Some of you may have noticed my absence from the Facebook feed over the last couple of months. No alarm necessary - I think. I've been trying to take back some of the peace of mind that used to exist between one crime against humanity and another. I've not been idle with this time, and have been fortunate to travel to Italy for the 'grand tour' of Pompei, The Vatican, and Venice with all stops in between. I cannot believe that gigs have actually kept me from Italy for this long. I must remedy this for next year's European tour. Anyone??
Below are some pics and words on Brendan O'Shea's wonderful new album, sounds from the the Augusta Hertiage Center, and notes on the Sunnyside Singers Club.
SUNNYSIDE SINGERS CLUB
The weekly Sunnyside Singers Club just recently had its monthly special guest slot with Brendan O'Shea. Brendan has become a good friend of mine since I moved to NYC, and hosts the Scratcher Sessions every Sunday (except the summer months). It's a sanctuary for songwriters, poets, and other artists from the hustle and bustle of city life. It pulls in some passing heavy hitters on occasion, and a bar without a TV screen is a rare thing these days. As for the Brendan's new album, it's a class act all the way. With Jefferson Hamer and Eamon O'leary (Murphy Beds) putting in some highly musical playing, it's one of my favorites in a long time. I find that often the proof is in the pudding, and I was fortunate enough to get into the bowl at the Sunnyside Singers sho
Augusta Heritage Old Time Week, West Virginia
With no touring this summer, I was at last able to spend some time getting in some learning down in West Virginia. On top of picking up some new banjo tunes from Travis Stuart and Tyler Hughs --check out Tyler's new album with Sam Gleaves-- it was incredible to meet such wonderful old time music enthusiasts from all over the world.
I was also very fortunate to sit in with master artist Vesta Johnson in an old time session.Vesta is known for her vast repertoire of Missouri fiddling tunes, particularly dances tunes, including hoe-downs, hornpipes, two steps, waltzes, and schottisches. Now in her 90s, she regularly appears at local, regional, and national events. She is known for her vast repertoire of Missouri fiddling tunes, particularly dances tunes, including hoe-downs, hornpipes, two steps, waltzes, and schottisches.
(Zoom in on the picture and you'll see me picking a 1919 Gibson L1 archtop, which was going for the bargain price of $900. I lost out to the bass player there (he had his eye on it first). What a sweet guitar. I'm still dreaming about it).