Los Lonely Boys. Photo by Gabriella McSwann.

For the fact that Los Lonely Boys are around to headline this year's River Roots Live festival, some people might thank God - and the trio of brothers Garza certainly does that. But bassist/singer JoJo also thanked his brother Henry's pliability.

"I think it would've killed anybody else," JoJo said of Henry's horrific fall from a stage in February 2013. "I would have been dead. ... From the moment he fell in the hole, I thought it was completely over. ...

"We give a lot of thanks for Henry's natural ability to be very flexible as part of the reason why he didn't just crunch in half there."

But Henry's recovery has been slow. "Quite honestly," JoJo said in a phone interview last week, "he's not 100 percent still, and a lot of people don't know that. ...

The July 9 Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispatch article announcing a verdict for Benton Mackenzie on drug charges began like this: "Even as the 12 jurors shuffled into the courtroom to announce their verdict, Benton Mackenzie could already sense his fate. Guilty."

As storytelling journalism quickly establishing a mood and then getting to the point, it's pretty good.

Yet with the basic facts of the case never in dispute, the verdict had long been almost a foregone conclusion because of a pre-trial ruling in May - which the Illinois-based newspapers mentioned in trial coverage but didn't actually cover. Judge Henry Latham ruled that Mackenzie couldn't claim he grew marijuana out of medical necessity to treat his cancer.

The Quad-City Times, on the other hand, did cover that ruling, and did a decent job explaining the precedent behind it.

But the Benton Mackenzie coverage from both entities, while voluminous, overlooked or ignored frameworks in which daily events could be understood, processed, and put into a more-meaningful context. The story is ultimately not just about one man with terminal cancer facing a criminal trial. Nor does it merely illuminate the general issue of medical marijuana.

Rather, it's a heart-wrenching, complicated example of something larger: how the justice system deals with an area of rapidly changing law - one that is itself chasing a swift change in public attitudes following decades of calcified prohibition policy.

How would the City of Davenport have covered the recent vetoes by Mayor Bill Gluba of the Dock development plan and the St. Ambrose University rezoning request for a new stadium? And how would it have covered Gluba's proposal to bring illegal immigrants to Davenport, which was - to put it mildly - poorly received by the city council?

These were the questions that came to mind with the revelation by the Quad-City Times' Barb Ickes (on the same day as the vetoes) that the Fiscal Year 2015 city budget includes $178,000 for what she described as "a news-based Web site ... [to] shine new light on positive and negative city happenings."

It's clear that the site is an attempt to, at least in part, bypass the traditional news media and speak directly to constituents about good things city government is doing and positive developments in Davenport - without that pesky "other side" of the story. And, given our local television stations' tendency to air unsourced and vaguely sourced stories, one might infer that another motivation is giving those broadcast news operations easily adaptable material that would warmly present Davenport.

But this idea was also pitched by city staff quoted in the article as "bold" and a "deep dive," words that suggest ambition beyond marketing. As Davenport Business Development Manager (and former daily-newspaper reporter) Tory Brecht said: "As far as we can tell, no U.S. city has embarked on this effort."

The news site is supposed to be launched in the next few months, and of course it's impossible to pass judgment on it without actually seeing the thing.

Yet the twin aims of the initiative seem fundamentally incompatible, and it's hard to envision how the nobler of these goals can be accomplished given the inherent lack of independence in a city-run "news" operation.

And that's why I return to the Dock, the St. Ambrose stadium, and the Gluba immigration proposal. These were the city's big stories last month, and one can't envision a Davenport news site ignoring them while retaining its credibility. But I can't for the life of me figure out how it would have covered them.

Beau Sample, the bassist and bandleader of the Fat Babies, has said he doesn't want his Chicago-based septet to present the jazz of the 1920s as either a caricature or museum piece.

By all accounts, Sample and his bandmates have succeeded wildly - almost certainly a result of the Fat Babies balancing its performance schedule between bars and festivals.

The group has regular gigs at the Windy City's Green Mill lounge and Honky Tonk BBQ - places where the nuances are less important than the swing. "The people who come to see us are really there to dance and drink and have fun," Sample said in a phone interview last week. "A lot of the bands playing this stuff [early jazz] don't have the opportunity to play for those crowds. ... The dancers are a big influence on what we do."

The Fat Babies, he noted, are "trying to put it [old-time jazz] back in the taverns, where it came from. ... Basically, we're doing what people have always done - which is just playing in bars for people drinking and having a good time."

Steve Zuidema, the co-owner and brewmaster at Davenport's Front Street Brewery, called the byzantine state laws regulating alcohol distribution "laughable now. But getting them changed is going to take some lobbying and some money, because I think the distributors have a great lobby."

He was talking about the Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association, and for proof of that organization's influence in the state legislature, look at the situation faced by the Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire.

If you're wondering what beer distributors have to do with producers of distilled spirits, you're on the right track.

The River Monks. Photo by Bruce Bales.

The band's moniker comes from the likely source of the Des Moines River's name (the French Rivière des Moines - "river of the monks"), and TinyMixTapes.com declared that "the River Monks might just be Iowa. The five-part vocal harmonies swirl outward like wind across the fields, while the band's traditional folk instrumentation is given Iowa's unexpectedly progressive touch, leaving you with something entirely recognizable, yet completely new."

Its new album is titled Home Is the House, invoking a sense of physical place.

And many thousands of people in Iowa know the band - even if they don't realize it. The River Monks composed the theme music for Iowa Public Radio's two talk shows.

The irony is that the band - playing Rozz-Tox on July 2 - no longer has a home. While the group originated in Des Moines, some of the sextet's members have been scattered about - to Nashville, to Omaha, Nebraska, and soon to California.

So the River Monks' seven-week summer tour, singer/songwriter Ryan Stier said in a phone interview last week, is a bid for longevity. "We've been really forced to figure out: If the band's going to continue, then we need to set some groundwork."

George Thorogood's parents encouraged him to pursue a music career, but to hear the guitarist/singer/songwriter tell it, they didn't have much choice. They didn't see any more-conventional options to point him toward - and they were just glad he wasn't following in the tracks of his brothers.

"My older brothers, they were real terrors," Thorogood said in a recent phone interview. "They were like the Dennis Hoppers and the James Deans of the Delaware area on their motorcycles. ... My parents almost wept when I told them I wanted a guitar for a Christmas present. They were so pleased they couldn't see straight. And once they saw me perform once or twice, they said, 'This is what he's destined to do. All he has to do is stay with it long enough to get good at it.' And they also said this to me: 'George, you can't work.' That's true. I can't. I'm not good at it. Could you imagine Tom Petty working in an accountant firm? ... Some people are cut out to do what it is they do."

And, Thorogood added, it wasn't merely a hunch his parents had about him being a natural performer: "They didn't think it. They knew it. ... You know your own children."

Of course, 40 years into the career of George Thorogood & The Destroyers, it's more than clear Thorogood's parents were right about their son.

In an ideal world, Jarekus Singleton would probably still be playing basketball.

But performing at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in support of his Alligator debut - Refuse to Lose, released in April - ain't half-bad, either.

Singleton grew up in a musical family, playing bass at his grandfather's church starting at age nine. "It was a family thing at church," the 29-year-old said in a recent phone interview. "I knew I was musically inclined, but I didn't really know the significance of what I was doing. I was doing it to help the church out. ... Music was always the foundation of everything, because that was what our family leaned on."

But Singleton loved basketball and pursued a pro career. After the 2006-7 college season, he was named the NAIA national player of the year, averaging 24.7 points and 6.3 assists per game for William Carey University. He then played professionally in Lebanon.

"Anything that I do, I kind of get obsessed with it," he said. "I was really focused on basketball."

Roy Book Binder considers last year's The Good Book to be his most important album. And he never thought it would happen.

"I didn't really want to make any more records," he said in a recent phone interview. "I didn't want to do any more covers of [Mississippi] John Hurt and this one and that one. I figured, 70 years old coming up, why bother? ... I kept telling people, 'When I write enough songs, I'm going to put out an album.' I never thought I'd really do it."

But, he said, there was another pull, the simple fact of getting older: "If I don't make my mark soon, I ain't ever going to make it."

He said he had two good songs, and "I did a live album [2005's Live at the Fur Peace Station] just to get them out before I died, you know?"

When people would ask about a new album, Binder said, he'd pay lip service to the idea: "I kept saying it would be out in the spring, but it never was. Then finally I said, 'It's really going to be out in the spring.'"

But when he returned home in the winter from his annual six-month trek around the country, his wife asked him how it was going. "I got out my notebooks and my pads," he said, "and I had like three and a half songs written, plus the two that I put on the live album ... ." Then, during a visit to the Caribbean, "the songs came to me."

The resulting record, he said, will likely be his legacy.

Being at the market can work up an appetite. We have just what you are looking for. Hot dogs, Smoothies, Ice Cold drinks, and right beside you will find Brats, Gyros, Chicken and Rib Eye Sandwiches, Pizza, Shish Kebab, Fried rice oh and not to mention Kettle corn, cheese corn, Roasted Almonds and much more!

Our furry friends love coming to the market.  Well mannered dogs are welcome on a leash, except this one might need a helmet! Enjoy the market and be safe.

Upcoming events: June 21 -  A Cake Walk is scheduled for this Saturday with the proceeds going to the Friendly House Food Pantry. It will begin at 9:00 a.m only $1 per entry.

June 21- The Extension Office will be on the patio to discuss urban gardening an to answer any questions.

June 28 - Children bring a white t-shirt.  They will decorate the t-shirts in red and blue paint (fireworks theme).

You will all ways find wonderful, unique, home made and local items at the Farmers market. The whole family can have a great time at the Freight House Farmers Market every week on Tuesdays (3pm-6pm) and Saturdays (8am-1pm).

Don't wonder what is in the food that you are eating.  At the Market, you can watch it being made, talk to the producer, try a sample and eat healthy.

And last, but not least: Please take a moment and complete a brief 10 question survey so that we can better understand how we can serve you better.  As our appreciation for your time we are giving away a 5 burner gas grill and $100 dollars in market gift certificates to load it up with all those wonderful market vegetables, brats, steaks to one lucky survey taker, so be sure to enter your email address at the end of the survey to enter the drawing. You could have a market party!

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