I quite playing music with Stone Company after a 3 year long run. It's a bit of long story, but the short of it is that life is too short to only play someone else's music...So this last month was the first time in several years I have been bandless: no gigs on the horizon, no rehearsals, no recording schedules, etc. I'm still helping Dan finish his album, but other than that it's really nice to clean the musical slate and just focus on the pile of my own compositions that's been building up over the last several years.
"Stone Company" Album Release
I play in a "groove oriented acoustic roots trio" called Stone Company. We just released our first album on all music streaming platforms. You can learn more at www.stonecompanymusic.com
Jon Stone, the lead vocalist came up with the idea of a banjo shaped balloon. I imagined a bunch of pirates in banjo shaped balloons attacking the deserts of Southern Utah and came up with the album art you see above.
STONE COMPANY KICKSTARTER
I'm in a trio called Stone Company. We launched an album right as the Covid Shutdown was starting...our time could not have been worse, but we still got a pretty good response from our fans and supporters. This video was taken from scratch footage I shot while we were making the film. I didn't think I'd every use the footage, but it came in handy for this project.
Here's a small segment from a stage show I coproduced with Russell and Lyndsey Wulfenstein. Danny Monnett is our star guitar player on telecaster and pedal steel.
In 2019 I was hired to direct this film of a dance choregoraphed by my Alissa Schirtzinger Baird. The film was screened at a Creative Arts Academy Benefit Concert in December 2019.
Roo Arcus & Stranded Tourists
Stranded Tourists had the opportunity to back CMAA award finalist, Roo Arcus during Western Legends this Fall. This show wasn't just our first show with Roo, it was also our first acquaintance and first rehearsal. We were all impressed by him. Here's more information about him from his website: https://www.rooarcus.com/about.html
"Golden-guitar finalist Roo Arcus is as real as they come. He sings the way he lives, honest, true and country. He’s a cowboy, a storyteller, a songwriter and one heck of a recording artist. This Australian cattleman, who to this day works the family farm, oozes authenticity and is true to his country roots.
The 2016 CMAA Award Finalist for ‘Male Artist of the Year’ and ‘Toyota Heritage Song of the Year’, Arcus has more than earned his stripes in Australia and is now taking on the world stage, splitting his time between Southern NSW and the Country Music heartland of the Southern United States.
Arcus has now released 3 albums resulting in a string of radio hits, awards and nominations. Drawn to the road, he has toured and played most the major festivals in Australia and has twice been an official CMA showcase artist in Nashville. His resilience, hard work, honesty and pride in his music, has earnt the respect of industry and his ever-growing loyal fan base.
Turning the focus to the future, Arcus is set to release his fourth studio album in late 2019, recorded on ‘Music Row’ at SonyTree Studios, Nashville. The lead single lifted from the record – entitled ‘Tumbleweed’- will be released in July and will no doubt re-enforce his place in the hearts of fans and peers alike.
Few do it like Roo. He represents that illusive blend of old-world cowboy coupled with refined international touring artist. His music has worldwide appeal, as does his warm and gentlemanly but strong nature.
Roo is testament to a man who knows who he is and who’s not afraid to blaze his own trail. Such grit and tenacity come from a lifetime of walking the road less travelled. "
My grandfather Mac Lyman died at the age of 36 and I never met him. My Aunt Ruth, Mac's sister, was my closest connection to him. They used to sing at different hole-in-the-wall joints around Brian Head and Parowan. Aunt Ruth sang cowboy songs, told semi raunchy cowboy jokes, yodelled and painted with oils. She ran off with a cowboy at the age of 16 and later, because of her connections to Southwestern cowboy culture, learned "The Sierry Petes AKA Knot in the Devil's Tail" directly from Gail Gardner. I think she actually lived with her husband on his ranch for a while. She was proud to know all the original lyrics to the song, not the bastardized Michael Martin Murphey version. I once asker her what songs she liked to sing, and she replied "Country Western". I asked if she played songs by people like Hank Williams. She looked me straight in the eye and said emphatically: "No. I play Country Western" as if to say even Hank Williams was no match for Gail Gardner.
She was dying of cancer in this video and passed away a few months after this brief two song serenade. For all I know, it was the last time she played guitar and sang for anyone.
Happy 100 Pete!
"At some point, Pete Seeger decided he’d be a walking, singing reminder of all of America’s history. He’d be a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends. He would have the audacity and the courage to sing in the voice of the people, and despite Pete’s somewhat benign, grandfatherly appearance, he is a creature of a stubborn, defiant and nasty optimism. Inside him he carries a steely toughness that belies that grandfatherly facade and it won’t let him take a step back from the things he believes in. At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country’s illusions about itself. Pete Seeger still sings all the verses all the time, and he reminds us of our immense failures as well as shining a light toward our better angels and the horizon where the country we’ve imagined and hold dear we hope awaits us." —Bruce Springsteen
Gjoa/Gjoahavn Medley in 432 Hz
Many people believe when music is tuned down by 8 Hz it has a more relaxing effect on the psyche. 432 Hz, also known as Verdi's 'A', refers to the 'A' above middle 'C' being tuned down from 440 Hz to 432 Hz. Verdi, one of the greatest composers in the operatic genre, was a proponent of 432 Hz because it caused less strain on his singers voices.
Gjøa was the first vessel to transit the Northwest Passage. With a crew of six, Roald Amundsen traversed the passage in a three-year journey starting in 1903. Two of the years were spent anchored in Gjøahavn (Gjoa Harbor). Amundsen called Gjøahavn "The finest little harbor in the world". The expedition made friends with the local Netsililk Inuit, traded items, and learned how live off the land. During their extended layover, the expedition did important research on the magnetic poles, proving the magnetic north pole is constantly shifting its location. When the frozen sea finally melted they continued their journey Westward towards Alaskan waters and finally finished the journey in 1906 as they sailed through the Bering Strait.
Run Boy! Theme (Video Game Score)
A commission from game designer, Jordan Baird, for his new smart phone game called: "RunBoy!". For more information go to: itunes.apple.com/us/app/run-boy/i…8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
The "Charley Spencer Waltz"
The Charles H. Spencer was a stern-wheal steamboat that was briefly used on the Colorado River to transport coal for gold refining operations at Lee's Ferry. The old rusted out boiler is all that remains of the ship since it sunk in shallow water during a flood in 1921.
CANYON OF MOTION
2017 Arches Director's Choice Award, Utah Dance Film Festival
The Grand Canyon is typically recognized as a spectacular landscape of light and space. Most people visit to catch a sunset or witness the extreme distance beyond its rim. This film is about the canyon being a landscape of time and motion. No part of the canyon is at rest and every element is in constant motion. Even the old walls of the canyon are moving on a geologic timescale. This performance filmed in real time and timelapse at Angel's window, expresses many of these movements found above and below the canyon rim. The duration of the actual performance was over 40 minutes during which time the performer moved approximately 2 inches every 6 seconds to create a total of 30 seconds of timelapse video. This video and other realtime footage edited to varying speeds was used to create this film. The film is monochrome to better help the viewer focus on the motions of the canyon without the distraction of color.
"With the world moving so fast and everything right at your fingertips, the idea of slowing down to reflect natures speed perked my curiosity. To feel the texture of the stone under my feet; the wind push against against my body; the ants discovering the crevasse of my toes; the trembling of my limbs; and to look over the abyss of the Grand Canyon’s extraordinary North Rim gave me the deep sense of spirituality. Mother nature enlightened my soul about patience, acceptance, and discovery which I tried to reflect within my movement."
-Alissa Schirtzinger Baird
"Windows of Time" Score
"Windows of Time" was composed for "Canyon of Motion", a dance film project I produced and directed in collaboration with my sister-in-law and accomplished dancer/choreographer, Alissa Schirtzinger-Baird. We wanted a piece of minimal, ambient music representing immense time and space. The film won the Arches director award at the Utah Dance Film Festival.
The "Paria Waltz"
Local musician and former state champion fiddle player Russell Wulfenstein played the lead fiddle on this track. We recorded multiple takes, but his first take is the one featured in this mix.
Pahreah (now spelled Paria) is a ghost town where mormon settlers attempted to establish a community in the late 19th century. They got as far as a few hundred settlers and a post office, but their buildings, farms and other infrastructure were continually destroyed by floods many years in a row. The town was gradually left behind by early settlers. The last citizen of Pahreah was a lone prospector who eventually abandoned the site in 1929 leaving the colorful desert valley as empty and desolate as the day the early pioneers arrived.
2017 Audience Choice Award winner, Utah Dance Film Festival
The true motion of clouds is almost imperceptible. Timelapse photography reveals their motion is quite complex; like dancing. They roll and twist, rise and fall, shrink and expand, appear and disappear. Virga is a tiny reciprocal act of acknowledgement, imitation and appreciation for this aesthetic natural wonder that has been occurring for over 4 billion years. This performance took place during monsoon season on a plateau near Kanab, Utah. While being filmed in real time and timelapse, the performer, Alissa Schirtzinger Baird, moves at a speed similar to the perceived motion of clouds, approximately 2 inches every 6 seconds.
DANCER / CHOREOGRAPHER STATEMENT
"I was intrigued and eager by the challenge to dance as slowly as a cloud. What I didn’t expect was the absolute feeling of serenity. Just as the wind moves clouds, I was inspired to feel the wind and reflect it’s touch. To discover how a small initiation reverberated into every inch of my body was so powerful and a lesson in the unification of mind, body, and elements."
-Alissa Schirtzinger Baird
Kanab Clouds from Joshua Baird on Vimeo.
Kanab Clouds from Joshua Baird on Vimeo.
After buying an iphone, I decided to play with the timelapse function. I taped it to a tripod and took it outside on a cloudy day and hit record. The tape gave out a couple times during one of the most epic cloud formations, but I kept the footage in the reel. It was too amazing to cut out. I ordered an iphone tripod mount the same day. This video inspired me to ask my sister in law Alissa if she was interested in being filmed while dancing at the speed of a cloud. She said yes, drove down that weekend and we filmed "Virga" that very Saturday, and "Canyon of Motion" on Sunday.
The Legacy Folk Ensemble
"Prelude: Orogeny Of Laramidia"
The Laramide Orogeny was a geologic chapter in the history of Western North America when tectonic forces were creating entire mountain ranges, the age of dinosaurs was coming to a dramatic end with the chicxulub asteroid, and mammals were beginning to thrive and grow to great sizes in all parts of the world.
Apart from being the prelude to the Grand River Anthology, Orogeny of Laramidia is a sonic journey through the Colorado Plateau and its historic inhabitants. This soundscape is an ode to immense time, the persistence of life, and the tumultuous process of geologic creation and destruction.
Lee's Lament was first composed as a score for a short film by Nathan Forbush. The film was entered in Kanab's guerrilla film-making competition, Little Hollywood Shootout and won 1st place in it's category.
I later took the score from the film short and adapted it to the Grand River Anthology project. It became Lee's Lament, a piece about the brutality of a different September 11th attack than the once we're familiar with today. This one happened over 150 years ago:
“On September 11, 1857, some 50 to 60 local militiamen in southern Utah, aided by some American indian[s], massacred about 120 emigrants who were traveling by wagon to California. The horrific crime, which spared only 17 children age six and under, occurred in a highland valley called the Mountain Meadows, roughly 35 miles southwest of Cedar City. The victims, most of them from Arkansas, were on their way to California with dreams of a bright future” (Richard E. Turley Jr., “The Mountain Meadows Massacre,” Ensign, Sept. 2007).
Click to read more on lds.org.
* The Grand River Anthology is a 4 part musical history of the Colorado Plateau blending symphonic, electronic and bluegrass genres. Ama8a is my Soundcloud username.