Wanee Update…

April 16th, 2014 Jorma 14 comments
Blue skies... nothing but....

Blue skies... nothing but....

Yeah I know Wanee was last week… I’ve been busy…

How’s about the Blind Boys Of Alabama?

All who wander are not blind...

All who wander are not blind...

We drove down… did the show… and drove back to the Ranch. Here is our set list from Wanee:

Hot Tuna 35, 2014
The Electric Quartet
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Barry Mitterhoff & Skoota Warner
Wanee Music Festival
The Mushroom Stage
Live Oak, Florida
Thursday, April 10, 2014

1. Can’t Get Satisfied
2. Ode To Billy Dean
3. I See The Light
4. Hesitation Blues
5. Bowlegged Woman
6. Come Back Baby
7. Children Of Zion
8. 99 Year Blues
9. Rock Me Baby
10. Water Song
11. Funky #7

Let's hit trhe road!

Let's hit trhe road!

Back at the Ranch, at the Happy Traum, John Sebastian show, Vanessa and Hurl called Jack and had the audience wish him a happy birthday!

Happy birthday Jack!

Happy birthday Jack!

Foto by Dennis Powell

Happy Traum absolutely rocked the house… He’s just getting better and better!

The man... the legend!

The man... the legend!

Foto by Dennis Powell

The great Larry Campbell sat in with everyone, of course and graced the stage with his elegance.

Sawing on the strings

Sawing on the strings

Foto by Dennis Powell

John Sebastian made the scene and well… was terrific!

Sing out brother!

Sing out brother!

Foto by Dennis Powell

And… well… me too!

Hootenany in Darwin

Hootenany in Darwin

Foto by Dennis Powell

Yeah folks… good time for sure… and long week, but a good time!

Happy Birthday, Jack Old Friend… An Open Letter To John William Casady

April 15th, 2014 Jorma 30 comments

Dear Jack:

Your old buddy Jorma here. Man, we sure have known each other a long time… through the neighborhood, through school, through nicknames, through the music, through joy and sadness, through the years… through a lifetime. We have been blessed in so many amazing ways, and here we still are. Yes I know your birthday was two days ago, but remember, I called you at 0500 your time to sing you Happy Birthday! Sorry I didn’t have time for pitch correction.

It seems like only yesterday when we were going over to Ronnie McDonald’s to rehearse. I had that Lambretta scooter I brought back from the Philippines… no car. My guitar was on the floorboards obscuring the brake. I don’t think you had a license yet… can’t remember. How did you get to the rehearsal? Were you on the back of the scooter? Did you take the bus? The answer is lost in antiquity. I do, however, remember this in detail. You and I were riding that scooter over in Virginia when they were just starting to build the Beltway. We slipped passed the construction barricades and found there was no road. To get back to civilization we went ‘off road’ with the little 150cc Lambretta. Some of that ride involved you and I carrying the scooter over obstacles.

Good times with the follies of youth!

May life continue to grace you with health, happiness and fulfillment. Being forever young is out of the question but may you forever be in the moment. As Patty Loveless said in her great song, ‘Too Many Memories,’ ‘And the lessons you learn and you don’t forget
What makes you grow old is replacing hope with regret.’

Hope you had a good one brother, and may you always feel like we look in this picture!

Good times brother... but good times down the road!

Good times brother... but good times down the road!

I love you brother…

Keep smiling…

Your old droog,

Jorma (aka, ‘jerry’)

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Fair Winds And Following Seas, Joe!

April 10th, 2014 Jorma 21 comments
Big Joe... We'll miss this guy!

Big Joe... We'll miss this guy!

A couple of years ago down at the Fur Peace Ranch a bunch of our New York Friends would show up every now an then for our Saturday night shows at the Fur Peace Station. In many respects, ever since the 60’s, the Northeast United States, especially New York, has been a very real home to Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and myself. For many years we have all soared on the wings of dear friends like Joe LaMontagne. When Barry and I played Our Lady Of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn two weeks ago, Joe was there as he had been at so many of our shows. Yesterday John Hurlbut down at the Ranch got a sad email from Joe’s friend Michael to tell us that Joe had passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Joe was an amazing guy, and it is worth getting to know him a little bit by reading this piece from the Poughkeepsie Journal.

WILLISTON PARK – Joseph T. LaMontagne, 54, of Williston Park passed away on Saturday, April 5th at Winthrop Hospital surrounded by family.

Born on November 7, 1959 in Far Rockaway to Bridie Maloney and George LaMontagne.

On August 2nd, 2011, Joseph married his best friend Paula (Minyard) LaMontagne, who survives at home.

In addition to his wife, he is also survived by his brother George and Ellen (George and Kevin), his sister Marie Dave Falcon (Davey and Steve), his sister Maggie and John Crumb (Johnny, James And Bridget), his Brother Sean (Seanie and Shamus), his five stepchildren, J.T., Nick, Gina, David and Jalicia, His beloved granddaughters, Trinity, Akili, Oriana, Braylin and his grandson Jayden. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, cousins and some of the greatest group of men that he called friends and brothers that any man could ever want.

Having overcome a troubled early life, battling his demons, Joe rose above that to live a second life, a very accomplished one. Some of the things that Joseph was most proud of were working for St. Joes in the Poughkeepsie Guest House and then working for the same Franciscan Friars that saved his life many years before at SCI (Graymoor) for almost a decade. Giving back to men what was so freely given to him. He was a proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous for more than 20 years.

Joseph was a huge music lover, a passionate Jets and Mets fan and he loved to fish.

Heaven gained an angel, Joe will be sadly missed, but never forgotten. Family and friends may call Thursday 2-5 & 7-9:30 at Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home, 29 Atlantic Avenue, Floral Park, NY 11001. In Lieu of Flowers, please send donations to SCI – 21 Franciscan Way, P.O. Box 150, Garrison, NY 10524.

At my age I have come to realize that you meet people in this life that you will count as friends. You may meet them infrequently… you may rarely speak… but you will know that you will always be friends… and you may think, ‘Perhaps I should have called more often.’

Fair winds and following seas brother… fair winds and following seas!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

A Rose By Any Other Name…

April 7th, 2014 Jorma 8 comments
If you build it... they will come!

If you build it... they will come!

The second weekend of 2014 at the Fur Peace Ranch featured Marjorie Thompson, David Wolff and myself tag teaming 18 eager guitarists… and what a time we had. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and we’re definitely doing it again next year.

Seventeen years later, Miss Kitty still rules the roost.

Seventeen years later, Miss Kitty still rules the roost.

Foto by Dennis Powell

The sold out concert Saturday night was in the person of the Desert Rose Band. That would be Chris Hillman, Herb Pederson, and john Jorgenson. Now I’ve known Chris and Herb for a while but this was the first that I not only got to hear John Jorgenson play live, but I got to sit in with the band.

Sittin' in with the boys!

Sittin' in with the boys!

Foto by Dennis Powell

What a treat that was.

The guys played on great song after another… I was in heaven.

Happy camper!

Happy camper!

Foto by Dennis Powell

Yeah… what a night!

The band played on...

The band played on...

Foto by Dennis Powell

Yeah… this was a night… and a weekend to remember! Come back soon fellas!

A good time had by all!

A good time had by all!

Foto by Rusty Smith

Yeah… this was great weekend. Now it’s off to Wanee tomorrow night for our gig on Thursday. Driving back after the show for the next Fur Peace Ranch session.

Good times!

Categories: Diary, Friends, Fur Peace Ranch, Hot Tuna, Venues Tags:

Say ‘Amen’ Somebody!

April 4th, 2014 Jorma 17 comments

As I get ready for our second weekend here at the Fur Peace Ranch, with Marjorie Thompson and David Wolff, I got to thinking about my class May 9, 2014.

When Ian Buchanan finally opened to door to finger picking for me back in 1960 the key was spirituals… My parents exposed me to Mahalia Jackson when I was young. Ours was not a Christian Family, nor as Jews, were we observant at that time. That said, I found Mahalia’s music to be unbelievably moving. When I got bitten by the finger style guitar bug, the first songs that grabbed me were gospel and spirituals. The depth of this music is inescapable. The techniques involved set the course for the development of my music by means of the guitar. The rest is not just history, the evolution continues.

I am anticipating a grand turnout for this weekend. This is something near and dear to my heart as you’ve probably figured out by this time. To get y’all in the spirit for the weekend, everyone who signs up for this class will get a Rev. Gary Davis, ‘Harlem Street Singer’ CD as well as a Jorma Kaukonen, ‘Stars In my Crown’ CD. Just to get you in the mood!

Yep… there’s nothing like a good spiritual guitar song, and we’re going to be teaching a bunch of them.

Sign up and come on down to the Ranch. We’re all going to be sitting in the Amen Corner together!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

A Trifecta Of Gigs In The Northeast!

April 1st, 2014 Jorma 28 comments
Sold out in Beacon ag the Crier

Sold out in Beacon at the Crier

On Thursday last, Myron and I hopped into my Nissan Titan and drove up to Beacon, New York for our Friday gig at the Town Crier there. I haven’t played the Town Crier since it was in Pauling, New York… and that was well over a decade ago. Barry and I hadn’t played a Jorma duo show since Fall of last year so we were looking forward to the adventure. Here is our set list:

Jorma Kaukonen And Barry Mitterhoff 1, 2014
The Town Crier
Beacon, New York
Friday, March 28, 2014

First Set:
1. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
2. True Religion
3. I’ll Let You Know Before I Leave
4. How Long Blues
5. Sea Child
6. Trial By Fire
7. Second Chances
8. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
9. Barbeque King
10. Hesitation Blues
11. River Of Time
12. I Know You Rider
Second Set:
1. I See The Light
2. Heart Temporary
3. The Terrible Operation
4. Come Back Baby
5. Prohibition Blues
6. Vicksburg Stomp
7. Good Shepherd
8. Bar Room Crystal Ball
9. Water Song
10. I’ll Be All Right Some Day
11. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
12. Encore: Embryonic Journey

Nice... nice

Nice... nice

Great fun was had by all. We are looking forward to getting back there again soon… perhaps even with Tuna.

Saturday we are in Brooklyn for a fundraiser put on by the Racoon Lodge. (That’s not a typo for Racoon… they avoid copyright infringements that way.)

Here I am with the Racoon gang... honorary member!

Here I am with the Racoon gang... honorary member!

This gig was a fundraiser for the Guild For Exceptional Children and was put on in the gym of Our Lady Of Perpetual Help. We couldn’t advertise this one because of sundry arrangements with promoters we work for all the time, so this was strictly word of mouth. All would have been welcome, but we had a great turnout… almso a thousand people.

Fly the flag

Fly the flag

This gig also involved our good pal, Bill Kirchen, who put on a heck of a solo show as he always does. Here is our set list:

Jorma Kaukonen And Barry Mitterhoff 2, 2014
Our Lady Of Perpetual Help
Notre Dame Hall
Brooklyn, New York
Saturday, March 29, 2014

First Set:
1. Re-Enlistment Blues
2. That’ll Never Happen No More
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Genesis
5. More Than My Old Guitar
6. How Long Blues
7. Barbeque King
8. Goodbye To The Blues
9. Mama Let Me Lay it On You
10. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
Second Set:
1. I See The Light
2. Red River Blues
3. Trial By Fire
4. Good Shepherd
5. Prohibition Blues
6. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
7. Water Song
8. Uncle Sam Blues with Bill Kirchen
9. Talkin’ Bout Chicken with Bill Kirchen
10. Louis Collins with Bill Kirchen
11. Nine Pound Hammer
12. Encore: Embryonic Journey

The men and women of this organization are always ready to do good works. Well done you guys!

Barry relaxes backstage at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help

Barry relaxes backstage at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help

This was not meant to be a secret… we just couldn’t advertise. Thanks so much to everyone who came out and contributed!

Sunday, Barry and I drove out to the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead, New York. What a beautifully restored old theater. Class all the way, and sold out I might add. Here is our set list:

Jorma Kaukonen And Barry Mitterhoff 3, 2014
Suffolk Theater
Riverhead, New York
Sunday, March 30, 2014

First Set:
1. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?
2. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
3. Second Chances
4. Hesitation Blues
5. Barbeque King
6. Sea Child
7. Trial By Fire
8. Prohibition Blues
9. Serpent Of Dreams
10. 99 year Blues
11. River of Time
12. I Know You Rider
Second Set:
1. Been So Long
2. The Terrible Operation
3. Children Of Zion
4. I’ll Let You Know Before I Leave
5. How Long Blues
6. In My Dreams
7. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
8. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. Water Song
11. Vicksburg Stomp
12. I Am The Light Of This World
13. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
14. Encore: Genesis

After show we drove to Clark, New Jersey, spent the night and drove home to Ohio Monday morning.

Sold out in Suffolk!

Sold out in Suffolk!

A great weekend… and great to be back home for a bit.

A Day At Ash Cave With The Kids

March 28th, 2014 Jorma 40 comments

On Wednesday there was an outing in the Hocking Hills at Ash Cave for the kids involved in the Ohio Virtual Academy, so of course Nessa and Izze and my nephew Montana and Izze’s Learning Coach, Shannon and I drove up from Meigs County to the Hocking Hills for a lovely day in the woods and a chance to meet our online teachers in the flesh as well as some of the local kids that are in the program. Now, I’ve been to Old Man’s Cave a number of times but I had never been to Ash Cave before. Beautiful… simply beautiful.

Here’s a little foto gallery:

The parking lot where we meet some of the families

The parking lot where we meet some of the families

On the walk to the cave

On the walk to the cave

What a beautiful place!

What a beautiful place!

Ash Cave

Ash Cave

Not bad, eh?

Not bad, eh?

More perfection!

More perfection!

Nessa at the Cave

Nessa at the Cave

The land time forgot

The land time forgot

Don't forget to duck your head

Don't forget to duck your head

A place in the universe

A place in the universe

One great shot after another...

One great shot after another...

Pool in the mist

Pool in the mist

We're on the upward trail... singing, singing

We're on the upward trail... singing, singing

Bridal veil?

Bridal veil?

Ice stalagmites

Ice stalagmites

What a sound...

What a sound...

The trail back to the truck...

The trail back to the truck...

What a glorious day.

Yesterday, Myron and I drove up to Newburg, N.Y. for a gig in Beacon tonight at the Town Crier Cafe. It’s nice to be playing music again, but somehow, on some days… nature just rules!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

50% Of An Airplane… Opening Day At The Ranch

March 24th, 2014 Jorma 36 comments
Really big show tonight!

Really big show tonight!

The weekend premiered the 17th year of our amazing Fur Peace Ranch. Aside from the great classes we offered, Verlon Thompson with a songwriting class, Jack Casady with a bass workshop and Marjorie Thompson and me with a fingerstyle guitar class, the theme of which was, ‘Love Is Strange, we also had two concert nights with the Marty Balin Band.

Vanessa an Johnny Hurlbut welcome the folks to our 17th year

Vanessa an Johnny Hurlbut welcome the folks to our 17th year

Here is Tuna’s set list from the first night:

Hot Tuna 33, 2014
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady
Fur Peace Station
Darwin, Ohio
Saturday, March 22, 2014

1. Hesitation Blues
2. Living In The Moment
3. Trial By Fire
4. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
5. Heart Temporary
6. Bar Room Crystal Ball
7. Water Song
8. In My Dreams
9. 99 Year Blues
10. I See The Light

Living the life I love

Living the life I love

Foto by Dennis Powell

It was more than great to see Marty and his friends after all these years.

The man hasn't slipped a bit

The man hasn't slipped a bit

Marty played a fabulous two plus hour set and Jack and I joined his for a rousing rendition of Volunteers…

Lloyd Goldstein... playing upright for Marty

Lloyd Goldstein... playing upright for Marty

Marty’s bass player, Lloyd Goldstein, playing some absolutely amazing music over the course of the two nights.

Here is Tuna’s st from night two:

Hot Tuna 34, 2014
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady
Fur Peace Station
Darwin, Ohio
Sunday, March 23, 2014

1. True Religion
2. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
3. Sea Child
4. Good Shepherd
5. Barbeque King
6. I Am The Light Of This World
7. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

A lovely Sunday night for the boys!

There's nobody like this guy...

There's nobody like this guy...

Foto by Dennis Powell

This time, I brought my LP-295 for the sit in with the boys… nothing like a Les Paul I always say… and some serious rockin’ got done. We played three songs with Marty… Volunteers, Plastic Fantastic Lover and on of Marty’s new songs. Marty also sat in on Jack’s class and gave the students some insights into his art!

Marty and Lloyd were joined onstage by Charles Morrongiello on guitar. Helluva picker, this one!

Here I am with Charles in the green room

Here I am with Charles in the green room

What a treat this weekend was… we’ve got to do this again… maybe even a tour!

Jorma, Jack, Marty and Charles

Jorma, Jack, Marty and Charles

Sue took this pic with my iPhone.

A grand time for all… I can’t wait for the next time we all get together!

‘Gottcha Day! The Miracle Continues…

March 19th, 2014 Jorma 21 comments
The Orphanage in Guiping City

The Orphanage in Guiping City

Izze’s ‘Gottcha Day,’ Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In 2007, I was working in Italy when Vanessa and I got the call to go to China to bring our daughter, Israel Love, home to Ohio. You never know when these calls are going to come so families must be ready. Vanessa’s sister Robin, (Lady Robin to all of us) went in my stead and the ladies headed over halfway around the world to Nanning, China.

The first picture they sent us of Izze

The first picture they sent us of Izze

We knew even before we saw her first picture that Izze was our daughter, and that she would be ours forever… that she was family even before we met. The Red Thread is everywhere in this story.

When the girls were heading back from China, I drove up to Columbus to meet them at the airport. A late winter storm changed everything and I had to head down from Columbus to Cincinnati to meet them there. When they left the secure area and we walked down to baggage claim, the first thing Izze did when she saw me was to burst into tears. In her young life she had only been around women and a male figure was something new and somewhat disconcerting… especially the beard!

The road from there to here has been an amazing one. The infant who cried when she first saw me performed with her Irish Dance Class on St. Patrick’s Day and went ice skating with me yesterday… is reading at an eighth grade level and is full of love and amazing opinions.

The girls step out!

The girls step out!

The process of adoption is like an elephant pregnancy… to say the least it is long and nerve wracking. At the end of the road is boundless love… and a lifetime of family.

‘Could you bring my book downstairs?’ she says to Vanessa? The answer, of course, is ‘Yes!’

I cannot imagine life without her. She is my heart of hearts.

Welcome home Izze… on this day and every day!

'I think I'll have the udon... plain please...

'I think I'll have the udon... plain please...

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

From Spirited Away To The Wind Rises

March 17th, 2014 Jorma 6 comments

For those of you familiar with Hayao Miyazaki, this little entry needs no elucidation. I first became aware of his work when we took our much younger daughter to see Ponyo. As parents of an adopted child, this masterpiece really had some resonance with us as adults… and the little one liked it too. Last night we went to see his most recent American release, The Wind Rises. This anime feature was a historical drama, and the youngsters didn’t get it in the same way that I, born in the early years of WWII, did. Of course those of us of a certain age, will remember Jiro as the designer of that most famous of Mitsubishi planes… the Zero… that very fast but under armored Zeke.

Anyway, thanks to my daughter, I have now seen almost all of Miyazaki’s films. You will need to see, Spirited Away, Castle In The Sky, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

I don’t know why Miyazaki’s work has resonated to deeply with me, but I’m going to catch up on the rest of it and I’ll find out.

And you should too!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags: