Here's what's new at Rambles.NET, your best source on the Internet for
roots and traditional music, fiction, folklore and movie reviews!
Go to http://www.rambles.net
to access the new edition and much, much
more! (Our archives contain more than 12,000 reviews, interviews and
other bits of excitement.) See you there!
Folks, can you spare a dime?
A message from Tom Knapp
When I'm not editing Rambles.NET, I spend much of my time writing for
the local daily newspaper here in Lancaster, PA. In December, I wrote
a story about 4-year-old Hannah Garman, an adorable girl from Lititz,
who has glioblastoma multiforme. That's an aggressive brain tumor in
her cerebellum, and the prognosis isn't good. For Christmas, Hannah
had only one wish: lots and lots and lots of Christmas cards.
I'm pleased to say my story on Hannah spread, and at last count Hannah
has received more than 160,000 cards -- and they're still coming. She
and her family have also received money to help with their bills and
gifts to brighten Hannah's remaining days.
Hannah just recently turned 5, and I did a follow-up interview with
Hannah's father, Darin. He said he worries about all of the other
children who have serious illnesses who weren't fortunate enough to
get the kind of attention that Hannah did. "We have enough," Darin
told me. "We've been blessed. But there are others out there who could
benefit from people's generosity." Instead of running a campaign to
raise money or buy toys for Hannah, he suggested, people should run
one to benefit the children at a local hospital. They could do it all
over the world, in Hannah's name. He couldn't think of a better way to
honor her spirit and bravery.
So that's what my wife and I are doing.
We're asking anyone who has been touched by Hannah's story to make a
contribution; to make it easy, we've set up a page with links to the
stories about Hannah, as well as a link to Darin's daily journal
providing updates on her condition. We've also provided a mailing
address and a PayPal link for anyone who wants to donate to this
cause. Whatever money comes in will be used to make a bulk purchase of
stuffed animals and toys, which will be donated in Hannah's name to
the children's cancer ward at Hershey Medical Center, where Hannah has
received much of her treatment. If enough is raised, we'll split the
donations between Hershey and another local hospital.
You can find it all right here.
Thanks for your support and generosity in Hannah's name. We now return
you to our regularly scheduled reviews.
Maria Misgeld, Olaf Misgeld and Olle Lindvall give a taste of Sweden
on Margits Sanger. "It is too bad that most English listeners will not
know what the songs are about, since this is a pretty good CD. Maria
Misgeld has a clear, trained voice that is direct and not overly
mannered. Olaf Misgeld on violin and viola and Olle Lindvall on guitar
add sympathetic and warm accompaniment that at times sounds a bit
classical. It is spare but effective," Dave Howell says. "There is a
bit of a mysterious air to much of the music and it is often
melancholy, features that are not uncommon in Norwegian folk music.
Even if you do not understand the words, you can appreciate the
ethereal nature of the 16 songs presented here."
Kate Long and Robin Kessinger preserve their music on What We Do.
"What We Do is exactly what it says: what they -- Kate Long and Robin
Kessinger -- do in concert, in this instance at a county arts center
in Elkins, West Virginia. They sing Appalachian folk songs and Long's
in-the-tradition originals," Jerome Clark says.
"Long, a unique vocalist, boasts a lilting alto that, while not
calling up the hard nasal tones of mountain performance, manages to
sound authentic enough in its own way. It is a splendid instrument
that will not be mistaken for anybody else's," Jerome adds. "An award-
winning flat-picker who is also an effective singer, ... Kessinger
hails from a family well known to devotees of mountain music."
Jamison Priest has a few things to sing about the Dreams I'll Never
Know. "The inclusion of a long (more than 20 minutes) radio interview
at the end of Dreams I'll Never Know fits in with the whole and adds
more to the package as you get up close and personal with the members
of Jamison Priest," says Paul de Bruijn. "The songs here are connected
to each other by shared themes, but that doesn't mean each track isn't
complete on its own."
Erin Sax Seymour is making a change in her life. "If I told you about
a young lady who traveled the world as a documentary filmmaker and
then somehow made the leap to country singing/songwriting while based
in New York City, would you give her debut CD, Good Girl, a listen?"
Wil Owen asks.
"Erin Sax Seymour did just that back in 2007. Despite her exposure to
various cultures and ultimately settling in the Northeast, she sounds
like she has spent her entire life in the South," he explains.
"Granted, Good Girl is a very short CD, clocking in at just under 29
minutes. But there is not a bad track in the lot. If the lyrics don't
get your attention, I'm sure the music will."
Krista Detor takes us back to early winter for yet another Christmas
album -- but one that "isn't trapped in the familiar, doesn't simply
repeat the standard done-to-death carols and reassure us that this
holiday season will be just like the others," says Michael Scott Cain.
"No, Detor -- an adventurous musician -- offers us a group of songs,
mostly self-composed, that celebrate the season but still offer
something musically and lyrically. Her material is based on tradition
but has a newness to it, a freshness that is attractive and unique."
For more information, forget that it's February and take a look at The
Silver Wood: Wintersongs.
Anne Tenaglia has a lot to say about the Great Big Sea concert in
South Orange, New Jersey. "I've been to many a Great Big Sea concert
since my first in 1998. I can honestly say that, after 15 years, the
band still has some surprises in store for its audience," she says.
"The band has grown both musically and performance-wise and nothing
has been left by the wayside. Even with the new rock 'n' roll material
and changes in personnel, Great Big Sea did what they have been doing
for the past 15 years -- left the audience breathless and wanting more!"
David Stinebeck and Scannell Gill take a narrative view of a
historical figure in A Civil General, which relates the story of
General George Henry Thomas, perhaps the greatest officer in the Union
Army during the Civil War.
"Not only will this book refresh your memory of just who General
Thomas was (assuming you ever knew), but you might just get a little
more insight into what the War Between the States was like," Wil Owen
says. "This novel may change your opinion about some of the more well-
known personalities from this time period. Perhaps some are not quite
as great as history books from school would like us to believe."
Larry Doyle gets a rousing endorsement from reviewer Eric Hughes. "If
I were ever to be locked in a windowless room without food, heat or
air conditioning, and were forced to name, while held at gunpoint, one
book that is supposedly the most silly, stupid and not-to-be-
forgotten, brain-dead book I had ever read in my lifetime -- I'm
knocking on wood as I type -- I'd surely choose Larry Doyle's I Love
You, Beth Cooper," he says.
"Doyle's tale is actually quite funny, especially in what his rather
flat, one-dimensional characters say to one another. I found myself
laughing out loud, though not uncontrollably, quite a few times. And
that's really I Love You, Beth Cooper's sole purpose anyway. Coming
from a writer of The Simpsons, you really can't expect any more than
Anita Bunkley "has hit us up with yet another brilliant, well-written
novel" in Between Goodbyes, Renee Harmon says. "I was immediately
drawn into the story, marveled by the selfless sacrifice of a mother
hell-bent on making sure that her children have a fair chance at
life," Renee notes. "Between Goodbyes is packed with a tremendous
number of twists as the story unfolds that I guarantee you won't see
coming. I highly recommend this book, which should be destined for the
bestsellers list. And I am already looking forward to Anita's next
The Northlanders series gets off to a bloody start with Sven the
Returned. "Set in 980 A.D., it is rough-edged and brutal; the winter
cold bites as keenly as the Viking swords, and the lives of the
impoverished villagers are desperate and harsh. More interesting than
Sven's lone campaign against his uncle's forces -- and believe me,
there is plenty of swordplay packed in these pages -- is Sven's
gradual transformation over the course of this tale. I'll let you find
out for yourself where it leads, but it's probably not where you
expect it to go," Tom Knapp says. "There are weaknesses here --
anachronistic dialogue and an unsteady sense of the progression of
time among them -- but overall this is a grim, realistic-seeming
glimpse into the past that carries a punch."
Marcus LiBrizzi brings a genuine air of mystery to Dark Woods, Chill
"This slim volume ... collects tales from Down East Maine, a sparsely
populated and largely undeveloped region that is, to hear LiBrizzi
tell it, hopping with ghosts, demons and unexplained phenomena," Tom
"I usually include some hints of what you'll find in a book in my
reviews, but this time I'd prefer to let you discover it all on your
own. I don't want to risk giving away any clues that might reduce the
impact of LiBrizzi's narrative, which encompasses everything from
ghostly hitchhikers and sea captains to demonic spirits and a cursed
waterfall. But let me assure you, if you are prone to being spooked
anyway, don't even consider reading this when you're alone in the
house at night. The stories are legitimately spine-tingling, and you
will find yourself starting at every creak or shadow."
Miles O'Dometer has no fear of flying with Snakes on a Plane. "Snakes
on a Plane is about snakes on a plane -- pheromone-fueled snakes, that
is -- hundreds of them, all headed for passengers with fangs aglow.
And golly-gosh-gee-whiz if these snakes don't look like snakes, sound
like snakes, slither like snakes and strike like snakes, though to be
honest, it does seem they have an extraordinary talent for hitting
passengers right in their erogenous zones," Miles says. "Many reptile
experts have come forward to note that snakes on a plane would never
act like Snakes on a Plane. Of course they wouldn't. But most people
would. And that's the fun of watching Snakes on a Plane."
You think we're done? Hardly!! Come back for more next week.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]