Saturday, March 04, 2006


I made a delightful discovery during my Pennsylvania trip. As the history goes, first there was a pet mouse who died, was buried in a matchbox, and mysteriously disappeared from its makeshift coffin. Was Elwyn the mouse resurrected? Risen from the grave like Phoenix rising from the ashes? The mystery of Elwyn the mouse remains unsolved but four friends honored him by choosing his name for their band. I saw humor in that, compassion, and a hopeful optimism.

One night at dinner, playing in the background to our conversation, I heard music. Funky, jazzy, bluesy, sophisticated, seductively appealing music with the occasional Latin influence. The music flowed smoothly from one sensational track to the next. Lyrics were earthy and exciting, vocals delivered with control and passion. When they noticed I had one ear cocked to the music, Pam and Doug Ford said, "Oh yeah, that's Elwyn."

Their son Ryan smiled shyly and said, "Elwyn is our band." By OUR, he meant four long time friends: Dave Anderson, John Adamski, Brian Miroff, and Ryan Ford. All are gifted musicians, but are also intelligent and accomplished in other ways.

Now readers of this series of blogs already know I'm OLD, but I'm not too old to recognize tremendous music when I hear it. My youth was spent in part listening to young, new, unknown singers and musicians who would eventually become icons of several generations: Buddy Holly; Ritchie Valens; Jerry Lee Lewis; Bill Haley and the Comets. I saw them all in person in the tiny dives of rural Kansas in the days they schlepped from one small town to another, before the fame set in. One thing they all had in common was a distinctive sound, a sound every group from the Stones to the Beatles said influenced their creative process.

That brings me back to Elwyn. Their sound has the same excitement, the same raw-nerve-ending rhythms composed and delivered with sophisticated style. Check out their website at if you want to hear a sample of their music and learn more about the band. Or see them live in the second round of the Emergenza Music Festival at Cambridge Mass. on March 17. I'm guessing they're amazing in front of a live audience.

As for me, this old lady writer keeps their music playing in the background while I write. I'm addicted to their sound.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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