Son of Lars: Ghost Cave of the Black Mountain Review

74/100

Where else could a guy who calls himself “Son of Lars” be from but the Midwest?  Matthew Larson (Lars’ son) is the newest blood in the Midwestern mould, a folky singer/songwriter who treads the well-worn footsteps of the likes of Dylan, Charlie Parr, etc.  Now based in our own Minneapolis, Larson will soon release his second full length album under the Son of Lars moniker.  Ghost Cave of the Black Mountain may take its name from the foreign sounding “Ch’an master Fa-yün Yüan-t’ung,” but it is deeply rooted in the rolling prairies and dirt roads of Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.

And as far as the genre goes – Ghost Cave is really quite good.  Larson notably augments his guitar plucking with some really fantastic mandolin and banjo playing, as well the occasional piccolo and flute (provided by Stacy Lee King).   Larson’s vocals compliment also the music very well – his is the rough hewn baritone of the working man.  It isn’t a pretty voice but it’s one that resonates with the songs’ pastoral content and stories of the plains.   In Larson’s gravelly delivery the frank lyricism quivers with emotional honesty – whether meditating on loneliness of the road or the chill of the cold (Larson seems particularly affected by our Minnesota winters).   The content isn’t exactly anything groundbreaking or new to the genre, but Larson has put enough into his songs to make them not seem trite either.

Tracks like “Coming Back on a Bus” and “Winter is Here and that’s all” stand out for their simple melodies and top notch musical accompaniment, though the record doesn’t really contain any “singles” per se.  Ghost Cave’s twelve tracks are more like the chapters of a book – better realized in the context of each other.  It’s a book that could perhaps stand a little broadening in focus beyond the genre’s standard tropes, but it’s an enjoyable one nonetheless.  And while in the Twin Cities we certainly have no shortage of folky songwriters, those of Son of Lars’ caliber are far less common.  Larson’s Midwestern wandering may not keep him localized for very long but I certainly plan on appreciating him at least while he’s here.

— Jon Behm

      1. Son of Lars - Clinkers & Clatters

Son of Lars’ CD release show will be April 10th at the Bryant Lake Bowl (with Daredevil Christopher Wright and Dewi Sant)

Myspace Site Buy album

Poll shows opposition to NY gay marriage law softening

Between the Lines August 18, 2011 | Gormley, Michael GOP New Yorkers split on whether law should be overturned ALBANY, N. Y. (AP)- Now that the protests are silenced, the politics is over and scores of gay weddings are in photo albums, a poll shows opposition appears to be softening against New York’s landmark gay marriage law and even Republicans are split on whether it should be overturned by a pending lawsuit.

Those are the findings of a NYl – YNN-Marist College poll released last Wednesday night The poll shows Republican voters who had been the strongest opponents are now split – 48 percent to 47 percent – on whether the law should be overturned.

That split exists even though most Republicans – 52 percent – still oppose gay marriage.

The poll also found that 63 percent of adults don’t want the law overturned, almost twice as many adults who do want it overturned. Even 59 percent of New York voters older than 45 years old want the law to stay in place. Older voters had been the most strongly opposed to gay marriage. site ny gay marriage

Overall, the poll finds that 55 percent of registered voters support the measure signed into law June 24 by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The poll also finds that 7 1 percent of registered votes would attend a gay wedding of a friend or relative – including nearly 7 in 10 Republicans.

“I think that clearly the numbers now don’t reflect the depth of the controversy of the last few months,” said Lee Miringoff of the Marist poll. “It’s still controversial, of course, but there is a much clearer sense across the regions that this is something people support and they don’t want to undo anything or turn the page backward.” The New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms group is pursuing a lawsuit that would strike down the entire law. The group has opposed gay marriage on religious grounds, but its lawsuit cites violations in the state Senate’s own rules that severely limited debate on the night of the final legislative vote.

The group’s leader, the Rev. Jason McGuire, has said the process showed gay marriage was being forced through the Legislature while many New Yorkers still opposed it.

‘Tf truly the legislation can stand on its own merits, then it should be able to withstand being deliberated publicly,” McGuire said after the vote. go to site ny gay marriage

He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment to the poll.

Opposition remains strongest among older, Republican New Yorkers who are also among the most reliable voters. Forty-three percent of Republican voters say they would be less likely to vote for a state senator who voted for gay marriage, which could be a major factor in heavily Republican districts. Just four of 32 Republicans did, providing the winning margin needed for Democrats.

“There’s been so much publicity regarding marriages that have occurred since it passed and that might have had some impact on people’s sentiments,” Miringoff said. “And there is also the sense that this is done now, let’s move on.” The poll questioned 516 voters on the phone from July 28 to July 31 and made sure each county was represented in proportion to its population. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

[Sidebar] Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law allowing gay marriage in New York in June. Recent polls show opposition to gay marriage softening in the state.

Gormley, Michael

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  1. March 17, 2010

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