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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Back Home Again in Indiana - A Lincoln View

We recently had a meeting of the Founding Fathers as Sir Dayvd of Oxfordshire traveled across the pond to grace us with his presence in the Founding City of Evansville, Indiana.  Much revelry, drinking and thinking was done and the decision made to once again refocus efforts on our noble blog and society of Knights and Ladies.

We will proceed with more in-depth posts here on this blog, as well as share interesting links, etc., on our Facebook Page.

Seeing how we have recently survived yet another political season, the timely release of Stephen Spielberg's film, "Lincoln", and the fact that we live within shooting distance of Lincoln's boyhood home, I thought it appropriate to use the above facts and analogy to reflect on what Lincoln means to our tenant of "Unity Through Diversity".

First, so that I'm not accused of being a liberal slacker...I am a registered Republican, NRA member and business owner (so called "job creator" in today's term of the day) who was raised in a very conservative Southern Baptist home.  It is through my own efforts of self-education and awareness that my views have come into conflict with much of what I was raised to, Negro's are inferior, Southern Baptist's represent the true religion, Mormons are a cult, drinking is a sin, etc...

As I journey through life and expose myself to different ideas, ideology, theology and cultures, I have come to respect the unique strength that a blended society which is united by its diversity adds to the quality and enjoyment of my life.  Much like the superior Samurai sword is strengthened by the blending of steel to form one focused instrument of deadly intent.

I find it rather ironic, and sad, that this nation's first Republican President was the same man who saw the strength in unity through diversity, the nobility in the ideal that all men are created equal, and strove to preserve the Union of States with a strong Federal government...all in stark contrast to today's Tea Party backed Republicans as presented on Fox News.

Here are just a few events that have occurred since the re-election of the nation's first black President (which we still conveniently forget is ALSO HALF WHITE):
1.   Factions in the Southern States are presenting petitions to succeed from the Union.
2.  One man has killed himself because of President Obama's re-election.
3.  A wife who voted for Romney ran over her husband with a car because he voted for Obama.
4.  False commercials are already running claiming that Obama will hold onto power and proclaim a third term without an election.
5.  Romney claims that Obama won by giving gifts, in essence buying his election.

What the hell has happened to my Republican Party?!!!!

On this Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks that even crazy people still have the freedom of expression in this country and that the transfer of power still happens peacefully, unlike many other countries.  It's time to embrace our diversity and unify to once again become the strong, resilient nation that Lincoln strove to build.

There is nothing "civil" in civil war, whether it is fought by force or by words.  It's time to quit acting like spoiled children who don't get their way and play nice in the playground of life.  Let's get something done this time!

As I tweeted earlier today, a quote by Martin Luther King Jr., "We all may have arrived here on different ships, but we're all in the same boat now!"

Sir Hook of Warrick

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tales From SXSW

Being that I’m a self-confessed music junkie, SXSW in Austin, TX provides the perfect solution for my fix.  It also helps that I dip my toes in the music industry by performing, representing artists and producing a British Music podcast called “XPat Radio”, which allows me to write off my preferred drug of choice.  That’s a junkie’s dream!  This year’s version of SXSW did not disappoint.

I’m that rare bread of creative artist and obsessive-compulsive personality, which always produces an interesting yeng-yang experience during my annual week in Austin.  A lesson that has always freed me from my self-made planning prison was learned long ago from my film director professor in college who stated, “You must know the rules in order to break the rules.”  In SXSW language, you plan on who you want to see, but remain open to break those self-imposed rules in order to “experience the moment!”

With 99 venues and over 2,000 artists and bands, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the size and scope that SXSW offers.  Not to mention the hundreds of “unofficial” showcases the city, and valuable panels, workshops and vendors that occupy the Austin Convention Center during your stay.

This year I began with a solid plan:  1) Continue my presence at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 and interview and review several British acts to help develop my podcast, XPat Radio.  2) Take in several key panels for professional growth and networking.  3) See showcases that I probably wouldn’t be able to see again for some time.  4) Purchase a new pair of boots at Allen Boots on South Congress.  I’m happy to report…mission accomplished.

I’m a product of the 60’s and 70’s culture of music concerts in large venues.  The beauty and exclusive opportunity that SXSW offers is to see famous bands perform in smaller, more initiate venues, where you capture the real essence of the artists intentions…plus the opportunity to stumble upon the futures super stars of the music industry.  There is really nothing quite like this experience.

I have also been fortunate to make life-long friends among the thousands of artists who call Austin home.  This connection helps you to experience Austin from a local’s perspective and listen to music that is in most cases equal to, if not superior to the “official” showcases features by SXSW.

If I were to write a complete autobiography of the next 4 days, it would look like one of those really bad ads with so much text that nobody would read it.  So, I will give you a brief outline of the events, adventures and my recommendations.

Favorite Restaurant: The Moonshine, located on Red River Rd, just a few blocks away.  I always meet interesting people and engage in revealing conversations there, and the Horseradish Incrusted Salmon with Sweet Potatoes and a couple of Oban Scotch’s on the Rocks always delivers the ultimate satisfaction.

First Surprise Plan Deviation:  It didn’t take long to drift from my original plan to go to the British Music Embassy to catch the XCerts and Frank Turner the first night.  Instead, I ended up spending the rest of the night after one of their “unofficial” showcases with my friends Chloe Charles and Sam McClellan of The Sweetness at a venue on Dirty 6 with a West African Hip-Hop band, capped off with a real Mexican breakfast at 5am somewhere off South Congress.  A good start!

Best Non-Music Find:  Previous to my arrival in Austin, I had found a locally owned Cigar Shop called Bobalu Cigar Co., which features 100% of its inventory hand-rolled in the store by Cuban Cigar masters.  I stopped in and smoked one of 8 sticks to come during the week and watched the rollers, Perro and Armondo, work their magic on the exquisite lose leaf tobacco.  Bobalu would become my “unofficial” headquarters for the rest of SXSW, where I would have interesting conversations with a Chef from Boston, a Metal Group from Montreal, a Radio Programmer from Seattle, several local couples, my mates from England and Scotland, and of course, brush up on my Spanish with Perro and Armondo.  It was an excellent place to escape the crowds of 6th Street, observe the variety that humanity has to offer and enjoy an excellent hand-rolled cigar!

Most Fulfilling Professional Events:  The British Music Embassy, which takes over a venue called Latitude 30, is always my favorite haunt at SXSW.  

This year I took my new podcast, XPat Radio with dkWells, to the British shores in Austin to interview and listen to several of the latest and greatest British acts of 2012.  XPat Radio features little to unknown British artists and bands to give the States a taste of what they miss.  Not only does it provide me with an official write-off, but also affords me the opportunity to forge lasting and meaningful relationships with some of Britain’s music elite.  This year I formed an alliance with Shakester Records, Liverpool Sound, Norwich Sound and the UK’s largest music placement company.  I held interviews with Morning Parade, Spycatcher, Kamilla Lovett, New Cassettes, Black Casino and the Ghost, Future of the Left, Three Blind Wolves and They Were Promised Jet Packs just to name a few.

Most Fun with a Band:  Every year it seems I hook up with someone for unplanned fun and adventure.  This year it was the English Band, Spycatcher, who I constantly ran into at other venues where we would party the night away.  

Our last impromptu gathering occurred at the Bobalu Cigar Company, where we engaged in a drunken debate over US and UK politics while smoking very large cigars!  

A close second was the Scottish Band, Three Blind Wolves, who turned me on to the yummy flavors of smoke and peat of Laphroaig Scotch.   Cheers boys!

Best Bands I Wanted to See Away from the British Music Embassy:  Alabama Shakes, Girl in a Coma (who are also friends), The Pierces, Little Hurricane, Keane, Delta Spirit, Gary Clark Jr., Apache Relay, Norah Jones

Best Bands I Accidentally Saw:  Dance Laury Dance from Quebec, Canada showed me that at least someone hasn’t forgotten how to “Rock Your Socks Off” with bare chested bravado!  Mars Red Sky from Bordeaux, France took me back to a heavy psychedelic rock n roll I almost forgot about in my mid-70’s rocker years, and the Swedish Girl Punk Band, The Bombettes, literally shook the walls of an Irish Pub with their energetic set, and then became the most delightful and well-mannered young women during an interesting 30 minute conversation afterwards.  Shiny Toy Gun was simply amazing!

Best “Unofficial Showcase”:  Without a doubt, my Austin friend Barbara Nesbitt’s new band, The Whiskey Sisters, rocked the house down on St. Patty’s Day at the Continental Club on South Congress!  

Afterwards we went for pizza and took in several art fairs and musicians lining the street for blocks on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

And don’t forget to get your boots at Allen’s Boots, also located on South Congress.

dkWells, aka "Sir Hook of Warrick"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Got the Music in Me

OK, I'm all out of apologies for not writing!  So, here we go, deciding to utilize the KSCA blog to focus on the Creation aspect of what we do.

Today I finalize plans to fly out to Austin, TX for the 2012 South by Southwest (SXSW) extravaganza.  This will be my second year to attend this conclave of artists, musicians, publishers, producers, directors and innovators...all of which I humbly claim to be.  Excited is not even close to describe the vibrations in my being at this moment!

I recently embraced the music side of my business with my theory of "Enthology"...endeavoring to engage, with a full belly flop into the sacred waters of the mystical unknown.

I opened up a recording studio in my dkWells Productions office, called The Studio @ Baker Street, where we have already begun the recording process for several artist.

I also formed my own record label, Stormcrow Records, and signed a talented young artist, Andrew Baum, who is a cross between Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Hayes Carll.  We recently finished his EP, Sober, and took him to the International Folk Alliance in Memphis to showcase his talents along with twenty three other artists who played in my dkWells Music Showcase Room.

Late last year I launched a Podcast, with intent to eventually sell to XM Satellite Radio, which features the best of British Music that you're likely not going to hear anywhere else.  There are a few names that will pop up, like A Silent Film, who broke the US charts last year with their single, Driven By Their Beating Hearts.  These lads are mates of mine from Oxford, and have agreed to take time off from their busy touring schedule to do an interview with me in the near future.  I also had the good fortune to produce a video for the song.

The Podcast is titled, XPat Radio.  While in Austin I will be setting up shop at Lattitude 30, which during SXSW is transformed into The British Music Embassy.  I will have access to over forty UK bands to interview and feature on upcoming editions of XPat Radio.

I'll also be able to hook up with my Austin music friends for their Showcases, and take in a ton of panels and other band showcases during my six day stay.

Finally, I have begun to record my second LP, Thank God for Thomas Edison (named after a song of the same name I wrote at Bonarroo last year).  Upon my return from Austin I will be going full throttle to see the project completed in time for a late summer release.

So there you have it!  Remember to Think, Drink, Create and Be Merry...this is the only chance you get!

dkWells, aka, Sir Hook of Warrick