Nothing Fancy-Video On stage at High Mountain Hay Fever Festival

” Nothing Fancy” is the name of this bluegrass band.

Titles are significant.

We didn’t drive hundreds of miles to Westcliff  to listen to Fancy.

Nothing Fancy, despite what they call themselves, serves us meat and potatoes, fresh vegetables from pa’s garden, cornbread,plenty of sweet ice tea, and a big slice of rhubarb pie.

These boys are slipping us a little bit of fancy, whether we want it or not,  but we aren’t going away from this performance hungry.

Getting our spirits fed is one reason we came to the Festival in the first place.






Colorado Brook–Video refresh yourself

Mother Nature makes her own music.

This little brook gently runs through the Alvarado Campground, following a path of least resistance on it’s way to join a larger river, and then, with that river, rambling all the way to the closest ocean.

Nature’s music refreshes, doesn’t ask for applause, or notoriety, recording contracts, or interviews.

Nature’s songbook is this little brook, wind moving through pine needles in tall trees on a cool clear night, a woodpecker carving his home inside a tree trunk, the rustling of brush as a brown bear scurries off the highway and back into the woods, waves coming into shore as the tide rises, hail hitting the roof of your car in a freak summer storm,deer antlers striking one another as bucks fight for dominance.

In a couple of days, I’ll hear fish songs at Hermit Lakes, breaking the lake’s surface as they greedily gobble dragonflies.

Back in Albuquerque, city melodies will be even more unique,staccato, complex. There will be horns, sirens,bacon sizzling in a frying pan, heavy equipment taking down condemned buildings, nail guns installing shingles, gunshots, light classic jazz in Starbucks, the sound of a well struck golf ball on it’s way towards the pin.

This brook is the music I’m listening to this morning.

Mother Nature, as hear it, is a very good composer.

Her songs suit my ears.



On Stage-Video Kody Norris Band

One of the more entertaining bands at the festival, playing numerous sets over the four days, is the Kody Norris Show.

The Kody Norris show features traditional bluegrass along with dancing, clowning around, comedy, and audience participation tossed in for dessert.

Wearing bright blue and red suits on stage,their group musicianship is high and all spirits under the big tent this afternoon are in fine shape.

Kody, who is soon to marry the group’s fiddle player, Mary Rachel, asks us in the audience for tips on making his imminent marriage successful.

One of the best audience suggestions is , ” She is always right. ”

Everyone laughs, when they hear this wisdom,except for the ladies. They all nod their heads in total agreement and give their husbands, boy friends and significant other stern looks. 

We catch the band several more times between Thursday and Sunday, and each performance is just a little bit different.

Another good tip for Kody, as a soon to be husband ,would be – don’t sing the same song too many times.

Variety is always needed in performing, regardless of what kind it is.


Greg’s Music- Video Greg Fishman Trio, Fountain Hills, Arizona March 2019, Live

Greg has been playing since he was a kid, a professional since his teens. He has toured the world, made recordings, teaches , creates instructional aids for aspiring musicians, promotes his music, travels extensively and is among the best at what he does.

His wife, Judy, is on piano tonight and plays professionally in the Chicago area. Tom, on bass, is a touring jazz musician who plays with with Lee Konitz but is sitting in tonight, much to our joy.

Listening to Greg is like standing next to pro golfers on the practice tee,watching them hit three hundred yard drives followed by wedge shots within a few feet of the pin.

Fluency, flexibility, precision, attitude, creativity, are required to make this jazz music, all in the right combination, like a spectacular chef salad at the world’s finest restaurant.

I love what I hear even if it is beyond my ability to even copy.

What’s possible to do on the saxophone gets a whole lot bigger after tonight.

It is humbling, but uplifting, to watch people do what they do better than most everyone else.

Seeing how far you can go with gifts you have been given is , for some, what life is all about.




Heckle and Jeckle Talking over the watercooler


These two questionable birds remind me of cartoon characters us kids watched on black and white television in the 1950’s, most often perched on a tree limb talking about crazy humans. They were, as they appear here, angular, opinionated, and had New York voices that were like a piece of coarse sandpaper rubbed over my cheek, and not gently.

Perched on a tiny end table in front of the Madrid, New Mexico Mine Shaft Museum, they, for the moment, aren’t gossiping loud enough that I can hear who they are roasting.

The Madrid mining museum is full of old rusted mining implements piled into one large open room, under a tin roof. Through an open doorway, I see old corroded machines that kept town mines operating in the 1800’s when lots of young men and painted women came out west to make their fortunes moving lots of dirt.

The curator of the museum, a gray haired volunteer woman standing by a manual cash register, talks in a mellifluous voice and explains, to an equally old couple listening attentively, how the town prospered in its heyday.

I can hear Heckle and Jeckle cackling right now over a really nasty human joke.

For some odd reason, I want to buy them and the fountain and set them all on a little table on my back porch in Albuquerque.

These two could really tell me, every day, funny, but true, stories about mining in Madrid, Mew Mexico, before and after the hippies came.

Watching humans all day is as funny as it gets.

The downside is that watching two birds spitting water in a pan rather quickly loses it’s charm ,even though it is a clever idea.

Kids Playing in the Water Fountain Hills Park, Fountain Hills, Arizona

This place is made for kids.

There are no sharp edges, nothing to scrape or cut, no nails, splinters, burrs or broken glass. The brightly colored posts can be walked around but are not easily climbed, colors are primary, and water falls from the triangular sails like a cool rain. The shapes here are organic and you can hide behind,or touch to your heart’s content.

Children’s voices are amplified and they are involved in their play, walking and running, under, and through the water. Their voices make a soothing melody. Besides the sails that give shade,there is a green sea serpent in the middle of this installation and a maroon lighthouse that gives the park its nautical theme. 

The kids are happy this morning, inquisitive, co-operative, playful.

Temperatures will rise into the nineties with no rain forecast for the next several weeks, and, if I’m a kid, I can’t think of a better place to be while my adults are acting like bigger kids somewhere else.



Music in the Park- Video playing the vibes

The need to make music is a human one.

By the Fountain Hills Park lake is an outside music area. In a tight circle are eight different music makers, You can hammer tubes, strike bells, bang on cans, waggle ropes that move noisemakers, make sounds to call the cows home.

All the instruments are unattended this morning, so, having the area, all to myself, I pick up a mallet and take a turn at one of them.

This must have been how these instruments were discovered. Some cave man hit a mastodon skull with a rib bone, and, to his delight, the first melody in the world was composed.

Hitting a small piece of metal with a mallet to get noise is easy.

What is hard is to make a combination of noises, in the right order, with the right rhythm, that sound like music.

Musicians have been wrestling with this conundrum since the dawn of time.

I make myself a little melody and have fun.

That is, I’ve heard many say, the point of music.



Nesting Bird- Video Arizona Home for Sale

In the front courtyard of a vacant home for sale in Fountain Hills, Arizona, a bird has made her nest in a God’s flowing locks..

She, quietly, doesn’t move as I peek through the house windows into sad, empty rooms where someone used to live.

By the time this house is sold, her eggs will be hatched, her babies will try their wings and fly away to start their own families,  build or find their own nests.

God’s, some believe, write our scripts and they write them intentionally with miscues, forgotten lines, improbable entrances and exits, all at the Director’s discretion.

Personally, I would prefer a long boring script instead of a short intense one, but God’s have a method of their own. I’m sure I have been given what I need instead of what I want.

If I could fly, I’d nest in this God’s gentle locks too and take my parenting as serious as this Mom.



Frisbee Golf- Video Fountain Hills Park, Fountain Hills, Arizona

Golf, as invented in the Scottish countryside, used sticks and a ball.

Those old guys hit for a distant hole dug in the ground and added traps and water and hazards to make the game even harder than it is.They created a rule book and came up with tournaments and prizes to keep competition interesting and playing the game seem more noble than it actually is. Hitting a small ball with a stick with a club head, and getting it to go where you want it to, is a devilishly difficult skill.

Frisbee golf, as invented in our time, has recently become popular with the younger crowd. There is a frisbee golf course around this Fountain Hills Lake and it features eighteen designated holes, some par three, par four, and par five. There are no traps but the goal is the same – get the ball around the course in the fewest amount of strokes, or throws.

These guys are practicing this morning for their Sunday tournament, and, by empty picnic benches, competitors are stretching, taking their frisbees out of Wal Mart tote bags and wiping them down with a clean rag.These two contestants tell me there are different sized frisbees for the different shots they have to make in a round. They let me try my hand and toss one of their frisbees at a close by practice hole they are using to warm up before the play begins.

I give a toss and manage to land the frisbee inside the little upright basket.

There is room in this world, I believe, for ” frisbee golf. ”

After a round of ” frisbee golf ” I expect all these ” golfers” will easily be found at their ” nineteenth hole. ”

Drinking predates golf by thousands of years, and explaining why your score was so high is easier with a cold beer, chips and dip.

Whether it is real golf, or frisbee golf, GOLF is still a four letter word.

Sports, of any kind, beat working any day of the week.




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