I’m with the band

Lonesome Town Large

It took a few years, but Robert Parsons finally persuaded me to join the Western Swing band Lonesome Town. The photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, but a couple of the members have dropped out and we’ve added new ones.

When I first got turned on to the two-step dancing scene in Taos, I wanted to be in a swing band, and I always felt a Tenor banjo was something essential and now, all this time later, I am playing Tenor banjo (inherited from my daddy, rest his soul) in a band that is shaping up to be really really tight. The core members have been together for five years and it really shows.

The core members have been together for five years and it really shows. We’ve recently welcomed Rick DeStefano on keys and Russell Latino on percussion.

Here’s a photo of a recent gig at The Sagebrush.

Lonesome Town 20170722_1

Advertisements

M. Elwell Romancito at Black Mesa Friday, Mar. 10

maam“Howl” is the theme for M. Elwell Romancito’s Friday (March 10) 6-9 p.m. performance at Black Mesa Winery’s Tasting Room, 241 Ledoux Street.

Because the moon will be full just two days after her performance and with the current political atmosphere, Romancito said she will open with a brief excerpt from the famous Allen Ginsberg poem “Howl” and keep up a running musical conversation about politics and the personal landscape.

Romancito is a singer-songwriter who performs original and what she terms “classic Americana,” which covers a lot of ground – from Bill Monroe to Tom Waits, or, Mavis Staples to Ani DiFranco. Usually only accompanied by a nylon-stringed guitar, Romancito’s arrangements of covers and originals strip them down to their most fundamental form. Her smoky, jazz-inflected vocals and stylized renderings make each song new, even if it’s been a part of the pop music fabric for a long time.

Romancito has performed as part of musical groups and combos for decades in Taos and has begun performing solo. She also participates in the Creative Commons which helps creators legally share knowledge and original materials, plus uses the internet to drive collaboration, development, growth and productivity. Creative Commons provides free, easy-to-use copyright licenses to make a simple and standardized way to give the public permission to share and use work.

Hope’s Dimension

NOTE: This content originally appeared on http://everything2.com under the screen name Fargus. I include it here to make sure it doesn’t get lost.

agence-producteurs-locaux-damien-kuhn-97731It was cold up in the attic. Naghe huddled in the shadows, glad for the little heat that seeped up from the dwelling below.

He could hear them making dinner. The sounds of pots and pans found him and he was glad the family below had returned to their regular rhythms and that the special days that happened every year at this time were over.

Naghe pulled the pilfered blanket closer around his neck and shoulders and wished he could develop enthusiasm for the food they were preparing. He knew their food was un-absorbable. He’d have to take his nourishment from the photosynthesizing plants in the yard and hope no one saw him before he was able to grab enough calories to keep him alive – holed up in an attic in a miserable little house at the edge of the universe. Nowhere.

The hollow feeling nested in the pit of his being was more about companionship than it was hunger.

It was his own fault. He knew it. He had traversed a no-crossing zone. It was rather like skiing or snowboarding out of bounds, you only have yourself to blame for what happens.

Naghe watched the last crimson ribbon of sky uncurl before night enveloped the mountainside. He watched the stars reveal themselves and knew exactly which direction he imagined home to be.

“It’s been so long,” he thought. I wouldn’t even know what to do with myself at this point, he thought, shaking off the last vestige of hope for rescue ages ago. “I am no longer from my home. I am here and this is where I’ll die – a dried up twist of space/time junk, holed up in an attic on this stupid rock.”

He knew the people in the house where he lived thought he was an apparition – and this explanation worked, for the most part. Once, the smallest human in the house had wandered up to the attic looking for forgotten treasure. Seeing Naghe standing upright in the apex of the attic’s roof scared the little one so much he nearly fell backwards through the opening. Later that day the child’s father had come halfway up – swinging the beam of a flashlight and that was the end of it.

How long had it been? Naghe lost count. There was local time and then there was his own time which was reckoned in a much different way than the diurnal pump and grind of earth time.

It was impossible to do anything here. He realized there was something about the polarity of the planet which prevented him from traveling as he might usually. The physical mechanism that allowed him to teleport to the places he needed or desired to go were not available to him here. This is why he was stuck. He got here, but he could not leave.

He imaged others, like himself, who had wandered off the path of known places and energies, too, found themselves huddled and hiding, cold in an attic, basement or other lonely place, hoping for a miracle rescue or at least a diversion from the loneliness that solidified around him like he was encased in stone.

Naghe listened to the other sounds in the surrounding houses. If he strained, just a little, he could hear for quite a distance. It was a result, he guessed, of the planet’s heavy atmosphere. The biggest problem he had was actually screening the sounds out. There was no use listening to the hum of a well drill pounding and vibrating the ground a mile away, when he simply needed to keep his ear trained nearby, to keep track of the people below his little hiding hole.

During the night time, Naghe would climb through the small opening in the ceiling of the pantry to the kitchen floor below. He’d slip, like a shadow, down the hall, and out the front door. Crossing the front yard, his footprints would leave the grass dry and brown. He was grabbing nourishment as he stepped. Then, it might take quite a while before Naghe could lift himself into the big tree in the front yard.

While straddling one of its branches, Naghe sucked a little of the life out of it. The tree was pretty old and very strong, and Naghe was careful not to feed too long from one branch for fear of doing real damage to it. The tree and he had become old friends, of sorts. He was touched by how readily the tree participated in Naghe’s robbery of energy.

Then it was back through the front door and up the hall before the sun gave any notion of rising because this family was made up of early risers.

And this is how Naghe occupied his time every day and night. Sitting still and looking out the little-vented window in the peak of the roof, and slowly easing down to the front yard and up the tree at night. He sang to himself, at least he thought he was able to keep the song within his head, but sometimes, he’d catch himself actually humming along.

No talking. No singing, he reminded himself. No drawing of attention unless he wanted to be exposed and then, he’d lose the little bit of control he had on the future and outcomes.

He knew hope as both a killer and a breather of life. He held out hope for rescue, but he really, truly knew there was no help for his situation.

He had strayed off the path and he was doomed to haunt this attic in this house in the middle of this nowhere until he died, which would probably take a very long time – not only in earth time but in his native time.

Tonight, he’d have to take his meal from an evergreen that stood 100 feet away from his friend, the old tree. The ground was covered with snow and it would take Naghe a long time to make it through the heavy atmosphere to the deep green triangular-shaped tree. In seasons past, the tree had not been as welcoming as the old deciduous tree to yield up its life force. Naghe found the energy it held to be a little ragged in comparison and he didn’t care for these long stretches with little sunshine.

He wished he could process the light himself, and if he had brought the right gear with him when he slipped into the out-of-bounds zone that brought him here … ” but what’s the use of ‘what ifs,'” Naghe scoffed.

Ingestion of a simple symbiotic organism would have allowed him to process the sunlight during the daytime rather than have to sneak it from unsuspecting plant life or receive the shared sunlight from his old friend.

Of course, finding a way to hide in broad daylight, along with the slowness of his movements, brought with it a whole new set of limitations and problems.

Naghe felt doomed sometimes, and other times, he just felt glad to have a little hope left to pull the blanket closer and dream of a day when he either found another being from his time or place or was rescued – either by flaming chariots from space or death.

He pulled the blanket closer and listened to the sound of snow falling outside. He counted snowflakes until the humans in the house went to sleep.

Two upcoming Black Mesa gigs

I have two upcoming gigs at Black Mesa Winery Tasting Room at 241 Ledoux Street in Taos, New Mexico.

I’ve been working on visuals for the two concerts and I have one for the March gig that chimes in with the full moon and the sense that Spring is not yet with us. I also plan to read a couple of stanzas of Allen Ginsberg to begin the evening.

gig-poster-3-10

I’ve been working on new material featuring open tunings, slide and more blues. We’ll see if I’m ready to bring any of the new stuff out. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on tying up a few loose ends on songs I’ve half-finished for decades. Again, we’ll see if any of these are going to be ready in time.

ASpril’s gig comes at the end of the month and while I was making this graphic I was having a pretty intense spell of spring fever. Can you tell?

gig-4-29

 

Multiple identities? Nah.

day-of-dead-wo-earringsI didn’t realize I was confusing people.

As usual, I’m roaring around thinking people are keeping up with my BS when in fact they are bobbing in my wake, saying “WTF?”

Even if they like me and grant me all sorts of dispensations, I’ve left people confused.

Recently someone asked me if I could keep all my AKAs straight. But instead of “also know as” they were thinking they were entirely different personas. Maybe they are and I just don’t know it but in my mind, all this time, I thought it was clear.

“M” is the first letter of my first name, Melody. When I was in highschool, one of my friends noticed I signed my artwork and personal writing with “M. Elwell,” with Elwell being my last name. She shortened it to “Melwell,” and that became one of the names I was known by.

I never cared for shortening to “Mel,” although I allowed a few people to refer to me as such. Calling me “M” was ok with me and one of my old boyfriends called me “Mel Gee,” which was the way a little kid would say Melody if they got lost on the way to that second vowel.

When I married my husband, I acquired his last name, the beautiful and Italian “Romancito.” The spelling and pronunciation are pretty straightforward with the only real issues being telemarketers who stumble and say “Roman-ti-co.” Rather than irritating me I am grateful that the telemarketers are announcing who they are right off the bat.

Some of the old timers here in Taos like to say Ramon-cito and have actually corrected both my husband and me, mainly because they think the name is a diminutive form of the name Ramon, not knowing the name actually means “Little Catholic.”

When Rick and I got married, I decided to lose my drab middle name and use my maiden name as my middle name. I understand this is very common now, and I am happy to have my maiden name as part of my legal name.

When I was working for a local radio station, I rolled back to my maiden name so the connection between myself and my husband who edits for the local newspaper wasn’t so apparent, although, to anyone who knew, it really made no difference.

When I started publishing my own books, I decided to drop the “Melody” for a variety of reasons I don’t find necessary to discuss here, but it was a simple decision and I decided to pick up and resonate with my youthful self … and I started signing my name M. Elwell Romancito, which gets shortened to Melwell Romancito.

I thought it was a pretty easy progression but I was a little stunned that it seems like I have diluted (or deluded!) my identity with all these names.

Now I will say I create music under the “alter-ego” of Calling Sister Midnight, or CSM, but that is because I am using materials that are part of the Creative Commons, sharing of material and working with collaborators. This is to distinguish singer-songwriter materials from more collaborative electronic work.

I apologize for the confusion and for those of you who are think, “Who gives a damn?” I am surprised you got all the way to the end!

Oh. And Greasy Adams http://greasyatoms.com is a brand name for fractal images.

It’s not funny: Trump’s Locker Room Talk

shutupWhen Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump said the words he used in an old videotape that surfaced Friday (Oct. 7) were essentially locker room talk and that he was sorry if anyone was offended by his talk, I could not help myself but I felt hot tears rise in my eyes.

It was a kind of visceral reaction to this clown’s idiocy I had not expected. Yeah, I had heard his rough words about Rosie O’Donnell, and yes I was aware of his deep-seated fear of the bleeding from the “where ever.”

But listening to the blistering nastiness of the words he was using about women he wanted to fuck simply because they were attractive and in front of him and that gave him the right, not only to desire them but also “when you’re a star, they’ll let you do anything.” What he was saying is, if he was suitably inspired, he would not only tap that, he would fuck it, then piss on it and move on to the next.

I made myself a cup of coffee as the late-breaking news played the video over and over. I realized my hand was shaking as I poured the boiling water over the ground beans. Why was this so upsetting? I wondered.

With my newly made coffee, I went to my computer and opened Twitter, which I knew would be swarming with news, jokes and innuendo about the breaking story. This Republican and that Republican were making statements tooled to distance themselves even further from this flailing orange buffoon. Paul Ryan said he was “sickened” by what he heard today and Reince Priebus said that no woman deserves to be spoken about in such terms.

Yes, guys, you are right, but something you don’t know is any woman who goes out or speaks out in public is thought about or even spoken about in just such terms, every day. And if she is homely, that’s a component to the inner or outer chatter about her. If she is attractive, she can expect the chatter to have an extra measure of praise and shame heaped onto it. If she is old, she can expect her sanity and her ability to comprehend simple things to be questioned. Last of all, her dried out, no-longer-interesting, superfluous “whatever” might even become a part of the conversation depending on how crude the talkers are.

shame-on-oldThis is every day.

Donald Trump may be sickening, it’s true. But the real sickening part of all of this is that women live in a strange half-world where we are expected to be attractive, yet we are berated for being attractive. If we are not attractive, we are called pigs or worse. If we give you what you want from us, we’re bad and if we don’t give you what you want we’re fucking cunts.

Maybe we find ourselves in the companionship of good men who don’t think of women like this, and that’s wonderful. But we all know guys who are like this. Showing them your tits after being pestered won’t make them leave you alone. Telling these men they will never ever see your tits, ever, is just permission for those same men to punish you at every turn for having a … “whatever.”

And don’t think having a well-grounded opinion is going to save you. You’re hysterical. Calm down. Etc.

After about 30 to 45 minutes after the news broke about “Trump’s locker room talk,” I stopped shaking. I eventually stopped thinking about all the times I had been exposed things like this during my career. The times I unknowingly entered a room still echoing with the words “cunt” and “pussy.” Even during activities that were supposed to be fun but turned into a referendum on a woman having a “whatever.”

Earlier this week I had made a joke about being a man in past lives and how “great it was for people to listen to what you had to say, hang on every word. So imagine how disappointed I was this time around.” The whole room laughed.

Nov. 11 appearance at Black Mesa Winery

songwriterMelwell (Melody) Romancito will be performing at the Black Mesa Winery Tasting Room in Taos Friday, Nov. 11, 6-9 p.m.

Romancito has performed rock’n’roll, jazz, and blues as a vocalist for many years but it was when she moved to Taos in the mid-1980s that she took up the guitar again as a way to accompany her unique singing style.

Now she plays a nylon string Guild guitar, a small instrument that is unelectrified and only amplified through a microphone. Her singing style has been likened to Sarah Vaughn and June Cristie but she is also known to call on electrified powers of singers like Annie Lennox and David Bowie.

Taos Mesa winery is located near the center of town on Ranchitos Road. Come sit and sip a glass or bottle of some of the best wines available from New Mexico and listen to the Americana, Blues and more from singer-songwriter Romancito.

The room is a great venue for folks who are interested in listening to the music instead of talking over it. They play host to many of the local singer-songwriters and acoustic performers in the area and offer live music on the weekends. They feature an open mic on Tuesdays hosted by Bittersweet Highway from Colorado. Sign up for the open mic is at 5:30 p.m. and the music begins at 6 p.m.