YarmonyGrass 2016: A Weekend of Bluegrass on the Colorado River

first_imgColorado sure loves its bluegrass festivals—RockyGrass, Winter Wondergrass, Telluride Bluegrass Festival—but none are quite as intimate or isolated as YarmonyGrass. Celebrating its 11th year this past weekend, the festival is nestled on the banks of the Colorado River at Rancho Del Rio surrounded by mountains, including its namesake Mt. Yarmony to the West. It is hard to find a more beautiful setting for a music festival.During the days, the river was filled with swimmers and a laughable fleet of inflatable vessels. Participants relied on anything they could muster to float the winding stretch of flat water connecting Rancho Del Rio and State Bridge four miles downstream–paddle boards, duckies, mattresses, inner tubes, rainbow unicorns, you name it. Back for the first time in five years, a “floating stage” hit the river midday Saturday with the aptly named Whitewater Ramble playing a set on rafts while a long line of festival-goers floated along for the ride. During the nights, a non-stop flow of music poured over the grounds from two stages. The Main Stage faced an open lawn and the intimate Saloon Stage was on a deck that featured half-hour tweener sets from up-in-comers on the bluegrass scene including the Kitchen Dwellers, Caribou Mountain Collective, and Whiskey Tango.The Jeff Austin Band headlined Friday, drawing the largest crowd of the weekend. In his usual quirky nature, Austin announced how excited he was to be “by all the freakers by the river” and continued to play a dark, experimental set with his four-piece band. To the pleasure of many longtime fans of Yonder Mountain String Band, Austin dove into nostalgic material he has been reluctant to play since his departure from the band, including “Dawn’s Early Light” and an encore of “Raleigh and Spencer” with a Roosevelt Collier sit-in. Though Austin’s choppy mandolin certainly led, it was virtuosic banjo player Ryan Cavanaugh that stole the show every time his number was called for a solo. Early Main Stage performances Saturday included an evening set from the Grateful Dead cover specialists Uptown Toodeloo String Band and Andy Hall’s Joint Set, dobro extraordinaire from the Infamous Stringdusters. Hall’s set began with a beautiful rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” with Roosevelt Collier (the two announced they will be releasing an album together) before bringing a full bluegrass band to the stage to work through a handful of unique covers. But Saturday night belonged to the Drunken Hearts. Bringing a welcomed change of pace from the traditional bluegrass prominent for much of the weekend, their Main Stage set opened up into a number of rocking jams (Steve Miller Band’s “Swingtown” may have been the best) that let the chops of lead guitarist Rob Eaton Jr, bassist Jon McCartan, and drummer Alex Johnson truly shine.Even after playing the set of the weekend, or maybe because of it, the Hearts were enlisted as the primary backing band for Roosevelt Collier’s Colorado Get Down. Bringing out almost a dozen guest musicians before he was done, the pedal steel guitar specialist Collier continued on a funkier path that included an extended rendition of Billy Cobham’s fusion classic “Stratus” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”If you were to nominate the MVP of this year’s festival, it would certainly have to be former Leftover Salmon keyboardist Bill McKay. It seemed as though his rig never left the main stage and his signature brand of honky-tonk, rag-tag playing shined on sit-ins in with Coral Creek, the Drunken Hearts, Uptown Toodeloo String Band, Andy Hall, and more.Over a decade after its inception, YarmonyGrass is now one of the state’s premier musical destinations.  With breathtaking scenery and tight-knit community of loyal patrons, it sure looks like it’s going to stay that way.Check out more photos from the event, courtesy of Elliot Siff Photography (Facebook)!last_img read more

Chronic condition

first_imgThe signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by President Obama on March 23, 2010 in no way ended the debate over health care reform, and the issue may be a big factor in the next presidential election.During a Harvard Kennedy School discussion Wednesday (Feb. 23), those points were underscored by predictions of action in Congress and the Supreme Court and disagreement among panelists over the impact of the legislation.“A year ago, it seems as though this country had reached some kind of resolution in this long and rancorous conflict over health care in this country,” said Paul Starr, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and co-editor of The American Prospect. “But whether the legislation really resolved anything at all seems unclear. The conflict goes on and it’s as bitter as ever.”The panel, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy, focused on one of the act’s least popular and most problematic aspects — the mandate that people buy health insurance.Starr said that the law should have allowed individuals to opt out of the mandate as long as it didn’t allow them to opt back in whenever they wanted. He suggests that a person could, for example, opt out if he or she waives the right to get back in for five years.“The mandate communicates the wrong message,” he said. “Many people simply do not understand why the government should fine them for failing to purchase health insurance when it does not require them to buy other products.”Yet if you don’t buy insurance, what will happen?“Actually nothing,” Starr said. The mandate is difficult to enforce, he said. A person might get a warning letter from the Internal Revenue Service, but “The IRS can’t garnish your wages; it cannot put a lien on your property. And there are no criminal penalties for refusal to pay.“The law ultimately relies on a norm of law abidingness,” he added.Still, the act is a “remarkable milestone,” comparable to the Social Security Act of 1935 and the expansion of Medicare in 1965, said Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology and co-author of “Health Care Reform and American Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know.”Downplaying the impact of the individual mandate, which she called a “toothless tiger,” Skocpol said the act “sets up new rules of the game for private insurance industry, which says they can continue to make profits but must do so by expanding the ranks of patients they serve.”The act expands Medicare and Medicaid and delivers more care to more people. Liberals may lament the lack of a public option but the law is a major redistributive piece of social legislation, she said. Moreover, even if the mandate were eliminated, “the hatred of the law would still be there,” she said.A crucial element of the bill is that it requires states to set up exchanges on which private insurance policies will be compared and sold. States may complain about the law “but they are also taking the [federal] money to plan the insurance exchanges,” Skocpol said.Paul Starr: “The mandate communicates the wrong message. Many people simply do not understand why the government should fine them for failing to purchase health insurance when it does not require them to buy other products.”Panel moderator Amitabh Chandra, an economist and Harvard Kennedy School professor of public policy, said that while he supports the act, it does little to improve the actual quality of health care or to curb rising medical costs. “This is a fiscal train wreck waiting to happen,” he added.Chandra cited expensive medical technology that increases costs but which can’t be denied to patients under the act; to drive home the point, he showed a cartoon of patient bodies as human ATM machines for doctors.The panelists noted that academics are buzzing about possible action by the U.S. Supreme Court on the act, but Skocpol predicts the high court will shrewdly delay taking any action until after the 2012 election, saying, “They’re in a position to stall.”But Democrats, whether they like it or not, will be forced to defend the bill in the next election cycle, Starr said. On the other side of the aisle, Mitt Romney, a possible Republican presidential candidate who oversaw health care reform at the state level as governor of Massachusetts, will be hard-pressed to “attack Obama care when it is, in fact, Romney care,” Skocpol said.During the question-and-answer period, Arnold S. Relman, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, challenged panelists, saying the powerful health insurance lobby was critical in maintaining the mandate.Starr, however, countered that the health insurance industry did not support the act. In fact, the five largest companies spent $80 million through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to oppose it, he said.Skocpol said that the politics that lead to a law are not the same as politics that emerge from a law. “The Tea Party crowd and the insurance company crowd will come to blows” about the act, she predicted.last_img read more

Allsop raises a glass to public house success …

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Tony Pulis concedes life at West Brom has been hard for Rickie Lambert

first_img The striker moved from Liverpool for around £3million in the summer to revive his career but has started just three Barclays Premier League games. He has netted just once – a penalty – for the Baggies and is likely to be on the bench again for his Anfield return on Sunday. Lambert left Merseyside because of a lack of first-team opportunities just a year after joining from Southampton but has been kept out of the Baggies side by £12m record buy Rondon. Pulis said: “Rickie is knocking on my door all the time. He wants to play. It’s difficult at times because I understand he wants to play. “It’s about trying to find the right formation and shape for the team and trying to get the balance right. “In the back of our mind we were looking to bring him on against Tottenham (a 1-1 draw last Saturday) but we played so well, we were thinking ‘who do we bring off?’ “We didn’t think we would get Salomon right up to the last minute. Salomon was a real coup for us in lots of ways.” Meanwhile Pulis admits he is frustrated at the length of time it is taking Ben Foster to recover from a knee injury. The keeper damaged his cruciate knee ligament in March but is yet to return after a set-back in September. He added: “I am a typical manager, you want your players fit as quickly as you can get them and when they’re not fit you can get annoyed. “You just want players fit but the medical people here do a good job.” Boss Tony Pulis admits Rickie Lambert has suffered from West Brom’s last-ditch deal to sign Salomon Rondon.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Tipperary boxer looking to gain vital international experience

first_imgThe Clonmel Boxing Club lightweight was beaten by Kellie Harrington in the National Elite Final earlier this month.She wants to do everything possible to come out on the right side of title-deciding bouts in the future.Katie Taylor’s set to box seven times between now at the end of the year. The former Olympic champion will step through the ropes to face Italy’s Monica Gentili at London’s 02 Arena this Saturday night and her promoter Brian Peters says the plan is then to have a bout every month for the rest of 2017. Taylor’s already secured a place on the Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko undercard at Wembley in April and hopes to fight on Irish soil later this year. It’s after Eddie Bolger quit his role at with Ireland to become Germany’s new head-coach. Meanwhile Tipperary’s top female boxer says she needs to widen her ‘horizons’ in order to improve as a fighter.Shauna O’Keefe believes what she does for the rest of this year will determine her chances of success in the major championships.last_img read more

20 players named in local Black Stars squad

first_imgA twenty-man home-based squad have been selected to resume camping on Monday for an international assignment.The called up players into the local Black Stars teamare expected to report at the Ghana Football Association headquarters in Accra to be transported to the national camp in Prampram.The team will be preparing for a three-nation competition in Liberia against the Lone Stars and Guinea from the 24-26 May.Selected playersGoalkeepers: Joseph Addo (Heart of Lions) Foli Adade (Dwarfs) and Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars)Defenders: Godfred Saka (Aduana) Joshua Otoo and Tijani Joshua (Wa All Stars) Nuru Sulley (Hearts of Oak) Kwabena Edusei and Rashid Sumaila (Asante Kotoko) Midfielders: Yahaya Mohammed (Amidaus) Moro Abubakar (Hearts of Oak) Owusu Jackson and Jordan Opoku (Berekum Chelsea) Latif Mohammed (AshantiGold) Richard Mpong, Michael Akuffu and Michael Helegbe (Asante Kotoko)Attackers: Yakubu Mohammed (AshantiGold) Mahatma Otoo (Hearts of Oak) and Sulemana Mohammed (King Faisal)last_img read more

Totti would not sign today for Rome: “They would sell me very fast”

first_imgFrancesco Totti against Roma. Il Capitano He left the club of his life this summer with an open war with Palotta and his directive that still continues. The trequartista valued his future as an agent and in DAZN Italy asked him if he as a representative had taken himself as a young man to play Rome today. “It wouldn’t take him to play Roma. They would sell him too fast,” he said, criticizing the current signing policy of the Italian capital’s club, his club.According to the Italian press, Totti wants his first represented to be Sebastiano Esposito, Inter striker and one of the most promising Calcio players. “They forced me to stop football”Francesco Totti did not stop there. The 10 confirmed something he considered ‘vox populi’: that the directive forced him to retire. “Everyone knows that they forced me to stop playing. They wanted me to retire and had a six-year contract as a director, “said the transalpine midfielder who provided more details of his relationship with the owners.“The relationship with Franco Baldini has never existed or would exist. If I made that decision it is normal for misunderstandings. One of the two had to leave. I took a step to the side because there were many people putting obstacles and creating chaos, “he said.last_img read more