After years of visiting and reading blogs, I have finally decided to do one of my own. Thanks for stopping by! Here I plan to describe what I am listening to, live music events I attend, and my thoughts about various artists of the present and past, as well as my thoughts on about anything else I want to share; most everything will tie back to music in some way or another. But let me first start out telling a little about myself.
Who am I?
First, I am not a professional musician. I have friends who are. I am not a music instructor. But like so many, music has always been a big part of my personal life. I played B flat clarinet in high school. Learned guitar as a teenager and took lessons for 2 years from a prominent jazz guitarist in Washington, PA - Anthony (Tony) Janflone, Sr. During the time I was taking lessons Tony's band Marshmellow Steamshovel folded and he formed the Super Blues Band with George & Bill Heid. Later, Tony was part of the Gene Ludwig combo and recorded a CD with them in 1998, "Back on the Track". Great album. I had heard somewhere, unconfirmed, that Tony's instructor was Joe Negri, of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame (Handyman Negri). I also had heard that Negri was George Benson's instructor, and also taught Ralph Patt, the inventor of major-thirds tuning. One thing is for certain; Tony and George Benson jammed together in the early to mid '60s. I have Negri's "Afternoon in Rio" CD from 1998, and it is well worth tracking down. Tony's son, Tony Janflone, Jr. is an exceptional blues/rock guitarist and is quite popular in the Pittsburgh & Tri-State area, as well as gaining international recognition. He has several CDs out, going back to the 90s. His "Live at the Blues Café" CD is my favorite.
I played in a band locally in my late teens and early 20s (1970-1972). There were several personnel and name changes with the drummer and I being the only constants. But college studies took priority and all of us in the band sort of faded away from performing. I sold my electric guitar and amp in the early 80s. I still have my acoustic, and play at home occasionally. My clarinet was lost in the move to California in 1999 but I had not played it in years. I was in a male Gospel vocal quartet for awhile in the late 80s, as well as doing community theater from '78 through '85, including musicals. That's the extent of my music performance experiences.
My parents were proficient in playing the phonograph, radio, and television but unfortunately no musical instruments. My older brothers played clarinet and trombone in high school. My parents grew up during the Great Depression, and were fans of big band swing, as well as Dixieland music. My clarinetist brother turned me on to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" when I was five (1958). My sister was a big fan of Bobby Rydell, Bobby Darin, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian when I was in grade school so I heard their music a lot. We only had a 45 rpm player until I was 13 (1966), at which time we obtained a phonograph that played LPs. However we had a stereo reel-to-reel beginning in 1963. My parents made the transition from big band to Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass & Percy Faith in the mid '60s. I didn't really have a musical identity independent of my folks (except for classical music, as I was exposed to it in school) until my freshman year in high school. That's when things changed.
Tomorrow I head to Athens, GA. I fly to Atlanta and then drive to Athens. It used to be that I could grab a connecting flight to Athens. No more. On the bright side, there is no worry about missing a connecting flight. My main carrier is American, but for this I am flying Delta. I have no status on Delta. Always a concern that they will run out of overhead space by the time I find my seat and I have to carry a lot of expensive equipment with me. Priority boarding for a fee was not available - there must be a lot of travelers with status on this flight. One nice thing about Delta is that they have personal video screens on the back of the seats in front of you. Last time I was on Delta I listened to the Grammy winning Daft Punk album, "Random Access Memories" and Pharrell Williams's latest album, "Girl", along with some 60s pop crooners and sirens. I was impressed with their selections. While in Athens I will have to find some night clubs that feature jazz or lounge players. The course I am giving is one of my more intense ones but I've done it enough times I could do it in my sleep, so little prep is needed in the evenings. Hence, I plan to go exploring! Do I hear the song "Happy"?
My time in Athens, GA last week hit right between summer school and the fall sessions for U of GA, so it was not really active with swarms of students and live music while I was there. However, they were gearing up. The 40 Watt Theatre had some live bands on Thursday night but since they didn't start until 10 pm and I had to teach a class at 8 am, I decided not to check it out. I did catch a live jazz trio at the Porterhouse Grill on Wednesday evening. The ad for that evening said "pianist Steve Key" along with Nicholas Wiles on drums and Drew Hart on string bass. But when I arrived it was a guitarist along with drums and string bass. The guitarist was probably early 20s and excellent. They played in a style similar to the Wes Montgomery combos of the 60s. Some standards like "My Favorite Things" and "Sunny" but then they played some very progressive cool stuff I did not recognize. I was with some people from my class and we all enjoyed the ambiance created by the band. One big drawback was that the tables in the restaurant were behind the band, so their backs were facing us as they faced the bar. That was the only live music I heard while there. I am sure there were other things going on elsewhere, but I couldn't find them . However the food was fabulous. Besides the Porterhouse, I also had dinners at Square One Fish Company, Clocked, and Etienne. They all had background music that was different. At Square One they were playing various blues artists. At Etienne it was a mix of French pop of the 40s & 50s mixed with big band music from the USA, including some Sinatra. Clocked had the most interesting variety, playing things like Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" and then immediately going into Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice"; very unusual mix. The ambience at Clocked was "psychedelic" in an eclectic sense. None of these establishments were doing much business and I was there at the middle of the dining hours. Everyone assured me that this would change once the students returned next week for the fall sessions.
I hated to leave such a friendly town. I don't often feel this way when I finish a job. I proctored an exam and everyone finished early Friday afternoon giving me ample time to get to Atlanta for my 7:25 pm flight to San Diego. At 3 pm I headed out on the Atlanta Highway, and things were going fine. Then the sky began to get darker and darker. Then the rain and the wind came. Visibility was nil. I nearly had to stop, but kept moving ever so cautiously. As the sky cleared and the wind calmed a little it looked like we were ready to resume normal speed. However, the combination of Atlanta's Friday afternoon traffic coupled with several accidents meant that a 1.5 hour trip turned out to be 3 hours. Then the rental car attendant ran out of receipt paper and I had to wait. I thought sure I missed my flight, but it was delayed due to weather also. In fact we did not leave Atlanta until 11 pm. I could not get a seat online so I got one at the gate - 36F; window, back of the plane. I did get priority boarding as one consolation. On the video screen I decided to watch some old Parks & Recreation and Arrested Development episodes, then flipped to some Ellington, Basie and Goodman recordings. Arrived in San Diego at 12:04 am, got my bags by 12:40, home by 1:15 am and to bed by 2. I had been awake since 6 am Eastern Time; a total of 23 hours. Today I hung out with my son until he had to go to work. Tried his mango/pineapple salsa using his home grown yellow devil's tongue peppers (hotter than habaneros). Glad to be home for a week. Tonight we will be taking our neighbors to dinner at a Thai restaurant in Lemon Grove and then to see Blue Velvet perform at the Caliph. Life is good.
Before I get into Sunday, I want to comment about last night. We went for some Thai food with our neighbors and then took them to see Blue Velvet perform at the Caliph. Blue Velvet performs as a cabaret/retro-lounge act with a male vocalist/keyboardist and three female vocalists decked out in wigs, bling, gloves, boas...you get the picture. They play the music of Bacharach, ABBA, Carpenters, and many more from the 60s and 70s. It was a great evening of fun. I am friends with one of the singers in the group, Normandie Wilson. They are a class act!
Today my lovely wife, Nancy, and I decided we needed to go to the mountains and chill. After stopping for some delicious food at the rustic Pine House Restaurant in Mount Laguna, we picked a hiking trail, Oasis Spring, nestled deep in the Laguna Mountains with a panoramic view of the Anza Borrego desert below. Oasis Spring is a 2 mile hike on the steep mountainside, partially along the Pacific Rim Trail, to an abandoned pump station. The building is red and is quite obvious from a half mile away since last fall's fires. It is very remote along a long-abandoned road from the early 1900's. The spring has caused much vegetation to grow around it making it difficult to get to the building except down a very steep trail. The building reminds me of the old Edward G. Robinson movie, "The Red House". Along the way were swarms of small yellow butterflies, attracted to the purple flowers along the trail. But that is not all we encountered. About a quarter mile before reaching the building we met the only other person on the trail - a tall, skinny, male "nature boy" with shoulder length gray hair and beard, probably in his 50's, wearing nothing but a partially revealing bright red loincloth. He actually apologized for his dress, or lack of it, as he never imagined he would see anyone else on this trail, and prefers being nude when out hiking in remote areas. We told him not to worry and we carried on a conversation with him about the Marshall South homestead. We had been there a few years ago and this fellow knew much about Marshall South and his lack of interest in clothing. The South homestead is several miles into the Anza Borrego desert far off a dirt road and on a 3 mile trail up a small barren mountain (or large hill). Little remains of the 100+ year-old homestead. The building is gone, except for a doorway still standing. Marshall South was a writer concentrating on western themes, similar to Zane Gray. After completing our hike we drove on toward Julian, and then decided to veer off toward Banner (curious about the damage caused by the recent "Banner fires") and then into the desert. Our vehicle registered 118 degrees when we hit the badlands just east of Agua Caliente on the old Overland Stagecoach route to Ocotillo. We stopped in the badlands to walk about for awhile, noting the deafening silence. We met no other vehicles on this road. But we did see a jackrabbit scurry across! We noted several SDGE power windmills as we approached Ocotillo and Interstate 8. They were not there the last time we had passed that way.
During this road trip I brought along some CD-Rs I had burned a while back capturing the hit songs we enjoy from the 60s - mostly sunshine pop and psychedelic pop, with some jazzy rock thrown in. I also love burning topical CD-Rs with themes such as songs about rain, about cars, or about any other topic that sounds interesting. These topical "albums" usually are quite eclectic as the selected topic is usually covered in several different musical genres.
After we got home, my son, Adam, and his girlfriend, Lisa, arrived and after dinner we played Sequence before calling it a day. Forgot to check the supermoon! Oh well...
Everybody is writing or talking about Robin Williams, and his unexpected suicide. Yes, indeed, he will be missed by me and most of the world. He was one of the few actors where I enjoyed every movie and TV series he was involved with. As a comedian, he was peerless. I won't go into the mental hell we call clinical depression. No. This has given me pause to reflect. What I want to talk about here are all the other artists and others that have left this side of life and have made a huge impression on me.
Most recently was Patrick "the Lama" Lundborg, a man in Sweden who had become a good correspondent, as we discussed our common passion for music. Like me, he was a record collector. We traded some and I purchased some from his Renaissance Faire site. Unlike me he had acquired a vast knowledge not only of obscure and rare vanity pressings of psychedelic, lounge, exotica, and unusual artists of the 60s through the early 80s, but wrote/edited the authority on these recordings, "The Acid Archives". He followed this with a huge tome, "Psychedelia: An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way of Life" which I am still reading, and trying to absorb. The book is like a textbook for a course in psychedelic anthropology, yet his writing style keeps you reading. He also maintained a fun and multifaceted set of websites under the title "Lysergia". In the five years I knew him I learned more about interesting music than in the 50 years prior. I had emailed Patrick on May 31st. He usually would get back to me within 24 hours. No response this time. On June 12, while checking personal email before leaving for work, I received an email from another party saying Patrick had died the day before. I was stunned. At first I couldn't believe it. I searched for more information and it began to trickle in. It was true; at age 47 Patrick was gone. No cause was given. Like Robin Williams, Patrick left several projects ongoing. He was so full of life. Still there is no word on what happened.
Brother Love, of WAMO FM, Pittsburgh, was one of the first DJs in the country to try the new "underground music" format in the mid-60s. His cool, beatnik whispering style enhanced the psychedelic music format, which also included obscure composers such as Conlon Nancarrow and blues, jazz, and anti Vietnam War and anti establishment folk and rock music. As a teenager I was mesmerized by this new alternative to the "bubble gums" on top 40 AM radio. I never knew Brother Love's real name until moving to San Diego and learning that Ken Reeth was living in Carlsbad. I introduced myself and we had a great series of conversations about late 60s Pittsburgh. We emailed through his move to Las Vegas, and then the correspondence stopped. I learned later Ken had passed due to a long battle with leukemia.
Holding down the weekend afternoon "underground radio" shift on WAMO FM was none other than veteran doo wop DJ and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer, Porky Chedwick. Porky passed away this past Spring at the young age of 96. I never realized until reading after his passing that Porky hated the underground format, yet he sounded so convincing as he spun pro-pot and acid songs. The ultimate professional.
Don "Stu" Archer, aka "Yogi", was a fellow classmate from fifth grade through high school graduation. We both began playing guitar about the same time, but he took lessons from another instructor. I have to admit that he progressed faster than me, but he was learning shortcuts to heavy guitar riffs where I was learning a more traditional method, reading music. A friend told me he considered Yogi to be the Captain Beefheart musically to my Frank Zappa characteristics. He made a profession of music performance and later taught music. We had not spoken to each other since the summer after my freshman year in college. I remember we talked that summer about philosophy and I noted the depth of his thinking although he had taken no college classes. 20 years later I finally was going to a high school class reunion, looking forward to catching up with Yogi. Then, two months before the reunion he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and was dead within weeks. I blame myself for not trying to get in touch sooner, since I knew where he was but he had no way to contact me.
Ferguson. The shooting death of Michael Brown. The top story of the day!, week!, or month!...depending on what happens next... Good practice for news commentators, journalists, and editorialists. Variations on a theme. Militarization of the police, police brutality, racism, denial of first amendment rights, media censorship...what else is new? I do not mean to come off as insensitive. I'm not. This leaves me distraught about how we treat each other and the incongruity with what we learned from early childhood about what being "American" was all about. And what happened to the motto "Protect and Serve"? I am thankful for social media, where the word gets out faster than on radio, TV, or Internet news. I feel bad that I learned too late about the National Moment of Silence last Thursday but I wholeheartedly support such efforts - I was working as plans were being made locally. The thought keeps ringing in my mind "here we are again!" I thought the same thing when Rodney King was beaten by LA police in the early 90s.
In the 60s we wrote songs about social unrest. Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction" comes to mind, as well as several by Fraternity of Man, "Just Doing Our Job", "Field Day", "Stop Me, Citate Me". As you can see by the titles their focus was on police brutality. In "Field Day" they sing about the police being excited to put on their militaristic gear because they don't get many chances to to so. Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention had several songs early on, "Plastic People", "Trouble Coming Every Day" (Zappa's excellent reflection on the 1966 Watts riots), "Concentration Moon", "Mom & Dad". That last one was one of the few times Zappa's emotions went further than sardonic humor, or despite the sardonicism, "Mama! Mama! Someone said they made some noise. The cops have shot some girls & boys. You'll sit home & drink all night. They looked too weird...it served them right. Ever take a minute just to show a real emotion. In between the moisture cream & velvet facial lotion? Ever tell your kids, you're glad that they can think? Ever say you loved 'em? Ever let 'em watch you drink? Ever wonder why your daughter looked so sad? It's such a drag to have to love a plastic Mom & Dad. Mama! Mama! Your child was killed in the park today. Shot by the cops as she quietly lay. By the side of the creeps she knew...They killed her too." Quite a distinction to Art Linkletter's single with his daughter, Diane, "We Love You, Call Collect" which was released in 1969, a few weeks after Diane Linkletter's suicide. It won a Grammy in 1970 for Best Spoken Word Recording. Sad that Art blamed LSD on his daughter's death but no drugs were in her system when she jumped from her 6th story apartment window. Art also lied that Ultimate Spinach' "Mind Flowers" was on the turntable when she jumped. You see, lyrics from that piece included the phrase "I am falling into the quicksand of my troubled mind." He just couldn't see that perhaps he "pushed" her too hard to have a career in his image, rather than her being her own person. Irony. Linkletter gets a Grammy. Zappa gets banned from many radio stations.
There were others with biting commentary back in the 60s. Steppenwolf's John Kay wrote the lyrics to "The Ostrich". In that song he touched on everything from war, police brutality, environmentalism, corporatocracy; all beautifully and cynically bitter in delivery. He went further in the song "Monster": "The spirit was freedom and justice. And it's keepers seem friendly and kind. It's leaders were supposed to serve the country but now they won't pay it no mind. 'cause the people got fat and grew lazy. Now their vote is like a meaningless joke. You know they talk about law, about order, but it's all just an echo of what they've been told. 'cause there's a monster on the loose. It's got our heads into a noose. And it just sits there... watchin'... Our cities have turned into jungles, and corruption is stranglin' the land. The police force is watching the people and the people just can't understand. We don't know how to mind our own business 'cause the whole world's got to be just like us. Now we are fighting a war over there no matter who's the winner, we can't pay the cost". And this was in 1969. These songs should be mandatory listening for those who want to understand the late 60s from an enligtened young adult perspective. What do they say? Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it's mistakes?
Of course you had the popular songs "Ohio" by CSN&Y, "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield, "Masters of War" by Dylan. The list could go on and on. Today, not so much. There is the occasional song like Pink's "Dear Mr. President", or the music of Steve Earle, but they are few and far between, except you can find some by the more local, indie artists. At least that is my opinion based on what I've heard - I would invite anyone to prove me wrong here. Please, give me hope that we are not losing "the protest song" as a form of expression - that music can still be an effective vehicle for social commentary and change.
Thursday night, MSNBC was on when I arrived home from work. I just couldn't take any more. I went to my pub and pulled some early Ram Dass spoken word recordings from my CD shelf. His voice was calming. The ideas were deep and meaningful; relevant to now; as always. He reminds me that it's okay. I can feel saddened, and even bitter. But as I transcend, I begin to realize I am just going through the motions. I am observing myself being bitter, being saddened, grieving. I need not let the events of the day dictate my emotions. I can note them. I can note myself reacting to them, and as I note this, I am changing. Bitterness melts to compassion. It is okay. It is okay that things are not okay. There are thngs I can do to work toward improvement of the situation - starting with what I do within myself to see things more clearly, by treating those I encounter with respect and love. If I don't see clearly the true root of all these problems I will spend energy needlessly on fixing the wrong things. And I think of how many times I have fixed the wrong things, or have taken a "me first" approach, letting ego get in the way of becoming. Building myself up only to watch it crumble before me as I begin to realize those from whom I desire affirmation of my existence can see through it all and perhaps are saddened, themselves, by my facade.
No Paper Lace. No dying Chicago. The city was very much alive this past week. The trip via American Airlines is a straight shot from San Diego. No upgrade - what gives? I have million miler platinum status...and no upgrades. However, I had my iPad and Bose noise cancelling headphones so all was not lost. I had no interest in the animated movie going out (something about a blue parrot), and I already saw the Million Dollar Arm (and thoroughly enjoyed it) that was played coming back, so my music kept me entertained. Putting an iPad on shuffle when you have loaded every imaginable music style of artists is really fun. It's like music by I-Ching. An example of what was feeding into my head follows, going out:
Entheogenic - Liquid Universe (this is a psybient composition from 2002 by a French duo)
Hooker - I'm Lookin' (mid-70s Texas hard rockers)
New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream (post-punk/new wave/electronica English artists from 2007)
White Willow - Snowfall (Norwegian art/folk/progressive rock sprinkled with fairy dust from 1995)
Last week I was in Pittsburgh. This is very close to where I was born and raised. Like, about a half hour away. But this was a business trip, so the majority of my time was spent on...business. I did get to spend one evening with family, and another evening going out with friends to see Glostik Willy at the Thunderbird Cafe. Now, Glostik Willy is a trio from Muncie, Indiana: guitar, bass, drums. When they took the stage the first thing I noted was that they looked to be (and were) in their early twenties. The guitarist and drummer had very long hair and wore tie-die shirts. The bass player was a big, bearded guy dressed in black with a glow wristband. Methinks, "Ahhh, okay, got it. Hence the name Glostik." A power trio setup. I wondered what they would sound like. Suddenly, SOUND! Full-bodied in-your-face power trio aggression. The first song took me by surprise as I settled in to understand what was going on. First, the guitarist, Jameson Bradford. He looked like Warner Sallman's painting of Jesus, "Head of Christ", or actually closer to Jesus in Da Vinci's "The Last Supper". He was tall, thin, with very long flowing reddish brown hair and slight beard. His fingers were long and thin, and his hand looked like a spider crawling up and down the fretboard - a modern day John Cippolina look. I later discovered the drummer was his brother, Ralf "Mowf" Bradford. The drummer was proficient, fast, and furious with a style akin to the early 70s hard rock drummers but on a more modern array of drums. Bassist, Zach "Buddha" Aguilar, had been a friend since junior high, when they first formed a band. His style veered toward melodic, similar to Jack Bruce of Cream with a touch of funk percussiveness. The first song did not do them justice, though I quickly identified three sources of inspiration: Blue Cheer and Gov't Mule (especially guitarist Warren Haynes and drummer Paul Whaley). and early Mudhoney (sans rhythm guitar). There was a striking aural resemblance to an obscure West Virginia power trio, Skuldedog, but with cleaner execution. Very few vocals, which were nearly inaudible. You could hear voices, and see their mouths move but words? What are words? The focus was on the guitar and interplay with the other two. Songs were long jams, and what was amazing to me was that with all the long jams I did not hear a lot of repeated riff patterns nor repeated guitar licks. There was a progressiveness to their sound, similar to Boom (the 90's Richmond, Virginia trio), and at times, Boud Deun (90's Warrenton, Virginia band). After the first song they seemed to loosen up and kept getting hotter as the night progressed. The first set ended hot and the second set picked up where the first set left off. At one point I identified the melody line and bridge to Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" played on guitar - no vocals. This was sandwiched within a long, unrelated jam. The six of us at our table just looked at each other in disbelief, then laughter. Jameson just kept on going - he was very into what he was doing. The second set was just two, maybe three songs - very...long...songs. Occasionally you could hear the Blue Cheer ascending riffs found on their Vincebus Eruptum LP, but none of the free form noise of that LP. So, after a rough beginning, they ended the night leaving me very impressed. We talked with them after the show and found out they were 23 and 24 years of age; following their dream, touring the country. They were heading to Colorado after this eastern leg of their tour, and talked about wanting to break into the Texas audiences. I think any place in Texas that longs for the hard rock sound of mid-70s Texas (Josephus, Hooker, False Prophet) would love these guys.
San Diego, California
I made some music purchases in June and August and they arrived within the past two weeks; two CDs and two LPs. The LPs were pre-orders from June. The CDs were more recent purchases. Let me start with the CDs. Before I begin, please note that these are solely my opinions regarding similarities to various other artists - only to give an approximation of what they are like. We all have unique impressions of how one artist sounds like another artist. So I caution to sample for yourself before taking my word for what an artist sounds like and plunking down some bills for the album.
Baby Grandmothers was one of the early Swedish psychedelic experimental bands performing in 1967. They never recorded an LP but left behind a single and enough live recordings to provide a complete compilation of their recorded work on CD by Swedish label, Subliminal Sounds, in 2007. The band was a trio consisting of Kenny Hakansson on guitar, Bengt "Bella" Linnarsson on bass, and Pelle Ekman on drums. The band evolved out of the blues-psych band, T-Boones, and I figured they would be similar. Man, was I wrong! Baby Grandmothers were truly several steps beyond the typical blues band, similar to early Ashra Tempel, with a modal style based primarily on improvisation with hypnotic rhythms, although there are a few songs, or parts of songs, that have a more conventional pop sound. The 20 minute composition "Being Is More than Life (2)", an extended version of their single, has become one of my favorites on the disc. And keep in mind this was 1967. The only other European artists with this type of sound at that time, besides the German group Ashra Tempel mentioned above, would be Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett) and Hapshash & The Coloured Coat in the UK and another Swedish band, Parson Sound. I really like this CD and it will take several more spins in my player, over time.
In an hour I leave for Las Vegas. Was home for a week, which gave me time to hear some local music and I got a great CD in the mail (will save that for another time). So, Wednesday I stopped by the Lafayette Hotel to hear Normandie Wilson, singing and playing piano in the hotel lobby. It was a pretty quiet afternoon at the hotel, so we had time to chat between her songs. Later, Maggie Taylor, her singing partner from Blue Velvet, stopped by and joined Normandie in singing. After Normandie's gig, the two were planning for their duo engagement on Friday.
Thursday, I saw that Mercedes Moore and her band were going to be at Tio Leo's in Linda Vista. We had already had dinner, but decided to go at the last minute and had margaritas while enjoying the band. Many of the local blues community were at Tio Leo's so not only did we get to see Mercedes perform with her band, but saw her perform with other blues artists like blues harpist extraordinaire, Billy Watson. Later Bubba McCoy came up to sing a few, and soon, the band drummer and guitarist let some others take their instruments and perform. The list is too long to repeat here. It was a fun time.
Friday night, we headed out to the Riviera Supper Club to hear Three Chord Justice twangin' on some country tunes, many of which were written by Liz Grace, lead singer & rhythm guitarist for the band. Liz has a great voice and it is very well-suited for country music but I bet she could sing most any popular genre. They had a dynamite steel pedal guitarist with them but I cannot recall his name. The band is a tight unit. The backing singer, Cheryl Preston, does some tambourine, maraccas, and wood sticks as well as interesting movements, like a sign interpreter to Liz's lyrics; fun to watch. Got to talk to Liz, the drummer Mark Markowitz, and bassist Dave Preston during a break. They are one of the few country bands in the area and are a quite talented bunch.
Saturday night we went to see Blue Velvet again, and they were in top form. I think after having their contract extended they felt a bit freer in their performance - it seemed to me that they were even more soulful in their delivery, which has been great to begin with. It made for another enjoyable evening.
Well, nothing to report on plans for Las Vegas. I am doing a 3-day presentation that I have done several times elsewhere. Evenings are free, but I am at the Golden Nugget and not the Strip. I might go down to the Strip if I find that it is getting boring at the Nugget. Or I might find that I get stuck in answering work emails in my guest room. I'll just play it by ear. Have an exciting new CD to report on when I return.