the intrepid bluegrasser

jim hurst.photo by senor mcguire.

Jim Hurst did not title his new album Intrepid on a whim. As one of bluegrass music’s most respected guitarists, he has journeyed in and out of string music traditions, welcoming any artistic challenge that came before him.

Playing country music in the ‘80s and ‘90s with Trisha Yearwood and Holly Dunn? He’s done that. Forming bluegrass-bred alliances with Claire Lynch and Missy Raines? That’s part of the resume, too. And what about newer collaborative projects with such acoustic music pioneers as David Grisman and Rob Ickes? They are all chapters in a career that has been willfully intrepid every step of the way.

“I came up with the title,” said the Middlesboro native, who performs Thursday at Natasha’s. “It takes a little courage and maybe a bit of foolishness to do something like this, especially in the bluegrass genre.”

Foolish? The music on Intrepid sounds anything but. Musically, it boasts masterful flat and finger picking tunes with vocal inspirations that sail through multiple country and Americana music generations. What sets the album apart from the works of numerous contemporaries is that Hurst does it all himself. Save for the closing gospel quartet piece (He Makes You Strong), Intrepid is a one man show. Similarly, most of Hurst’s headlining concert performances these days are also unaccompanied affairs.

“It really reveals who I am in my solo shows,” Hurst said. “A lot of promoters and event producers, they don’t know what to expect unless you can hand them something that can provide a little perspective. I wanted the album to be as reflective as possible of my live solo show.

“(Country songsmith and progressive bluegrass stylist) John Hartford has tried something like this, but I guess there are different conversations as to whether he was bluegrass. So did (finger picking guitarist/composer) Randall Hylton. Both of those guys were pretty successful at it, too. Randall Hylton, though, was all about entertainment when he stepped up onstage. I mean, I try to make my shows real and fun. But I’m not a comedian. I don’t tell jokes. I just try to have a ball with the music.”

While many bluegrass enthusiasts were likely introduced to Hurst through his touring and recording tenure with Lynch, it was the immensely popular duo with bassist Raines that pointed to the kind of technical proficiency and stylistic daring that defines his playing today. While the instrumental make up differs, Hurst also sees a strong link between his duet work with Raines and his newer collaborative music with Blue Highway dobroist Ickes.

“Missy and I worked together for almost nine years,” Hurst said. “To be able to throw ideas at each other night after night onstage and inspire one another to always reach a little bit higher and still maintain the integrity, the essence of a song, was wonderful. With Rob, it’s different only because there is no bass. But we’re up for pretty much anything, from a pretty gospel song or a ballad to going out as a far a song by (blues pioneer) Skip James or even Miles Davis.”

The increasingly visible music Hurst is making with Grisman expands on that idea. His guitarwork augments Grisman’s mandolin leads and bass support from son Samson Grisman. They jointly perform under the banner of the David Grisman FolkJazz Trio.

“We’re doing everything from Stephen Foster to the Rolling Stones,” Hurst said. “We take on a pretty wide variety of music. Last night, we did a little bit of E.M.D. (the lead-off tune from 1977’s famed The David Grisman Quintet album with guitar great Tony Rice and multi-instrumentalist Darol Anger), but did it kind of slow and funky. It was great.

“One thing about David – he is an artist, first and foremost. He has to make money and he has to be a businessman. He knows how to do that. But when it comes to his art, he doesn’t pigeonhole. Playing with him offers a new opportunity to express yourself every night.

“I’ve always loved the variety in all of the music I’ve been able to play. I always knew when I was onstage with Holly Dunn, I was playing her music and when I was with Trisha Yearwood, I was playing her music. But what I like about the diversity I’ve been enjoying these last couple of years is taking on so many different kinds of music on the same stage. I feel that way when I’m doing my solo thing as well as when I’m working with Rob or David. I get such a boost from that variety. I’m thankful for every bit of it.”

Jim Hurst perform at 9 tonight at Natasha’s Bistro, 112 Esplanade. Cover charge is $8. Call (859) 259-2754.

What to pack when school is peanut-free

Post-Tribune (IN) August 2, 2008 | SARA NOEL THIS ELECTRONIC VERSION MAY DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM PRINTED VERSION Many schools are now peanut-free environments, which can present a dilemma for parents who want to send their children to school with a brown bag lunch. Here are some ways to handle the restrictions: Dear Sara — I have a son in full-day school (snack and lunch needed) and one son in morning preschool (only snack needed). Both are in peanut-free schools. I just found out that they can’t bring anything that has even a generic peanut warning that says it “may” contain nuts. This warning is on everything. I can no longer send granola bars, commercial cookies and crackers, etc. Do you have any ideas?

Dear Nicki — You can find soy butter and sunflower butter in health-food stores. You can also include food items such as yogurt, pudding, applesauce, homemade muffins, fruit, raw veggies and dip, string cheese, chicken nuggets, luncheon meats, pizza, hard-boiled eggs, breadsticks, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese, soups, popcorn and hummus. Ask the school and other parents for suggestions, too. I realize this can be frustrating, but peanut-free options outweigh the restrictions. Check your local library for peanut-free cookbooks, too. in our site chicken salad sandwich recipe

Dear Lukesmama — Here’s a list of ideas for you to try whenever you are either bored with white rice or have leftover rice.

Cheesey rice: Add butter and Parmesan cheese.

Sweet rice: Add cinnamon, sugar and butter.

Little bit country: Add gravy.

Room for a ‘shroom: Add mushrooms and a sauteed garlic.

Gardener’s pick: Add chopped fresh basil, chopped tomatoes and corn.

Meaty barbecue: Add kielbasa sausage or hot dogs and barbecue sauce.

Italian flair: Add tomato-basil sauce or your favorite red sauce, cooked zucchini and Italian sausage to hot or reheated rice. Top with cheese such as mozzarella or Parmesan.

South of the border: Add diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, shredded cheese, diced cooked carrots, peas and red-pepper sauce, or add cooked beans, salsa and shredded cheese to hot or reheated rice.

In love with rice: Add marinated artichoke hearts and grated Parmesan cheese to hot or reheated rice.

Beef it up: Cook rice in beef broth. Add sauteed onions and mushrooms.

Golden rice: Cook rice in chicken stock. Add sauteed onions and mixed vegetables, such as peas and carrots.

Dear Sara — I’m looking for a new chicken salad sandwich recipe. I’d like to try something different, but I am not interested in anything that has grapes or raisins in it. I love the crunch in my sandwich, but don’t want fruit added. — Cherrie, New York Dear Cherrie — I like the following recipe when I want a crunchy chicken salad sandwich. see here chicken salad sandwich recipe

Crunchy Chicken Salad Servings: 6 * 3 cups diced chicken * 1 medium cucumber, chopped * 1 celery stalk, chopped * 1 small onion, diced * 3 radishes, chopped * 1/2 carrot, chopped * 3/4 cup mayonnaise * 1/4 cup ranch dressing * Lettuce * Salt and pepper Combine all ingredients. Split croissant in half. Place lettuce leaf on half a croissant. Spread chicken salad on the other croissant half and assemble sandwich.

SARA NOEL



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