If you have the pleasure and pain of residing in New York City, or if you have the chance to go to the MET at any point, they have within the last few years acquired a new Velazquez painting. The great part is that it was from within their own collection! Once the conservator removed layers of varnish, which had been put on the painting as part of a restoration, they found that the painting was indeed a bona-fide Velazquez painting. Check out the short video documenting the process of this incredible discovery at the MET.
Kind friends and companions,
If you do not already know about The Stillwater Hobos, allow me the pleasure of introducing to you an excellent group of young men devoted to making great music. The Stillwater Hobos formed a few years ago on the way from Ireland to Rome: they juggled and sang their way across Ireland and eventually made it to Rome, where they were studying at the University of Dallas in Rome (an excellent school that also has a satellite campus in Texas). This group of young men, consisting of a handful of St. Greg’s boys as well as a few other more reputable chaps, took it upon themselves to learn the best of the folk music tradition–in particular the Irish and American folk traditions. Their artistic project is to bring those two together into a harmonious and beautiful whole. Last fall they recorded their first EP, which you can purchase and preview here. You may, if you’re interested, read a review of that album in the UD News.
This summer, they intend (with your help) to record their first full length album: My Love, She’s in America. They need some help to record the album, and since they’re getting it done professionally (at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, there are some major expenses involved. They are running a Kickstarter campaign to offset some of the expenses. Their budget is 10K, and the Hobos are hoping to raise 8K through Kickstarter; the other 2K is coming out of pocket. They’re almost there, they just need a bit more to push them over the edge to meet their goal. If you donate $10.00, then you will get a digital download of the album. But if you give a bit more, then you get this incredible poster done by one of my good friends and fellow artists Nick Klein.
This is a project worth investing in, whether you are a lover of the folk tradition or not. It is in the best interest of America, and in the best interest of the continuance and preservation of our cultural inheritance that we have good Catholic artists pursuing musical endeavors which are–as Stillwater Hobo bandmember Taylor Posey puts it–making traditional folk music that it is an “unidentical repetition.”
The album is about the disparities, parallels, and unity between America and Ireland (or Europe and America generally) through the eyes of the folk and broader Catholic cultural tradition. The album is a story and the band is very excited about sharing it with you. When I asked Taylor Posey about the title of the album and what it meant he said:
”You feel out of place in America sometimes because of the leaving behind of the beauties of Europe. That seems like a contradiction, but I don’t think it is. Not only is your love in America, because she’s left and gone there, but at the same time your heart is in America, because it is good in itself. We take the traditions of Ireland and America and take what’s good from them, and our music is born out of that. There is continuity–it’s not a break. It’s not an artificial hybrid of the two traditions; both of the traditions are of the same substance. It’s not accidental, it’s consubstantial. What we’re not doing is taking traditional Irish tunes and reworking them. We are not doing what Mumford and Sons or Avett Brothers are doing and playing traditional instruments in a Rock style. It’s not a folk-revival. It’s honestly playing songs in the same tradition, so that they’re new. But this isn’t contrived, we are just playing the music because we love it and because it is beautiful”
I asked another Hobo, Will Teller, what he was most excited about and what he wanted to tell you all, to which he said:
“Well music is primarily about enjoyment, and not only do we enjoy our own music, but most people listening to it enjoy it too. But there’s more to it than enjoyment, because we are singing about real people and real things and real conflicts. Many of the conflicts present in Irish music have to do with Catholic conflicts, because it is a struggle of faith, but also many of the American songs have to do with our own history, which you are getting in touch with through singing about it. But, again, you don’t think about this every time that you’re playing music, because music is primarily about enjoyment. But the things that you are enjoying, are things that are getting in touch with your roots–both familial and faith.
This is a worthy cause, friends, so let’s do our very best to send these boys to Asheville this summer with enough cash to get this album recorded. My Love, She’s in America will be great to have in your music library, and I know you will be proud to call yourself a patron or patronesse of such a great undertaking. Be generous for these lads, their Kickstarter campaign is quickly coming to an end, and if they don’t reach their goal, they don’t get a red cent, so let’s not let that happen.
As always, I remain devotedly yours,
Peter Hilaire Bloch
If you haven’t seen this yet today, here’s an excellent article on a not so well known early Michelangelo Crucifix.
For Good Friday, this serves as a phenomenal meditation.
The article is written by non other than fellow artist, friend, and SGA Alumnus: Andrew Wilsom Smith!
Paul Spring has a new album for all ages available on iTunes, amazon, and his website. It’s wonderful!
You can listen to some of the songs on his website, and you should:
I came across this three part article on John Pototschnik’s Blog interviewing three great artists of our time on the subject of Classical Realism: what is it and why is it important to Art in the 21st century.
The three artists interviewed are Michael John Angel, Juliette Aristides, and David Hardy.