The Bleu Note

Thor's Day  

Good morning! It's 8:34 in the a.m. on this sunny Tuesday. Yes, Mr Sun has returned, after a rainy patch. Oops, I spoke too soon. Guess we have more precipitation on the way..Domestic news.  Being as that it had been over five months since I'd seen a Barber, I had some 'hair issues'. , It was down to my collar and was just generally all over the place. So this was my first self-administered haircut. I was afraid of disastrous results not unlike my first attempt to make a mask, but it turned out well. Maybe a little crooked in the back, but nothing that would get laughs(at least not to my face!).. Can't bring myself to part with the facial hair, but it too is trimmed into submission. At least for the moment..

Music news. I have one new post on YouTube from yesterday, and one to put up today. Also a solo guitar thing I'd apparently done years ago and forgot about. Working on an old half-finished project  I've had laying around, a compilation of some live and studio performances. I'd love to get some folks together and do another group CD, but it may be a good while before that happens. So in the meantime, I have these to offer. Coming soon. 

There was a skit yesterday on FB, from an old Carol Burnett episode with Carol, Vicki, Harvey and Tim performing some "new music". It made me laugh, but also struck a nerve. I went to school to learn to compose the music they're making fun of. And I did hear a few pieces along the way that were that awful(Umbrellaphone no. 1, where the pianist takes off his shoe at one point and hits the piano with it!); but I also heard some wondrous stuff. 

One thing my education did for me was to stretch out my ears. In this sense, I feel a little bit like a New York cabbie- someone who, to my mind, has seen it all. Nothing is too weird, too 'far-out'.. The only valid question is 'does it work'. One of my classmates at Peabody was working on a piece that involved little motorized toy trucks, each carrying a particular scent, pleasant or unpleasant. In the course of the piece, these little toy trucks would roam about the room, giving an olfactory aspect to the music. I hope he followed through with that one. Would've enjoyed seeing(and smelling)the premiere...

I could go on, but this is probably plenty to read already. Thanks as ever for stopping in and wading through it all. Happy Tuesday to you! Until next time, I'm outa here. More later. 

un-manic Monday  

Good morning! 9:17 this side of noon. And it's Monday! It's more like a second Sunday anymore. Or a third Saturday. Or a fourth Friday. Okay, I'll stop. That's the kind of thing a kid would do to get on your last nerves. I know, because as a former kid, it's the kind of stuff I'd pull on grown-ups, all the while watching their faces for any sign of irritation. 

Music news. Well it would appear that front porch or driveway concerts are the thing these days. My good buddy David Hoffman is moving from Galesburg to Peoria in this coming week, and is setting up some musical mayhem for his front porch. And he's collected enough to pay a four-piece band. I feel sorry for anyone making their living playing gigs, having their income completely wiped out. Dave's doing a good thing with these front porch concerts. . Might even catch on..

I don't have much of a front porch, but I do have a nice deck out back and a long backyard. If I lived out in the boonies, this would be a perfect spot for concerts. As it is, I have cool  neighbors to either side of me(same family), and that kind of noise---even jazz---would definitely put a strain on things. We're fine with each other's noise as it stands now: their dogs and my guitars. So as much as I'd like to entertain folks from my 'back 40', it's more important to keep the peace. I'm lucky to have the neighbors I have.

As far as anything outa me, I'm still plugging along. Still putting in daily time on the guitar and posting something to YouTube every couple days. This has been a crazy-productive year as far as recordings- 5 this year so far, with a couple more to follow! That's nuts. Last year I produced one album, and three the year before that. I try and share things on FB that I think folks will like. More to come...

Okay, here's one that would probably have me Facebook-incarcerated, so I'm just going to share here. The Woody Herman Band has a tune in their book called Just My Fuckin' Luck. Supposed to be a pretty nice tune. If I ever hear them again, I'm going to have to approach somebody in the band on their break and request that one.

Well this is probably enough to read for now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading, For you FB readers, there is a paragraph I included that probably wouldn't pass Facebook muster. Gotta go here to the site to read it. Here's wishing everyone a decent Monday. With that, I'm outa here. More later. 

 

Sunday  

Good morning! It's nine o'clock, a nice sunny day out there which is not due to roast us later. Cindy, my cat, is fast asleep in the chair next to me, and that first cup of coffee of the day is to my right. Battle stations. Gotten a lot closer with my surviving cat in these eight months after losing her sister last November..Some days she needs attention more than others, usually preceded by a plaintive meow and/or a tap on the shoulder. I've never had a cat who did the shoulder tap. Did you know cats have over a hundred different inflections of meow? Isn't that fascinating?

Music news. Looks like things are starting to pick back up, at least here in Illinois. The Curve Inn has a list of bands slated to play this month. I used to play there on Sunday afternoons, called A Taste of Jazz. Neil McGillavry, the owner, ended up moving us next door to a much smaller but more intimate club called the Cask and Keg(almost said Cask and Flagon but that;s in Boston). I haven't taken a good look at the exterior but I'd imagine the Cask n Keg went out with the bathwater. Gotta say, I really like the new look of the Curve  now, with the stage and all.

We also did a Sunday thing at Dr Ug's in Virginia, for a number of years, It was a Jam Session, hosted by Rob Killam and myself. They originally had us 2-5, which would bring in a slew of players, but they had to stay open until 5. So they put us around the lunch hour, where we had virtually no guests. Nice place, wonderful food, friendly folks. It just ran its course. Wouldn't mind playing there again someday. 

As for me, I just have a couple sessions planned with a few different groups. One is Ocean State, which basically involves just walking across the street with my guitar; and the other is with a keyboardist and drummer I've worked with before- and this one I have to drive to, just across town. I miss playing with other musicians, and am looking forward to both these sessions. 

One thing I should mention is that the blog you read on Facebook is sometimes a more condensed, or redacted version. I used the word shitty in there, and got a mild slap on the wrist- never done Facebook time though, never spent any time in their jail. This is something Facebook would probably disapprove of; 

1975, Oakland University. Rochester Michigan. I'm sitting in the cafeteria, having my lunch, and hear a group of kids talking at a nearby table. One of them says, "I don't fuck- I make love." . Obviously trying to impress a girl at the table by being Mr Sensitivity. I just shook my head and kinda chuckled to myself. For some reason this memory of 44 years surfaced, and with it a retort: I don't fart. I break wind

Well is is probably enough to wade through. Thanks as ever for stopping in and wading through it. Happy Sunday to you! I'm outa here. More later. 

Saturday  

Good morning! Just shy of nine on this rainyass Saturday. Sometimes I wake up with an "earworm", a tune stuck in my head. I'm sure someone out there shares this experience. Today's earworm is the Beatles' You Won't See Me. At least it's a good tune, and not something obnoxious like 'Don't Mess with my Toot Toot". That was a popular song when I was on the road, at least among cretins. To this day, I'm grateful I never had to learn it. 

Music news. Trying to think of an opener here- ah yes! Today is the birthdate of Jerry Garcia. It's not, as many have supposed, on 4/20. Hitler was born on April 20, not Jerry Garcia. I still celebrate 4/20, when it occurs to me. Gotta keep the Hitler association out of there though.Kinda harshes the mellow...

In other music news, I got paid $3.21 today for streams. Most of it is from an album I did back in 2007 called Solo Jazz Guitar. As far as money earned in streams, it seems to grow by leaps and bounds, where my other stuff moves about like Geologic Time.  Every time I make an album, I ask myself 'is this gonna be the one they really like?" and this one actually caught on. I'm thankful and all, but I get more excited seeing streams from the other 34 albums I've made. If I had any sense though, I'd just make another solo guitar album. Thinking about it anyway..

The composer Jan Sibelius was supposed to have had more social interaction with businessmen than his fellow musicians. When asked about it he said, 'Simple- the businessmen know how to talk about music. All the musicians talk about is business!'

A reminder to myself to maintain perspective, focus on the music rather than the returns. Speaking of music, I've hatched another one. Album, that is. It's called Guitar à Go Go- this intentionally cheesy title will either attract or repel folks- or both. And for at least the 35th time, I asked myself, "is this going to be the one they really like?

Time will tell. Anyway! This is pretty much all I've got for now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Saturday to you! For now, I'm outa here. More later. ..  

Friday  

Good morning! It's 9;37 on this murky Friday. Still digesting a night of slightly disturbing dreams, Normally my 'night life' is lively and colorful, filled with people and events, and it all fades away the moment I open my eyes. Occasionally I'll have one that's negative, and those I remember vividly(dammit!). All I can say here is that one of the dreams involved my ex-wife, who's still mad at me(at least in the dream). ....

Music news. Still staying afloat. March 13 is the last time I played anywhere. A Robbie's gig, just before the shutdown so it had an air of finality about it. Unfortunately, that "air of finality" gained some barometric pressure, at least as far as Robbie's- which will not be making a comeback. They'll find another spot for it eventually, but it marks the end of an era. . Always enjoyed playing Robbie's. If it was my gig, I'd end up selling a couple CDs. Also fun as a sideman. And I enjoyed playing Jeopardy at the bar with the regulars beforehand. 

So the game changes. Working from home, just like normal people(i.e. non-musicians), and noticing some of the same kinds of pressure. Just started putting stuff up on Bandcamp, and am always reminded that I have no followers in there. And they have your Stats you can check out. (Mine are awful so far!). The pressure to build a following is much the same here as that from a clubowner. But unlike the clubowner, Bandcamp will keep me in there, shitty stats or not.

I have one brand new album out on the market. It's called Guitar à Go Go. Lots of guitar work with a few weirdo electronic pieces thrown in for good measure. It's not a 'jazz' album as such but there are lots of solos. And my Par Martino influence comes through on this one..You can hear Guitar à Go Go on my website, along with other albums of mine.

As far as straight-ahead stuff, I'm working on that as well. Got some originals I've redone here in the Music Lab(you can hear them on my website), and also discovered a slew of live performances from a couple places(the old Baurs Opera House, then called The Loft)besides just Robbie's. I especially want to do something with these live cuts. For one thing it's a nice homage to Don and Bill(3 cuts)who worked in what was my favorite of my groups. For another, live performances have become a rarity, so it keeps that alive to some extent. 

And that'll do 'er for now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and wading through all this. Happy Friday to you! Onward to my other morning rituals(Lumosity, breakfast), so I'm outa here. More later. 

Thursday  

Good morning! It's 9:45 on this gloomy Thursday. Nature's unsmiling face is forming a frown, soon to release a torrent of rainfall. Let's hope for non-torrential showers today. I can't believe the stuff I write before I've had my coffee. 

Music news. It's a blessing in disguise that I have such a cluttered Music Lab. Uncovering something often leads to new discoveries. Well, stuff I'd long since forgotten about, so in effect the same thing. Found an old album of mine from 2005 or so, one that kinda fell by the wayside. Another compilation album, made up of three different kinds of trio: guitar, bass & drums(my favorite!); guitar, guitar and bass; and guitar, keyboards and drums. I wanted to get three selections from each trio as well, but it didn't quite work out, but  i have three selections with two of the three ensembles. A trio of trios. 

One of the trios is the old group I had with Bill Schlipf and Don Cochran, still my favorite of the various ensembles I've had over the years. Wanted to make a full-fledged album with them, but at least I've got a couple cuts. Another is with guitarist Dave Burdick and bassist Chris Nolte, a special session we did. And the third is from a Robbie's gig on March 1st 1996. I remember that date because it's that day I closed on my house. Terry Brennan and Steve Adleman on keys and drums. A spectacular solo by Terry on Watch What Happens, that must be shared. Terry is an amazing player. I remember him tearin' it up at Norb's, back in its heyday. Terry is the only piano player I know who actually likes playing left-hand bass. "That way I know what the bass player is doing", he quipped. 

So I gave that recording a good hard listen last night, and all but two of the cuts still hold up. Unfortunately one of the two rejects was the title tune, so I have to come up with a new title and cover. Getting more proficient at doing covers though, so I'll probably come up with something better. Another blessing in disguise. 

And that's my news for now. As long as I've got something to plug into- figuratively with these various projects and literally with the guitar- I'm okay, even in the face of the things we're dealing with as a nation. Music has never boosted my popularity(where's that money for nothin' and chicks for free?!), but it has saved my ass, and is doing so now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy lugubrious Thursday to you! I'm outa here. More later. 

Wednesday  

Good morning! It's 9:20 on this beautiful Hump Day. This is Phase Two of my awakening process. Phase One is getting up out of bed, pouring water in the coffee maker, taking meds, feeding my cat, and 15 minutes or so of meditation. I learned how to meditate via Transcendental Meditation, which was a big deal when I was 18. It's not a panacea, but it does quiet the mind. One of my favorite parts of my day is that quietude. And this is where being retired comes in. You can enjoy the quiet a little longer, not having to go off to work where it's shot to hell within minutes. 

Music news. I guess you could call it musical Expansionism(Imperialism was a bit strong), but I'm spreading out. Found another home for my recorded music in addition to CD Baby. Bandcamp. So I've been setting up residence there as well, loading my albums in for folks to see.Even set up a business account with PayPal, for when the money starts rolling in. 

Okay, slight exaggeration there. I meant trickling in. One thing I noticed right off the bat--and that you guys are sure to like!--was that Bandcamp sets their prices lower. $7 for a CD or download is standard. I used to charge $10. I'm fine with lowering my prices. I just want people to enjoy the music. And float me a few bucks for my trouble.

In trying to promote my music, I often feel like a damn politician." Follow me on this, follow me on that". Then again, no one's going to do it for me, at least not without charging me up the ass. So forgive my politicking, but if you're in the neighborhood of  Bandcamp.or  Spotify., please float me a "follow". This helps the steady trickle coming in which in turn greatly helps my morale. All for a good cause.....

That's most everything. I do have a brand-new recording to share. It's called Guitar à Go Go and can be found on Bandcamp..  Many other places down the line(such as iTunes, and Amazon et al), but for now it's up on Bandcamp. And you can hear the cuts in their entirety on my website, under My Wares. 

Okay! All the news fit to tailor. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Hump Day to you! I'm outa here. More later. 

 

Tuesday   

Good morning! It's just comin' on ten on this (so far)beautiful Tuesday. By the time I get done writing this, it could be raining cats and dogs. Let's hope not, I am a pokey writer though, sometimes spending as much as a half hour  on these. Part of that is that I'm still waking up, but writing is one of only two things I do slowly. The other is finding a video to watch at Family Video. My stepson didn't share any DNA with me of course, but this is one thing we had in common. We were both pokier than hell, much to the irritation of his sister(and there you have to ask yourself how much on his part was just to get under her skin!). 

Okay! Music News. First, I have a brand-new recording. It's called Guitar à Go Go, and is a compilation of some of my better guitar playing with a few weirdo electronic pieces thrown in for good measure. The cover picture was taken at Bertoni's in Mt Pulaski God knows how many years ago. I still own that guitar, which is a Takamine. A nice time, even though that jacket was itchier than hell.

I love 60s lingo, and do remember when à go go was added to make something more 'happening'. And a snippet of a Frank Zappa lyric, about "mod à go go stretch elastic pants. Can't seem to keep my sense of humor out of things. The recording ends with something from the 80s, a tune called Sherron. This was a lady I met in Texas while travelling with a band, back in 1985. This one shows my schmaltzy side. I am much more sentimental than I'd have you believe....

Much of yesterday was spent getting a new site in order. Yes, yet another website. This one is on Bandcamp, another place from which to peddle my wares. It's a newer site and I've heard nothing but good about it. So I'm on it. They're very fussy about art submissions, dimensions and all, We were at a standstill, until jenius-boy here figured out how to resize. Sometimes what you're looking for is right under your nose, and that was the case here. I can't say I'm great at it, but I've gained some proficiency.

So I've been fixing a few covers with this new-found knowledge. CD Baby won't let you change them once they're done, but Bandcamp seems to have more flexibility there. So I've been adding albums with their new and improved covers. 

YouTube now has 101 subscribers, Hot diggity dog! I'm still posting every few days. So glad this has worked out well. 

Well that about covers it. Here I am wrapping up this post, 30 minutes after starting, and it's still a nice sunny day out there. Maybe it'll stick around awhile. Let's hope so. Thanks as ever for stopping in and wading through all this. Happy Tuesday to you! Ich bin outa here. More later. 

un-manic Monday  

Good morning! Yes, it's actually a shitty morning, at least here in central Illinois. Dark and rainy. But it's another day, with its own set of challenges. Almost 9 hours of sleep last night. And with the usual array of dreams, which are gone(or no longer make sense!)the minute I open my eyes. Seven is my average, and eight is becoming more frequent, but I rarely go for nine. 

Music News. I hatched another one yesterday. Another recording, that is. It's called Guitar à Go Go, kind of an eclectic mix, but lots of guitar(and a few 'weirdo' electronic pieces)and is up on CD Baby(though not yet active)and Bandcamp. Love that name, straight out of the American Pie movies. Never having played a band instrument like trumpet or clarinet, I missed out on that cultural experience, and only went to "regular" Summer camp. Camp Piasa. I often forget why I walked into the room, but I can still remember the name of the Summer camp I attended when I was ten..

. Anyway! I've had a problem with Bandcamp in that I couldn't upload any artwork to meet their specifications. A long stalemate, and then I found how to resize pictures. A "duhhh' moment, as it was right in front of my face. But I'm getting better covers now. Bandcamp now has two of my recordings: Guitar à Go Go, which is new; and Tele-ology from 2018(jazz on a Fender Telecaster guitar)which now has a better cover. The cover is very important, whether you're doing physical CDs or downloads. It's the first image you see. 

In other Sam news, my YouTube page now has 100 subscribers! I started out with no subscribers, then was at 12 for the longest time, and then started to grow. Tickled pink to have subscriptions in 3 digits now. Doubt that I'll ever get to 4, but I'm happy with my hundred. At least for now. I've been posting every couple days. Trying to keep up the daily guitar practice, but not too inspiring in the heat. Still plugging though..

Not much else I can think of right now, even with nine hours of sleep. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Monday to you! One thing I can ask of my readers is that if you're on Spotify or Bandcamp is to give me a 'follow' in there. Helps the steady trickle coming from streams and the occasional download. Okay then. I'm outa here. More later. 

More on Sunday 

Hot diggity dog! I now have 100 subscribers on YouTube. There was no record of a new subscriber on my feed, but thank you whoever you are! You knew you'd be my hundredth subscriber. So, welcome to my world. 

Maybe it's a casualty of advancing age, but I've caught myself more times than I'd care to admit making something much more difficult than it needs to be.It's more fun when your task at hand is something more subtle and tricky, but quite often the simple dumbass solution is the one you want. The one right in front of your nose. That applies to the relatively new process of ordering groceries online, as well as the process of resizing photographs on the computer. . Duhh, just hit "resize" and there you go. 

I've had a site on Bandcamp for a little while now, and was always stymied by their photo requirements. Never could get my pictures to dimensions that suited them. But today was Satori Day as far as that goes. Got a new recording underway, one I'd meant to launch for awhile now. It's called Guitar à Go Go, and is now up on Bandcamp(pending me setting up a PayPal account and setting a price on it), soon to go up on CD Baby. 

Trying to do some playing these past couple days, and finding it hard to get motivated. Mainly the heat. 91 degrees today. The music room is the one room in my house that doesn't get central air, just a funky window unit. Not exactly roasting, but toastier than it needs to be. Still managing something new every couple of days as far as YouTube. 

So we'll see what happens with this Bandcamp site. Maybe it'll be like CD Baby and actually help sell your wares. As long as it reaches an audience, and I get a few shekels for my trouble..

Anyway, a blurb's worth of extra news. Thanks for reading. Outa here for now. More later/ 

Sunday  

Good morning! It's Sunday. Just a shade after ten this side of noon. The high today will be 89(or hotter). My neighbor, who's from Georgia, says that the reason Southerners seem so laid-back is that it's too hot to move! He's got a million of 'em..

Music news. A recent post on YouTube which I've uploaded to FB. Also a tune from an old CD of mine called In Your Dreams, called Right On!(yes, the exclamation mark is part of the title). Sometimes it's just fun to see how cheesy you can get..I released In Your Dreams in 2005, the tail end of another creative binge. Might just share some more of it on Facebook today. 

This has hit everyone who makes music. I feel sorriest for those folks who've made their living playing gigs.It's a most precarious way to make a living even in the best of times--I know, because I tried it!--but it can be very rewarding when everything's working(you're getting paid, people are digging what you're doing).. They've been hit the hardest., with all their potential paydays cancelled or re-scheduled. Having your income grind to a halt must be scary as hell. I can only imagine.

I don't remember the year-- 1986 maybe--but I do remember the month. July. I had eight gigs booked for that month, and all 8 ended up cancelling on me--and for eight different reasons! I was living at home, so the cancellations didn't affect me financially. But they did take the wind out of my sails. And left me with the conclusion that I'd probably better get my ass employed someplace. A regular income, to cover the "market fluctuations" of the musician's life. 

Honestly, I think we're gonna make a comeback. Just not right away. So, in the meantime, more solo concerts, more podcasts, more 'working from home'. Many of us musicians are also geezers, and as such, have to watch it. 

I guess that's what I had for you today. Thanks as ever for sticking around and reading it. Happy Sunday to you! I'm outa here. More later. 

Saturday  

Good morning! It's about ten of 10(or 10 of ten)on this Saturday a.m. Another scorcher on tap, but nice so far. Enjoying these Summer days roasting or not. 

Music News. One selection just uploaded to Facebook. It's called Right On!- and as you'd figure, is a send-off of those 70s Blaxploitation movies with Pam Grier or somebody in them. I'm a Quentin Tarantino fan, and  Jackie Brown(great cast which includes Pam Grier)is just about my favorite. Well, this one and Pulp Fiction. . So I tried to recapture some of those moments in this tune. Tarantino is fond as I am of those cheesy 70s soundtracks, with the wah-wah pedals and bongo drums.. And I love how his movies are put together, where he shows you several different perspectives of the same scene(okay, HItchcock was supposed to have done that too), and how Pulp Fiction picks up somewhere in the middle of the story and "ends" before the end of the movie. Cool stuff. 

 The website has a couple things on the Music page you may not have heard. A groove piece called Mr Machine. Just 5 minutes of drums. Never quite knew what to do with it, so it continues to just hang around with all the other music files. Also a sort of 'punk jazz' thing called Well You Really Shouldn't--borrowed, of course, from Thelonious Monk. 

Still shedding every day on the guitar. Posting every couple of days to YouTube. Still at 99 subscribers. C'mon 100! But at least I'm keeping the 99 folks I've got.

Yesterday I took a break from the news. I've become more of a news-junkie over the past couple months--good in that I never used to pay attention to this stuff, bad in that it can wear you down. Might just follow suit today as well. But I do like being informed- even though you end up a little more pissed off..So I may mention more things in here, but I'll try to do it after the music stuff. 

Anyway! Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Hope you enjoy today's musical posts as well as this blog. Happy Saturday to you! My coffee cup is empty so I'll exheunt here. Exit, stage right. More later. 

 

 

 

Friday  

Good morning! It's 9:07 this side of noon. Everything is in its place. My first cup of coffee is just to my right, and my cat is dozing in the chair to my left- just in case I might want to stop by. We're ready for something. 

This is the second day of Leo. I'm one of those folks myself. Not a big believer in Astrology as such, but there is a grain of truth as far as different personalities. Leo, for instance, is generous, good-hearted and vain as hell! Always liked Linda Goodman for her "people smarts",her insights into human behavior. Her Sun Signs book was something I acquired Senior year of High School, and became bathroom reading until it literally fell apart. I think I read every word in the book over the years. Here's what she had to say about Leo:

Flattery acts like catnip to him'; lack of respect blinds him with rage; and either extreme renders him incapable of balanced judgment. 

This is very true of me(unfortunately!), especially the lack of respect part. Getting a little better with age though.

Not much for music news right now. Still plugging away on the guitar. I have more music to share in the way of albums, but am holding off to let the existing stuff sell a little bit. 34 albums on CD Baby, and four of those just this year. One album I did put up this year, which is getting streams, is a thing called New Day. It was designed to be a 'feel-good' album, even though it does get a little weird around the middle(I'm still me!). It's up on the My Wares page of my website, and various other places like Amazon.

I'm sort of on the outskirts of the local music scene anymore, operating mostly from here in the Lab but occasionally making an appearance. It seems to be a lot less cliquish than was the case back in the 80s. And it was always integrated. I was the only white boy on more than a few occasions, even gigs I booked myself. And we'd both joke about me being the Affirmative Action Hire. We enjoyed the cultural differences, and would sometimes joke about them, the underlying feeling being that they really didn't matter. We're all variations, but on the same theme. That may sound trite, but it's true. And it's something I hope doesn't get lost in the current upheaval. 

Anyway! My two cents. I'm paying a lot more attention to the news these days, and it's starting to bleed over into my posts. Sorry about that. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Friday to you! I'm outa here. More later. 

 

Thursday  

Good morning! It's 9:30 this side of noon, looks like a beautiful Summer day ahead. It's been kind of a tough week, with the loss of an old friend(and one I had to  let go from FB), but starting to bounce back. I may just try and take a break from the news today, so this nice day doesn't get shot to hell....

Music news. One new post on YouTube, which I've shared to Facebook. It's called Misty Four You, and is just some playing over those changes. Miles Davis's Four and Errol Garner's Misty have essentially the same chord changes. As far as what I share, I go for feel more than every note in place. That's what communicates to the audience, more than your notes. So that's what I shoot for every time out(whether or not I actually make it). As the late jazz guitarist Emily Remler said, "that's where the fun is." So, some fun for you today...  

And I've come across a couple other things as well this morning. One of my favorite "virtual musicians" is a bass player from Italy who has a YouTube page called Mr Sunnybass. An old tune called Lover Come Back to Me, which I used to do in my own group way back when. So that one is on the horizon for today. 

I was thinking this morning about the 3 years I spent as a college kid  living in Baltimore, back in the late 70s. Baltimore was, to me, a combination of an Eastern and Southern city. And with it, there was all kinds of terminology you don't hear in the Midwest. For one thing, we don't have much of a Jewish community, with only one Synagogue that I know of. One of my best friends at Peabody was of the Jewish faith, and supplied me with all these "new" terms. I'd never heard  Jewish American Princess before, or a station wagon being called a "Jew Canoe"(that one made me laugh).

There was also a gay community at Peabody, something I hadn't seen much of in the midwest. I didn't care. We all got along. But there was a new term, again courtesy of my buddy. There were a few women who would hang around the gay guys because they wanted the male companionship without any sexual involvement. They were called "fag hags". This also gave me a chuckle. Only out East....

Anyway. Thought some of that might give a smile to someone reading.As ever, thanks for stopping in and wading through all this. Happy Thursday to you! Ich bin outa here. More later. 

Wednesday  

Good morning! Just shy of nine on what looks like another variable day. Here in the midst of the land o' Lincoln, we get what I'd call Weather Salad. A little sunshine, some rain, maybe gusting winds...So far just kinda dark and ominous...

RIP Jim Troxell. He passed away Sunday night. I'd guess he was 60 or 61. Much loved by the musicians, both here and in Florida. I knew he'd get a slew of tributes. From all the pictures, you could tell he had a nice life, even though it was cut short. Happy trails, pal! See you on down the road.

Music news. Same old same old for now. Hope to have something to share today. Still at it though..

We're all a little worn out by all the tumult in our country and in the world right now. Some people get testy, and it's like they're looking for something or someone to pounce on(or at least summarily correct).. I had to cut someone loose from FB for always seeming to have comments that were less than kind- or at least a little bit disquieting. And even on someone else's posts. I don't like to unfriend, but I figure we can still be friends outside Facebook. 

A Troxell story to wrap things up here. He was my brother's friend before he was mine, and used to hang out at the Crain house with me and my brother. On one such occasion, drinking and smoking went on into the night. My brother begged off at one point, but I stayed up. Finally, about 5:30 in the morning, I started to beg off, but Jim insisted I hang in there long enough to watch Clutch Cargo on TV. This was a cheapass cartoon akin to Space Angel, where only the mouths moved. The episode we watched was called Cheddar Cheaters, and had to do with stopping  Cheese Bombs(yes, really!) in the Netherlands. I'm sure there are more, but that's one I remember. 

Okay. That's all I've got for today. As ever, thanks for stopping in and reading. Happy Hump Day to you! I'm outa here. More later. 

Tuesday Welding  

Good morning! 10:30 on this variable Tuesday. We've had a little bit of everything this morning- except snow, and I certainly don't want to tempt fate. This day started out great. I do meditation for 15-20 minutes, something I've done since I was 18. It doesn't turn you into a Swami, but it does cool you out. A very nice session this morning. Got my mind nice and quiet, then got on Facebook and had my mellow somewhat harshed by all the clamoring. The goal, grasshopper, is to keep that quiet mind in the midst of chaos. Tall order....

Music news. One new entry on YouTube, which I shared to Facebook. As well as my YouTube page, where I put all the 'guitar jams', there are other pages under Sam Crain Topic, that have a lot of my recorded stuff. CD Baby, the company I've gone through since 2004, sends your stuff to a lot of places. I actually make a little money from folks streaming my stuff on iTunes or YouTube or Spotify. A piddly amount, but still a more or less steady trickle. 

Just sorta plugging along right now. Practicing every day, exercising every couple of days. My social life consists of phone calls, some exchanges on Facebook(mostly pleasant), occasional trips to Walgreen's or Hy-vee(doing the curbside thing), and a little interaction with my neighbors when I see them. And I have a cat, who taps me on the arm when she wants to be petted.

This is what holds me together these days. So far so good. I like to have an anecdote of some kind to share in here, but the well seems to be dry for the moment. I've got plenty of stories though, and hopefully will have one for tomorrow.. As always, thanks for stopping in and wading through all this. Happy Tuesday to you! Stay safe, stay healthy. I'm outa here. More later.   

un-manic Monday  

Ah, Monday! Beginning of the workweek. The cycle starts again.One co-worker, who actually seemed to like Mondays, saw it as another chance to get it right. I think life itself is another chance to get it right. Anyway, good morning! About a quarter of nine here in the small city. Overcast but at least cooler. I do prefer blue skies over white ones though..

Okay, music news. I've been posting a few things on Facebook and also my YouTube page. The FB post is a thing called Swingin' Summer Sunday(yeah!), and has a retro feel to it, at least at first. The CD it's from is called In Your Dreams, and has a retro feel in several of the tunes- but also gets more modern. For the cover, I used an old picture of my Mom as a little girl of 7 or 8. She had what I'd call intelligent eyes: a sort of grayish green and very clear- even in childhood. Not sure it came out in the picture, but you get the idea. My Mother was pretty low-key, at least on the surface. I think she got a kick out of the picture though..

There is more live music starting to happen. I'm seeing a fair amount of afternoon concerts, and a little of the nightlife returning. As for me, I have a few private get-togethers planned with a few folks, nothing definite. I was kinda scaling back before all this happened as far as playing out. Not missing it, but I am missing some of the folks I've made music with. And missing the fellowship as well as the music-making. It'll all work out. To quote my favorite line in the movie Roadie, "everything works if you let it". 

Actually my favorite line in the movie would have to be Meatloaf's recurring lament: why is my life so much harder than everybody else's?

Who among us has not asked themselves that question? Hm, looks like the sunny skies have returned. I have a funky window unit here in the Lab, and birds will occasionally land on it, whereupon my cat goes into predator mode. She has her claws, so I could let her out, but there are two reasons I don't. One is that she'd cause a ruckus among my neighbors' dogs, all of whom are her size or smaller. Wouldn't be pretty. The other is that I've seen what cats do to birds once they've captured them. Saw this spectacle of cruelty and schadenfreude from our front porch as a kid. Mom was a cat person, so we grew up with felines, and all of them outside animals. 

Okay. Got sidetracked a little there. Hopefully it makes for entertaining reading. And on that note, thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Monday to you, if that makes any sense! With that, I'm outa here. More later. 

Sunday  

Good morning! Just coming around to 9 on this soon-to-be-sweltering Sunday. Nothing on tap for the day except for some guitar shenanigans once I get enough coffee in me. Unlike working days, where you'd drink it all day, I limit myself to one pot of coffee. Comes out to three cups and change, which is ample even on the worst mornings.As mornings go, this one is probably a 4.75 out of a possible 10. Woke up about an hour earlier than I wanted to. Doing fine, just a little bit askew. This is where coffee does its stuff...

Music news. I have something nice and retro to share on FB today. It's called Swingin' Summer Sunday(yeah!)- a tribute, I suppose, to all those cheesy beach movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funnyjello. Beach Blanket Bingo. Dr Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. When movies were movies. Just kidding. 

Continuing to enjoy the home concerts on Facebook. I've made some musical friends across the pond: a saxophonist and composer from Denmark, who even has her own jazz radio station over there; two guitarists from Norway, who are both better than me(more technique anyway--keeps me humble), and assorted other folks from around the US. And a long-standing friend from Germany, whom I've yet to meet in this lifetime, but has been my internet friend for years. The political rants on Facebook get real old, but the music never does! 

Not much else I can come up with right now as far as news..Looks like a nice day for something, even if that something is just staying in and enjoying the day in air-conditioned comfort. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Sunday to you! With that, I'm outa here. More later. 

 

Saturday  

Good morning! It's about 8:45 on this soon-to-be-hot-as-blazes Saturday. My music room is the one room in the house that doesn't have Central Air, just a funky window unit. And in the Winter I have a space heater or two just in case. I've had my furnace malfunction before in the dead of Winter, so I have a pretty good array of heaters. Always ready for the elements...

Music news. Still plugging along. Going through a bit of a paradigm shift right now. . Between the Pandemic and advancing age, I've had to change the way I do things. More from home. And being that most of my musicmaking takes place around the computer anymore, I've gotta start putting more effort into sharing  it, more of a 'game plan'. So last night I put one together, and  have a few things to lay on you guys today. There's always music to share.  Starting to run low on my music pictures though, not having played anywhere since March. Most of the pix I have are from playing somewhere and having somebody take a picture with their phones and upload it to my Facebook page.. 

Outside the world of music, this and that. I just watched Get Me Roger Stone on Netflix. I have contempt for him and what he does, but must admit he is very good at his job. The fancy English word for him would probably be incendiary. Fire-starter. I prefer shit-stirrer myself. We had one of those in the office when I worked for the State. They're now an office supervisor. Boy am I glad I'm retired!

I've also been reading a little bit on the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, but this is already plenty outa me for the moment. As ever, thanks for stopping in and reading. Happy Saturday to you! I'm outa here. More later. 

 

 

Friday  

Good morning! It's just shy of ten on this sun n' clouds Friday. The birds are quiet for the moment. They gave quite a concert yesterday, enough so that I headed downstairs with the digital camera in hopes of capturing some of it. So I have a couple one-minute videos, what one of my friends on FB has taken in Washington Park and calls a "Zen moment". Sam's Backyard Satori. I guess you have to be in the right frame of mind to take all that in. Cannabis probably helps...

Music news. Still putting in daily time on the gitbox. I've been faithfully taping something or other, but they've been coming out too boomy. Too much bass. So I'm working on where to place the speakers on the computer  so as not to dominate the airwaves.. There is one new cut up on YouTube today, from the "archives'(February).  More to come there, as always. 

CD Baby, the place I sell from, has re-opened their warehouse as of July 13th. They just requested a restock from me for a CD that's sold all the available copies. I'm doing mainly downloads these days, but it's still good to see things getting back to nermal. In the meantime, you can find my stuff on the My Wares page of my website, and also (of course)on the Music page. As always, I'm inviting you to stop in. Like they say outside the strip clubs, "don't cost nothin' to check it out". 

Well, that's what they used to say outside the strip clubs in Baltimore, back in 1976-80. I was a student there, at Peabody Conservatory, majoring in music composition. I was gonna be a "longhair' composer. 

As far as any live shows, you could still shoot a cannon through my schedule without hitting anything. The best times for me are early afternoons, which has been mainly the nursing/assisted living facilities. Something or other will come through, always has. I gotta say, though, I am enjoying the peace and quiet from working from home. 

A skimpy news day. Oh well. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Friday to you! Until next time, I'm outa here. More later.