck – which means if you’re coming for brunch you need to let us know ahead of time.. so we can take note of what you’re planning to bring.

If you’re coming for the concert only, seating will be open at 13h30… Adults $20, Teens $10 – and kids, as always, are free & welcome. I’d suggest bringing your own folding chairs.

Tickets should be purchased online.

There’s lots of parking available on the side of the road in front of our place – just remember to be courteous and leave ample space for all the other cars, trucks, tractors, horses, etc. which use chemin de Fairfax.