Jim Scott sings "I am Waiting"

Recently my church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brazos Valley, had the good fortune of hosting gentle troubadour, Jim Scott for an evening of songs and stories.

Jim played for many years with the Paul Winter Consort, and has performed with Holly Near, Peter Yarrow, and a host of other musicians. These days, he travels the world as an advocate for the environment, serving as a key figure in the Green Sanctuary program, for church congregations to become more environmentally conscious.

He also writes and performs for kids!

One of the kindest, smartest, nicest and most talented folks you’ll ever meet. Here he is, singing his beautiful “I Am Waiting.”

You can find out more about Jim at his website: www.jimscottmusic.com.

On any given Sunday, you can bet that at least a handful of UU congregations around the world are singing his song, “Gather the Spirit,” which can be found in the UU hymn book. It’s one of our favorite hymns.


By |February 11th, 2011|Books, Family and Friends, Music, UU church|Comments Off on Jim Scott sings "I am Waiting"|

"Closing Time," by Lyle Lovett–A Little History

Back in the late 1970’s my parents, Pat and George Childress, opened a club here in College Station called Grin’s. At the time it was one of the only music venues in the entire Brazos Valley, and we had some wonderful artists perform there. One of those artists was a very young, shy Lyle Lovett, who was a classmate of mine at Texas A&M.

Ken and I both worked at the club in a variety of positions. Ken mostly ran sound, and I cooked, cleaned, and tended bar.

One night Eric Taylor was performing, and right at the end of the night, as he was finishing up his last set, I started closing down the bar by filling the beer coolers. I confess, I was not paying any attention to Eric even though I love his music. The plain old fact was–I just wanted to go home, so I was hurrying to get things set up for the next day so that I could leave. After all, I had been there for many hours and I still had homework to do. Could you blame me? Anyways, while Eric was singing, Lyle came over and asked me to please stop so that the noise from the bottles wouldn’t be so obtrusive. But instead of pausing to listen to Eric’s beautiful voice, I just brushed Lyle off and kept on keeping on.

I didn’t realize how upset Lyle was until he wrote “Closing Time,” and so there you have it. It’s not one of my proudest moments, even though I’m happy that Lyle got a powerful, provocative song out of it.

I learned something important that night. [...]

Spinning fire

Hi everyone–thought you might enjoy this live-action video of my oldest son Jacob playing with fire.

Calloo, callay!

By |September 10th, 2010|Family and Friends, Music|3 Comments|

An Accordionist, Painted Cows & Flame Pits

Meet Big Joe Burrell

Big Joe was a much loved Burlington jazz/blues saxophonist/singer who passed away in 2005. Big Joe Burrell played in both B.B King’s and Count Basie’s band and moved to Burlington, Vermont in the mid-70s. Here he’s playing his sax forever on Church Street in downtown Burlington.

Ken and I spent a happy afternoon there after we left Montreal. The city elders have very wisely closed off the streets, creating an open air mall lined with shops, bistros, and… cows.

Plus, there is an assortment of street artists, one of whom is the very talented Leanna Therese Inzalaco. We loved watching her perform on her beautiful red and brown accordion.

Isn’t she amazing? Even the dogs agreed!

We loved it that Church Street is named Church Street for the elegant and historic Unitarian Universalist church at the top of the street. Happy 200th birthday! That’s 200, people!

And okay, my last video from my stay in Vermont is too good to not share, even though I didn’t catch the entire song, and the filming is shaky [...]

Montreal–Art, Music and Graffiti

From Burlington, VT, the drive to Montreal is only a couple of hours long, so Ken and I climbed into our nifty rent car and made the trek. Thanks to a suggestion from my colleague Tim Wynne-Jones, we stayed in the perfect hotel: The Chateaux Versailles.

It was in a great location, just blocks from the Museum of Fine Arts where we stumbled onto a fantastic exhibit about the famous jazz trumpet player, Miles Davis.

And all up and down Sherbrooke Ave., there were “Art Mooses”:

Montreal is a very walkable city. We spent a large portion of one day strolling down the Canal de Lachine, starting at the Atwater Market, and ending up at the old wharves.

Here I am walking in an alleyway between two buildings in the old port.

Here’s our live-action walking tour:

Oh how I loved Babar en Ville! The folks there were so nice…and they even had a copy of Keeper in the window.

By |July 29th, 2010|Books, Family and Friends, Music, Travel|Comments Off on Montreal–Art, Music and Graffiti|

Jacob at the Classic Cafe

Ken and I love it when we get a chance to catch one or both of our sons, Jacob and Cooper, on stage. So last week, I decided to take a break from the on-going desk-clearing-project-that-is-my-life, and slipped up to Roanoke, TX where Jacob (aka Son#1) plays on Thursday nights with his friends Andy LaViolette (guitar) and Patrick Bubert (drums).

Visiting the Classic Cafe was a pleasure. The ambience is great, the food is delicious, and the folks in charge are the bestest in the westest.

The art by Carolyn Riegelman is so vibrant that it makes all of my color glands hum.

See for yourself…

Wherever you may be, it’s worth a drive to Roanoke TX to visit The Classic Cafe.

And please tip the musicians. Their mothers will thank you.

By |July 7th, 2010|Books, Family and Friends, Music|Comments Off on Jacob at the Classic Cafe|

Laurel Johnston–Unraveling a Sweater

I’ve met a LOT of book reviewers, but music reviewers? Not so much. So it was my good fortune to be able to sit down with Laurel Johnston of Denton, TX, who reviews bands for www.mydentonmusic.com and to talk shop for a few moments. We met at the Classic Cafe in Roanoke, TX.

Laurel’s reviews and articles have become wildly popular on the Denton music scene.

Some of her photos:

However, her writing interests aren’t limited to music, so she’s begun a blog so that she can spread her writing wings: Naughty Modesty.

Laurel comes from a writing family. Her mom, Lissa Johnston, is a successful children’s book author. So, Laurel’s skills could be genetic. I’m just saying…

Rumor has it that she’s getting ready to pack up and move to Los Angeles. Look out, you Angelenos! One fine writer is coming your way.

P.S. What was with those cicadas!?!

By |July 5th, 2010|Author interviews, Books, Music|Comments Off on Laurel Johnston–Unraveling a Sweater|

Gotta Read–Peachland Elementary School

You may remember that just this past May I visited Peachland Elementary School in Newhall, CA. What a wonderful school! And just to emphasize that fact, look at what they’ve done!

Go Peachland Elementary!

By |June 18th, 2010|Books, Music, Visiting Schools|Comments Off on Gotta Read–Peachland Elementary School|

Fiddler on the Porch

On Saturday, May 29th, my sister-in-law Sandi, and my brother-in-law Gary, threw a party on the lawn of their beautiful country house outside of Brenham, TX. They invited The Ruby Jane Show, featuring 15-year old Ruby Jane, to perform for their guests. This little gal can set your boots a’scootin’. Playing with her was Steve Carter on rhythm guitar, Will Dupuy on bass, and Trevor LaBonte playing lead guitar.

There was a whole bevy of relatives on-site, including my mother-in-law who was celebrating her ninety-first birthday! That’s NINETY-ONE, people!

Here’s a photo of my hubby Ken with his brother Daren. Daren is the inventor of the Red-Eye Musical Instrument Preamplifier, which apparently every performing musician must have.

’twas brillig, y’all!

Mockingbird Books, Julie Larios, and a heavenly horse

Last night brought a major storm to the Seattle area, but in between gales, I was able to trek up 1st Avenue to the Union Bar and Restaurant for delicious dinner of mackerel and fava beans.  My taste buds were smiling.

Better even than the food, however, was this amazing painting.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

Well, I found out a little about Adde Russell.

It turns out that she’s the artist for the cd covers for Death Cab for Cutie:

Can I just say that Adde Russell has a new fan!

After Wednesday night’s storms, Thursday greeted Seattle with sunshine.  In between school visits my intrepid tour guide took me to Mockingbird Books in Greenlake to sign stock, and who should I find there but one of my all-time favorite people, poet Julie Larios.

And then, to seal the deal, Julie and her handsome husband Fernando, invited me to dinner at their house:

There you go, life is good!