Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Pop for Pop:
Maia Turns Her Dad On To New Music,
The Devil Makes Three;
RIP Alan Eames

I have to open this morning with the sad news that
  • Alan Eames passed away this weekend (here's a link to the Brattleboro Reformer announcement; full obit to follow later today at the paper's site).
  • I was told yesterday by friends at First Run Video, and am spreading the news today. I'm told Alan died quietly, in his sleep, on Saturday; I hope that's true. We should all go so gracefully.

    Alan was father to two of my own now-adult children's good friends, Adrian and Andy, which linked us through our beloved kids. I had also worked with Alan on this past fall's first (and likely final) H.P. Lovecraft in Vermont Festival in Dummerston, VT, which I discussed here on this blog repeatedly back in September and October. Alan remains best known throughout the world as
  • the author of the definitive history of beer, The Secret Life of Beer!: Exposed: Legends, Lore & Little-Known Facts,
  • and was a renowned speaker internationally.
  • Here's the best online interview I could find with Alan,
  • which relates some measure of his character.

    I'm glad I got to know him a bit in his last year on Earth, however rocky the path (convention planning is never an exact science, and first-time convention planning is fraught with peril, some of which colored the Lovecraft fest, fore and aft, though I'm told it went well for all who attended as non-guests). I wish the best always and forever to his sons, his wife Sheila, and their circle of family and friends.

    R.I.P., Alan.
    Tip a beer for the man, would you?

    I've been spinning the pictured CD ever since Maia and Danny popped in this past Wednesday, and loving it. As I mentioned yesterday, Maia turned me on to some tunes by bands formed by folks she/we know or have known in and around southern VT, and it was a mind-blowing surprise to find out that our old Lower Dover Road (Marlboro, VT) neighbor Pete Bernhard has joined forces on the west coast with two other southern VT/NH cronies of his -- Lucia Turino and Cooper McBean (Jeez, I think I worked with Lucia at First Run Video back in the day -- there couldn't be two redheads in Marlboro named Lucia, could there? (he said, sounding suspiciously like Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China) -- and I sure remember Cooper) -- to form
  • The Devil Makes Three, a kick-ass band playing kick-ass bluegrass/folk/Americana.

  • FYI, Pete's father Woody was among Marlboro's most solid citizens, and still is, and his mom Pam used to give astrology chart readings to my first wife Marlene, including comprehensive birth charts for both Maia and Dan. So we've known Pete a loooong time, though as a neighbor. Once Pete hit high school, I crossed paths with him infrequently, though I'd heard he picked a mean guitar. As I mentioned, I think Lucia worked with me at FRV, though maybe I'm confusing her for another Marlboro/Brattleboro Lucia (though I don't think so) -- anyhoot, Pete once slipped a note into First Run Video's rental copy of David Lynch's Blue Velvet ("WARNING: Don't watch this movie! It will fuck your mind completely!..." etc.) that completely cracked me up and that I treasured and posted on my bulletin board in my FRV office for years; I still have it here in my files, as it's the purest gut-level response to one of my all-time fave flicks ever written. And that's not all the embarrassing shit I could post about 'em, but I'll leave it at that.

    Anyhoot, Pete and Lucia and Cooper all met in high school in Brattleboro, but it took Pete and Cooper sharing digs in Olympia and relocating to Santa Cruz, CA to galvanize all that life experience and energy into lively tunes and their own band. Funny how that happens sometimes.

    Hell, don't take my word for it:
  • pop on over to their website or MySpace space (linked here)
  • and check 'em out as close to first-hand as virtual online travel permits. Pete plays slide and "regular old" guitar, tenor banjo, harmonica; Cooper's on guitar, tenor banjo, five-string banjo, musical saw; and Lucia swings on the upright bass, while it sounds like they all sing at one point or another. Thus far, I've only heard what's online and their album Longjohns, Boots, and a Belt, which is terrific -- pick up your own copy
  • here ('cuz I just did).
  • While you're at it, do what I did, too: also order their other two CDs, The Devil Makes Three: A Little Bit Faster And A Little Bit Worse and The Devil Makes Three: The Devil Makes Three (wait, no, that makes two -- unless you order all three!), and tell them I sent you. It cost me less than $50 for the three discs, including shipping, and I can't wait to draw to this music in my new studio.

    A big congrats and good luck to Pete, Lucia and Cooper, keep making music -- and thanks, Maia, for turning me on to some great new tunes from some youthful ex-neighbors making their own way in this shitass ol' world of ours. It lifts the spirits on the darkest days, and great to see a few folks I knew only as kids making their own music and flying; be good to each other, and happy trails.


    We're supposed to finally get nailed with a winter storm here in VT, after a pretty dry and lean winter.
    Not that I'm complaining, mind you, with folks in upper NY state displaced by a reported 12 feet (!) of snow -- but I'm ready for a real blizzard.
    Here's hoping --

    Have a great Tuesday!

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