Entry No.58;December 2013
Midwest Halloween Tour Fall 2013 Slideshow
I hit the road just about Halloween to play in 7 cities in 7 states in 10 days all over the Midwest. The weather was very cooperative, which was very fortunate for me.
Traveling solo in a one-way rental car, the tour kicked off in Wheeling, WV at the Grindhouse. The proprietor, AJ Zambito, comes from a legendary local family known as a magnetic hub of gathering and activity in the area. AJ has created a fabulous place deep in the heart of coal country.
Tom Breiding, a great musician and friend joined me on the double bill. Tom recently helped Patriot Coal and the United Mine Workers settle a contentious pension conflict by contributing his outstanding social protest songs to the cause.
Folks in Cleveland Heights call Cleveland "My Paris". After visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Case Western University Campus, I have to agree.
In the evening I returned to one of my favorite live music venues called The Barking Spider. It's a fantastic venue that loves live music. With a grand piano in-house, I had the rare opportunity to perform songs on guitar, mandolin and piano, during a 90 minute set that was very satisfying.
Guy Wright approached me with Deepak Sarma, an old NYU buddy, now a Professor of Religious Studies at Case Western, and a big moe. fan. We used to enjoy the live music scene together in Greenwich Village back in the day. I'm currently enjoying his book Indian Philosophy.
Guy is a super chill woodworker from Hawaii that makes Heart Strings Ukeleles. In an act of selfless giving he presented me with a beautiful soprano ukelele made from fine, recycled wood, only suggesting that I "teach kids and share the joy" and "don't think you own it, because we own nothing in this life". Wow!
After riding on the track and savoring the museum at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I was fortunate to play on a great bill organized by Segment of Society. Acclaimed to be the last stage Elvis Presley ever performed on, I joined Tonos Triad and the Midwest Rhythm Exchange at the Irving Theatre. MRE's mandolinist Kris Potts is amazing. Tonos plays great gypsy jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. It was a cool bill to be part of and a fun show. I ran in to my friend Bryce Taylor who is currently cutting a new record with Fred Gillen Jr. at Woody's House that I can't wait to hear.
Chicago's Uncommon Ground (on Clark) is an outstanding listening room. It was a real joy performing in this venue. On a cold, quiet Sunday night, big cities can be warm places.
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