This past Sunday night, Tom Hamilton brought along his American Babies for what turned out to be a rocker of a Dead & Company after-party at Boulder, CO’s The Fox Theatre, with some great special guests keeping the place electrified for a night of music.Grahame Lesh and his Midnight North cohorts played a solid opening set of original Americana rock tunes, which included their own “Phoenix Motel” from Scarlet Skies, and a cover of Crosby, Stills, and Nash‘s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” (they will be playing special tribute shows to CSNY at Brooklyn Bowl on July 29th and in San Fran on Aug. 12th). The group invited Hamilton out for a rousing cover of the Grateful Dead‘s “Viola Lee Blues,” and finished the set strong on “The Highway Song,” which featured beautiful vocals from singer Elliott Peck.With a packed house ready to keep the party going, American Babies did not disappoint. Their set began with original Babies songs “Fever Dreams” and “What Does It Mean To Be” from their latest release, An Epic Battle Between Light and Dark, before digging into T-Ham’s back catalog with Brothers Past‘s “Too Late To Call”, which turned the venue into a veritable dance party. If one thing is for certain, the current lineup of Hamilton on lead guitar/vocals, along with guitarist Justin Mazer, drummer Al Smith, acoustic guitarist/vocalist Raina Mullen, and bassist Mark Sosnoskie is a force to be reckoned with and completely locked in at this point in time. Will Trask from Denver-based funk act RunniKine joined the group on this special night for some additional help on percussion.Tom Hamilton Talks Almost Dead, American Babies & An Epic Battle Between Light And DarkAs billed, Hamilton’s fellow Joe Russo’s Almost Dead bandmate Marco Benevento joined the fray on “Old Time Religion” which led into his own “At The Show” from the mad scientist’s 2014 album Swift. Later on in the set, Dead & Co bassist Oteil Burbridge joined the group for a beautiful cover of The Allman Brothers Band‘s “Blue Sky,” which had everyone in the audience elated, and featured a sweet solo from Justin Mazer, along with great interplay between him, Hamilton, and Burbridge.With both Burbridge and Benevento sticking around on stage, the ensemble played an inspired “Eyes of the World” which kept the positive vibes going inside The Fox. A “Deal” encore brought the show to a successful end as everyone made their way out on the streets of Boulder. This was certainly the icing on the cake for what was an epic weekend in Colorado.[all photos courtesy of Joshua Elioseff – Dancer Productions Photography]Setlist: Midnight North at The Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO – 7/3/16One Night Stand – EPRoamin – AllWind & Roses – GLPhoenix Motel – EPSuite: Judy Blue Eyes – AllEveryday – GLViola Lee Blues – All w Tom HThe Highway Song – EPSetlist: Tom Hamilton’s American Babies at The Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO – 7/3/16Fever DreamsWhat Does It Mean To BeToo Late To CallSynth Driver Old Time Religion* >At The Show*^Blue Sky*%#Eyes Of The World*%Encore: Deal*%* with Marco Benevento^ Marco Benevento original (first time played)% with Oteil Burbridge # Allman Brothers original (first time played) Load remaining images
“We’re expecting a good crop, but not what we could have had if you consider the scab problems, especially on our more susceptible varieties,” said Bill McWilliams, a pecan farmer in Crisp County. “Any time you have a wet summer like we’ve had, you will end up with pecan scab.”Roughly half of Georgia’s 120,000 acres of commercial orchards are planted in scab-susceptible varieties, like Desirable, Schley and Pawnee, Wells said. Some farmers sprayed as much as 15 times, or once every 10 days, to keep the disease at bay. They still had trouble staying ahead of it. One spray can cost $10 to $14 per acre.Farmers are getting good prices, around $2 per pound, now for early-maturing varieties, Wells said. Consumer demand for pecans has grown, due in large part to the industry’s strong marketing campaign in recent years.A boost in the pecan market has also come from China’s new-found taste for the nut. U.S. pecan exports have skyrocketed to the Asian country in the past four years and are expected to climb higher. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, China imported 2.2 million pounds of U.S. pecans in 2002. Last year, they imported almost 44 million pounds.“With these numbers expected to increase, the Chinese market for pecans takes enormous pressure off the domestic demand for pecans, allowing prices to stabilize somewhat, which is good for the grower, shellers and consumer,” Wells said.The U.S. is expected to produce between 300 million pounds and 328 million pounds of pecans this year. Harvest will run through Christmas. A pecan-loving disease enjoyed Georgia’s wet summer weather and is now blamed for cutting what was expected to be a large crop, says a University of Georgia pecan specialist. But farmers still expect to have an “on” year.“We had a good crop set early in the year, but we’re seeing some loses to disease now,” said Lenny Wells, a UGA Cooperative Extension pecan horticulturist.Pecan trees are alternate-bearing, meaning they produce a full crop every other year. Most trees in the state are on the same cycle, and this is an “on” year for Georgia pecans. Farmers expect to harvest 90 million pounds, 20 million pounds less than predicted earlier in the season. The state record is 150 million pounds, set in both 1993 and 2007.Georgia leads the nation in pecan production. Farmers in southwest Georgia, the hub of production, began harvesting early-maturing varieties last week. They are running into the aftermath of a disease called scab, the pecan’s No. 1 enemy. The fungal disease scars husks, cuts yields and hurts quality. It thrives in wet summer weather like Georgia experienced this year.