Saturday, May 20, 2017

Apologies for the long silence

Hi Friends,

Sorry I haven't kept my content current here for a while. Three years ago I was struck by a major illness. While moving into my house I suffered an aortic dissection. Fortunately before I blacked out I made an emergency call.

Thanks to quick response from the EMTs, the helicopter team, and the open heart surgery team at UNM hospital I survived. We beat the odds!

That's why I've been out of the music game for so long. It's been a slow road back. If your brain goes without a blood supply for over an hour you'll find you have forgotten things––like songs you've known for decades. I've had to relearn some stuff.

On the positive side, I retired from commercial photography and I've had more time to devote to my songwriting and recording. Music has been a great source of healing for me. If I've drawn one thing from my near death experience and recovery it's that music heals!

I'm planning to start playing out again soon by visiting some open mics in Taos and Albuquerque. So I should have some new content for you folkies in the near future.

In the meantime check out this 1949 Gibson J45 that turned up in a small Albuquerque shop last year. It's been broken and patched up a few times but it still sounds great and––after some fret work and an ace setup by George at Langston Guitar and Amp Works––it plays great too.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll by Peter Guralnick

Back in the 1970s while spending time in rural Arkansas I had the good fortune to meet folklorist Mike Luster. Mike was working on a doctorate in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. He convinced me that rockabilly music is a legitemate form of American folk music. We spent hours listening to records from his collection as educated me. Of course a lot of his 45s were from Sun Records.

For those of you who love Rock 'n' Roll and the sound of Fender guitars twanging through vacuum tube amplifiers Peter Guralnick's book is a must read. I'm near the end of the first chapter and I'm hooked.

For a complete review see the article in the New York Times. I just wanted to give folks a heads-up here. You can get Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll from your favorite bookstore and also from Sun Records in Memphis. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I'm enjoying it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ramblin' Jack and a mighty wind arrive in Albuquerque at the same time

After a long Santa Fe winter I was really looking forward to seeing Ramblin' Jack Elliott perform at the Albuquerque Folk Festival this spring.  Unfortunately mother nature had other plans. The tent covering the main stage violently collapsed from a powerful gust of winds that hit it just minutes before Ramblin' Jack was scheduled to appear. The concert had to be cancelled. Fortunately the tent was evacuated just prior to it's collapse. No one was injured. I've heard a rumor that there will be a makeup concert this fall. When I have more info about that I'll post it.

The good news is that Friday, the night before the folk festival, a few folks met up at our friend John's home to visit with Jack. Afterwards everyone adjourned to Sadie's for Mexican food.

Ramblin' Jack is in fine form these days. Albuquerque was  the New Mexico leg of a successful spring tour which included Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona. He was touring by auto with his friend and opening act, Rick Robbins. If the boys come to a town near you don't miss the fun.

And Jack... us folks here in New Mexico are hoping that the folk festival folks will bring you back here for another concert soon.  It was great to visit with you. I hope next time I see you we can continue our conversation about pocket knife lore. It was just getting interesting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Entertainment At The Three Ravens Coffee House

The Alan Acuff comeback tour is underway, and I hope you'll join us for some picking' and grinnin' this Saturday afternoon July 21st, from 1-3 pm at the Three Ravens Coffehouse in Tierra Amarilla, NM.
Click HERE for a map to the Three Ravens and right-click HERE to download a flyer provided by Debbie and Vincent, the kind folks who do the web design for the Three Ravens.

Please join us for a fun afternoon of music, great coffee, and good food. Bring a chair, bring your kids, and tell your friends.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Three String Bale – New Folk Music for the Digital Age

Yesterday, I spent a musical afternoon and evening at the 14th Annual Albuquerque Folk Festival. This year the festival was held at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum.
ABQ Folk Festival 2012
I enjoyed all of the music I heard but I have to admit that my favorite band was a folk trio called Three String Bale.
Three String Bale perform at the ABQ Folk Festival

This energetic trio of talented multi-instrumentalists really works hard... almost as hard as James Brown himself, and in their own way they are equally soulfull. In short, what I like about these folks is that they are putting the fun back in folk music. Their music is sometimes zany and irreverent and never boring. A high point of the show for me was their performance of Clarence Ashley's The Cuckoo.

Speaking of keeping the fun in folk music, there's a movie that I want to recommend to Three String Bale and to everyone reading this. It's called Chasing Gus' Ghost and it's a film dedicated to Gus Cannon the famous jug band leader. This movie features Maria Mauldaur, Bob Weir, John Sebastian, and many other great musicians. It's a must see folks!

In closing let me urge those of you who missed the Albuquerque Folk Festival this year to put it on your calendar for next year. And in the meantime, I recommend that you go to the Three String Bale website to check their calendar for a show near you. Don't miss them!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Butch Crouch 1939-2011

It was a sad day for Santa Fe's music community when we heard the news about Butch Crouch. Butch was loved by all and will be sorely missed. A memorial gathering will be held at El Farol. We expect to have a date and time very soon and it will be posted here. Please check back for details and come help us celebrate Butch's life and music.

Here's a story I'd like to share with you folks. Back when the west was wild, I booked a banquet gig at the Legal Tender in Lamy, New Mexico. The night of the banquet I arrived at the Legal Tender and discovered that the gig was double-booked. (Double-booking is something that accidentally happens every once in a while, and every working musician dreads it.) Well, it turned out that the restaurant had booked me and the banquet folks had booked Butch. He arrived ten minutes after I did and immediately came up with a solution. "Let's take turns playing and split the money," he said.

That's the kind of man Butch was. He was a true blue friend, and he had a heart as big as all outdoors. He had many, many friends here and we will all miss him.

Butch was a talented artist and he was so much more that I'm at loss for words to describe him. So I'm going to defer to Kris Kristofferson here. The words of Kris' song The Pilgrim Chapter 39 describe Butch pretty well.

He's a poet, he's a picker
He's a prophet, he's a pusher
He's a pilgrim and a preacher and problem when he's stoned
He's a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction
Taking every wrong direction on his lonely way back home...
And there's lots of wrong directions on that lonely road back home.

So long Butch. It's been good to know ya.

UPDATE: My favorite writer, Steve Terrell, has posted about Butch. Click HERE.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Stranger Here - Ramblin' Jack Elliott in Concert in Santa Fe, NM

This past Thursday, April 29th, two-time Grammy award winner Ramblin' Jack Elliott performed at Corazon in Santa Fe. This was the first stop on his 2009 spring tour. Jack is touring in support of his recent album, A Stranger Here, which won a Grammy Award in 2009 for the best traditional blues album.

Unfortunately, due to the very poor sound provided by the concert promoter, Jack was treated more like a stranger than like the distinguished artist that he is. Somehow the sound man managed to interrupt the show over and over again with howling feedback from the sound system. It was incredibly distracting to Jack and to his loyal fans and friends who filled the room.

It was literally impossible for Jack to play guitar and sing without the sound system distorting and howling. Jack handled the situation with grace. Instead of fighting the sound system he did a show featuring his considerable talent for storytelling. Jack's stories and verbal flights of fancy held the audience enthralled. Even under the worst conditions Jack is spellbinding. His spirit shines through!

Jack's improvised monologues are as brilliant and entertaining as anything ever penned by his friends Jack Kerouac and Lenny Bruce. The difference between him and other beat generation poets is that Jack creates his narrative prose and poetry live, on stage... and he doesn't write it down. 

As I write this, Ramblin' Jack is continuing his 2009 spring tour. If he's performing anywhere near you I recommend you seize the opportunity to spend an evening with one of our greatest American national treasures–Ramblin' Jack Elliott.

And by the way, there are CD's and T-shirts available after the shows. This is a first for Ramblin' Jack. If I were in charge of awarding Grammy's for T-shirts, I'd give him a third Grammy Award for the coolest and most esoteric music T-shirt of 2010. I guess you can tell that I love my new Ramblin Jack Elliott T-shirt!