Lighted deer, Led Zep’s unreleased Christmas album and ‘Inoke’

Dec. 22, 2010

Hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to bounce around a few topics in this column. Besides, it’s the holidays, so I might as well add to the festivity frenzy. There’s no point in trying to contain Christmas spirit, is there? So here’s what I’ve been doing to get into the Christmas spirit. And you know what? I think it’s working. And I hope some rubs off on you.

First, if you’ve visited Mosier recently, you may have noticed a bunch of Christmas decorations next to 10 Speed East. The city council sets up a light display there every year, but this year, when all the lighted metal-wire deer and greeting signs were set up, nothing worked.

Not one bulb.

So, kinda like the Grinch, I gathered up these unwieldy items and headed up the hill to my shop with a promise to bring them back to life.

After what seemed like an eternity of mind-numbing work, I replaced close to 200 bulbs. Of course, the “old” bulbs (which were probably made in the exact same factory as the “new” bulbs) had to be swapped out of each little holder, because the new one wouldn’t fit in the old one.

As soon as I got these fixed, I was informed that the Lighted Penguin display in front of City Hall was burned out.

I sighed, I installed new batteries in my portable bulb-tester and headed down the hill.

My holiday wouldn’t be complete without some music, and this year I was lucky to attend the United Way Holiday Benefit Concert, with Aaron Meyer and his band, on Dec. 12.

And, I’ve got to say, this single show was perhaps the best musical event I’ve seen in Hood River County. The only problem? We’ll have to wait an entire year for another one.

During the entire show, I was transfixed. Time? I lost track of it. I had to laugh. At one point, Meyer’s violin and band tore into Led Zep’s “Kashmir,” AND IT STILL FELT LIKE A CHRISTMAS SONG.

The last few years, there’s a name that keeps popping up in my music column right around Christmas time, and this year I was reminded of him when I saw the advertisement in the paper. But all the information said was “Musical Entertainer Inoke.”

Now, I know from past years that “Inoke,” aka Inoke Baravilala, is a guitarist. But really, what else did I know about him?

Answer, not much. But when I dug a little deeper, I just got a feeling that there was a lot more to his story.

It turns out Inoke has been playing guitar, all over the world, for over 40 years, and I think his interview is one of the most interesting ones so far. So, if you’re a musician looking for some inspiration, or just someone looking for some more holiday spirit, Inoke will be in town on Christmas Eve.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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