A year of music.

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The goal is a simple one.  To spend every weekend for a year attending different music festivals.  Ideally Poochamungas would play at a bunch of them as well.  I would prefer no Jumbotrons.  One should be able to identify all the performers onstage from anywhere in the audience.  I shouldn’t need a TV to see the band I’m viewing at a concert but not a deal breaker.  That’s why I really enjoyed the American Music Festival last week at Fitzgerald’s and today at Irish Fest at the Irish American Heritage Center.  It’s about music and then the festivities.  People come to see and interact with the bands.  Gaelic Storm had such a crowd standing and singing along. Dublin City Rovers spread a lot of joy as well.  Such fun energy to be a part of.  Unfortunately my youngest child had no more energy to spare and we had to head home early in the show. My daughter on the other hand stayed and closed the show.  A year may be to ambitious… Maybe start with a summer full of music and expand from there.  The kids are young and they follow in their fathers music loving footsteps. So maybe?

For your consideration

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I did it.  I just addressed the CD to be sent to The Recording Academy so I can let my peers vote on my CD to be nominated for a Grammy.  What are my chances?  Not very good.  We have an excellent product and by we I meam all the folks who worked on it -  Alton Smith, Pete Cunningham, Don Zaloudek, Frank Izzo, Nancy Rose, Frank Rose and John Abbey.  We also had some super help in vocals with Anna Fermin and Emily Hurd. Is It Grammy worthy?  Well I like to think so but that really has no bearing on who wins.  Justin Roberts put out a power pop masterpiece last year and lost to a lesser album.  Not that theJR recess winner’s wasn’t really good.   Just not as good in my opinion.  Which others would perhaps disagree.  But I digress…  The great thing about recorded music is that eventually the truly great pieces transcend time.  Grammy or no Grammy.  Why do I enter mine if I’m pretty sure I’m not going to win?  I’m a dues paying member so why not?   No one ever won anything by staying home.  If you’re a voting member please make Poochamungas one of your 5 selections.  Thank you.

My New Favorite Festival

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Photo by David T. Kindler

It’s Jeff Bogle’s (Out With The Kids) fault. A couple of years ago he convinced me to attend the Grammys as I had access to tickets and he was looking to go.  Many fine kindie artists had been nominated that year and so I attended the Grammy Pre Telecast show to which one of my colleagues would win (The Okee Dokee Brothers won, yea!). Then in the middle of the show I was introduced to the music of John Fulbright with a blistering performance of Gawd Above.  I became a fan on the spot. This year my photographer friend David Kindler asked if I was interested in attending the American Music Festival at Fitzgeralds in Berwyn.  Heck yeah!  I had wanted to go for years and knowing John Fulbright was playing sealed the deal.  What a great fest indeed.  I prefer my concerts without jumbotrons and this one is just the right size. Here are the highlights for me attending on the last day of the festival…

Walked in on the Bellfuries (Austin, Texas)  with the sterling vocals of Joe Simeone and the Rock-a-sense-ability of Schecky Seaver, Mike Molnar and Chris Sensat.  I could listen to them all day!Fest2014_070514-2469

The Split Squad – What do you get when you hook up a bunch of career rock and roll guys?  FACE MELTING ROCK!  I also got some vinyl of the band. Double Win!Fest2014_070514-2602

COCHOMBO – You take a Cochon de Lait (Roast Pork Po’ Boy) + The best Andouille sausage I’ve ever had  = Superior Sammich.  The Cajun Combo so to speak.  I ate two (one early, one late). Tom “Festival” Cimms and staff do a fine job indeed!

Girls, Guns and Glory with Sarah Borges – Amazing! Best surprise of the festival.  Had no idea about either of these acts and was blown away. They have a 7″ Vinyl coming out out on July 20th and highly suggest you check it out!Fest2014_070514-3171

John Fulbright – opened the show singing Acapella and quieted a full crowd.  Amazing talent and songwriting ability.  The inspiration for my coming to the festival and it was well deservedFest2014_070514-3228

Free Water available all over the festival.

$3.50 Miller Lite bottles

David Kindler – My favorite photographer.  Never fails to make an introduction and really enjoys his work. His photos really capture the festival as seen here in this article. I was there because of his invite and will be back again next year.

Joe Ely and Reckless Kelly – Joe is an American treasure and sang a Townes Van Zandt song. You should catch him with Reckless Kelly who were down right smokin’.  Magical closing song of the night for me with Not Fade Away. Fest2014_070514-3266

The Sound Guys – Kept things rolling and sounding good with sooooo many bands.

Many thanks to the Fitzgerald family and staff for an outstanding job.  This was my first year attending but definitely not my last. All fests should be run so well. Thank you for an outstanding day.

All Photos by David T. Kindler

A Parade for Everyone

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The siren of the Fire Engine signaled the start. Kids, parents, friends, neighbors traveled on wagons, bikes, scooters, big wheels, roller blades, trailers and on foot for my favorite parade of the year.  The Oriole Park Independence Parade in which the participants always far out way the spectators. Everyone is polite, kind and thoughtful. It seems any fallen biker is instantly helped by the nearest adult till their parent arrives. OPP grand marshall  The cacophony of stupidity starts later after the sun goes down so this event is all about kids and the community. Most kids decorated their mode of transportation (especially my kids) and everyone’s color coordinated in the red, white and blue.  The  Grand Marshall is Children’s Librarian Mary Dresser (we love the local library) followed by The Oriole Park Grade School Band (playing the Star Spangled Banner), Revolutionary War re-enactors, a local scout troop and the rest of us in no particular order.opp flag The Chicago Police protect the rear.  After .7 miles of parade all participants enter into the park where small speeches are made, the Star Spangled Banner played (the band played that song a lot), and a cannon fired.  Then off to eat watermelon, get candy (free) and Dilly Bars for a dollar!  Kids ran around the park as parents reunited to talk about what’s been Oriole Park Parade Fire Enginehappening during the summer.  It’s a beautiful summer day and it feels good to be a part of the community.  One by one the families left till there’s just a smattering of us hanging out. We walked and rode home, just a tired family after a full morning.  We aren’t always the most neighborly community but it’s nice to see that we can all come together for a small party to celebrate the birthday of our nation.

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Happy 4th weekend and be safe

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It’s that time of year where we all wake up from the cacophony of last night.  Hope everyone survived the evening with all facilities intact and had a great time with family and friends.  Have a great day today and we’ll be back on Monday as well!

Cheap night out

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If like to hear good live music and appreciate a fine dive bar have I got the place for you!  Tonight at Simons (5210 N. Clark, Chicago) the band Electric Dirt will be performing.  Like migrating birds this foursome (with the ocassianal special guest) return every fourth Wednesdayof the month to bring their Levon Helm inspired show.  What more could you ask for?  Good music, cheap beer, bring some friends and enjoy a “classic” Chicago tavern.  So stop on by, enjoy the music and throw a dollar in the tip jar and tell em’ I sent you.  Music starts at 8:30.

 

Because it’s the right thing.

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As a firefighter it seems I donate to a lot of causes when at the firehouse. Whether I’m buying Girl Scout Cookies ( I definitely don’t NEED the cookies) or raffle tickets for a firefighter in need I always try to make the donation.  This sometimes drives my wife crazy but in my mind it’s the right thing to do.  It’s what we as firefighters do all the time.  Act where and when there is a need.  No time to be a bystander because people are counting on you. Some will stand around as crisis happens hoping others will take care of the problem (in case of actual fire please call the fire department). I also act out of selfish reasons.  Someday I may need assistance and certainly hope at that time others intervene on my behalf.  Right now I’m giving you the opportunity to act for a good cause. Don’t be that bystander.  My colleague and fellow Dad Blogger Oren Miller found out he has stage 4 lung cancer. It went quickly from back pain to the hospital  WTF?  We’re asking help for Oren, his wife and  two children in their time of need.  Let them know that they aren’t alone.  We need you to act! Donating to link below if you can and by spreading the word.  Oren Miller started a Dad Blogger  group and has helped and supported many others in the genre including yours truly.  Now we’re doing the same for him.  Please help us in this cause. Don’t wait for someone else to act.   Click here to Give Back To Oren today and thanks for the help.