Saturday, April 25, 2020

Ersatz



"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"






(I am) Daily tired of fake leaders. They are easy to spot with their bad hair.
January 7, 7pm POTUS address, I got oval office’d (firebrand opposite of anything FDR fireside comfy)—like I watched some twilight zone from N. Korea dictation, throwing fear at me while he shuts my country and countrymen down— that I cannot be silent any longer.

The madness has got to end: this travesty of good will and human ethics and rape of global democracy. So many great leaders of renowned change, revered for positive human outcome for ages to come —authentic legacies, trashed with reverse actions. Great leaders of the past took no political stance of popularity over their innate drive to SERVE their fellow human, the country and planet they cherish safe, and LIFE. Money certainly makes it easier to help in life, but it is not real and it takes life away to make any more of it it seems. Classifying needs and separating people into haves or have-nots. Simple control that’s out-of-control, spoiling the rat’s nest with too much intelligence —for money. Where is the intelligence to make sustainable place for all? Where are the smarts to figure out how to keep things globally balanced in supply and needs? With so much abundance and gift surely we can sort a peaceful share so everyone has.

Leaders. So rare a breed and so desperately needed in these trying times. I have a great friend back east that I recently reached out to. He has been brilliantly posting the 50th anniversaries of the space program achievements. Fellow enthusiast we share a love of many of those great leaders from that time. Great leaders know how to coordinate a force of 400,000 (other leaders) and make things happen, for every person’s benefit. “We came in peace for all mankind” … the pinnacle placard placed on another celestial body by the hand of (a) man. The single greatest human achievement ever engineered, brought forth by an exceptional leader who asked for the success years before. As the rockets started moving to the Moon when he asked in 1962, President Kennedy also asked what his new generation could do for their county. He made clear distinction then to not ask what his country could do for its people.

Why is it in 2020 that we have become diametrically opposed to this idea?

Why have we lost the torch of brilliance that summons authentic courage and accomplishment in a much richer generation rooted in the same greatest country on this planet?

Where would we be if the Apollo 13 flight director had just said “oh well, there’s not much we can do, let’s just hope the cyanide tablets are handy.” …?

There is clearly a leadership drought at the moment. It’s time for doing something FOR this country. I cannot even ask of it right now, unfortunately, as it bears no pride in its citizenship. Founded in revolution for freedoms and an independence from tyranny, it has become the tyrant and promotes fear and anger where it reaches rather than true strength and support. It is imploding before my veteran eyes and I despise the shenanigans of politics that have now morphed into a charade of twitter ratings and mindless profiteering. Leadership purchased and fake propaganda everywhere -bewildering nonsense that does nothing but feed corrupt appetites with more useless information. Meanwhile behind closed doors everything is bought and sold at such outrageous deal the real costs make the rug look like a mogul run. Bargaining of life for the lust of a gold toilet no one needs.

We need a leader who knows how to filter our planet ship so we can breathe again. Calm, cool, rational, smart, ingeniously compassionate, we shall all get home again with that kind of fortitude.

PEACE be will you, my fellow American. May you stay safe as you stay clean and heathy, respectful of everyone else as you would want it yourself. There are no leaders unless we all lead ourselves. Do right, do good, do what you can when you can and are able. Be thankful as we are all we’ve got and we simply must rely on one another. Divided … you know the deal. If we all help someone else it’s guaranteed we will all get what we need. No one stands alone here, especially any good leader.






Sunday, February 2, 2020

Groovin'


45s

( ( ∞ ) )

45 ReVoLuTiOnS pEr MiNuTe

Perfect round little 7 inch disks of vinyl. I collected them in minuscule homage to the big record collection dad had in the den with the Fisher speakers. When the Walkman came out, there began a cassette gathering too, as the 45s graduated to my own LP collecting. 1979 days running our BMX bicycles to Peaches or Budget, through the 80s with the old car to Wax Trax or that faraway On The Hill. The Beatle collecting was obsessive and mad fun hounding --records painstakingly hunted with kid cash opened us fresh to the music, savoring each Long Play like it was just released yesterday. Those were fun years growing up with music always in the house, down at the corner store, or cherished in the live experiences that shook our big places.



I left HS and my old postered room and much remained in crates in the family house for so many years after that. Then the confines of a barrack footlocker brought me my 1st Compact Disc. 1987 and I had an Army paystub to get me a firm start on these shiny cool modern LPs. So began the BMG and Columbia House mail clubs and the gathering of 4" jewel cases. No boring analog vs. digital thesis here, but I will say that back then when new, it was revolutionary and vogue and critically hailed. We would not have had the ensuing digital music revolution without the binary translation of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, encrypted in full 80 minutes to a polycarbonate surface for a laser player to translate digitally.

Data.

\ no groove /



GI Bill in hand the CDs went to college and grew into a serious collection. Working Boulder Sound Warehouse during those 1990s I watched the vinyl display furniture shrink to the move out. I still have one of the store's Technics turntables they were throwing away like the records. Such was the attitude then, sadly. Gladly, there was so much rush to get better digitally by the quality and breadth of all the analog history, a resurgence and musical renaissance have been happening ever since.

Domesticity and the sweat for houses back-burned much 'listening' for the better of 20 more years for me. Ease of the iPod and the growing rips of all the CDs into the iTunes collection made listening more of a digital quest. Years of watching mp3s accumulating on hard drives, solid state drives, network drives, and cloud drives, I'm still sorting it all and re-ripping all those silly mp3s for benefit of the Lossless file. We are finally to an age when the throughput and the storage anywhere allows the analog quality to reach our ears with music true again.

Newfound freedom in the comfy confines of my own isolated home, I have been reveling in the love of vinyl again --now vogue, critically acclaimed, and again revolutionary with the advance of the last 40 years of digital revolutions. Like the seminal Masterpieces by Ellington recorded in 1950, the groove of analog reproduction has never lied nor better expressed the pure truth of the recording. One of my favorite record finds as young collector was The Beatles - beautiful French-pressed shimmering white vinyl. Like the album, a true gem to set under the needle. All groove.



Happy now I have the big record collection sitting on the floor. Historically rich and melodic life-preserved pieces, I clean my grooves with the Okki Nokki vacuum and set them fresh under a Hana stylus on a Pro-Ject TT. Sweet translation down through the NAD amplifier to the two big Klipsch Fortes standing on the floor. There is no replacement for displacement. It's nice to sit and just listen for listening's sake. With records now being produced again with such intent, there's been a glorious advent of coloured pressings. Arguably more appealing on the turntable than the classic black, it brings credence to increasing the fidelity even more. Like that rare white vinyl I got in the 80s, select titles certainly look great in clear, blue, (Frank in hot Winehouse pink), or any virtual tie-dye of the sonic rainbow.

I bought an adapter for the Okki and cleaned up the old 7" collection too --enjoy being able to listen to rare B-sides that still aren't on any network. And speaking of fidelity and 45s, the best records in my 12" collection are the 45rpm 180gram gems, like recent masters of Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue or Eric Clapton's I Still Do. Revolution indeed! I don't think I could have sat in the studio in 1959, or sat next to Glyn Johns himself and heard it so good.

Get your groove on!


Friday, December 20, 2019

Live Past Now



Stubbed


     It's tough to get a ticket these days. Literally. For years I have gathered the paper stubs of my experiences and, at least since my CD collection became solid, started preserving them in the sealed backs of the jewel cases.

     Secured a ticket for the King Gizzard show at Red Rocks this coming 2020 year --grabbed a seat before they sold it out and added a second show. I paid $15 more just for a 'souvenir' ticket that will be mailed. Like most shows or games these days, you get your barcode for the phone and scan past the ticket person and hope that your battery is charged or you didn't forget your password. Suffice to say it just flusters oldies like me who remember the 1000s of Bic flames in the arena as well as the beer-soaked ticket that got you in. Sentimental I guess (isn't every musician a romantic)? O'well.

Perhaps it was the following story from the first show this 2019 year that started this big concert list.
Perhaps it was posting all the shows I saw in 2017 and just seeing a list.
Feathers in the live hat (that cat in the 3rd row with the velvet pants).

     I had fallen in love with Kacey Musgraves on the late night shows she performed in 2018. I hesitated and hesitated on some great Paramount seats to see her in February, always deferring because of the expense and already spending my live music budget. Then she blows me away on the Grammy stage, winning 4 that night (I knew it)! Before that show was over I got a seat for that Paramount Theatre, paying 3x what I should have but happy that I was going, not kicking myself too much for not following the initial impulse --better late than never!

Blizzard.

     For we Denverites, it goes without saying that true Coloradans get there. After all, 'it's just a little snow .. pphhht'! Sometimes it's a doozie. Most times the best shows ever recorded are the snowbound ones that whittle the best crowds out of the storm. So the new Tundra has Goodyear DuraTracs on it for this very reason. There is a whole other post about my new truck and the reason it now has better wheels equipped with these specific tires. They actually get softer when it gets colder! This blizzard hits here metro about 6pm rush hour on Friday, February 22. It was ice packing and blinding when I set out. Not a problem, got to the Paramount-paid parking garage on Tremont, time enough to get comfortably inside and see a most spectacular show. My secured Flash seat was scanned and a pretty little thermal ticket was handed to me by the kind lady. I sat next to a beautiful girl that I couldn't thank enough for her friend selling her seat! Glad to be here!


     10:30 late now the snow is quietly blanketing the region with a foot of powder. Safe in my truck elated post-show I get to the garage gate and the girl tells me she needs the ticket for the free park. New policy to me, I guffaw debate and (rather than just PAY her whatever the garage cost was), relinquish my ticket so I can just leave and get through the snowstorm and home. Not a problem, got home safely with my new Golden Hour CD and played it all night to delight ...sugarplum faeries. Only a week after this CD (this artist and album) wins four Grammys I see the band in person at a special, local snowbound show. A momentous event and I have no ticket stub in the back (hear a balloon drain)! I cannot listen and sweetly look at that little slip of paper in that back that says:


I WAS THERE!





Ozzy Osbourne
Mcnichols Arena, Denver, CO
Thursday, May 15, 1986

Stevie Ray Vaughn
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
Thursday, July 24, 1986


AC/DC
Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC
Thursday, August 25, 1988

The Rolling Stones
Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Saturday, September 16, 1989



Ray Brown
Jazz Works, Denver, CO
Wednesday, May 30, 1990


Miles Davis
Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, Centennial, CO
Sunday, June 17, 1990


Joe Satriani
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Saturday, March 10, 1990


Dave Brubeck
The Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
Wednesday, August 1, 1990


Oingo Boingo
CU Field House, Boulder, CO
Wednesday, October 23, 1991


Adrian Belew
Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
Saturday, May 23, 1992


The Allman Brothers Band /Blues Traveler
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
Saturday, July 4, 1992


Pat Metheny
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Tuesday, September 29, 1992


Suzanne Vega
The Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
Friday, February 26, 1993


Paul McCartney
Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
Wednesday, May 26, 1993


Wynton Marsalis
UCCC Monfort Concert Hall, Greeley, CO
Thursday, October 20, 1994


Willie Nelson & Family
The Orleans Showroom, Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, November 26, 1998


The Who
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Greenwood Village, CO
Thursday, September 19, 2002


Foo Fighters
The Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO
Wednesday, June 4, 2003


Paul McCartney
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thomas Dolby
Fenix Underground, Seattle, WA
Saturday, April 22, 2006


Foo Fighters
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
Tuesday, July 15, 2008


B.B. King
The Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
Saturday, October 25, 2008


Bob Dylan and His Band
University of Denver - Magness Arena, Denver, CO
Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Robert Plant presents The Sensational Space Shifters
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Thomas Dolby
Blue Bird Theater, Denver, CO
Thursday, November 14, 2013


ZZ Top and Jeff Beck
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Centennial, CO
Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Booker T. Jones
The Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, CO
Friday, June 12, 2015


Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Marcus Miller
Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, CO
Friday, August 5, 2016


2017 -full year post


Neil Bridge Quintessence
Dazzle, Denver, CO
Thursday, January 18, 2018


Jeff Jenkins Organization
Nocturne, Denver, CO
Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters
Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre, Denver, CO
Saturday, February 24, 2018


Eagles /Jimmy Buffett
Coors Field, Denver, CO
Thursday, June 20, 2018


John Faddis
Dazzle, Denver, CO
Saturday, August 4, 2018


Ry Cooder
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Jeff Hamilton
Nocturne, Denver, CO
Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Santana
House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV
Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Kacey Musgraves
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Friday, February 22, 2019


Nick Mason
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Thursday, March 25, 2019


Cyrille Aimee
The Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, CO
Thursday, June 6, 2019


Shinyribs
Globe Hall, Denver, CO
Wednesday, July 24, 2019


The Rolling Stones
Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, CO
SUN MAY 26 >-> Saturday, August 10, 2019




King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Mission Ballroom, Denver, CO
Wednesday, August 20, 2019


King Crimson
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Sunday, September 8, 2019


Experience Hendrix
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Tuesday, October 15, 2019


Bob Dylan and His Band
Mission Ballroom, Denver, CO
Thursday, October 17, 2019


Jeff Hamilton Trio
Nocturne, Denver, CO
Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Santana
House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV
Friday, November 8, 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Chasing the Tale



Wagging Circles

1973


I will always love black dogs with brown eyes. Such wise beauty. Noble, loving gazes that see right into a frail human soul (as every dog can). Particularly females, I just am transfixed by them. Her name was Lady and she was my first ever dog. My father told me once many years later it was his dog. Having given her up in the divorce, he saw it necessary to keep her with we kids. I put that personal retrospective gesture into my own divorce. Although this time Ella stayed with me, a result of no real kids or much purpose there. No, the kid was me once again, refreshing a smile like that childhood happy with Lady grin- taking complete responsibility for a being that could never be a ‘claim’ in the first place. Ella had purpose from the beginning, timely situated into another GSDs entire life so that the spiritual thread of the dear first German Shepherd Dog had her continuance. Threads of love sewn in decades of shepherd barks and water zaniness big-eared joy tears. Continuance. Something my father would have done too, forgo his selfish need for himself as well for the dog at the time - would indeed be happier within the love of a complete nuclear family altogether. Selfless gifting of a lasting selfless gift. Lady was happy, I can assure you that as keen as my photo with her that sunshiny 1973 day. And so is Ella, now ten years wise, mother herself to two kids in me and our new boy, Duke. She is raising him well, gentle cracks of wild puppy playing and subtle perfect dominance into a sweet p e r s o n a l i ty! Healthy happy and staying young. Extraordinaire!


This education I cannot come close to giving, as such from the first shepherd's sage greatness and good training. Dear Dakota, imbibing so much and sharing the best with new little Django before you departed. Then he, as big as he became and so much his heart, shared it with Ella. 



Now, for the first time we almost missed some early weeks of cozy familial tenderness and deep training (leaving his breeder at 16 weeks unlike the jubilant 8 weeks we always cherished). But you know I believe this too has had reason, as Ella and I surely needed a new lesson in love. Humility before anything so pure. Duke needed to be saved so he could save us: emotional reality checks and working dog corrections. Purpose and place --rock us all the last leap forward to a standing good pack again. No more leaning on the excuse of anything. 
No more sad. 
No more separation. 
More together. 


Circles flowing round again and carrying torches lit from dear flames. All is in balance with best friends. It's easy to charge forward happy with and in life when you have loving mates by your side. As reliable is it even sounds, especially o’er the generations, we always got each other’s back (made even daily better with a good scratch)!

w00f!

2019

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Free as the breeze


"Whistlin’ tunes that you know and love so."


Child of the 1970s, I heard much from the AM radio. One, perhaps two small speakers in the dashboard those days. Two knobs, on/off volume left and tuner right, either side of a frequency dial: 5 up to 16 (500 KHZ to 1600 KHZ), with buttons lined underneath to move the indicator fast to the favorite station. There was soon enough the FM scale as well on the dial (88 MHZ to 108 MHZ), and the fidelity started increasing over the free air towards better autos with better speakers into the 1980s. It was great to still hear disc-jockeys sling records over the air by choice, maybe answering a listener and playing a request. It was personal then, long before the corporate jukes took over and made repeat tapes of the same songs, kicking the personal off the microphone so they could blare more advertising. By that time we had cassettes too in the dash -lest we not forget the 8-track monster decks that had to be under the dash- and we were allowed to play our own music on the road. Commercial-free listening with deep tracks to the entire album (as long as you toted them around everywhere). It all seemed to just commercialize by 1980: so many things (mr tape deck started it all) to buy just to play music in the car. Saving Hi-Fidelity for the special places we drove to, like the concerts or the dude with the biggest home stereo, I like to affectionately remember those earlier 1970s when everyone’s car had the same simple clarity, the same public pulse of hits streamed into everyone’s ears at the same times, and it was generally free of any charge save the car purchase. If you got wind of something you liked you drove that car to the record store and bought a vinyl or cassette, perhaps caught the band when they came into town. Musicians and songwriting were still revered.

Of course, on the long road trips, the pushbuttons didn’t hold the stations and you had to search. Very linear prospecting one had to ‘tune in’ to that distant radio tower and get it fixed just right so the frequency noise either side would cease. It was great exploration working around the dial, finding some distant broadcast like a ham-radio operator. There was a pleasant joy when out of grey spectrum there was this music —some great song beaming out over the vast ocean of static like some island oasis. The songs had more strength in those days. Like the radios cohering the landscapes, there was community in the airwaves —something shared to share at the water coolers.


For me it was Glen Campbell. Perhaps because there was the great shared television as well: communal visions of a nightly Johnny Carson or that late Midnight Special where all those bands performed those radio-famous hits live. For this kid, all I wanted to be was a “Rhinestone Cowboy.” I think it was the F-to-C chords, resolving the song title to some place easily heard forever. Cards and letters from people not known sings the chorus, then that “offers coming over the phone” with a downward cadence that makes you sigh.. Simple perfect song and melody that keeps you listening and singing along soon from the smile it’s made on your face from hearing it. Familiarity like a good friend —all of Glen’s songs. He sang in such a beautiful confidence. His playing was so crisp and clear. Like that station button zooming the dial to the favorite frequency, so were his songs bearing in on your heartstrings by your ear for a melody.

It’s blissfully fond to recall those years now forty years gone. The cacophony of digital streams stuttering with angry lyric in today’s music leave little for the heartbeat, let alone any dear memories secured listening to it. Maybe that’s just me growing old. Maybe in 1975, were I fifty then, I would be lamenting that loud rock pop culture and vaunting Benny Goodman tunes. One would expect a great, fantastic, magical convolution of tunes at this point, but it seems to me the tunes diminish (pun intended) as the ages pass. Much music is lost to the generations in a world so full now with, literally, too much input deemed ‘artistic.’ Yeah, that’s my musician opinion -honest enough to know too that there was just as much bad music then as there is now. My point is the frequency dial is now so full there isn’t time to breathe it in carefully and tastefully special. The songwriting cannot keep up the pace and the pace makes the songs accordingly too fast ... à la forgotten. 
There’s also no reason to thump a car silly rolling down the road bludgeoning others with low window-rattling frequencies and no melody.


There is an iPod now for every AM radio and there is something yet to be, as time will keep.
All about perspectives made in time I guess (did you catch that entendre?). Sometimes that perspective gets so sealed in its particular time that it becomes timeless. We could all shed our age and recall our wonder years, knowing each generation has something timeless to recall in theirs. 
R. e. s. p. e. c. t.
In our own context of days, the recollections come just at the right time.

There goes that pushbutton again, zipping the dial back to the best frequency --tuned right to your heart because of hearing. 
Take a listen and watch what happens.

Wish I could, stop this world from fighting.
La da da da da da la da da da da….




Saturday, February 3, 2018

Covering Icons & Influences



... timeless flights ...


     My Stratocaster is my favorite. I hold its maple form and hear in it the bared roots every time I strum the metal strings. I learned to play George Harrison. I learned to play Jimi. I learned to play Buddy. I learned that I will always be learning them. About the time I was shelving my sax for new love of my old Rickenbacker, my uncle gave me The Buddy Holly Collection records. He reminded me of roots and simplicity as I grew my Beatle hair. All those years ago I was getting back to the previous generations' Moody Blues, waxing Woodstock as my HS friends colored their hair and flew Flocks of Duran. I was already soaking up the American Graffiti soundtrack, but the Holly record got me seriously digging deeper into it. (Milner's line 'It ain't been the same since Buddy Holly died' is as painted in my brain as the doomed black Chevy on that bright crisp morning). Buddy is perhaps the most defining of the heart of this thing we call Rock & Roll. From his midnight sitting-in-the-dash listening to Stan's Record Rack to having a first-ever recording for Leo Fender's new Stratocaster guitar, Holly is core influence to all of it that you hear these days. He traded in a Les Paul rig one 1954 day in a Lubbock music store, opting for that slick new guitar. The trademark Strat chime and 'twang' came to be because of Buddy and his songs; if you care anything about this genre or playing it in some capacity you should take some good notes. A young man named Zimmerman stood front row at a Buddy Holly show and he walked away a Dylan.

     I played "Words Of Love" ceaselessly, side-by-side with the Beatles' version, trying desperately to pick the 3-chord change and sing the words. The humming was always easier on the Fade Away, so I concentrated on the jangle to the strings and satiated the urge to be a part of it. To this day I feel most comfortable with his songs and I feel most in the happy zone when I hear the music. I consider it part of my medicinal melody cabinet, like Beatles, Miles, Jimi, or Mozart. Healing.

     For years we have born silence on this day. We think of J.P. Richardson. We think of Roger Peterson. We think of Richie Valens. We think of Buddy Holly. We think of cold silences and many tears. We think of stilled Stratocasters and extinguished lyrics.


     The songs and the legacy will always be alive.


R.I.P. Tommy Allsup (1931-2017)







Sunday, December 31, 2017

Live and Let's Fly


Like an Eagle

Amazing. Experiences. Making Soul. It's all we take with us so why not now: "take a chance while you still have the choice." I ask myself in December 2016 after too much grief and pain compounded years done: time to look up and away and out --time to make some sweet times new. Fifty, 50, a half century old is the date for me this 2017. Taste the air fresh and make it happy again. Then a good business transaction gave me some cash to be spontaneous and grab that first ticket, that first compulsive reason for why and how to conquer it alone, and that first launch into an adventure, seeking memories for my very own happiness' sake.

I had travelled to Washington, D.C. 2016 December, missing out on some guitar time with my dear nephew, but coming home with nice family vibes and a new ease about travel. First and foremost my dog was safe while I could leave and I would never again if that could not be. Finally with some ease of mind that my baby was in good hands while I ventured a few days out alone, I started plotting and planning a special year of live music events. Round-out to my other happiness factor: my guitar. Killing pain, I had spent every evening the last 2 years hovering over my music collection, a joint and a Jameson, and my (finally built project) Stratocaster. There was already good mojo in the thing from building it (much help from dear friends), and now there was imbibed vibe and overtones from me hovering with it over my lost brother, Django. I played soothing tunes for him as we lost mobility to death. It's impossible to express the depth of this connection, but I can say as I write this it is still plugged in ready for the evening on the same clear strings that I haven't yet been able to bang out of tune.

(Long, long lost) feeling again what I wanted to do with it, I decided to observe as much stance and provenance on the instrument as possible. I had a good early seat for the Hendrix Project in March, so as much as I could muster with times and available bucket funds (and worked-for-it-karma), I seriously set to see more guitar heroes of mine.
My heart (and nightly bandmates) for the last straight year had been with Joe, the James Gang, Eric, Ten Years After and Alvin. When the House of Blues dates came up I was playing So What and Rides Again by rote and all I had was callused appreciation for Joe. His playing was lightbulb for me and the last year learning riffs and songs had been deep medication. Gratitude in hand, I booked the meet/greet with floor seats (the man can stand playing for me I can certainly stand too)! Wow, it was way too fast (and you never can chat about everything you want (and think about saying)), but you shake hands and stand together smiling for a few moments. Wow. Hard to tell him how much my handmade Strat meant every time I strummed "Mother Says" or how much "Help Me Thru the Night" really meant to my life too. The GA seat was front center #1 so I couldn't have experienced better --I watched my hero PLAY! Thank You, Joe! I love that I grew up with your music, my first cassette was But Seriously, Folks, and I can actually play "Funk 49" now. I watch the Rockies games with my dad and hear "Rocky Mountain Way" every time they close a win!

  • January 21     Joe Walsh                        House of Blues, Las Vegas                              ** Waddy Wachtel    
    Waddy Wachtel & Joe Walsh
  • January 24     Karin Allyson                            Dazzle Jazz, Denver 

  • February 19   James Hunter Six    Baur's Listening Lounge, Denver 
    The James Hunter Six
     
  • February 21   Rene Marie                                Dazzle Jazz, Denver 


  • March 7        Experience Hendrix         Paramount Theatre, Denver                               ** Billy Cox, Buddy Guy, Dweezil Zappa,        Chris Layton, Zakk Wylde, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mato Nanji,      Ann Popovic, Jonny Lang, Scott Nelson, Noah Hunt, Henri Brown,   Tim Austin, The Slide Brothers             
    Buddy Guy, Tim Austin, Billy Cox, Mato Nanji
                                                                         
  • March 28      Gypsy Swing Review                   Dazzle Jazz, Denver                              ** Kristi Stice 

  • April 16        Neil Bridge                                  Bull & Bush, Denver 

  • May 4           Christian McBride Trio               Dazzle Jazz, Denver
    .... last of the old Dazzle stage listening room ....
  • May 17         Eliane Elias                                 Dazzle Jazz, Denver 

  • June 14         Hamilton DeHolanda           Dazzle @ Baur's, Denver 
Hamilton and his 10-string bandolim

  • June 24         King Crimson                         Bellco Theatre, Denver 
NO CELL PHONES! (until Mr. Levin takes his out then..OK)!

Most intense, most musically challenging, most notes, my brain hurt in blissful numb when this concert was over. Three (3) drum SETS playing unison full to harmonic, dissonant tapestry that was just ...insanely marvelous. I truly thank a friend for tipping me to this happening -along with James Hunter- and locking in some aural goodness (and beer and wine) by some very real tickets. Great venue, Bellco, aptly suited for an erudite crowd, I admit I've never experienced a better, more respectful listening audience. As we filed in we're greeted with beautiful Tibetan bowl singing and 2 giant placards reading ABSOLUTELY no cell phones! Introductions said the same, but added "Mr. Levin likes to take photos of you so when he takes his phone out you're welcome to take as many as you like." I never saw one cell phone glow until taking that picture when we all dove in --just a great concert moment! Elite like the music, the only lights were cast from a single light bar directly over the stage. Never garish, it transitioned hues over the musicians and their glistening tools just as their music did, gently swaying emotions, temperatures, and thought with the songs. True to their name, a stage so intensely lit crimson I have never seen elsewhere. Simple was powerful, especially in The Court of the Crimson King.

I must also make noted transition here (nyuk ;-), as the best jazz club in the region moved their premises this May/June. Real-estate is a b*^)# around Denver, so they moved into the Baur's space closer to downtown and the improved proximate amenities, public, and parking. Baur's was already a listening lounge regularly booked by the M|A|S, so it fit to see the move despite the kerfuffle and building pains. We've seen many shows since and it's been a good transition. Cheers to great music!

And speaking of vinyl, I've been affectionate to as many stacks of the vintage sleeves I can find and sift through lately. What's been best is a long hot summer day walking good lazy riverside with my beautiful German Shepherd then a nice drive, jaws-out-the-window to the cool record store, walking through much historic bliss with nice pettings and wagging tails, coming home to a cool house with cool finds and rounding evenings out with sweet hot vintage music, loud as *%&^ thru the Klipsch and the good whiskey! O my, there is such a good argument to be made for growing up in the analog 70s when sitting and listening to displacing speakers was really something (still is here, fyi, so come on over)! Anyway, of particularly painstaking perusal prowess prior to a performance ...post haste I give you a pic of this accumulated respected repertoire...

  • July 31          Steve Miller Band         Red Rocks Amphitheater, CO                              ** Peter Frampton  
    Frampton Comes Alive!

    Red Rocks Amphitheater

    "Somebody Get Me a Cheeseburger!"
  • August 8       Dweezil Zappa           Arvada Center for the Arts, CO  
    The Others Of Intention /pledgemusic.com
     
  • August 9       Diego Figueiredo                 Dazzle @ Baur's, Denver

  • August 12     KUVO Live at the Vineyards                                                                                                 Balistreri Vineyards, Denver              **Bobby Watson's All-Star Quartet, Kansas City Jump Band                             
  • August 13     Colorado Music Hall of Fame                                                         Fiddler's Green Amphitheater, Greenwood Village, CO              **Joe Walsh,  Joe Vitale,  Kenny Passarelli,  Bill Szymczyk, Michael Martin Murphy,  John Oats,  Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,     Amy Grant & Vince Gill,  Todd Park Mohr,  Randy Owen,            Richy Furay,  Garth Brooks                                 

    ..nice Barnstorm presale seat, but forgot about that POST IN THE WAY!

    R.I.P.  Dan Fogelberg
                                                  
  • August 15          Neil Bridge Trio             Dazzle @ Baur's, Denver                                **Steve Denny  
    point <> counterpoint, student <> master
        
    Empire State

    "Blowin' In The Wind"


    Electric Lady
  • September 7      Bill Charlap Trio                                                                                         Village Vanguard, Greenwich Village, NYC                               **Lee Konitz      
    ..sacred corner of jazz history
                                                                                                    
  • September 8      Eric Clapton             Madison Square Garden, NYC                               **Jimmy Vaughn, Gary Clark, Jr.  
    September show @ The Garden 

    E.C.

    Gary Clark, Jr., Jimmy Vaughn, Eric Clapton

I have never been to New York until this trip. January to Las Vegas had me excited and confident and I really (really) wanted to see Eric. Honestly, (and playing his music so much for so many years now I know why), I'M SO GLAD I "just did it" despite the exorbitant ticket costs. The year had spoiled me regarding seats though, so I made as much an effort to see my hero PLAY and went for as close as possible. I know for fact the 1st rows those 2 nights were going for an insane 4 grand! I settled into a very comfortable row 11 thank you very much. Legendary performer on hallowed, historic stage, I pocketed the ticket and just got there.


Keeping the musical precedent for my NYC venture, I sought another highlight my 2 nights there taking a first bite of that big apple. My jazz roots honed in on a show at the Village Vanguard. I did alright, after a great day with an awesome walking group around Greenwich and getting my Bleecker St, Blue Noted, Electric Lady bearings. I walked back like an arrow that evening from my hotel, sucking up a great pizza slice along the way, then positioning smartly right next to the drummer, Mr. Washington. Insane jazz ..just ..fantastic. So this cool ol' gent shuffles in mid-1st tune, sits just right of us on the back bench and starts to unpack his velcro bag. He stands after a bit and starts to join in with his alto sax, taking solo in queue and rounding out with some melodic scat singing. "Ice cream!" they greet him after the song and applause: "Ladies & Gentleman, please welcome Lee Konitz." Wowo .. legend right here on legend turf! The music just got better the rest of the night into the second set. Cheers to you my Bronx table friend, Willy. Piano men.


This trip was all about the music for me so I visited few places I could that meant something to my musical roots. Awesome to wander and taste Greenwich, bike and listen to Central park, chat with the ESB roof attendant and stroll around Manhattan. I just took it all in and loved every minute. It truly doesn't sleep, and much I'd heard about it was true: hard to stop people from moving but when you do they'll give you their blood. I'm amazed so much humanity can be built into an area; consider myself world-travelled and from a major US city, but there truly is no comparison. NYC is so much of everything at any given time it is breathlessly timeless.

          
                                                                                                                                            
  • November 8        Santana                      House of Blues, Las Vegas  
    "Soul Sacrifice"
  • November 19      Joe Walsh                   House of Blues, Las Vegas  
    "Life's Been Good"


Can I just say what an incredibly awesome music year this has been!

I made myself a good day this special five decades now, booking 2 great seats to Santana and setting aside some nice vacation time with pops. We booked a couple of nights at Mandalay Bay for the gig and added another LOVE show at the Mirage the next night. It was nice to have the company and we gratefully dined and drank well and relaxed in good style. The Cirque troupe had fine-tuned their show tremendously since we first saw them in 2015. It's definitely a must-see if you have any ear for Beatles. Everyone in Las Vegas talks about the Santana show with the same haloed reverence and the same comment that it's never the same. True. It's Carlos Santana and that is all you need to say.

Listen.

Peace.

~

So, as the doctor seemed ordered I visited that fantastic venue again and cashed in on some free miles. Compulsively fast I went back stealthily solo and got rid of that stupid little guilt demon forever. Just do it ...was and is a great adage. I did not have (or had not heard) Joe Walsh's Analog Man until I toted my signed new copies home from that so-cool January 21 show. When I went to the CMHoF in August, proud of my own Caribou Ranch connections and 1970s Colorado barnstorm childhood, I drove home late glorious unadulterated left fast-lane with that album full blast. I really felt awesome --after 6 weeks my truck was finally repaired shiny and "Funk 50" made a sweet loud I-25 sail (trust me narrows locals you know). With the same guitar-slinging homage I went back to House of Blues, sitting sweet 202 this time and soaking the best sound and the best visual stage. It was fantastic, humbling Walsh bookend to the year of so many good stages. Again .. calloused thanks and appreciation, Joe. "Never know until you try.." I met a Korean war veteran before the show, sitting there in front of HoB. I shook his hand in strong gratitude and chatted with him best I could as a young vet myself and long enough to be very humbled by some stories. I mentioned the guy playing here tonight just kicked off a great cause for veterans -it's called Vets Aid. I gave him a hearty salute, grateful that he wore his cap so everyone could see.

Thank you all veterans.





The year back home in honesty had been recovery from Mother Nature and her hailstorm wrath in May. My truck and house were pummeled with tennis ball ice and everything, unfortunately, took back seat to claims and reparations. I actually came back from NYC and painted my entire house by hand because of the new roof, notwithstanding the sudden need to make the improvements and get 'er done before the snow flies. Working often past dusk, I still took the evenings off with my guitar, as plugged in and playing soothed both the nerves and the dog. All of these icons and players I've seen were making sincere impressions on me. I'd come back home after each event and lose myself in those tasty approaches I'd just seen; the effect, the feel, and the vibe just had to get out. I got what I went for each of these shows: inspiration, and I always came back to the comfy home studio zone and wrote songs and tirelessly played 'til sunrise. Memories muscled and sights to seal the ears, my spirit is so much better and refreshed. Power of soul, I sealed this guitar year with a long-wanted Memphis ES-335 (thanks Alvin and Chuck). So the guitars have finally come back into my life as intended after many years of soulless drought. It's good to play well enough now again to express my heart and write my own songs. My new ES has '777' in the serial # (2017 build, btw, and I wish the best for Gibson and hope they concentrate again on this icon and make things shine again). A compulsively random Karmic purchase calling me to it like a magnet in early December, I find it consoling the machine that helped finance the first adventure to all these 'guitar' adventures this year was a serial # 777. Good luck indeed --nice circle.

( o ) = = #

Last entry here for this entire 2017: I made a sweet solo drive up to Casper, Wyoming. The Foo Fighters had been back on my brain, seeing that fabulous concert in Greece on PBS. ƒƒ always have sent the 1st happy birthday email since I signed up 2002. Dave Grohl has been another hero to me (living that rocknroll life that I left for domestic in 1987). When I got back to that November Joe Walsh concert, I was able to watch the video show completely this time. So cool the photo montage, seeing so many musicians and great people through the years. No surprise to see Dave in many of those photos --so awesome to see him doing all that he's been doing within the mileau of all our music heroes. Good Fuel!

So here's the deal mr memories 2017 music blogger post (so I can recall some later year with clarity, as well as give my nephew some guitar time): I got back from the Clapton concert, see, and was relieved numb and happy to be back home after all that effort. A comfy late summer day back with my dog I did just what I mentioned: at the record store I picked up a great EC CD set, and while perusing, went up and actually asked what it was we were listening to (hunch knowing). "That's the new Foo Fighters album just released today" ... no sh*&t , serendipity, grab copy, and listen all the way home all week loud wow! I went to their site and saw this amazing 2018 tour already mostly sold out, no Denver date, but a cool show just 4hrs north of me. Hmmm. Last hurrah frosting on the year got a ticket and booked a room, then braced for a December drive through treacherous snow (so, yay too, finally got needed new tires). Perhaps not strangely, there was a reminiscent urge too of a young me that drove a couple buddies 150 miles in treacherous snow and ice in my ol' Mustang to see Yngwie Malmsteen in December 1986....). So easy dog safe with pops and his pup for a night, I made a smooth drive to the Hilton there and settled in my room by 11:30pm --not a worry at all about Wyoming wind or snow. Nice to sleep in, I had breakfast and just walked the green belt before relaxing back at the hotel. Pure luck this was the same place where the band was staying (buses parked right next to my truck next morning early after coming down from the Montana show the night before--just incredible huge fast moving entourage of rockstar crew. I had walked up to the venue that day and dropped my jaw at all the semis parked there in the back lots). Walking back to the lobby I got to to say hey with Tyler and Nate. Chance good proximity along with a lot of great Colorado Foo fans who had done the same driving up dedicated for an incredible small show. Awesome indeed -just pure rock concert. Another new album of music --fantastic work from a great band. I picked up a vinyl copy of Concrete And Gold at that show. High plains great drive fresh tires going home the next morning blaring Mountain and Rush and everything else, I settled in good on that vinyl copy that evening home done year finally done. Needless to say, (even savoring the flip break to spin side 2), the neighbors heard the album that night! And I will say, most definitely, I AM AN ANALOG MAN!
    Rock On (and keep your T-shirt clean)! 

    • December 6        Huston Person               Dazzle @ Baur's, Denver 
    • December 10      Foo Fighters                Casper Events Center, WY 



    Rest In Peace


    Tommy Allsup

    Chuck Berry

    Greg Allman

    Glen Campbell

    Tom Petty

    Fats Domino

    Malcom Young