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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

9/11… Sixteen Years Later

September 11th, 2017 Jorma 59 comments

September 11 crept up on me this year. In some ways 9/11/01 seems like a lifetime ago and in others it was only yesterday. At eleven years old those moments a decade and a half ago are more unimaginable to my daughter than WWII is to me. She has inherited this world along with the rest of us, but she was not yet born when it was.

This morning was the closing of another session at the Fur Peace Ranch and even though I wasn’t teaching this weekend I played a little coffee break concert at the Beatrice Love Kitchen. They had just started reading the names of the fallen as I picked up my guitar and headed on over to the porch. In memory of those who perished that day and those who continue to perish as a result of that day, I played Washington Phillip’s ‘What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?’ I could think of nothing more fitting.

I will remember 9/11 as long as I have breath… where I was, what I was doing, who I was talking to, what I was thinking about… I do not know if that is a good or a bad thing, but that is how it is.

I remember it all… and I mourn in my own way.

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Set Lists, Thoughts Tags:

Labor Day…

September 4th, 2017 Jorma 32 comments
Sunset by drone

Sunset by drone

Done shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Life is always lived against the fall of night. Born into light we start our journey chasing the end of day. If we’re lucky, we will enjoy many years between that first and last light. I have been lucky… very lucky. I find myself saying, ‘At my age,’ thus and so might or might not be in the cards and I have earned the right to wax philosophic in the way of old men.

But always though. I am surrounded by youth with a 20 year old son and an 11 year old daughter. They have plenty of time before they need to either hear this nonsense or spout it themselves and that’s more than alright. Both my kids made it through their first week of school and though it’s early in the game, they’re both looking good. We caught the detritus of Hurricane Harvey in the form of two days of rain and there wasn’t even much of that. Again, lucky. I did get a chance to do a lot of drone flying though.

I see things no one else can see...

I see things no one else can see...

Drone selfie by Jorma Kaukonen. Goggles by DJI.

There were some fabulous sunsets and I got a chance to experiment with the drone camera.

Nice light for nine PM!

Nice light for nine PM!

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Idyllic from on high!

Idyllic from on high!

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Yesterday I worked around the Ranch but today after I let Izze practice volleyball by firing serves at me I took a hundred mile ride on the bike. This has been a fine Labor Day Weekend indeed! Indeed, another step on the journey, but the end is not yet in sight!

Good times…

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No Man Is An Island…

July 25th, 2017 Jorma 13 comments

I was just getting ready to update my site when I got the news that my old friend Ira Wilkes passed away. It had been a number of years since I had seen Ira. Our lives had taken different directions as lives do. That said thirty years ago he and his family welcomed me into their home in a time when my life was in upheaval. He worked with me on the road for a number of years… and we were friends.

Change had come into my life in a number of ways and for better or worse we found ourselves with less in common. That said, he knew me when I was young and that is something I will always remember. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. As we all age, our circle tends to get smaller and not larger. Any loss affects us all.

Fair winds and following seas brother… may there always be a wind at your back…

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Zeissen Pesach & More

April 11th, 2017 Jorma 26 comments
Week Three at the Ranch

Week Three at the Ranch

This last weekend at the Fur Peace Ranch was our third of this year and what a killer one it was. We were honored to host Jimmy Dale Gilmore as well as our old pal Bill Kirchen. What a weekend indeed!

FPR from the eye of a drone

FPR from the eye of a drone

Friday was chilly to say the least but the weekend warmed up in more ways than one and Spring was in the air! Saturday night Bill and Jimmy Dale did a simply amazing show!

This is the Honky Tonk Hammer Of The Gods!

This is the Honky Tonk Hammer Of The Gods!

Jimmy Dale and Bill’s show was indeed, Poultry In Motion… I mean Poetry In Motion. Perfect in every way!

The men in action!

The men in action!

In and around the concert and classes, there is always plenty of time for folks to jam!

Back porch pickin'n at its finest!

Back porch pickin'n at its finest!

The weekend moved magnificently towards the first of the week.

The men... and the women!

The men... and the women!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Nice shot of my guys here!

Well armed men on the porch!

Well armed men on the porch!

Foto by John Hurlbut

Monday evening Izze and Vanessa and I drove into Athens to celebrate Pesach with our community at Hillel.

Izze and Vanessa on the steps of HIllel

Izze and Vanessa on the steps of HIllel

The Jewish community here in Southeast Ohio is a singular creature… if it weren’t for Ohio University, it would be pretty lonely.

Izze and the old man on the steps

Izze and the old man on the steps

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

It was nice to reconnect with friends we only see periodically through the year… and share a meal together.

At the Seder Table

At the Seder Table

The brisket was awesome and the gefilte fish rocked too. I had double helpings!

And so as the full moon begins to wane, Zeissen Pesach to all out there!

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

An Unbelievable Trip To Ohio State University

April 6th, 2017 Jorma 25 comments
Ohio State's Marching Band's First Cursive Outing... 1930's

Ohio State's Marching Band's First Cursive Outing... 1930's

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

I have had the distinct honor to become friends with Dr. Michael Drake, the president of Ohio State University. President Drake invited me to be a part of a class he was giving with Alan Michaels the dean of the The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law on the Supreme Court And Civil Rights. Now it’s been a long time since I’ve been involved with organized academics of any sort so to be invited to speak in this university setting was an honor indeed!

The Supreme Court And Civil Rights… this is heady stuff and certainly a realm most Americans should probably concern themselves with. What could I offer to anyone in this setting? As a sidebar, this class also concerned itself with the music of the times and one of the times they were concerned with was the 1950’s through the 1960’s. I went to Antioch College in Yellow Springs in 1959 and aside from meeting guitar players there who would change my life, we also marched. One of the marches we did was at the barber shop in Yellow Springs which was totally segregated at that time. Now I never went on any of the Freedom Marches in the South, so I’m not patting myself on the back here, but I was at the barber shop.

Now the music of the late 50’s through the 60′ had a relevance to social change in a way that I just don’t see happening today. Yeah, I know… old guy stuff. Anyway, the music was and is part of my mainspring so that’s what I focused on.

Holding forth in the mahogany panelled room...

Holding forth in the mahogany panelled room...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

I’m normally not comfortable with public speaking, although I’m getting better at it. Funny for a guy who makes his living doing stuff in front of other people. Anyway, the students made me welcome and I got to entertain some questions and play a couple of songs, which for me is where the rubber really meets the road.

Playing says more than talking

Playing says more than talking

I played two Rev. Gary Davis tunes, Death Don’t Have No Mercy and I Am The Light Of This World. I closed out with one of mine, Embryonic Journey. Some of the students got fired up when I talked about Rev. Davis and looked him up after the class. When I am asked what I am most proud of in my life, my answer always is, ‘After my family and my children, introducing people to Rev. Gary Davis is at the top of the list!’

After class group shot

After class group shot

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Think about this. Ohio State is a very big school… but also a has small school attributes. Where else could a freshman take a class hosted by the dean of the law school, the president of the university and also have a guest who survived the 60’s and is in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame!

President Drake and me!

President Drake and me!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

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Daylight Savings Time Closes The Week

March 12th, 2017 Jorma 42 comments

After coming home from Nashville there was lots of cleaning up around the Fur Peace Ranch that had to be done. Our good friend Smiles did most of it, of course, but I got my hands a little dirty. I brought a nagging chest cold back from Spokane with me and today is the first day that I’m really starting to feel normal… whatever that is. The girls and I took a killer hike in the hills for a couple of hours and I got some work done on my book. This coming week is the beginning of the 19th full season here at the Ranch and Jack and I will be teaching and doing the concert on Saturday night.

At this point in my life when so many of my friends and colleagues are starting to fall I must share with the universe the gratitude I feel just to be able to get up in the morning unassisted, not to mention all the other things I am still able to do. Life is good, most of the time and I cannot allow myself to take that for granted.

Spring break is over for the kids and Izze is back to school tomorrow with extracurricular activities abounding… Irish Dance, to Photography, to Piano… yep… we’re Izze’s Uber Service.

Jack will be in Wednesday night and even though it’s only been a month since we played together, I’ve missed the hang. Sub freezing temperatures here the last two days, but we barbecued dinner both nights.

Uneventful… but precious!

More will be revealed!

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Goodbye To Larry Coryell… Love Ya Brother!

February 21st, 2017 Jorma 19 comments

Larry Coryell
April 2, 1943—February 19, 2017

I was so sad to hear about Larry’s passing yesterday. Up at the Fur Peace Ranch we were all looking forward to sharing time with him later this year. He was going to teach and play a concert for us at the Fur Peace Station.

Larry and I go back a long, long time. I met him in New York City in 1966. It was one of the very early trips to NYC for the Airplane and we were staying at some ‘affordable’ hotel. It was either the Albert or the Van Rensselaer, I can’t remember. I think Mike Bloomfield introduced us and we became friends. As a musician Larry was light years ahead of me. I was just transitioning from folk music to rock and roll. The electric guitar and I were just getting to know each other. Larry graciously made this introduction attainable. He showed me lots of stuff I could never do, and some that I still do. Thanks buddy!

We reconnected about a decade ago when he graced us with his presence at the Fur Peace Ranch. One of the nice things about old friends is that no matter how long it has been since you saw each other, when you finally get together is seems as if it were only yesterday!

The second time Larry came to the Ranch, G.E.Smith was there too. I recall G.E. sitting in with Larry for a song or two. They did a version of Wichita Lineman I will never forget. Stunning!

There is never a good time for bad news and I was sorrowed to hear that Larry was gone. I will miss our occasional intersections but his spirit and friendship will live in my heart.

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

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Things That Might Have Been

February 19th, 2017 Jorma 15 comments

In 2001 a dear friend of mine and her then seven year old daughter were walking to school. They chanced to look up at Dad’s office there in the Twin Towers in time to see the first plane strike. In that microsecond Dad… and so many others were gone. They did not put a photo up down by the church… they did not have to. They knew where he was.

In the years that followed, the little girl grew to be a woman, but in that nanosecond back in 2001 the world changed for her in a profound way. The earth we inhabit would never be her home. Something broke, that would never be the same again. A week or so ago she chose to leave this life. It seemed it was a long time coming.

I have traveled quite a way in life and the times were not always good… yet I always felt there were better times on down the road. I believed my work on earth was not yet done. There is sadness in my heart to know that she did not live long enough to experience the ebb and flow of life. Perhaps for her it was always ebb. It is not for me to know this.

There is a profound sorrow in my heart to know that my young friend could never find peace on this side of the pale. Perhaps this is the way she needed to fly.

There are some broken things that can never be fixed.

‘Healing is the return of the memory of holiness…’

Deepak Chopra

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The Measure Of Time

January 25th, 2017 Jorma 26 comments

We all hold the measure of time in our own eye, our own vision. Early this morning I heard of Butch Trucks’ passing and I was saddened by this news. I usually got to see Butch at least once a year at Wanee and we always had a great hang. I’m at an age where I get news about my contemporaries that can go either way… could be good, could be bad. Butch will be missed. He was always in it to win it and in my minimal relationship with him, he lived to play.

Vanessa was lamenting the passing of so many people and it is sad to see the fabric of our world diminished in any way… but we are designed for this. We are gifted with a life on earth and a chance to make something of it. For a while we will have some relevance in our present but as our time passes this will diminish. I know something of my parent’s life, but very little of my grandparents. Their dreams and aspirations will always be a mystery to. My children’s children will know they had a grandfather and probably not much more.

I believe there is an inherent self involvement in those of us who have been chosen to be artists and that’s OK… if not carried to an extreme. Sometimes I look around at the world that surrounds me and my family and I am amazed how we got here from where we started so long ago.

Our world today

Our world today

When I moved to Southeast Ohio in 1991 I could never have imagined how this decision would play out in my life, but here I am. I could not have written this script in a million years.

Nothing by blue skies...

Nothing by blue skies...

Today my world fits comfortably like an old pair of jeans or an old shoe. There was a time when nothing was comfortable, and yet… here I am.

Mr. and Mrs. Kaukonen look to the sky

Mr. and Mrs. Kaukonen look to the sky

Each day is filled with measured duties… some more enjoyable than others, but all necessary. To be able to perform these as needed is a blessing indeed. As for Butch, rest in peace my friend. I’ll miss those spring chats and the fact that we were both on the same side of the pale.

There’s not much more to say.

The Welch boys' stairs behind my house...

The Welch boys' stairs behind my house...

All things are one step at a time.

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Winter Waxes And Wanes

January 16th, 2017 Jorma 57 comments
Fur Peace Station in the snow

Fur Peace Station in the snow

The weather is, well, changeable as the weather. Yeah, there was some bitter cold and a little snow. Never a bad time to put the drone up and take some pictures though.

The tiny Shade River swollen by melting snow and rain.

The tiny Shade River swollen by melting snow and rain.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in the country know what I’m talking about. I’m not a farmer, so I’m not one with the land in that pure and unarguable way. I’m am, however, connected to it enough to feel it breathe and change. The frigid cold came and went and so far the ice storms have bypassed our little part of the world. Lots of rain, but still some breathing time to put the drone up again.

From 380 feet in the air.

From 380 feet in the air.

Yeah, hiking through the woods sure gives a different picture from the aerial shots. I’m getting to know my little corner of the world in a completely different way.

Fur Peace Station, Psylodelic gallery and Company store... in short lived snow

Fur Peace Station, Psylodelic gallery and Company store... in short lived snow

Yesterday there was a break in the weather action and my bud Jerry and I decided to suit up and go over to Athens Fish And Game and do a little shooting.

Nanook Of The North prepares to head out to Robinette Ridge Rd.

Nanook Of The North prepares to head out to Robinette Ridge Rd.

Athens Fish And Game is a beautiful facility that is both family and conservation oriented. I thought about the venison meatloaf I had for breakfast as I was driving over and took a moment out to thank the Great Spirit for sending that buck our way.

My good bud Jer' and partner in crime.

My good bud Jer' and partner in crime.

Yeah, we had a great time plinking around. I came home in time to clean my pieces and eat some of Vanessa’s killer home made chicken soup. Almost all of the food on our table these days comes from the land around us. It’s a nice way to be.

Well… time to walk the Big Dog again… best to all, and honor Martin Luther King on this day!

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