Lars Gotrich, an NPR music dude, loves metal and weird music but also amazing Americana folk guitarists. Daniel Bachman was an early-twentysomething when he recorded this Tiny Desk Concert. And he is very impressive indeed. Lars explains:
His approach to the American Primitive style of acoustic guitar — a sonically vivid fingerpicking technique developed by John Fahey and expanded by the likes of Robbie Basho and, later, Jack Rose and Glenn Jones — is conversational and uplifting, much like the man himself. After a rousing performance of “Honeysuckle Reel” from a forthcoming seven-inch single, however, Bachman turned beet-red in the NPR Music office and said, “I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty nervous.”
He only plays two songs, although each one is about 7 minutes long. Lars says, “Strap on a pair of heavy boots and “Honeysuckle Reel” becomes an ecstatic dance tune or, at the very least, a foot-stomping good time.” And he’s right. It’s really amazing to watch him playing. He uses a thumb pick and the low notes are constantly going–an incredibly fast rhythm, in contrast to the slower melody he’s playing on the higher strings while finger picking. It’s a very pretty melody.
The second piece, “Seven Pines,” is slower and more reflective. It comes from one of two albums he put out in 2012). The simple melody “dives in and out of low-string chord crashes and tumultuous swirls of dizzying fingerpicking.”
The sound he gets from his guitar is really fantastic and while I don’t tend to listen to guitar music like this, I really enjoyed this a lot and would like to hear more from him.
[READ: February 3, 2016] Ava and Pip
Since Tabby and I loved Ava and Tacoocat so much, we knew we had to read the prequel Ava and Pip as well.
This book is set up exactly as Tacocat is (I know that this book came first but since I read the other one first I’m comparing things backwards).
There are diary entries and it starts with Ava on her first day of school. When she gets home she says that she is the only Ava in her class (which is frankly shocking as there are about 5 in my daughter’s grade). Then we learn all about the Wren family and their love of palindromes.
Bob and Anna Wren had two daughters named Pip Hannah and Ava Elle. And her diary entries wind up being chock full of spelled out palindromes (some obvious, others not).
And then we get to the heart of this book. Pip is the older sister but she is terminally shy. Ava is the outgoing sister, but she feels ignored by her parents. They always seem to worry more about Pip–which often means ignoring Ava–even though Ava has gotten a 100 on every spelling quiz this year.
One of the dramatic moments in the story comes when Mr Ramirez, the school librarian tells Ava about the town’s library story contest. Ava originally imagines creating a story with all palindromes in (called Senile Felines–I love it).
Before she actually writes the story we see some interactions between Ava and Pip. They seem to like each other although Ava is very jealous of Pip’s attention. But when Pip comes home crying one day, Ava decides to sand by her sister.
It turns out that Pip was going to have a sleepover party. It was already planned. But when a new girl, Bea, came to the school and advertised a boy girl party for the very same night. All of Pip’s friends bailed. And so, Pip, who had writers block about her essay, suddenly decides to write a story about a Queen Bee who steals people’s friends.
Interspersed within the plot are some wonderful word nerd games like the homonym game. (She had to bury a berry but a bee bit her butt). I also love that the librarian at Misty Oaks Library was named Miss Bright, then she married a man name Mr White. So Ava calls her Mrs (Bright) White.
Well, Mrs White has some exciting news about Ava’s story. It didn’t win, but it got honorable mention and she is going to meet a famous author (whom Ava has never heard of ). Better still, her story will get printed in this year’s booklet.
But remember how the story was unsubtle and was a bout a Bee and the mean girls’ name was Bea? Well Bea and her family live in town too. And her parents own the book store. It seems pretty likely that she’s going to see the story.
How will Bea take it? How will Bea’s parents take it? How will Pip ever get rid of her shyness?
This last question is actually a huge part of the story but there’s a few spoilers involved that I don’t want to reveal. But I will reveal the stages to losing your shyness because I think they are great and deserve to be out there for everyone to see:
- Week One: Smile at one new person every day.
- Week Two: Every time you see your reflection tell yourself “You are totally awesome”
- Week Three: Say Hi to someone new every day–kid or grown up.
- Week Four: Compliment One person every day–on anything at all.
- Week Five: Ask someone a question each day. Listen to the answer.
It’s pretty genius. And so is the story.
It was funny, it was full of dramatic tension and great word play (I love that there is a list of palindromes at the end of the book, too).
We enjoyed this book so much we decided we needed to find some other books by Carol Weston too!