Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Juanita Yoder - Artist extraordinaire

I recently attended Juanita Yoder's Art Open House and I must rave about her work one more time. The woman has a gift that is beyond words I am capable of expressing.

If you belong to a church that is looking into seriously enhancing their place of worship with art that can truly touch the spirit, please check out her "Public and Liturgical Installations" page. In particular, look at the "Stations of the Cross" project she recently completed for a church in Arizona. Juanita creates based on the architectural structure, the nature of the space and what she comes away with from meeting with the people of that church.

Mother's Day is around the corner, too. While you cannot see scarves and other clothing on her website, they are beautiful. Trust me. Her silk creations are stunning to the eye.

Check Juanita Yoder's work out for yourself. If you live near Princeton, go into Princeton Cathedral and view the six pieces hanging there. If you live near Lambertville, NJ, go to Greene and Greene and see her paintings and scarves. Ok, that's enough of that.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Honey On My Grave - Abbie Gardner

Abbie Gardner has released a collection of songs on "Honey On My Grave" that puts on full display a degree of complexity and range of musical influence that is rarely equaled. Gardner, also a member of the Appalachia-based group Red Molly, blends together multiple genres throughout the CD, and it is that mixture of styles that becomes her greatest strength. "Honey" finds a voice in pop, blues, Appalachia, torch songs, bluegrass, and folk. It is impossible not to be excited as each new track approaches, wondering what Gardner will do next.

Some songs will sound familar to everyone, such as "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Hit the Road Jack," the former sensually alluring and the latter done with a poignant simplicity and fortitude. Gardner's vocal range comes forth on "Ain't Misbehavin," but also on songs such as "Honey On My Grave," and "Breath Again" in unique and interesting ways. All her efforts provide the listener with a sense of passion, intensity, heartfelt emotion, and a bit of the rascality so evident in Gardner's live shows.

The playfulness that comes out in those live shows is most clearly revealed in Gardner's fan favorites "Caffeine" and "Ohio." You don't get any of Gardner's jokes on this CD(come on Abbie, tell us the one about the antenna wedding!), but her clever charms are wide open for viewing on these songs. What makes "Ohio" particularly fun is in the knowing that it was inspired by the first word Gardner came upon while watching TV - a song was born from a seeming nowhere.

Abbie Gardner is an accomplished musician as well, and her trademark dobro can be found throughout the various tracks of "Honey On My Grave." However, Gardner has also surrounded herself with an array of skilled artisans that are up to the task of keeping pace with her. Matt Munisteri, guitar, Peter Carr, banjo, Benny Rietveld, bass, and fellow Red Mollyer, Laurie MacAllister, background vocals, shine in support. Pat Wictor joins in on a duet to end the CD,"You Got To Move," that is a wonderful closing number to a great eleven songs.

Abbie Gardner is an incredible talent, vocally, instrumentally, as a songwriter, and through her presence. "Honey On My Grave" is a testament to all of those marks of skill that she possesses. I have my copy. Why don't you have yours?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Poem: Legacy


President Bush a leader only in name
Through stolen elections and manipulative game
Not up to the challenge and of limited mind
Comes off as stubborn, tone deaf and blind
He can't see his failings and will not shift direction
It's a misguided voter who still shows him affection

History will scribe him as the greatest of liars
He led us to war with illicit conspires
The "nukular" threat was completely a fiction
Fed by the money of an oil addiction
No link to bin Laden or the pain of September
A foe was created time revealed a pretender
Meanwhile, distracted from the real war unfinished
Our focus removed, though the threat's not diminished
Al Qaeda rebuilds in the Afghani wild
While Georgie gives slogans and a stupefied smile

Domestically speaking he's short-shrifted protection
Securing the homeland no concern post-election
Plants stand unguarded and ports are a sieve
Katrina revealed slight attention he'd give

He's stirred up religion as a means of dividing
Compassion he preaches, yet there's none he's providing
Portraying devoutness in his heart for a God
But it's 'nary much more than a Rove-made facade
Programs for needy he has slashed to the core
While the wealthy got tax cuts and he'd gladly give more
Decisions are made currying big business favor
When it comes to his cronies he will surely not waver

As the Leaker in Chief he defined his real making
If you're looking for values he sincerely is faking
The legacy forms as a man of small measure
Where heroes might lead he prefers time for leisure

He'll talk like a cowboy and pretend to be strong
His hollow bravado yields decisions all wrong
A compass-less captain on a ship undirected
He hides in the White House unaware or affected
Void of a conscience o'er the damage he's wrought
That's all there can be of a presidency bought

A verdict forthcoming is a must, I beseech
This time there is reason and a need to impeach
No sexual contrivance, but a betrayal of nation
Institutions longstanding he has brought desecration

I'd go on ad nauseam, but the image is clear
With George Bush in power there is too much to fear

Copyright SGW 2006