Once in a while, you get a special lining up of the stars and the gigs are amazing. That was tonight! I first played a National Night Out party with Dean Harrington and Tom Schaefer, and it was wonderful – nobody listened too much, and we had a gas playing whatever we wanted! Then I went and finished off the night with Patty and the Buttons, Sam Miltich and Richard Smith at the Dakota – UNBELIEVABLE!! I was definitely the weak link in the guitar section, very happy to play mostly rhythm and listen to the band NAIL IT!! Best job in the world, folks, and it’s *mine*!
I played for a group of mature singles awhile ago, and I just got this wonderful note in the mail: “[T]hanks for the wonderful musical program you presented to (our) Singles 50+…The feedback from those lucky enough to be present to hear your performance was glowing and warm! I receivers both personal comments and emails about how much folks enjoyed the program – the songs you chose and your jokes and storytelling made for a thoroughly fun and delightful evening. It also was such a treat to enjoy your acoustic presentation as compared to the occasionally overwhelming electronic amplified sound…Once again, thanks so much for sharing your time and talents with us! Have a wonderful summer!”
I have to say, that letter has nearly *made* my summer! I’m so happy that I was able to meet the expectations that they had.
Man, what a weekend it’s already been! Last night in Grand Rapids with the jazz workshop students, Tim Kliphuis, Sam Miltich Gary Schulte, Matthew Miltich and Martha Larson – then, after a quick 3 hour drive home, a duo with Dan Newton, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival with the Southside Aces, and back across the metro to play with Dan and Cafe Accordion Orchestra!! And tomorrow still awaits with the Aster Cafe with Patty and The Buttons, and allah permitting, Sea Salt with the Mill City Hot Club and Tom Schaefer…musical nirvana…
I had a great weekend of music! It started Friday night with a duo gig – I got to play with Daddy Squeeze at Salute in Rochester, MN. A few folks drove quite a way to come see Dan/Daddy, too! On Saturday the Buttons (less Patty, plus Dave Michael of the Southside Aces) played a private party in a beautiful backyard near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. That, too, was a blast, even with the mosquitos! Sunday was another of our ongoing Buttons appearances at the Aster Cafe – in our 4th year! And later that evening I played a solo gig for a group of singles in New Brighton. I miss those solo gigs when I don’t have them – it’s so nice to be able to play whatever I feel like, and it’s such an immediate connection with the audience.
I recently had another day when I wrote 20 songs in 12 hours. Who’s tried it? I was sure skeptical before I did it the first time, but man, it really works! Somedays when I’ve done this I’ve gone back and found they were all just crap songs, but I actually like a number from this last batch. I’ll try and get some recorded and put up on youtube…
I had a great time with Patty and the Buttons in Lanesboro for and Art in the Park event. When we left Minneapolis, it was still spitting a bit of rain and the sky was pretty dark, but by the time we hit Rochester it was glorious! We got to sit in the gazebo and play to a very attentive group, and during our break, I got a piece of *great* blueberry pie! We even had a few couples up dancing!!
The ’53 Swingbillies had a great weekend, first playing for a wedding, then outdoors at Sea Salt Eatery in the fabulous Minnehaha Falls Park here in Minneapolis. The wedding was great fun – we learned a couple of Beatles songs, and the couple wanted us to play some bluegrass from the Mark Kreitzer Band repertoire. It was our most diverse gig musically speaking in quite some time, and felt great! We had everyone out dancing, and even were able to cover a couple of requests, thanks to the internet’s lyric searching abilities! Dean Harrington, from the Mill City Hot Club, asked us to host the Sunday evening show at Sea Salt, and I agreed, so long as he joined us – and it, too, was a blast! We pushed Dean a bit by playing some bluegrass, but he tore it up. We’re all hoping we can figure out a way to gig more often with Dean on the stand!
I had a wonderful time during my fourth trip to the International Fiddle Camp at the Peace Garden on the North Dakota/Canadian border. There were many familiar faces, and the young kids from four years ago are now mostly grown up and becoming great musicians. There are also a number of parents who have taken up instruments, too! We focused this year on fiddle tunes written or recorded by Bill Monroe, and we also learned a few swing tunes.
I had the great honor of doing a mandolin workshop, as well as a demonstration of Minnesota built instruments at the recent Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association Harvest Jam. Jarrod is from near Tampa Fl originally, and is finishing up his college career in Nashville, all while playing with Missy Raines’ band. We had a blast playing guitars and mandolins built by, among others, Lloyd LaPlant, Charlie Hoffman, Jed Germond, David Vincent and Ben Manning. Have you had a chance to play many different luthiers’ work at one time? What was your impression? Who built your instrument? I’d love to hear form you!
Kathy and I just got back from a great road trip to Memphis, where one of the highlights was touring Sun Studio – AMAZING! Maybe the most moving thing was that since it was first set up with acoustic tiles, NOTHING has changed in the room!! There’s even a mic that was used during the 10 year run of the studio. So, who is your favorite Sun artist? How about favorite song from there? Any other cool stories?