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22 December 2001

"Phi sub E? Uh, which fraternity is that?"

Presents! We've got presents!

Happy holidays! As usual, it seems to have taken us a long time to get the good news out the door - it's been a while since the last update. Hopefully, after you read this, you'll think it was worth the wait.

The top story is that we just recorded a special concert, which will soon become our first-ever live album! We played three sets at the Allens Lane Arts Center in Philadelphia on December 16, and the best stuff from that will be turned into a spiffy new CD, hopefully hitting the streets in the spring of 2002. We've only just started going through the tapes, so I can't tell you yet what the track list will be, but it should be a nice mixture of newer material and reinvented classics. Many thanks to everyone who turned out to hear us and help with the logistics.

I'll also mention that the documentary film "When the Forest Ran Red," which describes the events of the French and Indian War in and around western Pennsylvania in 1754-55, debuted on WQED-Pittsburgh back in September. We performed the majority of the music heard in the soundtrack, so we were happy to see the finished product.

Finally, we debuted a couple of new pieces of music at the Minstrel Coffeehouse back in September. One is a boppy little song about electromagnetism entitled "Ampere's Law," and the title pretty much tells you what it's about. It was written by our friend Walter Smith, who's a physics professor in real life, and one of the people who got me (Tom) interested in shape note music. You can see more of Walter's work at www.physicssongs.org, including his version of "Ampere's Law" (hint: our version sounds different...). The other new piece is a set of three reels, all from North American sources. We had the Minstrel audience suggest titles for it - which is how it got to be called "Lawn Darts at the Court of the Earl of Granby." (Thanks to Greg Henderson for the winning title!) It's slated for inclusion on the projected "next Broadside album" (after the live album, that is), but since that album is still in the planning stage, I can't tell you any more about it at this point.

We've got shows coming up this winter and spring in lots of places, so check the gig page and come see us when you get the chance!

Tom Rhoads

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