Monday, July 28, 2008

Good luck Maria

I found myself in front of a TV (an all-too-rare occurrence up until a
couple of months ago - I had wened myself off TV for the last 3 or 4
years...but I digress...I saw the search for a "Maria" for the production of
the Sound of Music in Toronto. A live audition before the whole TV
unviverse. Talk about a hotseat. I like Elishia best and went to vote for
her online - just to see how The Mother Corporation, CBC, handles online
voting. I went in expecting obstacles and I got them. When I left off my
phone number it made me start over. I sort of expected that so I was
prepared to re-enter everything, but the second time I forgot to re-select
"Elishia" and it bumped me back to zero again. I tried to use the back
button on the browser but of course that didn't work. I din';t go back a
third time so Elishia I hope you don't lost by one vote because I'll feel
pretty shitty. I know there's more elegant way to do these things!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Beaches Jazz

Every year, I go to the Beaches Jazz Festival and I love that long walk from where I park the car down a quiet street and hearing the music wafting up from the mainstage in Kew Gardens. I got there halfway through Tad Robinson w/Alex Scholtz on guitar. It was a great soul performance...he sing with a lot of emotion. But 3 vocal ballads in a row??? I missed the Sisiters Euclid - it was pouring rain so I waited it out - they played right through and those who stuck it out witnessed a transcendent Kevin Breit. On Thursday night I did my walkabout to see a lot of familiar faces playing on every corner. Not to dismiss any of the great musicians that were playing on the street (some I know some I don't) but as I made my way back towards the car I was starting to wonder if I would hear anything that perked up my ears - and I finally heard it from the lead singer of a band called Dr. Payne and the Disease. Great singer - La-Nai Gabriel. And apparently she plays sax too...heard a bit on my space. She's official! David Rotundo rocked the house - as usual. Carrie Chesnutt had them in the palm of her hands. Maybe I'll go back tomorrow - Tab Benoit is on. Last time he was at the festival, shis truck got as much attention as he did - no one had ever seen a truck quite like that: a stretched Dodge Truck with tandem wheels and tinted glass.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Talk about last Minute

Maybe my email is slow, but as I sit at home avoiding working on either
newsletter I have to publish this week or ...maybe rehearsing for my gig on
Friday (there's a concept!) Tonight I have just received two emails from two
guys named Gary about shows that are happening right now. I've been known
to send a few gig blasts that said "Tonight", but I usually sent them IN THE
MORNING! Anyway I've checked out the YouTube and MySpace for these bands and
have been able to determine that I like them both. I would have gone to one
of those shows...but maybe it's just as well that I stay home and do a
little desktop publishing.

My Digital Life

Just for the record, I want to claim my "senior (net) citizen" status. I'm
beginning to realize that there are not many people around who started out
with Pine and Lynx. If those names do not resonate, you were not there at
the beginning. Pine was the only email program that would run on personal
computers and Lynx was the first browser. Lynx was a text-only browser. No
pictures, no icons, except for those people devised with ASCII text. Even
before those halcyon days, I had a Compuserve account running on my Apple
IIe w/400 baud modem. In order to have a Compuserve account, I had to keep a
bank account and post office box in the USA (thankfully I lived only a few
minutes from the Vermont border). When you think of the leap from that to
today with iPhones and streaming movies, we have to assume that
communications will continue a similar exponential growth - my mind boggles
when you think of what is yet to come in my lifetime.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Meet Scott McKeon

Heard a great young blues guitarist from UK. His name is Scott McKeon. Very
tasty player considering his young age. I'm sure his living up to all the
hype that's being generated. After playing some big festival stages, they
made a club appearance in Toronto even though they were virtually unknown
and Toronto audiences do not come out to support unknowns so when I got
there there were more people at the band table that the rest of the club. It
picked up a bit from there but I should do my part and tell you all what a
great show you missed! I'm sure he'll be back.

Hand me that Banjo

Maybe it's because I just got offered another racetrack gig for my
instrumental trio, The BlueZgrass BoyZ, but I went out and bought a banjo!
It's a six-string banjo, so it still plays like a guitar but it's still a
big switcheroo for this not-too-adventurous guitar player who has never used
alternate tunings, doesn't play slide and who has basically been playing the
same licks and grooves for the last 40 yeqrs (on the same old Epiphone

I had a couple of out-of-town gigs just cancel and I might be a little
bummed but I got bolstered by a very nice comment that was left on my YouTube page about my song
"Last Time I Saw Lenny". He said Lenny would have liked it. That was nice to
hear not that I even attempted to play like Lenny.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Open Tunings

I've been avoiding open tunings on the guitar ever since I've been playing.
But on this Friday afternoon I'm sitting here with my guitar tuned to a very
odd "C" tuning and fumbling away at it as I process all the memories of
Oliver Schroer that are floating about the internet. Oli would approve of
open tunings, I'm sure. If I write just one song in an open tuning then I'll
be committed! I'll have to remember how to re-create it. I can blame Harry
Manx for this. I used to joke that every time he came to my place there
would be at least one guitar re-tuned to some open tuning and he's done it
again, but this time he showed me a few chord shapes to go with it. Harry
came east to do a few festivals (3 sold-out nights at the Montreal Jazz
Festival!) and we went to hear Johnny Winter last night - Johnny can still
play but we cut out before it was over.

I played the last day of the tazz festival at Grossman's with Roberta Hunt
and we had a blast. I love playing with an acoustic piano. I invited her to
join me for a few tunes at the jazz fest Volunteer Party but I knew that
would be a tough gig - this is the last chance for the volunteers to
socialize amongst themselves before next year so it's not a very attentive
crowd. Some people got into it.