Starfish and Green Frogs

20130922-133053.jpgHanging in the Northwest Corner of the lower 48. We camped at Larrabee State Park just 20 minutes south of Bellingham, WA. We had a show up here at The Green Frog but most of our time we explored the amazing coastline.

Nestled deep in the pine forest, Larrabee State Park sits on Wildcat cove. Sept 15-May is the off-season, so our full hook up site was only $29.00 a night.  Wildcat cove was pristine, with dramatic cliffs, still waters, beautiful sunsets and starfish!

 

The city of Bellingham is a fishing hub and a college town with awesome coffee, thrifting, friendly folks and a great live music scene. We performed at The Green Frog, a local 21+ establishment. However, we did an earlier show and caught the all ages crowd.

The door man, Michael, welcomed with a warm smile and a few fans began to make their way in. We met Brent, who grew up on the set of Hee Haw. A father and his two children, and Amy, a fellow bus conversionist.

20130922-133151.jpgOur set was classic Hollands! with harmonies dazzling but it was Banjo Holland who stole the show. We don’t often get to play in a room that can handle his funky and confident beats, but the sound system at The Green Frog was perfect and Duke our sound guy was fantastic! Our show was followed by The Pine Hearts, a five piece rollicking Americana band out of Olympia, WA. They were gracious and wonderful musicians. We later realized that we actually had met Joe, one of the leads, at Folk Alliance in Memphis a few years back when he was touring with The Blackberry Bushes.

It’s a small world and it’s great to know that there are kinfolk all over this great big world. And, this is a part of the world we would like to get back to! Thanks for all the love Washington!

 

Black Hawk Folk Festival

Black Hawk Folk FestivalThe 26th annual Black Hawk Folk Festival took place at on a pleasant, sunny day, mid-July. Nestled next to Lake Morris in Mt. Morris Town Park, the Black Hawk Folk Festival is a little gem of a festival. We were honored to perform along side Greg Boerner, Ken Lonnquist, Dave Adler, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, Andrea Stader, and Bill & Kate Isles. The festival sponsors and hosts were quite welcoming and the stage and sound was fantastic. It was so fun to see our dear friends Bill and Kate and one of our favorite moments was when MC and percussionist Bill Kehl invited our son up to join him for a segment.

It’s folks like those involved in the Black Hawk Folk Society that keep the grass-roots music movement alive and we are forever grateful for their commitment. We look forward to connecting with the kinfolk at the Black Hawk Folk Society down the line.

4th of July Family Caravan

The Blumreich family, our first community caravaner’s, joined us over the 4th of July weekend.

blumreichbus.jpgWe picked up Eric, Jodie, Emma and Clara on a Thursday in front of their house and began our trek south towards the beautiful town of Galena, IL. Our first stop Beloit, WI for the Blumreich annual family gathering. We enjoyed a potluck style meal, played yard games, sang songs and enjoyed fireworks.

The next morning we packed up and drove about three hours before pulling into the Palace Campground, which sits just outside of Galena. We discovered this little gem last summer and knew the Blumreich’s would appreciate the vintage aspect of the facility, including an old school pool with diving board and mini-golf course. Everything about the campground reminds us of camping back in the 1970’s and in a world that is constantly upgrading there is something nostalgic about that. It would be the ideal setting for most of the Chevy Chase ‘Vacation’ movies.

PalaceCampground.jpgWhen we arrived at the campground and set up three tents, one for Jodie, Eric and Clara, one for Graciana and Emma and one for John and Les (Eric’s parents). Then we all settled in for a fantastic weekend.

We enjoyed swimming, mini-golf, a trip to the city center to see all of the historical artifacts and shops. We shared meals, bon fire’s and song. We observed each other families, with the most encouraging conversations revolving around the joys and woes of parenting teen’s and pre-teens.

It’s no easy task to be a parent to any age group and it’s affirming to share our journey with other parents in order that we might know that our struggles are perfectly normal, that we aren’t the only ones going through it, and that we are not alone. Likewise, it was good for our children, specially our 16 year old’s, who sometimes believes that the grass is greener on the other side. They were both able to work through drama, share dreams and desires, and hopefully gain perspective by being in such close quarters.

thehollandsgalena.jpgOur ultimate purpose for going to Galena was to perform for the Galena Performing Arts Festival, which rounded out the weekend nicely. The concert was held in the historic Grace Episcopal church and was a fantastic setting. Seating about 80, we packed the house to over 150.

We were a little leery about how our children would transition from enjoying the lazy weekend with friends to performing, but they did a fantastic job. Funny enough, that day, I had spent quite a bit of time myself in the pool and personally couldn’t hear much during our performance with all of the water in my ears. However, everyone else picked up the slack and this one will go down as one of our favorite settings and behind the scenes moments. Including, Eric’s helpful hand in set up/tear down, Emma’s thoughtful prayer for us before our show, a tender moment when Craig introduced Graciana as our “beautiful” daughter, Banjo’s fun antics on stage, and the Malik family driving in from Mt. Vernon, IA to see us and say hello.

On our drive home, I asked Eric for constructive feedback on what it was like to travel with our family. He responded, “your future guests will have to be pretty laid back.” Ha! I know we beat to a different drum and we are thankful that the Blumreich family took the plunge to be our first caravan guests. We are thankful for their willingness to swim upstream with us merrymaking nomads. We love you Eric, Jodie, Emma and Clara.

The Hollands! on WPR’s Simply Folk Radio

Wisconsinpublicradio.jpgThe Hollands! on WPR’s Simply Folk Radio July 7, 7PM.

The Hollands! went into the studio at WPR in Madison Wisconsin to perform/interview with Radio Host, Stephanie Elkins on her program Simply Folk Radio. The program is broadcast on two networks, 32 radio stations and online every Sunday evening from 5 pm until 8 pm.

The Hollands! will showcase songs off of the new album, “Over Land and Leas“, including Old Man’s Town, Lanie Done Did, Over Land and Leas, Amaryllis, and The Great Lake Plains. Tune in to hear the stories behind the songs as well as The Hollands! family banter.

The Program airs on Public Radio, July 7, 2013. 7PM.

SERFA

20130520-223147.jpgThis past weekend we participated in community and song at the Southeastern Regional Folk Alliance Conference in Montreat, North Carolina. “Community” was the buzz word going around all weekend and as community seekers and encouragers, we were taken with the genuineness of that sentiment. We met so many beautiful and engaging souls, had life-giving conversations, shared lovely meals with each other, enjoyed late night jams and heard so many amazingly creative and inspiring songs.

SERFA is a chapter of the International Folk Alliance. We have been to a few other regional conferences as well as the International in Memphis and they all have their own flavor. Some are more hustle and business focused, but it’s folk music for goodness sakes, and at the end of the day it really is about community.  Not gonna lie though, we do look for ways to present our talents in hopes of finding work. This year when we were accepted as “official showcase” artists, we were overjoyed and looked forward to showcasing our families latest body of work, ‘Over Land and Leas.

Being a family first, we aren’t the typical band. And so, there were all sorts of dynamics and things to take into consideration as we prepared for this event. Including rehearsals, home school, meals, bus logistics, sleep schedules, attitude adjustments and basic marriage maintenance. As a mom, there were a few thoughts that went through my mind this weekend regarding our children’s participating at SERFA. First, I was absolutely humbled by their general willingness to engage at the conference, including going to their first business meeting. Second, the poise and graciousness that they offered to those that would approach them or that they would approach was beautiful to watch. There was such a joy listening to them engage in conversation with all these adults.

20130520-212256.jpgBy the time we took the stage on Saturday night, the pride this mama had towards her children was brimming. We were performing but the whole while I could barely take my eyes off of my children and husband. During our second song, Graciana took the reigns and it was all I could do to not break down in tears. This was the image that washed over me.

We are on a mountain: I imagine an elder (me) and a child (Graciana), they are yoked together and the elder is pulling the child up the side of a cliff, strong footing, carrying the burden and pouring into that child with everything she has. It is a healthy yoke, meaning not manipulated for either parties personal gain. It is a long journey but the elder is committed to the youth and near the top of the mountain the child finds a firm footing and begins to move on dependable legs. For a moment, the youth and the adult are neither lifting or pulling but balancing each other. Both looking out over the glorious valley below.  There is a subtle shift and the focus begins to change. The weight lightens for the elder and the strong footing that the elder once had becomes unstable. For the first time, the youth recognizes the weight and makes a choice to share the load. The youth offers a brace to the elder as they enjoy the view a bit longer. There is no resentment, only an understanding that this journey is not their own, that they are connected to the core of their marrow.

20130520-212223.jpgI can’t describe it any other way, but while on that stage, I could feel the balance between my daughter and myself, it was a mutual respect and delight. I could feel our energies working together in harmony. The picture was of an elder lifting up while the younger helps her elder down.

I wonder if this ideal of reciprocal respect and support is possible in our greater culture, specially in the music industry where ageism is such an epidemic? We grow up in a society that segregates its population based on age. Marketing in almost every capacity is targeted to a specific age group and as we grow up there is little contact with others who are not in our demographic. It seems that many mentor programs, probably built with good intentions, are hierarchical. I wonder if we are missing a bigger picture? There is a richness and depth available to both those climbing the mountain and those traversing down and I don’t think it just applies to our mother and daughter experience. I wonder if it is possible to create and nurture this image, giving opportunities for young and old to find this deep connectivity? I think it is attainable, remembering when one falls we all fall, when one is honored we are all honored.

 

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SxSW Music Festival

20130319-123548.jpgWe usually take a pretty distant stance in the music business, hanging on the fringes, drifting in and out but really doing our own thing. Mostly because we have come to realize that our families motivations for how we live and what we create together is probably countercultural to all of the pandering that has to happen in that world. However, over the course of the last month we began to see that our routing was going to take us right into the heart of the big beast of an industry to SxSW.

If we could describe SxSW (means South by Southwest) in one word it would be “toiling.” There was a happy slappy, almost devilish type energy through out the air as the streets and local venues were filled with muso’s, business executives, college students on spring break and locals. It was a distorted joy and we sensed a deep undertone of awkwardness, disconnect, and angst. And so, we began to petition for understanding as to our purpose at this festival. We knew two things, we were going to seek opportunities to serve and to encourage. If we were presented with opportunities to share musically great, but not the point. We found an opportunity to volunteer at the Folk Alliance stage on Saturday. Offering a smile as a greeter and selling merch for the bands that showcased on that stage. We also connected with a few friends who were showcasing their talents and sought them out for a chat, to offer encouragement and a moment to just be. These are dear friends who are road weary and have tasted the rotten fruit of the industry. And yet, they continue on, sharing their beautiful gifts and talents, inspiring others through song as they work through their upbringings, beliefs and ideals.

It was a great test of our character to be able to function well in this environment and to see our purpose clearly. Both of our children were able to discern and share some key observations that we believe will take them into adulthood with much wisdom. We felt energized as a family being able to share such depth in such shallow waters. We find serendipity as we travel and are thankful that nothing that we do is meaningless.  We are thankful for the opportunity to see the big picture and to be able to function in that faithfulness, knowing that at the end of the day, when all is stripped away, we are all made of the same mud. We are all one. We continue to move in that reality.

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Australia; Easter Weekend

Easter weekend is usually a traditional weekend for our family, with a general requirement to attend church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Easter weekend in Australia was anything but traditional. We spent the weekend sharing in song with kinfolk at two clubs and a winery.  When reflecting on our journey and many blessings in life, we couldn’t have thought of a better way to celebrate our understanding of grace and community.

Good Friday offered a reflectively beautiful night of music at the sultry Wesley Anne, a club set in the hip Northcote suburb.  We invited kinfolk, Patty Larkins and Carl Pannuzzo to kick off the night and they brought it! Their vulnerability and healing folk tunes truly lifted us up and entertained all. Next up we asked Nicolette Forte and her band to play. We meet Nico, Duncan, Chris and Kevin at The Chandelier Room a few weeks prior and fell in love with their spirit of youth and their good times beach vibe. By the time we took the stage we were inspired and ready to finish off the night of merrymaking including an impromptu drum jam at the end of our show.

Saturday was a day of rest and relaxation with a trip down to Brunswick street for some shopping and dinner with family before our performance at the Brunswick Hotel. Craig’s mate, Justin organized the show for us and a few other old school mates and family came down to cheer us on.

On Easter Sunday we celebrated the Rising of the son, at Hickenbotham Winery in Dromana, a beach town on the Mornington Peninsula. The Hickinbotham Family have been involved in the art of wine making since 1936 and have been at the forefront of Australian wine production for three generations. The sun was bright and a light breeze flowed through the grounds as the owner’s, Andrew & Terryn, welcomed us to their home. We settled in and shared three sets throughout the afternoon. With a jumping castle and games for the kids, Banjo, our son, found his groove running about the grounds and having fun. After two night of fantastic drumming performance, we gave him the day off to enjoy all of the activities. Adding to the joy of the day was the unexpected and impromptu jam session with folkies Peter Hisco and Wendy Jackson. Their addition of violin, bass and harmonies turned us into a primer Bluegrass band and gave us an opportunity to play some of our favorite old timey tunes. The gracious support of family and friends topped the weekend to make it one of our favorite moments down under.

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