Friday, August 29, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 18

The State Fair Edition, continued
I attended ten of the twelve days of the Indiana State Fair. Days one-six were reviewed on the last issue.
Indiana State Fair - day seven
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
And on the seventh day she rested...actually I worked too late to make it to the fairgrounds. Even with my rabid love the fair, I couldn't justify going at 9:30 p.m. I did do a drive by, just to make sure the Ferris Wheel was still turning with out my supervision

Indiana State Fair – day eight
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I had really been looking forward to this night at the fair. Garrison Keillor’s Rhubarb Tour was in town and I’d invited my friend, Kipp to go with me.
Kipp and I took a lap around the fairgrounds. Believe it or not, but there was a building I had not been in yet. The Farm Bureau Building housed a giant diorama of farm scene.
We had a grand time looking at tractors, eating grilled cheese sandwiches and corn on the cob and pointing out our favorite things about the fair.

I always enjoy the Rhubarb Tour variety show. This year’s version featured the very talented singer Suzy Bogguss.

The real highlight of the evening for me was how wonderful the weather was. I was really enjoying hearing the sounds of the fair layered with the music from the show. The sunset was amazing and there was a nice breeze wafting through the grandstand. It was defiantly one of those close to God moments for me—the overwhelming feeling that washes over me occasionally, realizing how amazing this world and my life is.

We were pretty far from the stage. I realize how spoiled I am about being able to see bands up close. Not because I always have great seats, but because I’m usually only a handful of people in the audience. The pedal steel player, Joe Savage was excellent. I was happy to see such a big crowd – and I challenge them to go see live music in the next month.

I’ve never had a funnel cake and we searched the Midway for a stand. The one we found had a funky smell surrounding it. I can justify the smell of poo near the swine barn, but not on the midway.

I've had my photograph taken in the bee ride at the fair before, but I've never been happy with them. I always feel too self-conscious on a kiddle ride in broad daylight. I know they guy running the ride thought we were a little nuts. Kipp did a great job of snapping a ton of photographs.

We wound up with an elephant ear, instead of a funnel cake, which was just fine by me. Fried pillowy doughy goodness. Slathered with butter and dusted with cinnamon and sugar. And when I say dusted I don’t mean a delicate dusting, I mean laying it on thick dusting. And it was delicious.
I suggested that we get an extra elephant ear to take to Lana at the Red Key.
Once there, I suggested a post-fair drink. I was telling a story, ironically about talking with my hands and someone who openly mocks me for that. As I was making the point that I don’t really talk with my hands I knocked my drink – with a sweeping hand motion, into Kipp’s lap. It was a perfect shot. 
Kipp was charming and didn't make a big deal about it. I've been practicing sitting on my hands and talking. It’s not going very well.

Indiana State Fair – day nine
Thursday, August 14, 2008

I took Thursday off to go to the fair with best-friend-since-we-were-six-years -old, Ann Herr Mitchell. We walked down the trail catching up on life. We had pretty much solved the world’s problems by the time we got to the fairgrounds.
We walked around; stopping at the Ball State Ag/Hort building to look at patio stone, checked out the cheese sculpture in the Pioneer Hi-Bred Our Land Pavilion, looked at the paintings in the Home and Family Arts building and the new bridge.
Annie and I caught the lumberjack show. It was great. I’m sure our good time had to do with the sunshine and goofy jokes. The physique of the lumberjacks had absolutely nothing to do with it. Swear. After all, the theme of the fair was “Year of the Trees.” We were just being patriotic.
We had one goal for the day: to ride an elephant. I’ll admit to snubbing of the circus area earlier in the fair. I’m a purist. What does the circus have to do with Indiana? As it turns out --a lot. The International Circus Hall of Fame is located in Peru (pronounced PEA-roo) Indiana. The elephant ride was a blast. I got the better end of the deal – Ann sat on the bony end of the elephant. How cool is that? Ann Herr and I rode an elephant. Of all of the adventures our little Nancy Drew hearts dreamed of, riding an elephant was not even on our radar. The most exotic we ever got was reading Nancy Drew's The Mystery of the Ivory Charm.

After the ride, the sky started looking ominous. Ann and I grabbed a snow cone and walked down the trail to my house. We made it to my backyard before the rain started. It’s a good thing we didn’t get to wet, ‘cause we’re both liable to melt.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I took a break from the state fair, for a good cause. Sausagefest is a fundraiser for Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. And I must say it is the most fun that I've had on a parochial school playground since, well, ever. I was not good at recess or kickball or any of that kid stuff. I was too busy wiping my nose on my sleeve and trying to be invisible when I was young.

As it turns out, everything is more fun with Guinness and sausage! And consuming it on the playground feels twice as naughty.

I really had a great time. I ran in to folks that I have not seen since the CATH coffeehouse closed four years ago. I got to catch up with old customers and their kids.

The music was terrific. I finally had a chance to hear Bill Rumley. He plays acoustic guitar and sings. He is great and I’m sorry that it took me seven years to catch up with his music. Tim Brickley and Scott Sanders were joined by Sausagefest music coordinator, Kevin Strunk for part of their set. Tim is a great singer and songwriter and it was a treat to see him in that setting. Tim owns Hit City Recording Studio, where I used to have my coffeehouse office. It is strange to go from seeing someone almost every day for seven years to just a couple of times a year. I need to catch up with Tim at D’Vine Wine Bar soon.

Gary Wasson and Cara Jean Wahlers sounded amazing, their harmonies are fabulous. Cara is always a treat to hear, and I swear she just keeps getting better and better. They played as the sun was setting. Gary and Cara play the perfect twilight music, just beautiful.

The duo Buckdancer’s Choice - Kevin Strunk and Dave Duvall are always great. Mandolin, guitar and great songs are always a hit. Guitar player and singer Mark Proctor closed the evening. Mark is playing the Broad Ripple Farmers Market in October but it was the first time I’d heard him. Great big voice – very fun set.

Indiana State Fair – day eleven
Saturday, August 16, 2008

I was on a mission with this trip to the fair. I was there for the express purpose of getting dinner for my Red Key pals.

This has become an annual tradition and I have it down to a science. I hopped on my bike at 4:10 and was walking in to the fair at 4:25 with cash, a cloth bag and a plan.

First stop: The Pork Tent for two pork chop sandwiches. Next stop: The Beef Tent for two rib eye sandwiches. I usually have little side cups with lids, but my supply (leftover from the coffeehouse four years ago) is gone, so I had to take Dixie cups for the condiments. Next stop: The Red Barn Elephant Ear stand for two Elephant Ears.

I was back on my bike at 4:35 and pedaling back down the trail. Home and on my way to work at the Red Key by 5:00

Another successful visit to the fair.

Indiana State Fair – day twelve
Sunday, August 17, 2008

I rode my bike to the [sniff] last day of the fair to meet Tammy, Cara and Holly. I got there just as Cara and Holly finished getting Henna tattoos.
We walked around the whole fair, stopping at Pioneer Village. We walked through the as old log cabin in the building.

I'd written about Dick Reel and his great bench in the last edition of the Gazette. I stopped by to say goodbye and see if he'd read the piece and find out how his bench went at the auction. The bench did really well - $1200! His buddies were teasing him about that and the article, calling him the saint of Pioneer Village. 

The true patron saint of (Purdue Ag Alumni) Pioneer Village is Maurice Williamson. I'm not sure how long he has managed the Village. I do know that it has grown tremendously under his guidance. In 1961 the Pioneer Farm and Home Show Exhibit started at the fair. It was housed in the balcony of the grandstand. It quickly grew out of the space. In 1966 it was moved to the Purdue Building, in 1967 to the Horticulture Building and in 1968 a new building constructed.

We checked out more animals. I thought I'd spare you all another photograph of the World's Largest Boar. These horses are much prettier and smell a little better also.

It was fun looking at all of the goodies for sale along the main drag. Lots of giggles, no purchases. We did succumb to the call of the potato-y goodness of King Taters. We were walking with our piping hot plate of chips when I heard my name called from the tractor tram.
My cousin Leo, his wife Luci from Logansport and their daughter Nina were on the tram. I jumped on with them to visit as we rode to their exit. In my excitement, I took the plate of potato chips with me, much to the disappointment of Tammy and Cara. In a true testament to my willpower, I got off the tram with most of the potatoes still on the plate.

I rendezvoused with the girls at the Lumberjack competition. It was standing room only. The bleachers were full of women. In case you were wondering why women were so attracted to the manly sport of lumberjack contests I'll let the photographs do the talking.

The weather was amazing and the real star of the fair this year. The temperatures were moderate; hardly any humidity and only one short rain the whole 12 days.

The theme of the 2008 Indiana State Fair: The Year of Indiana Trees. They did a great job of showcasing Indiana trees, forests and the lumber industry. I learned a ton of stuff.
-Indiana grows 40% more wood than we use.
-The forest product industry is the fourth largest manufacturing industry in the state.
-Indiana has 4.6 million acres of forests.
-Most common woods: Oak, Hickory, Ash, Maple, Poplar, Maple, Walnut and Cherry.
-I'll be paying attention to the Lumberjack World Competition next year. Go Derek and Bobby!
I was feeling a little sad on the way home. The state fair always marks the end of summer.
I’m not quite sure how I will handle next year’s expanded seventeen-day fair. I’d better start training now.

Monday, September 1, 2008
Corner of 54th Street and College Avenue
noon-6:00 pm, free, all ages

This will be the 11th annual Labor Day Street Fair – I can’t believe it! It feels like it was just yesterday that I was selling root beer and had a duck pond game for kids in the CATH parking lot for this event. The fair has come a long way – sponsors and everything: The Jazz Kitchen, Yats, Be, Northside News, WICR 88.7 fm and

This has turned in to one of the best events of the year, helping close out the end of the summer. From 12:30-2pm will be The Steve Allee Trio with Kenny Phelps and Frank Smith. They'll be playing some of Steve's great compositions from his latest CD "Dragonfly," as well as other favorites. From 2:30-4pm will be The Bill Lancton Coalition, throwing a bit of funky, jazz guitar and horns into the mix, and rounding out the day from 4:30-6pm will be the Dixon / Rhyne Project, featuring saxophonist Rob Dixon and B3 legend Melvin Rhyne playing some selections off of their current CD, "Reinvention."

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from The Jazz Kitchen and Yats. And, new to the corner party this year - and open during the fair - will be the wonderful boutique, Be. I popped in there for the first time recently. Great stuff! In fact I’m propped up on my new pillow and drinking out of a new glass from there as I type. I’m sure you’ll see me out and about sporting my new purse.
I’ll see you there!

Out and About
In the next issue I’ll review all of the music that I heard in the last month. I was on a real roll of seeing metal bands. I’d almost forgotten what a “flying V” guitar looked like

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Amy Speace and Stasia Demos - Thursday, August 21

Stasia Demos
Amy Speace and The Tearjerks
Thursday, August 21, 7 pm, $10.
Boulevard Place Café
4155 Boulevard Place
non-smoking, all ages

I cannot tell you how much I adore Amy Speace. She was one of the first people to play at CATH. And she started a long tradition of musicians sleeping on my sofa. In fact my cat’s last name is Speace, because she feels like part of the family. Her music (Amy’s, not the cat) has found a permanent home in my CD player.

You know how much I love connecting dots - the first time Amy played at the coffeehouse I drug her to see Middletown at Utopia. That was the night that Stasia Demos announced her engagement. Ta da! So, how cool is it that Stasia is opening for Amy 8-ish years later?

Amy has been quite busy in the meantime. She caught the ear of Judy Collins and has been supporting her tour along with an extensive schedule of her own.

I will most certainly be at the show. I’m off to blow up air mattresses – the band is staying with me. In the meantime, scroll down for one of the first ever pieces I wrote for NUVO.


Amy Speace
Monday, Oct. 23, 2006 7 p.m.

From playing at CATH coffeehouse to opening for Judy Collins, Amy Speace has come a long way in the last five years. CATH Inc., the acoustic venue at 54th Street and College Avenue that closed in September 2004, was the second stop on her first-ever tour. Speace has spent the past year as Judy Collins’ opening act and winning folk festival and songwriting awards. Her latest release, Songs For Bright Street, is on Collins’ Wildflower Records.

When asked about Judy Collins and Wildflower Records, Speace felt like she was giving a pageant contest answer: “It really has been a dream to open for Judy. She’s one of the first voices I remember from the radio … and she has always been that voice, so iconic.
“As a singer-songwriter working in a folk-based idiom, there are maybe a handful of artists that all want to hear us and nod their approval, and Judy is certainly in that group.”

Speace says that standing backstage listening to Collins sing is incredible. The first time she met Collins, she was distracted by the color of her eyes. Speace managed not to blurt out “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes” and instead greeted her with a very proper “nice to meet you, Ms. Collins.”

Songs For Bright Street is a great collection of Speace’s songwriting talents. Her music is pop-folk with a bit of alt-country tossed in. She will be performing that album and has promised some new songs.

Speace is looking forward to playing in the house concert intimacy of Indy Hostel and enjoying a good run on the Monon Trail.

For more information go to
—Nora Spitznogle

Friday, August 15, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 17

The State Fair Edition
Indiana State Fair- preview day
Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Sunday before the fair the Home and Family Arts Building opens for a sneak peek for the people who entered projects in the open show. Mom and I have made it a tradition. It is always fun to see what the talented people of Indiana have created. This year I was not among the talented. For the first time since I can remember I didn’t get a ribbon. That did not dampen my excitement for the fair.

Indiana State Fair – day one
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tammy Lieber (formerly of Tammy’s Take) and I rode our bikes to the fair grounds. We saw lots of cows, ate steak sandwiches (sorry cows) and a lap around the grounds on the tractor tram. We were disappointed that the giant colon was closed [insert your favorite joke here] when we got there. We saw lots of marching band kids wandering around, but didn’t hear any music. Food consumed: steak sandwich.

Indiana State Fair – day two
Thursday, August 7. 2008

I didn't get home from work until 8:00. I threw on jeans and jumped on my bike and was looking at rabbits and roosters by 8:15.
I love the King Tater potato chips. They spiral cut a potato with a blade attached to a drill. The whole thing is brilliant. I was lurking around the stand trying to talk myself out of ordering a plate of the greasy salty goodness. I was strong and headed to the swine barn.

I ran in to see the world's largest boar before I changed my mind. I was chatting with a guy front of Harley (1121 pounds). The conversation was going well until the guy started talking about the pig's, um, Rocky Mountain oysters. I fled.
I was looking forward to the Indiana's Got Game display. There are some cool artifacts and displays. I got to compare my footprint to Rik Smits’.
I heard a bit of Jessica Simpson’s show as I walked by. “These Boots are Make For Walking” is still stuck in my head.

I walked through the midway on the way home. It was a gorgeous night.

Indiana State Fair – day three
Friday, August 8, 2008

My friend Scott and I walked to the fair from my house. I live a little over a mile from the fairgrounds. I love that our state fair is in midtown Indianapolis.
Pioneer Village is my favorite corner of the fair. The building houses a log cabin, quilters, wood carvers, candle makers, old farm equipment and music.
We saw the Boone County bluegrass band, Cornfields and Crossroads. They were excellent.

The village has hundreds of old tractors, a working threshing ring, lumber mill, grist mill and syrup making.

We stopped by to visit Harley, the World's Largest Boar (1121 pounds). This is the first time in my 40-ish years of attending the fair that I've ever seen the largest boar standing up.

Tonight's dinner: I revisited the ribeye sandwich.

We walked through the Hooks Pharmacy Museum. I love looking at old bottles, looking at the postcards of vintage fair photographs and admiring the beautiful wood cases.
The last time Scott and I went to the fair I took a spin on the Ferris Wheel. Which might be the last time I'll ever be on one. When I was young, Dad and I rode the Ferris Wheel at the county fair, I was so panicked and screamed so loud that Dad convince the guy running the ride to stop and let us off after one revolution. I convince myself to try it again every decade or so and it doesn't get any better, except that I've learned to suck it up and not scream.

I was fun to hear a little bit of Carrie Underwood's set as we walked and see the grandstand full of her fans. She sounded great.

We took another lap around the grounds and walked home on the trail. Another great day at the fair.

Indiana State Fair – day four
Saturday, August 9, 2008

I made a quick solo trip to the fair between working at Second Helpings and my Red Key shift. I walked through the FFA country store. The store is full of Indiana made products. I love poking around there. I bought some Ball Jar products and my very favorite caramels.

I got to see the end of the fiddle contest, I’m sorry that I didn’t get to see more of it. There are some talented folks out there – adults and kids.
I got to examine the new covered bridge a little closer. It is a great addition to the grounds.

The sky looked like it might rain, but it never did. So far the fair weather has been perfect.

Today’s fair food: Grilled cheese sandwich from the Dairy Barn. They have a sandwich this year. It sure was Gouda!

Indiana State Fair – day five
Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dad and I started our day by looking at 4-H projects. Great job 4-H’rs!
It was General Motors day at the fair. We looked at every single GM product, I’m really attracted to the HHR.

Our next stop was the Home and Family Arts Building. We looked at the antiques, art and baking.

Finally food! We went with the old favorite - steak sandwiches. I tried not to notice the cows behind me as I ate my lunch.

Our next stop was the Agriculture and Horticulture Building. Dad and I have our favorite things to look at. Dad: beekeepers and honey. Nora: brewmasters competition. Is it bad that I know so many beer makers?

We checked out the cheese carving. This year's giant cheese sculpture is of the new covered bridge. The woman carving the cheese was telling the crowd how she came to be a cheese sculpture. She left her corporate marketing job to travel the country carving cheese. Just as I was thinking 'wow, how cool, I would love to do that,' I overheard a twenty-something woman say, "What is wrong that that woman, who would ever want to do that?"

Suspiciously close to the cheese bridge was the cockroach racetrack. I skipped the opportunity to pet the bug. I did have a nice chat with Professor Tom Turpin. He's the entomology expert at Purdue.

We arrived at Pioneer Village just in time to see the log sawing demonstration. It involves steam, belts and sweat.

Dad and I got separated while we were in the Pioneer Village building. I wasn't too worried. I wandered around chatting and looking at old farm equipment. I heard music and when I popped around the corner I saw that my friend, Robin Harrison and the band Witch Hazel Valley People were playing.

Robin announced over his microphone "ladies and gentleman, it's Nora Spitznogle, the one...the only...Nora Spitznogle!" There is something about my name that inspires musicians to say it through a PA. I'm guessing it might be the laugh it produces. A few minutes later dad ran up to the stage, shook Robin's hand and thanked him for finding his lost daughter. Too bad the band was mid-song when it happened. Dad is so charming that every one laughed and it was fine.

We were watching the tractor parade line up when we spied a tractor pulling a trailer with benches. We grinned and ran to catch up. Dad asked the driver if we could hitch a ride and next thing you know we were in the parade. Wooo Hoooo!
The fair was so crowded with the record attendance that it took a while to clear the path for the parade. While everything was at a stand still, farmers jumped off of their tractors and gathered to chat. One wound up in with us. It was fun to hear all about his John Deere A series tractor.

I had a blast and giggled the whole way. We waved our hands off. Dad said that his feet hurt when he got on the trailer and his arm hurt when we got off. Thanks to Johnson County Swartz Farms in Stones Crossing, Greenwood for making my dream of being in the State Fair parade come true.

All of that sitting made us hungry. Dad opted for the beef sundae -I'm not kidding. It was roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, gravy and a cherry tomato. I had a pork chop sandwich - who thought that would be the sensible choice? 

We stopped in the Depart of Natural Resources Building to look at fish. Dad wanted to know how old you need to be before you didn't need a fishing license. I didn't know that Dad was a fisherman, but for the record, if you're born before 1943 you don't need one - in Indiana anyway. Also for the record, Dad does not need one.
Our last stop -Goat Mountain – cute young frolicking goats. We finally had enough fair - nine hours of fun was too much even for me.

Indiana State Fair – day six
Monday, August 11, 2008

I know some of you think I'm nuts for going to the state fair so often, but I have a totally different experience each time I go. And it is practically in our backyard.
I left work early and rode my bike to the fair grounds. I met my friend Kristi and her daughters. They had been there long enough for one daughter to have a blister. I inexplicably had a Barbie Band-Aid in my bag so she was soon back in business.
We visited cows and hung out hoping to see some milking, but no luck. We walked around the fairgrounds in search of a soft pretzel. Those kids are so healthy - for a snack they had popcorn and the pretzel. I need to hang around them more often!
We visited the DNR building and looked at the fish. We didn't have time to fish in the new pond behind the building. The girls had a school ice-cream social to attend. They were excited to meet their teachers. Who are these alien kids? Healthy snacks, like to see farm animals and fish and look forward to school? I heard one of the girls tell her mom: I miss school,I haven't been there for months!

I walked them to their gate and went to meet my friend Kevin who was just arriving. We walked over to the Home and Family Arts building to meet up with sister Beth and her husband Ron. We checked out the antiques and the Ugly Lamp contest. Even my ugly lamp didn't get a ribbon this year. I have to admit, it looked more sad than ugly.
It was finally time – today was King Tater day. They were delicious.

Kevin and I spent a lot of time in Pioneer Village. We had a chance to chat with Dick Reel. Dick is a woodworker and carver. He has worked at on the fairgrounds since he was fourteen. He had some great stories about working at the Grandstand and taking tickets. He’s been part of Pioneer Village for the last thirteen years. He makes a bench each year for the end of the fair auction. Check out this year’s version- he wood burned a drawing of the new covered bridge on it.

Stay tuned for more Indiana State Fair coverage in the next issue.

The Ramblers (NYC)
Monday, August 25, 2008
9 pm, 21 and over

I’m so excited that the folks at Birdy’s were able to squeeze this show on their calendar. I’ve been anxious to see them live. I’m a big fan of Jeremiah Birnbaum and John Embree and they have formed a band, The Ramblers. I love what I’ve heard so far – a blend of rock, soul and Americana.
I’m sorry that I don’t have more details – The opening musician was being confirmed at press time. What I do know for sure: I’ll be there!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

indianapolis songwriters cafe

The Indianapolis Songwriters Cafe happens just once a month- and it's always swell. 
Read a preview of the Friday, August 15 show here. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

second friday, second helpings ~ 08-08-08

Hello lovelies,

The last month flew by! I’ve spent the last ten minutes squinting at my board games calendar in disbelief. And according to Mr. Patient of the Operation fame it is the second Friday of the month. Self diagnosis –brain freeze - that looks much less painful than charlie horse or bread basket.

Anyway – tonight at the Upper Room (above Broad Ripple Steakhouse) you can hear the fabulous musicians Chad Mills, Evan Haughey, and Matt Martin trading songs for a good cause – Second Helpings.

If you’ve been around me at all, you know if my maniacal appreciation of Chad’s music. Click here for a sample. And I’m looking forward to hearing the other two.

You still have time to mow your grass and go to the State Fair before the show, I’m planning on it.

So, tonight: 10:00 at the Upper Room.

Great music promised.

We’ll be passing the bucket for Second Helpings. Feel free to bring a donation of rice or pasta. We use 125 pounds a day. And it’s just not a second Friday unless I’m lugging pasta through the streets of Broad Ripple at 1:00 in the morning –‘cause that’s what all of the kids are doing.

See you there!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

James Combs and April Combs - Indy Hostel, August 9

first published in NUVO

I had the chance to interview the very talented siblings James Combs and April Combs. Their replies were so interesting that NUVO published two versions. A shorter one in print and the whole one on the Web.
Print: click here.
Web: click here.

You can also check out what I wrote about the upcoming show in the Broad Ripple Gazette here.

I hope you can make it to the show. The Hostel has a great outdoor stage, with plenty of room indoors if it rains.

James Combs and April Combs
Saturday, August 9
7:30 pm
Indy Hostel
4903 Winthrop Ave

Big News from Indianapolis Songwriters Cafe

Here is a great bit of news from our friend Cliff Snyder at the Indianapolis Songwriters Cafe.

I'm so jealous (Second Helpings has a big event that night and I cannot attend this show)! I suggest that you buy a ticket right this second for this show. Details below.

Have fun - I can't wait to hear all about it.


"Hey there folks, if you've ever talked to me about music you know how I feel about Steve Earle! He's my musical jesus, blah, blah, blah... You've heard it, I know. BUT this show on October 10th the ISC will host Steve Earles son, Justin Townes Earle.

If you come to one ISC show this year come to this one. Justin puts on one hell of a show and the other writers involved in this night are really outstanding. Do me a big favor and pick up an advance ticket online, you've got plenty of time to make plans for the night and you might just help me be able to book shows like this down the line by coming out!

Justin Townes Earle - Tickets available NOW - Buy'em here!

Indianapolis Songwriters Cafe & My Old Kentucky Blog present:

Justin Townes Earle (The son of Steve Earle & namesake of Townes Van Zandt!) -

If you like good music then go to this link and buy a ticket -

It won't cost much more than a couple of Starbucks coffees and it will certainly last longer! Advance tickets are only $8 & it's $10 at the door so grab one now!

The opening set is a songwriters round featuring...

Mandy Marie of the Cool Hand Lukes (solo!) -

Cliff Snyder, host of the ISC and all around good guy, right? -

Joe Pug, down all the way from the windy city & one hell of a writer -

If you support this show I'll be able to continue working with national artists and you'll be helping build a good thing around there.

Take care & see you in October folks!"


Friday, August 1, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 16

July 18, 2008
Upper Room

The much beloved trio played their semi-annual reunion show with a twist. They were joined by Dean Metcalf on standup bass for the whole set, with John Martin occasionally sitting in with them.

And I have some big news: The band spent time recording while Aaron Stroup was in town. Rumor has it the new record will include three of Aaron’s heartbreaking beautiful tunes, more Stasia Demos goodness including “Pushing Up Daisies” and new Tad Armstrong songs. I don’t know anything else about it – in fact, maybe I dreamed the whole thing since I’ve been wishing for a new Middletown record for so long.

As always, they sounded great and I look forward to the next show. When will Stroup be back in town?

God Made Robots
July 24, 2008

God Made Robots has been on my radar for a while and the stars finally aligned for me to see them. The trio has a great smart-kid pop sound. The lovely Sarah Jane Mills plays bass and sings. According to their Web site British Petroleum was the lead singer, guitar player and Ziodyne was the drummer. I look forward to seeing them again.


Indiana State Fair
August 6-August 17, 2008

You know what a State Fair junkie I am. I’ve already turned in my toffee, snickerdoodles, ugly lamp (purple!), salt and pepper shakers (plastic roses in a pot), baby boomer toy (Pez pony) and Christmas item (Santa Pez). I’m anxiously awaiting opening day.

The State Fair is chock full of entertainment this year. Indiana’s own Virgin Millionaires are opening for Daughtry on August 9th. You can get your Idol fill – over the course of the fair. Corbin Bleu, Justin Stein and Carrie Underwood are also playing the Main Grandstand.
The WFMS Free Stage will have music at least once a day also. I’m looking forward to the Traditional Arts Indiana Fiddle Contest on Saturday, August 9 from 9-2.

The Buckle Up Indiana Main Street Stage features lots of diversity. Every thing from ice sculptors to the Blue Monkey Sideshow. I think it’s a little cruel that the Blue Monkey show is on Thursday, August 14 at 8:00 – coinciding with Senior Day. You need a strong heart to watch those guys. My dad and I wandered by their show last year. When the guy lifting weights his pierced nipples said, “hi Nora,” I thought dad was going to faint. I have a very diverse group of friends.

New at the fair this year: The Indiana State Fair Covered Bridge- a permanent park of the fairgrounds on the northwest side of the grounds. The Olympics of the Forest Lumberjack Show – four of the strongest lumberjacks in the country will show off their cross cut sawing, log rolling and ax throwing skills each day. Indiana’s Got Game! Exhibit – featuring Indiana sports and an interactive area. Indiana sports celebrities will be stopping by for autographs. Normandy Barn - has been moved across the street to the north side of the grounds.

Also be on the lookout for Garfield celebrating his 30th birthday, a rolling Wacky Wheeler performer and the tigers in the Riley Fun Park. Let’s just hope we don’t see the tigers chasing the Garfield chasing the Wacky Wheeler acrobat.

Check out for times and details.

Now all I need is to hitch a ride on the tractor parade….anyone?

April Combs and James Combs
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Indy Hostel Outdoor Stage (indoors if the weather is bad)
4903 Winthrop Ave

Seriously, you need to go to this show. I adored what I could hear of April Combs over the bar chatter when she was here last week. The Hostel will be the perfect place to hear here. She’ll be joined by her equally talented brother, James Combs. April and James are touring together for the “first time in many, many thousands of years,” according to James. It may seem like thousands of years, but it has been since the early 1990s since they’ve been out on tour.

I got to see them play with their band Arson Garden at the 1992 Lollapalooza show. At least I think I did, I made it a point to see all of the side stage bands. That show was on a ski slope and I rained buckets for days. You can picture the scene – mud, mountain, mayhem.

I’ll let James tell you their story: “We will be playing several shows in the Midwest – including gigs in Bloomington (IN), Indianapolis, and Chicago. We’ll include songs from each of our solo careers as well as songs from our celebrated rock band of yesteryear, Arson Garden. 

Perhaps you recall Arson Garden. The Indiana music scene was so very kind to us during the 90’s. And we had a quite a run for awhile: we managed to release three albums internationally on indie labels, tour 36 states and 5 European countries, play the Lollapalooza festival, do a live Peel Session for the legendary BBC DJ John Peel in London, have our video aired on MTV’s 120 Minutes (remember 120 Minutes?)..and we always played to many hundreds of people in our hometown Bloomington (and elsewhere around the Midwest).

“The press was always very good to us, too - enthusiastic notices flowed in from publications running the gamut from CMJ to Option to NME to Melody Maker. The Chicago Reader even said we were “the only art rock band in North America that mattered.” Whoa, we said. When The New York Times. Mentioned us in the same breath as Nirvana, we almost fell over. Heady days, those. As musicians, we were especially thrilled when we got the opportunity to share bills with some of the great touring artists of our era: The Replacements, The Afghan Whigs, They Might Be Giants… even Marianne Faithful. And hey, how about great Bloomington bands: Speed Luxury, Pitbulls On Crack, Walking Ruins, Zulu Bearnicks,

“But times change and we decided to pursue some other things – April became a design professor at the University of Cincinnati and had two gorgeous little girls with her husband, Michael Mann. James moved to California to pursue a solo indie music career – and to compose for film and TV. Maybe you’ve heard James’ songs on Six Feet Under, Entourage, Dexter, Men In Trees, Swing Town… 

2008 finds both James and April sporting new records (James’ album “To Know You Is To Save You” was released this spring, and April’s forthcoming album is due in the fall.) So we said, out loud, to the universe – let’s tour together! In fact, let’s play each other’s songs on said tour! And we’ll bring our amazing harmony singing colleague Laurie Burnham along! So here we are. Coming to town. Playing April’s dazzlingly beautiful songs and James’ indie rock confections. And even the occasional, re-imagined Arson Garden song. Oh, and we couldn’t help but notice that Arson Garden’s music had over 70,000 downloads last year on the great Indiana music scene website Wow, we said."

This is one of those times that I’m going to insist that you go to a show. I mean it.

Cristabel and The Jons
Sunday, August 10, 7pm, $8.
Indy Hostel Outdoor Stage (indoors if the weather is bad)
4903 Winthrop Ave

Cristabel and The Jons sound like they will be a blast. They hail from the hills of Appalachia and classify their music as sultry Tennessee swing. I hear they wear vintage costumes to give the performance a speakeasy feel. Sounds like the perfect way to wrap up the weekend.