Trail Mix: The Moonshine – Portland, Oregon’s Folksters On The Rise

first_imgThe SkinnyI live out in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, where residents share a certain affinity for homemade liquor. White lightnin’. Hillbilly pop. Kickapoo joy juice. The white dog. Call it what you will, but pour mine from a Mason jar that doesn’t have any fancy label, and keep it clear. No apple pie or blueberry shine for me, if you please.Considering my love of corn liquor, you can imagine my interest was piqued when I discovered The Moonshine. I thought to myself, “Well, I just might have something in common with these folks.”  And I do. A love of fine acoustic music.This Portland, Oregon, quintet gets the musical heritage of my Appalachian Mountains. I hear The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers in their music, but the influence doesn’t end there. There is conscious blending of the old and new here, sort of like moonshine in a martini glass . . . . except this works better.As far as Oregon’s illegal liquor scene goes, in the finest tradition of discretion, I couldn’t get songwriter Michael Gerard to spill much.“I plead the fifth when it comes to the current state of the bootlegging business out here in Oregon. The name means a lot of different things to us,” says Gerard. “We love the DIY idea behind making it yourself if you can’t get it elsewhere, and the idea of taking care of business by cover of night appeals to us, too. We are definitely a band that likes to stay up well past most folks’ idea of late. We’re a bit like the moon that way, too . . . shinin’ high and up all night.For Fans OfThe Head & The Heart, Elephant Revival, Spirit Family ReunionOutside Looking In“We decided to ask The Moonshine to do a long term residency with us because of the reactions the band was getting from the people walking by the shop on the street. There’s not much going on most Monday nights, but service people often have the night off and there are people out and about. The music would start and, over the course of the night, more and more people would wander in, excited to find this gem of a moment going on when they least expected it. These people came back again and again and, as the year progressed, became staples of our community. People who love all sorts of music really connect to the band.”—Stephen Ferruzza, of Portland’s Al Forno Ferruzz, on The MoonshineOn StageA glance through The Moonshine’s tour schedule finds a bevy of dates throughout Oregon. The upcoming show at Edgefield in Troudale, Oregon, on March 17th has me contemplating a trip to the Pacific Northwest. Being a young band, they haven’t had much time to head east yet, but there is something you can do about that. Call your favorite indie record store or radio station and hassle them until they get the band’s new record, And Now . . . , on shelves or on the air.In His Own Words“’Never Know’ started out as a home recording on the same day it was written. Sometimes a song just comes to me fully formed, and this was one of those to some extent. That demo recording is really just this little rhythmic mandolin figure played over a sort of reggae beat that I programmed into my drum machine software. It’s really quite different from what we ended up with in the studio, although I feel like the album version retains some of the strange juxtaposition of pseudo-Cajun melodic content over the clearly pop leanings of the beat and the Beach Boys backing vocals. The song is really an ode to getting out and doing whatever this life moves you to do before it’s too l ate. It’s a bright song of hope wrapped around the dark fact of death. I think that’s what it’s one of my favorites.”—Michael Gerard, of The Moonshine, on “Never Know”On The World Wide WebFor more information on The Moonshine, when the band will take to a stage near you, or how you can get the new record, surf over to read more

Jeremy Woolfe: Brexit and the ‘cuppa’

first_imgIt is not for the Commission to set up a one-size-fits-all, he stated, as if apologetically. Then he referred to the Commission’s holdback on any rules to limit the wattage of the kettle, used to heat the water for the legendary cuppa. As the story of the ‘hot-button’ issue put out by the Brexit ‘Out’ movement goes, any limit on power and liberty will have to wait at least until after the UK chooses its fate, on 23 June. In other words, the Commission has put its foot on the brake-pedal, which would have prevented electric surges through under-sea cables from Continental Europe into the UK. This can be when the tea-drinkers dive to their kitchen kettles at, say, half-time during a TV broadcast of a football match.However good that story may be, the likely truth is that the Brussels’s environmental people had no firm plans but were only just thinking about some restraint on the kettle, some of which can be rated up to 2,900 watts. Nevertheless, the new Brussels ‘humble pie’ position certainly does ring true. One Commission source talks of better regulation principles, which “include not taking decisions at EU level that unnecessarily meddle in people’s daily lives”. The tone certainly colours official thinking on the Prospectus Regulation, published last 30 November (2015) and now passed on to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU “for discussion and adoption”. The Regulation is to replace the existing Prospectus Directive of 2003 (and with antecedents going back to 1980) to cover when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading. Describing the proposed reform, the Commission describes it as the “gateway” for issuers to gain access to the European capital markets.Still, logically, it says the rules will provide investors across the European Union with “the same level of information on companies that want to raise capital. Aligning disclosure standards aims to make it easier to invest cross border”. The Commission goes on to report that the Regulation will enable SMEs “in particular” to find it easier to raise funding when issuing shares or debt. Perhaps the new deference to Mr Average Citizen contributed to opportunist protests aired at the conference. Speakers were upset at EU plans for a threshold limit for a prospectus for capital needs below €500,000 (up from €100,000). The Commission says this relief gives “breathing space” for SMEs.However, an unsatisfied Chris Muyldermans, of bank KBC group, pooh-poohed the threshold. This “should be debated”, she told the conference, organised by QED. She’d like the sum to rise significantly. Rather than relying on the prospectus, when investing, she simply wants to know from an SME prospect what they need the money for, and other basics.On the same track, Dierdre Somers of the Federation of European Securities Exchanges suggested an SME exemption for any sum less than 10-20% of its capital. And Michael Collins, deputy chief executive and public affairs director at InvestEurope, formerly the EVCA, warned that, “If we want unicorns – i.e. emerging companies with $1bn valuation – in Europe, then we have to be able to fund them, including via equity markets.” On the other hand, Arjun Singh-Muchelle of the Investment Association stated: “If you want to play with the big boys, you’d better behave like a big boy.” By this, he meant companies applying for large-scale funding should accept appropriate rules.Modern man may look back in bewilderment at the Roman Empire’s seeking guidance from chicken entrails prior to battling with the barbarians. He could also marvel at the world’s largest economy being distracted by the humdrum cuppa when striving to put its economy to rights. Jeremy Woolfe laments the EU economy’s being distracted by a humdrum cup of teaA cup of tea – the Englishman’s beloved ‘cuppa’. Nothing to do with the EU’s cross-border investment prospects? But it has – and quite a lot.In fact, the EU hierarchy has to take into account anything – anything – that might have the slightest effect on the forthcoming Brexit vote. Sounds daft? But “anything” includes even the drink that cheers but does not inebriate. Behind this, it is clear Brussels is running scared of the UK’s in/out referendum. Hence, even the serious matter of the new Prospectus Regulation, an important component in the EU’s Capital Market Union programme, has to be tailored with the Brexit risk in mind. At a presentation of the regulation, self-deprecation by the rule-maker clearly reflected the tone. The Commission has “learned its lesson” (about accusations of over-regulation), senior official Tilman Lueder said at a conference entitled ‘EU Prospectus Regulation: Striking a Balance’.last_img read more