My DVD showing everything I know about how Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe played guitar is out on Homespun. Here’s a sample:
I love house concerts.
Music sounds best when it’s close to you. At a house concert, I get to prance around as if I was using thousands of dollars worth of expensive cord-less equipment with personalized in-ear monitors, a whisper-quiet pickup system and a sensitive sound person listening for my every nuance-free!
Some house concerts are long-running very organized events that maintain a mailing list and pay better than a public gig. Others are sponsored by people who live off the beaten path but love acoustic music, so they bring the show to them. Basically all you need to get is about 20 friends and neighbors, a pleasant space and the right musicians and you can be like Madame Verdurin and enjoy the prestige of a musical salon in your own home.
You’d be surprised who will come play at your house if they have the night free and are passing through. Just ask for more details.
Where do you live?
Since 1997 I’ve lived in Seattle-that’s the Upper Left of the United States. Culturally I’m West Coast all the way.
Do you play all over the world?
I love to travel and I like to travel with a purpose-I want to bring something worthwhile to where I’m going, so I travel to play music. So far I’ve played shows in Mexico, Cuba, France, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and all over the grand continent of Australia. Here’s a few gigs:
- Chicago Blues Festival
- Merlefest North Carolina
- Pt. Fairy Folk Festival-Australia
- New Orleans Jazz and Heritage
- In Guitar Switzerland
- Vancouver Folk Festival Canada
- Port Townsend Blues Festival Wa
- San Francisco Blues Festival
- Kerrville Folk Festival-Texas
- Musikfest Bethlehem Pensylvania
- Sanremo Blues San Remo Italy
- Roots Festival San Diego Ca
- Strawberry Music Fest Yosemite Ca
- Woodford Festival-Australia
- Concert Halls :Great American Music Hall S.F. Ca
- The Freight & Salvage Berkeley Ca
- Theatre 1900 Turnhout, Belgium
- The Three Weeds-Sydney Australia
- The Catalyst Santa Cruz Ca
- The Tractor Seattle Wa
- The Palms Davis Ca
- The Belly Up Solana Beach Ca
- The Fret House Covina Ca
- Port Townsend Country Blues Workshop
- Puget Sound Guitar Workshop
- Augusta Heritage Blues Week
- California Coast Music Camp
- Fur Peace Ranch
Blues & Folk Societies
- The Perth Blues Society-Australia
- The Havana Blues Society-Cuba
- Encuentro de Dos Tradiciones-Mexico
- Vancouver Heritage Soc. BC Canada
- Seattle Folklore Society Wa
- Women’s Cultural Exch. Spokane Wa
- Menominee Friends of Folk
- Allegro Concerts Marquette Mi
The instruments I use most are made by Ron Phillips, a brilliant independent craftsman from Northern California.
I met him in the early ’90s and asked him if he could make a parlor sized resonator with access to the 14th fret. I think he’s close to perfecting the design! They are made of alloy 752 (nickle silver) and he spins the cones from a Secret Alloy (which he didn’t tell me, since I can’t keep a secret). They sound sweet rather than brassy, they have plenty of volume but not too much clang. Visit his website at www.metalgitar.com
- The first of three parlor sized single cones
- The other instruments I use are a Kamaka 8 string Li’liu ukulele. I used it on “Why Say No? with the Yes Yes Boys and on At The Ukeshack #1 with Matt Weiner.
- If you see me playing an electric guitar, it’s a hollow body Supro run through a 1960s Airline amplifier. Soooo smooth! I borrow it from my friend and fellow guitar nerd Lani Kurnik.
It’s cold in Seattle so I’m staying in reading Mary Midgely on Darwin and Breakfast of Champions for the Bushwick Book Club (the show is on January 11).