No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado…

August 14, 2015

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 photo 273_zpsiq6rh1ct.jpg Sufjan Stevens

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 photo 131_zpsy8ftfv7t.jpg Peter Yarrow

 photo 189_zps53tosvui.jpg Kasey Chambers

I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado…

One of our favorite music festivals to attend is the wonderful, magical, intimate and beautiful Rocky Mountain Folks Festival held each August in the community of Lyons, Colorado. The festival which we have attended off and on for the past dozen years or so was threatened in 2013 when a massive 500 year flood destroyed the property at Planet Bluegrass along with much of the town of Lyons. The tremendous hard work, financial support and dedication of friends of Planet Bluegrass had the property completely rebuilt and ready for the festival season the following year, but the same cannot be said of much of the Lyons community.

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This is why I have attached a link to the efforts to rebuild this wonderful community below, having experienced the disaster of Hurricane Wilma (and Georges and Andrew), I can attest that the need does not go away after the news cycle passes and the attention fades. Please check out the site below and donate if you can.

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 photo 052_zpsav8qzkh0.jpg Taarka

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This was our first trip out since the flooding and we started our visit in Boulder, where we got to spend time with my nephew Patrick and explore the city a little before driving up to Estes Park to spend a wonderful evening with our friends Kerry and Matt. It was great seeing Patrick though it went by really fast. Pearl Street is also fun to check out and we made it to a couple of breweries in the neighborhood before heading off.

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Kerry has been one of my favorite people on earth since I meet her some 25 years ago, she moved from Key West some years ago and opened an amazing restaurant in Estes Park, The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern which has been a huge success since opening its doors. Kathy and I spent a wonderful evening at the home where she and Matt live which is on the restaurant property.

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They are the kind of people who just raise your spirits just by being around them and we spent a wonderful evening catching up. Kerry was going to be joining us for the entire festival, but sadly (for us) Matt was committed to some family who was visiting so he could not make it to Folks Fest.

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The line-up for day one of the festival was incredible. The people at Planet Bluegrass seem to have outdone themselves in celebrating the 25th annual festival of music and arts with a line-up that featured local artists Taarka along with the wonderful Mary Gauthier, the incomparable Peter Yarrow from the iconic Peter, Paul and Mary, Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long, Kasey Chambers and the amazing Sufjan Stevens on the main stage.

 photo 183_zpsc5vdtb68.jpg Michael & Peter Yarrow

 photo 268_zpsf4agcrkc.jpg Sufjan Stevens

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 photo 186_zpsg0xgqkj2.jpg Kasey Chambers

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They were all fantastic, memorable, wonderful, magical moments abounded from Peter Yarrow inviting children on stage to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” to Shane Koyczan’s incredible spoken word poetry set to music to the wonderful singer songwriters Mary Gauthier and Kasey Chambers all topped off by a terrific set from the dynamic Sufjan Stevens, it was an incredible, wonderful day along the banks of the St. Vrain.

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The place had been rebuilt actually better than before the flood and everyone was in such a festive mood to celebrate the 25th anniversary. It was as good a time as I have had at a musical event in ages, mostly because it is so much more than a music festival, more a communal gathering of some huge like-minded tribe that really does radiate with positivity. It is unlike anything else we do all year.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Rock n’ Roll

August 6, 2015

 photo 154_zpsxz76msd3.jpg Eddie Van Halen

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Rock n’ Roll

Cleveland is known as the city of Rock and Roll, this is mostly due to the city being the home of Alan Freed − the disc jockey credited with first using and popularizing the term "rock and roll" to describe the music genre. Also the city is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is in itself a pretty decent indication of the importance of rock music to the city.

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I stayed in Cleveland an extra day after the race at Mid-Ohio because I had my own little piece of Cleveland rock and roll history to attend in the form of a Van Halen/ Kenny Wayne Sheppard concert at Blossom Music Theatre, the local barn located outside of the city. I have been a Van Halen fan for many years having seen them back in the day on their 1984 tour and then again when they replaced David Lee Roth with Sammy Hagar. I really liked both incarnations of the band and hoped that the current tour featuring the return of Roth would be a blast from the past.

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To start the day, I headed over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I know that the actual Hall of Fame is a political mess and that often great bands are long delayed or never given admittance to the Hall. I think it is all sort of silly as most political processes are, but the building itself and the collection of Rock and Roll memorabilia are awesome.

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It is like a huge Hard Rock Café without the smell of food in the air, the museum features an amazing collection of historical artifacts outlining the many various incarnations of Rock music from before its beginnings to the current time. There is something from just about every major player and tons of not-so-major ones in the collection.

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There was also a great exhibit by photographer Herb Ritts that covered his amazing portraits of some of music’s biggest names. All in all it was a great morning at the Hall. Next up, I drove out to check out the Cleveland Zoo. It was a magnificent summer day and perfect to see the zoo.

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The zoo was crowded and the animals were mostly active. It was a nice afternoon at a pretty nice zoo. Nothing overly special, just nice exhibits and habitats for the animals. The koala bear exhibit was especially enjoyable, especially since some of the koalas were awake and active at the time of my visit, a rarity since they sleep much of the day. These guys were running about and jumping from tree to tree showing surprising agility. I had never seen that before in many zoo visits.

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 photo 113_zpsobwzw5f3.jpg Kenny Wayne Sheppard

The main reason to be in Cleveland though was to attend the Van Halen concert, which started off pretty good with a strong opening set by Kenny Wayne Sheppard and his band. He is a gifted guitarist and was a good warm up for what I hoped would be a great Van Halen show.

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Sadly I was mostly disappointed in Van Halen’s performance. They were shoddy and the sound was muddled and awful. The main problem was poor David Lee Roth who has lost a step or two from his younger years. His voice is mostly shot and his constant mugging and changes of clothes made him seem much more like a bad lounge act from Vegas than the leader of a great rock band. Eddie and Alex were still great but the anchor of Roth’s bad performance brought the entire show down. It was sad and unexpected. I have seen lots of classic rock acts this year and this was the first one that had significantly declined in their live performance.

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