Archive

Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Four Wheelin’ In The Woods

December 28th, 2014 Jorma 9 comments
Picking a line into the creek

Picking a line into the creek

Foto by Myron Hart

Yesterday the girls went shopping in Columbus and Zach and Myron and I headed into the woods in Johnson Holler… me on my four wheeler and Myron and Zach in the Jeep. This was my first time in the Holler with my four wheeler, and it was a blast!

Zach and Myron

Zach and Myron

Good thing we had plenty of time, because it was big fun and we took a lot of time!

Checking out the beaver pond...

Checking out the beaver pond...

We checked out the very large beaver pond and made plans to go fishing in the Spring…

Blue heron nest

Blue heron nest

Well… what a day! I love visiting the ‘civilized’ parts of this great land of ours… but there’s nothing like the country!

Onward!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

My Winter’s Tale 2014

December 18th, 2014 Jorma 13 comments

My Winter’s Tale
Jorma Kaukonen
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sitting home for a bit over the holidays gives me a moment to reflect, and indeed take time to do a little writing. It is not yet winter here at Hillside Farm in Southeast Ohio… but the winter of life is beginning to swirl around me and the confluence of seasons and time leaves me in a thoughtful mood. I have just returned from an extremely fulfilling two week tour with Jack and my friends, Larry, Teresa, Barry and Justin and as the heady brouhaha of Jack’s fete at the Beacon in New York City fades into the past, I find myself at home with family where I belong.

Almost all of the journaling that I do when I am on the road tends to fall into the category of, ‘I was here… and we did such and such.’ Interesting for me to write about when nothing else is in my head, but I am always reminded that while music is a large part of who I am, it is by no means everything. Home here on the farm, I truly feel that my place in the universe is secure.

I had been corresponding with my old friend Gerry Henkel who lives up there in the far north in Duluth, Minnesota recently. I got to know Gerry a little bit in 1994 when my Dad and I went on a roots trip to his birthplace in Ironwood… in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We flew out to Minneapolis and then started driving north. Past Duluth… across the Dick Bong bridge into Superior, Wisconsin. Dad told me about Dick Bong… America’s Ace Of Aces in WWII. With forty kills in his P-38 Lightning and a recipient of the Medal Of Honor, he was truly, quite a man. Upon his return to the States towards the end of the war, he is reputed to have flown his Lightning down the main street of Superior on a wing. Those were the days!

As Superior dwindled in my rear view mirror, we passed Hurley, Wisconsin and then over the border into Michigan and before I knew it, we were in Gogebic County and Ironwood, where Dad was born in a house on Garfield Street in 1910. To be able to be a silent observer over the landscape of my Father’s memories was an honor!

That said, my Father and I had a contentious relationship for most of our lives. This was just the way it was and I think in a way we grudgingly accepted that reality. Both of us were so fortunate that towards the end of his life he and I became friends. It is not always thus, but that’s how it was for us. Anyway, back in the early 90’s, some of his childhood friends were still alive and as I sat and listened to them talk, the flash of youth was still in their eyes. A lifetime had passed since Dad left the iron and copper country of the UP… but I could see that the ancient bond of friendship and shared experience transcended age and infirmity.

A lot happened on that trip… I saw the house where my father was born… the Old Finn Hall where he played mandolin… the Carnegie Library where he learned to speak English… the building where my late grandfather once had a tailor shop. Good times? Hard to say, but times nonetheless.

Driving back to Minneapolis, we stopped in Duluth which is where I met Gerry Henkel. Gerry was with the Finnish American Reporter at the time and Dad was really active in Finnish/American stuff. Gerry and I sort of became pals in early days of email and I kept in touch after I took Dad back to Mill Valley, California. My Father always loved to write, and I always looked forward to getting his little mini editorials. The notes he would send me were nothing compared to the deluge of philosophizing Gerry was treated to. Recently Gerry was cleaning out stuff he had saved for years (I can relate) and he came across emails that he and my Dad, Jorma Sr. had written back then. He had printed them all out… and when I came home from this last road trip they were waiting for me.

I looked at the dates… they were from the last year of my Father’s life. As I read and reread these bits of correspondence, I was transported back the early 90’s when Dad was still alive. The words brushed my face with memory, as soft as angel’s wings. He was there as big as life for a while… and then on that last page, he was gone. In those entries up to that final day, in spite of his strokes and TIA’s, his mind was vital and he was always thinking of things he was going to do. And then, at 0530, January 7, 1997… his work was done, and his dreams would always be dreams.

It is unfortunate that my children will never know this delightfully idiosyncratic man. The best I can do is to tell them stories. We still have pictures and letters from the old ones, Ida and Jaako… but I can’t read Finnish and no one is still alive I know who could tell us about the pictures… and that is how it goes.

What does this all mean? It was just a door opening for a moment on a bygone time… almost a dream of another life. I miss my Father. This never goes away… but at least he did not outlive his children. I do not know my brother at all. That is sad to say, but that’s just how it is. I hope he and his family are well. I just took Izze to her last piano lesson of 2014, Vanessa is shopping for dinner and my son Zach is coming to spend the holidays with us the evening of the 23rd… my birthday. Maverick, the big dog, is sleeping on the back porch and life is good on this chilly December evening.

As for Gerry, my friend… thanks for sending me those letters. I got to hear Dad’s voice again… many thanks. And for those who might wonder where Mom is in my house of memories, she fills the rooms with her light, but that is a story for another time.

And… that’s about it. I think I’ll have a cup of coffee.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

Looking Back On The First Three Electric Shows…

December 9th, 2014 Jorma 36 comments
The first gig at the State Theater in Ithaca...

The first gig at the State Theater in Ithaca...

After Jack and I finished up at the Highline Ballroom in good old Manhattan, we bopped up to Red Hook for some rehearsal with Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Barry Mitterhoff & Justin Guip. After that it was up to Ithaca and the State Theater.

Tuna onstage at the State

Tuna onstage at the State

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Here is our set list:

Hot Tuna 65, 2014
The Electric Sextet
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams
Barry Mitterhoff & Justin Guip
State Theater
Ithaca, New York
December 5, 2014

1. True Religion
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Ode To Billy Dean
4. Can’t Get Satisfied
5. I See The Light
6. Children Of Zion
7. Wade In The Water
8. Bowlegged Woman
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. Water Song
11. Deep Ellum
12. Sugaree
13. Funky # 7

A darned good first show, if I do say so myself… From Ithaca we took off to the great white north and Jay Peak up in Vermont by the Canadian border.

The view from my window up in Jay, Vermont

The view from my window up in Jay, Vermont

Yeah, it might have been cold outside… but it was smokin’ inside the Foeger Ballroom.

Hot Tuna 66, 2014
The Electric Sextet
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams
Barry Mitterhoff & Justin Guip
Jay Peak, Foeger Ballroom
Jay, Vermont
Saturday, December 6, 2014

1. Search My heart
2. I See The Light
3. I Wish You Would
4. Rock Me Baby
5. Hesitation Blues
6. Children Of Zion
7. Wade In The Water
8. Bowlegged Woman
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. Water Song
11. Big River
12. Sugaree
13. Hit Single #1
14. Funky #7
15. Encore: Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

Jay, Vermont... where did we park that bus?

Jay, Vermont... where did we park that bus?

Up at 0500 again and back on the road for that long drive south to Albany and the Egg.

Yow... another frigid morning

Yow... another frigid morning

This would be our last show with Donna The Buffalo… we loved sharing the bill with them and look forward to doing it again!

Hot Tuna 67, 2014
The Electric Sextet
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams
Barry Mitterhoff & Justin Guip
The Egg
Albany, New York
December 7, 2014

1. True Religion
2. Mama Let Me Lay It On You
3. Ode To Billy Dean
4. Can’t Get Satisfied
5. Been So Long
6. Children Of Zion
7. Wade In The Water
8. Second Chances
9. White Rabbit
10. Mourning Interrupted
11. Deep Ellum
12. Bar Room Crystal Ball
13. Sugaree
14. Hit Single #1
15. Funky #7
16. Encore: Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

Albany, why not take... Albany

Albany, why not take... Albany

Foto by Phil Jacobs

We got to sleep in a little yesterday before the trek down to D.C. (Taxation without representation) and that was a blessing. Tomorrow we’ll be playing at the 6th & I Historic Synagogue in my hometown… Washington, D.C. Looking forward to this… and looking forward to a good pastrami sandwich too.

Sidebar editorial:

Since the term, ‘Covering a song,’ emerged, I have always had great distaste for it. I guess technically, if you didn’t write the song yourself, you’re ‘covering’ it. Does this mean that as an artist you cannot take responsibility and/or credit for performing an arrangement of a song you did not write yourself? Good question. As one who loves music steeped in historic authenticity I have never been shy about putting my versions out there… but I always give credit to the source and recommend heading up the river to the headwaters so you can grok the evolution of any piece. I have never considered myself either a ’singer/songwriter or a musical archivist. I just play songs I like, some of which I have written myself. What does this all mean? Probably not much. In a hundred years who’ll care anyway. I guess my struggle is to try to defy the convention in the music business that is much happier relegating everything to nicely defined categories. OK… I feel better now.

Nuff said… Onward!

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

Changes In The Ocean…

November 22nd, 2014 Jorma 9 comments

‘Cause there’s changes in the ocean
And there’s changes in the sea
And there’s changes in my own true love
But there ain’t no change in me’

From ‘The Rose Of Aberdeen’

So we were rearranging some furniture in the house yesterday and today and I have to say that left to my own devices, I would rarely change anything. Yeah, boring I know. Anyway, moving this… moving that and all of a sudden, it’s like a new world. Izze, our delightful eight year old was completely upset by the repositioning of the dining room table… and I get it, believe me. Things are moving quickly in her young life and I can see it is sometimes hard to accept this. Things are changing more quickly in my life too. There was that period of time in my forties and fifties where I just really didn’t perceive change until after it had taken place. Now, change is with me every day. My Dad (may he rest in peace) used to talk about the fact that getting older was a series of successful adaptations. These adaptations occur more often these days and sometimes when I sit by myself I find myself thinking about the time I have left to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. Now I know that thoughts like these are a luxury and largely a waste of time.

With this in mind, I get up off my ass and get something done… finish writing a song, take Izze skating, practice the guitar, vacuum the bird room… whatever. I’ve got a tour with Tuna coming up… I look forward to that but I’ll miss home. After the first of the year my new CD, ‘Ain’t In No Hurry’ will be out and I’ll be touring to support that. I hope to get a little motorcycle trip in in the Spring… spend some vacation time with the family… maybe a little time with my seventeen year old son Zach before his young life calls him away for the Summer…

As always, my life is a embarrassment of riches and I am still confronted with a plethora of delightful choices. It is cold this morning as I sit here in the dining room… with the table in a new place. It’s like having a new room… sort of. Changes in the ocean, changes in the sea… there is no constant except change and there are changes in me too… and that has to be a good thing.

Now I’ll see if I can convince Izze, and myself… that this is true.

Onward!

Categories: Diary, Hot Tuna, Thoughts Tags:

Honor Veteran’s Day!

November 11th, 2014 Jorma 11 comments
Small town America celebrates Veteran's Day

Small town America celebrates Veteran's Day

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

We owe such a debt of gratitude to all the men and women who have served, and who still serve. Living in a rural community, one winds up knowing almost everyone… and that is one of the things I love about living here…

The R.O.T.C. men and women from Ohio University

The R.O.T.C. men and women from Ohio University

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Athens County is an area where the ‘counter culture’ is still alive and well… although everyone honors and treasures our soldiers.

Walking proudly!

Walking proudly!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

It is just one of those days that touch my heart.

This is cool, but you should see our MRAP!

This is cool, but you should see our MRAP!

Every time I’m in the D.C. area, I like to go to the National Cemetery to pay my respects. When my Dad was stationed in the Philippines I used to like to ride my scooter out to the Manila American Cemetery and do my homework in that garden of stone. My uncle Tarmo is buried in a National Cemetery in L.A. My Dad and my other uncle Pentti chose to be buried with family in Inglewood.

More than enough honor to go around

More than enough honor to go around

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Changing of the Guard at OU.

Changing of the Guard at OU.

I know so many vets… but I’d like to name a few… Jorma Kaukonen Sr., Navy WWII, Tarmo Kaukonen, Army WWII, Pentti Kaukonen, Army WWII, Ray Hurlbut Navy, WWII, Chuck Fadel, USMC Vietnam, Jerry Sullivan, Army Vietnam… and the list goes on… but I’ll leave it at that. Thanks my friends!

Thank you all so much… those gone before, those here today… and those to come. You all do us honor!

There can never be enough said...

There can never be enough said...

foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Categories: Diary, Friends, Thoughts Tags:

Seasons In The Field

November 3rd, 2014 Jorma 17 comments

It’s 0603… Daylight Savings Time left us yesterday morning but the good old internal clock said, ‘It’s time to get up.’ DST or not, it’s still dark out and we are well into Fall for sure. Living in the country as I do, I find myself really tuned into the purpose we give to seasons… sowing… reaping… the rhythm of life that moves us all. I think of the seasons in my own life and like everyone else, I wish I had more time. That thought would have never crossed my mind when I was younger… life was an endless stream of summers and time was of no consequence. All this said, I am the most fortunate of men. At an age when my Father seemed to search relentlessly for things to occupy his time in a meaningful way, I am still able to be not only an active participant in my chosen profession… but still productive.

I just finished work on my new CD project for Red House Records and we are slated for a February 17, 2015 release date. Out of eleven songs I have four originals. Three new ones and a reprise of Bar Room Crystal Ball. Why redo an old song like this? Because I wanted the words to be heard and in my current recordings, you can understand all my words. As a song writer, today I want the words to be understood.

I have talked about this before, but for me today… it is all about the story… the fact that the guitar is my vehicle for this tell is incidental. Of course this does not minimize the guitar in my life… not at all. Without the guitar my life would have been of far less consequence.

The seasons come, and the seasons go, and for today I am enjoying my place in Fall.

This coming weekend is our final weekend of the 17th year at the Fur Peace Ranch and we will be hosting Jack Casady, G.E.Smith, myself and Spencer Bohren.. It should be a rockin’ weekend… as always!

More will be revealed!

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

A Day Late And A Dollar Short

October 15th, 2014 Jorma 15 comments

OK… the weekend that was is long gone and the weekend to come is almost here…Yeah, I’m a day late and a dollar short… but better late than never! Sitting here at the dealer (0819) getting my truck serviced… yeah, time to update the site a little.

Rusty Smith and Jerron 'Blind Boy' Paxton cut a rug

Rusty Smith and Jerron 'Blind Boy' Paxton cut a rug

So, last weekend at the Fur Peace Ranch we hosted Larry Campbell, the Rev. Robert Jones and myself. Larry and I had just finished recording my new CD and he stayed on to teach a class and to be joined by the lovely Teresa Williams to play a fabulous set Saturday night before Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton went on. Now, as if the musical excellence that Larry Campbell and Rev. Jones brought to the Ranch were not enough… Jerron Paxton just knocked our socks off.

During the sound check, our worthy producer of ‘Live At The Fur Peace Ranch,’ Rusty Smith (from WOUB) took a break from setting up mikes to grab a fiddle and start sawing on the strings. Loved it!

Larry and Teresa, live and in person backstage at the Fur Peace Station

Larry and Teresa, live and in person backstage at the Fur Peace Station

Jerron Paxton’s show was something I can hardly wait to see again… There is nothing like being witness to living artistic tradition. Sunday night, Larry and Teresa and I played for about a half an hour for the campers and then Rev. Jones came out and played another unbelievable set. What an unbelievable weekend of music and fellowship.

Fall colors wrap HIllside Farm in glory!

Fall colors wrap HIllside Farm in glory!

Monday on the way back to Hillside Farm, the Fall foliage just reminded me how great it is to be alive on a day like this.

Well, that’s about it for now. As always, I’m sure more will be revealed.

The tree by my pole barn

The tree by my pole barn

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

Turn, Turn, Turn… And Some Geekery

October 3rd, 2014 Jorma 10 comments
The Izze Tree

The Izze Tree

Right before Izze came to us… I planted this Norway Spruce. It was about ten inches tall. It was a bit of time before it really took root… it is now taller than I am. I wish this for my children, that they will grow as straight and strong and tall as this tree… and I’m sure they will.

Myron and the bass!

Myron and the bass!

Myron is doing some bass parts right now and I have the miking information for my guitar from Justin Guip himself:

Gear From Justin Guip

Guitar
Microphone Mic Pre compressor eq

Royer 122 Api-512c Api-525 Api 550-b
Neumann U87 Api-512c Api-525 Api 550-b
Telefunken U47 Neve 33115 LA-3A Neve 33115
Fishman Aura DI Api 3124

Guitar Room Mike

(Stereo)
Rode-NT5 Drawmer 1969 ditto *

Vocal Mikes

Telefunken
ELAM 250 Neve 3115 LA 3A Neve
Sure SM7 Focusrite * *
ISA220

Enjoy, you gear geeks out there… remember, we’re there for you!

Yeah, I know it's a leech field... but it's still pretty

Yeah, I know it's a leech field... but it's still pretty

Onward!

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

Fourth Day Of Recording At The Ranch

October 2nd, 2014 Jorma 18 comments
Angels At The Ranch

Angels At The Ranch

We’re busting hump here… 9 basics done…

A lovely fall accompanies the music!

A lovely fall accompanies the music!

Good music is being made…

You start a project and no matter what you envision, one you need to keep your heart open to messages from your higher power… and they are there if you listen.

I love this time of year...

I love this time of year...

Recording here in my back yard is something new for me… I could get used to it. Yes, it’s a long day of work, but at least I get to sleep in my on bed.

The Station Break Cafe

The Station Break Cafe

As one of my friends said yesterday as we were working late… ‘This is really work for you!’ Indeed, it is. It has little to do with live music in terms of execution… but it sure beats digging ditches.

Making music is a death defying act!

Making music is a death defying act!

No tip off yet on the tunes… many of them songs no one has ever heard me play live before.

Jorma at the office...

Jorma at the office...

Now, if you’re really a guitar geek… maybe you can tell what song I’m playing by the capo position and the chord shape… hmmmm…

Teresa gets ready to sing and make me sound good!

Teresa gets ready to sing and make me sound good!

That’s about it for now… I’m busy… I’m tired… but it’s going great!

Onward!

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

Recording Begins At The Fur Peace Ranch

September 29th, 2014 Jorma 13 comments
Early evening Fall sky at the FPR

Early evening Fall sky at the FPR

So Larry Campbell came in yesterday to produce and play on my new recording project for Red House Records. We’re doing this at the Fur Peace Station so we have converted the Station into a recording facility for the next ten days or so. Justin Guip came down from Woodstock, N.Y. to engineer the session and to play drums as needed. (Justin is also currently playing drums with Electric Hot Tuna.) With the able assistance of Myron Hart my guitar tech and pal… we got three songs done the first afternoon… well, basics, anyway.

Kirchen's poster still rules the stage

Kirchen's poster still rules the stage

Myron, Larry, Justin and me...

Myron, Larry, Justin and me...

Well, that’s about it for the first day… good sounds with more to come. I’ll sleep well tonight.

Goodnight Ranch

Goodnight Ranch