Monday, September 30, 2013

kern river rock n blues fest weekend

after andretti-ing our way thru the windy kern cyn (at night! argh!), we rolled into kernville w/in 15 mins of downbeat. james jumped out, donned his trenchcoat, & swam into the fray to start his show. i beat it on up the hill to mcnally's, where we'd been put up to stay... mcnally's was a long drive, & i was tired after much driving. i found the proprietor & got our room, dressed in my WBJ t-shirt, & headed back to the club where i got to watch james & band, reunited w/the outstanding max bangwell on drums! it was a super-fun gig w/happy enthusiastic crowd. next morn i found james down by the kern river w/a stick in the water, smiling like a 10-yr old. "i almost caught a fish," he whispered. "but i forgot my bait, so i used a piece of candy!" the fish didn't bite, but james looked to have been enjoying himself for a while, fishing peacefully... that day we hung out at the room & watched an old doris day flick on the portable dvd player & ate some food, then dressed & headed down to kernville... the sun was beating the stage to death when james & blues express hit it. my hubby put on a rock-solid, 1000% percent performance, dressed to the nines in tuxedo jacket & skull tie from sister sherri. his damned bridge flew out on 1st song & he just kept going - what a pro! these mishaps happen here & there & he plows through! i didn't see it happen cause i was selling t-shirts, but at end of song, he knelt down & asked some of the older folks up front, "anyone got any polygrip?" then ran backstage while max played one, fixed his teeth, & jumped back up there & kept going. the audience, of course, loved him!... when james stepped down, lisa cee, now of NOLA, went up w/her professional soul set, then the blasters came up & slammed out a rocknrolling kickass headliner set!! i got nice pix of james & phil as well as me w/my "fellow alumnus" keith wyatt, but they are stuck in cyberlimbo for now... this reminds me harvelle's wednesday night shows starting this upcoming wk will be fundraisers for kid ramos' medical expenses -- first wk's special guest will be BILLY WATSON! after that, pink arguello, & after that phil alvin! these will be especially terrific whiteboy james shows, w/such added star power & musical prowess... james & i danced & danced sidestage while the blasters played; he is super-fun, as you'd imagine, to dance with! we stuck around to "soak up the evening," then were back up the mountain to the room for a while... sunday morn i went for a long hike, scared off the 1st & 2nd paths by the remoteness of the 1st & giant animal crashing thru the bushes of the 2nd. the terrific views of golden flowers, verdant mountainsides, azure sky & crashing river put me in a grateful mindframe & i was able to be calmed & become again grounded in What Is Real... en route back, i crawled under a tree beside the rushing river, sat on some cool rocks, & meditated for a bit, nearly lulled to sleep, but caught myself before somnolence succumbed to slumber. when i got back, a jam session was going, so i took a long shower & dragged my butt out to it. i was gonna play for my friend tammy, but she had to head back, so i just sat there, kinda grateful to get to do only that. james was worn-out exhausted by this time in the wkend, but he got up there & kicked butt again, playing some of his rarer tunes in ragged raw full-voice w/his always-storming energy... we headed back toward bakersfield, landing at mom & dad's warm & friendly dinner table & then tumbled into the soft clean bed... time to head back now; may you be wise & well, or at least one, if not both.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


today i got on a roll & did super-funky start of home recording... garageband has all this automated this & that, looped musical parts, but very little like what james and i play. so i'm taking the down & dirty approach. i used his laptop pad & a kick drum pedal & hair brush to record scratch kick drum, then figured out song changes using youtube, then recorded scratch keyboard parts after adding some scratch vocals where i needed to for placement... so when we get back from running errands, we can start having james lay down some vocals, first getting an optimum vocal level (i didn't worry about that since my vocals were scratch)... i love home recording!!!! we are gonna make this halloween little record! yay!~

Monday, September 23, 2013

"don't you think i'm psycho, mama? ... well, you better lock me up..."

this week we work on a halloween cd... seven songs, i think, beginning with fun & spooky, ending with fun & filthy!  we need to put a "parental advisory" on it for the last cut, an old toast which james has committed to memory & will recite. we will both have the fun of garagebanding the musical parts, then adding in vocals & some piano/harmonica/acoustic guitar as needed. then the real fun: adding the foleys!!!... i already made the cover & it's taking a lot for me not to post it here. i've tended in past to put out projects on the quick, seat of the pants style. but i'm waiting... james says to wait, so i will... it'll likely come out better that way, anyways. meantime, here's a cool graphic tommy middaugh sent us, to get all in the halloween spirit... so what are you up to for halloween, btw? boooooooooooooooo!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

blablablablabla etc.

last night we left harvelle's kinda early cause it was a slow night, but when our heads hit the pillows, i couldn't sleep! too excited about the great day we'd had, the swell interview we got to do with pat graham on his blues highway radio show; how mom and dad got to watch/listen to it online live; how proud i felt to be there with james, his voice sonorous in the studio, the friendly callers jockeying to talk w/him just to tell him how much they love him & his music; pat's compliments to james & to me/us about his standing as "the best band leader in southern california" & how we "wear [our] hearts on [our] sleeves" & that people "love to see that kind of love;" how nice pat graham was & how he played "big blues train," james's composition that i love so much; our friendly restaurant meals of nachos for lunch & pizza for dinner; my neighborhood run, & even on a full stomach of nachos, i felt strong, rebuilding my endurance!; a lot of good reading i got to do yesterday (& this morning!); seeing smiling scott lambert at harvelle's & being blessed w/wonderful words from people who were there that night to watch the show... one of james's friends, a burly older man who didn't look prone to such warm statements -- but then, what do i know? -- said, his eyes shining, "you are amazing! you and james are a match made in heaven..." i can only say "thank you" for this lovely day...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

on the radio, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, on the radio...

i can't help it. i really like donna summers' voice. might be because i was a lonely kid in the 70s. her haunting voice just moves me, & i spose did back then, too, in an engramming kinda way (haha! i speak scientology! btw, have you seen "the master"? great film, now one of our faves...). anyways, we have some embarrassing emotional musical loves, both of us, just from memories & life experiences. i thought the most embarrassing musical love of my youth was the beegees, whom my cousin & sister & i just adored cause we were "that age" when the shriekingly overly-polished brothers gibb were popular... then james proceeded to sing all kinds of beegees songs from memory, knowing even more lyrics than i could remember cause he's got a memory for words like that... he made me feel not so embarrassed. :) then i told him about my donny osmond phase, when i was a girl, & he told me he'd taken his sister to a DO concert... so this is the kind of redemption one gets when w/a life partner of compatible chronology!
i mention the radio cause james is gonna be on this eve, wednesday, 6:45-7:30 or so, before our show at harvelle's! here are links: Visit our website Follow us and Watch LIVE BROADCASTS
i am especially happy cause we'll be on a ".org"... ... today we went & had nachos & i'd already had a bagel, so i'm sitting here typing away trying to digest so i can go for a run before we pack up for radio- & music-land... today scott abeyta told me more about europe, places we'll go, more details, & i am really starting to feel excited: really, what is there to be blue for at this moment? what a life. for shows james & blues express have so far, check his website calendar at ... he told me, "you're gonna be part of the show, too, baby," which is thrilling to think about, but that'll be lagniappe, should it happen. between now & then, i'm gonna get the hustle on to get us out a halloween CD to sell between now & then. we both love, love, love halloween. i've got track listings in mind & just am waiting for a mike so i can start laying down piano & vocal tracks, then give it to james to sing on before mixing it down, then packaging & pressing it... lots of good music news, in other words! jolly good to you, & here's to another day...

Friday, September 13, 2013

oh, i wish i was an oscar meyer weiner, that is what i'd truly like to be, for if i were an oscar meyer weiner, everyone would be in love with me...

that was a test. if you knew that song, you are of A Certain Age. it taught all us kids at that time use of the subjunctive, even if we didn't know that's what it was called (& who needs to know nowadays, anyways? except that the subjunctive is the coolest of all tenses, i think!: the "what if?")... i was dreaming about being in a car with my family & james & a big, big wave was crashing over the car as we kept driving, probably related to beautiful surfing videos we watched in eatery yesterday when our conversation went frm hawaii to hell. then he & i were driving right to the edge of a deep, deep canyon & i was saying, "look, honey, look!" & we both were scared & vertiginous (i just wanna use that word!!), but we were gonna go down in that deep, deep canyon to see what we could see! then i was following exene into a bookstore... i didn't talk to her, but she was talking about honky-tonk music & then there i sat at a piano, playing some moon mullican... obviously i'm no lucid dreamer cause i only ever get snippets like i just wrote down, but the next thought is this: how DID a weenie like me marry such a tough man? that man is tough as nails, w/a mouth that'd make a sailor cry & the sometimes ferocious pugnacity of a fighter (which he was). but he's also sweet as a puppy. sincerely! i relate cause i'm either gidget/mary poppins or a blubbering lump of want-to-die. the moods shift like earthquakes, like tsunamis! yesterday, i just LOST IT! i was all alone, so i could really let it rip, let those demons fly! but from that particularly violent mental crash came sweet release & calm & then we had an afternoon & eve of total love & adventure... we headed out for a benefit/tribute up north, but had mechanical failure & our plans were dashed. we were disappointed, but mama said, you can only do what you can do, & you can't do everything... yes, i feel different today. do you ever need to really lose it to gain it back even stronger? a weenie's gotta get cooked & burst some before it's really good eating. i know that metaphor makes little sense, but james is real good at them, & i'm working on it by osmosis. ok, now that i'm ready to serve, time to go for a run. yes, this weenie likes to run. good day or eve, sir or ma'am.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


woke too early after too little rest so my hubby & i could play music for several hrs... he'd been up all night like he does, the man w/the energy of a troop, but it was a happy night for him, he said, listening to music & reading the good news... we played & played & actually developed some strong harmony parts! then i spent several hrs on his gigs & t-shirt orders & networking & europe gigs/fishing for more... at bottom of this post are some links. "i've been waiting for this my whole life!" he smiled. "thank you, baby!" am grateful to feel appreciated, tho his upcoming tour's sure not solely my doing, & no amount of networking would work if james & his music weren't so strong. i believe in james's talent & charisma, as would anyone w/half a mind & heart: he's a white-hot flame of american music & he's gonna set europe on fire w/excitement...
1. (we're 3rd down): guadalupe salad bowl festival;
2. (i like how this site lists our free weekly show at harvelle's...) some of wbj's shows in europe
3. (this'll be a halloween to remember!) baden, switzerland's nordportal

Monday, September 09, 2013

the black dog don't bite me, but he sure likes to sneak up in my lap & try to suffocate me...

sometimes nothing lifts the blues except music. the tough part is, when one's really down low, it's hard to even hear songs in the brain, let alone move the limbs & mouth to make the music happen. i don't know how humans with life-baggage (all of us?) live into ripe old age w/o cleaning out that luggage, throwing out the old stuff that no longer fits or is useful, exposing what's kept to some fresh air or a good warshing... today some sad memories hit me hard & i couldn't avoid or shake them: they hit me like a huge gust of evil wind or a wallop & knocked me flat. james tried to air me out, & we did pick up our kick drum pedal & look at craft store stuff, but i remained knocked flat. it's that underwater, in a  fog, floating & sinking, suffocating, can't hardly stand up can't hold a clear thought thing... back here, fortunately, i was able to get to the piano finally & shake out some songs &
... feel life draining, seeping, slipping back in... again... here's to a new dawn, a new day, the passing of yet another storm, or at least i can see beyond the black on the horiz to when it will pass... here are pix from lately, our beautiful visit w/beautiful family & beautiful mountain town & beautiful retreat place i visited & other life stuff, ah, life life life, while we have it, here's to lapping it up like melted chocolate ice cream or a well-needed quaff of cool cool water.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

so happy!

today's spirits have been aided by 1) exercise at gym i visited for the first time: i love going to the gym! 2) checking in w/woman friends; 3) husband got new dental work! 4) his medicine was affordable! 5) we ate delicious croissants before his surgery; 6) last night i wrote two songs, & they're good ones! 7) today i'll go to a meeting;  8) i read from one of my favorite books, earth prayers from around the world, in the dentist's office! the book is a treasure that i here again recommend... 9) (from aforesaid book):
just to be is a blessing.
just to live is holy.
- rabbi abraham heschel
10) this world is the abode of god,
and god truly lives in the world.
-guru angad

Monday, September 02, 2013

how are you? como estas? come stai? comment allez-vous?

just finished a puzzle (from the NYT, even!) that was so hard & mentally-intensive for me, it made my heart jumpy & me anxious. but i finished it!! my brain still works. just read an article that says the brain begins to degenerate at around age 27; near-20 yrs later, i guess i should be grateful i'm not drooling & still can control my bodily functions! (that isn't a poor joke, i hope, but realization!) anyways, i've been reading all morn, catching up on magazines, learning a bit here & there, which i love to do (even if i'm a middle-aged person doomed to brain-failure)... i want to do duolingo, on which i've been practicing the romance languages of italian, french, & spanish. i've finally figured out if i go from hardest (french) to easiest (spanish), i do better. i think it's complementary, also fun, to do all three at once. the day i tried to add in german, i had a mental hardware-drive crash, so no more german... least for now! i have to wait til james awakens to do duolingo cause it's kinda like a video game, w/active audio requiring one to parrot back & figure out words & sentences... so i'm gonna go for a run, which'll not just smooth out my anxieties, but give time for husband to wake!
... too, i no longer am a laborer, but if you are, happy labor day to you! on the backs of workers has this great country been built... also, by the sweat of labor unions do we (i mean, you) now enjoy a 5 day, rather than 7 day, work week. honest labor is honorable & can bring meaning. may your work bring you a sense of purpose & fulfillment, as teaching did me for so many years, despite its many frustrations!