It was the Byrds album everyone hated in 1968. Now, ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ is a classic.

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In June, with so little fanfare they weren’t even listed on the bill, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman took the stage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium to play a song from “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.”

They last did that on March 16, 1968, and it did not go well. They were the Byrds then, and the appearance at the Grand Ole Opry elicited boos, catcalls or indifference, depending on who’s telling the story. This time, backed by Marty Stuart and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, the crowd cheered as McGuinn and Hillman kicked into “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” the Bob Dylan song that opens “Sweetheart.”

“I cried,” says Tyler Mahan Coe, a country music historian who hosts the popular “Cocaine & Rhinestones” podcast. “I never even imagined that it would hit me as hard as it did.”

It’s fitting that Coe was born 16 years after “Sweetheart’s” original release. Back then, the album stiffed, sparking the end of one of pop’s great partnerships. But over time, that sixth Byrds record has climbed from cutout bins onto most-important-ever lists. And now, at 50, “Sweetheart” is recognized for inspiring musicians from the Eagles and Elvis Costello to next- generation alt-country players such as Ryan Adams and Wilco.

“Every generation has this new take on roots and back to basics,” declares Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers. “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” is one of those great milestones or benchmarks.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 24: Byrds founders Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn perform with Marty Stuart at the Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th Anniversary at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rozette Rago for The Washington Post)


This year, Byrds founder McGuinn, 76, who regularly turns down millions to reunite the Byrds, recruited Hillman, 73, to celebrate the album with a short tour. They started in California last month and will continue in September with gigs in, among other spots, New York, Boston and Virginia.

It’s not a Byrds reunion, particularly with the third living founding member, David Crosby, not involved. But the set list isn’t limited to “Sweetheart.” McGuinn and Hillman explain how they got to Nashville by digging deeply into the Byrds catalogue, with hits such as “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” melding with lesser-known tracks that show how country music influenced them.

“Sweetheart” wasn’t just country-tinged. It was driven by banjos, fiddles and pedal steel guitar. It also launched Gram Parsons, who would quit the Byrds after a single record to embark on his short, influential career.

From L.A. to Nashville

They were called the Jet Set when CBS signed them in November 1964, but quickly switched to the Byrds. By April 1965, they released what became their first No. 1 hit, an electrified take on Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

The Byrds were defined by McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbacker 360, with its thick, jangly melody lines, as well as the gorgeous harmonies of McGuinn, Gene Clark and David Crosby. Hillman, a Los Angeles native with a passion for bluegrass, had joined to play bass. In early 1967, the Byrds released his collaboration with McGuinn, “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” The Byrds would have three more Top-40 hits over the next year before tensions led to Clark and Crosby’s exits. “The Notorious Byrd Brothers,” an innovative, psychedelic pop record released in early 1968, was largely created by McGuinn, Hillman and session players.

Then, while standing in line at a bank in Beverly Hills, Hillman ran into a sandy-haired kid from Georgia who said he could play piano. Hillman brought him to McGuinn. Parsons was just 21.

“I asked Gram if he could play some McCoy Tyner type of piano,” McGuinn says. “Because I was into John Coltrane and the “Eight Miles High” kind of place. And he played some Floyd Cramer-style piano. Floyd played on Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel.” That was a song that got me interested in music. I thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s got talent.’ But I didn’t know he would turn into George Jones in a sequin suit.”


The Sheltering Sound By Amanda Petrusich ~ The New Yorker

The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō'bear Re'por)

Paul Bowls was one of America’s great ex-pat writers of the 20 century.  Check out some of his classic novels. His works aren’t exactly nihilistic but his themes centralize the feelings that none of us are living our lives on terra firma but wallow in an ocean of sand..



In a 1975 interview, the poet Daniel Halpern asked the author and composer Paul Bowles why he’d spent such a significant chunk of his life scrambling about the globe. I imagine Bowles’s speaking voice here as matter-of-fact, exegetic: “I’ve always wanted to get as far as possible from the place where I was born,” he answered (that place was Flushing, Queens, in 1910; he was the only child of a rancorous, unloving father and a meek, bookish mother). “Far both geographically and spiritually. To leave it behind. One belongs to the whole world, not just one part of it.”

What was Bowles…

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Sonia Sotomayor Delivers Fiery Dissent in Travel Ban Case ~ NYT

One of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s most striking decisions in her dissent was to repeat the words of the president himself. Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., reading for the majority on Tuesday morning, spoke clinically. Justice Stephen G. Breyer followed, working his way through his dissent mildly and analytically.

Then it was Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s turn.

Steely and unwavering, she began: “The United States of America is a nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment.”

The crowded courthouse fell silent.

In upholding President Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, Justice Sotomayor continued, the Supreme Court had failed to “safeguard that fundamental principle.”

For the next 20 minutes, she remained resolute as she delivered an extraordinarily scorching dissent, skewering the court’s decision and condemning the ban as “harrowing” and “motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.”


Justice Sotomayor once said that “personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.” She again drew upon that idea in her dissent on Tuesday, in which she accused the majority of “ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.”

That was the crux of the Justice Sotomayor’s damning conclusion: The president’s ban is “inexplicable by anything but animus,” and to argue anything else is to divorce oneself from the facts.

The court voted 5 to 4, with the more conservative justices in the majority and with Justice Breyer writing his own dissent. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Justice Sotomayor’s.

Justice Sotomayor chose her words carefully and sharply, at one point charging that Mr. Trump’s policy “now masquerades behind a facade of national security concerns.”

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DON’T FORGET!!! Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue playing at the Sherbino Sunday evening…

The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō'bear Re'por)

We met Gal and the Revue in New Orleans at the 2005 Jazz Fest.  We liked them so much we had them come out to play for our wedding party the summer of 07… What a fine band and nice people…  If you weren’t at our fiesta at the Western Hotel that summer or know nothing about Gal and the Revue come on out to the Sherbino this coming Sunday … you won’t be disappointed, they’re a great dance band and Gal has a really fine voice…



Sunday, June 24th. Doors and bar at 6:30 pm, Music at 7:00 pm. $12 in advance, $15 at the door..

The Sherbino is excited to welcome back, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, for a night of wonderful live music promoting their new album release, “Lost and Found”.

Buy Advance Tickets HERE!

Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue were at…

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Ryan Zinke Scores A Pyrrhic Victory In Yellowstone ~ Mountain Journal



ic_1529016626_780x_falseInterior Secretary Ryan Zinke on the doorstep of America’s first national park. Photo courtesy NPS

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo—There was a somber mood Wednesday wafting around the old 19th-century military barracks at Mammoth Hot Springs, the official administrative headquarters of America’s oldest national park.


As thousands of visitors hiked the travertine terraces and old cavalry grounds nearby, watching mother elk and calves grazing on the lawns, few were aware of what transpired that very morning. Word arrived early, mountain time, circulated via email from the US Interior Department in Washington, DC, that Cameron “Cam” Sholly would be the next Yellowstone superintendent. His new post is widely considered one of the most prestigious and high-profile non-military field jobs in government.


For Sholly, the announcement represents a joyous homecoming, a return to the place where, as a ranger’s son, nature left an indelible imprint.


Among the rank and file wearing the National Park Service green and gray, the news also landed hard, because it confirmed that Yellowstone’s existing and admired superintendent of the last seven years, Dan Wenk, was indeed being forced out.


After 42.5 years, Wenk isn’t receiving a gold watch from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for a career deemed extraordinary by any measure; instead, Zinke and a group of Trump Administration political appointees were serving him walking papers.


Zinke was a mere 14 years old when Wenk, today 66, began his journey in civil service, devoting four decades of his life to looking after national parks. A landscape architect by college training, he earned many of the highest honors for meritorious service along the way, working well with previous Democrat and Republican administrations, Congressional delegations and civic-minded corporate CEOs interested in supporting parks in times of budget shortfalls and growing needs.


Wenk, who served as deputy and acting national director of the 400-unit Park Service, oversaw renovation of the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, and brokered a land deal along with the families of 9/11 victims to establish a permanent memorial to passengers on Flight 93.


At the Denver Service Center, the construction arm of the Park Service, he restored battered credibility to an institution in crisis and under investigation for fiscal mismanagement. When he took it over, it was doing 20 percent of the work in a $60 million program that exists to chaperone building and infrastructure improvements in the Park System. By the time he left five years later, the Denver Service Center was blueprinting 80 percent of the agency’s total workload with a budget that had grown to $250 million.


A capstone to all of those experiences was being tapped, in 2011, to oversee Yellowstone where there’s no greater challenge to balancing fragile wonders with visitor enjoyment. It is under constant political assault by gateway chambers of commerce, governors and members of Congress in three states that converge on the park borders.


As a twentysomething fresh out of college in the 1970s, Yellowstone was the first parks where he donned the uniform and, with retirement looming to spend more time with his wife and family, he derived no small amount of satisfaction in knowing where his tour of duty would end.
Last week, Wenk got word from Zinke’s controversial acting Park Service director that he had just 60 days to vacate Yellowstone and report to Washington, DC, where he was ordered to oversee the Park Service’s Capital region. [Read Mountain Journal‘s story Forced Out Of Yellowstone]. A demotion, it was handed as an ultimatum by P. Daniel Smith—either accept it or face termination. Read how his options were spelled out in a check-one-of-the-boxes memo at the bottom of this story. Option four: “I decline the reassignment. I understand that I will be subject to removal under adverse action procedure.”


After the circumstances of the heavy-handedness circulated widely in the media, Wenk received an outpouring of sympathy, from active Park Service veterans and retirees to politicians on both sides of the  aisle. Were Wenk to answer them all, five at a time daily, it would take years.


Back in Washington, DC. Wednesday, as a reporter caught Zinke on the fly, the Secretary sang Sholly’s credentials (they are impressive) yet dodged questions asking him to explain why he had moved with hostility against Wenk in the 11thhour of his career.


While Interior officials claimed plausible denial that their motivations were punitive, the way that Zinke rolled out Sholly’s appointment, without even mentioning Wenk, cannot be construed any other other way. They are furious that Wenk dared question them—them having underestimated how powerful the idea of Yellowstone is, and having trustworthy stewards in charge of it, resonates with the public.

Former Aspenite Charlotte Fox, survivor of Mount Everest disaster, dies in Telluride home accident

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Scott Condon

Charlotte Fox and her dog Gus earlier in May: 

Fox was a longtime Aspen-area resident who served on the Snowmass Ski Patrol from 1982 through 2007.


Charlotte Fox survived a harrowing incident on Mount Everest in 1996 and became the first American woman to climb three 8,000-meter peaks, so irony wasn’t lost on her friends when the longtime Aspenite died Thursday from an apparent accident on the steep steps of her house in Telluride.

Alison Osius, executive editor of Rock and Ice magazine and a friend of Fox’s, wrote in an online piece Tuesday that house guests found Fox on the floor of her home when they arrived Thursday night. She apparently slipped on the hardwood stairs in her four-story house, fell and suffered fatal injuries. She was 61.

“Charlotte had survived so much up high, it was stunning and profoundly sad that she died that evening of May 24 in a household accident,” Osius wrote on

Fox was a fixture in the Aspen climbing and skiing scene from the early 1980s until she moved to Telluride in 2007. She worked as a ski patroller at Snowmass from 1982 through the 2006-07 season, according to Aspen Skiing Co. She also worked on the Telluride ski patrol but was retired.

San Miguel County Coroner Emil Sante said Tuesday he is waiting for results of a toxicology report and hasn’t yet released the cause and manner of death.

“We have no reason to believe that it was suspicious at all,” he said.

A representative of the funeral home serving Telluride said Tuesday that family members were arriving this week and arrangements for a memorial service or services were yet to be made.

Even though Fox left the Roaring Fork Valley more than a decade ago, she still has a lot of friends from her days here.

“I just looked up to her,” Andrea Cutter, a longtime friend and climbing partner, said Tuesday. “She was a mentor to me, for sure.”

Among the lessons Cutter learned from Fox was to live life uninhibited.

“She had a go-for-it attitude,” Cutter said. “With climbing there’s a sense of fear that would hold people back. I would see her get scared but she would work through it.”

When word spread among Fox’s friends that she died from an apparent household accident, there was a sense of disbelief, according to Cutter.

“It made me think, ‘Jeez, it’s just so wrong,'” she said.

Fox will forever have a place in climbing lore as a member of a party that ran into disaster on Mount Everest in May 1996. She and then-boyfriend Tim Madsen were in an expedition being guided by Scott Fischer. Fox and Madsen summited but a number of calamities affected the group’s descent. They were eventually part of an exhausted group that huddled in a blizzard, desperate to find their camp.

Everybody’s oxygen had run out and the wind chill exceeded 100 degrees below zero, according to Jon Krakauer’s best-selling book about the incident, “Into Thin Air.”

Fox is quoted as saying the cold had just about finished her off by the time they huddled.

“The cold was so painful, I didn’t think I could endure it anymore,” Fox said in the book. “I just curled up in a ball and hoped death would come quickly.”

Aspen’s Neal Beidleman was one of the guides on the mountain at the time and he attempted to get Fox and her group to safety. She was among four clients who were incapacitated. Madsen volunteered to look after them while Beidleman and others went to summon help in what was a do-or-die situation.

Eight climbers died on the mountain that day.

Osius wrote in her online Rock and Ice piece that Fox didn’t talk much, even with her friends, about the Everest experience.

Beidleman said he wouldn’t necessarily say the experience brought them closer, but he definitely knew her better from the incident. He said he had a “healthy respect” for her and believed she held him in the same regard.

“The Everest thing was very, very difficult for everybody,” he said Tuesday, “but Charlotte handled it with poise and grace.”

Beidleman knew Fox before the expedition on Mount Everest. Their paths crossed while climbing on Independence Pass east of Aspen.

“Eventually everybody’s paths crossed during that kind of thing,” he said. “She’s been a fixture in the climbing community.”

Fox was a native of Greensboro, North Carolina. She could “turn on the Southern charm” yet could also live the climber’s life out of a van, according to Beidleman.

“Charlotte could be quite fiery,” he said. “That’s part of being a good climber.”

Fox went on to accomplish several climbing feats, usually hiring guides to tackle the highest peaks. Osius wrote that Fox made her final Seven Summits ascent of Mount Elbrus in 2014.

Her bio on said she climbed Cho Oyu and was the first American woman to reach the summit of Gasherbrum II. In South America she climbed Aconcagua, Hauscaran and Chopicalqui, along with several 18,000-foot peaks throughout Peru, her bio said. “She has climbed Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, and made many alpine ice routes in the Canadian Rockies. In America she has climbed the West Rib on Denali, Mt. Rainer and all of Colorado’s 14ers.”

Fox served as a board member on the American Alpine Club and on the Access Fund, which strives to preserve access to climbing areas.

Fox was married to Reese Martin, who was killed in 2004 in an accident during a paragliding competition in Washington.

Beidleman said Fox was “accomplished but humble.”

Her apparent manner of death was “shocking,” he said.

“It’s not one I ever would have thought of.”

Amy Denicke was a friend and climbing and skiing partner with Fox for 18 years and served as her personal trainer for a while. She said Fox had the unusual characteristic of getting stronger as she climbed higher in altitude.

“She was almost like a freak of nature,” she said.

Fox was fun to hang with because she was always up for adventure and trying new approaches, Denicke said, but she also will remember her friend for traits outside of climbing and skiing.

“Charlotte had this huge belly laugh,” she said. “You could always hear her laughing.”

Fox was known for her generosity to her friends, for always remembering birthdays and for sending thank-you notes, according to Cutter and Denicke.

“I felt like she was family,” Denicke said.

They were so close that Fox gave her an angel pin she had on the pack she used on Mount Everest. Fox told her it saved her life and she gave it to Denicke to provide safety and good fortune when undertaking an eco-challenge.

Fox also gave her a bracelet with the saying: “Leap and the net will open.”



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Telluride Daily Planet




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Charlotte Fox, one of the climbers who survived a disaster on Mount Everest in 1996, arrives at Kathmandu airport on May 15, 1996. (Binod Joshi/AP)

Charlotte Fox’s eyes were frozen behind her contact lenses. The snow had begun falling as she and her fellow climbers descended from the top of the world, the peak of Mount Everest, where she could see for 100 miles in every direction. But now, trapped in the middle of a blizzard with the force of a hurricane, in temperatures somewhere south of 40-below, she couldn’t see anything. She was out of oxygen. Her feet were numb with frostbite. No longer able to stay moving, she scrunched herself into the fetal position, huddled with her climbing mates in the ice and snow, and waited for it all to end.

“I didn’t see how we were going to get out of it alive,” Fox told Jon Krakauer in his book “Into Thin Air,” which recounted the famous 1996 blizzard that stranded climbers for one freezing night, leaving eight dead. “The cold was so painful, I didn’t think I could endure it anymore. I just curled up in a ball and hoped death would come quickly.”

Instead, she would survive through the night and live 22 more years to scale myriad mountains around the world. The experience on Mount Everest the night of May 10, 1996, may have made Fox and her fellow climbers celebrities for a time, but for Fox it was but a rung on the ladder in a life of great heights.

That’s why, when she died last week at home in Telluride, Colo., from an apparent fall from the top of her stairs, her friends were in disbelief. She had turned 61 on May 10.

“Charlotte had survived so much up high,” her friend Alison Osius wrote in a tribute for Rock and Ice magazine this week, “it was stunning and profoundly sad that she died that evening of May 24 in a household accident.”

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The Ultimate Trip ~ NYT


In the spring of 1964 the filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was very worried. NASA was about to fly the Mariner 4 space probe past Mars.

At the time he was deep in development of a blockbuster film about the discovery of alien intelligence. Word was that MGM had bet their studio on the film. What if Mariner discovered life on Mars and scooped them?

Kubrick looked into whether he could buy insurance against that event. He could, but the price was astronomical. Kubrick decided to take his chances, according to a new book about the making of the movie, “Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece,” by Michael Benson. (Simon & Schuster 2018)

That was 54 years ago. We still haven’t discovered intelligence or even believable evidence of pond scum anywhere else in the universe — not for lack of effort. A new spacecraft, TESS, designed to look for habitable nearby planets just vaulted into space, and an interstellar asteroid recently spotted streaking through the solar system was inspected for radio signals. Another robot is on its way to listen in on the heart of Mars. We still don’t know if we are alone.

Mr. Kubrick’s movie, “2001, A Space Odyssey,” finally debuted, late and over budget in April 1968, to baffled film critics and long lines of young people. John Lennon said he went to see it every week. It was the top-grossing movie of the year and is now a perennial on critics’ lists of the most important movies of all time, often the first movie scientists mention if you ask them about sci-fi they have enjoyed.

In honor of its 50th anniversary it is being rereleased at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday and then in various cities around the world in a shiny new version overseen by Christopher Nolan, the director of “Dunkirk” and “Inception,” among other films. He told The Los Angeles Times the original film had been a “touchstone” from his childhood.

The movie, written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke (whose books and stories the movie was based on), and directed by Kubrick, is a multisensory ode to cosmic mystery, fate and the future. Long stretches happen with no explication or action except the zero-gravity ballets of spaceships immaculately imagined.

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