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Sunday, October 02, 2005
groovy house thing #1, hot tuna, looking forward
Listening to:Black and Blue Elaine, Donna Colton
Reading:satchmobio
Weather:53, mostly sunny
Man, this weather is so luscious it's making me high. Perfectly comfy under the down, sun wakes me up after a sweet 8 hours of unconsciousness, last night's laundry ready to be hung up. Empty my amazing bladder (amazing that it didn't wake me up once). Since it's ready for a refill I grab my favorite cup, add spring water, put in nukerowave 1-2-3 beep. Sweet pal Renee made this cup, it's a simple handleless vessel, about 6 inches high, euroflesh-colored with brown and green dots, good and heavy. How about chocolate today? Mix up some instant dark cocoa mix, drink about half, and head to the basement for said laundry.

Towels, rags, underwear, cloth napkins, into the blue basket and out the door through the garage. The grass has a heavy dew, my Birks are getting wet as I head around the front of the house to the side. Here's on of the cooler things about my house: I have a most bodacious clothes line. I know, I'm easily amused, we'll discuss that later. Picture two T-shaped steel poles about 40 feet apart, strung with 3 strands of some amazing light metal (aluminum?) wire about 1/4" in diameter, that never rusts. 20 pairs of underwear, 8 towels, a handful of rags, and a few napkins won't even take up one strand.

As I schlep my heavy basket out there, I see Striper, a young male cat who hangs around here a lot, much to my KitKat's chagrin. Striper is laying low in the grass near the hydrangea (whose white petals are getting antique red edges for fall), I probably disrupted some hunting. He leaps up and runs over, chirping like he does. KitKat walks over to me, stepping lightly as though trying to minimize getting her paws wet, good luck. Striper sees her, runs over, they give each other a quick sniff.

Here's where my easy amusement comes back in, as I totally anthropomorphize Striper and KitKat. Act One: Striper, high boy's voice, breathing fast talking fast "Hey KitKat! Hi! Hey, check it out there's a rodent under there I'm so going to torture it! Wanna play? How ya been? Hey, come here! Don't you wanna play?" KitKat mutters just loud enough for me to hear, "for shit's sake, can't that scroungling appreciate a little morning silence?" KitKat ambles closer to me, rubs up against my legs as I hang the towels. Striper keeps chirping, something catches his eye over by the fence, he quiets down and gets low like a lion skulking toward it. "Dude! Come here! I think it's a snake! No, it's chipmunk, check it out! Dude!" KitKat ignores him, walks toward the hydrangea, behind the towels which hang only about an inch from the ground. Then Striper takes off like a bat out of hell back toward the hydrangea, blasting through the towels, and KitKat rears up on her hind legs and bats him a few times. "Quit it, you asshole! Why don't you take a chill pill, give me a few minutes to wake up. I'm in no mood for your happy crap." "Aw, come on Kitkat, you never let me have any fun. Let's catch that bluejay, that'll be fun," Striper is already jogging toward the cherry tree. "Puhlease." KitKat leaps into my laundry basket, and immediately leaps out, "dang, you could have told me that stuff was cold and wet." I finish up the last of the underwear, turn the basket over, she climbs up on top of it, and I scratch her behind the ears. "Later."

These guys were like an old married couple in the best sense of the term, to quote Mark. They can get a bit out there and yet they never lose that heartbeat. Both really good players, but more importantly their confluence has a mystical groove to it. Major gestalt. There are some rhythmic complexities happening that can blow your mind, and at the same time the sum and difference of the tones of the strings creates other tones, it's like there's another player of some unknown ethereal instrument behind the curtain. There's a certain kind of whiteness in this blues, but it's not at all some cheesy imitation of Robert Johnson or something. There's a definite reverence and understanding and appreciation of the great delta pickers, but there's a sparkling kind of something (innocence?) over it. Not like the deep and unjust suffering roots of blues, but more like some kind of reflection that we all both suffer and feel joy in our own ways, even well-educated white boys from loving families. There's a rich tapestry of experiences underlying the tunes.

The highlight of the night was definitely Good Shepherd. It was soulful and transcending, absolutely beautiful weaving of instruments and simple genuine vocal. I got my Hesitation Blues, but didn't get Death Don't Have No Mercy, only a minor disappointment. Barry's tasty offerings were a bit of a surprise, as the twangtwang roots country dude who opened asked him to sit in, and I was utterly unimpressed with the result. Perhaps it goes to show you, when you're playing with kickass musicians, you kickass, and when you're not, you're don't. A very satisfying show, and right here in Morgantown for a mere $25 I got to sit about 10 feet from these fine legendary dudes.

I had the great pleasure of digging Hot Tuna at the Rosewood on Wednesday night. They were acoustic, so it was like sushi. :) Just in case you don't know these cats, they are Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady whom you might remember from the Jefferson Airplane. These guys have been playing together for 45 years. As you can imagine, they have an unstoppable synchronous groove. They play largely blue-eyed blues, with flavors of newgrass, folk, old time. The also had a dude playing mando, banjo, tenor guitar, and mandocello, named Barry Mitterhoff.Here's a setlist I pulled off www.tunabase.com:
Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
Blue Railroad Train
I'll Let You Know Before I Leave
How Long Blues
Parchman Farm >
Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
Serpent Of Dreams
Heart Temporary
Bread Line Blues
I Know You Rider
I'm Free From The Chain Gang Now
Embryonic Journey
Good Shepherd
I Am The Light Of This World
Hesitation Blues
Just Because

Encore:
Nine Pound Hammer

I'm working on a couple of new tunes for Silent Witness, the domestic violence event I'll be playing for in a week. This will be my third time doing it. I play a tune with a domestic violence message in it, then a speaker talks about that message. There are usually 6 speakers, 6 songs.

But first, Bramwell Oktoberfest! Saturday is the 9th annual fest, can't wait. Bramwell is a marvelous storybook place, all the way at the bottom of WV just over the VA border, full of amazing homes and oaklined cobblestone streets. My dear and wonderful friend George puts it on, and for me it is as much about the reunion of old friends as it is the barley and the hops. Can't wait! Can't wait for the guitarplaying around the bonfire, the great thick dark porters and stouts, the crisp oktoberfest ales, the wurst and kraut, the walks along the winding Bluestone river, a nip in the air.

Next backwords: Rasputina.


permalink posted by cat 8:45 AM

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groovy house thing #1, hot tuna, looking forward
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