My apologies for letting time slip by without a post, but this has been an extremely busy week! My niece, Emily, came up from Virginia to visit with my family and I spent the week as her tour-guide. Emily arrived at Penn Station in Newark, NJ, after the milestone event of her first solo train trip. We had a lot of fun in New York City on what my son dubbed "The NYC Dim-Sum Deathmarch." During the week, we also went cycling and spent a day at the Newark Museum, which has a special exhibit on Yoruba Sacred Art.
Emily, who is going into 11th grade, is quite an adventurous young lady and was game to try everything, especially food. She ended up trying sushi (which is one of my favorites), pad thai, falafel, dolmades, pho, several Ethiopian tibsis and a couple other foods that aren't part of her daily life. Today, we drove her back home to Virginia and handed her off to her parents. I'm sorry to see her go.
This evening, my wife, son, in-laws and I went to a concert by John McCutcheon in Ashland, Virginia, where I grew up. I have been a huge fan of John's music for many years (He's one of the musicians who have signed my banjo) and I perform several of his songs as half of the folk duo Boys in Hats, so I was delighted to have a chance to attend the concert, where we were able to spread out on a blanket only a couple yards from the stage. In fact, it was kind of a nostalgic event as one of the first things that I ever did with the Bryants, back when I was a high school student, was to attend an outdoor John McCutcheon concert at the Innsbrook pavilion in Richmond.
At tonight's event, held on the grounds of the Hanover Arts and Activities Center, was part of Ashland's 150th Anniversary celebration and the Bluemont Concert Series, the stage was set up right in front of the train tracks that run through the center of town. John began his solo performance with "Reuben's Train," just as an Amtrak train passed by. The train theme kept recurring, as he played "City of New Orleans" as a freight train passed by a few minutes later. Two more trains and a brief rainstorm interrupted the evening, but this was a great show, with "Christmas in the Trenches" and "The Red Corvette" being played as requests. John performed several selections from his new album "Sermon on the Mound," which I bought and am looking forward to listening to in the morning. As always, John performed on several instruments, with tonight featuring banjo, guitar, hammer dulcimer, fiddle and piano. His music, humor and spirit are real inspirations for me and it was a delight to see him perform again.