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For his latest release called Fever Breaks, the singer/songwriter Josh Ritter enlists the big guns on the talent front. From an Americana and contemporary folk perspective where Ritter’s music has always resided, it doesn’t get much bigger than Jason Isbell who produced Fever Breaks and his …

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Crossing a bridge, whether literally or metaphorically, will bring you to the other side. What lies there at the foot of the bridge just crossed is always going to be a bit of a mystery. If the bridge is never crossed, then of course the mystery will never be revealed. What does it take to c…

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Recent albums from one-man band The Suitcase Junket and a new project from Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi All-Stars fame are in this week’s Ear Bliss spotlight. The Suitcase Junket is Bay State native Matt Lorenz. Produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos fame, Mean Dog, Trampoline is Lor…

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Project Healing Waters and Stars and Stripers have teamed up for a second year to give disabled veterans a day fishing on Narragansett Bay. On Saturday, June 8, the non profit group of passionate volunteers will help a dozen vets fish with local captains for blues, bass and anything they can…

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A snippet on a radio talk show piece caught our attention the other day in a very real and startling way. The number of deaths each year from opioid related drug overdose is greater than the number of deaths in traffic accidents and by gun shooting combined in the United States. Somewhere in…

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In Salt Lake City, the faithful call it “The Miracle of the Gulls,” and, in countless retellings from Mormon pulpits, the story goes like this. In 1847, a band of pilgrims led by Brigham Young, the so-called “American Moses” and second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Sa…

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David Gregg, executive director of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) sits under a canopy at a long table sorting ants. There are perhaps a dozen or so that he has recently collected contained in a tiny bottle. He separates them before handing them off to an ant expert who will …

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If we set an intention to do something, the chances are much greater that we will actually do this thing.  If we write the intention down somewhere, in a journal or such, we again increase the odds of this thing being done.  It is a good way to begin to feel better about ourselves and the wo…

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Here’s thinking the prevailing thought out there amongst Nora Jones fans is any new album from her, even if it consists of songs not necessarily recorded with the intention of releasing them as a complete work, is better than no new Nora Jones music. That new “album” is called Begin Again an…

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For the past 27 years, the Maryland-based American Hiking Society has co-opted the first Saturday in June to stage a nationwide celebration of this country’s more than 200,000 miles of pathways. But, as with many good things, “National Trails Day” soon expanded to encompass the first weekend…

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What if the State held a meeting about the future of our outdoor recreation and no one went? How would we know how our parks, beaches, woods and trails were being managed, purchased or changed? Public participation in public policy is tricky since couches are more comfortable than podiums an…

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One falls under the genre of pop while the other lands in the folk sphere, but what they share is a love of atmospherics in their songs. Wreckless Eric has had a long and one could say storied career that began back in the 1970s as one of the original Stiff Records artists with the likes of …

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If you have not been outside in a little while, it has been raining, a lot.  The grass, the trees, the flowers and shrubs are not complaining.  The green is deep and rich just now.  The flowers have survived inordinate numbers of days due to the cloud cover and cooler temperatures.  Flowerin…

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If you ever needed a dose of humility, I have a suggestion: run, don’t walk, to an outdoor  “pharmacy” that encompasses the wonderfully frustrating world of birdwatching. For most of May—indeed, most Mays of my entire life—I have been rummaging through its shelves in search of various “compo…

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On the new album called Union from long-running alternative country act Son Volt, lead singer, songwriter, and band founder Jay Farrar has things to get off his chest. In the true spirit of folk music and restless troubadours like Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger, Union is a platform for Farrar …

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When we catch ourselves becoming frustrated with other people, in certain situations or just with the way we feel generally, it is always important to notice if we are trying to hold steadfastly to some idea, concept or expectation. If we find that in fact we are being a bit stubborn with th…

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I can’t be sure that this is correct, but if a certain well-placed source heard this right, then it seems that the powers in charge of writing the newest edition of the definitive Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—this would be the DSM-6—is currently debating, and debatin…

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Fire can destroy everything as it tears through roofs, walls and hearts. What fire doesn’t always do is destroy the human spirit and passions to rebuild. When Big Bear Hunting and Firearms in Harmony burned in January of 2018, the building was left in tough shape and save for some firearms a…

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In a typical early-ish May, the Journal topic-of-the-week would, no doubt, encompass all things avian. The spring migration would be in full force, and every day would be rich with new discoveries. There’d be a host of different male warblers flashing their resplendent breeding plumage and s…

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Last week, The Ocean Conservancy invited a flotilla of fishermen from all over the country to Washington D.C. to discuss long range protection of fish stocks and the path to abundance, by ensuring a strong Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, with our congressional repre…

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Now that cookout season is truly upon us, let us all consider what toppings we may like on our first grilled hamburger this year. Of course, some folks grill all year round, and for you hearty folks, perhaps some new recipes might be in the mix. Either way, the hamburger, America’s most popu…

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With warm weather approaching, Ear Bliss kicks off its periodic series of music festival alerts for some of the finer events happening in Northeast this summer. Leading things off is a preview of Solid Sound Festival of Music & Art hosted and curated by the band Wilco. Featuring music, c…

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The first migrating stripers have shown along Jerusalem’s West Wall. These new fish, fresh from a long migration out of the Hudson River and Chesapeake Bay are brushed with sea lice, hitchhikers picked up in open waters. While they tend to arrive in waves, the first round really gets fisherm…

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One of the things that plagues most human beings is this little gut feeling that there is something more to it all than what seems to appearing on the surface of life. If this makes any sense to you, as you read this, perhaps there is something to this feeling. In a world that has become mor…

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Stories of struggle, resistance, and hope from African-American women lays the groundwork for the recent album Songs of Our Native Daughters from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. The set of songs brings together the singers Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell,…

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Earlier this year, I led off an edition of the Journal with that famous quote from Revolutionary War patriot Tom Paine about these being the times that try men’s souls. I wasn’t, back then, lamenting the state of environmental preservation and the failure of the supposed conservation watchdo…

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It is always kind of fun to wear a hat. There are lots of different kinds of hats in the world. Some hats are very recognizable from the region of the world that they come. There are classic hats. There are simple hats. There are festive hats, and hats that mostly stay on the shelf. Some peo…

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Spring’s greatest day, the opening of trout season in Rhode Island was a soggy success. Steady rains came early and often, winds pushed everyone around and skies were zebra striped with sheets of clouds racing south to north. Two days later, under far more obliging skies, a newly organized g…

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For this week, Ear Bliss takes a look at a couple of recent releases from the Easy Eye Sound record label. Begun by Dan Auerbach of Black Keys fame whose own 2017 solo album Waiting on a Song was the debut release for the label, perhaps the biggest tipoff to the aesthetic Auberbach is strivi…

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With any luck, I will have, by the time this edition of the Journal sees print, rejoined the digitally interconnected world. With a new wireless router replacing the old one that, for reasons no one has been able to determine, gave up the digital ghost on Tax Day—the cause might have had mor…

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As a bluebird Saturday drew fishermen out to tear off shrinkwrap or frantically start organizing gear they should have combed through while it was snowing, the Kayak Centre in Wickford was packed. Randy DeGrace, Ian Clark and Jimmy Chappel of the 1000 member Facebook group Ocean State Kayak …

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The quacking chorus of male Wood Frogs, the point of their curious singing having done its job of impressing female listeners, is now beginning to ebb, as clouds of linked egg clusters float on every favored vernal pool in the area. The bell-ringing of the Spring Peeper musicians, however, r…

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The latest studio album from the monstrous Tedeschi-Trucks Band called Signs leads off Ear Bliss this week. As evidenced by Signs, this is a 12-piece unit firing on all cylinders that seems to just keep getting better and better with each outing. As has been customary the last several years,…

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A new solo release from The Go-Betweens co-founder Robert Forster leads off this week’s edition of Ear Bliss. Inferno is the name of Forster’s record and it has that deft pop-tune touch synonymous with his work with legendary and beloved Brisbane, Australia-based indie rock/pop band The Go-B…

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Spring is in the air.  Well, with the weather being a little chilly every other day I think Spring is just in the air and hasn’t really landed yet.  For Tinker Bell & Wendy it has been great since they don’t have to wear coats any more just a little t-shirt or dress is enough for them. 

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Everyone has a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition. Perhaps it’s going out to an appropriate pub for a pint of green Guinness (God forbid!), or taking in an Irish music session of fast-paced jigs, reels, and step dancing. Maybe you fancy just listening to sad tales—these, for better or worse, abou…

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Spring be damned, we needed one more day on the ice. Southern ponds had largely thawed so we got the band back together, sort of. We assembled nine die-hards: three sharpies from Connecticut, the two owners of Al’s Goldfish Lure Company, the Maine Fishing TV crew and Maine Guide Justin Petel…

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When a person states that they are “trying,” or “really trying,” depending on tone, there could be a whole host of underlying scenarios going on with that person.  Having stated, “I am trying” quite a few times in life, under a variety of situations and circumstances, this opening statement …

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Once upon a time, 1982 to be exact, a band arose out of Nashville with a most definite un-Nashville sound. At that time, Music City U.S.A. was truly and only a country music mecca. That band, called Jason & the Scorchers, were on a path to shake things up. Fusing punk and honky tonk, it …

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As we rapidly approach the official vernal equinox, or beginning of spring, there are already some subtle signs of the official seasonal shift upon us. There are snow bells popping up through the soft spots in the ground. Lilies are pushing their pointed heads up through the ground, as well.…

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The last edge of winter is tough. Temperatures and winds foul up fishing plans. It’s tough hearing teenagers still complaining about bringing in firewood. The wise don’t dare put away snowblowers just yet, odds are good there’s one more storm on our horizon. In a nod to winter’s departure, h…

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When scholars tried to timestamp ancient history, the standard method of ensuring that everyone was in sync was to use the terms BC—before Christ—and AD—Latin for Anno Domini, which translates to “In the Year of Our Lord” and is shorthand for the years following Jesus’ birth. More recently, …

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How about some old school soul music? The foundation for the throwback sounds of Durand Jones & the Indications is of the 1960-70s vintage and on the band’s new release called American Love Call, they deliver a blissful blast of ear pleasing soul tunes capable of shaking up any kind of g…

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Bob Buscher expects to catch a thousand pounds of largemouth bass this year. That’s an unreal amount of fish caught one at a time, from a small boat by one fisherman. On a good year, Bob fishes about four days a week; some years he’s out there two hundred days. There’s no contest involved, t…

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The mind is a problem solving tool. If it does not have a problem to work on, it will create one. The mind is not terribly interested in being unemployed. This scenario seems simple enough to resolve. Let us all just give our minds things to work on. The situation is a bit more complex than …