Is it coincidence that on the same day this snapping turtle made its appearance at the pond, the kittens moved back up by the house and refuse to go out by the back fence where their food and shelter is located?
Here’s This is another look at the scene at the Honky Tonk in southern Illinois. The goal of the shot, in addition to portraying the performers, was to communicate something of what it’s like coming into a dark bar on a very bright, sunshiny day. I made this version monotone and grainy to cover imperfections in the original, poor focus in this case.
Although neither of these photos quite work, I like the potential photo here and will probably go back and work on it.
Inadvertently completing a live music filled weekend, I stopped in a honky tonk in southern Illinois, adding outlaw country style music to the alt-alienation rock and positive energy singer/songwriter genres I’d enjoyed the day before.
I’ve been going to southern Illinois honky tonks since I was 16. The drinking age was 19 back then, but as long as you looked at least 15 they generally wouldn’t card you, or were so lax about fake ID’s that you could pretty much scrawl one out with a crayon. The downside was that there was almost always some local tough looking to start a fight. There is a long history of young people from southern Indiana fighting their way through bars across southern Illinois. Mostly it was just what passed for good fun in that culture, but some places were worse than others. Old Shawneetown,for example, was notorious, and people actually died there. But generally, if you didn’t want to fight, which I sure as hell never did, you just had to be able to put up with a bit of provocation. Those with fragile egos usually couldn’t take it, and we wouldn’t bring them along again after the first time they got beat up. But if you could play it light, the bully would eventually give up and maybe even buy you a beer. Wanting to beat someone up wasn’t personal, it was just a way of life over there.
Anyhoo, maybe it’s not like that anymore. I still drop in from time to time, but I’m never there late, so I wouldn’t know.
These days, I like the live music and the crowds. The performers are typically guys in their 50’s who have been playing in classic rock/outlaw country bands since their teens and have gotten very good at it. The crowds are mostly older people who still party like they did when they were teens, but a lot of times there are actual young people and the dance floor gets full. Depends on the band. The one pictured above didn’t bring in the young crowd, but they were very good. Their performance of “Angel from Montgomery” that almost brought tears to my eyes.
On a sad note, the picture above may demonstrate another example of job killing technology ravaging the working classes in rural America. If you look closely, you can spot a drum machine and sequencer, meaning some poor drummer is out of work. Or maybe not. It’s possible that most of the midwest’s outlaw rock drummers who would be fifty-something now have long since died of drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning, or just can’t get out much anymore since they’ve cut down on prescribing opioid pain killers. Seems the drummers always lived the hardest.
The music scene around here has always been excremental, which I suspect is part of the reason the more creative young people can’t get away fast enough once they graduate high school. So when acts from Nashville and Brooklyn played separate venues last night, it was truly something out of the ordinary.
Of course very few people saw either of them, and my wife and I were the only ones to see both.
The Mystery Twins are Nashville-based guitar and drum duo with, unsurprisingly, a White Stripes vibe. They have something of a dark edge, with songs that tend to explore alienation and topics such as misspent childhood. They played the closing of a gallery show that featured Nashville artists.
As was to be expected, a loud alt band freaked out a lot of the New Harmony residents who had either never heard loud music before or had always fled that kind of noise as fast as they could.
I liked them, of course. I just wished they could have played a bar or other darker venue after the gallery show, and done their full show. They are probably the best band, by far, that has played in Posey County, at least since 1972. But New Harmony now has a Nashville music scene connection, so hopefully, there will be a lot more of that in the future. (note to the uninitiated, Nashville is not just Country Music, anymore. It has a thriving alt scene that rivals New York or pretty much anywhere)
That was followed by a concert by The Bergamot, a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter duo who are currently on a 50 state tour. They performed in a barn out on a friend’s property. It is a nice barn, often used for photo shoots, with good lighting and they brought in quality sound equipment, so it was professionally done. The barn swallows freaked out a bit, but I’m pretty sure they’ll get over it.
It all came about because my friend’s daughter worked for them in Brooklyn and, as they had a show in nearby Bloomington, they offered to come down and do one here.
Unlike The Mystery Twins, The Bergamot are very positive people who sing mostly happy songs. Although that’s usually not my thing, they are highly skilled, very likable, and it was an all around pleasant experience.
And there were actually a few young people at that show, though they were unusual for around here because they were talking about trips to, or stints living, in places like New York, L.A. Austin, etc. There is an overwhelming lack of that kind of ambition from most kids here, so it was refreshing, but I’m guessing they all came down from Bloomington or Chicago for my friend’s daughter, who has lived out in the real world and is very obviously planning to get back there real soon.
“In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.” — Chance
I moved the kittens from under the eve next to the backdoor to out by the back fence behind the garden by one of the brush piles and the compost heap. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the cats will have to go, probably sooner rather than later.
That’s unfortunate, as bringing life to the yard is the overall goal of the (non-photo) part of the project. When we moved here, half the yard was dirt and the weeds and small patches of grass in the other half were dying, Now we have a large garden and with a little progress each year, seem to have brought grass back as a permanent presence to most of the rest.
I guess I’m officially old now. I like to sit out back and watch the grass grow. Seriously, with as much effort as I’ve put into getting it to grow, I find watching it grow endlessly fascinating. And I like to sit out back and watch the garden grow. That’s enjoyable in the same way as watching the grass grow, but involves a lot more variety, plus it’s really nice to bring in baskets of fresh vegetables every day once they get going. And I like to watch the birds. I’ve brought in several bird feeders, so I see a lot of them. And it’s nice to see one of the snakes every now and then. I made two large brush piles. The snakes seem to like living there. Other animals, I think, too.
I’m concerned about the bees, but that’s a story I’ll save for another day.
From the My Own Backyard Project. Flowers are not really our thing. We started growing them just on the general principle that life in the garden is good, and flowers attract bees, butterflies and other insects. And they can be very pretty if you catch them at the right moment.
I’d guess this was taken in 2003. That’s my son in Prospect Park. He graduated high school last week.
He’ll be starting college in California in a couple months. I’m looking forward to the drive out. We’ll stop in Tucson, where he was born, and I thought we’d never leave.
This is a Hyssop plant in my backyard. Hyssops are known to attract honey bees. It’s Memorial Day weekend, the garden is full of flowers and the grass is full of clover, and I have yet to see a single bee. I’ve read that over 30 percent of the bees in the U.S. died this winter. But it’s been a little more cold and rainy than usual, and they may be late arriving because of that. We’ll see.
In other backyard project news, my wife saw a fox just past the back fence today, eating something, a squirrel she thinks. The kittens, I fear, may not be long for this world.