The thing is we all love doing a "Big Show."  Big Shows are rare.  Big Shows are defined differently.  What makes a Big Show?  The answers vary depending on where you are at in your career.

For me, right now, tonight is a "Big Show."  It's the monthly Downtown on Tuesday event.  It's my first event for the City of San Antonio. It's outdoors at Alamo Plaza, right in front of the Alamo.  Just me and my loop station for 3 hours.  Unfortunately, the weather may not cooperate.  It has cancelled this event for several months.  I expect it will go on. 

I'm mildly excited and greatly looking forward to it.  I'm going to bring out my larger P.A.  That should make the low end effects bark and bump, give some thud to my bass drum box and punch the rest out with some serious volume and clarity.  I love getting to use bigger speakers.  More air, bigger magnets, larger cones - it really transforms the impact my show has.  It's why blues bands are so much better live.  You feel the bass and drums move through your body.  My little PA only gives an auditory suggestion of that.  People still get it, but there's nothing like feeling it.  This excites me.  I'm a little anxious to see how people react to it. 

Anyway...I think one the things that make for a big show are the preparations.  It changes your day. I'm not going to say I took the day off or didn't work or anything like that.  But I certainly didn't work as hard, or get into a project or do much more than a daily check-in.  I want to be rested physically and mentally.  I have a big set-up.  Now I'm going to relax for a minute and then get to it.  It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.

 

 

If you really want to see how time flies, try and write a blog "frequently."    In some ways it feels like I just got, in others, ways it seems like I never went.  The odd thing is how much traffic this is receiving.  It's my #3 entry page on m site.

I get back home last Monday, I figured the next day is going to be spent on couch napping, eating, coffee in the day, booze at night and lots and lots of rest. Nope.  I'm all hot and bothered to get the new The Please Help video up and ready to go.  Phil wants that as well.  We're up and at it and spend hours and hours on it getting it just right.  Graphics look great and we are ready to go.  Except after converting it to a wmv file shows that I'm out of sync on a part and two other parts could be a little tighter.  The adjustments are so slight that I have to export the video (an hour to an hour twenty each time) every time I want to check it.  I'm up until 2:30am working on it.  I finally call it night and I'm up at 8:30am.  Tighten up two sections, get the other thing right and post it.  Booyah!  Nope.  Phil says it's too dark and there's a hard cut at 1:57.  Pull it down.  I look and it's not just a hard cut that's missing, almost ALL the transitions from scene to scene are gone.  I go get him and we're working on it until well after 5pm.  Keep in mind we wanted it up and ready to go with the article in the paper that came out that morning.  We finally get it right.  And post it.  The other one got 17 views before we took it down.  First one got 100 views in a day. Not too shabby. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibwrr2I8JZs

After that the rest is a confused mess.  My wife and I went to a networking meeting, went out for sushi with friends, gigs, videoed a live show of The Please Help at the 1011, lots of computer time, loopfest stuff, met some folks, did some label biz... Kind of shut down on Saturday day for the afternoon.  Sunday I felt like a zombie. And I got my new T-shirt for The Please Help.  Got a solid 10 hours of sleep in and some good husband/wife time. 

I'm getting to the point where I'm at my project limit.  I can take on a couple more things. But I'm getting stretched.  I've got some other things humming, but nothing is in the pipeline.  Other things are taking waaay too much time, energy and producing very little unless my hands are doing all the work.  I'm not happy at all with this project.  The funny thing is, I'm vetting potential artists and collaborators in a very different way.  I've met with a lot of people. Enough that I'm not able to see the signs of what is and isn't a reasonable time/reward investment.  Hustling matters.  A willingness and ability to learn matter.  An entrepreneurial spirit matter. A willingness to tackle basic tech matter.  The lack of hatred toward establishments that pay you matter.  Self-management matters.  The ability to communicate matters.  Efficient, easy communication matters.  A thick skin matters.  A solution-oriented and opportunistic mindset matter.  Warning flags:  complainers, whiners, stupid (NOT ignorant - I can fix that), lazy, unfocused, victims, fearful, uncertain, know-it-alls, debaters, cocaine, bad hygiene, no teeth, sit-back-and-let-someone-else-do-it and the "I heard that..." guy.  These things make this job hard.  Makes the sweet fruit of one's labor taste like garbage and sand.  And it ruins relationships.  Unfortunately reality in the biz.  I could live without that part.

Anyway, can't say I'm raring to go, but I'm ready for the week.

Already promoting the videos this morning - hope to finish with that project in the next day or two.  Got some car repairs to get to, taxes, a couple of rehearsals and I need to book some shows... onward and upward.

 

Had a nice gig at Francesca's.  Surprise, surpise and my brother and his wife show up for the gig.  What a fun treat.  Had a fun show up with a table of her friends, food was once again a home room.  After that I hit the road.  Ended up driving until 3am or so...spent an hour on the phone with my brother telling "yo momma" jokes.  I love my family.  We are some odd ducks but we all rock and I have a lot of fun with them. 

Anyway...finally had to call it a night. Made it to Alabama. It was a lot further than I thought I would make it.   Up in the morning and hit the freeway for home.  The long drive the previous night got me home for supper in my little Texas home with my lovely and wonderful wife.  What a joy to be back home.  I love my little kitty and getting back to work.  Started kicking some tail with Phil right out of the gate.  Today was awesome.  Crushed it today.  Serious biz, serious creativity, serious progress.  Today I am excited, thrilled and bursting with enjoyment of the music biz.  My trip was fantastic. I made a ton of good music with my buddy Zach in Florida and the tour went great.  Things are humming sweetly.  Can't wait for the rest of this week to unfold.  I'm almost giddy.  Today was a good day.

And BAM...just like that a week flies by so fast I literally didn't have time to eat let alone get on line.  Let's see...Last Sunday, okay had a nice show at Francesca's Trattoria.  Got a hug from Shel when I came in.  She brought the chef out and started ordering for me.  Food was the bomb!  Had a great time hanging out and catching up.  Crowd was a little sedate, so I kept it jazzy and mellow.  I was a little concerned for a minute because I've been hitting the funky stuff so hard for the past few months and I'm really excited about the new tunes I've been working on with Phil and Brant.  Those babies are hot.  

My "day off" was a pretty serious effort on the computer trying to push views of The Please Help "What I'm Hoping" video on my youtube channel.   Did some fest stuff and little domestic duties, found out that Emmett's CD has been pirated and is posted everywhere.  Ick.  Contacted the FBI.  Ick.  Will start to send take down notices. Ick. That was a major bummer.  by then I was ready to hit the beach.  Except I couldn't find a beach.  After I wasted 2 hours finding nothing but docks and breakers, I gave up and found a bar with a water view for some booze and oysters.  That helped.  Called it an early night.

Spend the next morning online.  Did my show at a retirement community, which was a blast.  They LOVED it.  Looking forward to going back there next year. The activities coordinator said, "...the video was neat, but you are just awesome in person.  I really had no idea.  It's so cool."   And my ego was satisfied for the entire tour.  After the show headed off to meet up with Zach at his mom's house.  And yes, I do feel like I'm 15 when I say that.

We set up, say hi and immediately get to work.  Takes us about 5 hours to get going.  Tech problems.  But with two of us, we got it figured out.  We strayed pretty far from the original intent of this project when I started using the mini-Korg.  I don't own it, it's on a keyboard exchange with Zack Walters (3rd Alley).  We swapped last time I was in L.A.   I had no idea what that machine was capable of.  Over the next 4 days I found out.  We made some crazy music and had a lot of fun.  I think we were up until about 3am the first night.  Up and at it again about 10am the next morning.  Worked all day until my show that night for a bike night in Naples.  Had a GREAT time with the bikers.  Unfortunately, the thunderstorms ended the show and hurt attendance, but it was still a solid Wednesday night gig.  Many thanks to Polock for the tequila!    A couple of good ole' boys invited me to go hang out at a private bar and jam.  So I went, half expecting to get fed to the gators.  These guys had a strip mall/warehouse space that must have had 40 guitar amps stacked in it.  Pool table, huge mixing board, drum set, etc...  Bunch of Floridians hanging out drinking and smoking.  I got down with the band playing rock tunes.  Haven't played rock a quite a while.  I had fun. call it quits around 1am, home around 2am.  Up a 8:30am the next day and busting out the music with Zach hard all day.  One of the guys from the bike night calls me up and wants me to play another one that night.  Sweet.  Love picking up gigs along the way.  Put in a solid day, recorded some horns with electronic tracks and off to the gig.  I get there (45 minute one way drive) and I forgot my bag of bells and whistles:  no effects, no wireless mic, no cables, no delay, etc...   I'm bummed.  But I got my sax, my loop station, my pa and an SM58 that plugs direct into the station.  Which is pretty close to how I started out doing the show.  And since it's really about the tunes and the sax, that other stuff is just icing on the cake and no one would know.  So I sat down and knocked it out.  People really, really liked it.  That's the difference. Add the toys and they LOVE it.  Still had a good night but didn't sell very many CDs.  If I had the effects I would have sold out my touring inventory of SSS.  As it stands I have 3 left.  Anyway... it was a fine show. Wrapped it at 9, home around 10 and we put in a couple of hours of work.   Next day we were at it around 8:30am and worked all day again.  This time my show was late so we worked well into the evening.   I went off to my show at a billiard hall for Valentine's Day and had a good time.  Kind of late, home around 1am and just crashed.  Saturday was up 7:30am and off to breakfast.  Zach had some things to take care of: car issues, g/f, family time, etc... we got going late morning and pushed it hard until 3.  After that we were done. I was bitchy and bossing him around, he was tired of getting bossed around, his G/F was there, his mom was coming home, we had stopped having fun the day before and agreed that time had simply run out.  I think we ended up with 16 or 17 tracks for those few days.  What a massive effort.  We did a ton of work and we worked well.  Aside from cool grooves and sounds, we got another tune out of it "Two Ports Down" it's kind of a "Poortown Scrub" revisited.  I'm already using it on shows.  Nice little calypso ditty.  We seem to get one good tune every time we get together.  i packed up to do my show and hit the road, Zach packed up to go spend a few days in Sarasota and it was goodnight Irene.  I did my show a very cool little brewery, YBel Brewing. GREAT beer.  Snappy hops!  That stuff can easily hang with the NW craftbrews.  People were cool, two of the workers there both played sax in school, a couple other musicians were there as well.  Fun night although they said it was dead as people were downtown for a festival.  I wrapped a little early and hit road.  Only made about 2.5 hours before it was time to sleep.

I'm partial to truck stops these days as opposed to rest areas.  But for this stretch of interstate, there's not a lot of truck stops and the rest areas are pretty nice.  So I pull over in what I think is a nice quiet spot.  Seems I picked the spot where carloads of people wanted to chat, smoke and laugh for extended periods of time in the middle of the night.  I had no idea that rest areas in Florida was such hot spots for hanging out fun.  Oh well... it's only sleep. Got up, hit the road and hello starbucks!!!  One more gig tonight and then's hightailing it for home. BandVanAdventures indeed.  This week was intense. 

 

 

 

Road report:

This one is a little different.  Banged my pinky finger pretty good a few days before I left.  Didn't touch my horn so I could let it recover.  First gig was 8 hours at the Jacksonville airport.  Suffice to say I was playing through the pain.  Next two days were airport gigs and night gigs.  Finger hurts.  A lot. 

Gigs were pretty cool.  Bumped into folk musician Jim Scott in the airport.  We had a nice chat, we jammed on a tune and off he went to his gig in Tallahassee.  Fun stuff.  I also put my gigs online via an online busking site.  That was kind of fun and made the time between flights a lot of fun to play.  Had some pretty good traffic from that and even made some tips.  All in all, the first leg was pretty.  Got to hang out with my brother and his family a little bit.  That's always nice, but the gigs were so long it was out the door at 7am and home after midnight and then time to hit the road. 

Couple of notable things. 

Jazzland in Jacksonville.  the outside is deceiving.  The inside is a straight-up jazz club.  Nice little bar, cool tables, tight stage, house PA and jazz lovers and fans.  Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy. And it's Florida, streets were empty and the club had a small crowd.  But it was fun and the attendees were cool.  One of them even posted a couple cell phone videos on facebook. 

Dandelion Cafe in Orlando.  Once again a great show and good food.  Even though it's tiny, I always have a great a show there.  People are cool and they are practically in your lap.  I was pretty hot that night although the cramped space made for some foot blunders on the pedals.  It happens. 

Spent the night at a service station on the Turnpike and got online to do some work for the first time in three days.  Can't really deal with loopfest biz right now...that's kind of not cool.  Too much to do.  Got a great gig tonight and then Monday is off.  Looking forward to some serious online work and I'm thinking some beach time.  Haven't had a REAL day off since I don't know when.  I'll hook up with Zack on Tuesday after my gig and we'll get to work on the new project. Looking forward to getting musically dirty with him!

Feeling pretty good.  My cheeks hurt from the stool at the airport. 22 hours of playing in three days is a butt-buster.   Plus driving, plus other gigs...oww.   Pinkie hurts too, swelling is gone down but I think it's broken. Hand hurts from favoring it and holding the horn though.  My thumb callous from the horn is getting larger too. I have a knobby thumb.  Back is little better.  My brother is a N.P. for the Navy and an acupuncturist.  He gave me a treatment. That helped, although it was a little disturbing on how taken he was with how messed up it is.  He kept saying it's worse than his patient with fibromyalgia.  And hear I thought things were really getting better.  That being said, i am feeling pretty good.  Eating smart, finally got some sleep, playing a ton of music, talking with the wife on the phone when we both have a few moments.  Good times for sure.  I do love being on tour.  I really do.  

 

 

So I've been enjoying the house to myself.  Spent the weekend home alone, no gigs, no wife, no where to be.  Got a lot done.  Not what I thought I was going to spend my time on, but it was time well spent.  I have enjoyed the new business hours.  Up laaate.  That's fun.  Making some music in the house.  I need a piano or a keyboard.  I can't write without it.  These new projects are really challenging without a writing tool.  Maybe next year....

LoopFests are seriously blowing up.  Fantastic talent.  I'm about loaded in some spots and booking for others that I haven't called for.  I'm committed to my vision of them.  I work very hard at making them be what I think they can be.  I often forget there are other ways to look at it.  Getting feedback on these things is a head-trip.  There's what was said, what was meant, what you tried to do, what actually happened, what you're trying to do this time, etc... there's a lot of considerations.  I forget that people have their own impressions of it all.

Here's the hard part.  Getting talent.  International talent matters, it's awesome to support touring acts, there's are larger elements to consider and I'd like to include establishing and upcoming local acts.  For the fest attender, I think the variety of styles, instruments and presentation with a variety of tech is awesome.  It's unbeatable. 

But trying to get things done is not as easy as it seems.  I only hope that people come and love it and support the artists that came to perform.  I have the time of my life putting them together and putting them on.  The artists and events are awesome. 

Wow indeed. So much has happened in the past two days.  Great developments with the loopfests.  Progress on a recording project.  Set-backs at the office due to weather and time conflicts.  A ton of progress made.  A ton of things happening.  Dealing with them has been great.  I've things pretty tight right now.  Backed up on paperwork a little. But that'll get done soon enough.  Other priorities.  Phil's video is doing well.  10 days, 700+ views.  We're pretty happy right now. Looking forward to inking some more deals.  The future is bright.  Today and this month I've been loving the music business.  

I feel good about my these new things coming out.  I think they're going to be better than ever.  I've got some great talent I'm collaborating with.  New music, new festivals.  I'm very excited about what's coming.  It's hard to contain it.

Today was an interesting day.  I got a little uncool with my dissatisfaction of how San Antonio handles it's bad weather.  Oy... That doesn't mean I was wrong.  At all.  Anyway, lots of good news today too.  Venues confirmed, new acts confirmed, new video shoot planned.  This is awesome.  I love it and I love the people I'm working with.

or maybe so much is better.  Life is blasting on at a magnificent pace.  It's hard to keep up.  Haven't gotten to play with my kitty is days.  Poor Bucho isn't very happy with me right now.  It's good to be working.  It's good to take a moment to get ready for the next thing.  C'mere Bucho!!!!

...is some terrible advice.  I think looking back is a necessary and powerful tool..  Especially for musicians.  You need to measure progress.  You need to see IF you have progressed.  You need to see if your efforts are furthering your career.  This life of music is an inch by inch 24/7 crawl towards a dream.  It's not easy to set goals, let alone achieve them.  Because your music dream is YOUR music dream.  There's no final test.  There's no final measure.  For some it's obvious, chart topping hits and world-wide arena tours.  But once reality sets in, and even if it doesn't, how do you measure progress towards that.    The thin is it's easy to get lost in the day to struggles.  Things seem like they move too slowly and nothing ever gets done. 

For me that sums up this week.  Mentally, it was a struggle.  Felt like I was spinning my wheels and wasting my time.  Got some no's (which I HATE!!!) didn't get some things done (which is demoralizing) and felt unproductive.  The reality of it was a little different.  Spent two days with my new production team coming up with ideas for our first collaborative record and have over 10 new songs started. Got press in Portland, OR and San Antonio, TX for my collaborations with other artists.  Got booked for a live looping clinic at the ProMusic Festival in Tuffin, Ohio, made a little progress on my looping festivals, got a lot of work done in my yard, got some time in with friends, got my exercise in and spent time with my wife, my neighbor and spoke with family, spent some time playing with some gear and pushed video views on youtube for one of my artists via social media.   That was a GREAT week, yet I felt like a failure because I didn't write more songs, I didn't work on arrangements and I didn't get practice time in and I didn't get some loop station time in.  Had I not  checked my self yesterday, I'd be coming in to today with a bad attitude and sense of desperation.  The fact is, you can't do it all.  You what you can, when you can and try and pick the rest up later. Looking back helps keep you going.

Today is a good day.

Got some press in Portland, got some press in San Antonio.  But these things are never isolated nor individual.

I'm not one for New Year resolutions or any crap like that.  But I did want to do a lot more blog postings this year.  I do it because I think these things should be personally and emotionally revealing.  I AM an artist.  And fans, critics, haters and casual observers should have the opportunity to know more about the person who makes the art.  That's what I think.

This time of year always brings a lot of press for one of my artists, poet Emmett Wheatfall.  www.emmetthwheatfall.com
He's not JUST a poet.  He's a got a fine job. He like to be informed. He's also a pastor.  And he loved acting, movies and the theatre.  He is known in Portland for his powerful renditions of the MKL Jr. "I Have a Dream" speech.  He gets several annual bookings to do this every year.  And he's incredible.  He sent me an article from the local black newspaper (I refuse to say African-American unless you were born in Africa and immigrated to the U.S.), the Skanner.  They spelled my name wrong, but I don't care.  They mentioned the work he I did on the very first poetry and jazz collaboration we did.  This came the very same day the the San Antonio Current published an article about the local Mexican rock legend Phillip Luna and the video that we released 18 hours ago. 

I couldn't help but think of my uncle who marched with Rev. King and my parents who went to South Africa and put on racially integrated religious retreats during apartheid.  While I was thrilled about my work being mentioned in the news media of two major metropolitan cities in the U.S. on the same day, I also couldn't help but be awed by my elders.  Whose shit was far more important, less self-serving and paved the very way for my work today.  God bless them.

I am please for my part in the success of these artists.  It's in my blood. I come from a line of ass-kickers.  Men and women who stand up for others. People who choose to do the right thing.  That is who I want to be.  That is what I strive for everyday.  I want to make the world a better place.  I want to empower people.  I take my cue from my elders, my bettors.  I don't succeed at this everyday.  But I don't let a failure today stop me from trying again tomorrow. 

Today was a good day.  Tomorrow is going to be even better.

 

 

 

Can't believe it's the 13th already.  Been going full speed on a variety of projects and getting ahead, but feeling behind.  (That sounds kinda dirty...)  Anyway, the LoopFests are in full swing.  I can't believe the amount of international interest this year.  I blew it up last year with 4 stellar shows in the NW, but this year has me very excited NOW!   Got some superb talent coming in from all over and I've only been at it a week: Japan, Chile, Mexico, Sweden, France, Canada, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Connecticut, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles...ridiculous.  I can't wait.  I'm just thrilled.  The locals are already hitting me up as well.  Now I just need to the the Texas fests going like those!

Did my first video with my San Antonio soul-brother Phillip Luna.  His new band, Please Help!, is in post-production on their debut release.  We did a shoot in downtown S.A. for a track called "What I'm Hoping."  Came out real nice for our first production.  Launched that baby today to get the buzz going. Pretty happy how that's all coming out as well.

Got my Gulf Coast tour pretty well filled up and a recording session lined up with my buddy Zach.  We've got a nice collaboration going and will be putting out our next bit of fun.  Looking forward to seeing what he does with the tracks when we're all done. 

Today was pretty crazy - booking venues for the loopfests, booking gigs, editing, lots of emails, confirming loopers, planning spring tours, phone calls, posting, posting, posting...even got my workout in this morning. What a lovely day.  Going to bed after a solid day of work.  Love it.

 

Wow...a brutal end to 2013.  I hurt my shoulder working on my house so I stopped my exercising for the last couple of months, I had a very intense fall tour, I lost a much loved colleague and friend, I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic, I didn't have much work for the holiday season, it was too cold to work on the house and I got a nasty cold over Christmas that put me in bed for 3 days.  I am thankful 2013 is GONE, GONE, GONE!

2014 started with a fantastic college bowl season, I started back on my exercise program, got my diet figured out a little better for my new "condition," made some nice contacts for new gigs in town, getting my first tour of the year rocking and rolling, got some new, old records signed to the label, started getting the loopfest plans rocking, even got some house repairs in and cut my hair!  It's amazing the power of imagery.  Just having a fresh haircut puts a little pride in one's step and a fire in the belly.  I'm rested up, rejuvenated and full of music.  Already written a half-dozen new grooves for the loop station show and getting ready for the first recording of 2014.  2014 is all about getting ahead.  It's going to be a lot like 2013 as I'm still the newbie in a new town, but I'm making headway.  I'll get my band going and advance all of my projects.  MUCH to be done and I'm looking forward to doing it.

When I started doing this, i had every intention of it being a most regular thing.  A "revealing look" inside if you will.  Well, schedules and life being what it is, regular is a difficult thing.  And my wife isn't too fond of the personal stuff being out in the world.  She's right about that, but what are you as an artist if you don't reveal yourself?  Isn't one's work made more valuable be the personal motivations, the things going on in one's life that affect inspiration and thought concentrations?  We are humans.  We are complex beings affect by myriad emotions and experiences.  We can also set these things somewhat aside.  But as an artist, these things affect how we create or practice our craft. 

I've had a bit of a slow holiday season.  Some cancellations and cutbacks and a lot of time spent on other things have left an open calendar.  I'm beginning to see how to work my schedule now though.  And there's a lot of label stuff to do.  I've been doing a ton of video from the loopfest.  Although I really cannot be doing some much of it "after=the-fact."  It's a pretty intense amount of work.  I've picked up some more records and am kicking out a lot of new releases between now and spring.  It's a pretty cool. 

I'm pretty caught up on things in the office.  I haven't jumped into a new big project yet and have been doing a lot of house stuff and fiddling with some ideas of tech, music, etc...  just housekeeping stuff.  It's been eating up time and giving me time to think whilst still being productive.  And the house is cleaner!  Still haven't started exercising again although my shoulder is fully healed up.  I'm thinking 2014 is a fine time to start up again. 

As I've been reflecting on the holiday season and my year.  I did have some things I wanted to say.  The very first is Thank you.  To all of my friends, family and fans.  To my loved ones, to the people who came to hear my play, the venues that hired me, those who you purchased my music, those who streamed my songs and those who have watched my videos.  THANK YOU.  To those who let me stay at their homes, to those we met up with for dinner, drinks, meetings, concerts. THANK YOU.  To those who participated in all my projects THANK YOU.  To those I'm in business with and the music we've made together and the music we are promoting together THANK YOU.  To those who have included me in their projects THANK YOU. This has been a great year for me and my company.

I've really been expanding the label, adding records, working with more people and making great music.  It's been an amazing ride.  Merry Christmas everyone, I hope your 2014 is blessed and filled with good health, happiness and prosperity.

Noah

 

Back home dealing with lots of office stuff.  Mainly trying to get video online and distributed to Loopfesters!  That's all kind of fun, but the slow uploading is killing me...In the meantime I'm finally going through some old mini-disc gig recordings from 5, 8, 10 years ago... jazz, folk, reggae all in small combos from gigs so far. 

I've really been blessed to make a lot of music in my life.  And I look forward to making a lot more.  What a life...

The last road gig was great.  Nice little place, great people, fun night.  An old High School friend showed up with a small crew and a good time was had by all.  Crashed at their place after staying up until the wee hours of the morning chatting.  And then up and on the road for home.  Came home with my cold just raging but I unpacked and hit the rack.  Had shows to play, stuff to do for the next several days.  Didn't help me get better at all.  Been back a few days now, got some rest and am feeling a little better. 

Any time I take a few moments and reflect on this trip I want to wax poetic and write something grand about how incredible it was.  But there are no words for it.  It really was something special though.  It already seems like a lifetime ago.  What a joy it was.  It was very stressful and not everything was awesome, but then again the sun doesn't shine everyday. 

Got a few days before the San Antonio LoopFest.  Starting small and will build it from there. 

It is good to be home.  My wife and I aren't fully on the same page yet.  Getting there pretty quick though.  It's crazy how 2 months apart can get you out of sync.  But we're getting there.  Calendar is pretty lean, but starting to fill in.  Time to get back to it.  Lots of receipts from the tour to file, video to process, gigs to book, a neglected house and yard to attend to, a neglected wife to make happy again and much, much, much work to be done.

Ended up picking up a bit of a cold on Santa Cruz.  Didn't think much of it until Long Beach.  Started coming on pretty heavy.  After the gig, slept in and started medicating.  I'm not one to take medicine.  But I'm on the road.  Sleeping on a couch.  And moving and gigging in the next few days.  Not a happy combo to get better.  Met up with some Marine buddies that night.  Had a BLAST.  Zack came along as we were checking out some venues in Long Beach.  After my little meet-up, Zack's bandmate came out and we hung out and cruised the town a little, Zack drinking beer and me drinking cold medicine.  This cold began to seriously kick my ass.  Much sleep was had again, but more potent measures were needed.  Got some different OTC stuff and hung out with Lew at his studio for the day.  Finally dragged my butt down to Vista to my cousin and went straight to bed after a quick bite and shower.  Laurie was kind enough to give me some herbal supplements which helped beat this thing down.  I was up early the next day for a long, outdoor gig.  Had a good time, the weather was perfect and I was so out-of-it from the medicine and sickness that I could barely speak.  Sold some CDs and made some GREAT tips!  Grabbed some food and drove on down the road a few hours. Promptly cancelled another meet-up with a Marine buddy as I didn't want to give him my creeping, snot lungs of death.  Spent the next 18 hours at a truck stop in Barstow trying to sweat and sleep through this thing.  Nose got all chaffed.  Didn't eat much.  Had to get going.  Made it to my father in law's in Sedona and again, shower and straight to bed.  Felt better the next morning.  Didn't need much medicine. Had my first real meal in a few days and had a nice chat.  Took a nap for several hours and hit the road for my first gig ever in Flagstaff.  Cool spot, but a dead Monday night.  Although not every place was dad.  Flagstaff is cool.  Really liked.  Looking forward to coming back through there again.   At this point, I'm feeling even better.  Started feeling so good that I drove all night to Santa Fe.  Wasn't tired.  Got a few hours sleep, cleaned up at a rest stop and came into town to get online and grab coffee.  Feeling chipper but still got a little sniffle hanging on!  

Last road gig is tonight.  Then two days to get home for a Halloween gig in San Antonio.  Can't wait to get home.  It'll be seven weeks out.  Not even close to the longest I've been out, but this was plenty long.  Miss my wife, miss my house, miss my cat.  Can't wait to get home.  Lots to do.  This trip has been amazing.  Epic indeed.  The journey, the gigs, the people, the music, the driving, the views, all of it...just amazing.  I don't have the words to depict how I am feeling right now.  I am grateful for this wonderful musical adventure that my life is.   And there's so much more to do with it yet...  :)

Life is good.

Wrapped up my time at the Y2K Loopfest.  I had a great time.  Really got to get to know some pretty cool folks. Very glad I’m doing this stuff.  Got some great ideas for next year.     Sadly, I had to get on down the road.  Made a stop in Paso Robles at cool little joint.  Had a fun show and watched some Sunday Night Football after.   Looking forward to making that a regular stop!  But I had to  head down the road some.  Stopped at a tiny rest area somewhere in the coastal mountains for the night.

Up the next day and off to get some work done.  Found a Starbucks for coffee and internet.  I was time to get some work done.  Spent most of it on San Antonio LoopFest stuff and trying to stay caught up whilst arranging my visitation schedule for the week.    After more than a couple of hours of that I needed to do some errands and laundry.   Got everything squared away, cleaned and ready to go just in time to meet my mother-in-law for dinner.  Hung out with my Aunt for a minute and called it an early night.  Next day was up and off to L.A. to hang out with Zack.   Did a show with him that night in Long Beach, props to Cameo for coming out and seeing the show, had fun with the locals, met some of Zack’s former bandmates and friends.     Making a little headway on the SoCal LoopFest and some other business.  But mostly catching up, looking ahead to coming home to San Antonio, booking some gigs, etc…   all in the beautiful weather of sunny California.

Oct 19th.  I can’t even begin to describe all the things that went on these past two weeks.  It’ll be fun to recap.  The following Sunday (Oct 6th) was up early to get the show ready for Emmett that night.  Packed up my gear for the day and off I went to the first gig at the Portland Marathon.   A couple hours honking my horn on a PA I didn’t have to haul all outside on a beautiful day.  Had another commitment for a few hours and then off to Ivories for the big poetry show.    Show was okay.  It had some great moments, a few weak spots, attendance was lighter than I wanted, but it was a poetry and blues show on a Sunday evening in Portland and the weather was beautiful.   Tough day.  Off “home” to relax and get some food.

Next day was a morning commitment for a few hours and then into the studio for the mix session.  Dennis Carter at Falcon studio starts knocking it out.  We put in a full day work on the ears and it was time to go.  Had another commitment that kept me until 9:30pm, off “home” after that.  Next day was about the same.  Busy in the morning, off to the studio, met with a friend, had a dinner with other friends.  Home late. 

Anytime I got home I got online to promote the loopfests for a couple of hours, catch up on work, email, talk to my wife, plan the next day so I could drop flyers, etc…It’s not like I went to bed.  Thankfully my host keeps plenty of Scotch on hand.   And there’s usually a night or two of awesome conversation about bands and growing up that goes until a bottle or two is empty.  Good times…

Anyway, the next day was the same except after the studio I drove to Seattle.  On the way up I thought about how awesome all my friends are.  Some have babies, some have businesses, some are single, married, divorcing all off on their own epic adventures.  It’s great to drop in for a few days or a few minutes to catch up and hang out.  I really enjoyed the moments we could carve out together.  And then I got there and was swept away by the force of nature that is my family – my parents had come in from Montana to see the fest. 

Thursday morning.  Day one of the Seattle LoopFest.  I didn’t sleep well.  Mostly hung out with my family as they were in an out.  I needed to pick up one of the loopers from the airport and then head to the venue.    I really was on the last shreds of my nerves.  Picked up the talent (Emanuel from Paris,  France) and off to the venue.  Attendance wasn’t what I was hoping for.  The venue said they had a great night. They said it was one of the best Thursdays they had had in quite a while.    The performers were out of this world.  Some out of this world awesome and some out of this world weird.  The variety of tech, technique, style and mood was incredible.  Got some great pics. Haven’t checked the video yet.  Stayed late.  Grabbed Emanuel and off to stay at my sister’s.

Next day was tourist day in Seattle.  I had nothing to do and the anticipation was over.  I was ready to relax and have some fun.   I grabbed Emanuel and everybody went strolling through downtown Seattle to see the sights, have some conversation, cocktails, coffees, etc…  Then back to the fest for night two.  Venue had a nice crowd.  Performers were very strong.  Great stuff all night.  Home late, stayed up later and then up early to head down to Portland.  Stopped at home base to switch gear in/out around, made my morning/afternoon commitment, met up with my wife (for about 3 minutes), met with friends for dinner , and then to the venue for the Portland show.  Attendance started light, but really filled up nicely as the night went on.  Performers were strong, sound was awesome.  The venue was pretty cool.  Really liked it there.  Good show.  Met my wife at “home” very late.  Crawled in next to her and fell asleep.  She was gone when I got up.  I had one last commitment to get to and then was the single social event I planned.  A little get together at a great Portland pub.  About a dozen showed.  It was fun.  Getting to know some of the loopers now.  Then it was off to get the matinee going.  We started rolling at 4pmish and had a light crowd most of the day.  Saw some things I didn’t know I was going to see.  That’s half the fun of these things.  Seeing what the whole thing looks like.  Some incredible performances from unexpected places.  Wrapped it all up, went out for dinner with a couple loopers from out of town and called it a night.

Next day was a brunch with old friends.  And then off to Ashland for a gig.  I put one of the loopers from the fest on it as he was going to be in town.  Show was awesome.   They loved it.  Had a nice 5-6 hours in the car with my wife to have a face-to-face chat.  First time in a month.

Next day was back in the car and off to Tracy, CA to visit friends.  Got online for a minute.  Ate a lot of food.  It was awesome.

Next day , met friends in Oakland, dropped the wife at the airport and off to Danville for a show.  Split the gig with some loopers and I was off late to crash at my buddy Jay’s place.  Up early the next day. Saw friends for most of the day and off to Santa Cruz to stay at my cousin’s place for the Y2K Fest. 

Since then, mostly been sleeping late and hanging out with the loopers, enjoying performances, did my show and just enjoying the beautiful weather, the incredible past couple of weeks and the new friends.  Lovely.

What a week.  Got some great stuff in the studio.  It didn't come easily, but we got it to all come out.  Did a number of gigs. Saw some friends. Work, work, work...  Sleep is getting cut short these days.  Too much to do.   Having some fun along the way too.  Talking to the wife several times a day on the phone.  Keeps the lonely away.   Exhausted and so much to do still.  Getting too old for this.

 

Happy Birthday to me.  I was never one to really get into my birthday.  It used to bother me.  But my wife began to change that.  and she made it become an enjoyable day for the two of us.  Then Facebook came along.  And, as anyone who knows me knows, I put a pretty large chunk of my life on it.  But on birthday day, you get a ton of people saying "Happy all-kinds-of-stuff."  I like it.  Makes me feel special that people would take 2 seconds to post it. 

And it was a special day.  Wrapped up all the tracking for Emmett's new CD.  I think it's hot.  I think it's great.  I can't thank the band enough for their professional and creative input on this thing.  Beautiful, funky, soulful.   Got all the edits done today and started mixing.  Dennis Carter at Falcon Recording Studios is doing a great job for us.  Really think it was the perfect fit.

Getting pretty anxious about the loopfest.  It's right around the corner.  Ba Ba Bummmmmmm.  Some days I'm really excited about it. Some days I'm really thrilled and satisfied.  Today is one of those days where I feel like I want to throw up. 

What a day.  I'm beat.  Lovin' the road.  Lovin' the tour.  Making great music.  Meeting some very cool people.  Miss my wife.  Miss my house. Miss my cats.

Wow....hard to believe it's been 8 days since the last post.  Seems like a month.  Anyway...rolled on in to Moab.  As beautiful as ever.  I can't seem to get enough of that place.  Hiked up to Delicate Arch.  (Just posted the pics on Faceboook.) Wanted to get there last trip but didn't have enough time.  Barely squeezed it in this time around.  Had a fine gig at Eddie McStiff's and hit the road to Salt Lake City. 

Next morning was a corporate lunch gig for lunch which went very well. Followed by a round of disc golf at Creekside.  Had a good time and didn't shoot well at all.  Played Burt's Tiki Club later that night and my cousins showed up!  That was cool.  Spent the night at their place and was off in the morning for a show at Westminster University which, again, went very well!  After that is was a couple of hours on the freeway headed North to Lava Hot Springs in Idaho! 

A nice evening gig at the Riverside Inn followed by the jam session at the Blue Moon Tavern and a warm bed and breakfast back at the Inn. I always have a great time in Lava.  I know the staff some as well as a handful of the locals since I've been through there regularly of late.  It's always nice seeing them.  Even had some good players there!

Next day, up early and off for another couple of hours down the freeway for a fun lunch gig at the Jerome Senior Center.  Then back to Twin Falls for an awesome but windy round of disc golf followed by a GREAT gig at the Anchor Bistro.  Hit the road for Boise that night.

Saturday was a late sleep in, all day on the computer playing catch-up, a little college football and gig at Salt Tears.  Hit the road and drove all night to Portland.  Got in about 5am at Dwight and Tracy's.  I love Dwight and Tracy.  They are good friends.  And I really appreciate the hospitality.  Mostly it's the netflix, I get to catch up on Dr. Who late at night while typing my blog!  Of course, the conversation, scotch, food, quiet house and kitties have a little something to do with it as well.  Got settled in, unpacked and got to work. Had to get things in order for the recording session in the morning!

Ended up with a GREAT day in the studio.  Got a ton done and well ahead of schedule.  Got some very fine material recorded.  Did a few housekeeping things and called it a day.  Had a little chow, watched a movie while going through a pile of mail and trying to finish up online.    Looking forward to another studio day tomorrow!

 

 

Okay...it's Sunday Sept 22nd.  Still in Denver, CO.  Going to hit the Blues Jam at Ziggie's tonight.  Going to say hey to the owner.  Get down a little bit with some jammers (hopefully). Head out tomorrow.

First gig was in Evergreen at the Little Bear Saloon.  This place was great.  I had a Tuesday night gig and there was flood damage up there.  Part of the road and a parking lot were gone.  The other live music venue was closed for flood repairs that hadn't started yet.  There wasn't a big crowd.  But there were some partyin' folks.  Had a great time in a very cool venue. 

Tried to get some work done on some tunes for a recording the next day.  Made some progress but fell a little behind as it was slow going. 

Next gig was in Boulder at a bar/coffee house.  Brian Casey, a Portland friend and musician whom I've had the pleasure of playing with a variety of settings was able to come down last minute and see the show with his wife.  Brian and I share a love of scotch.  I like to think I'm the guy that got him into it!  Maybe not 100% true, but then again...  Anyway, we had to see what he had on the shelf at home.  It was awesome catching up.  Gig was fun, a lightly attended.  I made myself a couple of fans.  That's for sure.  I'll take it.

Hung out with some old friends here and there.  Got a nice motorcycle ride in on Saturday. Saw an old Marine buddy.  Hung out with my host and ran around town a little with him.  Got some more tunes worked on.

Mark (Marcus) treated the family and me to tickets to Earth, Wind and Fire at Red Rocks.  I didn't know Denver was Phillip Bailey's hometown.  That was a pretty special show because of that. And Red Rocks is a very fine venue. It was my first time there.  Very cool. 

Friday gig was at The Mirage Sports Bar.  I love that place.  They keep having me back.  This time I even had a nice crowd come!  Mark rustled up a nice crew. I had a couple peeps show up.  Plus there was a decent crowd there.  I had a great time.  They asked me to play a little longer because people were so intrigued.  That's always nice to hear.  Early show and then it was beer and pool and stories.  A great time was had by all.  Had some serious and deep conversations and some laughs.  It was a very cool night.  Perfect night. Saw a Marine buddy I hadn't seen in 20 years.  That was awesome. 

The weekend was largely social. I did get an afternoon in with another musician/friend/associate to catch up.  That was nice to have a face-to-face conversation with him. 

Most of the day Sunday was spent writing music.  Got a ton done, started putting the project together.  Still overwhelmed with that and the loopfests.  Plus there's trying to get the San Antonio Fest up and going.  That one is a bitter baby to be born.  I have to say, the musicians I'm largely dealing with make this a very unpleasant experience.  I left Texas floored by the quality of bands I have been recently seeing.   Suffice to say I'm dealing with a lot of non-working acts.  The attitude and inability to follow directions keeps the frustration level high.  I started thinking about not doing it today. 

Anyway...feeling pretty good about how things are going.  The timing worked out well with gig/time off.  It's allowed me to catch up on some things.  I still have a ton to do for the loopfests, but that's all clean-up work now.  I can start on some of that tonight after the Blues Jam.  Shows are going well.  I'm bringing it pretty hard.  The shows I've been seeing lately have had a pretty serious impact on me.  I've been changing some things in my delivery and the nature of the music performance.  I think it's a lot stronger now.  CD sales are up! Got things pretty well put together for the fests.  Sleep is good, weight is down a little, feeling healthy although my neck and shoulder are still tweaked from working under the house.  That should have been better a week ago... 

Miss the wife, miss the cat.  Miss my house.  Having a great time.  I have great friends and I love to see them.  It's so good to see them all.  And we have some fun when we're not working.  Drinking a lot less.  Hands are still swollen a little.  Life on the road is good.  I do love it.

Leaving for Moab tomorrow.  Back to the courses!

 

 

 

 

Okay... so the adventure begins.  Things kicked off in Austin.  I said goodbye to my wife.  Hung with some friends old and new, had a ton of fun, stayed up late.  A nice show the next morning at the Hope Farmers Market and off on the road.  Made it a good bit into New Mexico and drove through a harrowing storm.  I ain't Pee Wee and this isn't my "Biggest Adventure."  I've driven in plenty of bad weather.  But rain and hail were so fierce I had to slow to 25 mph to feel safe.  The lightning was intense.  Constant flickering like a strobe light with a spastic short.  Many flashes were bright enough to light up the entire surroundings as bright as day as far as you could see on the flat Texas range.  The word "Tornado" briefly flashed through my brain. I checked the foliage in the highly, illuminating, frenzied flashes of the the lighting and they were only bent with the deluge of rain and hail.  No wind. My car wasn't really being pushed around.  No wind, no Tornando.  And no thunder.  It was a little nerve-racking and I was concerned with going through a creekbed or over a ditch.  I'm not on the freeway.   Maybe about 30-40 minutes of intense rain and then slowly lightened up from there on out. It was a good 45 minutes of lightening before I got into the really heavy rain and hail. 

Got a couple games of Disc Golf in for the afternoon. Stopped in to see an old High School buddy for dinner and currently am in Denver.  Getting caught up on the biz for the last bit. Got my room set-up and ready to work.  Life on the road.  Love.  Got a gig tonight.

 

My last night in San Antonio for a little while.  Ended up going out by myself.  Went to 2 clubs an saw 4 bands.  Got a nice education in the basics of the Texas music scene.  Lesson #1 "Texas Bands Rock"  Lesson #2 "Committment"  Lesson #3 "My thing IS awesome"  Lesson #4 "Just try and bring it bigger, badder and harder than me."

Saw some great acts tonight. Heard some very good music.  Got overwhelmed with sound.  Looking forward to hearing many, many more great Texas bands.

 

Tomorrow I blast off for another wild and wacky Solo Sax Sessions tour.  I've spent the past week busting my butt on home repairs and getting things in order for me to take off until November 1st.   I leave tomorrow night to Austin to hang out with a friend at his house warming party, do my morning gig, aka the First Gig of the tour and then it's off to Colorado for a week of gigs and composing. 

I'm not going to lie...I'm getting pretty nerve wracked for this trip.  I've got my two loop festivals that are wearing on me and a CD to do in Portland.  After that, things are smooth sailing. Until then, things are going to get much, much worse.  I'm already starting to lose sleep.  I've got 25 loopers coming in for 4 days.  Some from overseas, some from California...yikes.  Not to mention the 7K miles I'll be driving and all of my gigs there and back. 

Looking forward to hitting the road and getting this thing going though. 

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