Van Wyck Gazette Finally, a magazine with personality!
Woodstock Luthiers Show
Danbury Hatters Peter Rae
Corey Stevens Interview Susan M. Bourret
Carol Nelson Falcone
Rhinebeck • Poughkeepsie • Wappingers Falls • Fishkill • Beacon • Newburgh
Winter 2013 Issue
2013 Invitational Luthiers Show Joseph Caplan
Mr. Caplan is our Publisher and Editor. His quest is promotion of local writers and their celebration of the Hudson Valley lifestyle.
Hudson Valley Music and More.. Mike Jurkovic
Mr. Jurkovic is our Special Features Writer. His first book of poetry Purgatory Road was published in 2010. www.mikejurkovic.com
6 We are a Full Service Realtor
Danbury Hatters Peter Rae
Mr. Rae is our History Writer. He edits the Quality Living@Home on behalf of the Ridgefield Visiting Nurses Association which helps seniors to live as independently as possible.
Our Passage to India Thor & Arlene Larsen
Mrs. Larsen is our Travel Writer and shares her photography of exotic locales while Mr. Larsen, an artist in his own right, is our Arts and Literature Writer.
And the Olympic 10 Gold Medal goes to..
Carol Nelson Falcone
Ms. Falcone is our Humor Writer and holds a BA and MA from SUNY Fredonia. Her first published book of humor is titled ~Smirk~.
Interview with 12 Corey Stevens Susan M. Bourret
Ms. Bourret is our Entertainment Writer and shares her exclusive interviews with superstars in sports and music.
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Hydroponic Systems Greg Draiss
Mr. Draiss is our Garden Writer and shares his vast expertise with hydroponic systems and horticulture in general.
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2013 Invitational Luthiers Show
by Joseph Caplan
What differentiates any custom luthier Teresa Williams in mini-concerts with built acoustic guitar from any typical â€œmusic acoustic or even electric instruments as companyâ€? mass produced instrument? built then featured by the luthiers. To Robert Baker Rorick, Producer of the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase, the answer is apparent and visibly on display at the Bearsville Theater/Utopia Soundstage annually since 2008.
A third subtle yet more commercial facet of the Showcase is the display of sponsor promoted wares such as Fishman acoustic amplification, Dâ€™Addario and LaBella strings. Stocks of rare exotic hardwoods, handcrafted A luthier transforms a blank of spruce into guitar stands and even restored or historic a molded acoustic guitar body. Whether instruments were abundantly displayed. based on ergonomics or aesthetics, the The outreach to the public in terms of shape is tuned to perfection, to resonate economic gain is measured by the boon to yet stay accurate to harmonics and both local merchants and other linked frequencies. To the uninitiated, one acoustic business owners such as music instrument guitar might not differ significantly from retailers, restaurants, lodges and inns. Not another. Yet, here is where art marries to mention the quaint yet vibrant charisma science. The blend of precise materials; of Tinker Street shops and galleries which lacquers, metal tuning keys, components attracts both Showcase performers, luthiers and strings, with artistic sensitivity plus and visitors alike. Always an opportunity to acoustic principles yields instruments of mingle with throngs from points south. extraordinary prowess in terms of beauty, tonal projection and extraordinary value. Many Woodstock luthiers such as Joseph Veillette and Harvey Citron have earned significant industry, consumer and peer recognition as both masters of acoustic and electric instruments. Others, such as Martin Keith, hone their precision build skills under the tutelage of luthiers then venture forth. Woodstock luthiers have proven the promise of strong and lucrative enterprise. While the Showcase attracts guitar builders from the East Coast, such as Ken Parker whose archtop graces our cover, upcoming West Coast builders such as Maegen Wells also display their acoustic masterpieces. A second most significant aspect of the Showcase is the performance by renowned artists such as John Abercrombie, Tony McManus, Al Petteway, Larry Campbell and
Ken Parker with his namesake guitar While many hyper publicized instrument makers such as Gibson,Fender or C.F. Martin predominate the commercial market at trade events such as the NAMM Show (National Association of Music Merchants) the significance of the Woodstock Showcase cannot remain understated. While many musicians have become synonymous with their instruments, so have luthiers with the quality and artistry of their masterpieces on display and invariably at live performance. The Woodstock Luthiers Showcase truly highlights the mastery of instrument makers nationally, provides a venue of live concerts, and promotes music education. A visit to Woodstock is sure to end on a high note. The Show is held annually at Bearsville Theater on Tinker Street and is very highly recommended. Our appreciation to show Founder/Producer Robert Baker Rorick.
CD Reviews RoseAnn Fino – RoseAnn Fino: Highland kid moves to the big city and gets cocky. Having played guitar all her life, she starts writing cool songs. Eleven of them are here, vividly realized and produced by Professor Louie and featuring the Crowmatix. ‘Boxed Wine’, ‘70’s Trousers’, ‘Packed Up’, ‘City Lights’, ‘Change My Mind’, and ‘You and I’ highlight a singer/ songwriter/guitarist that makes you look eagerly forward and well beyond her next eleven tunes. www.woodstockrecords.com The Trapps – Live At The Howland: This is what the sold out crowd heard. Really. I was there. I’m not coming at you half-cocked trying to sell the con. This is the Trapps Live At The Howland. May there be many more. www.thetrapps.net The Whispering Tree – The Whispering Tree, Go Call the Captain, The Escape: At once disquieting yet soothing, there is a hypnotic welcome to this Beacon duo’s altfolk. It can be heard in early flower on the ’07 EP –The Whispering Tree, 2011’s Go Call the Captain and this year’s matured,
Winter 2013 Issue
Hudson Valley Music and More by Mike Jurkovic
imagistic The Escape. Songwriter/pianist Eleanor Kleiner and songwriter, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist Ellie Brangbour create atmospheric textures of depth and light over which Kleiner’s classically trained, real time vocals settle into your consciousness. This is music to hear. www.thewhisperingtree. com The Slambovian Folk Society – Folk: I wouldn’t be surprised if the abbreviation TSFS weren’t the weird chords to some life-affirming song (think ‘Unusual Head’ or ‘Box of Everything’, ‘Alice in Space’ or ‘Pushing Up Daisies’) that meanders without hindrance in the Slambovian breeze. Or maybe it’s an odd T#F# tuning. Either way, this captivating ten-tune collection of folk covers, which includes ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’, ‘Sixteen Tons’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, and one Joziah original is just more psychedelic enlightenment from the freewheelin’ folks from Slambovia. www.slambovia.com
exception. Borough chanteuse flirts ‘n fawns with high-strung hot western swing to the betterment of all mankind. Do yourself a big favor and check-out last year’s fetching Sweet Talk, 2011’s acclaimed Darling, Oh Darling and the fun-filled Live Across the Mason-Dixon Line. www.misstessmusic. com and more.
Don’t miss Elton John’s The Diving Board: wherein Elton, lyricist Bernie Taupin and producer T Bone Burnett keep everything elegant and elegiac. Elvis Costello & The Roots - Wise Up Ghost: Costello once again sneering at the wankers with a killer band behind him. Kara Grainger – Shiver & Sigh: LA’s rising blues lady makes a stab at the greater audience she richly deserves. For jazzers, Chris Potter’s The Sirens, Eric Harland’s Voyager by Night and Miles Davis – Bootleg: Europe ’69. And then we have Paul McCartney – New - and perhaps this is the album that pushes Paul to stride onto Miss Tess & The TalkBacks - The Love the global theater not playing any Beatles I Have For You: She ain’t Hudson Valley songs. but she’s Brooklyn, ok, so we’ll make an
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Winter 2013 Issue
“Hatters Keep Lid on Staples” reads the headline in the Danbury (CT) NewsTimes on November 5, 2013. The story is about the Danbury High School girls’ soccer team, which defeated Westport’s Staples High School 2-0. Beyond the pun about the lid, the question is: why “Hatters”?
Da n bu ry H at t e r s by Peter Rae Zadoc sold. Conditions for hatting in Danbury were quite favorable. Hats were mostly made from felt produced from animal fur, and furry animals, especially beaver, were plentiful. Hatting also required a lot of water, and the Still River, which flows through Danbury, provided it. By 1800 there were about 50 hat manufacturers in the area turning out 20,000 hats per year. Hats were soon being distributed to urban areas, especially New York City. As early as 1802, one hatter was already reaching customers as far away as Charleston, South Carolina.
A quick browse on the Internet reveals that “Hatters” is the official nickname of all of Danbury High’s sports teams. Moreover, Danbury calls itself the Hat City and incorporates a derby hat in its official city logo. One hundred years ago a large electric sign was erected, proudly telling passersby for decades afterward that “Danbury Crowns 19th Century Growth: While steady the World”. Indeed, Danbury was, for over growth prevailed during the first half of the a century, America’s largest manufacturer 19th century, several factors combined to of hats. generate runaway growth in the second Revolutionary Hatting: Historians half. In 1852, a railroad line was built from generally credit one Zadoc Benedict for Danbury to Norwalk, where it connected to becoming, in 1780, Danbury’s first the main line between New York and Boston. commercial hatter. A descendant of one of Supplies including pelts could now be easily the eight families that settled Danbury in shipped from more distant locations, as 1684, Zadoc employed a journeyman hatter could finished products to retailers in New capable of making hats from start to finish, York and elsewhere. Expansion required plus two apprentices to help with the more more fur, and other kinds of pelts, especially time-consuming steps. Together they would rabbit fur from Australia, which gradually produce about twenty hats per week, which replaced locally produced fur.
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Also contributing to industrial growth was the invention of new and more efficient equipment. For example, a single forming machine introduced in 1845 could form 30 hats in the same time that a hatter could manually do one. Thanks to this and many other inventions, production exploded. Between 1859 and 1880, it doubled from 1.5 million to 3.2 million. In 1889 it reached five million, or fully one-third of all the hats produced in America that year. By 1900 production surpassed six million. In the work environment, the journeymen who made hats from beginning to end were gradually replaced by specialists such as formers, makers, finishers, wetter-downers and trimmers. Because continuing automation threatened their jobs, they formed unions relating to their particular crafts. The craft unions in Danbury and elsewhere learned to work together, and in 1896 formed the first industry-wide employee association, the United Hatters of North America. The Danbury Hatters Case: From the mid-1880s to World War I was a time of labor strife featuring a series of strikes, lockouts and boycotts. Most disputes were
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Most companies employed union members only, but some would hire nonunion laborers. One such “open shop” was the Dietrich Loewe Hat Company. Retaliating for Loewe’s use of non-union labor, the union in 1902 organized a boycott against the distribution and sale of hats made by Loewe. Backed by other hatmakers, Loewe countered by suing the union, claiming the boycott was illegal based on the Sherman Anti-trust Act passed by Congress in 1894. This legislation had been designed to prevent businesses from acting illegally in restraint of trade, but the companies’ lawyers believed it applied to unions as well.
into the 20th century, the seeds of its demise were already being sewn. Recurring labor strife was an important factor. More important was a reduced demand for hats. Early automobile riders were less inclined to wear hats because hats would either blow away in an open car or were not even needed if the car was enclosed. Soldiers returning from Europe after World War I were also more likely to go hatless. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, hats became a luxury. Demand shrank further and manufacturers cut production, laid workers off, moved to other cities, and/or closed altogether.
The suit progressed through the courts until, in 1908, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Loewe. Since Loewe had taken the unusual step of seeking judgments against individual union members, some 240 union employees were thus put in jeopardy of losing their homes. They were saved only after the unions organized two special member contributions to pay off their judgments.
After World War II, a growing European trend to going hatless spread to the United States. Some say President John F. Kennedy delivered a knockout punch to the industry when, at his inauguration in January 1961, he chose to go bareheaded instead of wearing the traditional top hat. One by one, Danbury’s remaining hat factories continued to close until the last one shut its doors in 1987.
settled when the two sides tacitly recognized that new hat orders, which were seasonal in nature, needed to be filled. But one, called the “Danbury Hatters Case”, had to be settled by the United States Supreme Court.
20th Century Decline: While Danbury’s hatting industry continued to prosper well
Former Mallory Factory Building
Mallory Building with Factory in back
Danbury’s hatting heritage. A six-story factory building on Rose Hill Avenue houses the Fairfield Processing Corporation. When the Mallory Hat Company built this factory in 1919, Mallory became Danbury’s single largest hat manufacturer. An older Mallory building adjacent to the “new” factory also remains today; it houses Kingswood Cabinets. Lastly, on nearby Oil Pond Road, a factory building complete with a smokestack has been converted into condominiums.
While Danbury’s hatting industry is gone, it’s not forgotten. The Danbury Museum and Historical Society, 43 South Main Street, contains many interesting photographs of the times, plus a video presentation detailing the hatting process. Next door, the John Dobbs House has been turned into a hatting museum featuring examples of the kinds of hats the city’s hatters produced for men and women for well over a century. Both facilities are well worth seeing when visiting Hatting Today: Little remains today of America’s Hat City.
Scott Russinoff, M.D.
Winter 2013 Issue
Our Passage to India by Arlene and Thor Larsen
India was the most difficult trip we ever embarked upon. The streets of the cities are crowded with all manner of humanity and animals, and no one seems to be in charge. The odd thing is that no one suffers road rage and there is no shouting or horn honking as no one seems to mind. Clearly defined, asphalt-covered roads are almost non-existent. Most roads are filled with enormous ruts, with large clouds of dust swirling up and around the open cars and buses. One of the most disturbing sights was the low hanging bundles of electric wires from pole to pole distributing uncertain electricity to the masses. While the hotels are modern and attractive, the electric service isn’t always working, so it is not totally unusual for the water to stop and the lights to go out as you are in the middle of a shower at the end of a long day. However, India would qualify as the most exotic venue we ever traveled to and the most unusual culture we had ever experienced. The diversity of religions, languages and ethnicity of the people adds richness to the culture. This diversity translates to a dazzling array of styles in the architecture and the art of the nation. The nature is beautiful (once you leave the cities) and the colors that you see out in the countryside are extraordinary. The gardens are painstakingly planned and the flowers lush and brilliant. The most vivid colors of all are the colors of the women’s saris, especially out in the country, walking along the roads and out in the fields. The material and the extraordinary detail on the saris is just like nothing we ever see in the west.
To experience the true essence of life on the Ganges hire a boat just before dawn to see the sun rise on the river when people release hundreds of paper floats on the water (with flowers and lit candles). As the sun rises you can notice the faithful coming down to the river’s edge to perform their daily rituals. A constant somber sight along the river is the funeral pyres that burn day and night and the bodies wrapped in shrouds waiting their turn. To die and be cremated in Varanasi is a dream to every Hindu. Hindu scriptures profess that the water of the Ganges can help your soul on its final journey to freedom and salvation. The state of Rajasthan is called the ‘land of kings’ (once the home of 18 princely kingdoms) and is still rich with magnificent palaces, forts and bazaars. Beautiful Jaipur is called the ‘pink city‘ because its main buildings are made of pink sandstone. It is fitting for this busy and attractive city to be the capital of royal Rajasthan.
The people are a delight to deal with. Often they speak perfect English and are more than helpful and hospitable to perfect strangers. An absolute must on a trip to India has to be a visit to the sacred city of Varanasi located on the west bank of the Ganges River. All Hindus try to make a pilgrimage here to perform rites of passage and rituals. For four miles the west bank of the Ganges is lined with temples, ghats (sets of steps) and crematoriums where the faithful pray, wash clothes, bathe, and burn their dead.
The thrill of seeing Jaipur in an open ‘tuk-tuk’ cart as your driver swirls and jostles you amongst the cars, camels, elephants, and such, is an experience you think you could not survive. Just as you stop marveling at your ability to overcome all the chaos, animals and your broken-down vehicle driven by a mad-man in a turban, your guide has another new experience for you. He
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Taj Mahal - Photo by Thor Larsen convinces you that the only way to get up the hill to see the magnificent palaces and gardens at the famous Amber Fort is to do so by elephant. Now that’s a ride you don’t forget! Luckily our mahout was a calm and reassuring young man that promised he was on intimate terms with this elephant (he had grown-up with him) and he was well cared for and very safe. As we ambled up the hill on our benign pachyderm, we passed the stunning gardens and towers of the huge complex of palaces, temples that make up the Amber Fort. It was built by Man Singh I (1621 – 1667) with lavish rooms, halls and temples that are decorated with ornate carvings, silver doors and stone work, and other Hindu works of art. It was challenging to take in all this art and history along with elephants, snake charmers, and monkeys that surround you in the court yards of the Fort. Certainly the most breath-taking site you will see in all of India has to be the world famous Taj Mahal. Often referred to as the most beautiful building in the world, the Taj is located in the city of Agra, in the center of India (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) on the banks of the Yamuna River. Our experience in viewing this masterpiece of architecture was heightened by approaching it at dawn as the blue-white haze of morning slowly lifted to reveal a dreamy image of this massive monument of beauty. Nothing can prepare you for the incredible scale of this icon. Rudyard Kipling called it “The embodiment of all things pure.”
Sweeping down from the North, the Mughals brought Islamic merchants, artists, preachers and scholars with new ideas, art and architecture. The enlightened Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, built this stunning mausoleum as a sign of his love and devotion for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal and the two of them are entombed here. Much of its brilliantly white marbled walls and ceilings inside and out are hand carved in floral designs called pietra dura. This art of marble carving depicts flowers, vines and leaves that have been inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones of turquoise, lapis, carnelian, etc. It is supposed to resemble a garden paradise as described in the Islamic holy book, a perfect image of the hereafter. Many of the walls have been delicately filigreed to give the illusion of a veil surrounding the tombs. The whole complex is encompassed by fountains, gardens and pools of water to reflect the images and give a feeling of coolness to the intense heat and sun of India. This edifice dedicated to love and devotion cost 41 million rupees and l,l02 lbs. of gold to build and took twenty thousand men twelve years to complete, being finished in l643. What a perfect Valentine. Khajuraho is a tiny little town in the state of Madhya Pradesh (in the middle of nowhere) with a stunning collection (25) of ‘kama sutra’ inspired and decorated temples. These Hindu and Jain temples were built by the Chandela dynasty (between the 9th and l0th centuries) and because of their remote location, they were spared being ravaged by Islamic raiders. They remained hidden in a forest for over 700 years and were only discovered in l838 by an English engineer. These ornate temples represent the high point of North Indian temple art and architecture and are embellished with spectacular stone carvings of erotic scenes of gods and goddesses, sensuous maidens, dancers, and warriors. These ‘naughty’ depictions have rendered Khajuraho a very popular architectural attraction with tourists. Having said that, the workmanship is amazing. India left us wanting more. We want to see more of those exotic and lavish temples, more of the grandiose forts, the national parks, colorful bazaars and Nature of Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadu in the South. India is a dreamy and magical place and we highly recommend it.
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Winter 2013 Issue
And The Olympic Gold Medal goes to... by Carol Nelson Falcone
So I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine when I mentioned how exciting it is that the winter Olympics are here again and who doesn’t love the Olympics. With great spunk she said, “I hate them – there’s always crooked judges, bomb threats, cheating, and boycotts… it’s all fixed and corrupt.” Hmpff… I never thought about it that way before since I’m typically a little bit more upbeat than my obviously grumpy cat friend, but decided to do a little research on the topic out of curiosity. I found out that the U.S. boycotted it in the 80s, the Soviets in 84’, the North Koreans in 88’, and so forth… then the Canadians got into a spat with Taiwan one year and they wouldn’t let them play … and the Germans and Japanese were punished for a couple years and told to stay home after everyone spanked them in World War II … took quite a bit of schmoozing before everyone let THEM back into the sandbox. Then there are the ever popular cheating and drug scandals and who tested positive and were stripped of their medals. That’s been a hot button for a great many countries with humans and animals alike apparently. Waterford Crystal, the Irish Gold Medal Winning horse in Show Jumping, was stripped of his medal for testing positive for drugs in the 2004 Olympics. Can you believe that?! I can’t help but get a vision of this stallion smoking up in his stall declaring Mary Jane to be the best part of his organic diet. Oh, and who could forget the whole Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan rivalry with the whole knee beating and shoelace fiasco
of 1994 … or the year the Chinese tried to pull a fast one and that cute little gymnast was stripped of her bronze medal because she was only 14 and not the minimum age of 16. Lord, it’s enough to make you want to get all the countries together, put that “Chariots of Fire” movie on, and wrap it up with a group hug and everyone agreeing to get along in the spirit of sportsmanship … yadda… yadda….kumbaya… smores all around. I actually get over the moon excited at the Olympics, myself, enjoying every triple axel, half pipe, giant slalom, and curling moment. I remember all the wholesome goodness of it all. As a child I grew up loving Dorothy Hamel and Suzie Chapstick among others. I took up skating and skiing to be just like them. I’d ooooooh and ahhhhh over their sparkly outfits, cut my hair like theirs, and put stickers of them on my backpack. The athleticism alone deserves respect because unless you can bobsled faster than a bullet, fly on skis off a jump that could scare the hell out of most of us, or effortlessly spin on your skates a kajillion times without puking, ya best give kudos where they are due. The fact that these people spend years dedicating their lives from sun up to sun down perfecting their sport is inspiring. I can’t commit to chicken or hamburger for dinner and they’re out there skiing in blizzards down a mountainside with the abominable snowman in hot pursuit. So I’m in awe of these Olympic competitors. I do have one Olympic story I like to spin to family members around the fire pit now and then. A few years back I interviewed Ukrainian Figure Skating Olympic Gold Medalist, Oksana Baiul
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for an article. (whew – try saying that mouthful three times fast) Hers was an inspiring tale of beating the odds having been orphaned after her mother’s death in her pre-teen years. Then a year later her grandmother (who was left to raise her) passed on as well. She was found living at the skating rink when a skating coach finally took her in and after years of training that frail little girl won a Gold Medal despite the challenges she’d faced. So, now an accomplished woman, she sat before me shivering in the cold after performing in an outdoor rink and asked me what I wanted to know while joking about being Russian and loving vodka but that it didn’t keep her warm. I asked her to tell me how it felt to achieve such an enormous accomplishment -- but to my surprise she wanted to talk about men and why she still hadn’t found the “one” yet. I laughed at the thought that even Olympians put on their leotards one leg at a time and how everyone wants that elusive gold of another sort. She mulled over the thought of romance, rambling on about compatibility and such, when she asked me my thoughts on men and marriage. “Oh, sweetie, I’m relationship handicapped. I’ve been stood up at the altar three times by three different men… Believe me .. I’m the last one you want to ask about men,” I smirked. She burst out laughing telling me I’m the one that should have a gold medal. Wow. I made a gold medalist laugh and my sister snapped the camera at just that moment. It’s now proudly displayed on my fridge as if she was part of the family. So that’s my one Olympic story I tell.
Well, after all is said and done whether the Olympics are your cup of tea or not let’s enjoy the good things about the Olympics. The insurmountable odds of being the best at what you love, achieving your dreams and prevailing in the face of adversity, is something to be admired. The rest of us should get up off the couch, raise our drinks, and applaud their success. Carol Nelson Falcone is the author of the newly released book, ~Smirk~, and writes a blog at www.smirkme.com. Check her out on facebook and twitter for her Smirk-of-the-day comments.
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With a style and sound as thunderous as the rushing ocean waves, Corey Stevens captures and mesmerizes his audiences, whether intimate or vast in numbers, from the moment he steps foot on a stage right until his last encore performance. Always demonstrating his powerful conviction for playing and showcasing his talent and skill while gracing the stage for nearly 2 hours, his audiences never walk away without a precise sense of amazement, contentment and pure satisfaction. His trademark performances include abundant original pieces that clearly define his personal, successful songwriting skills along with an array of cover songs that typically leave his audiences awestruck. His uncanny resemblance to the style, sound and charisma of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn adds not only enthusiasm and party spirit to his audience but is a tasteful tribute to
Winter 2013 Issue
Interview with Corey Stevens
by Susan M. Bourret
the man that all in attendance agree “would affording him all the resources or make Stevie Ray proud.” opportunities he needed nor was it providing Born in a small town in Southern Illinois him with any true satisfaction toward fulfilling into a family of three children, Corey began his long term dream, Corey elected to shift playing guitar at the age of eleven when gears yet again and turned his dedication his grandfather bought him his first guitar. back to his love of guitar playing in his He accredits his career choice to a continued effort to make his presence in memorable performance he witnessed by the industry visible. His revised master plan Ike and Tina Turner early in the seventies; proved to be successful when Corey found a performance that would help clarify his himself performing with Jethro Tull rock dream and be the start to his long hard icon, Ian Anderson, and openly admits that it was definitely Jethro Tull and this journey in the years ahead. experience that opened the door into the The journey began with his graduation concert world for him. from Southern Illinois University where he The plan continued to unfold in early 1995 majored in music. Upon graduation, holding when Corey was signed by Eureka Records steadfast to his dream and putting his focus and released his first album “Blue Drop of on perfecting his guitar playing, Corey Rain”. It was the years that immediately moved to Hollywood where he worked two followed that brought much satisfaction to jobs by day and played in original and cover the young man from Southern Illinois with bands by night in an effort to make ends the release of a video, radio success, meet. However, he found himself more often extended tour dates, a second and third than not referring to Hollywood as an album and on stage performances with Paul “uptight scene”. Not a big fan of Hollywood Rodgers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top. How at all, he soon found himself questioning fruitful his determination and focus would his career focus. Recognizing the many challenges ahead of him and after extensive be toward his future diverse career in music thought, Corey decided to shift gears and and entertainment. revise his master plan to include a more The years that followed brought much dedicated focus on songwriting and a search success and visibility to Corey and his band for record companies to produce those very and paved the way for endless tour dates songs. Thinking this would produce a more and crowd pleasing performances still today. visible plan for success, Corey stayed Influenced by such astounding artists as focused on his song writing but again found Keith Richards, Chuck Berry, Albert King, himself very unhappy with the whole Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Rolling, Stones, Hollywood scene. Despite the fact that there The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Allman were record companies that showed an Brothers and Eric Clapton, Corey Stevens interest in his songs, Corey could not lights up the stage with not only his sound escape the uneasiness of the whole and talent but his effervescent crowd “Hollywood scene” which more often than pleasing presence. not left a very bad taste in his mouth. There is much to be learned and cherished Recognizing that Hollywood was not about the man from Southern Illinois who,
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Va n Wyck Ga ze tte following each of his memorable high energy performances, will graciously sign autographs, playfully interact with his fans and is every bit down to earth and approachable as one would desire. I have had the pleasure of interviewing the ever friendly but coy entertainer and artist in September and thought it only fitting to include that refreshing interview here as a favorable part of my East Coast introduction of Corey Stevens. So the typical first interview question my friend – when did you start playing guitar and why guitar? I started playing at age 11 in 65 when my grandfather bought me my first guitar. I think I credit my choice of guitar with that whole craze at the time; the Beatles and the British invasion. Actually before the Beatles came along I grew up listening to Chuck Berry and Elvis from the time I was 4 and 5 years old, but I really think it was that whole British invasion that got me hooked. As a child, what is the first song you truly remember hearing and maybe falling in love with? I can’t say that I can pinpoint one. I loved music even before I started playing guitar. I was a big fan of the top forty count down and Motown and pretty much everything else. So quite honestly I can’t name any one particular song but can remember so many that actually influenced me.
the effect on me was the same. So tell me who would Corey say inspired him most and influenced his own personal style? Probably Keith Richards because Keith was the person I really emulated most. When I moved to LA and was trying to figure out the music business I remember I wanted to play like Duane Allman and Eric Clapton and I guess I just didn’t have that lead guitar brain and so I realized that Keith Richards was that someone I could really latch on to. While in LA I really wanted to be like Keith Richards play guitar and be a co-song writer. Then I also got into Stevie Ray Vaughn and a lot of amazing guitar players but it always would come back to Keith Richards; the guy who plays guitar, holds the band together, keeps everyone’s spirits up and keeps all the crazy things together. When Keith is on stage he is always having fun and Keith always has his priorities in order. So Keith was definitely a big influence as was Stevie Ray. Who, if anyone, would you like to perform a duet with?
Lots of people but I would probably have to say Eric Clapton. I still listen to him all the time and really love his music. I was just listening to the “Unplugged” album the Have you ever been so moved by a other day. I just seriously like and admire him. There are others in the blues circle song that it actually made you cry? that I like a lot also. I also would love to do Yeah I am sure there were many times something with Lucky Peterson the blues when a song affected me that way especially guitarist. like when you are going through a break Tell me Corey, if you were not a up. Like the song “It’s Over” - I thought this musician, what would you be doing with is going to be that song for all those people your life today? who are going through a break up … break up songs have such an effect on everybody That would all depend on the financial including me. For me when I was going needs. If I did not have to worry about through it there was a different song, but money, I would do a lot of building. I work
a lot on my house and over the years I have learned to do an awful lot of things. Realistically that is what I would do – just work on my house. When I was young I wanted to do everything. I wanted to be a professional baseball player, I wanted to be a professional football player, I wanted to be a teacher which I did become for a while and I even wanted to be a mechanic. I guess I just wanted to do everything and just not sit around and let life pass me by. My home overlooks Silver Lake and Hollywood and I built a gazebo that I am sitting in right now as we do this interview. I really am creative and have designed and built much in my life. Building has really become my way of regenerating. I don’t do tours any more where I go out for months at a time. I used to do that but now I kinda go out every other weekend; a little bit more so in the summer. I’m always playing guitar but if I get two months off I am apt to do more of this kind of stuff in order to refresh. I pretty much avoid getting burned out by being a carpenter. It also helps keep me in shape. I walk two miles a day, 5 days a week. I think being in shape helps make me a better musician, just like the Keith Richards influence all over again because continued on page 14
Winter 2013 Issue
Interview with Corey Stevens
by Susan M. Bourret - continued
Keith always kept himself in really good mean it. shape. I admit when Stevie Ray Vaughn died it OK lastly my new friend – when looking just about killed me. I will never forget that. back is there anything you would like to You never know sometimes why things have done differently in your career? happen but let’s face it unexpected things Yeah sadly I got into a lawsuit with a happen to all of us all the time. It seems record company that affected my career for like it’s the tragedies that we all seem to a bit and slowed my momentum at the time. remember most rather than the good times. The way it turned out was that they kept all I mean that people just can’t seem to forget the money but I got all my records and my the hurts and tragedies but luckily they tend publishing back. If it hadn’t happened I to define us all. would have gotten a lot bigger and my career would have taken off even more. Today I have complete control of my music so if I want to make a record, redo it, or use my music in a movie again I have that complete control. I like to lean toward the mindset of “no regrets.” I believe that the moment we live in right now is the result of all the mistakes we have made. Things are more than OK, I am healthy and here and maybe if something had gone differently in the past it could have been for the worse so I try to always go with the no regrets and
only applaud you on your overall accomplishments to date and believe your presentation to be quite charming and your high energy notable. I am indeed pleased to have shared this time with you tonight. I hope my readers share this same sentiment and that these moments I have shared here with you will arouse enough of an interest for them to want to learn more about you and listen to your incredible music.
Corey toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1997 on the East coast and hopes to tour here again in the near future. If his touring schedule brings him here to our East coast I would recommend my readers take the opportunity to get up close and personal with the charming talented gentleman from I thank you from the bottom of my heart Southern Illinois and share in the awestruck for sharing this special time with me and satisfaction that all of his audiences have for taking the time out of your schedule experienced throughout the years. to conduct this interview. I confess after Visit the official website of Corey Stevens talking with you today that you certainly at coreystevens.com and be sure to visit have an awful lot of life left in you. I can him on Facebook. I tend to agree Corey. Anyone can handle pure happiness in life but it is the hardships and tragedies that we are able to handle that truly define us and make us the people we are today and build our character.
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Hydroponic System on the Cheap! by Greg Draiss
I am planning on increasing the size of my indoor farm from itsâ€™ current 8 x 12 to something more monstrous like 8 x 30. A grow room of this size will require fans for ventilation and to eliminate hot and cold spots. Lights can use a lot of electricity but I am a fan of T5 and fluorescent lighting. The first test grow in the new room will be hydroponic root crops. I am fascinated by examples I have seen online of growers who are having success with potatoes, carrots, beets and other crops usually grown underground outdoors. For some reason I never though of growing garlic indoors nor potatoes for that matter. I always thought that tubers growing hydroponically would get root diseases from the constant contact with water. Apparently this is not the case. The web is loaded with videos and images and guidelines for growing root crops indoors in many different hydro systems. Carrots: It would be best to use coarse sand or perlite as a growing medium with an ebb and flow or flood and drain system as well. If you chose huge varieties with flood and drain, the growing bed should be
approach. Garlic can grow 18-24 inches tall and may stretch resulting in thin stalks under fluorescent systems. Lower leaves can turn yellow or fall off completely without enough light. Instead of positioning lights horizontally above the plant canopy garlic benefits from lights being placed vertically. Vertical light placement allows the entire stem of plants to receive the same amount of light. Light is not blocked by the canopy of plants in vertical lighting as it is when Deep Water Culture (DWC) may be the lights are placed above plants. I am looking forward to growing more best method for growing long varies of fresh veggies and herbs indoors this year carrots in a hydro system. Beets: A little easier than carrots because than I have in the past. Indoor growing is generally beets are small and round. Beets all about timing in my basement. I have to require less depth than carrots. Beets, rely on outdoor temperatures to cool down however, may suffer from splitting like enough to allow plants to grow. I do not air carrots if exposed to too much water on condition my basement nor do I want to. the surface. Beets may be a good candidate When it is still 70-80F outdoors my indoor for ebb and flow systems with a coarse grow room stays way too warm. On the growing medium to insure adequate other hand, since the basement is not heated it can get pretty cold down there in drainage. the winter. My plants rely on reflective Garlic: a good thing to try for homes with insulation and the lights to keep the room vampires over wintering in the attic. Garlic at temps suitable for growing. in hydro systems requires a slightly different as deep as required. The biggest obstacle to carrots in a hydro system is that they may split from excessive contact with water. I would suggest the Danvers half long variety or Tom Thumb carrots which are round. Deep containers or buckets are needed for the long varieties which can be an issue in ebb and flow systems. This technique will require a specific design of a setup, which may not be your cup of tea to figure out and build eventually.
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