Archive for June, 2013

Do-it-yourself folk fest, part IV

So the “do-it-yourself” folk music festival of my imagination has been going smashingly well (see here for editions one, two and three).  And below are a few more additions to this summer’s line-up (so many more to bring along but there’s always next year).

Yet there is something missing.  One of my favourite things about going to folk music festivals is the surprise factor, connecting with a band you never heard before or never expected to like but their music grabbed you and made you come alive in a new way.  I’m missing that from this folk festival … and that’s where you come in.  Bring the surprise factor and help me find a few bands to add to my playlist.  Who would you suggest to add to this folk fest line-up?

Neil Young – hey, I can dream can’t I?

The Milk Carton Kids – these guys feel like Simon and Garfunkle reincarnated.

The Be Good Tanyas – these Tanyas are really good.

The Decemberists – and this version of “Down by the Water” includes the huge bonus of Gillian Welch

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald – Calgary boy who does a superb job on Heroes (I love how this video must’ve been shot on his back deck complete with snow covered dishwasher and dryer in the background)

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Build my own folk fest, ed. III

So I’m putting together my own Folk Fest (I still need a good name for it, but you can see the bands I’ve already lined up in part 1 and part 2).  What’s a summer without a really good folk fest?  Since I can’t get to one this year, I’m making one up.

And in my imagination, it’s happening right at our home.  I’m planning the front steps and porch as the main stage, our driveway decked out with tables full of good food and ice chests of drinks, the city will have closed off the street so its only foot traffic, with everyone pulling up a chair or sitting on the curb and a whole lot of dancing in the street.  Can’t you picture that goodness?

So with that scene in mind, here are a few more bands I’ve lined up for my folk fest:

The Waifs – a fine Aussie folk band.  And they have to pull off this great rendition of Crazy Train below, with Vikki Thorn playing some crazy good harmonica – because what is a folk fest without some harmonica.

Great Lake Swimmers – hey, we’re a short walk for a dip in Lake Ontario.  And they’d have to sing Parkdale Blues too.

La Bottine Souriante – a fabulous Quebecois band that will get you clapping and dancing in no time.  Fiddles, horns, piano, accordion, foot stomping – pure musical joy that needs no translation.

Eddie Vedder with his ukelele – that’ll do.



Build my own folk fest, part II

In the absence of going to a folk music festival this summer, I’m putting together my own folk festival right here at Squinch.  Here’s my first post.

Next up on the stage of my imagination are The Most Loyal.  An indie folk/rock band from Toronto, I’ve gotten to know a few of the fine folks in this band during my short time in Toronto.  They listen to me preach and I return the favour and enjoy their music (I think I’m getting the better end of that deal).  Great musicians and even better people.

And Toronto friends, The Most Loyal are having a CD release party this Thursday night June 13.  I can’t be there so do me a favour – head out to Clintons (693 Bloor St. W, Toronto) and cheer them on.  And you can check them out below.  And you can buy their CD here.


Build my own folk fest

I’m growing sad about not getting my folk fest fix this summer.  I did snag tickets to Mumford and Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road stop in Ontario, but beyond that I’m dry. Oh, wait – there is the 3rd Annual Fast Folk Fest at Knox Presbyterian in Toronto (details soon to follow).

But in the absence of my previous annual enjoyment of the Calgary Folk Music Festival, I figured I’d put together my own folk fest line up right here at Squinch.  So, pull up a festival chair, feel the grass in your feet and enjoy a few of the bands that I’d love to see line-up my own personal folk festival.  And while you’re enjoying the music, tell me about the bands you would put on stage.

And first up are Joy Kills Sorrow.  Won over by their name, I was kept close by their music.  Vancouver friends – they play Sunday June 9 in your gorgeous city.  But everyone can check them out below.


Promote the common good

I saw this good wisdom from Jim Wallis in his book On God’s Side.  It’s such accessible Christian living, putting the gospel into play in our everyday living.Cover Art

Ten personal decisions you can make to help foster the common good.

  1. If you are a father or a mother, make your children the most important priority in your life and build your other commitments around them. If you are not a parent, look for children who could benefit from your investment in their lives.
  2. If you are married, be faithful to your spouse. Demonstrate your commitment with both your fidelity and your love. If you are single, measure your relationships by their integrity, not their usefulness.
  3. If you are a person of faith, focus not just on what you believe but on how you act on those beliefs. If you love God, ask God how to love your neighbor.
  4. Take the place you live seriously. Make the context of your life and work the parish that you take responsibility for.
  5. Seek to develop a vocation and not just a career. Discern your gifts as a child of God, not just your talents, and listen for your calling rather than just looking for opportunities. Remember that your personal good always relates to the common good.
  6. Make choices by distinguishing between wants and needs. Choose what is enough, rather than what is possible to get. Replace appetites with values, teach your children the same, and model those values for all who are in your life.
  7. Look at the business, company, or organization where you work from an ethical perspective. Ask what its vocation is, too. Challenge whatever is dishonest or exploitative and help your place of work do well by doing good.
  8. Ask yourself what in the world today most breaks your heart and offends your sense of justice. Decide to help change that and join with others who are committed to transforming that injustice.
  9. Get to know who your political representatives are at both the local and national level. Study their policy decisions and examine their moral compass and public leadership. Make your public convictions and commitments known to them and choose to hold them accountable.
  10. Since the difference between events and movements is sacrifice, which is also the true meaning of religion and what makes for social change, ask yourself what is important enough to give your life to and for.

Finding the integral relationship between your own personal good and the common good is your best contribution to our future. And it is the best hope we have for a better life together.