Sunday, July 08, 2007

Music in Arden and Around the World

Yesterday's Arden Music Festival did not disappoint. The food and drink were refreshing, the hot sun was filtered through the trees, and the music was consistently engaging.
If you think you've heard it all from folk quartets with guitar, madolin, fiddle and bass, think again. The Green Cards, hailing from south Australia showed remarkable musicality with their precise, inventive arrangements. More than once, they demonstrated that rare ability to grab the audience's attention as they got quieter.
Likewise, if you thought you heard all you need to hear from harp led blues quartets, Mikey Jr. and the Stone Cold Blues set you straight with their razor sharp backbeat, wailing harmonica and tasteful guitar leads.
The art of writing and delivering melodic songs about longing, love and loss is alive and well. Last Train Home, hailing from D.C. offered up a terrific set full of punchy melodies and memorable lyrics. Principal songwriter Eric Brace delivered them all with a warm baritone.
Joseph Tayoun (percussion) and Bill Koutsouros (bouzouki and oud) entertained the crowd with traditional and original compositions, joined by a crowd pleasing belly dancer named Meesha. The Tall Pines showed that southern rock lives in Brooklyn, and that white suits and long dresses never really go out of style.
You don't have to wait until next summer to take advantage of the concerts produced by the volunteer, non profit Arden Concert Gild. They bring a wide variety of acts from around the world to the cozy confines of the Gild Hall.
Meanwhile, a much bigger event was taking place around the world.
I have to say that I wasn't clear as to how a set of simultaneous rock concerts could help to heighten awareness of global warming. Hadn't Al Gore already done that with An Inconvenient Truth? And I must admit to a touch of skepticism about promoting environmental activism through watching television, no matter how many rock stars were involved. Of course, I've never thought you needed any more reason to put on an outdoor rock concert than a desire to have fun on a summer afternoon.
But then I considered the size of the event: Hundreds of thousands attended the concerts, and hundreds of millions watched on TV. If you lined up all the world's bloggers end to end, they still wouldn't reach that many people on a single subject on a single day.
So if Al Gore wants to hang out with a bunch of rock stars, God bless him. Who wouldn't, except for a few crusty members of the Fossil Fuels Club, for whom a hot time on a summer afternoon is steaks and gin-and-tonics by the pool, while wondering why the kids are making so much noise.
But yesterday, hundreds of millions of people discussed the topic of climate change, even if was just while waiting for the next act.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're glad you came Tom, and spoke so kindly of our show. It's a labor of love. 153 paid folks and a number of kiddies came, saw and enjoyed. Our next show will be a free singer songwriter show at the Moonlight Theater beside Gild Hall featuring Matt Casarino and Brian Turner, August 11. Our mainstage season starts with The Roches on September 15. Thanks for the wonk!

Ron Ozer (concerts at

9:38 PM, July 08, 2007  

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