Songwriter Naomi Martin Yonts passed away on May 31 after a career that spanned decades in country music. Martin, like many talented songwriters, isn’t a household word, but her songs were known and loved by many fans of traditional country music. Martin wasn’t a flash in the pan celebrity, though.
Lots of songs we hear nowadays are a collaboration among members of a team. Many of these songs are formulaic—an award-winning songwriter once explained to my daughter the standard format for a good country song. Naturally, she disregarded everything he said.
Palatka’s Blue Crab Festival over Memorial Day weekend drew lots of people to the small town known for festivals, views of the mighty St. John’s River, and hospitality. That last was obvious as soon as we arrived to hear the Crazy Daysies and other bands scheduled for Saturday.
Today the Blue Crab Festival in Palatka kicks off its 29th annual event with live music, just about any kind of seafood you’d want, and arts and crafts vendors. There will be carnival rides and games. There’s even an adopt-a-duck event. What’s not to like?
In the Mandarin community in Jacksonville (FL), Hoby’s Honey and General Store is a destination for many of us seeking honey, canned products like pickles and jalapenos, and other locally produced wares. Besides the quality of the products, the fact they’re unique is icing on the cake. There’s more to Hoby’s than things to eat, though.
Corporate country has pretty much gone cookie cutter, with musical offerings sounding as much like pop as country. Americana remains a hybrid, but that label gives an artist plenty of wiggle room. What’s ahead for indie country and Americana, two genres often appearing to be joined at the hip? Look at two trendsetters—both of them have indie in their past, and both are currently dominating the charts and awards circuit.
Recently I heard criticism from some folks who’d attended an outdoor concert here in Jacksonville. Our weather was iffy. The concert featuring a long list of established performers had to be briefly evacuated because of weather. And because that meant lost time, the top performers my friends had gone to see didn’t take the stage anywhere near on time. Have you had a bad ‘big concert’ experience?
How many of us have been through times when we’d shake our head and wish for a couple more hours in the day because we’re so busy? Everyone goes through that, artist or not. But for artists, it’s a double-edged sword. Sometimes the business of art can crowd out the art. That’s why you need an inspiration destination close at hand. Not long ago I was talking with my daughter. She’d booked heavily ahead of summer, doing solo, duo, trio and full band shows. She’d taken roughly three days off work in a 30-day period.
Is there anything more inspiring to an artist than a beautiful Florida day? Despite a long run of fair weather, quite a few of us find ourselves with a bit of cabin fever these days. Why? Wildland fires. What can you do if you’re trying to perform as smoke wafts across the stage?
Ditties written for pop culture of the moment may not last, but real art lasts forever. When it comes to legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, his music definitely lasted. Johnson’s birthday was May 8, so this brief is a hat tip to his talent. The guitarist was born May 8, 1911. He lived to be only 27 years old, dying in 1938. His story is one like so many others of his era—born in humble circumstances, managing to rise above them with his talent, but dying too young. Mystery surrounds his life and his death.