Monday, February 18, 2013


     The acoustic and folk world is moving toward Toronto for the 25th Folk Alliance International, and Cambrians, Ranchers for Peace are among them.
Courtesy of Ranchers for Peace
       Charles and Ray Duncan say they are "doing what they can to make giving a damn cool again." 
       Father and daughter credibly empower that idea. They give a damn-their own lyrics and those of Woody Guthrie and others, are sung and played with a unique harmony, warmth and power. And the music is cool-poignant, moving and with an edge. The artists are also cool.
     Lana, Katherine and I were fortunate to be among about 15 people in a house concert last night, as they tune up for the frenetic pace of the Folk Alliance International gathering.
     Acoustic Music Scene details the scope of this summit of artists, agents, bookers, producers, record labels, djs, and musicians.  
     A guitar player and song writer who's been to the Folk Alliance said, at the break last night, the Ranchers have a unique sound.
Sample them for yourself
      It's a particular joy to see village neighbors display such talent.  Ray's mother Jude Johnstone is a favorite and her cd is in "heavy rotation" on our play list.  
Courtesy of Jude Johnstone
     A wonderful performer, her songs have been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Laura Branigan, Trisha Yearwood, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks and others.
      Lana remembers seeing a young Rachel, with teddy bear, in tow with her sister talented actress Emma Duncan at Lilly's coffee deck just a few years ago. Now the young woman has charisma and a great attitude for the songs of social justice and hope.
      Charles is an accomplished player of guitar and harmonica and brings a seasoned mellow and gentleness to Ranchers. Their songs have a way of staying with you.
      Charles told of opening recently in Bakersfield for revered master player John McCutcheon who has released 34 albums. When Ranchers came off stage he said McCutcheon told them how much he liked their music.  McCutcheon said he noticed they too played the Woodie Guthrie classic "Deportee."  The song recounts a plane crash near Los Gatos. It had been bound for an emigration deportation station and carried 28 Mexican workers. Guthrie's lyrics make mention of how the dead were referred to only as "deportees."
        " wont have names when you ride the big airplane
                All they will call you will be "deportees"

         McCutcheon told of going to the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Fresno and seeing a stone covering a mass grave that said   "deportees."  It was there he met a young man named Carlos who had done the research, learned the names and is making sure they will be added to the stone. 
      As they did in Bakersfield with McCutcheon, Ranchers for Peace read the names of each of the "deportees" last night.  I think Woody Guthrie would like the edit to his song by a California father and daughter who are doing what  they can to make giving a damn cool again. 

    See you down the trail.


  1. The sunshine in your pictures makes me anxious for spring to arrive.

  2. Oh, me too! Meantime, keep an eye out for one of those huge dolphin congregations off your coast.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Tom -- it was great to meet you and the family and share that evening of music in the heart of the old village. We're in L.A today., tying up loose ends and getting ready for the jump to Toronto tomorrow morning -- fresh wind in our sails from the warm send-off we received from you and the rest of that great audience on Sunday night. Keep an eye out for updates from Toronto starting tomorrow night -- including a link for live-streaming of our show on Thursday evening... Thanks again, man -- Chas & Ray