I was encouraged this evening by one Ms. Kay Cavallero to start a journal of what I see here in the Bay Area Blues scene as it has evolved over this past few years. There is a scene going on here that is quite unique as far as a “scene”. It’s a “happening’ a renaissance musically and artistically speaking. A core of blues enthusiast’s whom I intend to write about, share and chronicle for the sake of having a record..and it starts today. Thank you Kay.
Today I spent the afternoon with Christofer Lund “Kid” Andersen, the guitar prophet, recording genius and all around very good man and my friend. While he was out on the road this past month with Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, he asked if I would purchase an item, an Orban parametric EQ, for shaping sounds before they hit the hard drive. As has become a ritual, my friend and fellow amazing guitarist Simon Govan Smith, will get requests from time to time for help in acquiring rare musical devices for Kid’s studio. Musical instruments, amplifiers, whatever he finds in scouring the web, and if it’s within reason we pick them up for his studio called, Greaseland. In this case, I was delivering the device and, because Kid does not drive, I chauffeured the device and an amp (Silver FaceViibrolux Reverb) of his I had borrowed and drove him to Val King’s Amp and Music shop to check on the condition of several of these items. Needless to say, it is always a pleasure to hang with Kid…all of this is before heading off to one of the Bay Area’s quintessential jams run by Aki Kumar at a place called Little Lou’s in Campbell, CA. Aki’s Jam is every Thursday. Kid and I share a passion for recording many of the acts that are indigenous to this scene here in Santa Clara, CA. However, Kid records a blistering number of touring blues acts and is highly sought after because of his genius. I get the scraps, but I get to learn and work on projects with Kid, so I it’s cool. Lucky me! Our scene also draws from San Mateo and San Francisco counties and sweeps through the Bay Area from Sacramento to Fresno, and then to LA in it’s vast talent pool of very dedicated and musicians, photographers and people who love the blues. These “Jams” are the pool of regular jams and they are well attended by many wonderful and not so wonderful folks who share a common love of the Blues.
This evening, Kid and his wife, Lisa Lausner Andersen where the “featured” or headlining act, so I had the honor of escorting them both to tonight’s jam. I am trying to not get bogged down with too much detail, but some of the best moments were in the car driving to the jam talking about the setlist, which was drawn from a lot of back and forth with laughs in between. Also, discussing a recent project that was just pressed and it’s cover artwork/packaging , which we all agreed was less than appealing. This effort is the initial effort by AC Myles, a Fresno kid (34) who has an exquisite voice, tenor, and is a fiery guitarist. The CD sounds fantastic, but the cover was so bad we were joking that nobody would even notice because the cover was so dark and funky.
It’s a great record, so go out and buy it, folks.. even if the artwork is less than glamorous. The music speaks for itself. Great job, AC!
Tonight unfolded with some memorable performance by Isaiah Picket, a very young stud and his partner Angelo Santi, who put on a stellar show. Isaiah is one of those rare gentlemen who can play the blues and entertain, sing and make you believe. After his scorching set, we were treated to a set by Kid on Guitar, Lisa on vox, Theron Peterson on Drums, Mike “Pops” Phillips on bass and aki Kumar on harp. these are pretty much the core of Blues acivity that will become clearer as the journal progresses, I hope.
We were also treated to a set that featured the amazing Andy Just on Harmonica, John Mastory (SF), Sinon Govan Smith Guitar (SF) and Jake Mackey a local kid who has some punctuality and dependability issues, but is quite good at playing a rootsy, New Orleans style of Blues Gumbo. After that, I joined Simon and John for a few blues tunes, and finished off this jam with Joe Lempowski on Harmonica (Harp) and Eric Selenger on Guitar and vox. There were a slew of other players that laid down blues all night, but these were my most memorable moments. In all of these jams there is what I refer to as “The Hang” where we all hang out and, joke around, smoke cigarettes and ‘other’ combustibles and talk technique, girls, gossip and basically socialise. This is a typical Thursday night occurrence.
There are numerous other jams that take place and from time to time I will introduce you to then as they unfold.
Tonight there are very special events taking place around the Bay Area, but I run the Friday Night AJ Crawdaddy & Friends Jam in San Carlos. They are well attended by local guitarist’s. I’ll let you know who shows up this evening. Ron Hacker, the Blues Animal himself will be throwing down at The Poor House in San jose, run by Jay Meduri, a very dedicated and generous patron of blues, and a good player himself. His ex-wife is The lovely Ms. Lara Price, the queen of the South Bay who more recently moved to Ausitin, TX. Rancho Nicasio, a town that is owned by my former Manager form back in my Pabo Cruise and Huey Lewis days is hosting the Mark Ford Blues Band with Volker Strifler and special guests. I am pretty sure that my brother from another mother, Garth Webber will be sitting in…crazy great blues this weekend…
Tonight, the Carlos Club rawked out. There were events everywhere in Blues Land. The “Byrd” stopped by the club tonight. A strange “Byrd” at that. He was enthusiastic about the Carlos Club and our roster of events. Wants to talk on radio in the morning. Should be fun! R Tomorrow, there are so many options it’s stoopid. I will be working at The Cave on Alvin Draper & AJ Crawdaddy records and then head to the Smoking Pig to support the Nightcats Trio…can’t wait.
So, this morning, after a very long night, I call into Byrd “Harminca’ Hale’s radio show at KZSU and he disses me, hangs up. This is after he asked me to call him? Poor fellow, so funked up. Alcohol and arrogance, not a pretty picture. The man is seriously funked up and it is too bad because he spins some great Blues on Saturday mornings. Just don’t try to carry on an adult conversation with him. Which brings me around to today’s local blues scene journal. One of the seldom reflected upon aspects of this “scene’ is the competitiveness among some of the most gifted and talented artists and photographers I have the pleasure to hang with. It’s a fierce yet cordial, encouraging and nurturing environment for artist’s to push themselves. With a scene this intense, there are other musicians that practice forms of music that commingle and try to fit into the blues scene here because the genre is so very popular in this area. People who play country, rock, etc…but the fact of the matter remains that taste and differences are common amongst a very tight nit group, people will be people and that’s that! Ahh, the humanity of it all.
Tonight, I must say, I was in the presence of unassuming, mild mannered, sweet lord almighty genius. That’s right. Kid Andersen, Christofer Lund Andersen must be one of, if not the best guitar players on the planet. He can play with such nuance and deliver on every note with creative genius, every run, every move, perfection and brilliance. His banter, cajoling, harassing between tunes, encouraging patrons to part with their money ~ tips and CD sales ~ is so damn funny you just can not stop laughing…here check this out for yourself.
Recorded the inimitable Ron Thomson with Kid Andersen yesterday. We worked a long day, Ron said he had not had such a good time in a while. Ron is a legend, period! Kid and he were quite comfortable on and off stage, together. They were dropping names everywhere while I was wrapping up cables and assisting. I don’t think he remembers me from time to time, but then it matters little. He agreed to let me take this “Selfie”…cool! He’s Ron Thomson and he is authentic, accurate and compelling in the live genre of Blues music. An honor to hang with him.
Tonight at The Carlos Club we celebrated a couple of Birthday’s . Basically, the tribe was in the house. These folks are the glue that holds this scene together. Check out these photo’s from The Carlos Club:
These peeps love their Blues, their R&B and their Rock! They are what makes this scene work. I am going to list some names, but not just now. Aki Kumar and his band played for Ela’s Birthday Bash and Big Cat Tolefree partied hardy for Renee’ and Tom’s Birthday Party. These are my peeps!
You know, I have been remiss in updating this BLOG, because it takes so much time…needless to say a lot of water under the proverbial bridge since last I checked in. There have been numerous jams and numerous blues events since I last interrupted you all to document these goings on. This past Sunday the Blues community got together to raise some money for John Blues Boyd’s wife’s medical bills at The Smoking Pig in Fremont. Kid Andersen, Aki Kumar brought some heavy weight Blues performers to bare and raised $3000 for John. Luminaries included Kid Andersen, Tommy Castro and Harmonica heavyweight champ, Rick Estrin as well as Terry Hank and a host of other fine musicians in support of a very heartfelt cause.
The other event that took place was held on the coast at Princeton Harbor. Vet’s to Vets’ is an annual event which raises money and awareness for our Veterans. It is held every year at the American Legion Post 475 in Half Moon Bay. This years featured artist’s were AC Myles, Lara Price and Nancy Wright. The backing band was made up of Stan Erhart ~ Guitar and Bass, event coordinator, Randy Hayes on Drums, Steve Evans on Bass and Tony Stead on Keyboards. Blues community doing for others is a common theme here and around the globe! Nice work to all who participated and donated their time and considerable talent! Proud to know you!
10/14 It’a been forever since my last post here. I have been remiss. I apologize. No excuses, just busy. I digress. What has happened since my last post? Well, it is now, “Orange October” in the SF Bay Area and the Giants just won the first game of the 2014 World Series. I have been fortunate enough to be recording one Ms. Terrie Odabi who is now headed to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge for a second straight year. Terrie is clearly one of the most talented and proficient Blues/Jazz performers in the Bay Area. Her band is quite good and we have high hopes for her this year in Memphis! Go Terrie! The Golden Gate Blues Society produces and underwrites the winners of this showdown and pays air fare and hotel accommodations in Memphis for the week long competition that draws Blues performers from around the globe. I suck as a writer, which explains why nobody reads this tripe. If your are actually reading this.. send me a message…thanks 🙂
Yeah, that’s a 1956 Fender Stratocaster that Anson Funderburgh and Simon Govan Smith are holding tight! Must express my respect for both of these gentlemen. I really got nothing left in the tank tonight. So, I will sign off. Hope to get back here soon. Rawk on!
Noel Hayes is a true Blues DJ who is a constant force in the local Blues scene here in the Bay Area. Truly dedicated and always focused on the Blues he does make time to support local Blues artists and is quite a fine fellow. The man has soul. I suggest that you stream KPOO on Wednesday’s 9:00AM – Noon PST for some great blues. Thanks Noel!
One of the many facets of the SF Bay Area Blues scene that make it unique are the devoted and talented photographers and videographers that kick ass. There are some whom I regard as my friends and favorites for individual reasons. Tina Abbaszadeh, simply because of her raw talent and keen eye for capturing the moment, Julie Jahns because of her style and individuality, Bobbi Goodman because of her steadfast and maximum commitment. Susan Munroe for her artistic and stylistic rendering and professional help with building CD covers. These four gals are quite unique and quite good. John McDonald, Bruce Fram, Peggy DeRose, Keri Solorio, Rosalinda Carrillo and Dan Wright are also on the scene doing some wonderful capture and editing of the local music personalities. Without these folks, the music would still play, but nobody would be able to put the names with the faces. Kudos to you fabulous lens peeps!
You may have seen a posting on The Cave Main Page here of Popa Chubby and me at Club Fox. But that moment happens a lot in the SF Bay Area. A visit by touring bands, musicians while in the area they hear about the Club Fox Blues Jam and stop n. It is an honor to be asked to join one of these folks on stage and it was an honor for me to be invited to join Popa Chubby. We had a great time trading fours. The host that night was Greg Hueman, a stalwart harmonica player and designer of custom harmonica microphones, proprietor of Blows Me Away microphones. I have also sat in with Kenny Neal, Steve Freund, Kid Andersen, Aki Kumar and Terry Hiatt over these past few years. That is always a very special treat and I feel fortunate to be a part of this family of traveling minstrels and misfits. The Club Fox Blues jam takes place every Wednesday from 7 – 11 in downtown Redwood City, CA. It’s a Pro Jam. Bring your axe. If you got game, you will fit right in. Ask for Vince and hit the sign up sheet.
Blues Clubs in the Bay Area can be very tricky to navigate. If you are an artist trying to give your audience a venue to come see you play at, the grind is pretty tough. However, there are some key “Blues Clubs” to be aware of here if you want to be “scene”. Let’s start with The Saloon in SF. It’s a tiny little place, it smells real bad, it’s the oldest bar in SF but it is the best Blues dive in SF second to none. Myron is the owner and he is a very special man who is on love with the blues. He was recently awarded a Life Time Achievement award from the mothership, The Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN. Located in North Beach, it’s a great venue to hear blues and is surrounded by fabulous restaurants and colorful San Francisco people!
Biscuits & Blues is a very posh blues venue in that it’s downstairs, has a speakeasy atmosphere and they serve up some great food to go along with some great blues. Steve Suen is the owner and along with his wife Tina they charge $22 at the door to see some of the top touring acts that pass through Bagdad by the Bay. Located in colorful and posh Union Square it’s a very clean and groovy establishment.
More later…got to go record Kenny Neal at The Cave.
Well, that was fun… here is a pic from yesterday’s session…
So, I digress, back to the Bay Area Blues clubs. I am going to bounce over to Santa Cruz real quick because I played last night at one of the coolest Blues venues happening. It’s called Jerry’s Front Pocket serves fair priced drinks, and is always helpful, encouraging and supportive of “live” music entertainment. Located in the seaside town of Santa Cruz, make sure you check out “The Pocket” as it is referred to by musicians!
The Mid Peninsula has a few great spots for Blues, the crown jewell of these being the Club Fox Wednesday Night Blues Jam. This venue is quite impressive. It features a large pro stage, with lights, a sound system, a balcony and upstairs downstairs seating for viewing, listening and dancing. Quite nice. Vince Caminiti runs these jams and does a masterful job of blending assortments of talented people together to jam. It’s never the same way twice, that’s for sure, but he also brings in touring Blues Bands and some great blues acts. Both local and international blues stars have graced this stage during these events. Club Fox is located in downtown Redwood City across form the City Plaza. You can’t miss it! Bravo Vincenzo!
Farther up the road in Woodside there is a tiny road house joynt called The Pioneer Saloon. This is not a Blues Club per say, but every Sunday, Terry Hiatt runs a jam some Blue players gather and jam. This is more of a Rock & Roll joynt actually, but it has potential. In reality and unfortunately for such a vast area with many clubs, the Mid Peninsula lacks a real Blues club like The Saloon in SF or Jerry’s Front Pocket in Santa Cruz. There have been attempts made to try and establish a Blues Club here, but the money, ego’s and ignorance of the Silicon Valley elite can not be bothered with such trivia as history and so, in all honesty, the Blues is dying a slow, aggravating and frustrating death. However, I will try and keep it up beat.
Jams. I want to talk about Blues Jams, jams that pop up form time to time, jams that are held every week, like the Aki Jam in Campbell, so I will keep writing this, but for now, I have to go to work.
This week was busy at The Cave. I missed any and all jams. AJ Crawdaddy 2 is ramping up on Tuesday nights now, Pat Wilder was in the house on Thursday night and The Lucky Losers, Saturday all day. Today, Sunday, I may venture out to Princeton Harbor in Half Moon Bay for the American Legion jam. The vibe is “Grange Hall” the drinks are fair in price and the folks are very nice. This room sounds really warm, possibly because it is a wood structure, soft and porous materials always sound better than hard surfaces. Stan Erhart runs this jam and he is a fair and cool cat. The fire pits outside are quite nice and when the fog blows in there is this surreal vibe. I recommend this jam highly!
Last night at Club Fox, we were treated to the Ford Blues Band. Robben was not in the house, but his brothers were there and it was quite a family affair. Lot’s of great musicians in the house, my favorite being Ron Hacker, who always has a joynt and a smile and a good laugh ensues, always! He also happens to be one hell of a, “White Trash Blues Man”. Great cat to hang out with. I feel really close to him in many ways. There were many memorable performances on the evening, but my time with Ron was the best!
Tonight was Chicago meets the West Coast night as Rockin’ Johnny Burgin was joined by Twist Turner and Steve Freund. All of these fellas hail from the windy city. I am growing very fond of Twist. He is a fine recording engineer and a very handy, industrious fellow. I swear to grease on a stack of pancakes, if he’s not making records which he has done longer than I have been alive, he’s knockin’ out a bathroom remodel, building a ship from a nail or hitting the flea market for musical treasure. I swear the man does not sleep. Diggin’ the “Twister” as Kid Andersen refers to him. He’s also a legendary blues drummer. Cool cat. It was quite a show this evening, I must say, One thing is for certain, the level of talent in the Bay Area is severe and unique. Sure, there are quite a few great musicians in every scene, but this scene has a camaraderie and support system that seems to defy reality. I must say that I am proud to be a part of it, albeit a tiny part, but I do get to entertain and cajole, hang with the A player cats and feel like I belong. However, if it was not for my good looks and charm I would hold no sway around these parts. Why you ask? Because the competition is fierce, and the pecking order is well established, I am fortunate to have a small place at the table as I really do enjoy the people. When you least expect it, they surprise you with a thoughtful gesture, a pat on the back or a kind word, a compliment. And, in all honesty, there are fans who remember you, encourage you with a kind word, a thank you, a smile or a nod and that my friends is why I love doing this. Even though I never get to sit in with the headliners at Little Lou’s, the lessons in humility and humbleness are enough to keep me going. I enjoy these nights with the people, but I sacrifice more than anyone will ever know to be a part of “the scene”. I may not be totally honest in many aspects of my life currently, because there is a duality that exists in my personal situation, a hypocrisy which I exist within that keeps me from fully embracing what I love. I know I am being the fool and that in the end I will pay for these transgressions dearly, but, it’s something that I enjoy that much. I hope that somebody, some day reads this and catches me being honest. Would that be exciting or what?! Most likely, “Or what”! That’s June Core on the Drums! The June Core folks!
Steve Freund (Guitar), June Core (Drums), Johnny Burgin (Guitar) and Christopher “Kid” Andersen (bass).
Woodhams in Santa Clara, First Friday of the Month Jam hosted by Bob Gonzalez, AJ Crawdaddy and Scott Griffin is a lively and fun filled event. Almost everyone get’s to rip up and Amanda behind the bar keeps things lively! We get many South Bay folks from all parts of the spectrum, young and old alike, Blues, R & R, even R* B when Ladee Chico shows up, All there for some great blues music and the unexpected. You never know who is gong to show up and the eye candy is beyond belief.
This morning, I am listening to some local artist recordings. Thought I might give a short revue because I can and because nobody reads this anyway. But first, Aki Kumar is bringing two great blues shows to the South Bay, Kim Wilson Winter Blues Blast ~ is tonight and tomorrow night. Should be down right greasy.
I digress. First off, Howell/Devine released a stunning and magnificent, if not really great record on Arhoolie entitled, Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju. Must say, I enjoyed every aspect of this record. The choice of titles, the sonics, the playing and the vibe are top notch, top shelf in every aspect. Love the train song as they cop it better than anyone. Ridiculous that these guys remain a local ambassador of authentic American roots blues, yet no wonder they can not get a tour, given the current state of ROCK BLUES that is considered blues today. This lost art form is sadly diminishing in retrospect and I am a big fan of these fellas. Unfortunately I believe their train has left the station. But, damn I admire the authenticity and honesty of this record.
Another record that I just listened to from Ashbolt Stewart, Independent, Beats Workin’ is quite an eclectic set of cover tunes, interspersed with some fine performances. I like Ashbolt’s bravado and care free approach to the project. I mean where can you find Little School Girl and Wipe Out on the same playlist? Unless I am not mistaken, some of these cut’s are personal musings and they have a great deal of character and fun. Greseland all star band makes it happen. However, I think it would have behooved Ashbolt to stay true to one genre, because quite frankly radio may not appreciate that many titles across that many genre’s and air play will be minimal. Too bad as School Girl and Route 66 rock! A nod to my fellow Engineer/Guitarist extraordinaire Christofer “Kid” Andersen on a good job of recording, mixing and editing.
The Keller Sisters released a folk record which pays homage to some of their hero’s and they do write some nice music. I find their record to be pleasing to the ear and very humble in it’s vibe. I enjoy it when the artists convey originality in their approach and these two sisters do just that. The opening cut is a Cheryl Crow knock off what with the percussion and all but it moves along quite smartly. I would encourage these two to keep after it as this is a fine effort . My only suggestion is not to play it so safe in the future. I am a fan of grit in recordings, and this one may be a little too clean for my tastes. But I like it! (I have a dirty mind I guess)
Allrighty then… so much for my bullshit.. Ho Ho Ho mutha funkers and more later!
Tonight I went to Felton to see a great Blues show put on by Aki Kumar, Kim Wilson was joined by Alabama Mike, Kid Anderson & Rick Estrin. Was a fun night with some stalwart performances and great company.
Merry Christmas all you folks out there in Blues land. Hey, AJ Crawdaddy hosted a great jam at The Club Fox in Redwood City. Many of the local Blues community joined in on the fun and a good time was had. Check out some great photo’s by Tina Abbaszadeh, Bobbi Goodman & Julie Jahns. Y’all have to check out The Club Fox next year when my friend Ron Hacker starts off the season with a birthday Bash jam!
First Fox Jam of 2015, Wednesday, 1/7/2015 Hosted by Ron Hacker and The Hacksaws.
Last week I did a jam at Jerry’s Front Pocket in Santa Cruz. It was with. “The Legend, ~Fuzzy John and Friends”, Claudio Melega, AJ Crawdaddy and Douglas Mancini and a bunch of nice jammers from the Santa Cruz music community. Santa Cruz Rawks!
This week on Wednesday at Club Fox we have an old friend, Jerry Miller accompanied by Terry Haggerty and Terry Hiatt along with “The Legend ~ Fuzzy John Oxendine”. Should be a good one…and then on Thursday, we will be celebrating Kid Andersen’s Birthday at The Poor House Bistro and then shuffling off to the Aki Kumar Jam where my good friend, Terrie Odabi will be the Featured Performer! This week is shaping up nicely.
It’s only appropriate that I am writing this on Valentines Day. Ms. Tina Bernard reminded me that I have not entered a whole lot as of late. My bad. I have been distracted, slightly disenfranchised with personal issues and not wanting to harsh anybody’s buzz, kinda grouchy. My muse is waning, and I really have the blues. Good friends are helpful, but I go though these crisis of conscience from time to time. Love really can mess with your mind and heart, hurt you, shake up your world. It’s not all hearts and flowers, even though those are nice. You know what get’s me through these moments?
So, the holidays came and went. There was a slight uptick in clients recording at The Cave and so I was pretty busy through January working, recording all types of music from blues to rock, even a reading by Native American beat poet John Trudell (Awesome). So, I missed plenty of opportunities, but there has been some great music being played here in the valley. A couple of Birthdays come to mind. One of my favorites was Kid Andersen’s Birthday bash. It started out at the Poor House Bistro and culminated in a great birthday cake and party at Little Lou’s. Everyone showed up including but no limited to Rick Estrin, Rusty Zinn, Mark Hummel, Jim Pugh, etc., the list is long and very impressive. It was quite an evening. Best part was the cake at Little Lou’s and getting to play some music with Terrie Odabi and these great folks below, Frankie Ramos on Sax, Donnie Green on Drums, Kedar Roy on Bass, Jim Pugh on Keys, Terrie Odabi singing, and the Birthday Boy, Kid Andersen playing guitar.
Ron Hacker’s BDay was held at Club Fox in Redwood City. He had a host of local luminaries in the house, from Garth Weber to Kid Andersen, Aki Kumar, Kedar Roy, Jay Hansen and Johnny Cat Soubrand. Ron is moving from his SF digs to New Orleans, so the party was a little sad in some respect. We are going to miss Ron, as he held down a regular spot at The Saloon in SF for so many years and is truly a slide blues master. He’ll come back and visit often I am positive. Can you say, Road Trip? A great time was had.
And finally, Julie Jahns, one of my favorite photographer/historian blues gals Birthday which spanned a week but hit the Club Fox in Redwood City with Terrie Odabi as the featured artist. It was a very fun night of great music too. Terry Hiatt and Julie Jahns are represented here with some real great music loving, crazy people whom I love very much!
The gang with Alvon Johnson!!
So there you have the update for now. I’ll try to keep adding to this history. I only wish i had attended Debbie Davies performance at the Smoking Pig a couple weeks back. The flu nailed me good. There are so many great performances it’s impossible to keep up with them all. It’s a tough job, but someone has to try and do it.
One more note of interest. Greaseland studios AKA Kid Andersen and his trusty Tonto, Aki Kumar who is just a fabulous and stalwart blues lover, well, they came up with the “Joint Chiefs Of Blues”, a group which is dedicated to grease in music. They came up with a clever “Blues Scale”, a satirical and yet quantitative numerical rating system that has Def Leppard on the – (minus) side of the scale and Lightening Hopkins on the + (plus) end of the spectrum to help the un-greasy tell the difference between really greasy blues and just slippery substance and fluff blues. This all came about because of the shameless marketing claims of one, Joe Bonamassa, JB, self proclaimed Blues Guitarist of the moment, but not really in the true sense of the word Blues. Thus the scale was born, of which there are two charts. My favorite version is the one with Jeffrey Dahmer rating a +2 the “Original Grease Scale”. Absolutely great stuff! Enjoy!
It was a busy Sunday on the Mid Peninsula. There were jam’s everywhere. A CD release party in SF at Biscuits and Blues featuring Nancy Wright sold out two shows. I want to congratulate Nancy on her recording. It’s quite good, so I am told. Simon Govan Smith and some fellas did an impromptu jam at 50 Mason Street in SF. Stan Erhart (photo below) ran the jam at Princeton Harbor in Half Moon Bay which is always a great time and there were other events down at Little Lou’s and elsewhere. I mean it was crazy. There was to hit them all, but I tried. I hit the Pioneer Jam for a great time. I was fortunate to do a set with D’Mar on Drums, London on bass and vocals and Vince Caminiti and I sharing guitar duties. Then I went over to Club Fox to support my friend, Tina A and her Vocal Review. There, the creme de la creme of vocalist were assembled to entertain. Somehow, I ended up sitting in for two songs because the power went out and shit happens and they needed some filler. Actually, I think Tina was just including me out of kindness because my vocals do not hold a candle to the likes of Terrie Odabi, Paula Harris, Amy Lou, The Keller Sisters, Paula Helene, Tony Lindsey, Will Russ Jr. or Rick Stevens, who canceled at the last minute due to illness. Tina Abbaszadeh and Garth Webber put on one hell of a show with a fabulous rhythm section which included Peter Booras on Drums, Jeff Chambers on Bass, Nate Ginsberg on Keys, Mike Rinta on Trombone, Tom Poole on Trumpet and Michael Peloquin on Sax/Harmonica and Garth Webber on guitar. I mean, WoW! To be included was an unexpected honor and a whloe lotta’ fun too!
Last week was a fun week for playing out. In the end, I ran out of gas and missed Sundays activities. Not for the desire to play, but because I was exhausted from a busy week with clients at The Cave and moon lighting some local jams at Club Fox and Little Lou’s. Some friends from San Diego were in town recording with Kid Andersen at Greaseland. Big Jon Atkinson and his guitarist, Danny Michel and some fellas from Norway, childhood friends of Kid Andersen, were all in town recording, doing shows. It was quite a fun week. Had an international flavor to it. Here are some pics!
So, not a lot of news to report. However, I did take a once a month gig at a place close to The Cave called O’Malley’s. The owner is an Ex-Marine, who is quite a fan of Blues Music and wants to get the scene going. It’s a nice club with a dance floor, a bar and serves food too. So, the inaugural AJ Crawdaddy & Friends Blues Night will take place on an auspicious and fitting date in March. Friday the 13th! What could go wrong? Bring your black cat bone folks, it’s gonna be a party! See you all around!
Time is flying. It’s March and Spring is Sprung in NorCal. We have had some great jamming going on around these parts, I must say. Last night was yet another South Bay coup with Mighty Mike Schermer taking over at Little Lou’s the home of the Thursday Night ‘Aki Jam’. I must say, the band was most excellent, Theron Peterson on drums, Christofer “Kid” Andersen on Bass, Aki Kumar on Harp and Johnny Cat Soubrand on Guitar. It was quite a set we were treated to, I must say!. I missed the jam at Fox due to work at The Cave yet, Monday Night at Murphy’s Law was a blast thanks to Jim Dewrance, Kid Andersen, Keith Milne, David Price, Theron Peterson and a host of jammers including Walter Jebe and Russell Barber and George Brandeau. So, the weekend is upon us and tonight, along with my pal, Bob Gonzalez, I will be hosting the First Friday Night Blues Jam at Woodhams in Santa Clara. Should be fun! Aki Kumar is over at the World Famous Turf Club in Hayward, JC Smith at The Smoking Pig and the gorgeous Pam Hawkins is at the Poor House Bistro, so you can tell, the South Bay is serious about its’ Blues. Photo’s below. The beat goes on!
APRIL FOOLS! That’s us! Last night was a good one at Club Fox Blues Jam which was hosted by Amy Lou and her Wild Ones. I knew Joey Delgado was coming, and I kept an eye out for him, helped him sign up and get into the mix as soon as he walked through the door. Greg Heumann was running the jam because Vince had Feet Prints over in Vallejo playing the Empress. So, as fate would have it, I got to play with Joey, Peter Booras, Nate Ginsberg, Greg Heumann and John Mastory before passing my guitar to Daniel Castro for the last tune. It was an honor and a blast. Here are some pics from a great night at the Club Fox Blues Jam.
Needless to say, the blues is alive and well on the mid peninsula! Party on folks! We’ll keep the lamp lit for you!
Since my last post, there have been some unique and marvelous jams about town. Last week I attended Aki Kumar’s jam at Mojo Lounge and Alabama Mike stopped in for a rousing couple of tunes with Big Jon Atkinson, Johnny Cat, Kedar Roy, Joe Lempowski, Aki Kumar and Donnie Green. Alabama did a song called “Watch Out”, about living in Oakland and bumpin’ into some harsh and hilarious reality on the streets. Quite good and I anticipate the release of his forthcoming Greaseland effort. Should be badass!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Christopher Lund Andersen put on a great show featuring Jerry Jemmott, the Groovemaster. Needless to say, it was a great event that featured the South Bay All Stars with Jerry playing bass and telling stories. A wonderful show and some great tunes were played. Here is Mr. Chris Cain playing, “That’s Why I Have The Blues” from that show. Thanks to Kid Andersen and Aki Kumar once again bringing quality musical events to the South Bay consistently.
I got nothing! 🙂
Still got nothing!
RIP Riley B King The King is dead! Long Live The King!
A sad day. Even though we knew it was coming, it still hurts. When we lose the legends, our mentors our leaders we should mourn and mourn we shall. By playing his music, remembering his lyrics and celebrating his voice and Lucille he will live on in all of us for generations to come. BB King is now “Immortal”! We should celebrate a man who got to live lis dream for almost his entire adult life. We can think about that and hold on to that single fact to help us heal. He did what he loved and was a massive success, leaving behind a legacy of hit music, memorable video’s and ripples of love for an eternity. Rest in Peace Riley B. King.
It’s been a while since I posted an entry! It’s about time! Had some fun tonight, Lara Price hosted the Club Fox Blues Jam. A pleasure to see and hear Ms. Laura Chavez! It was a special homecoming of sorts. What a darling gal, fantastic guitarist. Destined for greatness! Pictured here with the indomitable D’Mar and Ms. Julie Jahns!!
Well, it has been a while since I have visited this BLOG. A lot of water under the bridge. The Cave is now gone. The owners sold off the building and the new owners basically evicted all of the tenants, including me! They have since retrofitted the building for earthquake safety and started fencing it off for R&D. I have deep and mixed feelings about leaving the Cave behind. Moving was very emotional and frustrating, but I got it done. I miss having the space to go to and create, entertain, record and rehearse my band and “other” artists. But, the expense was onerous and that is a relief in many respects. But, when you lose your soul, and there is no place to go, you really get a sense of how much you lost. In this case, I lost a lot more than money. But, I am focused on moving forward and there ya go!
Since I last posted I have been to at least 50 jams and shows here in the Bay area. I’ll post pics that I have saved, but first, I want to vent a little. Hope you all don;t mind. When I lost the Cave, at first I was trying to be brave and strong in saying that it was for the better. But, alas, it is not. When I lost the Cave, I lost my mojo too. I have lost my desire to play, my focus to write and create, but most of all I lost a big part of who I am, musically and professionally. I rarely cop to this in public, but as of late venting has helped me accept that all things must pass. But in my heart of hearts, I really believe that someone should have come to my rescue because this community lost a great deal when we lost the Cave. Yet, nobody stepped up. Not a soul. Nobody came forward to offer partnership, a new home, nothing. In reality, I am pretty sure that some people were happy to see it go away because it was creating some great recordings and I was getting really good at coaxing some fabulous sounds out of that warehouse. The Cave was disruptive, and change is not something some people take too easily. I made many people nervous, and that was probably a bit too much for some of my peers. In the end, I lost a good friend in the Cave, a place where I could go and do what I love, a peaceful respite from the Silicon Valley hustle, bustle and grind. I firmly believe that the Bay Area lost a major affordable recording hub when the Cave was replaced by yet another, “Tech Incubator” facility. Pretty soon, music and the arts will be replaced in our lives with instant gratification and cheap thrills via a vibrant new technological innovation. The discipline of recording real musicians, playing real instruments will diminish the soul and history of the Bay Area music scene. It’s gone forever and so is a piece of my heart. There, I said it. Now I’ll just be a good little dweeb and fuck off! I digress….
Jerry Miller was in town this weekend. Jerry was the original guitarist of Moby Grape. He was also a critical lynchpin in introducing Blues Artists to the attention of one Bill Graham back in the early 60’s. Jerry became the conduit the introduced most of us kids in 1966-1969 to the likes of Muddy Waters, Freddy, Albert, BB, T-Bone Walker, James Cotton. his legacy os documented in many Sounds of the Sixties articles. I moved to Santa Cruz in 1970 and on or around 1973 I began a lifelong acquaintance with the man. We played together whenever his band Swifty Toulouse and made a record together in 1974 at Roy Chen’s in SF with Don Gooch Producing and Engineering. It was great to get to jam again with Jerry at The Poorhouse. Cathartic and fun!
It’s summer time! The jams are packed and theres’s plenty of Blues music being had all over the Bay area. It’s also Blues Festival Series time of year, world wide. Many of our friends are touring Europe, South America and Australia. A couple weeks back I attended the Fountain Blues Festival in San Jose, and it was well attended with Elvin Bishop presiding. Other notable performances by Fillmore Slim, Bettye Levette and Aki Kumar made for an enjoyable show. Many friends and players were in attendance. Some pics below
8/8/2017 ~ So what’s happening in the South Bay? Lots! Always a jam or something to keep your heart lifted during these trying times. Maybe you have not heard, but I released a second effort, recorded and produced at was once “The Cave” entitled, Slow Cookin’. We’re having some success with Blues underground radio and we are thankful for the DJ’s who support “Indie” music like ours! The record is available via CD Baby if you are so inclined ~ https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ajcrawdaddy2
Sat in at Aki Kumar’s Tuesday Night jam a few weeks back with one of my favorite guitarists on the planet, Ms. Laura Chavez. This woman is one of the best in the world, and gender has not got a thin to do with it. She is just THAT good.
Let’s see, what else has been going on.. hmmm, not much, a bunch of gigs by everybody. You know the Fox is always good for some fine blues and jams, last week being no exception. So is the Poor House on any given night and Little Lou’s in Campbell. Here are some pics form those venue’s.
Last Sunday, we headed to the coast to play one of our favorite venues, The Wharf House, in lovely Capitola By The Sea. The Wharf House is a great eatery as well as a venue, which sits on the roof, outdoors over the Pacific Ocean. It’s is just a spectacular venue and we love playing there.
Every now and then, Guitar royalty shows up and gives us al a thrill, like on any given Sunday at The Pioneer in Wednesday, this can and does happen! The GREAT Chris Cain!
Some shots from2018
The Grease Spot was technically down for almost a year. My Bad. WordPress is a difficult and fickle beast to manage. My resident tech/Admin has resigned, so I’m on my own here, stumbling around. Tonight in Redwood City, Club Fox Anniversary Show! Should be fun! The Tribe will be gathering in the teeth of a major storm to celebrate another great year! Congrats goes to Vince Caminiti for holding all this together, booking great acts and persistence at keeping the level of entertainment viable and high quality! See you there!!
Rock’it Event was off the chain. Volker, Andy, Garth, Mr. Osborn, Cain, Ben Rice and Karen Lovely… ridiculous line-up! I took a few shots for this BLOG. Enjoy
Now that the technical difficulties have been sorted out, Ithought I would paste some of my favorite photos of 2018 ~ Where did that year go! Dayamn!!
A lot has gone on around us, many gigs to be thankful for.
July 4, 2019
I am putting this here as a marker. I have been very fortunate in my life to have a wonderful family, and to have found a niche where I can still get my Ya Ya’s out at approaching 70 years of age. Although I have slowed down in “Jam” and “Special Event” attendance as of late, it’s only because I am trying to keep my home life somewhat in tact. And also because my hands are taking a beating, my ears are not even close to where they should be. But, I am thankful, grateful and feel that all things must pass with respect to political nonsense. And they do! My health is good. My life is comfortable. I am a very fortunate fellow! Happy Independence Day 2019!!
So, many of our friends and musician pals are up in the Pacific Northwest this weekend participating in the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland Oregon and, it’s just spectacular weather there this year. So fun seeing your friends and musical hero’s having a great time doing what they love. What a fabulous group of people to know and get to hang out with. Photos by Marilyn Stringer, Lara Price, Lisa Mann and Tina Abbaszadeh
9/18/2019 and 10/5/2019 Sessions
Started building the next AJ Crawdaddy CD! this time at Greaseland with the one and only Kid Andersen producing. Fun photo’s from two sessions: Enjoy!
Photos by Jenny Thompson on an iPhone 11 . A very good time was had at this event. The AJ Crawdaddy Xmas, “Pot Luck” is an annual community event sponsored by he San Carlos American Legion .