Know Your ABCs: An Album, a Book, and a Cat


Your Album: From Seed to Stone by County Road X
Your Book: Toadswart d’Amplestone by Tim A. Conrad
Your Cat: Bea, a domestic short hair bundle of love


(***Originally published, in part, at***)

EDITOR’S NOTE:  I actually meant to publish this yesterday.  My intent is to have the Know Your ABCs article as a continuing series to be published on Sundays.  It just seems like a Sunday-type article to me.  But, hey, you may spend your Sundays waaaay different than I do, so feel free to read this any day of the week you choose.  As noted above, this was originally going to be an ongoing series published on the excellent music blog MusicIsGood, but I’m kinda re-envisioning my contribution there, and BirdistheWorm seems like a more appropriate home for it.   Anyways, expect more of these every Sunday.




Let’s begin…


From Seed To Stone, an Album by County Road X

On this atypical jazz album, County Road X leader Erik Deutsch doesn’t so much stand on jazz soil and reach over the fence to other genres as just simply drop his jazz compositions into a soup of bluegrass, folk, rock, and children’s lullaby, then lets the listener decide what to call the dish.  It’s an album of enchanting and curious tunes.

Your personnel:  Erik Deutsch (piano & keyboards), Jon Gray (trumpet), Jon Stewart (reeds), James Hoskins (cello), Doug Anderson (upright bass & accordion) Tadd Vancil (percussion), Glenn Taylor (pedal steel guitar).

Refreshingly simple melodies performed by a complex combination of instruments is what makes this album so intriguing for me.  The interplay between piano and flute, sax and cello, trumpet calling out from far away as pedal steel swerves between everyone else’s notes.  I mention children’s lullabies in my opening, and much in the same way those lullabies are innocent on their face, yet when traced back to their folktale roots are a bit more ominous, so does From Seed to Stone seem to possess qualities far deeper than a simple story. Most of the livelier tunes share that sense of victory, like soundtrack songs played just after the hero overcomes the Big Conflict.  The softer tunes on the album are a little bit of sadness, a little bit of hopefulness, and a whole lot of pretty.

Released in 2004 by Adventure Records.  Jazz from the Denver scene.

Available on Amazon: CD | MP3




Conrad’s Gothic tale of revenge and the occult was originally printed in the monthly science fiction fantasy magazine Epic Illustrated back in 1986.  Unfortunately, the Epic company folded before the serialized version of the story reached its end.  In 1990, however, Eclipse Books was kind enough to collect the story in graphic novel form before they, too, went under.

Drawn brilliantly in black & white, the shading imbues the shadows with an oppressive foreboding while simultaneously giving a comforting warmth and brightness to the fireplaces and torches that fight back the shadows and to the daylight that occasionally cuts through the gloomy medieval countryside.

Shamshadow, a traveling artist arrives one stormy night at d’Amplestone castle seeking employment.  His timing is excellent,  as it was merely a fortnight ago that the previous artist had thrown himself out his studio window to his death in the courtyard below.  Prince Waxwroth hires Shamshadow without fanfare.  The Prince’s son’s investiture is near, and family portraits will be made to celebrate the boy’s ceremony into manhood.  Toadswart, a dwarfish hunchback and the Prince’s servant, observes the odd coincidences and strangely detached behavior of the participants with suspicion and fear.  Something isn’t right.  But then again, nothing has been right since the King suddenly went missing.  And there is much to worry about.  Spies have been reported, and there are rumors that armed forces have been amassing in the hills.  The Princess, Waxwroth’s wife, has taken sick, and it may or may not have anything to do with the nights Waxwroth has been spending in the castle dungeon reading arcane tomes.

Toadswart assists the artist in getting settled and acquainted with the castle.  Shamshadow begins the royal family’s portraits.  The leaders of the castle garrison search for spies and prepare for war.  The Princess lies sick in bed.  Prince Waxwroth is in the basement building a golem.

Toadswart d’Amplestone is a 104-page black & white graphic novel, Gothic mystery.

Available at Amazon: Paperback | Hardcover



BEA – a Cat that needs a home

Bea is a female, domestic short-hair.  She has white fur with black spots, much like a feline cow.  She is approximately two years old.  She was pulled from a local shelter when her name was placed on a euth list.  She has been in a variety of foster homes, and is looking for a permanent place to lay her water bowl.

Bea is very sweet, but can be a bit bossy, too.  She will let you know when it is time to pet her.  She doesn’t want to be scooped up like a little baby, but she will sit in your lap for hours and will never require an invitation to curl up with you in bed.  She sleeps like an angel in a ray of sunlight, but she also gets her night crazies and chases after her tail.  Bea would prefer to be the only cat in the house.  She has been spayed, is up to date with her shots, and is negative for feline leukemia.  She should probably remain an indoor cat, but would probably thrive outdoors, too, under the right conditions.

More information on Bea is available at the Mercer (KY) Humane Society at (859) 734-9500,  If you are unable to adopt, you may sponsor her adoption, or the adoption of any cat, by contacting the office.

(Warning:  Don’t Tweet near the cat!)