Friday, February 28, 2014

Live at Scandling!

 Live at the Scandling Center lived up to its name this Friday, bringing in a musical act to support the live shows of DJs Megan Silverstein and Virginia DeWess. The band, Linus in the Sapphire, was comprised of pianist and vocalist Laura Fisher and guitarist, vocalist Mike Britt. Playing a brand of spacey pop reminiscient of bands such as Radiohead and the Flaming Lips the group rocked the colleges with two short sets. Supported by Pablo Falbru, founder of the United Geneva Collective, on the mixing board; the center was pulsing with a great energy. Linus in the Sapphire's first EP, Free Sleep, has just dropped and copies can be had by checking out their website. WHWS was lucky enough to receive a copy, and this can be heard at choice times over the airwaves in upcoming weeks. Best of luck to the band in their upcoming tour with dates in Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and Ithaca. Here are some pictures from the event:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The 2013-2014 WHWS Radio All Stars!

WHWS Covers the Local News!

Teaganne Finn (WS '16) covered a news conference Monday at the Three Brothers Winery in Fayette, NY and met U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.  Schumer was in Seneca County to talk about damage to the Finger Lakes vineyards from the harsh, cold winter weather.  Below is a news release from the Senator Schumer's Office.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                             
February 17, 2014                                                                                                             


Finger Lakes Vineyards Anticipate Worst Winter Since 2004 & Are Beginning to Assess Damage to Buds & Vines, But Won’t Know Full Extent Until Spring – Then, Wineries Will Need Quick Turnaround in USDA Loans & Reimbursements So that Cash is Available To Immediately Buy Juice for Next Year’s Wine Vintage, Replant Crops For Future Yields

Schumer Urges USDA to Prepare to Expeditiously Provide Relief to Vineyards With Vine Damage through the Tree Assistance Program in the Farm Bill, Which Provides Reimbursements to Growers who Suffer Extensive Trunk Damage

For Those Only With Bud Damage, Senator Urges USDA to Consider Disaster Declaration So Emergency Loans Are Available

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today visited Three Brothers vineyard in Fayette to call on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide swift relief to vineyards who have suffered major crop damage from the extreme cold weather this winter through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) and be ready to approve a crop disaster declaration so emergency loans can be made available. Following crop losses due to inclement weather and other natural disaster, growers often suffer from cash flow problems that impact their ability to replant quickly and also impact wine production for several years into the future. Schumer explained that the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) was just passed as part of the Farm Bill and can provide reimbursements to growers who suffer extensive damage to the trunks of their grape vines as a result of extreme weather events, such as the Polar Vortex-induced freezing temperatures earlier this winter.  Already, as a result of the cold snap, scientists at Cornell are finding damaged buds in test studies, suggesting that over 50% of buds could be damaged this winter, which suggests that vine damage is also highly likely. Schumer also urged the USDA to be prepared to approve a disaster declaration if bud damage is widespread and severe, so that emergency low-interest loans can be made available to growers who suffer extensive bud damage but not trunk damage.

Upstate New York vineyards are beginning to assess damage now and will know the true extent of the damage in the Spring, at which point they will need a rapid turnaround of cash because growing season will already have begun. Schumer is calling on the USDA to mobilize resources well in advance of the final damage assessment, and to assist farmers and growers in readying the necessary documentation to report losses, so the USDA can have a rapid processing turnaround and deliver quick relief to impacted growers.

“New York is home to hundreds and hundreds of vineyards, from the Rochester Finger Lakes to Long Island and from the North Country to Western New York, and this year there is widespread concern that the extraordinarily cold winter could dramatically reduce their crop and that growers won’t have the cash flow to replant damaged vines and purchase alternate juice to continue wine production on schedule. And unfortunately, a complete damage survey of grape vines and buds cannot be completed until the late Spring, when the 2014 growing season is well underway. So, the U.S. Department of Agriculture must be on the ready in two key ways: first, by ensuring that direct reimbursements go out quickly to eligible growers with trunk and vine damage through the Tree Assistance Program that I fought to pass through the Farm Bill; and second, by preparing all resources to expeditiously approve a disaster declaration and assist farmers and growers in the process of reporting losses and damage to buds. So now, with Spring and growing season on the horizon, the USDA needs to marshal its resources – prime the TAP so to speak – and be ready to provide swift relief to these growers,” said Schumer.

Jim Trezise, President of the NYS Wine and Grape Foundation said, "This is shaping up to be the worst winter for grapes since 2004 when more than 350 acres of vines had to be replanted, so Senator Schumer's efforts to pass the new farm bill and reauthorize the critical TAP program to provide emergency relief to our vineyards couldn't come at a better time.  His efforts to also put USDA on notice now is necessary since we can't know the full extent of damage until this spring or later and we'll need the USDA to respond quickly." 

The Polar Vortex brought record-low temperatures to many areas of Upstate New York, and subsequent warm spells led to drastic variations in temperature.  Further, the micro-climates that form in the Finger Lakes and Western New York could have caused temperatures to drop even lower than the measured average temperature during that period.  The cold snap and the rapid temperature variations could result in major damage to the buds of what will become next year’s grape crop.  In addition to cold damage, some crop diseases are expected to thrive in the colder temperatures, like crown gall.  Scientists at Cornell University have already found significant bud damage in both test and commercial vineyards; in some studies, they found almost 50% of the buds were damaged by the cold.  As reported in the Buffalo News, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Gris vines are particularly susceptible and growers are bracing for losses of up to 90 percent of some of these prized varieties.  Local growers and scientists at Cornell predict that this winter will be the worst for grapes since 2004.  

These extremely low weather events typically occur every 10 years, and the last one was in 2004, which caused millions in losses to growers across the Finger Lakes and Western New York.  By September of 2004 when Cornell produced its final report based on damage surveys in 2004, the damage toll stood at: 358 acres in need of replanting due to trunk/vine death at a cost of $2,503,272; and over 1,331 tons of wine grapes lost due to bud injury at a cost of $5,264,458 which equated to $42.1 million dollars’ worth of lost wine production.  Trunk damage is the most significant, because it forces the grower to regrow the entire vine, a three- to five-year setback.  While these trunks are hardy and typically withstand cold weather, this year’s prolonged cold spell and initial estimates of bud damage do not bode well; experts predict that vines with more than 50% bud damage most likely will also have trunk damage.

The true extent of the damage won’t be known until the Spring, when growers begin the process of pruning buds.  Schumer, concerned about the damage to Upstate New York vineyards, launched a two-pronged plan to help growers in the event of major damages.  First, Schumer touted the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), which expired in 2008 and is a provision of the just-passed Farm Bill, which provides reimbursements to eligible vineyards who suffer extensive crop damage.  Under the Tree Assistance Program, commercial orchardists, nursery growers or vineyards that lose their trees due to natural disaster are eligible for a 65% reimbursement of the cost of replanting. Orchardists are also eligible for a 50% reimbursement for pruning and removal. The total reimbursements are capped at $125,000 per year and 500 acres.  Growers will need to work with their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) to prepare the documentation for USDA disaster assistance.  The USDA is responsible for approving and distributing such reimbursements.

Growers qualify for this reimbursement if they produce commercial, yearly crops from trees and if the tree mortality is over 15%. A natural disaster refers to drought, fire, freezing flood, plant disease, insect infestation, and other occurrences. The Tree Assistance Program will retroactively cover losses from 2012 and 2013.  Schumer said this program could not only help growers recoup losses from 2012-2013, but should cover most Upstate vineyards moving forward this year.  Schumer said these reimbursements are substantial and could mean the difference between a vineyard suffering huge losses and breaking even or turning a profit.

Second, Schumer is urging the USDA to approve a disaster declaration immediately if requested, so that emergency low-interest loans can be made available to growers who suffer extensive bud damage but not trunk damage.  Based on initial estimates, some growers are anticipating the need for a crop disaster declaration request; if approved by the USDA, growers in affected counties would be eligible for low-interest emergency loans which could help growers survive this year’s damages.  Schumer underscored the importance of timing, saying growers facing a major loss of their product will need quick turnaround of emergency funds in order to begin replanting and in order to purchase juice from elsewhere, so that they can still produce their 2014 vintage wines.  Schumer noted that the Administration has announced additional assistance to farmers in California who suffered an extended drought, and is pushing for the same considerations to be made for Northern growers in the wake of the cold snap.  Therefore, Schumer is pressing the USDA to prepare resources in advance to be ready to help eligible vineyards prepare the necessary documentation and get it approved, because a delay in processing could make or break these vineyards’ year.

Vineyards are crucial to Upstate New York's economy. There are nearly 900 vineyards in Upstate New York, which support over 6,700 jobs and pump $830 million into the economy. A University of Minnesota poll found that New York wine growers ranked crop disease and crop damage as their single biggest problem, far ahead of labor costs or regulation or capital access.  The Tree Assistance Program will ensure that cold weather diseases and other natural disasters will not put New York vineyards out of business.

Three Brothers is at the northern end of Seneca Lake where Cornell has already identified bud damage. Three Brothers in line with Cornell's estimates of up to 50 percent bud damage to many of their Vinifera grape varieties. They currently employ 85 employees on their 30 acre vineyard in Seneca County.  Three Brothers began in 2006, on a vineyard originally planted by Cornell in 1982 as an experimental field, so it has the oldest (30 year-old) Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir vines in all of the Finger Lakes.  They also grow Reisling, Barberra, and others.

The Weekly Feed Music News

The WEEKLY FEED Wednesday@ NOON on WHWS 105.7 FM
Join Erin Keane and I as we break down this week’s headlines. Lake Night is getting even more exiting with Fallon and Seth Meyers blasting into their first week. Who has the better lineup? Chili Pepper Chad Smith challenges Will Ferrel to a drum battle. NME ranks the top 100 songs of all time. Odd Future aren’t allowed to play with Peter Jackson. Chris Cornell’s stalker situation. Blondie’s answer to Sochi’s request to play the Hunger Games, er, Olympics. Why Peter Buck gets album title of the year. And a tribute to Shirley Temple.

Ben Sollee Coming To Geneva!

The Smith Club Series presents "An Evening with Ben Sollee at the Cracker Factory" March 29th 8pm.
Ticket info.

Musicians often claim they are “giving themselves” to their listeners, but it’s rarely as true as on Ben Sollee’s fourth album, Half-Made Man, a revealing, deeply moving album that explores a man trying to figure himself out, just as we all are.  Known for his thrilling cello-playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Sollee possesses rough-smooth-smoky vocal stylings and a knack for intricate arrangements that has brought about comparisons to Sufjan Stevens.  Sollee shares himself completely with his audience, whether it be by personal lyrics, or his commitment to the environment. Sollee can often be found riding a bicycle to his concerts (cello strapped to the back), which have become legendary for their intimacy.
The album, produced by Sollee himself, boasts a sublime cast of musicians, including Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) on electric/acoustic guitar and pedal steel, Alana Rocklin on bass, Jordon Ellis on percussion, Jeremy Kittel (formerly of the Turtle Island String Quartet) on violin, and guest vocals by Abigail Washburn.  Sollee contributes octave mandolin, guitar, and of course, his signature cello.
Sollee first gained major notice with his 2008 debut, Learning to Bend, which led NPR’s Morning Edition to call him one of the “Top Ten Great Unknown Artists” of the year.  Later, All Things Considered called his debut “an inspired collection of acoustic, folk and jazz-flavored songs, filled with hope and the earnest belief that the world is good.”  Around the same time, Sollee was touring the world with Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet alongside Grammy nominee Casey Driessen and multi-Grammy winner Bela Fleck. Sollee’s music drew the attention of My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames, who produced his second full-length album, a collaboration with Daniel Martin Moore. In 2010 they released Dear Companion, a stunning collection of songs meant to inspire environmental stewardship. The next year Sollee contributed his cello stylings to My Morning Jacket’s hit album Circuital and released Inclusions, a sonically awe-inspring album about relationships that was called “structurally brilliant” by Slant and “stunning” by No Depression.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Sextet

The Respect Sextet, a group of six musicians from New York City, put on a show in the Geneva Room at Hobart and William Smith Colleges on Thursday February 6th. To reduce the performance to “putting on a show” would be an injustice to the group. Their perfected musicianship poured out of every number but the numbers did not serve the purpose of mere entertainment. A casual listener, looking for pleasing melodies and an easy to access sound, did not find what they were looking for in the set that the Sextet played. Complex rhythmic ideas layered on top of each other, kept tense by syncopated beats and a reluctance to fall into a comfortable groove. As a whole the Sextet impressed with their raw skill and their ability to perform composed pieces and make the songs feel as though they were being spontaneously created. 

            The entrance of the drums within the opening seconds set the pace for the entire set. Sporadic, terse yet still energetic; the groove hinted its presence often but only fully materialized on a few isolated occasions. However, the absence of a distinct and blatant groove did not cause any absence of movement or drive to the songs. Every piece moved flawlessly from beginning to end and even in moments that may not have been sonically pleasing they kept the listener on the proverbial edge of their seats. Snare hits flashed into bars at seemingly random intervals causing the listener try and find his or her own order within relative chaos. Melodies teased in and out of the mix without reprieve until releasing either in a dynamic crescendo or a soothing solo. The juxtaposition of a soft and smooth jazz vibe to that of a more anxious feel kept ears engaged and excited, even about disorienting harmonies.
            The individual musicians in the group never tried to take control of a piece. Cohesion and tight feel reverberated even from complex moments with everyone playing separate rhythmic lines. The intensity of their ability to play together came to a head with rests that flawlessly cut absolute silence into the middle of building parts. Even without an obvious pulsing in many pars from the rhythm section, the drive never completely vanished. Moments transformed instantly into completely different parts and the variety of all of this material kept the performance fresh. Even if at times it got a little overbearing to the listener, the hook of gorgeous saxophone melodies and beautiful horn solos kept the listener satisfied.
            An innovative contemporary jazz group consisting of six incredibly talented musicians, The Respect Sextet is a name to keep in mind. Capable of pushing the horizons of a genre already without clear borders, this group has the capability of creating even more incredible compositions that transport the listener from discomfort to one of the most soothing and satisfying grooves that jazz has to offer. 

The Weekly Feed

The Weekly Feed with your host Kyle Meredith airs Wednesdays at noon on WHWS. First up today, there’s going to be a Back to The Future Musical, Conor Oberst and his screenplay that’s based on Monsters of Folk, the whole Chili Peppers at the Super Bowl, as well as the Bob Dylan ads, an (Un)Grateful Dead reunion, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s impact on music.

Ben Sollee recently recorded and released a covers record (for free!) called The Hollow Sessions as a present to his fans. The cellist sat down with Kyle Meredith to give the back-story on the compilation as well as his news on a Paul Simon tribute and what’s in store for the next LP.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mojo and OAR Rock The Smith

On Saturday February 8th the band "Mojo",  made up of Hobart and William Smith students (including WHWS DJ's Max (harmonica) and Grace (on Bass Guitar) opened the show for OAR.   Here are pictures and reviews of the show!

The seats in The Smith were packed and the standing section right in front of the stage was filled with students and Geneva community members alike. Shoulder to shoulder, the crowd at the front was roaring, dancing, and throwing up peace signs throughout the night. The night kicked off by a performance by a new band on campus called Mojo. The band came together in the fall of 2013 and had been working tirelessly to put together memorable for the O.A.R Concert. Well, they sure did accomplish that task! Mojo played a combination of originals and some killer covers that had the crowd singing along.
            Up next came the main act, O.A.R (short for Of A Revolution). This American band came together in 1996 in which they have since released seven studio albums. The band has quite a unique style of sound that has similar qualities to some well-known bands like 311, Rebelution, Zac Brown Band, and The Fray. You can see from the band’s name that they have a large focus on sending messages of peace and hope for the world. This had the crowd feeling enlightened and ready for a revolution by the end of the show. The band knocked all of their hits out of the park and delightfully shared with us some of their less known originals. They are notorious for their live performances and Geneva was very lucky to have experienced one of them! It will not be a show the town will forget!

By, Virginia DeWees (WS ’16)

Photos by Annie Downey (also a WHWS DJ)