Friday, August 28, 2009

Maria Muldaur finds her "Jug Band" roots in new CD

Maria Muldaur
I had the wonderful pleasure of befriending legendary singer Maria Muldaur last year during the 2008 presidential primary and through a mutual friend and Obama supporter, Brent Turner and Joel Jaffe of Studio D in Sausalito, CA. 

For those of you who have not heard of Maria, you may have heard of the classic song Midnight at The Oasis, it was she who wrote and sang it in 1973, around the time Lars, Bill, and I were kids using BART to get around.

Last year the Marin County dweller created this cool song, a tribute to then-Senator Barack Obama called "Yes We Can"; I created this video around it for her:

After Obama's presidential win, Maria, now in her 60s but looks to be in her 40s, continued to perform concerts at local venues around the Bay Area. Today, she sent an email annoucing that she's returning to her "Jug Band" roots in her new CD and fall concert tour called "Maria Muldaur and her Garden of Joy". Maria explains:

After years of exploring many different forms of American Roots Music, I recently decided to return to my original roots – Jug Band Music! As some of you may know, I first recorded in the early ‘60’s as a member of both the Even Dozen & the Jim Kweskin Jug Bands. Here, in my “Garden of Joy”, I have reunited with several of my former jug band mates and recorded many tunes from the classic jug band era (late ‘20’s early ‘30’s) as well as two hilarious, newly penned gems by Dan Hicks.

Special guests on the album include John Sebastian, David Grisman, Taj Mahal, Fritz Richmond, Suzy Thompson, my sensational new discovery Kit Stovepipe (who plays absolutely amazing ragtime guitar!), and that illustrious ultimate hipster, Dan Hicks!

Muldaur says the new album is right for the times. "Jug band music," she explains, "which tends to be lighthearted, humorous and zany, emerged out of a period of hard times as a way of lifting people’s spirits."

The concerts start tomorrow Saturday August 29th with a performance in Seaside, California, then at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival September 19th. All other dates can be seen at her website

California's economy shrinks; Schwarzenegger smokes

It's agreed that the planned March 2010 closure of the Fremont New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant is a huge economic loss, but the elimination of 4,700 jobs only scratches the surface of the problem.

That coupled with the stoppage and possible closure of the Chevron Richmond refinery, which already cost 1,100 jobs and we have a total of 5,700 direct jobs lost and over 29,000 total people thrown out of work or unable to get work in a San Francisco Bay Area that can't afford this economic hit at this time.


Yeah. 23,000 jobs. See, there's a multiplier impact with business operation such that an office or a manufacturer contracts with other businesses for supplies and services.

The action of a small business owner walking down to the local store to buy printer paper is part of the multiplier effect because that small expenditure helps the retailer run his or her business. Or that person's employee - even if it's just the owner - eating lunch at the local cafe helps keep it a "going concern."

It's well-known amoung urban planners that manufacturing jobs have larger multipliers than service jobs. The Alliance for American Manufacturing reports that for every one manufacturing job lost, there are four more lost in other areas of the economy. The Bay Area has been losing such "basic industry"  jobs  - and energy counts here - at a frighteningly rapid pace.

No Sense of an Economic Emergency

What bothers me is there's no one acting like there's an economic emergency with the exception of California Senator Diane Feinstein, who called the plant's loss a "devistating blow" to California. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seems not to care, stating:

"Today is a sad day in the history of Fremont as California joins the ranks of states adversely affected by the bankruptcy of General Motors and the worldwide collapse in demand for automobiles. ... We continue work already in progress ... to ensure appropriate employee severance, proper environmental remediation and assistance in transforming the site to alternative uses."
Alternative uses?  Like what? A parking lot?   The governor says nothing of retaining and establishing jobs at the wage levels the NUMMI workers have today.   Awful statement to release.   The word "Jobs" does not appear once in it.&

Meanwhile the Toyota jobs are to go to Canada and Texas, which means that perhaps 50 percent of the employment opportunities are leaving America at a time when we're supposed to reverse that trend. If the Chevron plant closes, the jobs move south to Southern California, but it spells curtains on the Bay Area's set of jobs for low skilled workers.

Objective: Jobs for everyone

I'm really sick of the idea that everyone has to be trained to be a brain surgeon, then sit back at home waiting for a job and hoping that more in the population have something wrong with their skull. After World War II and into the '60s America had the objective of full employment - a job for everyone, period. You don't hear that kind of idealism expressed by politicians today.

That must change.

It has to start with California rediscovering economic development and doing whatever it can to save jobs and build on them. Governor Schwarzenegger needs to show the fire in the belly necessary to do this. Right now, the only fire he give off comes from one of his expensive cigars.

Which, I might add, are not made in California.

Perez Hilton calls Miley Cyrus "Disney Slut"

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 Perez Hilton and Miley Cyrus 
Wow, leave it to Perez Hilton to dish out the back-handed complements, this one to Miley Cyrus. Just when he's praising the teen singing star for her "mature" singing direction, the acid-tongued celeb blogger can't help but toss out an insult that I guess he thought was going to slip in under the radar:
"We can't believe we said all that! Oh well, check out the Disney Slut's latest song, When I Look At You, below."
Yikes. Well, my God I have no idea what he's referring to...

Ok.. I do.
Perez Hilton just shot down Disney's recent attempts to place distance between the Mouse and Cyrus by issuing this statement ran by and
"Disney Channel won't be commenting on that performance, although parents can rest assured that all content presented on the Disney Channel is age-appropriate for our audience — kids 6-14 — and consistent with what our brand values are."

Plus, Perez has been all but in Miley's PR face, insulting her whenever he got the chance:

"She just seemed to do nothing right. She started off poorly with pictures, leaked from her cellphone, of her in the shower. Then the Vanity Fair shoot, the trashing of her fellow costars, dating a 20-year-old when she's only 15 . . . but, whether we like it or not, she's a superstar. She's very crafty at getting our attention."
But all that aside, all of this elaborate marketing plan to get our attention wouldn't work half as well if Miley Cyrus didn't have a voice that's out of this world. Folks, you've got to hear her sing When I Look At You.
Until I did, and frankly due to a visit to Perez' blog, I really didn't think much of her talent; no more. Miley takes this song into orbit. Take a listen, please:

Meanwhile, Hilton's making nice with Cyrus. After hearing her other latest song "Obessesed" then posting a link about the song (calling her "Slutty" in the process) on Twitter he tweets:

@mileycyrus Got it! Damn that's good too! Damn you, Cyrus! I'm starting to become obsessed with you! Ha. In a good way! xoxo

And yes, Perez is right on - Miley's rocking the house!

That Miley takes all of his playful(?) insults in stride - thanking him on her Twitter page - says much about her and the realization that it's all one big socio-economic game.