Wednesday, December 29, 2010

First Night Hazelton

The Homegrown String Band's last show of 2010 will be a Pennsylvanian New Years celebration. We will be performing 3 sets, (6:30, 8:15, & 10:00) at First Night Hazeton, alternating with Kabuki dancer Sachiyo Ito. Though this will be our last show of the year, it will also be a first  for the Homegrown String Band. Due to a previous engagement, our "Fiddle Fatale", Erica won't be making the trip with us. In her stead we have recruited our young friend and honorary "Homie" "Slim" Tim Hryvniak on bass and vocals. Tim has been playing with us on and off for the last year and is looking forward to his first road gig with the band. 

"First Night Hazelton is a community celebration of the New Year through the arts. It is an alcohol-free, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art, ritual and festivity.
First Night revives the ancient traditions of marking the passage of time in a present day context. It was invented by a group of civic-minded artists in Boston as a meaningful alternative to traditional New Years Eve revelry. Offered to the city as a finale to its Bicentennial events in 1976, it was also the beginning of a new tradition that brought the neighboring communities together through a joint celebration.
The objective of First Night is to recapture the symbolic significance of the passage from the old year to the new; to unite the community through a shared cultural celebration; and to deepen and broaden the public's appreciation of the visual and performing arts."

2011 here we come! See ya next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dig That Crazy Christmas

Happy winter solstice! Today is the darkest shortest day of the year, but we're about to turn a corner and brighter days are coming. Right? Till then "I'm crossin' my fingers and Praying' for Spring."

While I sit here listening to Brian Setzer doing his thing to the Christmas repertoire, I'm having a flashback to my days of slapping the ole doghouse bass with my good buddy Leon "Gizmo" Michaelson. It's been a while since our rockabilly band, The Flip City Rockers, hit the stage, but back in the late '90s and early '00s we had pretty cool little three piece combo that could really rock and swing. Anyway, I'm really enjoying this holiday album by Setzer with his big band, The Brian Setzer Orchestra. It's a very well done collection of classic and original tunes including, "White Christmas," "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch," and "Santa's Got a Hot Rod." Come Christmas morning I'll be ready for the traditional playing of John Fahey's New Possibility, but the 13 tunes on "Dig That Crazy Christmas" are a good soundtrack for the excitement leading up to the big day.

Dig That Crazy Christmas CD

Dig That Crazy Christmas Mp3

Merry Christmas From
The Homegrown String Band

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dean's Beans Free Trade Coffee & Gifts For Christmas

I haven't written anything for a while and our next gig isn't till New Years Eve First Night Celebration in Hazelton, PA. So I thought I'd take the time to put in a plug for our friends at Dean's Beans in Orange, MA. Remember fresh coffee makes a great gift for Santa and all his helpers. Dean sells organically grown free trade coffee as well as some unique accessories and gift items, including these reusable shopping bags made from recycled coffee bean bags. The bags are hand made by a group of Somali refugees living in Springfield, MA. Dean's ships pretty quickly by UPS, so I'm sure there is still plenty of time to order before Christmas. We just received a box of Marrakesh Express organic free trade coffee beans from Dean's and the UPS driver commented on how he enjoyed the aroma of the freshly roasted beans while doing his route. Maybe a bag of beans will find it's way into his stocking.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sun Oven Christmas Special For Homegrown String Band Fans & Friends

Special Homegrown String Band Solar Oven Package
I just got an email from Paul at Global Sun Ovens. He read my latest blog post and would like to offer a special package deal to Homegrown String Band fans and friends. He was already running a "Be Prepared for Christmas" solar oven package sale, but he has sweetened the deal for you.

Package Includes :
1 GLOBAL SUN OVEN (Retail Price $299)
2 Stackable Black Covered Round 3-qt Pots (Retail Price $10.50 each)
1 Set of Two Loaf Pans (Retail Price $11.35)
1 Set of Two Cookie Sheet/Brownie Pans (Retail Price $12.85)
1 Water Pasteurization Indicator - WAPI (Retail Price $8.00)
Free Shipping within Continental U.S. (a $29.85 value)
A CD with over 80 SUN OVEN recipes, cooking tips, FAQs, written & video operating instructions, a video on how the SUN OVEN works and emergency preparedness tips.      
Save $83. Only $299, for everyone else, but only $274 for you!

If you order by phone at (800) 408-7919 or on line at and use the discount code: String Band, Paul will take another $25 of the package price. $274 for the entire set, the combined savings is $108, which is an outstanding value.

When you order a solar oven from Sun Ovens International, you are not only helping yourself, you are helping raise the standard of living and improve the environment in third world countries around the world.

"Sun Ovens International is involved in solar cooking programs around the world. We are committed to decreasing the developing world's dependence on fuel wood and dung as the primary cooking fuels. This benefits the environment, raises the standard of living, and improves the health of the poor worldwide. Sun Ovens purchased in the US help to fund our work around the world."

This special offer is good till December 30, 2010

Solar Cooking in NY's Dark Days of December

When we were shopping for a solar oven last spring we finally settled on the Global Sun Oven. So far we have been very happy with it. It is very well made—the double walled construction (metal interior  and outer wall of plastic) seems to do a good job of retaining heat. During the warm spring and summer months the oven routinely reached temperatures of 350 degrees. Now that the days are getting shorter (dark by 4:30pm), and the sun angle is more acute, it is maxing out around 250 degrees. During the summer the effective cooking hours stretched from around 9am to 5pm, now we're down to about four hours of useful sunlight form around 10am to 2pm. The trees have lost their leaves, but with the lower angle of the sun we are still chasing the sunlight around the yard. In the summer the light would be blocked by the leafy canopy of trees, now it is blocked by tree trunks and neighboring houses. Today was a nice sunny day around 40 degrees, we baked an apple coffee cake. It will be interesting to see how the oven performs as the temperatures drop and the days get shorter. I think it would be pretty cool to wade out through the snow and pull out a steamy roast chicken.

Photo by Rick Jackofsky