Grand Forks photographer Michael Bogert gets around. Enjoy these shots from the latest Blues on the Red and North Dakota Museum of Arts concerts and bird antics in Minnesota lake country, among others.
After a long struggle with Alzheimers disease, Glen Campbell died this week at the age of 81.
Of all the celebrity interviews I’ve done, the two I did with Glen Campbell are among my very favorite. For openers, it’s always as surprise that a star of his caliber was willing to talk with little, old me.
For some reason, the first interview we did with him took place fairly early in the morning in advance of a show that night in Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks. Perhaps he wanted to hit the golf course, I don’t know.
After the interview, he invited us to have breakfast with him at the Holiday Inn coffee shop. I headed for a table in the middle of the room. But he said, “Let’s sit over here.” A table in the corner where he sat with his back to the room. I remember thinking that’s what fame is. Avoiding too much attention.
Having breakfast with Glen Campbell is not the worst way to start a day. He was especially proud of the lineup of his show that night, which included John Hartford, who wrote one of his biggest hits “Gentle on My Mind.” Also now gone. And Jim “Spiders & Snakes” Stafford, another fine entertainer, very much alive in Branson, Mo.
The show was incredible. Did Glen Campbell ever do a bad one?
A couple of weeks later when tour was over, I got a handwritten note thanking me for the interview. Pure class.
Years later, I talked with him live on television when he was appearing at the Spirit Lake Casino near Devils Lake.
MTV had just aired a “warts and all” Behind the Music documentary. The warts included his drug abuse and the very public spectacle that could only be described as his tramping around the country with Tanya Tucker. I had no choice but to ask him what it was like to have that sort of dirty laundry aired so publicly. Now clean and sober for many years, his nearly perfect answer, “I know what I did. It’s between me and my God.” Next question.
I will always admire Glen Campbell’s openness and honesty. His talent and showmanship speaks for itself. A wonderful voice. A tremendous guitarist. A truly great entertainer.
A visit to Medora, N.D., can be memorable. Grand Forks photographer Russ Hons was there this past weekend, taking in the Medora Musical, a Tigirlily concert and the awesome sights of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Here are just a few of the images that caught his eye. (Check out more photos from Russ Hons here.)
Usually during Fourth of July week, there isn’t a lack of outdoor things to do in Grand Forks. Here are a couple of events — the Christopher Paul Stelling concert at the outside garden at North Dakota Museum of Art and the annual downtown fireworks display — that caught the eye of Grand Fork photographer Michael Bogert.
While digging through a box in my basement this week, I made a discovery that pleased me to no end: my old CD of Shawn Colvin’s “A Few Small Repairs,” something that I thought was long lost.
It is the 20th anniversary of the release of this Grammy winner, and I’d seen the announcements on Colvin’s Facebook, so this was on my mind. You can read more about that special release on her web page.
Her album helped me get through a very rough patch in my life. Through the magic of the internet, I am able to listen to a digital version on my laptop, but it was nonetheless very cool to hold my old relic in my hands and put it into my car for repeated listening. I know all of the lyrics and sing along with abandon.
Many years ago, I took my daughter to the Telluride (Colo.) Bluegrass Festival, and Colvin was on the billing. Alas, she had to cancel due to an illness. A few years ago, I won tickets in a Prairie Public Radio drawing, and my husband and I were able to see her (with Steve Earle) at The Bluestem Theater in Moorhead, Minn. It was a mighty fine concert.
“You get just what you get
The simple truth is always the best
C’est la vie what’s done is done
There’s somebody for everyone”
The Facts About Jimmy, written by Shawn Colvin
Little did I know that in later years I would marry a Jim! Perhaps that “one” clue to the alchemy of our marriage.
Saturday was quite the day. If you follow my blogs, you read my take on the re-opening of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with a couple of dozen photos.
From the Walker event, I went to Westminster Presbyterian Church and continued my artful day with songs in an inaugural event that I hope will multiply throughout this great land of ours.
Song: “A Bridge is Stronger Than a Wall” by Emily Feld.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced a shortage of hope in the last few months, and I refuse to “take it” sitting down. In fact, I’m taking a stand and singing, which isn’t difficult as I’ve sung in choirs as a child and in a German secular choir when I lived in Europe.
The first Justice Choir sponsored by WPC was a mixed group of about 200 people from the Twin Cities with a rehearsal in the morning and performance in the great sanctuary from 1 to 3 p.m. It wasn’t just about singing songs of hope, peace, love, human rights and freedom, though.
Song: “Another World is Possible” by FLOBOTS.
Thoughtfully organized by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu (won-dih-MAWG-nee-you), our director of Choral Ministries, among others, it also featured a dialogue with Tesfa and Nekima Levy-Pounds, activist, attorney, former law professor at St. Thomas University and currently running for mayor of Minneapolis. But she didn’t mention that.
They spoke about social justice, speaking out when we see injustices and taking a stand.
Song: “Love is Love is Love is Love” by Abbie Betinis.
Everyone present received a Justice Choir Songbook containing over 40 new and familiar songs, co-edited by Tesfa and Abbie Betinis, a St. Paul composer who coincidently was compiling a songbook to be used across the country for a national movement of justice choirs, and Ahmed Azald, a pianist and conductor from Minneapolis.
New songs will be added to the songbook in the coming weeks and month.
Song: “Resilience” by Abbie Betinis.
Tesfa said Saturday that the free songbook will be a resource for choirs across across the country due to special arrangements so other congregations, choirs, schools and communities will be able to download it soon.
I’m proud to be part of a progressive church that sponsors events such as this. In his forward to the songbook, WPC pastor, Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Anderson wrote, “The longing for a just and peaceful world is not limited to any one religious tradition or practice. People of faith and good will everywhere want to build a new future. Westminster invites you to join the movement for justice wherever you live. There are others who will work with you. Together we can transform the world.”
If you’re interested in joining the choir or starting one of your own in your own state and/or community, go to the Justice Choir website www.justicechoir.org.
Song: “Sing for Justice” by Ar Had Y Nos.
Grand Forks photographer Russ Hons and his wife, Paulette, attended the Happy Harry’s Ribfest in Fargo on Thursday night at the Fargodome. There were over a dozen different places to eat, all serving their own flavor of barbecue. Ribfest is a people watchers’ dream as Russ found out. Here are some of the shots he took of the crowd and the entertainment, Fargo band Tripwire and 1980s rock band Night Ranger. The event continue today through Saturday. (Check out more photos from Russ Hons here.)
Leonard Slatkin is one of the world’s most famous conductors, but for the last several weeks, he’s taken on a much different role in the music world, as jury chairman for the Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Part of his duties have been to announce which of the 30 pianists would advance from each round and which young musicians would not. Late on Monday afternoon, I sat down with the maestro at Bass Hall for a wide-ranging interview, parts of which will appear in the Star-Telegram on Saturday. But it’s the last thing we discussed that I wanted to share here.
In a few hours, Slatkin said, he would announce the Cliburn’s six finalists.
“I thought about what I was going to say tonight when we announce these awards,” he said. “I never know in advance what I’m going to say but I kind of frame it out. Again, I’m trying to talk to the contestants. It will probably be something about taking us all out of the crap that is going on in the world.
“It’s not a political thing,” he said. “What was it Saturday, when we finished here about this time? We went to the hotel. I thought I was going to go to dinner and turned on the TV and there’s London. Yesterday, same thing. I go back and it’s Portland, Oregon. And then it’s Orlando.
“This society of hate and violence. But what happens. You come here (to Bass Hall and the competition.) And whether you advance or not, the pianists have brought people to a place in the world where we’d all like to be. And that, to me, is the importance of music in today’s society. It’s why we all need to advocate more for the culture. Culture is going to be one of the things that is going to help ease the tensions in the world.
“Everybody does it in a different way. But with all the arts, everybody gravitates to something. Last year when I went to Istanbul, I heard the call to prayer, and it’s sung. It’s about music. And look at the event in Manchester yesterday. All those people came to get over their grief through what? Through music. So it has this ability to do that.
“This hall the last couple of weeks, it becomes a safe haven. It’s a place where we preserve what is great. We don’t destroy it. If any pianist can get that message through, they’ve accomplished even more than winning this.”
I recently took a solo two-way road trip from Bloomington, Minn., to Grand Forks, N.D. It’s 323 miles each way via Interstate 94 and I-29. I celebrated my daughter Kristi’s birthday one day and headed back the next.
To say this drive can be monotonous is a gross understatement.
So as usual, I brought along a handful of music CDs to ward off drowsiness, which next to crazy drivers is the greatest road risk for a slightly older guy like me.
Even with my new hearing aids, I play music turned up loud. REALLY LOUD. Should Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony performed by the Vienna Orchestra be heard in any other way?
But another CD I also listened to in both directions was one I had created myself via iTunes, eventually misplaced, and recently found. It consists of favorite Bob Dylan songs.
It begins with a song he covered in 1962 that he didn’t write, but which turned out to be his first hit: “House of the Rising Sun.”
Dorette Kerian rolls her eyes when I tell her “If not for you” is the theme song of our nearly 25-year relationship, especially the lines, “Without your love I’d be nowhere at all. I’d be lost if not for you.”
Three more of the songs are about love and family: “Lay, Lady, Lay,” “Forever Young” and “Sara” (reflections about his divorce).
Religious songs: “I Believe in You” and “I Shall Be Released.”
And perhaps most powerful, songs written about loss and death: “Things Have Changed,” and “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’.”
And especially the lyrics of the 2005 song “Not Dark Yet.”
“Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear. It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”