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September 06, 2007

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man with guitar, smile and a cigarette in  mouth
John Dee Holeman

His Own Blues

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HIS OWN BLUES

John Dee Holeman is an old time bluesman. He grew up poor and dropped out of school in the 5th grade. He actually made his first guitar by pulling strips from an old tire and attaching them to a chair so that they would bounce off the wall. Once he got a real guitar, he performed in a lot of places to make a few dollars - some of those places scared him so much he vowed never to return. He started playing part-time and became a heavy machine operator. Now that he's retired, though, he plays blues festivals and is highly regarded for his expressive voice and distinctive guitar picking.

One day, John Dee was invited over to the recording studios of a nonprofit group called Music Maker Relief Foundation. Their goal is to keep the blues alive. Turns out, the folks at Music Maker knew that the Australian band The Waifs planned to come by and do some recording. Vikki Thorn, founding member of The Waifs, is a fan of the blues. When Vikki and her band met John Dee, they sat down to jam. The jam lasted several hours, and in one afternoon they recorded enough songs, off the cuff, to make a new album. Dick Gordon talks to both musicians.

Making it up the Mountain

Madeleine McBroom says the transition she made from life partner to caregiver when her husband fell ill was the hardest thing she has ever done. To cope, she immersed herself in the world of cycling. She started small - watching cycling videos late in the evening when she had time to herself. But soon the depths of her newfound passion led her to start training seriously, culminating in an exhilarating and emotional journey up Alpe d'Huez, the legendary mountain leg of the Tour de France.

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