The Blizzard Branch Syrup company in Middendorf, South Carolina makes pure cane sugar syrup using fresh cut sugar cane and a hand press. Sugar cane goes in. Sweet stuff comes out. Then it’s off to be strained boiled and strained again. Willy Wonka has nothing on these guys! I’m pretty sure this is where they recorded the sound effects for that movie, anyway. This is a great example of sustainable farming and agritourism. Interesting stuff! We had a good time romping around up there while visiting family in Hartsville, SC over the Thanksgiving holidays.
One of a few shots from our family’s annual trek up to Hartsville, South Carolina at Thanksgiving. This is from the nearby Blizzard Branch farm where they make pure cane sugar syrup, yellow corn grits and blueberry wine by traditional methods. Fascinating, beautiful and delicious.!
A few interesting GoPro shots from the Hurricane Maria swell earlier this year. I’m not sure if you would call this “stuffing in” or “getting stuffed”. At the very least, you can’t call it barrel-dodging!
The capability of the GoPros (in this case, a 4 Black), never cease to amaze me. In the first shot, you can clearly see seaweed flying past my face inside the wave.
Between Irma and Maria, our beaches were packed with all kinds of debris, making surfing sketchy at times. Even after larger debris like pylons, branches, 2×4’s, etc. had cleared, there was still quite a bit of vegetation in the line-ups for weeks following each storm.
These shots were two days after the peak swell size for Maria, but were the peak for overall size + quality.
Here’s one more unplugged acoustic cover from the Dead 27’s. This one is Stevie Wonder’s ’74 classic, “Livin’ in the City”. Again, you can’t really even try to tackle a song like this one on unless you’ve got a lot of soul in you. These guys do.
Here’s a couple of more great tunes for you! If you want to catch a fantastic up-and-coming band, check out the Dead 27s (named for all of the famous musicians who died at age 27 including Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, among others). They’re based out of Charleston, SC where they recently won Rock Band of the Year and Best Rock Song for the area. Their sound is a mix of rock, funk and soul. They’ve put out a couple of albums, the most recent being Ghosts Are Calling, which represents their first major record deal. They’ll be touring to support that album this year.
Will Evans, their lead guitarist, keyboardist and harmony vocalist is a great guy who is marrying my wife’s cousin, Amanda. We get to see both of them up on the Chapman family farm in Hartsville, SC each year, which I’ve written about here before. I’m excited for both of them. I’m sure 2017 is going to be an epic year for Will and Amanda in many ways!
The Dead 27s have an active Facebook page where they regularly post unplugged acoustic music videos. I’m going to post a couple of their fantastic covers. Here’s Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” which they performed as a tribute shortly after the Purple One’s passing. This is Will and lead singer, Trey Francis. I don’t know too many people who could pull this song off. You’ve just got to have a lot of soul to be able to do it. These guys have got it! I’ll post one more after this showcasing the entire band tackling Stevie Wonder. It’s also pretty amamzing! Enjoy, and make sure to check ’em out!
So, I haven’t posted any new music in a very long time… Here’s one: “I Need Never Get Old” by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. I think I may need to make it my theme song for this year… : ) I was excited to get tickets to catch Nate and the Night Sweats at the St. Augustine Amphitheater this Spring (April 24th, I believe). I stumbled upon these guys watching “Later with Jools Holland”. These guys are fantastic! They rock hard, have some really interesting, different tunes and a lot of soul. They don’t seem to take themselves too seriously (they seem amazingly humble), even though they are very serious musicians, indeed. This song makes me want to either pick up my guitar or dance! Infectious stuff! I dig the horns. They bring to mind a lot of old ska bands from back in the day!
A peek at the fun from our recent annual trip up to farm country in Hartsville, SC at Thanksgiving! Roasting hot dogs on a stick and making s’mores is always on the agenda here. Good times!
I recently took a trip to the Smoky Mountains with my brother Rob’s wife and daughters, her parents, and my own, to release some of my brother’s ashes into the Appalachians, up there. His 18-year-old daughter, Madison, found this perfect spot. This stream is on the Gatlinburg side of the Great Smoky Mountain. Fortunately, we made it up there just a few weeks before the deadly wildfires of this past week.
Rob, myself and our family used to travel up here every Christmas, to romp around around in the snow, hike the trails and go skiing. Like all of us, Rob loved it, and while his soul is with the Lord, I know he’d sure be happy with the returning of the ashes of his body to the earth, right here in this beautiful, peaceful setting that held so many great memories for our family. Rest in Peace, Rob. We love you, and will never forget you.