Sunday, April 28, 2013

Steve Earle Smiles Through His Paramount Theater Show

I've seen Steve Earle three times: at the Lake Champlain Maritime 400 festival in 2009, with John Hiatt at the South Shore Music Circus in 2012 and last night at the Paramount Theater in Rutland VT. This is the first time I've seen him smile and look like he was really enjoying himself on stage.

From his website:
A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Earle quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others. 1986 saw the
release of his debut record, Guitar Town, which shot to number one on the country charts and immediately established the term “New Country.” What followed was an extremely exciting and varied array of releases including the biting hard rock of Copperhead Road (1988), the minimalist beauty of Train A Comin’ (1995), the politically charged masterpiece, Jerusalem (2002) and the Grammy Award Winning albums The Revolution Starts…Now (2004), Washington Square Serenade (2007) and Townes (2009). I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (2011) is Steve Earle’s 14th Studio Album and shares the same name with his 2011 debut novel. Of the novel, Patti Smith stated, “Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit and cinematic energy he projects in his music. I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive is like a dream you can’t shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades.”

Earle is also an actor appearing in the critically acclaimed series The Wire, he also appeared in HBO's series Treme. He's appeared in spots on Law And Order and the feature film Leaves of Grass.

Earle, doing what he does best, took the Paramount stage at 9PM and played until 10:50, then brought the band out for two encores, two songs each. This was the second night of the tour promoting his new CD "The Low Highway" his 15th studio album released on April 16th on New West Records.
He played most of the songs on this new CD:
The Low Highway
21st Century Blues
Calico County
That All You Got
Love's Gonna Blow My Way
After Mardi Gras
Burnin' It Down
Warren Hellman's Banjo

He also performed "I Thought You Should Know", "This City Won't Wash Away", and "Ben McCulloch". He introduced "You're Still Standing There" (good video click here of this song with his wife Allison Moorer) by saying "I'm used to playing this song with redheads. I recorded it with a redhead, well at least she was a redhead when we recorded it" (referring to his wife Allison.)
About an hour into his set he started to dig deeper into his CD collection and played "Guitar Town" (1986), followed by his hugely popular "Copperhead Road" (1988). He introduced The Dukes, saying for the second time tonight that this is the best incarnation of The Dukes, "the best band I've ever had on the stage" Will Rigby on drums; Chris Masterson on guitars, pedal steel;  Eleanor Whitmore on strings and  Kelly Looney on bass.
He closed the show with "Train A Comin'",  "Galway Girl" and "Down the Road." He played two two song encores which included a song he wrote for his young son recently diagnosed with Autism (April is Autism Awareness Month, 1 in 88 Children, 1 in 54 boys diagnosed annually ) "Remember Me", "City Of Immigrants" and "Revolution Starts Now"

The Mastersons opened and played for about 30 minutes performing songs from their CD "Birds Fly South" and a few brand new ones like "I Am Electric". (Eleanor Whitmore and Chris Masterson are also part of The Dukes.) Their CD is available online and at the shows.
The show was good. It is quite a change to see Steve Earle angry about the current times but at least smiling and joking around on stage. At one point he joked about playing piano on a song for only the second time on stage. He said he spent a lot of time in New Orleans filming Treme, so he thought he could play piano. He said he played when he was young but he left home at 16 and "you couldn't hitchhike with the fucker" so he left it at home.

The sound mix was terrible, at least where we (Jay and I) were sitting. It was also pretty bad when we saw Steve and The Dukes in 2012 at the South Shore Music Circus (but when Hiatt took the stage at this same show, the sound was great.)

More performance images:

Steve Earle and The Dukes
The Mastersons opened
Paramount Theater
Rutland, VT April 27, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lakes Region Casino Hosts Scott Kirby CD Release Party

April 20, 2013
Belmont NH
"The CDs just arrived this morning" said Scott Kirby, "The CDs and covers came separately, we've spent the day at the hotel stuffing them." The CD is his new release, Sol Searching. Kirby, former Penacook NH resident now living in Key West is kicking off his CD Tour tonight in Belmont NH at the Lakes Region Casino.

Kirby took the stage a little after 8 PM. He received a warm welcome from the Sold-Out crowd and said "Good Morning!" Kirby introduced his touring guitar mate who has performed with greats like: Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Radney Foster and others... Michael McAdam.

They opened with the first song off the new CD "Turning of The Tide." According to the liner notes it is "a nostalgic look at a simpler time and a story about a person who reaches a point in life when they finally discover what is really important." Kirby followed with the title track "Sol Searching" dedicated to friends who were fighting the New England Winter blues and decided to pack it up and go searching for some "Sol" (Spanish for sun). Kirby said he received the inspiration in a voicemail from his friend Kara, he'll acknowledge her but not credit her--that means payments for that credit.

He wove his evening's Greatest Hits Voyage by performing "If Once You Slept On An Island (from his Walking on Thin Ice CD). He followed with "It's All about the Girl" (from the 2009 CD Row Me Home. He said he's playing a Kentucky Derby Party May 3; he met a woman who raises race horses--fillies and named her stable "It's All About the Girls.)

He warned McAdam that he was calling his first audible and asked the crowd who had attended Merrimack High School Class of 1972? He apologized to James Taylor (but didn't need to) he and McAdam played a great rendition of "Fire and Rain", the class song.
This set also included: "Lucky Enough", "Whiskey" (off the new CD), "Vineyard" (off the new CD written by Jackopierce), "Blow Me Down to Cayo Hueso", "Out Here Near The Edge", "Hurt Me Tonight", "Walking on Thin Ice", "Any Old Town in New England" (off the new CD with the lyrics "Give me Boston on a Saturday night"...very timely with the recent events.)

Kirby took a break and sold and signed the new CD to the eager fans. Images, click here.

Kirby and McAdam returned to the stage about 10:15 continuing the voyage with "Somewhere Between The Sun and The Moon", "Free Range Institution", "4 Good Dogs", "Just Another Place We'll Never Go" (off the new CD), "Old Beach House" (off the new CD), "Heart of A Beach Town", "Port Outbound Starboard Home", and closed with "Little Blue Boat."

The folks remaining in the crowd clearly did not want the night to end and Kirby returned to the stage and said he promised he'd played "Last Flying Boat" off his Night on the Beach CD and he did.

Scott is on tour through August , so far, in the US. Check his website for dates and locations.

More performance images, click here.
The cover art was painted by CD producer Lew London's wife Phyllis.

Scott Kirby
Sol Searching CD Release Party
Lakes Region Casino 
Belmont NH April 20, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Seth Glier with Liz Longley-Hooker Dunham Theater

Hooker Dunham Theater and Gallery
Brattleboro, VT
April 19, 2013
Friday night, Hooker Dunham Theater and Gallery in Brattleboro VT hosted a show featuring two very talented singer songwriters: Seth Glier and Liz Longley. The show was part of their Twilight Music series.

Both young musicians have been recognized for their talent, Seth Glier is a Grammy Nominee and Liz Longley has string a accolades:  BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Competition, International Acoustic Music Awards and Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriting Competition winner.

Seth Glier is renowned for his fearless vocal delivery, musical exuberance and seasoned songwriting beyond his years. Since the release of his album “The Next Right Thing” in 2011, the 24 year old Massachusetts native has shared the stage with artists as diverse as James Taylor, Ani DiFranco, Martin Sexton, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Emmylou Harris and Ryan Adams. A troubadour in every sense of the word, Seth plays over 250 shows a year, headlining his own concerts and major folk festivals.

Seth’s brand new CD “Things I Should Let You Know” is steeped in all the most gorgeous aspects of Americana, folk, blues, pop and soul. The songs weave tales of love, pain and epic self-realization from a young man coming into his own, all wrapped in sweeping melodies and striking vocals. For this third album on MPress Records, Seth worked with co-writers for the first time, penning songs with Livingston Taylor, Ellis Paul and Marshall Altman.

As a national spokesperson for the Autism Awareness Foundation and an advocate of Musicians On Call, and with a ROCK THE VOTE Road Trip 2012 stop under his belt, Seth has become increasingly comfortable expressing his social beliefs, both onstage and off. In 2012 he took home Best Social Action Song for his track “The Next Right Thing” at the 11th Annual Independent Music Awards, his second IMA win. Seth is on tour promoting his new CD "Things I Should Let You Know"
“Singer with an exquisite tenor echoes Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel.” - USA TODAY

In the short time since her graduation from Boston's Berklee College of Music, Liz Longley has assembled an impressive resume. While best known for her stop-you-in-your-tracks voice, Liz has steadily developed a reputation as an accomplished songwriter, crafting intimately personal portraits through her music. In the past two years, Liz has won top prizes at some of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the country, including the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Competition, the International Acoustic Music Awards and the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriting Competition. 
A Philadelphia native, Liz currently writes music and tours from her base in Nashville. An engaging performer with an effortless stage presence, she frequently shares concert bills with the likes of Shawn Colvin, Amos Lee, Paula Cole, Nanci Griffith, Livingston Taylor, Lori McKenna and Colin Hay. Most recently, her music has taken center stage on a national level with numerous television placements, including ABC's series “NY Med” and Lifetime's “Army Wives.” SiriusXM named Liz one of their Coffee House Discoveries of 2011. Even John Mayer is a fan, calling her music "gorgeous, simply gorgeous."

Liz is on tour promoting her new CD and she will be appearing on the next Cayamo Cruise February 7-14, 2014.

Both played about an hour to the mostly full venue. I highly recommend seeing these two extremely talented musicians.

For more information about these artists, visit,

More performance images of Liz Longley, click here.
More performance images of Seth Glier, click here.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Grand Tour of Italy Day 14 Vatican City and Farewell Dinner

Day 14 Friday March 29, 2013
Good Friday at Vatican City
Farewell Dinner, Grotta Azzurra

Wow, I'm waking up today in Rome, Italy. I cannot believe it. The Eternal City and I'm see its sky, breathing its air. I'm pretty sure this is not a dream.

The weather looks promising for our last day in Italy. The sun is trying to break through the clouds and the foggy mist has lifted. I'm very hopeful.

Well, I was hopeful until Jay and I made our way downstairs in the Hotel Borromini for the breakfast buffet. The buffet was decimated and it was only 7:05 AM. Our group is wandering around looking very lost. No hot food, no breads, and most importantly NO COFFEE MACHINE!!! We had to flag down one of the two very apologetic waiters to get our espressos and cappuccinos  They were trying to get food out as fast as they could but it was not a good scene. (Misia was very upset and said there was a mix up, the Hotel staff thought our group was leaving at 9 AM not 7:45 AM)

Images from our ride to the Vatican, click here.

Regardless, we have a 7:45 lobby call for our ride to the Vatican. We stop just outside the Vatican wall to pick up our "special Vatican radios."
Then we meet Ioanna at the Vatican Museum gate.
After 1/2 hour waiting for folks to use the bathrooms, we finally enter the Museum. We head upstairs to the courtyard and Ioanna gives us a briefing on the Vatican, the museum collections, the Sistine Chapel and the art of Michelangelo.

Images from our day at The Vatican Museum, click here.

Because Ioanna is a certified Vatican Guide, she has access to the Sistine Chapel Slide show. She gives us things to look for once we enter the chapel. I know that no photography is allowed in the Chapel so I take some images off the slide show. The artwork is now copyrighted. Read about it here.
I only wanted to take one picture of one piece of a fresco but I had to settle with a screen shot...
More slide show images, click here.
On our way to the Chapel we pass through the halls of some amazing pieces from centuries past. Including a sculpture that is said to have inspired Michelangelo.
There are many statues, tiled floors and tapestries.
There is even a collection of ancient maps.
And of course, the ceilings are all elaborately decorated.

We finally enter the Sistine Chapel and the place is full of people and police. The Vatican Police are roaming through the crowd stopping people from taking pictures and telling folks "No Talking." I even saw one of the undercover guys make a man delete all his images off his memory card. You also cannot sit on the floor only the benches provided. I sat down and the nasty undercover dude came over and told me "No sitting on the floor."

After our brief but overwhelming time in the Sistine Chapel we make our way through a "secret" passage to Saint Peter's Basilica. You are only allowed to take this hallway if you are with a certified guide or one of the priests associated with the Vatican. We even get a glimpse of the stairs the Cardinals took to reach the Chapel to vote on the new pope just a few weeks ago.
Outside the Basilica, they are setting up for the weekend's events. The Vatican Holy Week schedule is packed: Chrism Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica, yesterday Holy Thursday morning, followed by Mass at a youth detention center that evening (this stirred up some controversy when the new Pope washed the feet of two young women there.) Today, Good Friday, he will preside over a Communion service and the Veneration of the Cross in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5:00 p.m. local time. The pontiff then travels to the Colosseum to lead the  Stations of the Cross at 9:15 p.m. The prayers for the 14 stations were written by two Lebanese youths with the help of Cardinal Bechara Rai.
The church is massive and fairly crowded but according to Ioanna and Misia it's the fewest number they've seen on Good Friday in 30 years of conducting tours. Ioanna points out at the Pope's Chair is in a different spot for Holy Week, another indication of this rebel Pope?
They allow photography, even flash photography in the Basilica because the artwork is mostly tiled work not frescoes.
More images from St. Peter's Basilica, click here.

We wind our way through the crowds and make it back outside. We walk through the square to the Gift shop/Cafeteria for gifts, stamps for postcards and lunch. On the way I spot a few Swiss Guard!
We buy 10 euros of stamps for 5 postcards to the USA. The sit down to a not so yummy lunch of two rotini with veggies and fish, two pane (bread), one cappuccino and one cafe americano at the Il Colonnato for 21,80 euros. We chase this down with a dark chocolate and a pistachio gelato for 4 euros each.

Back at the hotel we freshen up and packed up the suitcases. Then went out looking for a grocery store. We ran into Jen and Morgan in the
and we all go off looking for the Tigre Alimentari.  We grab some beers, wine and plane munchies (for our trip home on Saturday). While walking back to the hotel we see a car accident!
Looks like a car and motorcycle collided. More accident images, click here

We had heard folks complaining about no TV on Thursday (we never turned ours any of the hotels) and saw Noreen taking pictures around the Hotel. She said to check out the sixth floor so we did... apparently there was a fire on Thursday that blew out the TV cable system...NICE. 

I take a swim in the jacuzzi and get ready for our farewell dinner at Grotta Azzurra. Dinner was lovely. Raviolis with a pizza dough like bread; salad and turkey with a light tomato basil sauce and Birthday Tiramisu for Julie!!

We end the evening with a toast to a GRAND Grand Tour of Italy!
More dinner images, click here.

Up on Saturday. There is breakfast today because most people have already left for the airport. Our shuttle leaves the hotel at 11 AM and we get to the airport too early for our gate check we wait. Noontime the gate opens and we get our boarding passes. Now we hang out for a few more hours. Lunch at 12:30, flight at 3 PM.
We eat at the MyChef and get two paninis, cafe americano, cappuccino for 14, 50 euros. I FINALLY get a cannoli! Two cannoli and a fruit salad at the Autogrill for 8,00 euros. Can you tell I'm trying to spend down my euros...and a BOUNTY Bar for 1,70 euors. I think I came home with 1,20 euros.
More flight images, click here.
After a very long, cramped flight in Economy (with great views of the Alps though) we land in Boston/Logan and drive for 2:15 to get to Vermont.
Home Sweet, Home!

We traveled with a GREAT group of people who were like family for two weeks!
Would I recommend this Trip--ABSOLUTELY
Would I book with Go Ahead Tours Again--ABSOLUTELY

Grazie e Arrivederci

Vatican City, Farewell Dinner March 29 Day 14
Leave Day March 30 Day 15
Grand Tour of Italy
Go Ahead Tours
March 16-30, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Grand Tour of Italy Day 13 Sorrento to Rome, il Colosseo

Day 13 Thursday March 28, 2013
Sorrento to Rome
Arrivederci Sorrento! Not sure why but I'm up at 4:30 AM. Luggage and breakfast aren't until 6:50 AM. OY! Cloudy and showers again today, at least it is a little warmer than it has been. So today we head back north to ROME!! The melting pot of Italy, city of 3 million people in about 500 square miles. We leave Sorrento about 8 AM and from the bus we can see greenhouses and fruit trees in bloom.
We even get a glimpse of Mt Vesuvius in the clouds...
We make a cappuccino stop at the Liola Bar. 5 euros for two cappuccinos.
Now that's a rest stop drink fountain!
More images on our ride from Sorrento to Rome, click here.
Around 11:30 we stop at the Autogrill for lunch. They aren't quite open and I think they feel the pressure as 34 hungry bus people lined up for food! For 14,90 euros we get 2-breads, Insalata Sorrento, a small salad, and a bowl of tortellini.

Back on the bus and Misia gives us a brief history of Rome and the Italian Political System. Rome is the capital of Italy and the Lazio Region. Rome is referred to as "The Eternal City." Rome was founded in 753 BC and is one of the oldest cities in Europe. In 1 AD, Rome became the seat of the Papacy. The most important thing covered is that the city is divided by the Tiber River.

We arrive at the Colosseum and meet our guide for the next two days, Ioanna.
She explains the history of the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantinople.
She uses a great book with overlays to show us how the Colosseum once looked in Ancient Roman times compared to the present.
We have arrived in Rome on Holy Thursday and the Colosseum is preparing for the new Pope to perform the "Way of the Cross" on Good Friday Evening.
More Colosseum images, click here.

From the Colosseum, we meet the bus at the aqueduct for a bus tour of the city.
Images from the bus tour, click here.

We arrive at our hotel, Hotel Borromini and to our great surprise our room has a jacuzzi!! Hotel images, click here.
Misia has arranged a special walking tour for us with a bus ride back to the city. We are meeting in the lobby about 5:15 for the tour. 
Images for the walking tour:
Our evening in Rome including the Spanish Steps, click here
Piazza Navona, click here.

We walk around on our own and find a nice little place for dinner, L'Insalata Ricca. Jay orders a liter of Peroni, I get a liter of water and for food Jay orders spaghetti con frutta di Mare and I have the Penne with spinach, carrots and eggplant. Very yummy and only 26 euros.
Images of dinner, click here.

What a crazy day...tomorrow, Good Friday, we visit the Vatican. 7 AM Breakfast, 7:45 AM bus to Vatican City!

Next up Vatican City and Farewell Dinner!
Pubblicare domani!!! (Post tomorrow)

Rome March 28 Day 13
Grand Tour of Italy
Go Ahead Tours
March 16-30, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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