Entry No.61;July 2014
G&T DownEasTour Slideshow
Fred Gillen Jr. is an artist's artist. He's also a great friend. I am grateful to have him as a friend and band mate. Our duo is a special little thing that keeps on ticking along with everything else we do. We just spent a couple of weeks touring together in Maine for the G&T Down EasTour. In our organic collaboration, we get together only when it feels right and is relevant for us. Fortunate to receive support from Angus Webster and Unearthed Productions, and drawing tunes from an expansive repertoire, we played 3 sets a night in Portland, Booth Bay Harbor, Woolwich, Sabattus and Jackson, New Hampshire.
There were so many highlights of the tour, including meeting Yummy from the History Channel's hit show "Down East Dickering" at a 4th of July shindig in rural Maine. The soiree was filled with families, farmers, veterans, and Yummy. There was even an Elvis impersonator who performed a set! Elvis is still in the building!
On our day off, we were invited to Rob Morrow's place for a lobster fest. Rob is a great actor (Northern Exposure, Numb3rs) who is also quite taken with the craft of songwriting and performing and has a music career as well. Touring with our buddy Carlos Calvo and working with Angus, ten of us connoitered for music and lobster. Uncle Ralph had the biggest appetite and you had to keep your hands away from him or he might eat them too!
Ilana Donna joined us for a little singing and performing, testing her toes in the cold Maine water. She did real well. In Booth Bay, there was a delicious couple who danced to many of our tunes. Very much in love and very much alive, they really lit up the place! It's those kinds of moments that make performing precious.
Fred turned me on to Firefly, a one season sci-fi series with cult status that I started to enjoy during some free time. I read "The Real Frank Zappa" by Frank and Peter Occhiogrosso... amazing! and... Reid National Park and Sewell Pond were the gems of our free time. We discovered them during several afternoons before gigs, exploring, swimming, rope swinging and sleeping on the beach. 'Twas a fabulous time!
Entry No.60;May 2014
A DAY IN THE LIFE
In preparation for several upcoming gigs at the Capt. Lawrence Brewery, Garcia's and more... Deni Bonet, Adam Roberts and I spent 4 hours running through numerous original songs, including many off my upcoming record, Irish and Appalachian fiddle tunes, old country blues, Old & In the Way, and even a little jazz. We played about 50 tunes in all, finishing around 5pm, at which time we all trucked into the Big Apple where I met my mandolin teacher and mentor, Barry Mitterhoff.
Barry's the virtuoso multi-instrumentalist that's been playing alongside Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna) for um-teen years or more. He's a great teacher and often turns me on to a bigger, more satisfying world of American music. He also loaned me a tenor banjo (a 4-string like Ayodele plays) and turned me on to an old R. Crumb/Jerry Zolten album called "Chimpin' The Blues".
Later, I met Deni again at Coogan's, an atmospheric Irish Pub on 169th and Broadway. We had dinner with the owner, Peter Walsh, who's also an amazing singer. We talked about doing some live music at Coogan's sometime soon with Fred Gillen Jr., Deni and I. I'll keep you posted on that.
I strummed that 4-string banjo all the way back to Hastings-on-Hudson to the rhythm of the rails and the wheels and the train.
What a great day! Gracias a la vida!
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