Art From the Tip Jar

Well, it doesn't spend like money, but I appreciate just as much. If not more.
Here's some portraits left in the tip jar of a Ridgetop Syncopators gig, Memorial Day at Jo's Coffee on Congress.

Here's Trumpeter-Accordionist Oliver Steck:

Fiddler Sean Orr, in his jaunty beret:

And I reckon this is me, enjoy:


Random Pictures from My Phone

Ok, I'll admit it. I have a camera in my phone and I use it quite frequently. Usually to take pictures of food, but that's another story entirely. As I am clearing out space for more memory, here is a random sampling of things I've seen.

New Years Eve, 2007, Frank London's apartment, Lower East Side, NYC. Frank has created a tradition of emptying all the bottles of fascinating hootch that he picks up on his travels to wild and strange locales. In round one, we drank the last bits of all of this. I was too far gone to take a picture of rounds 2 and 3. (Extra points to those who identify the brands..):

On a walk from the hotel to the grounds of the National Folk Festival, Richmond VA, October 2006:

Veracruz Mexico, in town to play the Veracruz Jazz Festival with the Panorama Jazz Band of New Orleans. Every night in the the central city square (el Zocolo) people would gather in the cool evening breeze to dance to the music a local community brass band. I grew up playing with my dad in a similar community band in my native Stillwater Oklahoma, so I am predisposed to take time out to listen. Our repertoire wasn't as hip as thiers (mostly Danzon and Tango) and thus we never had dancers:

I'm trying to enact a tradition of spending my birthday in New Orleans, in some small part adopting the place as my own and working for it's healthy recovery. Last August found me at the Rock and Bowl, one of the few places still open at the time, which is a lousy place to bowl, but a great place to see Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Cha's:

Here's the winner of last years Charlie Poole Festival and Contest, playing a very rare and wonderful banjo guitar. It was one a a series of instruments made for James Reece Europe's "Clef Club" Orchestras of the early teens and bears that label on the headstock. Imagine if you will 25-30 of these monsters all cranking out at the same time. It has a standard style guitar neck attached to a 17.5" banjo head(!!!) Tried to interact with this fellow, but he was busy affecting some sort of character study of an obstreperous jack ass, which I might add he had down cold. Didn't effect my high regaurd of his rendition of a Charlie Poole song, and thus he properly walked off with the 1st Prize. The Poole festival celebrates it's 12th year this weekend, but sadly I'll be here in Texas missing it:

From Beate Siker's songbook:

She's German by the way. I have been employed to be the Sieker's bassist of late and have enjoyed playing with them thouroughly. Rolf Sieker is as good a bluegrass banjo player as you will likely ever encounter, and I know from banjo.

Speaking of German:

Yuletide at the Walburg Store in Walburg TX. Yes it looks like a beerhall. But I'm here to tell you thanks to it's owner Ronnie, an alpine yodeler of prodigious ability and South German chef extrodinarre, this little joint in no-where central Texas is the finest plate of traditional German food I have yet encountered. And I'm including all my travels across Germany and Austria as well. Ronnie's band plays most weekends and if you're lucky, he'll take off his apron, put on his accordion and yodel a few.

(Looks like he left it on here...)

Say, who's the Yid in the styling lid? That's no Kike, mike. That's my khazan, Neil Blumofe:

(It takes a mighty man to wear a zip up Guyaberra...)

From the re-created Shakey's Pizza Parlour, inside the National Jazz Banjo Museum in downtown Guthrie Oklahoma, I shit you not:

Somebody's idea of funny, seen on the cubicle wall of CBC Radio when I saw interveiwed there during the Calgary Folk Festival:

This requires some set up.
I was in LA for a few dates as a member of Joshua Nelson's amazing Kosher Gospel review, on a synagogue date that also featured Frank London. Inbetween shows, I took the gang out on a tour of the sights of Hollywood. While walking down the street, and being a mostly African American, and predominately overweight I might add, group of people, we were handed tickets to a live taping of a television show featuring plus size women. How could we decline? Frank followed along and hung as long as he could take it, and truthfully we all split into the 3rd hour ourselves. Here's Frank and Josh chatting in the audience. I can't make this stuff up:

The less said about the following images , the better. Suffice it to say it was the wierdest private party I've ever played. I snapped these pics while on my way from the host's patio to the bathroom. Words cannot express how I felt about it:

What I look like after the 6th set of Czech Polkas at last years Wurstfest:

That's all for this go round. I'm off to Kracow, London, Montreal, the Poconos and NYC in the coming months so I'm sure there will be much more to share.