Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good Times

We’ve had a full but fun weekend here in the Kennedy house. Saturday was a full day at the farmer’s market for the two of us, but Saturday night we had the pleasure to go see one of my newer favorite bluegrass groups at the Riviera: Old Crow Medicine Show.

OCMS put on a great show with high energy alternative-country that mostly classifies as bluegrass but occasionally reaches into Hank Williams kind of blues ballads. OCMS is definitely “old school” string music, but done with a bit of a punk attitude. OCMS’s self titled album is a quality piece of work; excellent musicianship that carries on the deep traditions of mountain music into the 21st century. Folk music of the American south in the 20th century was steeped in faith, populism, local culture, love of place, a sense of both outrage and resignment over the plight of the southern poor, and the metaphors of great journeys and great wanderings . Like Johnny Cash’s “Man in Black”, OCMS sings about solidarity with the disenfranchised in “I Hear them All”. While many of the great country musicians have sun g extensively about battles with drugs and alcohol, OCMS plays the contemporary version of the same battle with songs like “Methamphetamine”, “Tennessee Pusher”, and “Tell it to Me”—exploring the great struggle rural communities face against the scourge of substance abuse. The band played with unprecedented energy, speed, and skill that kept the crowd dancing throughout the evening. OCMS mostly tours the south, so their concert here in Chicago was a special event which brought out fans from all across the Midwest who raucously sang and danced to all the great music. They didn’t sing any louder than when the band played their hit song, "Wagon Wheel"—a song I can listen to over and over and not get tired of. Like some of the best country music, it’s a song about struggle that makes you want to sing loud in with a defiant hope. It makes you want to cry but also makes you want to sing out with joy.

Even though we were out late on Saturday, we decided to get up early on Sunday to head north and spend the day in Wisconsin to see some old friends and take in some brilliant fall foliage. We worshiped with our family at Anchor Covenant Church, and it was good to be among them again. We admired the brilliant colors of autumn in Lake Geneva, took a drive through the country, took a little hike in the Kettle Moraine Forrest, and then sampled some cheeses on the way home—getting home just in time to watch the Seahawks embarrass themselves on Sunday Night Football yet again.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

How come I didn't know any of these activities (besides OCMS) until right now? I feel betrayed :) he he....

Sounds like a FUN weekend!