Bits 'n' Pieces: Standefer performance aims to please mothers on their day

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After a lifetime rearranging, performing and recording other people’s classic tunes -- sprinkling it with plenty of “hot licks and fancy stuff” meant to dazzle the ear -- Vancouver guitarist John Standefer figured it was time to liberate his backlog of original music. And pay tribute to the mothers in his life while he’s at it.

Standefer’s mother was a “hillbilly singer on the radio,” and his dad was a Texas fiddler. Their son fell in love with the magical fingerstyle of guitar wizard Chet Atkins as well as the folk revival and jazzy bossa nova sounds of the early 1960s. He absorbed all of it, and was teaching and playing professionally by the time he was 16.

Now 61, Standefer will celebrate the release of not one but two albums at a Mother’s Day concert. The one titled “Candlelight Guitar” aims right at the mother demographic, Standefer said, while representing his own true taste in composition: “warm, romantic, soft and pretty,” he said. It’s a collection of his best original work across the last three decades, he said.

The other new release is a collection of duets with longtime guitar partner Jim Wallace, called “Guitar Chemistry.”

“It’s a variety of styles and hot licks and weird ideas,” Standefer said. “It’s more upbeat and goofy. It’s a fun romp.”

Both albums, the sweet and the hot, will be for sale at the concert, which is set for 7 p.m. May 13 at the Washburn Performing Arts Center, 1201 39th St. in Washougal. Admission is $14, but mothers get in for $7. Visit johnstandefer.com to learn more.-- Scott Hewitt

Felida man brings shelter to ravaged spots around the globe

John Cordell brings shelter to places around the world after people lose their homes.

In his most recent assignment for the nonprofit ShelterBox (http://www.shelterboxusa.org,) it wasn’t just that villages were wiped out. In some places, the ground they’d been built on was gone.

The Felida resident returned recently from Peru, where he helped victims of several kinds of disasters resulting from heavy rain, including landslides.

“An entire village went down a hill and disappeared,” Cordell said. In another spot, a landslide “took out a number of villages outside a town and continued into the town.”

Other disasters were caused by what he called slips, or cracks in the earth.

“It could be up to several feet wide,” he said. “If you’re on the downhill side, you must relocate.”

Other villages were wiped out by floods.

Each box contains a tent that can shelter up to 10 people, plus blankets, tools, water-purifying supplies and cooking gear.

In his initial assessment, Cordell figured they needed 200 boxes; the government asked for 6,000.

Heavy rain isn’t the only threat to Peruvian villagers.

“It’s a tremendously active seismic area,” Cordell said. “They can expect large earthquakes.”-- Tom Vogt

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you’d like to share, email bits@columbian.com.