Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Beautiful Spring Day In Late April Can Mean Only One Thing:

Time to take down the Christmas lights!  And also do a bunch of yard work, ably assisted by my daughter Mary.  We lopped, chopped and ripped up branches and weeds this afternoon, in weather conditions that made it almost fun.  Another couple sessions like that one and my house won't look so much like the Addams Family's.

Continuing to hustle for work, with mixed results.  The worst part is waiting for a response, because it usually means no.  I suppose it's an opportunity to practice patience.  Oh boy, my favorite thing. 

Early day tomorrow, heading to Upper Darby.  It's one of those Philadelphia-ish places, fortunately on this end of the Schuylkill.  I'm hoping for a nice fat day. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dust Off Those Rusty Strings Just One More Time

Once again this blog has gone dark for a very long time, and I can't see much point in apologizing or trying to explain what's been going on.  Life has been going on, and we've been living it.  Since Joreen and I just updated the web site this afternoon and there is a link to here from there, I think it's appropriate to take this thing off standby and start blogging again.

The big news for us this week is that my prayers to St. Joseph (the Worker) to go to bat for us have been answered big time.  Dovetail has received three bookings in three days and strong leads on two others.  It's lifting our spirits, because we really are enjoying playing, learning new music and tweaking our performance.  As we were saying last night, if this is the fourth quarter of our musical game, and we don't know how much time is left on the clock, we're going to play every second for all it's worth.

There will be more to say later, but for now -- "He's back!"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back In The Saddle Again

This week marks the return of the old "gig hog" days.  Wednesday night, Just Friends played a reunion show at the Guardian Hose Company Carnival in Thurmont, Maryland.  It was just like riding a bicycle -- hot, sweaty and uphill most of the time :)  No, actually, it was a blast.  We really enjoyed each other's company and remembered almost all the important parts to almost all the tunes.  We're looking forward to another chance to play together again August 10th at the Verhovay.  That club has changed their policy about guests a little, so if you're interested in coming to that show, get in touch with me.

Tonight, I am sitting in with Deezle Church at Low Places in Lancaster.  I have learned the bass parts to a slew of "new country" for the occasion.  I have another show with them at Buck Wild in Camp Hill tomorrow, but there's a Dovetail show in between in Danville for the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius.  They are longtime friends of ours, we are lay associates of their order, and some of them are really into my CD.  I'm totally rocking the nun demographic.

Just to put a cap on it all, I'm playing bass with Hemlock Hollow on Sunday in Hummelstown.  Anything worth doing is worth doing too much of.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Man, It's A Hot One

How hot is it?  I went out to cut the grass and halfway to the shed decided to skip right to the cold beverage part.  I have a bunch of stuff to do indoors anyway, such as getting ready to play bass on a couple-three dozen songs I've never done before, many of which I've never heard before.  They mostly fall into the "new country" category, which is kind of like Nickelback with a cheekful of Skoal.  Just about as appetizing, too, but you can't agree to go outside your comfort zone and then look surprised when it's uncomfortable.  Anyway, there's some halfway decent bass lines in some of them, and at the end of the day work is work, and now more than ever it's bad luck to turn it down.

Meanwhile, the grandboys and I made French toast out of a Giant baguette this morning and it turned out pretty darn good.  I did have to bust one of the little locusts for using up the last of the milk and not telling me, but there's no excuse on my part for not knowing just to buy an extra gallon from now on.  There's a little nostalgia at play here, because I remember my Mom putting two quarts of milk on the table at supper and just throwing the tops away (remember glass milk bottles, you old farts?) because she knew there wouldn't be any left.  They're good kids.

Here's a heads-up on a date I'd like you to reserve for me, and that's August 19th.  The Kellys (Joreen and I, Craig Rankin and Alex Harden) are playing at St. Catherine's parish picnic.  It's going to be a blast, and a rare opportunity to see Joreen and I cranking it up.  I'll be plugging this a bunch between now and then. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dinosaur, Jr.

I may hold the distinction of being the last human being to have a cassette recorder (actually two of them) repaired in central PA.  The company I contacted called me today and informed me that if I wanted my Sony transcribers repaired, I'd better do it now.  They're closing up show at the middle of next month.  It's been a day of reflecting on obsolescence, changing times, flexibility, and what the hell am I going to do next.  I know the answer, of course: I'll continue to be a lifelong, creative problem solver.  Some days that's more fun than others.

Joreen, Mary and the boys are down on the island watching baseball.  I decided to stay home and work for a while.  I have some transcripts I want to turn in, so I turned on the Flintstones machines and got down to it.  Also, I have a tune rumbling around in my head that is trying to get out, so I've been jotting down stuff there.  Meanwhile, it's 8:25 on one of the longest days of the year and I think it's time to go take Lucy out for a walk.  This weather is like Paradise, innit?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Week Underway

Saturday was every bit as much fun as I had hoped.  The American Roulette job was a blast.  I knew I was on the right track when they told the sound guy to take my guitar out of the monitors altogether.  Yep, that's about right.  Considering that we had never played together at the same time, ever, the show was pretty tight.  It's great to be with players who can think on their feet and keep their ears open.

Today, it's back to work.  I found a lead on someone who can repair Sony transcribers, the kind that use cassettes.  If I hear any of you kids say, "What's a cassette?" you'll get such a smack.  I know it's dinosaur stuff, but I've never had a cassette vanish into thin air with no explanation, unlike some of my digital recorder colleagues who have had whole days of work vanish and had to reconstruct them from -- you guessed it -- their cassette backup machines.

Travis and I just got done with an experiment.  We're trying to make our own slider rolls.  It's an effort to keep one step ahead of the grocery-inhaling children, but it's a lot of fun too.  One of my goals is to get the boys a little more involved in cooking and baking, which can come in handy in more ways than one down the line.  Travis was into it. 

Joreen's back from Vacation Bible School, which doesn't sound like much of a vacation to me from the way she's reaffirming how happy she is to not be teaching anymore. 

I'll try to keep this blog from stagnating in the future.  Hopefully there will be more shows to plug and things of interest to share.  Meanwhile, summer is here for sure.  I can tell because it's time to cut the grass again, already.

Friday, June 22, 2012

All Work and No Play, No Way, Jose.

Yesterday was action packed.  I did a whole day of hearings in Northeast Philadelphia, then got back in time to "put the band back together" for a Just Friends reunion gig coming up next month.  Considering that we haven't played together since New Year's, we remembered more than we've forgotten.  At my advanced age and with the memory of a guitar player, I'll take that as a win.  It was fun hanging with Vince, Mark, Jim and Craig again.  We'll be in Thurmont, MD on July 11th for a firemen's carnival there.  It would be nice to do a show locally so our local friends could catch us again.  I'll keep you posted.

Tonight I'll be working on fine-tuning some songs I'll be doing with American Roulette at the East Pennsboro Carnival, Ricci Park, tomorrow night.  This is a new project featuring Dave Brinkley and Dale Stipe, whom I've played with before, and Jon Hill and George Williamson, two other good players.  They all sing, and their songbook is impressive.  If you're looking for something to do Saturday evening, we're on from 7 to 10 and it should be fun.  You can listen to my guitar parts and play "spot the clam."  Fun for the whole family!