Andrew Clem blog home


Clockwise, from top left: Blackfriar's Theater in Staunton, VA, home of the American Shakespeare Center; National Cathedral in Guatemala City; church near Volin, SD; engraved stellae at ruins of Copan, Honduras; folk musicians in La Paz, Bolivia.

Culture and Travel montage shadow

Culture-related pages:

Travel photos

Religious blogs & sites

Local drama & music

Other Web links


My favorite movies

  1. Casablanca
  2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  3. Raising Arizona
  4. Fargo
  5. Shawshank Redemption
  6. Field of Dreams
  7. Bull Durham
  8. Fiddler on the Roof
  9. Patton
  10. Bananas
  11. Fort Apache: The Bronx
  12. Broadcast News

November 14, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Heartbreaker: R.I.P. Tom Petty (1950 - 2017)

The sad and shocking news last month about Tom Petty's sudden and unexpected passing is one more in a string of deaths of old-time rock and rollers. Like most people, I had no idea he was ailing, and I came to appreciate his contributions to rock music much more after he passed from the scene. As the leader and creative force behind his group the Heartbreakers, Petty carried the rock tradition forward at a time (late 1970s through the 1980s) when hostile forces such as disco music or copy-cat big hair heavy metal bands threatened to sink it.

Petty died on October 1 after suffering a heart attack while at his home in Malibu. He had just done a concert at the Hollywood Bowl on September 25, and his 67th birthday was just three weeks away. Unbeknownst to most people, for several months he had been suffering from complications from a hairline fracture in his left hip, and was in considerable pain.

Petty grew up on the outskirts of Gainesville, Florida, and was playing in rock bands throughout his teen years. He met guitarist Mike Campbell, and they formed the group Mudcrutch, which released a single in 1974. A third member (keyboardist Benmont Tench) soon joined, and those three guys were the core of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers when it was formed two years later, and an album with that same title was released. In 1979, the album Damn the Torpedos was released, and the song "Refugee" became a huge hit. (That's when I first noticed Petty.)

During the early 1980s, Petty was on top of the world of rock, cranking out mega-hit after mega-hit. Among my favorites were "A Woman In Love," "I Won't Back Down," "Here Comes My Girl," and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," a duet with Stevie Nicks which he and Mike Campbell co-wrote. (For some reason, "A Woman In Love" is not included on his greatest hits CD.) His jangly-sounding Rickenbacker guitar recalled the Byrds, while his snarling but direct voice was almost unique among rock musicians. He sang earnestly and plaintively of hard work and true love, in a way that few rock musicians do. His sincere and unpretentious approach to singing and song-crafting was more typical of country musicians. As Jim Sullivan at put it, "Petty drew from a reservoir of struggle, failure even, and ended up with declaratory celebrations."

As the Heartbreakers gradually became stale in the late 1980s, Petty reached out in a new direction. He got together with early rock crooner Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynne (of the Electric Light Orchestra) to form the Traveling Wilburys. (A friend named Carlos gave me that album way back when, and I still have it.) In the 1990s, Petty's creativity and celebrity status both faded as he fell into heroin addiction. He finally kicked that habit with intensive medical treatment, including a blood transfusion.

I was always a fan of Tom Petty, but his passing has driven home just what an original and gifted musician he was. He was kind of scrawny, and didn't really look like a typical macho or brooding rock star. He was just an ordinary guy, but one who was filled with an extraordinarily strong sense of who he was. The November 2 Rolling Stone article by David Fricke drew attention to the mixture of light and dark themes embodied in his music. It was filled with warm words of praise for Petty from Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, and Bob Dylan, among other rock legends.

In his song "Into the Great Wide Open," there is a line about his "A & R man," so I Googled that phrase out of curiousity. According to, it means "Artists and Repertoire," the person in charge of recruiting talent and promoting their work.

More open mic nights

Since my last music blog post (September 27), I participated at three more open mic events at Queen City Brewing in Staunton. On October 6, I paid tribute to Tom Petty by playing five of his songs, most of which I had just learned in the few days since his sudden death. I had played "Refugee" there before, and I had learned "A Woman In Love" many years ago. My harmonica added a lot to both songs, and I got some warm applause.

  1. Refugee -- Tom Petty
  2. I Won't Back Down -- Tom Petty
  3. Into the Great Wide Open -- Tom Petty
  4. Mary Jane's Last Dance -- Tom Petty
  5. Till I Hear It From You -- Gin Blossoms
  6. Witchy Woman -- Eagles
  7. Harvest Moon -- Neil Young
  8. A Woman In Love -- Tom Petty
  9. More Than a Feeling -- Boston
  10. Standing On the Rock -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Last week (October 18), the weather was unseasonably warm, but the music was inside nevertheless. I continued playing Tom Petty songs:

  1. Here Comes My Girl -- Tom Petty
  2. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around -- Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty
  3. Follow You Down -- Gin Blossoms
  4. The Long Run -- Eagles
  5. My Favorite Mistake -- Sheryl Crow
  6. Just What I Needed -- The Cars
  7. If You Wanna Get to Heaven -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils

After repeated invitations to play at the Thursday night open mic event at Barrenridge Vineyards (hosted by Bill Harlow), I finally made it there the following night. (It was my third time playing there, the last being September 21.) It was the first time I had played inside there; the outside air was still very pleasant. I played:

  1. Here Comes My Girl -- Tom Petty
  2. Into the Great Wide Open -- Tom Petty
  3. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around -- Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty *
  4. Talkin' Baseball -- Terry Cashman
  5. Hotel California -- Eagles **
  6. We Can Work It Out -- Beatles

* For "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," I was accompanied by Lisa Humphries Newhall, who did the female vocal parts. It sounded a lot better than when I do it solo. ** On "Hotel California" I had an equipment malfunction (the harmonica holder slipped), which threw me completely off track during the final part of the song with the lead guitars. I played "We Can Work It Out" in the key of E rather than the original D, which is better for my limited vocal range. (When I played it before, I could barely reach some of the low notes.)

Andrew at Barrenridge 19 Oct 2017

Yours truly, playing at Barrenridge Vineyards on October 19. [Photo by Bill Harlow.]

Back at Queen City Brewing on October 25, there was a much bigger lineup of musicians than usual, with Danny Parker, Kimball Swanson, Dianne Byrer, me, Melissa Hudson, John Dull, Pasquale (Patrick) Dimeo, and percussionist Craig Austin. The crowd was good-sized as well. With a nearly-full slate, we each only got to do a single "encore" song. I played:

  1. I Should Have Known Better -- Beatles
  2. You Won't See Me -- Beatles
  3. I Won't Back Down -- Tom Petty
  4. Us and Them -- Pink Floyd

I mentioned that "You Won't See Me" was in part a tribute to Fritz Horisk, who plays that one exceptionally well. Afterwards, he showed me how he does a particular part of that song. The latter two songs I had played in recent months, and they sounded pretty good.

After skipping a week (due to World Series Game 7!), I returned to Queen City Brewing last Wednesday night (November 8), but this time it was just Fritz, Craig Austin (percussion), me, and a new guy. The empty lines in the sign-up sheet meant that we each got to do nine songs! The weather was cold and rainy, reducing the crowd size as well. I started off by playing a song about the recent election day, just as I had done a year before. The songs after that were relatively "normal":

  1. Elected -- Alice Cooper
  2. Fly Away Home -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  3. It's How You Think -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  4. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around -- Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty *
  5. Noah -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  6. You Know Like I Know -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  7. Centerfield -- John Fogerty
  8. Leatherwood -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  9. Better Left Unsaid -- Andrew Clem

* For "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," I was accompanied once again by Lisa Humphries Newhall. (We also did that one at Barrenridge on October 19.) Not used to performing in a duet, I had trouble singing in the right key.

I'm pretty sure I set a record for the most number of songs I played on one occasion by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils: five!

Next show: this Friday!

I'll be playing yet another show at Bedlam Brewing this coming Friday evening, and in preparation for that, I have been practicing some old songs I haven't done in a while. Songs by Tom Petty (of course) and Pink Floyd will be featured, along with other songs I've done there before as well as a few new ones.

October 6, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Washington weekend in review

Although my primary mission during my brief visit to Washington, D.C. last weekend was to see baseball games (the first games I had seen there this year, actually), I accomplished several other tasks in the short time I had available. So, here's a quick review of what I saw in Our Nation's Capital.

National Cathedral north 2017

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: National Baptist Memorial Church (in Adams Morgan), Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (seen from RFK Stadium); Howard University clock tower; National Cathedral north side; and the Uline Arena, formerly known as the Washington Coliseum, (September 30, 2017).

After saying goodbye to my friend Dave Givens up in Bethesda on Saturday morning, I drove into the city along Wisconsin Avenue hoping to see the National Cathedral. It happened to be cloudy at that particular time, and indeed the sky kept changing throughout the day as strong winds swirled about. I noticed the scaffolding in place for the extensive repair work made necessary by the 2011 earthquake in Virginia. It seems odd that it is taking so long. Given the mediocre conditions for taking photos, I decided to leave.

I then descended into Rock Creek Park, that exquisite natural sanctuary where I used to go for long bicycle rides. I thought I might find an easy place to park and do a quick bird-watching walk, but with all the traffic and crazy one-way signs, that proved to be too much, so I resumed an easterly course. I passed through the funky Adams Morgan neighborhood, pausing just long enough to get a nice church photo, and then continued on to Howard University Hospital. Why there? It is where Griffith Stadium (former home of both the Senators and the Redskins) once stood, and I learned that there is a historical marker there. (I apparently missed seeing it during my last visit, or else it had not yet been installed.) The Shaw neighborhood near the hospital includes a lot of African-American history, such as the Howard Theater.

From there I headed toward the southeast along Florida Avenue, and I stopped at the Uline Arena, which was known as the Washington Coliseum when the Beatles performed their very first concert in the U.S. there, in February 1964. I stopped there once about ten or fifteen years ago, when it was rundown and abandoned. Last year they completed a major renovation project, evidently part of a community arts promotion. The original coliseum was basically just a big brick Quonset hut. That structure has been restored and now serves as an REI testing facility of some sort. On the east side there is a new parking garage and office building bearing big posters of the Beatles and other historical events that took place there.

Just down the street from the Uline Arena is a large graffitti mural on the side of a row house. I was intrigued by the message "Love is still the answer" and (in reverse letters): "Epatitude" (??), so I Googled that first phrase and came up with a site by a photographer named Frank Cevarich that provides some background on that.

Graffitti mural on 3rd Street NE

Graffitti mural on 3rd Street NE; click on the image to see it full size.

As mentioned in my recent blog post on baseball, my visit to RFK Stadium was entirely unplanned, the result of learning that there was a Georgetown football game there that afternoon. But aside from the stadium itself, I also took time to see the nearby D.C. National Guard Armory, which now features an F-16 "Fighting Falcon" jet on display. That was very impressive! I also took photos of the U.S. Capitol and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located about two miles to the north. Finally, I stopped to take a closeup look at the Robert F. Kennedy memorial -- the namesake for the stadium. He is someone who should be remembered for all he did and all he could have done for this country, were it not for an assassin's bullet.

Robert F. Kennedy memorial

Robert F. Kennedy memorial, in front of RFK Stadium.

Finally, I took a quick look at the Buzzards Point area where Audi Field is being built. There are big plans to turn the entire area (which was an industrial eye sore for many years) into a trendy residential / commercial center to complement the development around Nationals Park and Navy Yard.

A complete set of photos can be seen on the Chronological photo gallery page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have begun posting larger-size photos than before. My old standard (since 2008 or so, roughly) was 600 x 400 pixels for scenic photos and 480 x 360 pixels for birds, butterflies, etc. From now on, my default standard size for scenic photos will be 1200 x 800 pixels, and the standard size for panoramic photos will be 1200 x 480 pixels. I have set up that photo gallery page in such a way that the photos will be squeezed proportionally, depending on the size of one's computer monitor and web browser window. In some cases, you can click on a specified link to see a "jumbo-sized" photo, or else you can either right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac) to open the photo in question in a new window.

September 27, 2017 [LINK / comment]

One more time (with feeling!) at Bedlam Brewing

For the third time, I did a musical performance at Bedlam Brewing last Sunday evening (September 24), and everything went pretty smoothly. There weren't quite as many people there as there were in July (see August 30 blog post), possibly because there were benefit concerts taking place at almost the same time. At Montgomery Hall Park in Staunton, they observed Peace Day, and at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Dave Matthews led a big-name list of performers raising funds for the victims and for the cause of peace. Heeding that background, some of the songs I played had a peace-related theme.

Another event taking place in Staunton that weekend drew huge crowds to downtown: "Queen City Mischief & Magic," celebrating the Harry Potter series of books and movies. Kids of all ages were walking around wearing the costumes of witches or medieval ogres. I felt obliged to adjust my play-list accordingly. Creedence Clearwater Revival's "I Put A Spell On You" was a true rush job: I essentially learned it from scratch just a few hours before the show began! After a brief break, I played a "news, weather, and sports" segment, referring to President Trump's recent derision of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man." Then I noted the recent catastrophic tropical storms with Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane," and played two songs about baseball, since it's the final week of the regular season. The latter song, about the Chicago Cubs, was written by Steve Goodman, who is better known as the composer of "City of New Orleans," so I did that song too and talked about him briefly.

Toward the end of the show, I played three Pink Floyd songs, two of which I had played the time before but with weak volume, so I decided they deserved a proper presentation. They went pretty well, and after an obligatory Ozark Mountain Daredevils tune, I wowed the crowd with my rendition of "Hotel California," using the harmonica in place of the lead guitar at the end. The final four songs were OK, and for the most part I was satisfied with my performance. I need to concentrate more on my voice projection, and need to practice my harmonica parts more thoroughly. My next show at Bedlam Brewing will be Friday, November 17, from 8:00 to 10:00 PM.

  1. My Favorite Mistake -- Sheryl Crow
  2. The Fall of the Peacemakers -- Molly Hatchet
  3. The Sound of Silence -- Simon & Garfunkle
  4. America -- Simon & Garfunkle
  5. Take Me Home, Country Roads -- John Denver
  6. Bitter Creek -- Eagles
  7. Witchy Woman -- Eagles
  8. I Put A Spell On You -- Creedence Clearwater Revival
  9. Guinnevere -- Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  10. Gypsy Forest -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  11. Better Left Unsaid -- Andrew Clem
    ( BREAK )
  12. Rocket Man -- Elton John
  13. Like a Hurricane -- Neil Young
  14. Talkin' Baseball (Willie, Mickey, & the Duke) -- Terry Cashman
  15. A Dying Cubs' Fan Last Request -- Steve Goodman
  16. City of New Orleans -- Steve Goodman
  17. Breathe In the Air -- Pink Floyd
  18. Time -- Pink Floyd
  19. Comfortably Numb -- Pink Floyd
  20. Fly Away Home -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  21. Hotel California -- Eagles
  22. Til I Hear It From You -- Gin Blossoms
  23. Invisible Sun -- The Police
  24. Boulevard of Broken Dreams -- Green Day
  25. Never Goin' Back Again -- Fleetwood Mac

Four more open mic events

After skipping a week, I returned to the open mic night at Queen City Brewing on September 13, playing inside with a modest-sized crowd present. I have been heavily focused on learning songs by Sheryl Crow and The Police lately, following earlier such phases this year focusing on Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John, and Pink Floyd. I recently changed the way I play "De Doo Doo Doo, De Da Da Da," and I obviously was not ready to do that one in public. The next three songs went much better, fortunately.

  1. De Doo Doo Doo, De Da Da Da -- The Police
  2. Invisible Sun -- The Police
  3. My Favorite Mistake -- Sheryl Crow
  4. If It Makes You Happy -- Sheryl Crow

On September 20, I was the only musician there besides the host, Fritz Horisk. So, to fill the extra time available, I did twelve (12) songs, matching the number Fritz played. It was the first time I played "Hotel California" in public, and except for one or two rough spots, it went very well. For the last song, Sheryl Crow's "My Favorite Mistake," I was joined by Lisa Humphries Newhall, who sang some Sheryl Crow songs with local guitarist Perry Davis last month, which is what inspired me to learn some of that material. Lisa has a great, soulful voice, doing far better justice to that song that I could.

  1. Don't Stand So Close To Me -- The Police
  2. Rocket Man -- Elton John
  3. Hotel California -- Eagles
  4. Witchy Woman -- Eagles
  5. Good Hearted Woman -- Waylon Jennings
  6. A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request -- Steve Goodman
  7. Baker Street -- Gerry Rafferty
  8. Doolin' Dalton -- Eagles
  9. All I Wanna Do -- Sheryl Crow
  10. Country Girl -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  11. Better Left Unsaid -- Andrew Clem
  12. My Favorite Mistake -- Sheryl Crow

The very next evening (September 21) I went to the open mic event at Barrenridge Vineyards, arriving about 45 minutes late. (I thought that it started at 7:00 and that I was "only" 15 minutes late.) Those events are being organized by Bill Harlow, a local guitar and bass player who started playing at Queen City Brewing a few months ago. My first time playing at Barrenridge was on August 17. Bill plays with an electric guitarist named Bob, and they sound great.

  1. Standing On The Rock -- Ozark Mountain Daredevils
  2. A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request -- Steve Goodman
  3. Don't Stand So Close To Me -- The Police
  4. Invisible Sun -- The Police

Finally, this evening (September 27) at Queen City Brewing was a big improvement over the week before, with four musicians (including the host, Fritz Horisk), and a decent-sized audience. Even Jacqueline was there this time! We were playing outside, with clear skies, a half moon, and mild temperatures. Beforehand, I wasn't really sure what to play, and had some trepidation. Nevertheless, except for the first one (which as noted above, I just learned on Sunday!) I played pretty well, and had very positive reaction from the audience.

  1. I Put A Spell On You -- Creedence Clearwater Revival
  2. The Long Run -- Eagles
  3. El Condor Pasa -- Simon & Garfunkle
  4. Guinnevere -- Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  5. Behind Blue Eyes -- The Who
  6. Hotel California -- Eagles

NOTE: I haven't updated the Music page for some time, but intend to revamp the repertoire section of it in the near future, possibly putting that information on a separate page.

September 8, 2017 [LINK / comment]

Ozark Mountain Daredevils in concert!

(Another woefully-late blog post...) As part of my big trip to the Midwest five weeks ago, my brother Dan and I went to the first annual Mid-America Music Festival for the sole purpose seeing one of my favorite groups: the Ozark Mountain Daredevils! As recounted in my travelog blog post (August 31), my brother Dan and I drove up from Kansas City to the small town of Trenton, Missouri on Saturday July 29. It is located in the north-central part of the state, and is rather isolated. The countryside is much like South Dakota, but greener and hillier. We took a quick look at downtown, and then drove about a mile east to the Black Silo winery, where we were directed to park in an open field along with a hundred or more other vehicles.

Mid America Music Festival sign

This sign was in front of the Black Silo Winery, where the festival was held, just east of Trenton, Missouri.

The festival had already begun the day before, but I was not familiar with the other performers, and with not much time to spare, I preferred to see the sights in Kansas City. Soon after we arrived, a group called Whiskey Jim and the Outlaw Benders was playing. They were pretty good, a mixture of electrified country and blues. Dan and I strolled around the vineyard, chose some good barbecue from some several food vendors, visited the gift shop, and walked up to where they were giving some hot air balloon rides. It was just tethered up-and-down deal, and Jacqueline and I had already done a "real" balloon ride in 2008, so we passed on that amusement.

Mid America Music Festival sign

The crowd wasn't very big, maybe a thousand total, but that's to be expected since it was the very first year this festival has been held.

As the sun sank toward the horizon, another group started playing, I forget which one. About that time, a guy with long gray hair in a pony tail walked from the stage area past where we were sitting toward the main winery building, and he looked familiar to me. I showed the photo I took to the people who were selling Ozark Mountain Daredevils at one of the tent-covered tables, and they confirmed to me that it was indeed Michael "Supe" Granda, the bass player! I ended up buying the group's latest "Alive and Wild" CD, and Dan bought two of their "classic" CDs and a T-shirt.

Finally, at about 9:30, the main event got underway, and I was thrilled that they started with one of my favorites, "Standing On the Rock." It's an acoustic, bluegrass-sounding song with a fun harmonica part. Unfortunately, we learned that the group's harmonica player, Steve Cash, was able to be there due to ill health. In his place, one of the extra guitar players (Nick Sibley) handled that task, and he did just fine. Just two of the original six members were there: John Dillon (guitar, fiddle) and Michael Granda (bass, guitar). For the most part, the musicians all played very well, with great enthusiasm, and I loved it. There were problems with the microphones, causing some exasperation a couple times, but it was fixed eventually.

Ozark Mountain Daredevils 2017

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils (L to R): Ruell Chappell, Nick Sibley, Kelly Brown, John Dillon, Michael Granda, Ron Gremp, Dave Painter, Bill Jones. Absent that evening: Steve Cash, the harmonica player. Click on the image to see a closeup of Dillon, Granda, and Gremp. For more photos, see the Chronological (2017) photo gallery page.

I took notes of all the songs they played, and while I was very happy that they did just about all of my favorites, there were two with which I was not familiar. In the set list below, I included phrases from the refrain in parentheses, as a possible identifier. Not surprisingly, they finished the regular part of the show with "If You Wanna Get to Heaven," and for an encore they covered a classic tune "Route 66" that was geographically appropriate. (That highway passed through southern Missouri where they have lived their lives.) The final songs, "It'll Shine When It Shines," was the title track of the second album, and in many ways is the most spiritual and most definitive song that they do. It was a perfect ending to a great show. It was a very special and memorable experience for me.

  1. Standing On the Rock
  2. Chicken Train
  3. Country Girl
  4. Fly Away Home
  5. UNKNOWN (Fine, Fine, Fine???)
  6. Noah
  7. Homemade Wine
  8. UNKNOWN (Gone, Long Gone???)
  9. Jackie Blue
  10. Ooh, Boys, It's Hot
  11. It Probably Always Will
  12. You Made It Right
  13. Walkin' Down the Road
  14. Gonna Buy Me a Car
  15. If You Wanna Get to Heaven
  16. Route 66
  17. It'll Shine When It Shines
Ozark Mountain Daredevils T-shirt, CDs

My official Ozark Mountain Daredevils T-shirt. The reverse side has a list of over 60 of their songs, about a dozen of which I don't even know! Also shown are the two CDs I just bought: "Men From Earth," their fourth studio album (1977), and "13," which was released in 1998.

Who are the Ozark Mountain Daredevils?

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils were founded in the early 1970s by a group of college guys in Springfield, Missouri. Their first big hit came out in early 1974: "If You Wanna Get to Heaven," which was still very popular when I saw them in concert in Slagle Hall at the University of South Dakota in the fall of 1974, when I was a freshman. Their second hit single was "Jackie Blue," which is a nice, mellow pop-rock song, but is not typical of the group's strong country flavor. There were originally six members, but keyboardist Buddy Brayfield quit in order to pursue a medical degree in 1977 or so. (He is now an M.D., possibly retired.) After another year or two, guitarist Randle Chowning quit, and apparently there are still some hard feelings, unfortunately.

I learned from the show in Missouri (and from looking at the notes in the CDs that I have) that Ruell Chappell is the lead singer for songs (such as "Jackie Blue") that were formerly sung by drummer Larry Lee, who left the group in the 1980s, and later returned on a part-time basis for a while. Chappell, who used to have long hair but is now 100% bald/shaven, was the replacement keyboard player after Buddy Brayfield left the group. Like John Dillon, he is good-natured with a perpetual grin. Bass player "Supe" Granda (known for wearing a Superman costume back in the good old days) is lot like bassist Mick Fleetwood with Fleetwood Mac: very talented and just a little eccentric, in a nice way. Until recently I didn't know that Steve Cash (the harmonica player) is the one who sings in a very low voice; "E.E. Lawson" and "Black Sky" are two great examples of his work.

By the early 1980s, the group had gone through some turmoil, and their album released at that time (also titled "Ozark Mountain Daredevils," the same as their original album!) showed the four core members with very sober faces. Were they burned out from touring? They faded away over the next few years, with occasional regroupings that never lasted too long. Then in the late 1990s there was another surge of interest and energy, which is when they produced their final (?) studio CD, "13." (That's the number of songs on it.) From that point on, they were basically semi-retired, and they have been doing a few shows a year at various places in and around Missouri, but that's about it. After realizing that my hopes that they might do a national tour one of these years were unrealistic, I decided to see them while I still had a chance. After all, as we have learned over the past couple years, the number of classic-era rock stars who have passed away keeps climbing...

In an effort to summarize the complicated changes that have taken place over the years, I came up with this table, which is greatly simplified and possibly prone to error:

1973-1976 1977-1979 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
guitar John Dillon (+ fiddle)
harmonica Steve Cash
bass Michael "Supe" Granda
drums Larry Lee (+ guitar) Ron Gremp
guitar Randle Chowning Rune Walle (+) Bill Brown Dave Painter
keyboards Buddy Brayfield Kelly Brown
Ruell Chappell (keyboards, percussion)
Jerry Mills (mandolin) Bill Jones (saxophone)
Steve Canaday Nick Sibley (guitar, harmonica)

The Daredevils' albums

Here are all the studio-recorded albums released by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils over the years. In addition, there are two "live" albums ("It's Alive," 1979) and "Alive & Wild" (2011), as well as many different greatest hits albums.

In the near future, I plan to update the Music page with the above information, but with greater detail.

Music mural in K.C.

It's fitting to note that, while in Kansas City, my brother Dan took me to a famous venue for blues, rock, and country music ("Knuckleheads"), and that across the street there is a large mural on the side of the building with the likenesses of many great musicians from years past. I can identify most of the faces, but not all of them.

KC rock, blues mural

Mural honoring music legends of the past, northeast of downtown Kansas City.

Major world languages

Language 2002
Chinese * 874 # 1,213
Spanish * 322 329
English * 341 328
Arabic ? 221
Hindi 366 # 182
Bengali 207 181
Portuguese 176 178
Russian * 167 144
Japanese 125 122
German 100 90

# : 2004 data for Chinese pertained only to Mandarin speakers, whereas data for Hindi speakers were defined more broadly.
Asterisks (*) denote the official languages of the United Nations, which also includes French (68 million speakers).

SOURCE: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 & 2012

I speak Spanish, some Portuguese, and have dabbled in German, French, Italian, Russian, Catalan, and Quechua.

Major world religions

Religion 2002
Christians 2,038 2,281
Muslims 1,226 1,553
Hindus 828 943
Chinese folk 389 454
Buddhists 364 463
Sikhs 24 24
Jews 14 15
Local, other 32 379
Non-religious 925 798

The obvious discontinuities in the last two lines of data are of uncertain origin.

SOURCE: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 & 2012

I belong to the Episcopal Church and am annoyed at the recent polarization. According to a Theology quiz, I scored as a "Classical Liberal."

Ten Commandments

  1. Worship ONE God only
  2. No graven images
  3. No taking God's name in vain
  4. Keep Sabbath day holy
  5. Honor parents
  6. No stealing
  7. No murder
  8. No adultery
  9. No bearing false witness
  10. No coveting what others have

Seven deadly sins

  1. Pride
  2. Covetousness
  3. Lust
  4. Anger
  5. Gluttony
  6. Envy
  7. Sloth

Proverbs 6: 16-19

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies,
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Romans 12: 17, 21

Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr was a leading theologian of the mid-20th Century, and often wrote about foreign policy from a "Christian realist" perspective. From

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.