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He Sang Like An Angel

December 10th, 2018 Jorma 33 comments
Rick Danko

Rick Danko

Nineteen years ago today I was at the old farm on Kingsbury Rd. and I got a call from my agent, Steve Martin. ‘You know that phone call we’ve been expecting,’ he said. ‘This is it. Rick Danko just passed.’ In a way it was not a surprise, but on the other hand I always tend to think that all those dear to me will live forever regardless of the circumstances. Rick was at the same time a complex and yet very simple person. Regardless of the dysfunction that he and I often shared back in the 80’s, he was my friend… my good friend. I remember him standing by the pond behind his little house in Woodstock. ‘Come on girls,’ he would say to the geese on the pond. I’ve got something good for you.’ And he always did. He was without guile and always had a smile on his face. Good times or bad, when he sang it was always with the voice of an angel.

I still miss him.

May your voice lift the angels just a little bit higher.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLNApzPrX5o

I couldn’t help but tear up when I watched this.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

It Seems Like The 27th Was A Long Time Ago… That And Hannukah

December 4th, 2018 Jorma 14 comments
Jack Casady, Paul Shaffer and me... Jorma

Jack Casady, Paul Shaffer and me... Jorma

Before the gig at the new City Winery in our old hometown, D.C. Jack and I stopped by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio to chat with Paul Shaffer. Paul was big fun on every level. He’s a great musician, a great interviewer and best of all, a great guy! I’d visit him anywhere from Vegas to D.C.

After the Interview we slipped over to the new City Winery for our first gig there. When I was growing up in D.C. I would have never found myself in N.E. but on this day, there we were. Time marches on! I love the Winery gigs, and they seem to love us!

Holding forth at the City Winery

Holding forth at the City Winery

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Hot Tuna 47, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
The City Winery
Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

First Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Too Many Years
3. Hesitation Blues
4. How Long Blues
5. Been So Long
6. River Of Time
7. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
8. Barbeque King
9. Sleep Song
10. Trial by Fire
11. Wining Boy Blues
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

Second Set:
1. Serpent Of Dreams
2. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
3. Heart Temporary
4. That’ll Never Happen No More
5. Come Back Baby
6. San Francisco Bay Blues
7. Sea Child
8. Good Shepherd
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. Water Song
11. I Know You Rider
12. Encore: Watch The North Wind Rise

Then it was up to Owings Mills and another great gig.

Whar a room!

Whar a room!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Hot Tuna 48, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
The Gordon Center For The Performing Arts
Owings Mills, Maryland
Thursday, November 29, 2018

First Set:
1. Search My Heart
2. Been So Long
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Heart Temporary
5. Third Week In The Chelsea
6. Barbeque King
7. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
8. Sleep Song
9. Trial By Fire
10. Watch The North Wind Rise
11. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
12. San Francisco Bay Blues

Second Set:
1. I See The Light
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Wolves & Lambs
4. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
5. Come Back Baby
6. River Of Time
7. Whining Boy Blues
8. Sea Child
9. Good Shepherd
10. That’ll Never Happen No More
11. Water Song
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
13. Encore: Embryonic Journey

After this great gig we drove after show to Marietta, Ohio… almost in my backyard!

The historic Lafayette Hotel in Marietta

The historic Lafayette Hotel in Marietta

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

In 1992 or thereabouts, my dear friend Keith Gatto had me play at the Lafayette Hotel for the Marietta Blues Society. Keith was our family doctor as well as a friend and I was honored to be able to speak a his memorial service. Keith has been gone almost 20 years now and like my Mom and Dad, I still miss him.

The Ohio River in front of the hotel

The Ohio River in front of the hotel

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

When I moved to Ohio in 1991 I found myself reading all of the Allan Eckert books about the Northwest Territory. A Sorrow In Our Heart comes to mind immediately! Lots of memories from those early days in what has become my home.

World class venue!

World class venue!

Foto by Phil Jacobs

The People’s Theater is awesome!

Check this seat out!

Check this seat out!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Shows of yesteryear

Shows of yesteryear

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

More memories

More memories

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Theaters in Marietta?  You bet!

Theaters in Marietta? You bet!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Hot Tuna 49, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
The People’s Bank Theater
Marietta, Ohio
Friday, November 30, 2018

First Set:
1. True Religion
2. Been So Long
3. Hesitation Blues
4. River Of Time
5. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
6. Barbeque King
7. In My Dreams
8. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
9. Trial By Fire
10. Watch The North Wind Rise
11. How Long Blues
12. San Francisco Bay Blues

Second Set:
1. Serpent Of Dreams
2. I’ll Be All Right Some Day
3. Ain’t In No Hurry
4. Third Week In The Chelsea
5. Come Back Baby
6. Keep YUur Laps rimmed & Burning
7. Full Go Round
8. Sleep Song
9. Good Shepherd
10. Trouble In MInd
11. I Know You Rider
12. Encore: Water Song

Then it was up to the Ark in Ann Arbor

Hot Tuna 50, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
The Ark
An Arbor, Michigan
Saturday, December 1, 2018

First Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Too Many Years
3. Hesitation Blues
4. I See The Light
5. Barbeque King
6. Search My Heart
7. River Of Time
8. Sleep Song
9. In The Kingdom
10. The Terrible Operation
11. Trouble In Mind
12. San Francisco Bay Blues

Second set:
1. Candy Man
2. How Long Blues
3. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
4. Things That Might Have Been
5. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
6. Come Back Baby
7. 3rd Week In The Chelsea
8. Sea Child
9. Trial By Fire
10. Good Shepherd
11. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
12. I Know You Rider
13. Encore: Embryonic Journey

Then a dash to Cleveland, and The Music Box

The waterways are busy day and night

The waterways are busy day and night

Foto by Phil Jacobs

The weather began to turn up here by Lake Erie, but it was warm inside!

In the shadow of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

In the shadow of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Hot Tuna 51, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
The Music Box
Cleveland, Ohio
Monday, December 3, 2018

First Set:
1. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
2. Serpent Of Dreams
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Barbeque King
5. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
6. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
7. Sleep Song
8. Trial By Fire
9. Watch The North Wind Rise
10. How Long Blues
11. San Francisco Bay Blues

Second Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Wolves & Lambs
3. River Of Time
4. 3rd Week In The Chelsea
5. Come Back Baby
6. That’ll Never Happen No More
7. Candy Man
8. I See The Light
9. Sea Child
10. Good Shepherd
11. Re-Enlistment Blues
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
13. Encore: Water Song

The Boys onstage

The Boys onstage

Foto by Phil Jacobs

With Hannukah upon us I throw out a couple of thoughts gleaned from an editorial in Haaretz.

‘In the nationwide strike over violence against women, we saw that the true miracle of Hanukkah is tikvat hinam, baseless optimism, hope without just cause.’

‘There are times so dark, that the most radical act you can perform, is optimism.’

Radical optimism indeed. Count me in!

Happy Hannukah all!

PS In the spirit of shameless self promotion our show at the Boulder Theater on 12/14 is sold out, but you can check out the concert live here: http://nugs.tv/live-webcasts/5,88/Hot-Tuna-12-2018-Boulder-Theater-Boulder-CO.html

Categories: Diary, Hot Tuna, Set Lists, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

On This Veteran’s Day…

November 11th, 2018 Jorma 19 comments

On this Veteran’s Day so many come to mind… Family and friends, strangers who have touched my life… those who have served with honor.

My father, Jorma Sr. WWII U.S. Navy, Pacific
My uncle Pentti, WWII U.S. Army Pacific
My Uncle Tarmo WWII U.S. Army North Africa and Italy
Vanessa’s Uncle Bobby, WWII U.S. Army Battle Of The Bulge
Vanessa’s Uncle Milt, WWII U.S. Army Pacific
My Dear friend Chuck F. Vietnam U.S. Marines
My bestest pal Jerry S. Vietnam U.S. Army
John Hurlbut’s dad Ray, WWII U.S.Navy Pacific

Jerry, Chuck and Ray are still with us… the others have fought their last battle and moved on.

These I know, but of course there are countless others and in my own small way, I honor them all!

My friend Jim Bacon played this Paul Hyde song at our open mike today at the Fur Peace Ranch… here it is by Séan MCann. Give it a listen:

Forever Light Will Shine

Nuff Said!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Tikkun Olam

November 4th, 2018 Jorma 23 comments
Trashbag and tongs...

Trashbag and tongs...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

As Jews Nessa and I were encouraged to go to services this Shabbat and, among other things, show solidarity for the victims and the families of the Tree Of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. For a number of reasons this was not in the cards for out family but it is always in the cards to perform acts of service and ours was the two mile stretch of SR 681 that we have adopted as a site to clean.

Nessa, Rick, Sarah, Justin and Me

Nessa, Rick, Sarah, Justin and Me

Selfie by Vanessa

Rick, got us involved in the highway cleanup over a decade ago and he is getting ready to leave the area but we shall carry on the tradition. Brenda and our own John Hurlbut from the Fur Peace Ranch joined us as well as Andy from Athens… who brought doughnuts. To show up on a chilly Saturday morning to help pick up the incredible detritus that people empty from their cars is amazing indeed.

Andy, a trash bag, some doughnuts and me

Andy, a trash bag, some doughnuts and me

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

It’s the little things we can do that really make a difference. Talk is cheap… I know, because I do plenty of it. It was more than a pleasure hanging with friends over bags of trash containing stuff you don’t even want to know about.

Nessa finds the mother of four leaf cloves amongst the debris

Nessa finds the mother of four leaf cloves amongst the debris

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

We were done by eleven… it was a Saturday morning well spent!

John Hurlbut... the man, the legend!

John Hurlbut... the man, the legend!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

ps Carhartts… Rugged as the men and women who wear them!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Four More Tuna Gigs And The Long Way Home

October 15th, 2018 Jorma 18 comments
Pretty girl in a truck... what's not to like?

Pretty girl in a truck... what's not to like?

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

A couple of wonderful days at home in the middle of a tour. Odd, indeed… but most enjoyable. Nessa dropped Phil and myself at the bus chauffeuring the two of us in my truck. What a gal!

Sunrise at the Fur Peace Ranch before heading to town.

Sunrise at the Fur Peace Ranch before heading to town.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Time moves steadily, inexorably at any age, but now… in my time, it just slips through my fingers faster than I would like. I know better, but sometimes I try to hold onto the moments but they slip through my fingers like wisps of smoke. I wish it were otherwise, but it is not. Back out on the road, the routine is the routine. I’ve been doing it for most of my life and I have become comfortable with its inconvenience. It truly is what it is, and it certainly beats some of the alternatives.

We needed to to get to Chandler, Vermont and with the new government driving regulations, we had to allow for two days. With an overnight in Syracuse, we found ourselves in New England.

Marquee at the Chandler Center

Marquee at the Chandler Center

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Hot Tuna 37, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady
The Chandler Center For The Arts
Randolph, Vermont
Thursday, October 11, 2018

First Set:
1. Second Chances
2. Wolves & Lambs
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Serpent Of Dreams
5. Barbeque King
6. Sea Child
7. Trial By Fire
8. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
9. How Long Blues
10. Candy Man
11. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
Second Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Whining Boy Blues
3. I See The Light
4. Come Back Baby
5. River Of Time
6. In My Dreams
7. Sleep Song
8. Good Shepherd
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. San Francisco Bay Blues
11. I Know You Rider
12. Encore: Genesis

The Chandler Center in Randolph, Vermont

The Chandler Center in Randolph, Vermont

Foto by Phil Jacobs

The foliage up here is way ahead of our trees in Southeast Ohio but when the sun comes up on my morning tomorrow at home, I look forward to the glory of Fall.

Here they come...

Here they come...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

After Chandler, we drove to the Cabot Theater in Beverly, Mass.

Da Boyz

Da Boyz

Foto by Phil Jacobs

We’ve been here before and it’s a dandy!

Old school marquee... love it!

Old school marquee... love it!

Foto by Phil Jacobs

The calm before the storm

The calm before the storm

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Hot Tuna 38, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady
The Cabot Theater
Beverly, Mass.
Friday, October 12, 2018

First Set:
1. True Religion
2. How Long Blues
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Been So Long
5. Things That Might Have Been
6. Barbeque King
7. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
8. Sea Child
9. Watch The North Wind Rise
10. Living In The Moment
11. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
12. San Francisco Bay Blues

Second Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Heart Temporary
3. River Of Time
4. Nine Pound Hammer
5. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
6. 3rd Week In The Chelsea
7. Sleep Song
8. Trial By Fire
9. Good Shepherd
10. Come Back Baby
11. Water Song
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
13. Encore: Embryonic Journey

The storm... at the Cabot!

The storm... at the Cabot!

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Then out to the Cape and the gig in Truro!

'Take me to a circus tent...'   Marty Balin

'Take me to a circus tent...' Marty Balin

Foto by Phi Jacobs

A tent gig at this time of year is a little odd… but all my trepidation was for naught.

Tent, sky... and chill wind.

Tent, sky... and chill wind.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Being the naysayer that I can sometimes be, I expected the worst… and I got the best.

Sunset heading to the food building.

Sunset heading to the food building.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The dinner was brought in by the good folks from Terra Luna in Truro. To say that this dinner was off the charts would be more than an understatement!

This is not your normal pre gig dish!

This is not your normal pre gig dish!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Whatever latent grumpiness was infesting me vanished with the first oyster! Boy howdy!

The Lord Of The Paella Pans

The Lord Of The Paella Pans

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Seafood… garlic… peerless cuisine! Many thanks to Terra Luna. (Now closed for the season. I gotta get back next year!)

Hot Tuna 39, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady
Payomet Performing Arts Center
North Truro, Mass.
Saturday, October 13, 2018

First Set:
1. Dime For Beer
2. Second Chances
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Search My Heart
5. Serpent Of Dreams
6. Barbeque King
7. Full Go Round
8. Sleep Song
9. Trial By Fire
10. The Terrible Operation
11. River Of Time
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

Second Set:
1. Been So Long
2. San Francisco Bay Blues
3. Come Back Baby
4. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
5. 3rd Week In The Chelsea
6. Genesis
7. Trouble In Mind
8. Whining Boy Blues
9. How Long Blues
10. Sea Child
11. In The Kingdom
12. Good Shepherd
13. I Know You Rider
14. Encore: Water Song

Up bright and early for the run to Albany and the Egg. No hotel for me and Myron… we would be heading home after the gig.

The chicken... or the?????

The chicken... or the?????

Foto by Phil Jacobs

We’ve been coming to the gig almost since time immemorial… or something like that. It’s always a pleasure!

Hot Tuna 40, 2018
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady
The Sawyer Theater
@The Egg
Albany, New York
Sunday, October 14, 2018

First Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Wolves & Lambs
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Come Back BAby
5. I See The Light
6. Come Back Baby
7. 3rd Week In The Chelsea
8. Sea Child
9. Watch The North Wind Rise
10. Living In The Moment
11. That’ll Never Happen No More
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & burning

Second Set:
1. Been So Long
2. The Terrible Operation
3. Heart Temporary
4. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
5. Barbeque King
6. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
7. San Francisco Bay Blues
8. Sleep Song
9. Good Shepherd
10. Nine Pound Hammer
11. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
12. I Know You Rider
13. Encore: Genesis

The boys at the Egg

The boys at the Egg

Foto by Phil Jacobs

After the show we dropped Phil and Jack off at the hotel. They would find their way home by other means while Myron and I would ride the bus. New DOT regs mandate that a driver can only drive for ten hours followed by an eight hour break. Whether this is good or bad is open to discussion. It just is. In the cowboy days we used to bang out fifteen plus hours. This makes the trip from Albany to Pomeroy short by about three hours. As a result, we’re spending the day in Cumberland while Chris, the driver, logs his eight.

It’s a whole new world, isn’t it?

As for jack and myself, to be able to continue to function at the level we demand of ourselves is more than a blessing and much gratitude is sent towards our higher power! I know destiny turns on a dime, but I’ll more than take this day. At home, there will b a couple of ‘days off,’ whatever that means. I’ll be doing Dad stuff with Izze until the weekend when we will be hosting our Rev. Gary Davis Weekend at the Fur Peace Ranch. Larry Campbell will be coming in as well as Roy Book Binder… two of my favorite people for sure!

One day at a time… and it looks like a good day! I’ll be home by nine tonight and life will go on.

A good run was had!

Onward!

Categories: Diary, Hot Tuna, Set Lists, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

Drifting On The River Of Time

October 8th, 2018 Jorma 24 comments
This is a skyline!

This is a skyline!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

After Bethel, Jack went home while I (Jorma) did some book press for Been So Long and one of the first stops was to visit with some great folks up a Sirius/XM Radio.

I had just walked out of the elevator when what should I see?

My name in high def

My name in high def

Foto by Myron Hart

And if that wasn’t exciting enough…

Me and Al Roker

Me and Al Roker

Foto by Phil Jacobs

I’ve always been a fan of Als. I see him all the time on TV… and there he was! I felt like he was long lost family.

John Fugelang and bud... and me.

John Fugelang and bud... and me.

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Then a moment with Larry Flick

Live on Sirius/XM

Live on Sirius/XM

I;m a big satellite radio nut… so this was all very exciting!

Then it was off to the Boulton Center in Bay Shore.

But first... time to put the bird up again.

But first... time to put the bird up again.

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

The Boulton Center is always a treat!

Love those words!

Love those words!

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Jorma Kaukonen 28, 2018
Jorma Solo
Boulton Center For The Performing Arts
Bay Shore, New York
October, 4, 2018

First Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Been So Long
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Barbeque King
5. I See The Light
6. Full Go Round
7. Sea Child
8. Watch The North Wind Rise
9. How Long Blues
10. Big River Blues
11. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
12. Sleep Song
13. Trial By Fire
14. Good Shepherd
15. Bar Room Crystal Ball
16. San Francisco Bay Blues
17. I Know You Rider
18. Encore: Genesis

Cleaned up nice!

Cleaned up nice!

Foto by Lee Cantor

Then an after show run to the Odeum in East Greenwich, RI.

East Greenwich... quaint and delighful!

East Greenwich... quaint and delighful!

We heard about this diner… we had to go!

Old School

Old School

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Just checking the Decor

Just checking the Decor

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Yeah… Jiggers was awesome.

Phil contemplates his phone

Phil contemplates his phone

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Jorma Kaukonen 29, 2018
Jorma Solo
Greenwich Odeum
East Greenwich, R.I.
Thursday, October 4, 2018

First Set:
1. Too Many Years
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Search My Heart
4. Serpent Of Dreams
5. Come Back Baby
6. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
7. Sleep Song
8. Trial By Fire
9. Watch The North Wind Rise
10. River Of Time
11. How Long Blues
12. San Francisco Bay Blues
13. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
Second Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Been So Long
3. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
4. Things That Might Have Been
5. I’ll Be All Right Someday
6. Barbeque King
7. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
8. I See The Light
9. Living In The Moment
10. Sea Child
11. Good Shepherd
12. Water Song
13. Whining Boy Blues
14. I Know You Rider
15. Encore: Genesis

All the comforts of home

All the comforts of home

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Then a rush to the City Winery, but first a stop at WNYC and a chat with John Schaefer.

John Schaefer and the Old Picker

John Schaefer and the Old Picker

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Always good to chat about music with John… Good times!

The good old City Winery!

The good old City Winery!

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Jorma Kaukonen 30, 2018
Jorma Solo
The City Winery
New York City
Friday, October 5, 2018

First Set:
1. True Religion
2. Been So Long
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Wolves & Lambs
5. River Of Time
6. Barbeque King
7. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
8. How Long Blues
9. Full Go Round
10. Sea Child
11. Watch The North Wind Rise
12. Wining Boy Blues
13. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
Second Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. San Francisco Bay Blues
3. Come Back Baby
4. Serpent Of Dreams
5. In My Dreams
6. Search My Heart
7. Sleep Song
8. Trial By Fire
9. Good Shepherd
10. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
11. Water Song
12. Trouble In Mind
13. Encore: Genesis

Good times indeed. Lots and lots of old friends.

After the show we drove back to Ohio so I could do a book signing at Lost Weekend, my friend Kyle Seigrist’s place

Holding forth at Lost Weekend in Columbus, Ohio

Holding forth at Lost Weekend in Columbus, Ohio

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Today, taking the kid to school… doing a little laundry and getting ready to hit the bus to head to Randolph, Vermont and the Chandler Center For The Arts.

As for me…

Good things come, good things go
If it lifts you up it will lay you low
People leave and they don’t come back
Life is a disappearing act…

Gretchen Peters
Disappearing Act

Give this one a listen… Disappearing Act.

Now We Are Three

September 29th, 2018 Jorma 97 comments
Window in time...

Window in time...

Thanks to Bob Sarles for these fotos…

Now We Are Three
Requiem For A Friend
Marty Balin
30 Jan. 1942/27 Sept. 2018

Life is a thin thread
It’s a thin little hand on a hospital bed
It’s all the things you’ve left unsaid
Life is a thin thread

It’s a fine line between loving and not
Between holding it back or giving all that you’ve got
Feeling you’re free, thinking you’re caught
It’s a fine line

(Thin Thread by Connie Kaldor)

I was more than saddened yesterday to hear of Marty Balin’s passing. Jack and I were in Northampton, Mass. at the Academy Of Music and we were just getting ready to do our sound check. I knew that Marty had been sick and I knew in a general way that he had grievous issues but I did not really know what they were. Marty always kept a lot of shade on himself. I stood there in the little room in the wings, stage left… struck dumb. What can you say? We always say and hear, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ but what does that really mean? We say it. We have to say it and then in the confines of our hearts we try to process the sorrow and search for the words that really convey what we feel. It is an imperfect process.

Marty and I were young together in a time that defined our lives. Had it not been for him, my life would have taken an alternate path I cannot imagine. He and Paul Kantner came together and like plutonium halves in a reactor started a chain reaction that still affects many of us today. It was a moment of powerful synchronicity. I was part of it to be sure, but I was not a prime mover. Marty always reached for the stars and he took us along with him.

I always felt that he was somewhat guarded… the quiet one. Perhaps that’s because I was one of the noisy ones… I don’t know. It’s probably not for me to say. His commitment to his visions never flagged. He was always relentless in the pursuit of his goals. He wrapped those he loved in sheltering arms. He loved his family. Times come and go but his passion for his music and his art was never diminished. He was the most consummate of artists in a most renaissance way. I always felt that he perceived that each day was a blank canvas waiting to be filled.

It was fortuitous that we were able to stay connected in a loose way over the years. He and his friends graced our stage at the Fur Peace Station in Ohio and he was able to join us at the Beacon Theater in NYC the year we celebrated Jack’s 70th birthday.

Very good stuff!

Coming to grips with reality is a process that starts at birth. I am always stunned when one of my friends passes and yet, it would seem that at some point we will all take that journey. It’s almost like, ‘How can this be? There are things I need to say.’ There were indeed things I needed to say and the fault for that lack lies on me and me alone. I don’t think any of us really think that we will live forever yet often that thought lies dormant in the back of our minds. At my age my world is starting to be surrounded by passing. I will miss my friends who rest on the banks of the River Of Time and I am reminded to make the most of every moment as I am swept downstream! Marty’s passing reaffirms the power of love, the power of family, the power of possibilities.

So many of our brothers and sister from that time are gone. Skip Spence, Spencer Dryden, Joey Covington, Papa John Creach, Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson and now Marty have all joined the Heavenly Band as Rev. Davis would say.

We were young together. I would like to think we made a difference. As for Grace Slick, Jack Casady and myself…

Now we are three…

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Milestones

August 17th, 2018 Jorma 24 comments

I’ve got a longer post waiting in the wings about my dear friend Dave Revels and his amazing Shadows Of The Sixties show that he brought to the Fur Peace Ranch last weekend. This post has been put on hold for a bit by the passing of Aretha Franklin.

I first became aware of Aretha in 1959 when my first roommate at Antioch College, Marshall Jones, turned me onto the sermons of the Rev. C.L.Franklin. As I recall, he was preaching somewhere in northern Kentucky and I purchased two LP’s of his sermons. The one I recall was ‘The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest.’ Marshall talked about Aretha’s singing in Rev. Franklin’s choir. Although not a Christian then or now, those sermons moved me in ways I could not really understand at the time.

When I first heard Aretha’s I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You I was unaware that it was her eleventh album. That recording enveloped me in its sound and Aretha Franklin and her music would forever be a part of my life. She was such a mature and breathtaking talent that it never occurred to me that she was younger than I was. When I became aware of her fragility earlier this week, it became crystal clear that the time of my generation is resting on a bubble. This is not a bad thing to be aware of and I thank Aretha for bringing it home to me.

She touched so many generations and we will all miss her presence on this earth. She never failed to bring beauty to the garden.

May she rest in everlasting peace…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

The Audio Book Adventure

August 6th, 2018 Jorma 65 comments
With book... and iPad

With book... and iPad

Foto by Matie Argiropoulos

I found myself at one of those Times Square tourist hotels… the Paramount. With the room just big enough for a bed and a small suitcase, obviously it was designed for sleeping only. Good mattress though. Except for me, I would venture that almost everyone else in the building was there to sample the bright lights of Times Square.

Now, this could be Times Square

Now, this could be Times Square

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

But this could be Times Square too…

Hmmm

Hmmm

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

I wanted to tell the folks swarming the streets that there was more to America than this, but hey… they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. But I hadn’t come here to be this close to the Deuce just to lollygag around. My mission was to show up at CDM Studios. These folks’ specialty was doing audio books and more and I was there to read my book, Been So Long. Now this was to be a production of Macmillan Audio from St. Martin’s Press.

It’s been a couple of years since I put the first words of Been So Long on ‘paper.’ In a way, it seems longer than that and in another, the time has passed in the blink of an eye. In any case as my project has unfolded I find myself more than grateful to all the people it takes to make a book happen. The writing was only the tip of the iceberg. The editorial team was more than awesome. My sincerest thanks to you all!

In any case, this reading business was something completely new. Again, this is an industry that until now had been way off my radar. Matie Argiropoulos, the producer and director, was sure I could do it. Me… not so much. What the heck. If you want to run with the Big Dogs, you have to get off the porch, and so off the porch I got!

I had two and a half days to do two hundred and eighty four pages and as I began reading, it looked like two and a half days would not be enough. Slowing down to a moderate tempo has always been a problem for me, in music and in life itself. Matie was a real pro and always pointed me in the right direction whenever I would stray! I found some of the chapters easy to read. When I got to the one where both my Mom and Dad passed… it was more emotional to me than I could have imagined. They’ve been gone for twenty years, and writing about it was nowhere near as hard as reading what I wrote out loud. The little poem from my Grandfather that I close the book with affected me as powerfully as it did the first time I read it. You’ll see, if you read the book. I felt good that after all the work I had done on this project I could still be emotionally touched in a very real way.

Finally... a little guitar

Finally... a little guitar

Foto by Matie Argiropoulos

After I finished the reading, i got to play a little guitar music to go under the closing credits. The guitar was like an ice cream dessert after the feast that was the reading. I would like to thank Matie Argiropoulos the producer and director of my project. Thanks for the hand holding! It was recorded by Charles de Montebello and Raunak Mukherjee. Post production is by Danny Meltzer and the text copyright 2018 is by me, Jorma Kaukonen. The production copyright 2018 is by Macmillan Audio and of course, all rights are reserved.

I felt more than good as I wrapped this up at noon on Sunday and headed back to the Fur Peace Ranch. The official release date of the book is August 28, 2018. I’d like to think Mom and Dad would have gotten a kick out of this.

i know I did!

Smiles all around!

Smiles all around!

Selfie by Matie Argiropoulos

Three Old Dogs

July 20th, 2018 Jorma 66 comments
Old friends... still the best!

Old friends... still the best!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Friends are always good… you can’t have too many of them. All that being said, there is that not so elusive quality that old friends share. They know where you come from and how you got where you are. You have shared moments of life and loss. Life evolves as it must for each of us in its own way, but at the end of the day… you are still friends. Here you see my dear friends Jerry, Chuck and myself. Fifty years ago when I was making my bones in the music world, they were both in Vietnam and yet here we are today breaking bread at Salaam in Athens, Ohio where the spice road cuisine is always good.

Golden moments indeed!

I love these guys…

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