Making Music with the Family

A few weeks ago my brother, who is a songwriter and musician, and my niece and nephews, who have a band and play with my brother for as many of his gigs as they can, stayed at our house for a week while they did some recording and made a few stops on their Northeast mini-tour in support of their new album Blinded Again. The band crammed in a lot on this early spring visit: a supper around the fire out in the woods (cold. so very cold), a few beach walks, trips to Boston and lots and lots of music-making. Our living room was stuffed with instrument cases and instruments: a cello, fiddle, a couple of guitars, a couple of banjos, a mandolin and more covered every available surface. It was a great and crowded week, and we missed them as soon as they pulled out of the driveway. I can tell I’m getting older because I kept wanting to ruffle their hair and hug them and talk about how “special” it was to have them all staying with us. And I wanted to bake them cookies and extra food to take with them on their various excursions out of the house, though I didn’t do too much of the latter. I was too tired from all the excitement. Which is further confirmation that I am getting old.

If you like indie-folk, traditional Americana style music, check out their music:

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The band, looking cool in every sense of the word.

Projects: Madden Road Music Hall

Whenever I’m back in my home state of Ohio I try to visit The Building, as my family has always called it. It’s a two-story brick building at a crossroads in Mutual, Ohio, once a thriving little hang-out for local farmers and now just a random collection of residences and a few empty commercial buildings.

Music Hall: trunk & chair

My mom has an antiques shop on the first floor of The Building, and a few years ago the family came together to clean up the upstairs for use as a music hall. The upstairs has seen a lot of action; it was even used as a basketball court when the place was, very briefly, a school. Before those giant windows were boarded up and the place was used for decades of storage (and a home for generations of birds, which proved to be disgusting beyond words), it was a function hall, as they say here in New England. Rumor has it that one hundred or so years ago, things got pretty wild in Mutual. So wild, in fact, that the deed to the building contains the clause that no alcohol can be served on the premises, ever and in perpetuity.

I was in Ohio a few weeks ago and took some photos of what is now the Madden Road Music Hall in repose, with just the faintest echo of loud music, basketball games and wild farmer parties.