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A Good Day… A Really Good Day!

March 22nd, 2016 Jorma 14 comments
Heading out...

Heading out...

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

First Real Ride Of 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yeah… well I had been thinking about this for a while. We’ve had warm days, we’ve had cold days. Whatever… I always think about riding. Today the sun was out… in a hazy way and the outside temperature was in the low sixties. Not bad at all. I had spent much of the morning recycling stabilized gas into the Jeep and my truck. That way I can fill my reserves with fresh fuel and I get a fill up I paid for last Fall. I put air in the tires of the Ultra Classic, adjusted the suspension, cleaned the windshield on the bike and the face shield on my helmet and got out my leathers and boots. Nice, very nice.

Now motorcycle riding is something I’ve done since I was thirteen. It’s an immense part of my life. Having ridden as long as I have you hear all sorts of stuff from people who don’t ride. They talk about ‘donor’ cycles… accidents… all sorts of unpleasant stuff. Hey, guess what. Motorcycle riding is potentially a life threatening activity just like flying. Those of us who love riding accept this as part of the deal. We’re not risk takers. Life is itself inherently dangerous.

Yeah… screw it. Let’s ride!

So I saddled up and headed into Athens on Old 33. The trees aren’t budding yet, but the pastures are already green. The farmers are mucking out the barns and the early Spring air dances with the hint of manure. Truth be told… it doesn’t smell bad. It’s the smell of Spring in the country. I hit the video store and returned some rentals. I still love going to the video store and browsing through the stacks. I’m not a Netflix guy. It’s like going to an old school record store.

Back on the bike and off through the Appalachian hills… taking fifty miles to get home… it would normally be ten miles. I used to think of my Dad when I took rides. He said at the end of his life he always wanted a motorcycle… Well Dad, this ride was for me, but I thought of you.

Flawless… perfect. What a day!

Home with the girls… the house is filled with the smells of dinner cooking.

Life is good!

Coming back

Coming back

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

The Paths Are Many, The Way Is One…

February 29th, 2016 Jorma 27 comments
Sunday in the city...

Sunday in the city...

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

So yesterday, Vanessa and Izze and I got into my truck and headed up to Columbus to meet some friends and do some shopping for the house and the Fur Peace Ranch. I don’t do Facebook, but Vanessa does, of course, and when she posted this great picture of Izze and myself she got lots of comments. I find it interesting that many people find it singular that I would go shopping myself. Now, yesterday was a beautiful day here in Ohio and I could have gone for a great motorcycle ride, but with me being gone so much of the time on the road, I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to spend time with my family here in Ohio. As for buying in bulk… why pay retail? Right?

Anyway, in the spirit of synchronicity my old college pal, Paul Wasserman sent me this great poem which arrived at just the right time.

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

Now as you can see from the fotos, I won’t be carrying her over my shoulder any more and my son Zach is now a good three inches taller than I. Still and all, the sentiment remains… deep and powerful! I know there is a grand future for my children!

Wally, Cat, Grateful, Jorma, Izze & Hurl

Wally, Cat, Grateful, Jorma, Izze & Hurl

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

Breaking bread with dear friends as Winter thinks about waning… very, very nice…

Onward indeed!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

We Are All Travelers In This World…

February 20th, 2016 Jorma 22 comments

“We are all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house, birth till death, we travel between the eternities.”

Prentiss Ritter played by Robrt Duvall in ‘Broken Trail’

We are indeed all travelers in this world and each day is both an instant and an eternity.

It is sometimes hard to imagine, but I too was young once and I had actually quite an interesting life before music made me visible to you all. In 1956 when I returned from Pakistan with my family I was in tenth grade at Woodrow Wilson High School in D.C. I met Jack’s older brother Chick Casady because of our love of cars, and through Chick, Jack. I wasn’t even playing music, but I would… and a year or so later Jack and I would have our first band in 1958. Even if I were gone from the States for much of the time, those of us who grew up on or near Northampton St. by Lafayette School shared, in a way, that magical bond of youthful discovery. There was Bill Haile, my best friend for years… now gone, Mike Oliveri who first taught me to play the guitar… now gone… Charlotte Harbour where Jack and I played our first gig, now gone… and now Lisa Roman… another girl from the neighborhood… gone on Valentine’s Day, 2016.

Lisa Roman... I knew her as Liz

Lisa Roman... I knew her as Liz

Lisa and Jack and I would reconnect every now and then when we would play Vermont. It was nice… we were were old friends… and getting older. She was a remarkable girl and a remarkable woman. I will miss those rare meetings… and another part of my past is truly history.

Rest well sister… your trials are over.

For me, I am still in transit between those two eternities, and that’s a good thing.

A little creek heading for Stroud's Run

A little creek heading for Stroud's Run

Today amazingly it was and is in the seventies. Vanessa, Izze, Maverick, Nessa’s sister Ginger and her son Montana and I all headed over to Canaan and Stroud’s Run for late winter’s walk in the sun.

Izze, Montana, Maverick, Ginger and Nessa

Izze, Montana, Maverick, Ginger and Nessa

Well, we logged some decent walking miles on this beautiful Saturday and life does, indeed, go on. My past is always slipping away, but I am so lucky my present is still with me and so far, there is a future.

So on this beautiful day in Southeast Ohio I bid the fondest of farewells to my old friend from the hood… Lisa/Liz.

I am so grateful to have been granted a little more time and to still be between the two eternities.

Amein…

Evening Postsctript 19:40

Nessa, Izze, her pal Violet and I met Ginger and Montana at the Lake hope lodge… about an hour away.

The view from the porch afer dinner

The view from the porch afer dinner

Good food, family, friends and a beautiful setting…

Night comes to Vinton County

Night comes to Vinton County

And so the day ends…

Onward

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Jitlada… Culinary Magnificence Thai Style!

February 12th, 2016 Jorma 12 comments
Jorma visits Ray at Jitlada

Jorma visits Ray at Jitlada

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

So I’m checking my blog the other day and there was a comment from one Ray Gallo. He’s into the music and of course I dug that… but there was more. I’ve been hanging out in Japan Town for the last week and he mentioned that he and is wife have a little Thai restaurant, Jitlada, up on Buchanan Street. Now it is true that a man’s gotta eat… but there’s more than that. A man’s gotta eat good food… and this was some of the best I’ve ever had!!!!! I kid you not. Click on the Jitlada link above and check out the menu. I’ve had a lot of Thai food… and I love it, obviously… but this topped it all. These are not hyperbolic superlatives, it really is the best. It’s right above the walking street part of Buchanan on the East side of the street.

I can’t say enough about this… you gotta go… and tell them Jorma sent you!

Going home tomorrow… glad my last dinner in San Francisco was at Jitlada!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

Just A Couple Of Pictures And Thoughts…

February 10th, 2016 Jorma 13 comments
The view from the Yogananda's terrace

The view from the Yogananda's terrace

Hurl and Vanessa always like to take me to the Self Realization Fellowship site in Encinitas. It’s always lovely and always peaceful.

The carp are living large... and beautiful

The carp are living large... and beautiful

A perfect day in Encinitas…

What a garden!

What a garden!

Then a walk down to Yoga Beach…

Tought to beat this view!

Tough to beat this view!

Backing up for a moment to the Music Box Gig…

Me on stage at the Music Box in San Diego

Me on stage at the Music Box in San Diego

Foto by Myron Hart

En route to SF

Tour vehicle...

Tour vehicle...

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

People always say to me, ‘Wow, it must have been great back in the day with tour buses and all.’ ‘Guess again,’ would be my reply. Country stars had tour buses, not rock musicians. We toured in Ford LTD wagons… rented. Now I know this is an Olds not a Ford, but you get the picture. Jefferson Airplane’s equipment truck was a Grumman bodied Metro bread delivery truck.

Good times…

The Mifune in Japan Town

The Mifune in Japan Town

When I get to S.F. my first eating stop is at the Mifune Noodle joint where I have been eating for forty years.

Love this place…

The weather is preternaturally beautiful here in San Francisco right now… I think I’ll go for a walk.

One For Paul, One For………..

February 9th, 2016 Jorma 13 comments

So yesterday Vanessa and Izze and I forayed into North Beach. I actually found a parking place on Grant St. which augured well. We went into St. Francis Of Assisi where Paul used to pray regularly.

The girls on the steps of St. Francis

The girls on the steps of St. Francis

This is a beautiful little cathedral and it had been many years since I had been inside.

Calm and serene

Calm and serene

I headed for the candles…

One for Paul, and one for Signe too!

One for Paul, and one for Signe too!

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

We stayed for a while in the cool quiet and then headed across the street to the Cafe Trieste.

Another kind of sacrament... coffee, and an almond croissant

Another kind of sacrament... coffee, and an almond croissant

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

Yeah Paul… I missed your presence.

I stopped at the coffee counter and bought some beans to take home.

Good times

Good times

Too bad I never got to show Paul my Aeropress Coffee maker. He would have dug it.

Time marches on… and so do we.

Onward

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

The Moving Finger And McCabe’s

January 31st, 2016 Jorma 7 comments

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyám

I was sitting alone in the restaurant a few moments ago… just grabbing a burger. There is a high wind advisory here in Santa Monica and the wind was whipping the palm trees into a frenzy. I had just finished doing an in depth interview with an eight grade gal back east in Pennsylvania. She was doing a project on Jefferson Airplane and the so called ‘Counter Culture’ and I thought anyone of this current generation that takes interest in our old goings on, deserves some of my time.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything… the experiences I mean, but sitting here today with my life as full as it is, it’s like looking at the story of someone you vaguely know… a voice from another dimension. That’s just how it is.

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

Connie Caldor… Chinatown

Well… life does go on, with or without us.

Last night I played McCabe’s Music Shope here on Pico… two sold out shows… an actual Jorma solo show… and here they are:

Jorma Kaukonen 3, 4, 2016
McCabe’s Music Shop
Santa Monica, California
Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Show:
1. Dime For Beer
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. River Of Time
5. I See The Light
6. Barbeque King
7. Sea Child
8. Watch The North Wind Rise
9. Good Shepherd
10. That’ll Never Happen No More
11. Candy Man
12. How Long Blues
13. Where There’s Two There’s Trouble
14. San Francisco Bay Blues
Second Show:
1. True Religion
2. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
3. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
4. Serpent Of Dreams
5. Come Back Baby
6. Let Us Get Together
7. In My Dreams
8. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
9. Living In The Moment
10. Good Shepherd
11. The Terrible Operation
12. Keep On Truckin’ Mama
13. Full Go Round
14. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
15. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today
16. Whining Boy Blues
17. Bar Room Crystal Ball
18. Water Song
19. Encore: Genesis

Playing McCabe’s is like doing a house concert in your own home. I know so many of the good people that come… and well, it’s just a good, comfortable time.

I’m going to work on my set list for tonight… more later.

Be well my friends, and cherish the day!

Categories: Diary, Set Lists, Thoughts Tags:

Now We Are Four

January 30th, 2016 Jorma 35 comments
Goodnight Signe

Goodnight Signe

We were just checking into the hotel in Santa Monica this afternoon… I’ve got a solo gig at McCabe’s Music Shop tonight… I got a call from Grace who told me that Signe, the Airplane’s first female voice, passed on the same day as Paul.

Signe was one of the strongest people I have ever met. She was our den mother in the early days of the Airplane… a voice of reason on more occasions than one… an important member of our dysfunctional little family. I always looked forward to seeing her when we played the Aladdin in Portland. She never complained and was always a joy.

Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest sister…

You will always live in my heart…

Now we are four…

We can be together… always…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGSCKqtLM9c

Yeah I know… that’s Grace not Signe… It’s a dedication for our girl…

We will always remember her…

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

January 19th, 2016 Jorma 55 comments
Winter trees and the frozen Shade River

Winter trees and the frozen Shade River

The first time I saw this property in 1990… it was this time of year, and this is how it looked. There were no buildings, of course… we built all of those. The ground was frozen… patches of snow on the ground and the little Shade was covered in a blanket of ice. For some reason this all seemed to make sense to me and we have been here in Southeast Ohio ever since. I don’t mind seasonal cold… Maybe its my Finnish/Russian ancestry or maybe I just don’t mind the cold. The seasons in the fields mark the seasons of my life. There are more gone now than are left to me and that is as it should be.

It was an emotional roller coaster, the last week or so. The passing of folks like David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Dallas Taylor remind how fragile the emotional superstructure of our life is. These are memory points… the sound tracks of our time. With the loss of Pete Huttlinger… for me it was different. It was like losing family. I keep hearing, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ I think about that and it occurs to me that it is both more and less than a loss. Pete was not a sentimental guy… he played the cards the universe gave him as best he could, and faced each day with an incredible love of life and family. He would have said to Vanessa and me, ‘Get over it!’

Well… in some ways we never get over it. My Mom and Dad have been gone for almost 20 years and I still miss them. I still remember the smells of their kitchen… I remember how their hugs felt and I selfishly wish they were still alive so the kids could meet them and I could tell them that we’re all going to be all right. If they were alive today, they would have been one hundred and six.

Well… it’s not who’s right… it’s who’s left.

OK… quick wrap up of the Sunshine Blues Festivals in St. Pete and Boca:

Phil, Myron and Roy Book Binder

Phil, Myron and Roy Book Binder

The night before the Vinoy Park gig we visited our pal Roy Book Binder and had some yummy Thai food together.

Four degrees at home... but this is Florida!

Four degrees at home... but this is Florida!

Yeah the warm weather is nice, but where does it say in the Bible you have to die with a suntan?

Good Day Sunshine

Good Day Sunshine

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Jorma Kaukonen 1, 2016
Sunshine Music Festival
Vinoy Park
St. Petersburg, Florida
Saturday, January 16, 2016

1. That’ll Never Happen No More
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. How Long Blues
4. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
5. Come Back Baby
6. Full Go Round
7. Good Shepherd
8. Hesitation Blues
9. Where There’s Two There’s Trouble
10. Barbeque King
11. I Know You Rider

After my set I got to hang with Jerry Douglas a bit.

Jerry... the man, the legend

Jerry... the man, the legend

foto by Myron Hart

Jerry Douglas… his music touches my soul!

Jerry Weiner... masseur to the stars... fixes my ancient hands

Jerry Weiner... masseur to the stars... fixes my ancient hands

Jorma Kaukonen 2, 2016
Sunshine Music Festival
Mizner Park
Boca Raton, Florida
Sunday, January 16, 2016

1. True Religion
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. I See The Light
5. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
6. Barbeque King
7. Sea Child
8. Good Shepherd
9. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
10. San Francisco Bay Blues

I'm there somewhere

I'm there somewhere

foto by Phil Jacobs

Well… it was a great little weekend!

Jorma and John Scher

Jorma and John Scher

foto by Myron Hart

Got to hang with my old pal, John Scher and listen to a little music…

Now I’m back to where it was six degrees this morning… and that’s more than OK…

Onward!

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

The Universe Is A Poorer Place For This

January 16th, 2016 Jorma 20 comments

My friend, Pete Huttlinger, passed yesterday… suddenly it was. Yes, he was one of the truly great guitar artists. No one could deny this. More than that, he was one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. Click this link to the Tennessean and read his story.

Here is what his wife Erin, wrote to all of us:

I am heartbroken. Today my beautiful husband, Pete Huttlinger passed away. I am paralyzed. On Monday Pete had a brain bleed and was admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Over the course of less than 24 hours he went from talking and laughing to unresponsive. He never regained consciousness and today at 12:30pm he died. He was not only surrounded by some of his family and friends, but by so many of his doctors and nurses who have helped keep him alive over the last few years. I was so touched by the humanness and sincere pain shown by these physicians. Over the many years of Pete’s ongoing health challenges, these medical caregivers have invested so much of their brilliance and humanity into keeping Pete alive. I appreciate it more than I’ll ever be able to express to them.

I loved this man with such depth. My entire essence and energy were devoted to loving him and letting him know how much I loved him. And he made it clear every single day of our marriage that he felt the same way. I am at a deep loss as half of me has now disappeared.

My family and I were given a wonderful gift throughout this tragedy in that Pete stayed with us for nearly four days giving us time to accept what he already knew.

I know that many of you reading this loved him as well. Again, the feeling is reciprocated from both Pete and myself. I have so many more thoughts and emotions I would like to share, but I am in such a fog of emptiness that this is all I can muster.

I also know that messages have been coming in all day. I promise I will read them all. I appreciate them so.

Thank you for loving him too.

Erin Huttlinger

Here is what Vanessa wrote:

A storm of tears passed thru the Fur Peace Ranch yesterday when I received a call about our dear friend, Pete Huttlinger. We respectfully kept silent until his wife was ready to tell the world. At midnight, I posted her letter to all of us on our Fur Peace FB page and then I tried to sleep. I lay awake most of the night feeling my heavy heart and recalling everything about him like a song I could not shake. I know a lot of people and let me say that Pete was touched by the divine. His essence poured over you like silk when you were around him. The same can be said of his wife, Erin. He was one of the best guitar players that I have ever met … but he was undoubtedly one of the finest men I knew. He gave his fragile heart to everyone and now Erin and their family, have mine.
It feels like my FB page has become a tribute page over the last year and I know the older one gets the more we see the fragility of this beautiful life. I am feeling it today.

Vanessa

There is no more that I, Jorma, can add. Pete and Erin… well, it is an honor and privilege to know them…

They are in my heart today!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags: