Author: Judd, Brooks

Ten Items or Less

1.A fond farewell to 2013 and can anyone tell me what that was all about? It seems that the years keep on appearing with great promise, and then like a passing freight train they seem to depart off into the distance leaving nothing but a trace of smoke and a bevy of backed up cars filled with anxious folks gazing at the departing train scratching their heads.

2. Americans enjoy Thanksgiving. A law was enacted so we could celebrate it on the third or fourth Thursday of the month in November. We like that. It makes for a long four day holiday and offers up an opportunity for our stretched out stomachs to slowly revert back to their pre holiday tautness.

Wouldn’t it be feasible to spend some quality time discussing the reality of setting aside the last Saturday and Sunday in December to observe Christmas?
I don’t know about you but having Christmas in the middle of the week throws off my internal clock and puts my mind and body into a jet lag mode. I really don’t know if I am coming or going and at my age that is not a good thing.

Businesses could give off the Friday before and the Monday after so Americans could enjoy a nice four day holiday with family and friends. I’m sending a proposal to our state representatives.

3. Red Dig Ash: My good friend Jason Winfrey of Red Dog Ash fame and noted philosophy professor at Stanislaus University in Turlock (head of his department) is not your basic bluegrass singer/songwriter/performer.

Jason is a native of West Virginia, and is a true dyed in the wool bluegrass purist. I have had the pleasure of playing music with Jason,listening to his high lonesome vocals accompanied by his exquisite guitar playing makes for interesting and enjoyable listening.

What makes Jason a bit more eclectic is his ability to discuss the history of existential philosophy while quoting Sartre, Camus, and Kirkegaard, and then in the next breath discuss in detail the backgrounds of Bill Monroe or the Country Gentlemen and what phase they were going through at the time.

4. Red Dog Ash has signed on to do one show a month at the Westside theater in Newman running January through May. What makes this more exciting is not only will Red Dog Ash be performing but a top name local group/act will be performing also.

January’s show will feature Red Dog Ash / The Sisters Grim: February’s show will be Red Dog Ash/Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players: March will be Red Dog Ash/The Central Valley Boys: April show will be Red Dog Ash/ Rock Ridge: May show TBA.

This is a wonderful opportunity for bluegrass fans to view one if not all of these shows at the cozy West Side Theater. By attending a show you will not only be supporting our local bluegrass groups but you will be supporting bluegrass music in general and the West Side Theater. I urge all of you to be part of this bluegrass experiment.

5. Red Dog Ash has recently recorded an excellent bluegrass album,”Thin Red Line.” Their CD has 13 songs ALL written by members of Red Dog Ash.

Red Dog Ash is: Eli Arrigoti/ bass,dobro, lead and harmony vocals: Dixon Smith/ banjo,lead and harmony vocals/ Gary Vessel/mandolin,fiddle,lead and harmony vocals: Jason Winfree/guitar,lead and harmony vocals.

The group is from the Turlock/Modesto area and they have done an outstanding recording/mixing the CD.

Jason and Gary write the lion’s share of the songs and listening to the CD you would be hard pressed to think that these valley folks were not from Asheville or the backwoods of Kentucky.

Sheila and I received a bundle of joy last January a brand new beautiful granddaughter, Eliana Katherine. Watching her grow into a one year old smiling bundle of energy has kept all of us on our toes. Of course spending time with our rapidly growing three grandsons has kept Sheila and me in a state of euphoria and exhaustion. Jessica and Peter’s two sons spent a few days with us over the holidays, and today William be coming down from Woodland to spend a few days with Grumpy and Nana. Life doesn’t get much better than being able to enjoy your grandchildren.

Last week was a Fog Valley Drifters reunion at our guitar players home. I have not been with the group for about two years now and it was sure fun playing music with my mates. It was written that you don’t miss your water until your well runs dry…Well I sure do miss playing the bass with my bandmates.
Until February read a book, hug a child, pet a dog, stroke a cat, eat a bar of chocolate and pray for rain.
Posted:  1/3/2014

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