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Feb 11th
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Under the Idaho Sun

milkdriveBluegrass string quartet, MilkDrive, pluck their way to Santa Cruz
In the distant past, under the red-hot Idaho summer sun, three burgeoning boys unknowingly awaited their destiny. Following an afternoon garage jam session, guitarist Noah Jeffries, mandolin player Dennis Ludiker and fiddler Brian Beken stood on a dusty street corner, just down the road from a dairy. The only shade from the unrelenting rays was a lowly street sign, aptly titled: Milk Drive.

Fast forward to the present, where Beken fondly remembers those good ol' summer days, before he and his friends formed the old-timey alt-folk band stopping by Don Quixote’s Sunday. “It's always been that unspoken bond we've had,” says Beken. “We all knew one day we would be in a band together, not only because of the way we play together, but how we hang out together. Once the opportunity arose, it was a no-brainer.”


Now those youngsters are all grown up, and their dreams of taking their progressive acoustics across the country are coming true. They've since added bassist Matt Mefford to their line-up—Ludiker and Beken met him in Austin—and formed MilkDrive: a four-piece traveling string band with bittersweet harmonies and an arsenal of quick-plucking fingers.


Like most musical troupes, the band hates the thought of being lumped into a predetermined genre, so Beken finds it fortunate that MilkDrive is largely identified by its string instruments. They're "just the kind of instruments we learned on. We took those instruments and all our influences, and decided to play anything we liked, on what happened to be bluegrass instruments.”


milkdrive2Sure, they listen to Bela Fleck—one of the greatest banjo pickers to walk the earth—but the guys are just as happy jamming to Mars Volta and Nine Inch Nails on their strings.


That profound respect for traditional Americana, paired with new-age flavor, is the beauty of MilkDrive: every member understands each string instrument, like a fiddle knows a bow, and together, they form one reverberating sound. "Once you learn one instrument, it just connects to the other one,” says Beken, of being in sync with his band mates. “You just fill in the blanks.”


INFO: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Don Quixote's, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.

 

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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