SOUR GRAPES: Music and pictures

Music festival mode

By Jim Magdefrau

My big journey is usually nothing more than visiting a neighboring state. That’s traveling for me.

A recent regular trip was to the Roots N Blues Festival in Columbia, MO.

This is the place we regularly heard John Prine, 2019 being his last visit, before Covid took him away. There were many songs in tribute to John, as well as Loretta Lynn.

Paying tribute to Loretta was Tanya Tucker. From my view, she was a hit in her younger years, sounding much older than she was. Now she is older, she’s still sounding like that younger singer sounding older. If that makes sense. She kept a fifth next her and between songs took a big swig, laughing, “My mouth is so dry it’s like Bob Dylan slept in it last night.”

I’m still figuring that one out.

I really liked her “fire medley” with “I’m on Fire” and “Ring of Fire.”

Also performing well was Chaka Khan. I didn’t realize how many great songs she had. She also has a new single, and when she asked if anyone had bought it. There was a smattering of cheers and applause. She observed, “So. All eight of you.”

The highlight was hearing Wilco on the last stop of their tour, having heard them on the first stop of their tour in Cedar Rapids. They brought it, and Nels Cline really stretched out on his guitar solos. He was taking his time.

Jon Batiste was the headliner on a cool night, and lit the place up with his positive energy. One song flowed into the other. Old Crow Medicine Show was another group that kept an ongoing dialogue between songs. The Dip and Houndmouth were also interesting, as were the Steeldrivers. I was also glad to see Larkin Poe take the main stage.

I’m hoping next year that Palen Music can set up its Front Porch Stage for amateurs, like me, can take a shot at picking two or three chords. Until then, I’m practicing.

* * *

A while back a local 4-H group wanted me to talk about photography.

Holy cow. I did the math. I’ve probably been taking pictures for over 50 years. And I’m still trying to figure it out.

My bullet points were:

* Make a lot of mistakes.

* Take the lens cap off of the lens.

* Remember where you put the lens cap.

Other than that, I recalled the many cameras and gear my Dad and I went through, changes in types of film, the adventure of developing pictures in a dark room, and trying to keep up with new technology. After these many years, I’m new to using manual settings to set my light.

I was impressed by someone asked if I took pictures in the RAW format. Once. I was scared.

When the camera is in my hand, I’m still that kid taking my first picture of my Dad, still learning. Scratching my head and marveling at the technology.

And trying to remember where I put the lens cap.

The 4-H photo crew.

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