Last Friday, Nicole and I traveled north to Ladysmith to rendezvous with our friends, Arian and Arlene Knops. You know Arian, the writer who appears almost weekly in our Wordplay section of The Sentinel & Rural News. He is also the author of the thriller Eighty-Five and Alive and its sequel, Eighty-Five and Still Alive. I’m waiting for a third volume, something like Eighty-Five and Not-So-Alive-As-Before-But-Not-Quite-Dead-Yet. Or something like that.
Actually, Arian has published another book but is unrelated to the first two. The book is The Life of a Major League Dork. If you read his columns in the Wordplay section, you know how funny he is. But Arian keeps a tight bridle on his humor when it is for the Sentinel. Not so much with the current volume. He lets it all out. It’s good stuff.
If you want a copy, ask me and I’m sure I can get one for you—with a small handling fee and mark-up for inter-county commerce.
Anyway, Arlene (the brains of the outfit) had told me and Nicole (the brains of this outfit) about a music duo coming to Ladysmith and we readily and eagerly accepted her invitation. But first: Mexican food before the concert.
Now, Arlene and Arian have never led us astray when it comes to fine dining…or even not-so-fine dining. So, they met us at La Casa Mexican restaurant in Ladysmith. The food was excellent and the conversation was excellent. But maybe Arlene and Nicole didn’t think so. Arian and I have a way of brow-beating history and dominating the conversation. I mean, I’m just trying to be polite and give Nicole a chance to eat without the responsibilities of chit-chat. I’m a good husband, that way.
After eating, we crossed the street to the Worden Avenue Exchange. The place had originally been a creamery but John Hoover, the owner, converted the brick and mortar building into a gathering place. Not only is their a small stage area and room to seat 50 or more people but they have a small upstairs prayer room. A charming, inviting place.
So, the four of us took our seats in the back. Now, once again, Arlene has never led us wrong on music, either. She was the organizer of the 13 Northwoods Bluegrass Festivals in Ladysmith that Nicole and I attended yearly. When she retired as director of the Chamber of Commerce there, her successors never followed through and there has been no festival since in Ladysmith.
But this was not going to be Bluegrass, it was more like World Music or, at least, that is how this husband and wife duo were billed. Called Patchouli, they also go under the name Terra Guitarra when they are just doing instrumentals. Lucky us, we got to see both incarnations of their artistry.
They were very nice people but they were exemplary musicians. Both played guitar and she had a Joni Mitchell vibe going with her wide toothy smile. His playing reminded me the Andalusian guitarists of southern Spain, think of Flamenco.
They have released several albums under both names and one, Of Sea & Stars, was the World Music Album of the Year in 2017. They are that good.
The music went on for only about two hours but it was fun on so many levels. To finally see more live music was a treat. To do so with the Knops made it doubly fun.
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