.: Welcome :.
Papa will be retiring at the end of February, and we may have more adventures to document. Or not. But I wanted to be ready!
Posted By grannypam on January 21, 2011
We had a great time on our mid-winter break down at Perrysburg last weekend. Larry Efaw and his family put on a great show which was enjoyed by the largest crowd in recent years, and we were glad we were among them.
The show was a great mix of regional and nationally touring bands and included the Deepwater Bluegrass, Wildwood Valley Boys, the Larkins, Summertown Road, Remington Ryde, Idletymes, the Prater Brothers, the Whittaker Brothers, Vertical Limit, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, and the host band, the Bluegrass Mountaineers. Charlie Patton was the MC, and did a fine job,as usual. It is quite a thrill to see him sing both the US and Canadian National Anthems, a capella, to open the show.
Don’t every let anyone tell you that Rhonda doesn’t know where the camera is.
Hunter Berry and Rhonda Vincent
It was nice to see Larry supporting a local band on his show, in this case, Deepwater Bluegrass. These folks are single-handedly responsible for the great bluegrass shows which are presented at Glass City Opry. I hope you are attending them as often as you can, we sure are.
A special treat was seeing Janis, Lewis, Travis, and Jamison Lewis, who are appearing as The Lewis Tradition.
Janis Lewis Phillips
Although bluegrass purists would question the keyboard Jamison plays, it sounded just right with Lewis Family music, and eighteen-year old Jamison’s harmony blended right in. The new Lewis Tradition CD, Precious Memories, was on my must purchase list and I have been playing it almost full time since I got it home. The Lewis Tradition was headed to Marion, Virginia for a taping of Song of the Mountains, so watch for them on your PBS station soon.
One more little sample, then I invite you to check out the gallery for more photos. We remember Stanley as an eight-year old mandolin whiz kid, and have seen him play every instrument on stage.
Enjoy the rest of the photos in the gallery.
Posted By grannypam on January 8, 2011
I wanted to to check out how a website handled a manufacturing order. I walked through the entire process, which involved a wizard that could use a little work. Well, maybe the wizard was fine and I need work, who knows? Anyway, I was missing a little information after I took all the steps I could find. I was missing the actual cost of the item, and the shipping charge to get it to me. You should understand that the reason I walked through the wizard was to find the cost and shipping charge for the item, so I was bummed that I didn’t have it. I noticed a prominent button marked “CHAT”, so I clicked on it. That was the start of a convoluted journey I am still wondering about twelve hours later.
If you have never used on-line help systems, they bring up a box, and you can type questions to a customer service person, and they type a reply. This works like any instant message or chat program you may have used.
Disclaimer: I changed the name of the customer service representative, but of course they already change that, so it is no big deal. I also altered a few words to hide the type of company I was dealing with. I really don’t intend to trash them, but I would love to re-write the manuals that their customer service representatives use. Or perhaps it is the translation that is causing trouble? If you have never seen one of the new Discover Card Commercials, here is a sample to show why I chose to use “Peggy” as the name of the customer service representatives.
In a stroke of luck, the chat software allowed me to save a transcription of the entire event, which took more than fifteen minutes. What I am presenting here is just a section of the entire painful process.
You: How do I find the manufacturing cost?
Peggy:: Hi Pam, Welcome to support.
You: Hi, did you receive my question?
Peggy: I’m looking into your query; please give me a minute or two.
Peggy: Pam, you can calculate the manufacturing price of through the cost calculator that is readily available.
Peggy: Above the manufacturing cost, you can set your own price.
You: Is the manufacturing cost the one that is listed in the final step of the wizard?
Peggy: The manufacturing cost is the minimum price and you can set your own price above it. And the same will reflect to public.
You: Where do I find the manufacturing cost?
Peggy: Do you want to know about Cost Calculator?
You: No, I want to know how to find the manufacturing cost.
Peggy: You can see the manufacturing cost at the pricing section wizard.
You: Is there any way to navigate to that area without going all the way back through the whole process?
Peggy: I’m sorry, at this time we will not be able to navigate without going all the way back to whole process.
Peggy: I really hope in the near future we will be able to provide you this feature.
Pam: OK. Next question, how do I find out the shipping cost?
Peggy: We only charge actual shipping so there are too many factors for us to be able to offer a shipping price.
Peggy: While we hope to be able to offer a comprehensive shipping calculator some day in the future, for the time being, the easiest way to get a shipping estimate is to just add the desired number items that you are interested into your cart. This will allow you to explore your shipping price and then you are welcome to delete the content from your cart if you decide not to purchase.
You: OK. So, I have to put the item in the cart, and enter my shipping address to see how much the shipping is, right?
Peggy: Yes, you are right.
You: How do I set the price for the item after it is made?
Peggy: Once you finish in the wizard, on the revise page, you can click on the change button of pricing section and can change the price.
END of CHAT (thank goodness).
Well, there was a lot more, but this section was painful enough that I found that Bill, while listening of me
talking yelling swearing at the computer screen, had updated his Facebook status to let everyone know I was chatting with “Peggy.” Nice.
I do have one piece of advice for you if you must talk to any customer service representative these days:
- Know the terminology used on the site. Don’t confuse the issue with your words or impressions. If they say cost, say cost. If they say price, say price. However, I suspect that the instructions in this case were causing the confusion.
- Know what you want to know, and keep repeating the question till you get an answer. I wanted the manufacturing cost and the shipping cost, which would produce my total cost. No sense and asking for anything else, in any other way.
- Patience. You’ll need more than I have.
Posted By grannypam on January 7, 2011
I received wonderful news from Tom & Barb Laing regarding the now defunct Oakland Community College Bluegrass Series. For those who didn’t know, Tom has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to find a way to bring bluegrass concerts back to the area. Here is his unedited message:
Your patience has been rewarded! Our NEW Royal Oak Bluegrass Series kicks off on FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 at 7:30pm with IIIrd TYME OUT.
Our NEW location is the Sanders Auditorium at SHRINE CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL. The address is 3500 W. 13 Mile Rd., Royal Oak, MI.
Tickets are available online, by phone, or at the door (while they last!). Tickets for adults are $20, and a student (with I.D. card) pays only $10. See below for details.
As many of you know, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out is one of the premier bluegrass bands traveling the country. Russell is the reigning “Male Vocalist of the Year” as chosen by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Their a cappella gospel numbers are not to be missed, while their hard-driving bluegrass is a real treat! For more information about this band, go to their website at www.iiirdtymeout.com.
Parking is free and there is plenty of it.
ONLINE TICKETS: Go to www.shrineschools.com. Click on high school (3rd picture to the right). Click on the banner for the Royal Oak Bluegrass Series and follow the instructions.
TICKETS BY PHONE: Call 248-541-4122 ext. 455
A SPECIAL NOTE FROM TOM LAING:
You folks have been very supportive of the OCC series over the years, and I hope you will make every effort to attend this concert and bring your friends! We need a huge showing to show the high school that we appreciate their efforts in helping to keep bluegrass alive in the metro Detroit area. So, if you want these concerts to continue, please come!! Thanks!
Tom and Barb Laing
I went to the Shrine Schools site last night and purchased our tickets, Bill and I will be there with bells on. I hope everyone who is able will join us!
Posted By grannypam on December 6, 2010
Joe Mullins once again presented a wonderful show at the Roberts Centre, Wilmington, Ohio on November 12-13. On Friday, Bill Emerson and Sweet Dixie, the Primitive Quartet, IIIrd Tyme Out, the Grascals and Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers appeared. Saturday brought James King, Ralph Stanley, Don Rigsby, Charlie Sizemore, Larry Sparks, and a Don Rigsby coordinated Stanley brothers tribute to the stage.
Steve Dilling of IIIrd Tyme Out
Jayd Raines of Don Rigsby & Midnight Call
A special treat was seeing Dale Vanderpool appear with Don Rigsby. Dale is still battling cancer, but felt well enough to enjoy the festival and sit in for a few songs. It was wonderful to see Dale and his wife, and visit for a few minutes.
Dr. Ralph Stanley
Larry Sparks and Joe Mullins combine forces for a Stanley tune during the Stanley Brothers Tribute portion of the evening.
The remaining photos are in the gallery.
Posted By grannypam on December 6, 2010
We enjoyed attending this fine show in Wilmington, Ohio, November 11-13.
The Thursday night veterans tribute was an addition to what has been a two day event in the past. The Centerville High School Alternative Strings ensemble joined Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage and Nothin’ Fancy to pay tribute to both veterans and active service people.
The Radio Ramblers
The remaining photographs are in the Gallery.
Posted By grannypam on September 28, 2010
The best part of IBMA it the energy of the participants. Now, there are plenty of bluegrass festivals that contain something similar, but this gathering is special.
We are part of a group of grassroots club members that are here for the music and atmosphere, rather than for the seminars. Although we would qualify for a professional membership, the decision to take that step is still on the table.
Anyone who earns a living, or a portion of their living in any field connected with music or the arts knows these are tough times. Spending on arts and related activities is one of the first cuts in every budget. I certainly have admiration for those who soldier on. Music and art make my world a much more enjoyable place to live.
Here is a photo of one of those magic IBMA moments, a jam featuring Michael Cleveland on the fiddle, David Peterson on guitar and vocals, Jon Weisberger on bass, and a mandolin player I don’t know Richard S. Brown of the Reunion Band on mandolin. If you have ever heard David Peterson sing, or Michael Cleveland play the fiddle, you have a small idea how great this was.
One more question or comment this afternoon, before we head back down to the convention center. How is it that four people with connections to our little home town of Cadillac, Michigan, were sitting at the same table during the official showcases? Would someone like to explain to me why they think bluegrass is only of interest to people from a certain region? I remember meeting those people a few years ago, right here in Nashville, and thinking it was remarkable that they lived in “my” hometown, and were also attending IBMA.
All of Papa’s photos from yesterday are on his site.
Posted By grannypam on September 27, 2010
We attended Valerie Smith’s showcase in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. This year the beneficiary of the proceeds was the International Bluegrass Music Museum. Val and her band, Liberty Pike, recorded their most recent CD at the Museum. According to Valerie, the band made bluegrass presentations to 23 schools during their week in the Owensburo area.
Performing during the day and evening were, The Friday Night Orphan Brigade with Becky Buller, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Brad Long & Friends, Common Ground, Jerry Butler & the Blu-J’s, Chicken Dinner Road, and Runaway Freight. Kudos to those musicians who gave their time and talent to benefit the museum. Kitsy Kuykendall and Gabrielle Gray attended the event on behalf of the Museum.
Our Ohio friend, Jerry Eicher, helped with the sound during the second part of the show. Here are Jerry (L) and Randy Shaffer (R) of the Old Hippie Bluegrass Hour. The show is broadcast on WQTE-FM, Adrian, Michigan.
Randy also performed as part of Brad Long & Friends.
Some people always look good when a camera is in the neighborhood. Becky Buller is a prime example.
I also liked this shot of Daniel Oxen dine of the Blu-J’s:
You can see the entire collection in the gallery.
Posted By grannypam on September 27, 2010
The 2010 version of the Vine Grove (Kentucky) Bluegrass Festival has come and gone. It was a fine local festival, featuring a good mix of local and regional bands. We especially enjoyed seeing Big Country Bluegrass, a band that never visits our home state, Michigan.
I always try to pick a few favorite photos to post, today my favorites are (Drum Roll, please):
Jesse Brock of Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
Rachel Brown of Tommy Brown & County Line Grass
Mike Fulkerson of Kings Highway.
The rest of the photographs from the weekend can be seen in the gallery. Artists who appeared may contact us from the link at the bottom of this page for complementary access to a private gallery to download copies of the photos. Complementary photos may be posted on Facebook, MySpace or other internet sites if a photo credit is included.
Posted By grannypam on September 14, 2010
I have written about this before, three times, perhaps more than that. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic lung disease , about which much is known. But there is no cure, and having the disease is a death sentence. I first learned about CF when a CF baby was born to neighborhood family, in 1973, about the same time our second daughter was born. That baby is 37 years old now, and as far as I know is still living. This is quite an accomplishment, and was unheard of at the time of his birth when his life expectancy was more like middle to late teens. You can learn more about Cystic Fibrosis on this site.
Sixteen years later, our 1973 model daughter had surgery to repair a torn ACL. The hospital where the surgery was done was a treatment center for CF patients, and for whatever reason, she was in the same area with those patients. Most of the CF patients were in their late teens and early twenties, and they were mighty sick. Breathing treatments, IV antibiotics, and oxygen were the order of the day, and the night. I remembered back to our neighbor, and realized that he was sixteen now, too. That type of reality can be a little bit overwhelming; suddenly a torn ACL that could be fixed seemed pretty small and insignificant.
Some years after that we met our friend Jimmy, but it was long after we met him that we learned that one of his sons has Cystic Fibrosis. This weekend, at KC Campground, Milan, Michigan Jimmy is sponsoring his fourth benefit for Cystic Fibrosis Research. Some great musicians, and better friends, are lined up to do what they do best, play and sing great bluegrass music. Jimmy is amazed at the numbers of bands that called him up to volunteer to play at the benefit, and you will be too.
Profiles of each band have been posted on Pickin’ on CF’s Facebook page, and they are worth a look. Head over and check them out.
When Jimmy’s desire to give back by raising funds for research took flight, Papa and I wanted to help. We can’t sing (you all know that!), but we have done what we can in the ways that we can. I have helped with the Pickin’ on CF promotions and web presence. Papa had taken photographs at each event, and will be on the job this weekend. He also convinced his employer to make a donation. And we are out here at KC Campground this week to do whatever else we can to help.
Sometimes it just feels better act, words are not enough. That’s what we have done.
Now, it is your turn, come on out for the weekend, or for one day. If you are simply unable to attend, send a check. There have been huge advances and CF patients are living longer and longer, with a better quality of life. But a cure has not been found, and that is what Pickin’ on CF is about.
Pickin’ on Cystic Fibrosis [http://www.pickinoncf.com]
14048 Sherman Rd
Milan, MI 48160
Phone: (734) 439-1076
Thursday September 16 beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Friday September 17 noon to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday September 18 noon to 10:30 p.m.
Thursday: $10, Friday and Saturday $15 each. Weekend: $30. Children under 16 free with paying adult.
Camping is extra, but a a reduced rate of $15 Thursday through Saturday.
Pickin’ on Cystic Fibrosis has partnered with Hunt for a Cure, a 501(3)(c) organization this year. If you are unable to attend and would like to make a donation for research to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis checks can be sent to:
246 N. Dickinson Ave
Hesperia Mi. 49421
Your donation is tax deductible if you make your check to “Hunt for a Cure”. Please note “Pickin’ on CF” in the memo line.
Disclaimer: I am connected with Pickin’ on Cystic Fibrosis, I have constructed, and I maintain their websites. I also worked on publicity for the event this year. Pickin’ on Cystic Fibrosis pays for web space and domain name registration, but I do not receive compensation for my time. Papa has photographed previous events and will photograph this weekend’s without compensation. Papa and I have received complementary admission to this weekend’s event in exchange for working this week.