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Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Bohm Book" By Barbara and Elsie Bohm

"Bohm Book"  

I recently received this lovely book of prayers in the mail and I just have to tell you about it.
Prayer, meditation, connection with a higher power
can provide a sense of peace and calm within one's life.
I myself, find that I pray every day, in one way or another.
It isn't always formal.  Sometimes I just utter a prayer under my breath
as I go about my day.

If your like me, or if you prefer a more traditional approach,
you have got to check out
"Bohm Book".
This little book is full of short yet powerful prayers that are easily read
 and easily understood by everyone. 
The prayers are short, sweet and to the point. 
These prayers are uplifting and positive.  You just feel good after reading them.

Barbara and Elsie Bohm, the authors of this amazing book belong
to Americus Methodist Church,in Topeka, KS.
 and their prayers have been spoken there. 
Many of these prayers have also been printed in the Topeka Capital Journal.
Getting prayers published in a major newspaper is no small feat.

One of my favorites is:

As the seasons come and go,
your love is constant.
Let us be thankful
and praise you.

As you can see, these are little inspirational prayers that lift you up, make you feel good,
connect you to a higher power, and provide hope.

An added bonus, is the way that the pages of the prayers in the book are decorated.
There is filigree, butterflies, and crosses on each page.
This book is not only wonderfully written but the artwork is exceptional;
from the cover to the inside pages.

Bohm Book is a delightful book.  Check it out on the Authorhouse site.
On my links sidebar, I also have their Facebook page listed.
Both Authorhouse and Facebook can provide you with more information. 

© Lydia Lowe  9/31/2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real

The Stiefel Theatre,  Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe  9/27/2011
LUKAS NELSON and PROMISE OF THE REAL . . .I didn't know what to expect going into this concert.  After having read the press releases and checking out the website, I knew that Lukas Nelson's music was all over the map.  He sings blues, country, rock-n-roll, jazz, etc., you name it.  I couldn't imagine what I was getting into.

The lights came down, tye-dyed peace symbols appeared on the black stage curtains behind the band's instruments, the drums began, and the band took the stage as they played John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance".  I knew that this was going to be something unlike anything I had ever seen, something very special.

Lukas played original music, country (on those slow country ballads he sounds remarkably like his dad, Willie Nelson), lots of 60's cover tunes (including "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones), rock-n-roll, blues, etc.  I enjoyed everyone.  On one song, a new one, Lukas forgot the words.  He tried to fake it while his bandmates just looked at him and shook their heads.  Finally he gave up and said he'd come back to it later.  He laughed while he explained to the audience what was going on.

I've heard a lot of cover bands play a lot of cover tunes but Lukas's cover tunes are nothing like I have ever heard.  He takes a cover tune and makes it his own.  On "Sympathy for the Devil" as well as a few others, it was hard to tell where the original music left off and the cover tunes began.  The music was so interchangable.

The band played for two and a half hours.  There were several standing ovations throughout the night.  And then the show was done.  Lukas and the band gave their all and I could tell that they were just about done in at the end of the night.  Everyone was tired.  But a final standing ovation came and the band took to the stage to play it out.  They played for another thirty minutes.  And the final song was the one that Lukas had tried to fake earlier in the night.  I could tell they were having fun and that was communicated to the audience.  No one wanted to go home.

After the performance, Lukas and Promise of the Real signed autographs and talked to those who stayed to meet the band.  They signed every single thing put in front of them, talked with every single person in line and took pictures whenever they were asked.  Every audience member who stayed behind to meet them was blown away.  National acts just don't do this kind of PR.  These guys are a class act!

Quiet Corral

The Stiefel Theatre,  Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe  10/27/2011

QUIET CORRAL . . .Lawrence, KS.  This group opened for Lukas Nelson although they were not originally part of the show on Wednesday night.  Their management company called and said they were going to be on the bill.  The Stiefel Theatre complied and you have an opening act.

This group definitely stands on its own.  They are terrific.  If you like the Beach Boys, you'll love Quiet Corral.  During an interview before the concert, when their sound was compared to that of the Beach Boys, they said that they took that as the highest compliment.

I got to sit in on their sound check and it was an amazing thirty minutes.  I loved every song and was looking forward to their concert.  I was totally unprepared for the actual show.  They performed a four-part drum solo on stage that blew me away.  Needless to say, it drew a standing ovation.  Unfortunately, that was also the end of their portion of the show.  

I would love to see a full concert with Quiet Corral.  This group is going places . . .  fast.  They are professional, their songs are all original and unique, and their stage performance is amazing.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blues Masters At The Crossroads

Blues Masters at The Crossroads
Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22
© Lydia Lowe  10/22/2011

Roy Head and Doug Macleod
DOUG MACLEOD . . .I really enjoyed meeting Doug on Friday night before Blues Masters.  He was the MC on Friday night and then he played a set on Saturday.  Doug has a brand new CD out called, "Brand New Eyes".  Doug won a Golden Note award in 1997 for "You Can't Take My Blues".

A fan of social media, he said that the world of music reaches a world wide audience now, almost instantaneously; with FaceBook, YouTube, and ITunes.  Now anyone anywhere can hear new genre's and discover talented artists that they might not have listened to or experienced without social media.  However, it is now possible for anyone anywhere to also create music and if they lack talent, they can adjust their musical stylings to reflect talent that isn't there.  Doug is all about honesty within the music, so he finds this a disturbing trend.

One of Doug's long time friends, Roy Head, wandered by as the interview was wrapping up.

ROY HEAD . . .is quite a character.  Roy played on Friday night.  He said he was going to do his thing and then vanish into the night.  Roy is quite a character!  Roy won a gold record in the 60's for "Treat Her Right".

"Still Treatin' Em Right" is Roy's new album.  When asked if he writes his own music, he said his attorney writes his music.  Then he laughed and explained that he was in a fight over music royalties with his record label and his attorney said that if Roy would record some of the songs that the attorney wrote, he would provide legal fees for free.  So, Roy did just that. 

Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear either of these gentlemen play during Blues Masters but it was wonderful meeting them.  Check out their websites on the internet for more information and free music.

While I was at Blues Masters waiting to interview Doug, I had a chance to roam around downstairs, back stage and upstairs at the event, checking out all the activity.  Upstairs there was an artist that was recording a song and the acoustics at Blue Heaven Studios are fantastic.  I'm sorry that I didn't get to attend the show on Friday and Saturday night.  Salina is really blessed to have this event held here every year.  Check it out online for more information.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Zack Busick

Metropolitan Coffee,  Hutchinson, KS
 © Lydia Lowe  9/16/2011

ZACK BUSICK . . . I had the chance to meet Zack on Saturday night and hear him in concert at Metropolitan Coffee in Hutchinson, KS. I also got to meet his friends: Elizabeth, Jacob, and Garret who sat in on several songs.

Garret and Zack
This act had some interesting points and at the same time some interesting needs. 

Elizabeth and Zack
 The show was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and Zack breezed through the door at 8:00 p.m.  He did no set up so there were no mics or PA system.  He didn't introduce himself but just commenced playing. Zack had friends join him to sing but he never introduced them.  Who were they and why were they singing with him?  It was never clear.  He brought a group of friends with him who whooped and hollared, asking him to play specific songs.  The audience was not familiar with the songs.  It wasn't until the last three songs that he introduced the titles and let the audience know he writes his own music.  And finally on the very last song he told the audience what prompted him to write the song.  He can play the guitar and can hold a melody but unfortunately the words were lost, I didn't understand a word he said.  The audience didn't know when one song ended and the next began so they didn't know when to respond.

Jacob and Zack
 Showing up early and setting up ahead of time would have been a good idea.  Zack definitely needs to utilize a mic.  He should introduce himself and give out information on where his music is available at, his performance schedule and other information.  Zack needs to introduce his friends, explain why they are there.  I thought this was a very unique idea, having the friends sit in and sing.  This is a strength that needs to be capitalized on.  I've never seen this before, it was new and different.  He needs to introduce his songs and explain what prompted him to write it.  He plays the guitar well enough but we need to hear the words of his song.

 Zack has a lot he needs to work on.  He also has some unique talents.  I hope he can get this figured out and put some of these suggestions to work for him.  I believe he has the talent.  Zack indicated during an interview after his show that he would like to record a demo and go on tour.  If he puts in the necessary work, I believe he can get to where he wants to be.

Christine Pechstein-Author, Life Coach

Metropolitan Coffee,  Hutchinson, KS
© Lydia Lowe  9/16/2011

CHRISTINE PECHSTEIN . . . I had the chance to meet Christine on Saturday night and talk to her about her new book, "The 7 Day Sermon" at Metropolitan Coffee in Hutchinson, KS.  Christine was conducting a book signing and meet & greet for her new book.

Christine is a life coach and the books she writes are a natural extension of how she lives her life.  She takes a lot of notes on all different kinds of topics as she goes through her day.  These notes form the basis for her books.  Organization is key.  These books are workbooks that help the reader organize their thoughts to achieve their goals.  You can actually write in the books.  You might say they are workbooks for your life.

"The 7 Day Sermon" is a book that helps you organize your thoughts and keep notes that are relevant to you during your Sunday church service.  It serves as a way to live the lessons learned during the sermon throughout your week and chart your progress, finding parallels within your own life. 

Christine has written several books, including: "Here's Your Chance to Pick My Brain" ( a collection of her Facebook and Twitter posts),  "Real Life Management", "Interviewing Is An Art", "Take This Job and Chunk It", and the newest book "The 7 Day Sermon".  Be sure and check out her books and her website.  It's listed in the links section of this blog.  Christine is working on a new book which will combine the teachings of her previous books into one.  Watch for it coming soon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stephen Millard

Metropolitan Coffee,  Hutchinson, KS
© Lydia Lowe  9/08/2011

STEPHEN MILLARD . . . I had the chance to meet Stephen on Saturday night and hear him in concert at Metropolitan Coffee in Hutchinson, KS. He was the second act of the night.  He followed Crawford and Salasin.

Stephen sang and played a wide variety of very upbeat tunes.  He writes his own music and he even sang a cover tune or two.  He plays guitar and accentuates that with a drum beat.  It's quite a unique sound.  When you go to his concert and you see him setting up with a guitar and a drum, it's hard to believe that yes, he is going to play both of those instruments at the same time.  

Although Stephen is a senior at McPherson High School, eighteen years old; he is putting his career together on his own terms and pushing forward going after his dream of a music career.

Currently he is on a mini tour of Kansas and Nebraska.  "Tours are incredibly hard to put together.  I think people think when I call that I'm just a kid and so I have to call back 5 or 6 times so they know that I'm serious", Stephen told me. 

Check out Stephen's Facebook page at "Stephen Millard Music" and find out where he'll be performing next and see his act in person.  There's free music to listen to on his Facebook page, too.

Crawford & Salasin

Metropolitan Coffee,  Hutchinson, KS
© Lydia Lowe  10/09/2011

CRAWFORD & SALASIN . . . I had the chance to meet Crawford & Salasin on Saturday night and hear them in concert at Metropolitan Coffee in Hutchinson, KS. They were the first act of the night and played before Stephen Millard.

Crawford & Salasin played quite a few folksy type of tunes.  Everything was very downbeat, quiet, and I thought the performance dragged along.  It was a rainy night, the place they were playing had very subdued lighting, and cozy, but I thought the performance was lack luster.  Both Crawford & Salasin can sing and play but it was disappointing that they never seemed to pull the audience together into their act.  They never played anything upbeat.  The music was good but didn't showcase their talent.

Lisa Salasin and Jess Crawford are both seniors at Central College in McPherson.  They listed Jason Mraz as their biggest musical influence and you can see that influence in the music that they play.  They have a CD out called, "A Place To Lay Your Head" and it features five of their newest songs.  Both hope to move to Nashville, TN after college.  Crawford & Salasin are not interested in a recording deal but simply want an environment where they can sing and play live music.  
Check out Crawford & Salasin's Facebook page at "Crawford & Salasin" and find out where they will be performing next and see their act in person.  There's free music to listen to on their Facebook page, too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ronald Radford-Flamenco Guitar, Arts Activist

George Smith Library,  Junction City, KS.
© Lydia Lowe  10/08/2011

What can be said about someone who is a world class musician, who has played all over the world
in front of audiences large and small, who feels his art deeply, so deeply that he donates free downloads
of his current CD and continues on with a tour playing for free after the money has dried up?

 On Friday evening, October 7, I just happened to be in the George Smith Library which really isn't a library at all but more of a venue.  There were tables and chairs all around in this beautiful room with leaded glass windows and highly polished, heavy mahogany beams.  Off in one corner was a bar area which was set up for a wine tasting (Sangria-a wine of Spain, among others) and included cheese, olives and a dip of some sort with tortilla chips.  The tastes of Spain.

The audience consisted of both young adults and older adults, men and women, all sitting around the tables
enjoying wine and snacks, talking together.  The tables and chairs provided a close interaction among the audience that just can't be duplicated when an audience sits in rows.

The sound check was first, which was as interesting as the actual show.

Then the show began.
Ron kept us all entertained with tales of his life, the history of Spain, the history of Flamenco music, Gypsy lore, lifestyle and moral lessons learned.  In between all of this, he played Flamenco music.  I felt like I was right there, in Spain, living among the Gypsies.  He encouraged audience participation so that the audience became part of the show.  He played for two hours and then it was time for an intermission.

   At the intermission there was more wine and snacks.  Time for the audience to talk to those that were seated at other tables.  Ron signed autographs and CD's and talked to the audience on an individual basis.

Back from the break and we were all transported back to Spain.  For the finale, Ron played the song that had started him off on his journey of a lifetime.  It was beautiful and he played with such passion.  Ron got so involved while he played that he was transported to somewhere other than the room we were all in and he took the audience along with him.  To witness someone be so completely transformed and lose themselves so totally in what they were doing was awe-inspiring.  There was this hush that fell across the entire room as everyone felt that same sense of transformation. 
It took all of us a while to come back to the venue, back to Kansas.

Actions speak louder than words.  Ron had made commitments to come to Kansas for concerts and teaching engagements which he continued to fulfill even though the money for these spots had dried up.
When I think of all of the children, teachers, school faculty, and concert goers that were able to see his performances on his tour through Kansas, plus all the others who are influenced by speaking to those attending Ron's performances, and then I think about all of these people who might have been denied this opportunity, it makes me very sad.  Who knows what lives were changed simply by the exposure to the music and Ron's tales of Gypsy life, the lifestyle of Spain, and his personal history, his can-do attitude.

I know that my life was changed by attending this concert and I do not see my life the same any more.
After this concert, all I want to do is go to Spain.  I think about it night and day.  During Ron's last song I
could literally see the crooked, winding streets; the stucco houses perched precariously on the hillsides; the wrought iron balconies; the spontaneous parties that break out for no reason in out of the way places.  I hope one day to travel to Spain and see all of this first hand.  And this is something that would have been lost to me had I not had the opportunity to attend Ron's concert.

This photo turned out to look more like a painting.  I thought this was a fitting close to this review.