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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Milestones

August 17th, 2018 Jorma 16 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 64 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…

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Life On LIfe’s Terms

July 8th, 2018 Jorma 16 comments

Well, the Fourth Of July came and went. The heat wave was still in effect here in Southeast Ohio back then so we elected to have a family barbecue on the deck here at the house. The camp that Izze had selected turned turned out to be the farthest thing from what she had hoped it would be, so Vanessa drove another thousand miles to pick her up and bring her home. This is a whole other conversation that I’m not going to specifically address here. Suffice it to say that i am more than disappointed in what the reality of that camp was. All that being said, our girl is back and her summer is progressing in a much more positive way.

As for the Fourth… I love my country each and every day and even though the fellowship and fireworks is always gratifying, I don’t need a special moment to reaffirm my commitment. Nuff said.

It’s in the mid seventies this beautiful Sunday… just beautiful! We’re all just pottering around the house at the Ranch enjoying this rare moment of relative low stress. These are the moments that keep me going when things get hectic. I just did a cool guitar part for Joe Louis Walker’s new project. Thanks for thinking of me Joe. I remember when Joe was a teenager from the Western Addition where I was living in the early days of the Fillmore. Glad we’re still here bud!

Taking a day far from the madding crowd… TV never came on today, computer is going off… Maverick and I are going for a walk and then maybe a swim with the girls.

Have a great Sunday all!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Kids…

June 26th, 2018 Jorma 25 comments

My Daughter Asleep

Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle of sleeping
future appearances.
I carry my daughter
adrift on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender dreams
and I carry her beneath the window,
watching her moon lit palm open and close
like a tiny folded map,
each line a path that leads where I can’t go,
so that I read her palm not knowing what I read
and
walk with her in moon light on the landing,
not knowing with whom I walk,
making invisible prayers to go on with her where
I can’t go,
conversing with so many unknowns that must know her more
intimately than I do.

And so to these unspoken shadows and this broad night
I make a quiet request to the great parental darkness
to hold her when I cannot, to comfort her when I am gone,
to help her learn to love the unknown for itself,
to take it gladly like a lantern for the way before her,
to help her see where ordinary light will not help her,
where happiness has fled, where faith will not reach.

My prayer tonight for the great and hidden symmetries of life
to reward this faith I have and twin her passages of loneliness with friendship,
her exiles with home coming, her first awkward steps with promised onward leaps.

May she find in all this, day or night, the beautiful centrality of pure opposites,
may she discover before she grows old, not to choose so easily between past and present,
may she find in one or the other her gifts acknowledged.

And so as I helped to name her, I help to name these powers,
I bring to life what is needed, I invoke the help she’ll want
following those moonlit lines into a future uncradled by me but parented by all I call.

As she grows away from me, may these life lines grow with her, keep her safe,
so
with my open palm whose lines have run before her to make a safer way,
I hold her smooth cheek and bless her this night into all these other unknown
nights to come.

-David Whyte

I have posted this poem before… and I’m sure I will again. We dropped Izze off at cam[ but before we did we stopped by the museum at Bethel, N.Y.

Izze and Vanessa look at the Woodstock signboard

Izze and Vanessa look at the Woodstock signboard

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

‘You might find this interesting,’ I say. In my mind, ‘Perhaps not.’ We walk through the gates and buy tickets.

Wasn't that a time?

Wasn't that a time?

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The Woodstock memory is so interesting to me almost fifty years down the road… in many ways like a dream! The kids don’t seem to see kids, just strange people from another time.

a girl surrounded by another world...

a girl surrounded by another world...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

We walk about… surrounded by the past.

Through a glass darkly

Through a glass darkly

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

She marks time, diligently waiting for the Woodstock experience to fade into arrival at camp.

What was it all about anyway?

What was it all about anyway?

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

And then it was time to drop her for… for the next month. All this and she turned 12 today.

And then I was home…

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch...

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch...

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

I miss that girl…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Life Is A Disappearing Act

June 18th, 2018 Jorma 14 comments


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

Gretchen Peters, Life Is A Disappearing Act

From Dancing With The Beast

We had another wonderful weekend here at the Fur Peace Ranch With Tom Feldman, David Wolff and myself. All that being said there’s no good time for bad news. Saturday night before the show with Peter Rowan and his Twang And Groove, I found that my friend Steve Story had passed away on Friday. I just texting him a couple of days ago and we were planning on getting together in a week or so. Life is indeed a disappearing act and my friends are starting to disappear at an alarming rate. Indeed, in death all you are, all you might ever be disappears into the ether like dust, and that’s just the way it is. ‘We are all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house, birth till death, we travel between the eternities.’ I’ll be at your service in Thursday but I’m sure going to miss talking to you Steve. Fair winds and following seas brother… fair winds and following seas!

Because life goes on no matter who dies, back at the Ranch, good things were happening.

David wears the first person view google while I pilot my Mavic.

David wears the first person view google while I pilot my Mavic.

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Peter and his buddies sure helped to cheer us up Saturday night.

The boys holding forth

The boys holding forth

With Paul Knight on bass, Jamie Oldaker, percussion, Dave Easley, steel guitar, and Don Rigsby mandolin it was truly a night to remember.

Two friends

Two friends

Foto by Wally Himmelman

It was a bittersweet weekend on the on hand, but a joyous one on the other and that is good because life is too short to be anything but joyous!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

One Hundred And Eight

June 12th, 2018 Jorma 14 comments
Thirty years ago in Talmont, North Shore Tahoe

Thirty years ago in Talmont, North Shore Tahoe

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen, Sr.

One hundred and eight years ago in East Windsor, Connecticut a little girl was born on a tobacco farm. Her name was Beatrice Love Levine and thirty years later she would become my mother. Indeed, today my brother Peter and I are motherless children, like it says in the song. In the scheme of things, that is as it should be. Sorry you missed your grandchildren mom… you would have loved them and they would have loved you! Perhaps you know that.

I miss you and dad all the time, but we’re alright… and so are you.

Love you…

Jormason

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Yet Another County Heard From

June 10th, 2018 Jorma 47 comments

A note from a Dissatisfied Fan
Sunday, June 10, 2018

You know, you just can’t please everybody and in my line of work, sometimes these feelings of dissatisfaction manifest themselves in the strangest ways. I just got a letter from a woman whose return address simply said, ‘Ms. Ripped Off,’ NYC. See Foto below.

Duly noted

Duly noted

I had to think about this one a little bit.

blog 1

This is what I came up with:

Keep in mind; it’s always nice to get fan letters … good and not so good. It helps to keep everything in perspective. This one came this weekend and was one I just couldn’t pass up sharing.

The first few things that came to mind were that the only VIP packages that came remotely close to costing $250 were at the Beacon Theater almost two years ago and last years City Winery gig in Manhattan. We actually performed 4 nights at the Winery on that run and there was only one night that featured what the Winery folks called a VIP Package. As I recall, this VIP package without any extra’s was about $105. If you bought the whole package it was about $195 and included a lot more than just a meet and greet. The artist would participate in a brief meet and greet with a photo op for up to 50 persons prior to the performance as part of the Mastercard/City Winery promotion. The folks who bought this package were also treated to a visit to the winery room, a four course dinner and wine flight which is basically the tasters getting to describe a selection of wines, usually between three and eight glasses, but sometimes as many as fifty. I have no idea how many glasses were involved. I must note here that this event was in November 2017… 7 months ago.

The Beacon VIP packages are much different. You get VIP seating which is very nice and up front as I recall and a brief meet and greet after the performance with Jorma and Jack, which is always heavily orchestrated by Beacon staff. Another side note: this event was in December of 2016 almost 18 months ago. Now it seems to me that if Ms. Ripped Off really took umbrage at any of these events, she would have made her complaints known a long time ago.
Now as far as autographs are concerned, it is true that Jack Casady actually has a John Hancock style signature. It is truly magnificent and always looks the same. I will be the first to admit that my penmanship was miserable when I was a kid and remains so today. That said, whether or not you like my handwriting, it is mine and that’s the best I can do. Since I have absolutely no recollection of the incident Ms. R.O. describes, I can only say that while I am not normally a Chatty Kathy I would like to think that I am a moderately entertaining conversationalist if I am being made a part of an entertaining conversation. Good dialogue is a team effort. Perhaps Ms. R.O. should look in the mirror and spread the blame out a little.

Well, it is what it is, and VIP packages are what they are. At the Beacon for instance regular ticket prices are divided by price tiers and seat locations. They start at $69 then go up to $89 and $99. When you add a VIP option as pricey as it is, it’s a venue set price and they get a chunk of that fee. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Jack and I love our fans and try to be there for them as best we can without being untrue to ourselves, but buying a VIP ticket does not entitle one to make unrealistic personal demands. As far as the aforementioned Ms. R.O. not enjoying the show, all can say is I am a story teller and if you didn’t like the story I told that night that’s OK. Art is an ephemeral beast at best. You may not like what I had to say, but it is my right to say it in any way that I want.

Last by not least, since Ms. Ripped Off told me I suck, this is a fine time for me to quote my father, may he rest in peace. ‘Why are there so many more horses asses, than there are horses?’

Categories: Diary, Hot Tuna, Thoughts Tags:

The Language Of The Heart

June 10th, 2018 Jorma 5 comments
On the road to Akron

On the road to Akron

Foto by Mutt

Last Thursday I rode up to Akron for Founders Day… the 83rd anniversary of AA. To be in a crowd where the language of the heart is spoken by all… is rare indeed. I so look forward to this trip every year.

The Four Absolutes

The Four Absolutes

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

My and two of my good buddies at Annie and Dr. Bob's gravesite in Mt. Peace Cemetary

My and two of my good buddies at Annie and Dr. Bob's gravesite in Mt. Peace Cemetary

Photographer Anonyous

The ride up was flawless… the weather perfect!

Guess how many steps to Dr. Bob's House?

Guess how many steps to Dr. Bob's House?

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Then it was time for a trip to Henrietta Seiberling’s Gate House.

I can't walk through these doors without getting emotional

I can't walk through these doors without getting emotional

Foto by Mutt

The weather turned Saturday night and lightning storms cut the Big Meeting short… rain started pouring and didn’t let up until I was almost 60 miles south of Akron. It’s only water right… and the spend a weekend where the language of the heart is spoken by all… is worth any storm I have to go through.

Back to the my world here at the Fur Peace Ranch and a gig on Tuesday in Columbus at Natalie’s. Well, Worthington actually.

Life is good!

Family & Memorial Day

May 29th, 2018 Jorma 17 comments
Old Glory at Los Angeles National Cemetary

Old Glory at Los Angeles National Cemetary

Foto by Paul Wilder

I was hanging with my family all day yesterday and chose not to mess with the computer. I phoned my friends who are surviving vets and we all honored Memorial Day… and the fallen.

Uncle Tarmo

Uncle Tarmo

Foto by Paul Wilder

Uncle Tarmo survived North Africa, Sicily and from the boot on up. He died in a Memphis VA hospital from lung cancer. My Father and Uncle Pen were also WWII Vets. I never met Tarmo… but I still miss Pen and Dad.

Honor Memorial Day!

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