It was the standard routine of 18-hour days on a moving walkway last week in NYC. I was able to visit and/or jam with Mr Freddie Stevenson, Julia Haltigan, Bennett Miller (thanks for letting me play that sweet Juzek), Tanya Braganti, Tara O’Grady, Jodie Moore, JT Tutalo, high school-chum and architect extraordinaire Chris Dowdell, and various members of my immediate and extended family.
We reconvened the Sleight Of Hand Band (Avi Rothbard & Antoine Silverman) for a series of performances at Lincoln Center with inventor/magician Mario Marchese, whose ingenuity and combustible energy continue to dazzle. Last week marked a new addition to the show – a robotic chimp, designed and built by Mario himself, that interacts directly with the audience and proves a mischievous foil to his master. From a musical perspective, the process of group-underscoring a spontaneous magic performance in front of an audience has proven a unique but rewarding challenge. The chance to finally perform numerous shows in succession enabled our ensemble to finally settle into a casual and comfortable flow.
Upon arriving back in Nashville, I was very grateful to receive from Danni Nicholls this photo of the latest print edition of Q The Music Magazine (UK) featuring a four-star review of the album we made last December:
Coming up later this month – Nashville gigs with Brigitte DeMeyer, Will Kimbrough, “Big Dog” Al Perkins, Julia Haltigan, Pete Lanctot, the continuation of a several recording projects begun last month, and the process of fleshing out some Calixte recordings in preparation for a full-length project later in the year.
PS: a VERY VERY Happy 12th Birthday to my darling Minty!
Here’s a sneak preview of the new Danni Nicholls album and a wonderful first take on it from Michael Hingston at Country Music People Magazine. Keep ‘em coming, Danni!
There’s some great stuff going on this month that’s taking the edge off of the post-spring break letdown – new recordings with Derek Hoke, Brigitte DeMeyer, and Josh Farrow, plus a return trip to NYC on 23-25 April for more performances with Mario The Magician at Lincoln Center.
The new Kala U-Bass model I picked up from the Kala factory last month (solid mahogany, fretted, with an on-board preamp and Aquila Corde Silver Rumbler strings) made a very successful recorded debut yesterday on a couple of Derek Hoke tracks. Played through an Ampeg B-15, it suggested a warm and contained sonic explosion. Referring to the instrument at the Banff Centre last year, Emmylou Harris told our audience, “Let it never again be said that size matters.” Very well done, Kala, and many thanks again to the tech team for the tweaks to my fretless!
Milkshake & Minty give an impromptu performance of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” on the family ukes as we rolled through Sugarloaf Ridge State Park headed for Sonoma, CA.
Here’s Jon Bougher’s short film that accompanied last week’s Beken feature on Public Radio International:
<p>Haitian musician Beken talks about his melancholy music and life while recording his new song "Beken, Where are you?"</p>
Yesterday PRI aired Susana Ferreira’s compelling story about Beken’s reemergence onto the music scene and the making of the new album. The link to the story on PRI’s website also features an excellent companion piece by filmmaker Jon Bougher.
The beanie in this photo was handmade by my young friend Preston, already a 2-time cancer survivor at 11 years old. For every $5 beanie he sells, he donates four more hats to other pediatric cancer patients.
You can check out his incredible story at http://www.beaniesforbaldies.com and pick up a beanie for the baldies in your life at his Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/beaniesforbaldies
Preston continues to make these himself in a huge array of colors and fabrics to suit every personality and season. Show him some love!!
If you’re in Nashville this Wednesday, this is going to be a reeeally fun show to check out. Haven’t seen my Big Dog Blade in ages…