Here’s to the Hound Dogs on National Dog Day

National Dog Day

Dogs have been a part of my life since I was a child, so it’s only fitting that they have their own day. Certainly you couldn’t ask for better companions, and one characteristic dogs share with musicians is their love of the limelight. Although some dogs might be camera-shy, many are just the opposite and happily ham it up for the lens. (Gracie, my Newfoundland, was happy to pose for the cover photo) “Hound Dog” (1952) –“Big Mama” Thornton As man’s best friend, dogs are the subject of many songs, although one of the most memorable and often recorded tunes, … Read more

Follow the Lefse to Decorah’s Nordic Fest

Nordic Fest

On July 27-29, 2017, Decorah, Iowa hosted its annual celebration of all things Norwegian, aka Nordic Fest. I drove up to this city in northeastern Iowa on Saturday, the final day of the festival,  to see what made this celebration special. This year marked the 51st year of the festival, which turns downtown Decorah into a mini version of Norway. Water Street, the main thoroughfare lined with interesting shops and restaurants, is blocked off from vehicular traffic. Booths offer traditional Norwegian foods such as lefse (a potato-flour flatbread cooked on a griddle), kringla (soft buttermilk cookies), rommegrot (porridge made with … Read more

What’s so great about the “Live Music” experience?

Bill Allred's Jazz Ban

Since this blog is based on the attendance of live musical events, I probably should address the basic question: Is it really worth the time and money to travel to a concert or musical performance when you can listen to the same performers and music on CDs, streaming media, or youtube? My answer:  YES! My adult-aged kids and I have had this discussion, and they don’t seem to feel that attending a live performance offers any benefits over listening to a recording or watching a DVD or youtube video.  Perhaps it’s because of the travel time involved in simply getting … Read more