Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Pho Peace At The Fur Peace Ranch

September 3rd, 2016 Jorma 37 comments
The Menu At The Pho Peace Restaurant

The Menu At The Pho Peace Restaurant

So… we’re fearless down here in Southeast Ohio. The Fur Peace Ranch is a destination not a way point. We are in the country pretty much half way between Athens, Ohio and Pomeroy, Ohio and yes, we’re opening a little Pho Restaurant here in the middle of nowhere. We had our test lunch Thursday last with some select guests and the critical response… was well… not critical. We knocked it out of the park. Vanessa’s vision and her ability to give substance to her dream is amazing. Coupled with the superb kitchen staff we have, we’re good to go.

In case you can’t read the menu… here it is:

Beef Pho – Asian rice noodle, Dexter Run meatballs and thinly sliced beef in a slow cooked homemade beef broth $8.25

Vegetarian Pho – Asian rice noodle, tofu meatballs in a slow cooked homemade vegetable broth $8.25

Chicken Pho – Asian rice noodle, King Family chicken in a slow cooked homemade chicken broth $8.25

All Pho dishes served with a side of basil, mint, cilantro, jalapeño peppers, bean sprouts, Hoisin sauce, Sriracha and a lime wedge.

Pickled Vegetables Spicy and Regular with house seasonings. $2.00

Iced Chai Tea $4.00

Smoothie Ask for today’s special $5.00

Every Wednesday & Thursday 11AM to 3PM only

Pho Peace Restaurant – Located at Fur Peace Ranch

39495 St. Clair Rd.
Pomeroy, Ohio 45769
ofc: 740-992-2575

Tibetan Prayer Flags frame the Pho

Tibetan Prayer Flags frame the Pho

We have so many wonderful things going on here at the Ranch… this is just one more. Come on down for lunch 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on any Wednesday or Thursday and join us for some delicious Pho!

The end of the day in September in Meigs County

The end of the day in September in Meigs County

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

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

Come On Down And Join The Jubilee

July 11th, 2016 Jorma 21 comments

For some reason, yesterday I found myself thinking about my Mother’s passing. The writing that I’m doing is stirring up so many memories and it occurred to me again, as it has before, what an honor it was for me to be present when Mom finally freed herself from this earth and flew home. I remember it was the end of June, 1998. I called mom regularly but I had missed a couple of days. It was the opening week of the Fur Peace Ranch. Rory Block was there. We were wrapped up in nascent Fur Peace-ness.

Over the weekend, I called and asked to talk to Mom. My brother Peter answered the phone and said, ‘If you want to talk to Mom, you better get out here.’ What could happen in a few days? She sounded so there when I spoke to here forty eight hours or so before. I told Vanessa bout the call and she said, ‘You have to go,’ and started making plans. I remember I played Rory’s song, Mama’s Blues,’ with her on our little stage in the workshop and I wept… not even knowing yet what I was going to weep for.

In any case, I’m a huge Gretchen Peters fan and I had had yet to really get into her album, ‘Blackbirds.’ For some reason, the song Jubilee called out to me… and there is was, those last days with Mom.

Jubilee by Gretchen Peters

I got nothing, to hold me here
My old friends have all moved on and disappeared
It won’t be long now, till I fly
But oh my dear ones how I hate to say goodbye

So I sing holy holy from this prison where I lie
My arms reaching up to touch the sky
I sing holy holy, hallelujah I am free
Come on down and join the jubilee

I don’t hunger and I don’t thirst
There is nothing that I need upon this earth
My body’s broken but not my soul
You know it’s love and only love that’s made me whole

So I sing holy holy from this prison where I lie
My arms reaching up to touch the sky
I sing holy holy, hallelujah I am free
Come on down and join the jubilee

I’m an orphan thirty years on
How I miss my Father’s voice and my Mother’s arms
I was you once, and now you’re me
It’s in this circle that we make a family

So I sing holy holy from this prison where I lie
My arms reaching up to touch the sky
I sing holy holy, hallelujah I am free
Come on down and join the jubilee

Gretchen Peters
2014 Circus Girl Music

Check this link of Gretchen performing her amazing song… and while you’re at it… buy this great record!

My Mother’s last words to me as she held my hand, were ‘My dear one…’

She is now free over eighteen years and it is to us to join the jubilee…

It truly is in this circle that we make a family…

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Happy Birthday United States Of America!

July 4th, 2016 Jorma 9 comments
Izze, Nessa, Ginger & Montana

Izze, Nessa, Ginger & Montana

Yeah, I know… you can hardly see anything, but there we were on the bike path in Athens, Ohio… waiting for the fireworks.

Family frivolity in the car and on the folding chairs… the way it was meant to be when families get together.

Happy Fourth Of July one and all… and Happy Birthday to this great land of ours that welcomed my family two generations ago.

G_d Bless!

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The Long Ship Sets Sail

June 24th, 2016 Jorma 21 comments

I was moved by my son’s graduation yesterday… of course I was. I am excited for him and proud of him, but as I intimated yesterday… one cannot deny that it was a passing of the baton moment.

Last night I was stringing my M-30 and quietly picking a little thinking about tomorrow’s gig at the Ram’s Head in Annapolis. I had just decided to hit the sack when Vanessa called me to tell me that Larry Miller had just passed. Who’s Larry Miller you might ask? Well… it’s time for a trip down a lane in my memory that has been unattended for many years.

I got married in 1964 to Lena Margareta Pettersson. We met on a ship to what was then called Leningrad in the summer of 1963 but this is a story for another time. Anyway, M came to this country in January of 1964, we got married and I had a seedy little apartment in Santa Clara in a large old wood frame house at 1159 Fremont St. I was teaching at the Benner Music Co. on Stevens Creek Rd. This would be the same place Paul Kantner and Pete Grant taught. I was playing out too, but most of my income came from lessons.

Anyway, I had my old Garrard turntable that I had inherited from my dad when He upgraded. I bought a Blaupunkt AM/FM/SW radio (mono of course… multiplex radio was still in its infancy) which had an input for a turntable. The input jack was a DIN plug so I had to do some re-wiring. In any case, I was so self marinated in traditional American music in general and finger style guitar in particular that I refused to listen to rock ‘n’ roll on AM radio. I was afraid it might pollute my sensibilities… or maybe I was just a pretentious stuffed shirt. In any case, when I would turn on the radio, I would listen to KJAZZ. This was a non-stop jazz station in the SF Bay Area whose programming tended to, well, very easy listening ‘jazz.’

As the 60’s got rolling and rock and roll mutated from more than bubble gum pop to a lighthouse of the times, a number of really interesting things happened, not the least of which was KMPX and multiplex radio.

FM radio was capable of hi fi and… some stations were beginning to broadcast in stereo which in the radio parlance of the times was multiplex. Stereo recordings were so important to those of us lucky enough to have record deals at the time that when radio broadcasting technology allowed us to showcase our art over the airwaves… well, it was momentous.

I had a Sony FM radio… it had a place for an adapter which would give life to an outboard speaker an amp and le voila… stereo music on the radio. The very first stereo station and for a while the only station I would listen to was KMPX and one of the most important DJ’s was Larry Miller.

Check this link out:

Big Daddy Tom Donohue, Dusty Street, Larry Miller and more. These were our angels who kept us tuned into the word in sound as it descended from on high.

It’s hard to imagine today what an impact this media form… which was ours… had on our lives, sometimes minute by minute. The eclecticism on any given program was unmatched by any other radio station at the time.

We had no taste boundaries back then. We wanted to eat it all and Larry Miller and his colleagues were the chefs who would serve it up.

Larry came to the Fur Peace Ranch a couple of years ago as a student. He took finger style guitar from me, bass from Jack and brought memories of the glory days of FM radio. I had all but forgotten about it. I remembered him well as we re-established our friendship. He was a quirky as ever and we also shared a love of oddball Nordic Lore. He would come to the Ranch often and it was always a treat to see him. He had been teaching in Boston for a number of years and even though he had assumed a professorial look on some level, he was still the outlaw of the airwaves.

Back in May of this year (2016) he was supposed to come to the Ranch for a class. He emailed me to tell me that he was ill and would not be able to make it and could I just send him the tabs and stuff from the class so he could enjoy it at home. He wrote me this note on May 16, 2016:

‘Where do I start? About the time I was facing retirement back in 2008, I got the guitar of my dreams- the D18 VS. That led to Acoustic Guitar magazine, and that led me to the Ranch. That first visit, doing the workshop with you and learning Embryonic Journey and the Water Song made me a believer forever. This would have been my 9th visit.

I am so glad that I got to “re-connect” with you, and recall that mutual admiration connection that we had in SF back in the day. As you said, we are connected in more ways than I realize. Woody Mann, Roy Bookbinder, Vanessa, John Hurlbut, Larry Campbell and Happy Traum- getting to know these amazing people has been the frosting on my cake. And Jack. 4 bass workshops. When he personally praised my playing on Layla last year, it was a Golden Moment.

I had hoped that I had the energy to make at least one more trip, do one more workshop with you, play another duet with Jim Botsford. But alas, it is not to be.

I will stay in touch and let you know how I’m doing. I don’t want to bring you down, so smile when you think of me.


Presented with irony…


Larry’s pain is over and he is in Valhalla which is where he belongs with the other sonic warriors of our generation. I am thinking of you my friend, and I am smiling. I’m sure you know how important you and all you cohorts were to us back when we and the earth were still young.

And so, there it is. Zach’s life is beginning as is our daughter Izze’s. Larry’s has ended and the world still turns. I cannot but pray that the world our children will inherit will be a kinder place where righteousness will prevail and if not, may they deal with it without their hearts turning to stone.

It could happen.

And Larry my friend, may the Dragon Ship that carries you to Valhalla by sleek and fast and may the beat always go on… and on and may the wind always, always be at your back!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Big Day In The Hometown!

June 23rd, 2016 Jorma 8 comments
1776 D St.

1776 D St.

So I’m trying to get some writing done… yeah, working one what I hope will one day be a book of sorts. I’ve been remiss. What else is new? But here I am today, back in the one consistent place of my youth. Yep. My hometown, the Washington, D.C. area. Why am I here when I could be home in Ohio? Because it is my son Zachary’s high school graduation and here I am with my pals Myron Hart and Phil Jacobs. It’s definitely one of those ‘sweet bird of youth’ moments where one really realizes how delightful yet finite life truly is. My graduation at Woodrow Wilson over on Nebraska Ave. was outside on the field where we drilled with Jr. ROTC. I recollect that my grandparents, Ben and Vera were there since I was living with them that year, but they were my only family. Somewhere I have my diploma. Maybe I’ll be able to find it and take a picture of it. Maybe not. Was I ready for the next step in life? Did I have a life plan. Did college really mean something or was it just what I was expected to do? I don’t know. I’ll have to think on that some more.

What a day!

What a day!

But here, today, I was at Constitution Hall… the DAR hall where Hot Tuna played in 1976. We were banned from returning. I guess either we or the fans or both misbehaved. In any case, I guess they didn’t recognize me. I showed them the ticket Zach gave me, and they let me in.

A proud place to be!

A proud place to be!

Myron and Phil and I found three seats just to the left of exit four on the second tier. The entire Constitution Hall was packed. We got there early. Welcome to my world… so like I said, our seats were great.

1959… I graduated Woodrow Wilson… I can’t remember whether I felt young or old or if none of those things mattered to me at the time. I guess the world was a younger place. My Selective Service Classification was still 1-A, and you know… I didn’t care. Here I am 57 years later… still looking at the world with amazed eyes.

G_d Bless America... Got to do the Star Spangled Banner Too!

G_d Bless America... Got to do the Star Spangled Banner Too!

I am filled with gratitude and wonder. Zach’s life is going to be different… no matter what… He’ll be voting in his first presidential election this Fall. What a way to enter his majority! I can hardly wait to read the next chapter. Like Steve James says in his song, ‘Talco Girl,’ ‘Goodbye Daddy… hello world!’

Well done kiddo! Well done!

A great day in D.C.!

A great day in D.C.!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

From The Forest Primeval…To The Cherry St. Pub

June 14th, 2016 Jorma 12 comments
This is indeed, the forest primeval...

This is indeed, the forest primeval...

The day started with a superb walk, shared by Maverick The Dog and myself over and around the trails here at the Fur Peace Ranch. Nothing like a few reflective moments shared with the canine family.

I was up early because I had an 0900 appointment at the Harley Shop to get a side bag for Nessa’s Dyna.

Sanitary installation...

Sanitary installation...

A brisk ride in… warm ride back. The rest of the day I worked around the Ranch and then around 1600 I hopped on my scooter and rode up to Lancaster where I was to meet John Hurlbut and his Dad Ray at the Cherry St. Pub on Cherry St. in Lancaster.

This is a great place for home cookin’ meals and good company.

Ray and John Hurlbut

Ray and John Hurlbut

Ray, G_d bless him, at 94 is a vital friend… and one of the oldest living WWII vets in the state of Ohio.

Ray and me...

Ray and me...

Foto by John Hurlbut

So far the day was perfect. The topper was the ride home. Getting out there on the highway on my bike takes my breath away, every time.

Perfect weather, good food… and he finest of friends!


Founders Day 2016 and Mom’s Birthday

June 12th, 2016 Jorma 6 comments

Today is June 12, 2016. Were my Mom, Beatrice Love, still alive, she would have been 106 years old. Mom worried about her kids, as all moms do. That is as it should be. I sent her a message in a prayer just to tell her to rest easy. Her eldest is doing better than fine. She probably knew that anyway.

Just sayin’

Indeed, we are not a glum lot!

Indeed, we are not a glum lot!

If this doesn’t say it… I don’t know what does?

I have been in recovery for a couple of 24 hours and this past weekend allowed me to once again reflect on the grace that has been bestowed upon me. I have heard that grace is unearned mercy and indeed that mercy is a priceless gift that I did not earn. In the midnight of my spirit, I could have never imagined that I would feel the warmth of the sun on my soul… ever.

A timely rainbow

A timely rainbow

I have had people I know say, ‘You never looked miserable.’ They were never able to look into my heart or see through my eyes. Indeed, why should they? I would have never let them in. Whatever self inflicted tragic landscape I wandered through, the music has always been a beacon for me. The music always gave me a reason to continue. I always believed there would be a brighter day.

Want a pink cloud?

Want a pink cloud?

You can’t make this stuff up. That pink cloud really was over the big meeting for a bit.


Anyway, it’s progress not perfection… but one must always keep busy. If we’re not moving forward, we’re sliding backward.

This morning was the Motorcade to Dr. Bob and Annie’s grave. Our dear friend Maria joined us for the run, as she is always welcome to do.

Mutt, Jorma & Maria

Mutt, Jorma & Maria

Good friends are hard to come by, and I am blessed by many.

Dan, Betty, Jerry, Jim, Mutt & Hillbilly

Dan, Betty, Jerry, Jim, Mutt & Hillbilly

Some of these folks I see all the time… some only once or twice a year. The circle is always unbroken.

Line them up!

Line them up!

Joey the bagpiper always plays at the grave.

Goin’ home
Goin’ home
I’m a goin’ home
Quiet like, some still day
I’m just goin’ home.

It’s not far
Just close by
Through an open door
Work all done, care laid by
Goin’ to grieve no more.

Then there was an outstanding tribute to Dr. Bob and Annie…

…and Joey played again.

Bring your hanky

Bring your hanky

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’twas Grace that taught,
my heart to fear.
And grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear,
the hour I first believed.

Awesome… I have been riding to Founders Day for almost two decades, and I will keep coming back as long as I can. And Mom, just in case you’re listening… your kid is OK… better than OK. PS, I still miss you and Dad and I always will. That’s just part of the flow.

My spirit walks in the sun!

Jerry, Maria & Me

Jerry, Maria & Me



Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

Dark Star Jubilee II, Seventeen Year Cicadas And Memorial Day

May 30th, 2016 Jorma 20 comments
Breakfast at Buckeye Lake

Breakfast at Buckeye Lake

Foto by Suzy Perler

Down to the Lakeside Diner in Buckeye Lake for breakfast… getting ready for an afternoon set at Legend Valley. It is Monday… Memorial day and the day after our little show yesterday… We had such a good time hanging with the Dark Star Folks and their pod of friends!

This was a great weekend for me and my Tuna pals…

It is also Memorial Day Weekend… As with many folks of my age, by Dad and his two brothers served in WWII. They are all gone now. Uncle Tarmo died in the service and we have his flag. Since we are still unpacking boxes here at the ‘new’ house, the flag has not yet re-emerged, but it will. Tarmo is in a military cemetery in LA and Dad and Uncle Pen rest next to Mom, Ida and Jaako in Inglewood. It is always a bittersweet day… hanging with the family, welcoming the coming summer and honoring those who passed in service of our great country. It ain’t all about barbeque and beer. Honor Memorial Day, I say!

With the transitory nature of life in mind, as the seventeen year cicadas fill my ears with their song, it occurs to me this may be the last time I hear them. I remember the first time I heard them when I was a kid back in D.C. I never thought there might be a time when the cicadas would outlast me, but so it goes.

What a modern guy!

What a modern guy!

Thornville, Ohio is so close to home… and what a great gig. We sure hope we get asked back net year.

Cotter, Jack And Jorma

Cotter, Jack And Jorma

Foto by Suzy Perler

And a big shout out and thanks to Cotter for helping us to sound so good!

Jack warms up onstage before our set

Jack warms up onstage before our set

Hot Tuna 8, 2016
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Darkstar Jubilee
Legend Valley
Thornville, Ohio
Sunday, May 29, 2016

1. True Religion
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Been So Long
5. Barbeque King
6. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
7. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
8. Sleep Song
9. Good Shepherd
10. San Francisco Bay Blues
11. How Long Blues
12. In My Dreams
13. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
14. Serpent Of Dreams
15. Keep On Trucking Mama
16. Bar Room Crystal Ball
17. Water Song
18. I Know You Rider
19. Encore: Genesis

Beautiful is as beautiful does!

Beautiful is as beautiful does!

Maverick and I say Honor Memorial Day!

Maverick and I say Honor Memorial Day!

Foto by Vanessa Lillian….

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

The Bell Tolls, And The Reaper Reaps

May 17th, 2016 Jorma 21 comments
Any day is a good day for a ride!

Any day is a good day for a ride!

It has become so common of late to say, ‘At my age this,’ or ‘At my age that…’ Fact is, there really is no other way to say this and it’s true. Over the last year or so, I have lost many friends, some my age and some younger. At any age when you lose someone who is part of the story of your life, the Bell definitely tolls for us all.

That said, the Reaper is never without work and that’s just the way it is. When we talk about those who have left us, the response is almost always, ‘I’m sorry for our loss,’ and we appreciate that… but the loss is for us to absorb.

When one passes, the end is written to their story, there will never be a new chapter. All they have been is finished, and all they will be will never happen. Done.

Is it sad to see it thus?

It shouldn’t be, because that’s just the way it is. I was having brunch with Vanessa today when I heard that Guy Clark passed yesterday. I was saddened to hear this. Guy was a friend and I was such a huge admirer of his art. I knew that he had been unwell for a number of years and that his wife Susanna had preceded him. At what time does one prepare for that final journey? Hard to say since as a rule, it’s not our call when our ticket gets pulled.

It was an honor to have known Guy!

Today was raining but I had an appointment to take Vanessa’s Dyna into the Harley shop for servicing. ‘Take it tomorrow,’ she said. I thought, ‘If it’s sunny tomorrow, I’d rather go for a ride than spend a couple of hours at the Harley shop.’ Plus, every ride you don’t take is one less than you’re going to get a shot at in this life.

Why wait?

Every doggone minute folks… every doggone minute!

I’ve got a camp at the Fur Peace Ranch this weekend with Tom Feldmann, Chris Smither and Happy Traum, my beloved wife and kids are well and for me… well so far so good! I’m taking a deep breath and soldiering on.

As for Guy… fair wind and following seas brother, fair wind and following seas!

Good times can be simple sometime...

Good times can be simple sometime...

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

A Big Thanks To David Neely And Some Grammy Thoughts

April 30th, 2016 Jorma 45 comments
The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

My new ES-345 needed a little bit of tweaking and Myron didn’t have his tools with him. He found David Neely Guitars who spiffed it up in the blink of an eye!..Thanks David!

Now, Vanessa is part of, or whatever the right word is, a Jefferson Airplane fan site and there has been some discussion about the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony and the selection of songs. I was accused of trying to ‘rewrite’ Jefferson Airplane history in terms of Jorma and Jack Hot Tuna World. Because I have a proclivity for being a wise ass… my first thought was, “What’s it to you?’ But since over the years I have learned to try to exercise restraint of tongue and pen… when given a moment of quiet reflection I do understand how deep people’s feelings may run where good old Jefferson Airplane is concerned. First of all, obviously the JA part of the show was the most important part for us. In the total scheme of things we were just one of the many. That’s all right. My pals and I have been traditionally outsiders for all of our professional life. That I was actually able to garner a Grammy nomination in 2003 in the now defunct Traditional Folk category was a fluke of confluence and will probably never be repeated. Anyway, to be honored by one’s peers is an honor I could have never imagined and I think my Airplane brothers and sisters feel the same way… although I would never deign to speak for anyone other than myself.

We were given eight minutes of music and ninety seconds of acceptance speech for everyone including Spencer and Paul’s surviving children. We obviously needed a Grace song so we picked Somebody To Love. That song and White Rabbit were instrumental in our getting into the R & R Hall Of Fame. The second song we picked was Marty singing Volunteers. It’s an Airplane anthem… and we could jam out on it. At the very last minute… and I mean the very last minute… Marty informed us that he would not be able to make it. I later found out it was doctors orders. Now as the surviving members of the almost original band, we spoke to Don Was who was in contact with the shows producers and we all agreed on Embryonic Journey (all two minutes of it) and Come Back Baby. Embryonic Journey was on Surrealistic Pillow and Come Back Baby which was written by blues pianist Walter Davis in 1940 can be found on a couple JA albums. Well… Jack and Grace and I all agreed that under the circumstances a living member (me) who still played and sang should do one of their own tunes… hence the choice.

Now this is all going to be a PBS Special… and the performances will live, if not forever, for a very long time. I wasn’t going to do Feel So Good… I would play it in concert but not for posterity… I can’t hit those high notes anymore. So be it. Well… it was our award and that’s what we did.

I know some fans like Paul, some like Marty, some Grace… well you get what I’m saying. That’s all good. We all appreciate that. Remember though that we were all band members. Jack and Spencer and I were not side men… I repeat… we were all equal members. That was one of our enduring strengths. Regardless of how the ‘public’ perceived us there were no ‘front’ men. A little tough for the industry to understand but, oh well.

I was so fortunate to be able to rekindle my friendship with Paul Kantner last year. We enjoyed each other’s company… and at the end of the day, were old and dear friends. As Connie Caldor said in her great song Chinatown, ‘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.’

We left little unsaid.

So… speaking for myself, I appreciate being appreciated on any level. If you like us, or me on any level… bless you. If not, oh well.

Last but not least… we did the best we could with what we had and that’s all we got.

Driving on…


Categories: Diary, Set Lists, Thoughts Tags: