Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Farmer Jason_1264

Every now and then I like to take the blog on a detour and go back to the days when I had dreams of becoming a singer songwriter in Nashville Tennessee, but today we won’t detour to far away from nature or even farming. In short, when I began crafting songs there were four very talented songwriters that influenced my writing; Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, and Jason Ringenberg. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the late Townes Van Zandt twice (Townes is often referred to as one of the best songwriter ever), as well as Guy Clark and Steve Earle. I never had the opportunity to meet Jason Ringenberg, the brainchild behind the legendary band Jason and the Scorchers – the best country band in Nashville. Jason is also an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner and is also considered to be one of the pioneers of the modern Americana and alt-country genres.

You may be thinking by now “what does all this have to do with nature?” Well in 2002 Jason Ringenberg created Farmer Jason to educate and entertain children with songs about farm life and the wonders of nature. The Farmer Jason character is based on Mr. Ringenberg’s own farming background and love of the great outdoors. Farmer Jason has released 3 records (A Day at the Farm with Farmer Jason, Rocking in the Forest, and Nature Jams) and a DVD “It’s A Farmer Jason.” He has starred in the “It’s a Farmer Jason” video interstitial program which airs on several PBS stations around the United States, earning 3 Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award win for Best Children’s Program. Farmer Jason’s records have also won numerous awards, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the Los Angeles Times’ Children’s Record of the Year list.

Farmer Jason’s highly acclaimed live show involve sing-alongs, dancing, and discussions about appreciating nature, ecology, and farm animals. Farmer Jason performs solo with only his acoustic guitar (no fancy gimmickry). He is a true showman whose performances are spontaneous and high energy in nature. Even though the shows are aimed at children ages 2 to 8, everyone gets involved.

So folks, if you have children, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren and want to introduce them to some good clean fun, be sure to check out the Farmer Jason records by clicking here. I guarantee that you’ll be singing along too. Follow along and Like the Farmer Jason Facebook page here.

Check out these links for a sample: Punk Rock Skunk & Moose On The Loose.

For the above photo (do click on the photo to see the larger, sharper version) I grabbed my old 1970’s Gibson J200 and placed it on the back deck along with my three Farmer Jason CDs, which my 7 year old daughter Ava absolutely loves. When we go for long drives these records travel along for sing-alongs down the highway. Ava is a big fan of Jason and the Scorchers too 🙂


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This photo of my beloved 1970’s Gibson J200, converted with the photoshop plugin, fractalius, is to pay tribute to the great American songwriter Townes Van Zandt. On this day in 1997 Townes died. Townes was considered by many to be one of the greatest songwriters ever, if not the greatest. I had the opportunity to see Townes play on a number of occasions and through friends in Nashville, met the man twice. Throughout his performances he would often share silly jokes, guaranteed to fill the hall with laughter. In his performances, he would also play a cover song or two by Hank Williams or the great Texas bluesman Lightning Hopkins. I’ve heard it said that Townes spent his summers in the Colorado wilderness with his horse Amigo and his summers down in Texas. Townes’ songs flow, flawlessly, as if he pulled them out of the sky while they floated by. “Sky Songs” I believe he once called them. His timeless music follows me on every road trip I take.

Please click here for Townes singing “Pancho & Lefty”, one of his most popular songs, and here for Steve Earle’s “Fort Worth Blues” which was written for Townes when he died. If you ever have a chance, check out the DVD “Be Here To Love Me Today” about the life and times of this true great Texas songwriter, it is superb.

Here’s to Townes!

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This will most likely be my last post for about 2 weeks. In a day or two I will begin meandering around Ontario to capture some fresh images. The above image was literally taken right at the end of my driveway on a cool summer morning. The image below was captured on Highway 129 in the Algoma Highlands north of Thessalon, Ontario. It is an old slide image, shot on Fuji Velvia 50, recently scanned and tweaked a little with Nik Software’s Viveza.

When hitting the road, I find a selection of great music always makes the miles roll by a little easier. Along for the ride this time will be the latest offering by the world’s greatest country band ever, Jason and the Scorchers Their new record “Halcyon Times” also has a special guest appearance by Dan Baird You may remember Dan Baird from the Georgia Satellites. When the Georgia Satellites folded Dan Baird released a solo record “Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired” which is one of my all time favorites. Check out his new band Homemade Sin. Dan Baird and Jason Ringenberg are both great songwriters that have stood the test of time. I will also take along a selection of John Hiatt, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, The Ramones, The Pogues and the Scorpions “Sting in the Tail” record (hey, its my 3 year old daughter’s favorite band).

See you soon!

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As photographers, I find it interesting that we have arrived here from many different walks of life. While I have always been fascinated with nature, initially I wanted to be a singer/songwriter. I would spend countless hours composing songs and recording demos. I would travel to Nashville, Tennessee on numerous occasions while chasing my dream and was pleased to meet three fine songwriters; Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark and Steve Earle in the process. A fellow songwriter from those days, Stacey Earle, regularly performs around North America and Europe and has produced several inspirational albums.

Eventually, I decided to shift gears in pursuit of photographing all that inspires me in nature. The photographs (adjusted with Nik Software plugins) in this post are of my 1970’s Gibson J200 that was purchased from Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. Anyone interested in great vintage instruments should check out Gruhn Guitars

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