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SOUL SKA PIONEERS THE PIETASTERS New Album, 'All Day'

photo courtesy of Madison House- for the Grateful Web

Soul-ska pioneers The Pietasters release their new studio album, All Day, on August 21, 2007 (Indication Records / RedEye USA).  The release marks the band's first release in five years.  Produced by Todd Harris (James Brown), All Day displays an impeccably refined Pietasters: soul-drenched and in fine songwriting form. Expect The Pietasters' signature sound of skankin' punk rhythms and raucous vocal rumblings slowed down and sticky thick with the sounds of early Motown and Jamaican soul. The result is subtly nostalgic and enticingly fresh, offering plenty for both longtime listeners and younger underground music fans who missed the ska scene on the first (or second and third) go 'round. Indeed, there is something truly timeless about ska music; and who better to remind us of that than The Pietasters?

"This record is a version of what a van ride with us would be like," says The Pietasters' bassist and songwriter Jorge Pezzimenti of their soul roots, rock and reggae-inspired new album. All Day captures the high energy, brotherly camaraderie and attention to detail on which they've built their rock-steady name as an explosive live attraction.

The Pietasters bring their high energy live show, and their new material, to venues coast to coast this summer.  The current list of confirmed show dates is as follows:

June 28 River Street Jazz Café Wilkes-Barre PA

June 29 Grog Shop Cleveland OH

June 30 Mr. Small's Theatre Pittsburgh PA

July 04 Asbury Lanes Asbury Park NJ

July 13 All Good Festival Masontown WV

July 20 The Whiskey Annapolis MD

July 21 The State Theatre Falls Church, VA

August 10 Royal Lake Park Fairfax VA

August 11 Martin's Downtown Roanoke VA

August 16 Rock and Blues Concert Cruise Boston MA

August 17 Valentines Albany NY

August 18 The Chance Loft Poughkeepsie NY

August 22 Peppermint Beach Club Virginia Beach VA

August 24 Cat's Cradle Carborro NC

August 25 Ska Weekend-Old City Knoxville TN

September 5 TBA Albuquerque NM

September 6 The Clubhouse Tempe AZ

September 8 Clark County Amphitheatre Las Vegas NV

More dates to be announced.

Traveling the miles along a star-kissed path, the first break came early for D.C.'s ska darlings, when The Pietasters landed a 1992 tour opening for ska originals, Bad Manners. In 1997, Rancid's Tim Armstrong signed them to Hellcat/Epitaph where they recorded two albums with producer Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion): the genre-defining Willis (SPIN Magazine called it "An equal opportunity dancehall crasher — part '60s keg rock, part 2Tone and part Motown") and Awesome Mix Tape #6 (CMJ noted it for "lacing a Stax shout-out feel with Caribbean rhythms"). The soul-charged Turbo was released in 2002 by Fueled by Ramen. The Pietasters shared bills with NOFX and Less Than Jake on the epic '98 and '99 Warped Tours, and followed with a stateside run with punk legend Joe Strummer. Hundreds of shows and three years later, they worked as James Brown's back-up band for one surreal evening. And their story is still unfolding. Not bad for a bunch of guys who started out as a teenaged underground band from D.C.

MLB Opening Day: There's Nothing Like It

Ryan Howard - photo by P Emma- for the Grateful Web

It was sunny and 78 degrees in Philadelphia for the Phillies home opener against their rival Atlanta Braves. People were out and tailgating for hours. The old rag time bands were playing outside of the stadium and people were wearing their brand new jerseys mostly representing the reining league MVP Ryan Howard and all-star Chase Utley. The U.S. Navy came down in parachutes and fireworks lit the day sky with colors for the annual opening day festivities. Opening day in the major leagues is truly like nothing else in sports. Many people make excuses to take off from work or school and over pay at sold out stadiums all over the country in order to take place in this special American tradition. I went, with my dad, like so many others to Citizen's Bank Park to watch our favorite team kick off their season.  Unfortunately, there was a disappointing result as Edgar Renteria's two home runs on the day ended up winning the game in extra innings. Although it was a decent start from starter Bret Myers, the Phillies bullpen is already showing signs of weakness.

But before this game, there was a rematch of last year's NLCS that took place the night before where the New York Mets took out the World Series Champions St. Louis Cardinals thanks in part to the 41 year old opening day veteran Tom Glavine. There were a lot of pre game celebrations at Busch Stadium for the champions. The Budweiser Clydesdales trotted out along with a motorcade of the all of the Cardinals led by hall of famers Stan Musial, Lou Brock, and Bob Gibson. Unfortunately for them, Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado had other plans for the new season. Lo Duca posted 3 RBI's and Delgado put the Mets ahead with an early two run double.

Around the league yesterday another New York team made waves with their 10th straight opening day victory. The Yankees honored the late Cory Lidle, and then they went on the beat Tampa Bay 9-5 thanks mostly to an explosive offensive cast. Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi made their mark early and won over the tough New York crowd. Rodriguez struggled at times last year with the media, but with a leaner and his stirrups pulled up, A-Rod is looking for a new outlook on the season. Rodriguez's home run was credited to the fact that he hits behind Bobby Abreu, a specialist in hitting the ball to the opposite field.

American league rival Boston Red Sox didn't have as much fun yesterday. They were upset badly by the usual whipping post of baseball, the Kansas City Royals. Pitcher Gil Meche showed that he wanted to earn every bit of his club record five-year $55 million contract. On the other side of the spectrum, Curt Schilling displayed slower velocity in his fastball and a heavier appearance on the mound. "Physically, I felt fine. I just didn't execute and didn't adjust," Schilling remarked after being pulled after only 4 innings.

phillyAnother upset happened in Texas as the Pittsburgh Pirates stuck it to the playoff caliber Houston Astros in extra innings when Jason Bay hit the ball deep for a two run shot.

For the new look Cubs and their $300 million off season, the tradition of losing stayed the same. Lou Pinella or Alfonso Soriano couldn't bring good fortune to the only team plagued by a goat in the majors. The Chicago Cubs lost 5-1 to the Cincinnati Reds. Adam Dunn made Carlos Zambrano pay after he walked Ryan Freel on four straight pitches to start the game.

The Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle and GM Dan O'Dowd were handed good news about their contract extensions just moments before they lost their first game of the year to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies are trying to have their first winning season since 2000. I'm routing for them because I know that the fans in Colorado need to see a good baseball product badly.

"Win Twins" has always been a motto that I would rout for. And win was what last year's Cy Young winner Johan Santana did. But, most of the credit belongs to Justin Morneau, who went 3-4 with a home run and 2 RBIs to beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-4.

Big Ben Sheets was tougher than ever in his healthy midseason form 2 hitter debut. "Opening day," Sheets said. "I've got a sumo wrestler wrestling in my belly. I was nervous." That didn't seem to affect his performance at all as he rolled past the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1.

Dontrelle Willis' lights out 6 innings accompanied by Miguel Cabrera's 4 RBIs and Hanley Ramirez's 4 hits and 4 runs set the table when the Florida Marlins destroyed the Washington Nationals. Fredi Gonzalez enjoyed his first victory ever as a coach while on the other side newcomer Manny Acta not only lost the game, but lost a quarter of his starting lineup before the fifth inning.

felixOn the other side of the country, the 20 year old phenom pitcher, Felix Hernandez struck out 12 of the AL West champion Oakland A's batters and posted a clean shutout in his first appearance of the year. "That's as good as I've ever seen him - but in my mind, that's what he's supposed to do. He's got that good of stuff," said Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez. This could lead to good things in Seattle.

The AL Champion Detroit Tigers pitcher, Jeremy Bonderman was not that fortunate. After getting roughed up in the first, his teammate Fernando Rodney allowed Troy Glaus and Alex Rios to make him pay for the runners he put on base in the 10th. Roy Halladay allowed just 2 earned runs on 6 hits in 6 innings for his first decent start of the year.

After many scares, John Lackey came through to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a late 4-1 win over the Texas Rangers, which spoiled another managerial debut. New coach Ron Washington will have to try again next game as he faces Kelvim Escobar tonight.

The blow out of the day was in Chicago where the White Sox got embarrassed by Grady Sizemore and his Cleveland Indians. Sizemore homered off of Jose Contreras on the game's second pitch. "You're definitely excited," Sizemore said. "I was a little jacked up there. The crowd was getting into it." The Indians haven't scored that many runs on opening day since 1925.

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1. Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival 2006 (6/19/2006 1:47:07 PM - http://www.gratefulweb.net/photos/photoInterface/photos.aspx?direct=Band...)
One of everyone's wives' and girlfriends' favorite bands came next. Michael Franti's energetic and charismatic stage presence allows people to fall in love with him and hang on his every word.
2. Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival 2006 Part II (6/23/2006 5:23:27 PM - http://www.gratefulweb.net/photos/photoInterface/photos.aspx?direct=Band...)
I would like to end with a quote from musician J.J. Graves from Mofro. He said, "I'm not too good with genres. We are all individuals, and I don't give a shit about grouping. It's about relating." Wakarusa was about their musicians and their audiences relating.
3. JGB @ the Fox in Boulder (7/18/2006 8:59:44 AM - )
The Jerry Garcia Band has been an inspiration and the "keepers of the flame" for serious dead heads for years now after the passing of the band's namesake. It is lead by the great Melvin Seals who Jerry nicknamed the Master of the Universe because of his many talents.
4. N'awlins Funk Visits the City of Brotherly Love (2/6/2007 4:34:53 AM - )
"Y'all wish Ben (Ellman) a happy birthday," Papa Mali preached to the crowd as he strolled off the stage after a fun set of music. It was the first night of February at the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philly on its famous South Street. Galactic was playing only the second show in their long spring tour, and it was on, N'awlins style.
5. Moest Underrated? (2/18/2007 8:32:38 AM - )
I have always felt that moe had never truly gotten the respect that they gratefully deserve. It is slowly dawning on fans of the jamband and other scenes that moe is for real. Coming off the release of an amazing new album The Conch, that even Rolling Stone gave 4 out of 5 stars to, moe came to Philly to rock.
6. Charlie Hunter Resident Magician (2/19/2007 4:12:09 PM - )
Guitar player, bass player, virtuoso, jazz and blues legend, and magician are all titles that describe the sorcery that Charlie Hunter creates so effortlessly on stage. Taught originally by guitarist Joe Satriani with a $7 guitar in Berkeley, and since then collaborated with dozens of incredible musicians, Hunter has certainly made his mark at a young age as a guitar great.
7. Skatalites: Inventors of a Genre (3/3/2007 5:12:16 AM - )
The Skatalites took the stage with a countdown and went right into a familiar Skatilites opener "Freedom Sounds." The crowd of mostly white ska swingers went crazy. It was so interesting to see ska dancers. These guys know how to move. It looked like a combination of swing dancing and moshing.
8. The Bad Plus the Real O'Riley Factor (3/4/2007 5:49:44 PM - )
Searching for a completely new live jazz sound can be difficult these days. That's not to say that it can't be found. The Bad Plus is a trio out of Minnesota that to me created its own genre sound called: classical jazz. I call it that because of the mastery of the movement of sound that the band creates. This band can bring a familiar tune to your ears through a whole different avenue.
9. Forever Evolving: The Slip (3/17/2007 5:46:33 PM - http://www.theslip.com)
Most of the night was graced with many of their songs from the highly touted new album called Eisenhower. This album got a lot of press this winter with its release, being that the band's sound evolved again drastically, this time to the extreme pleasure of many of its listeners new and old. The contemporary avant-rock trio has a long history touring, but for some reason this album captured the hearts of independent radio stations, other musicians, and people of all different musical tastes.
10. The Raw Power of Rose Hill Drive (3/22/2007 12:21:13 PM - )
Tinnitus: the perception of sound in the ears or head where no external source is present. Someone with tinnitus often describes it as "ringing in the ears," but people report hearing all kinds of sounds: crickets, whooshing, pulsing, ocean waves, buzzing, even music.

11. Page McConnell's 1st Show: Coming Full Circle (3/31/2007 4:37:21 PM - )
The only conversation topic welcomed by Page in this era of moving forward was the acknowledgement of being a Philly boy and his birth at Chestnut Hill Hospital. Page carefully deflected every question about Phish and his college thesis writing days at Goddard. He seemed dignified and determined to move forward, and although I miss those days as much as anyone, this project is a good time. The crowd has progressed as well. Let's face it we're older now too. The "Fluffhead" chants continued and the "woo hoos" brought back memories, but as Bob Dylan once noticed, "the times they are a changin'."
12. Dean & Britta: New, Old, and Wistful (4/3/2007 1:23:01 PM - http://www.deanandbritta.com)
These two superstars along with their new band are touring in support of their new album called Back Numbers. They admitted being a little nervous since this was their first live show in two years, but their sound never dulls. They opened with the first song off the album called "Singer Sing." Britta's gorgeous and tantalizing voice crooned the lyrics, "while you were sleeping, I caught you dreaming/ singer sing that song/ driver drive along."

World Diabetes Day

- for the Grateful Web

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is the only global advocate for people with diabetes and their healthcare providers. We work together with our member associations to enhance the lives of people with diabetes worldwide. Our mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.

 

Since we first took up the diabetes cause in 1950, we have evolved into an umbrella organization of over 190 diabetes associations in more than 150 countries.

 

IDF is a non-governmental organization in official relations with the World Health Organization.

Day 2 in Minnesota

Good morning from day three of the 10k festival in Detroit Lakes Minnesota. Friday's line up matched or exceeded the expectations created by the first day of entertainment, and went down as a banner day in jamband music.

Its been since 1978 since all Florida teams went down on the same day

- for the Grateful Web

Florida, Florida State and Miami all lost today.  The last time all three Florida teams lost was in 1978.  Florida lost to the Georgia bulldogs at the world's largest cocktail party.  Florida State lost to the Maryland Terps in College Park. And in a dramatic last second field goal, the Tarheels upset Miami in Chapel Hill

Happy Valentine's Day... from Africa!

Pamela in Africa 2003/2004- for the Grateful Web
- for the Grateful Web

I am back in Iringa again, to take care of some business and buy certain things that I cannot buy in or near my village, like a new (used) pair of work pants and a new short-wave radio, since mine for some reason is not working.  I have been borrowing my friend Carolyn's radio however, and listening to BBC or VOA everyday.  I find all of this talk about war to be very disturbing, but I also feel removed from it.  There are a few Muslims around in this part of the country, but they do not at all appear to be threatening.  The only adverse attitudes we volunteers have encountered is the occasional "Osama!"  shouted out at us from little boys, usually only in the bigger cities.  There has been terrorist threats on the island of Zanzibar, but no action resulted from them. 

Life in the village continues to be nothing but peaceful.  I am beginning to be very busy - talking with farmers about the problems they are having with their crops and trees, and projects they would like to do.  Beekeeping, medicine for cows, and layer hens are first on the list, but I will not have any funds to initiate these projects until May or June, due to changes in our Peace Corps project budgets.  In the mean time, I have begun helping to weigh babies at "clinic day" which is held once a month for the mamas to bring their babies to be examined.  These days will be good times for me to hold seminars about health and nutrition for the mamas.  Next month already, I'm giving a seminar about how to make banana bread and corn bread!  Bananas and corn are two things that we have an abundance of in the village, and although sweet breads may not be considered to be entirely healthy, they do add some variety to the villager's diets.  Also on Monday, I will begin teaching English to first and second graders at the primary school near my house.  At first I was apprehensive about this since I have never taught English before, but first and second grade should be fairly easy, and I think it will be a lot of fun!  Once the students get to secondary school, all of their courses are taught in English, and many of them fail since English is not adequately taught in primary school, so I feel this is a very important thing to do.  There are four students from my village that attend secondary school (the have to ride their bikes 12 miles every day round trip!), and I have begun to tutor them in English and other subjects.  Very few students have the opportunity to go to secondary school, because not only do they have to pass a very difficult examination (in English!), but their parents also have to pay fees.  So usually, only students with parents who have paying jobs get to go. 

Two opposing attitudes I have observed and experienced here have posed challenges to feeling completely comfortable and "blending in" with Tanzanians.  One attitude is that because I am white and come from America, some villagers seem to think that means I can do anything and have all the answers to their problems.  I feel a lot of undue respect from them, especially when I look around and see many of their answers to their problems (their poverty in particular) are all right here.  Several farmers already make compost and use contours and have fruit trees and beehives.  It's just that the information is not shared.  Some people seem to be saying that only if it comes from me, it will seem like the right thing to do.  How I will convince them that their knowledge is just as, if not more valuable, I do not know. The other attitude is apparent resentment of my material wealth.  I look around my little cottage of a house and think about how few things I have here compared to what I had or what most people have in the States!  But even what I have here is far more than most villagers can ever even hope to have.  This resentment is more blatant when I leave my village, and people shout out at me, begging for money, or when cocky young 20-something males strike up a conversation about the differences between the US and Tanzania, and ask "so why is it that you have a job and I don't?"  Jared Diamond offers an answer to these questions in the book Guns, Germs, and Steel (an excellent read, I highly recommend it), but how do you begin to explain his intricate and elaborate theory in a 10-minute conversation (and in broken Swahili and English)?  I'm not sure this question can ever be answered in a completely satisfying way for those of us who feel guilt, or for those of us who feel resentment, about the disparities in the world. But I'll continue to carry on, waging PEACE!