Things That Used to Shine

loveletter collage

On December 19, 1926 my grandmother Alice  wrote to her betrothed, “I don’t know of any boy that I would rather have had than you.  I really don’t believe we could have been any better satisfied if we had searched and waited for years. I know you and I will be happy”. The letter was simply addressed to my grandfather Mr. J Paul Sauder, New Holland, Penna. and was signed, ‘your Virginia lassie’.

As I listened to the Wild Ponies’ song, Things That Used to Shine I thought of these love letters, my dad’s pocket watch, the legacy of Hazel Dickens and my scuffed up cowboy boots.  I suppose I too like things that used to shine.  Below are the lyrics of the song from the 2013 album by the same name; followed by a video of Wild Ponies a couple months ago.

I like things that used to shine, polished smooth by the grains of time. Old and used and past their prime, I like things that used to shine.

Love letters in the drawer of a flea market find, laid away ring with two months behind. A grandfather clock with a mournful chime. I like things that used to shine

A scratchy old record that still goes round, on an old turntable makes a beautiful sound. A proud father’s eyes when he starts to cry. I like things that used to shine

The way that Hazel Dickens sings, too long unchanged guitar strings, a candle holder from a bottle of wine. like things that used to shine

A roughed up penny from the year I was born, old leather boots all scuffed and worn, an old pocket watch that still keeps time
And I like things that used to shine

The way you smiled when you were mine
That sparkle in your eyes when you were mine
Can’t turn back the hands of time
I like things that used to shine

Seats are still available to see the Wild Ponies at Chestnut House Concerts on Friday, January 17, 2014. Potluck at 6:00 pm, Show at 7:00 pm. Suggested donation of $15-20 at the door. Call/text 717-940-9311 or email Tim at for more information.

Music & Fashion…

In addition to showcasing songwriting & performing skills at Chestnut House Concerts, these Roots/Americana musicians bring style and fashion. 

Nora Jane Struthers and Joe Overton will be performing at Chestnut House Concerts on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. 

Vintage Dress


Nora Jane collects vintage dresses like this 40’s teal & brown cotton dress with white crisscross stripes.  

Nora Jane found this dress in Vinton, Va. Maybe she’ll have time to shop at Mommalicious or Hinesite while in Lancaster.  To read more about Nora Jane’s vintage collection check out her blog.

PerfumeThe Wild Ponies is a Nashville based band fronted by Doug & Telisha Williams.  Doug plays guitar, Telisha plays bass and Jake Winebrenner joins them on percussion.  Wild Ponies will be at Chestnut House Concerts on Friday, January 17, 2014.  Their 2012 album Ghost of the Knoxville Girl inspired Poison Apple Apothecary of Atlanta, Georgia to create a perfume by the same name. 


Vanessa McGowan, vocalist & double bass player for the New Zealand based duo Tattletale Saints is wearing a dress made by Papercup and sold at S’wonderful Boutique, a family owned clothing & gift store in Wellington, New Zealand.  The store was built from the ground up by mother & daughter Frances & Virginia McMullen and model/musician Vanessa remarked that “S’wonderful are amazing talented people, the clothes are all 100% sweatshop free, ethically and lovingly made in New Zealand and we feel really good about promoting them. This gorgeous dress is super comfortable and flattering and if you want one of your own, here’s where you head….” 
Swonderful Boutique, Tattletale Dress

Tattletale Saints (Vanessa along with guitarist/vocalist Cy Winstanley) will be at Chestnut House Concerts on April 4, 2014 along with 10 String Symphony.

The December 18th show is sold out, but if you’re interested in upcoming shows, check the calendar and contact us so we can add you to the reservation list.  

Virginia is for (Music) Lovers ♥ – Part I

The first annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival was held July 12-14, 2013 in Mount Solon, Virginia. The festival was presented and organized by The Steel Wheels; sponsored by Blue Mountain Brewery and WNRN. Due to work obligations and a full schedule (Grey Fox was just around the corner) we could only attend on Saturday (July 13th) and while we missed many great bands, we were able to catch the awesome shows of Scott Miller, Ana Egge, JD McPherson, The Wiyos, The Sam Bush Band, and of course, The Steel Wheels.

This festival will be on our radar next summer for sure. Three things that impressed me were a) the line up, b) the quality of sound (see live recording download below) and c) the high level of organization, particularly for a first time event. For more information visit

Jonathan Byrd played at the Shenandoah Mountain Stage on Sunday afternoon. Jonathan and Chris Kokesh were at Chestnut House Concerts in October 2012 and audience members still comment on how engaging Jonathan was as a performer and wordsmith. This live set includes Paul Ford on cello, Omar Ruiz-Lopez on violin, Johnny Waken on electric guitar, mandolin, harmonica, Jonathan Byrd on acoustic guitar and vocals. “You Can’t Outrun the Radio” harmonies: Ana Egge, The Steel Wheels, Wild Ponies, Carrie Elkin, and Danny Schmidt

As I mentioned earlier, the sound at the festival was great, and the recording of this live performance is quite good – (Jason Misterka and John Neil). It’s available for download – at whatever price you want to pay. Do it!