Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tom Moore is 50 years old!

I couldn't believe it when I heard it, but Tom Moore, the Voice and Harmonica of Little Frank and the Premiers, turned 50 years young. The Midway Tavern Dancehall was the place to be last night to help Tom celebrate. The headliners of the evening was George Bedard and the Kingpins.

If you haven't ever seen George Bedard and the Kingpins shame on you. They are a top flight roots rock and blues outfit. George's guitar playing is phenomenal. He also has a reedy twang to his voice reminiscent of Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello. In fact, he kind of looks like Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello. From his version of the William Tell Overture, rockabilly style, to more subtle bluesy soul, and just plain rockin' out, Bedard is amazing. Bass player Randy Tessier not only thumps out the driving beats, he can sing! His dedication to James Brown of "I feel Good" was great. Rich Dishman is the drummer and sings harmonies. His beats are top quality.



Tom joined the Kingpins for a couple numbers. I loved 'C. C. Rider' a different kind of tune for him. Little Frank and Brian Cook and Bob Carter of the Premiers joined in. The guitar duets, especially in the last set, with George and Frank were out of this world. They played like they'd known each other for years.

There was a whole cast of other characters including Jeff Craft? and Bill Sewell?

If I'm going to do this blog thing, I've GOT to take better notes.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Mrs. Tomato's Best Looking Son. . .

My ears are still ringing a bit. I spent the evening at the venerable Midway Tavern with a couple friends and Duke Tumato and the Power Trio. Duke and his band ended with a rousing version of "You don't Have to Go Home, but You've Got To Get the Hell Out of Here." What a show! There just seems to be something in the hall that takes Duke to another level. Not only was every song an exceptional version, Duke was playing at the top of his game.

I probably saw Duke 5 or 6 times in 2006. This was the first in 2007. It is almost unfortunate that the 'comedy' aspect of his music overshadows his playing. Duke is an incredible guitar player. I was cursing the dancers as they made it impossible for me to watch Duke's hands.

Wild Animals, I'm Going to Tie You Up, and More Love, More Money were just some of the Duke Tumato classics in the set. Also, from the new CD, You've Got the Problem, Be So Easy, Trouble of My Own, and my personal favorite, My Baby is a Nudist.

Duke is supported by the seriously talented James Hill. I think I heard James doing some of his own stuff on XM Radio. James takes the vocals on two or three songs; all of them fabulous.

The rhythm section, Mark Christopher Rohrmann on bass and Toby Seiler on drums, are visceral. The beat pumps into the entire building and up into your bones from the floor. They never stop.

Duke is 66 years old. He played for well over two hours for the first set. There were lots of dancers, and lots of smoke too. It appeared to be a good night for Albertina and the Midway.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

The sweet smell of Grape Kool Aid.

I almost did it! Man, I'm glad I got over it. The cost helped. :o)

I was very close to stepping into a program for more certifications; Microsoft Certifications. Wow. I couldn't believe it.

I really think that Vista is going to allow M$ to take over the rest of the planet. The draconian features that I am reading about will only be realized too late by most users; corporate and private. The only chance we have left is that the Media Center PC is a bust and high quality playback remains the province of the television and the 'stereo.'

I got in a funk and almost turned to an 'if-you-can't-beat-em; join-em' path. What really helped was that the specific program was $24,000 and even through Sallie Mae I needed a co-signer. Sometimes a good slap in the face will wake you up.

I plan to continue pursuing certification, but on my own and open source.

Whew!!! The evil empire is insidious in ways I never imagined.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Greensky Bluegrass New Years Eve!

Last night was New Years Eve. With several friends, I headed to the beautiful State Theater in Kalamazoo, MI. The theater is beautiful. With a couple bars running, and CD/Swag tables the place was set up. The interior of the theater reminded me of the Tampa Theater; a very ornate facade with statuary stuck in alcoves.

As we arrived, Seth Bernard and Daisy May were already singing. Daisy has an amazing voice and tremendous energy. Seth crafts thoughtful, and sometimes political tunes. He is an excellent guitar player; so is Daisy May. Check out their stuff at earthworkmusic.com. Buy anything they sell, go see them anywhere within a day's ride. You won't be disappointed.

Next up was Steppin' In It from Lansing. I have seen their name several times and thought that I had seen them before. I hadn't. Lucky for you they are nothing like I had in my head [i'm not tellin']. SII is a wild and versatile band. They have guitars and bass and harmonic as well as trumpet, trombone, concertina and all kinds of noisemakers [it was New Year's after all]. I would call them a "rad trad" band in the vein of Uncle Earle or Old Crow Medicine Show. They knocked me out. Buy/See they will not disappoint. Michigan Singer/Songwriter Rachel Davis joined the boys.

We had seen Greensky Bluegrass at the Livery in Benton Harbor [great place, go there]. That is where we learned of the New Years Eve Bash. I was hooked. These guys are multi-talented with thoughtful and meaningful songs and journeyman musicianship. This should also be obvious by the fact that they won First Place honors at the 2006 Telluride Bluegrass Fest Band Competition. They are great. Go see Greensky! Sort of neo hippy newgrass, but it is delicious. Some of the best homegrown to come out of Michigan. 'Tuesday Letter' is a great song; title cut to a great album. Pink Floyd Cover! Can you imagine?!? They did a bluegrass Pink Floyd Cover. It was off the hook!

The night was wild. Sweaty hippy chics dancing everywhere. Plenty of bourbon. Bands tradin' members back and forth. Who knew Cookie played the drums?

How could it get any better? How about if all three bands came back out at midnight? How about if Seth lead them on 'All you need is love.' The Steppin In It horns played the intro. We were screamin' . . . and dancin' . . . and carryin' on. Then . . .

then!

ok, you're not going to believe it . . . Young MC 'Bust a Move' cover. Yeah, that's right! With Rachel and Daisy May singing the infectious chorus, Seth and members of each band took a turn rappin' a chorus from Young MC's 1989 hit Bust a Move. Most of those musicians were still in diapers when that song first hit. It was so cool. We were out of our minds! We made enough noise for the Greensky boys to come back out for one more instrumental.

What a great night. Greensky were excellent hosts. Everybody was 'on.' Thanks to all you musicians! And a great big THANKS to my friends, you know who you are. The bluegrass crew, thanks for being there and thanks for having me. I can't remember a better New Years!