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Light And Shadows

Day is done

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

Sometimes it seems as if life is an equal mixture of ghosts and angels. I’d been agonizing all week about weighing in but I just really found myself with nothing positive to say about my world view so saying nothing seemed like the right thing to do. On the brightest of sides, our daughter Izze turned fourteen and being part of her life as she blossoms into a woman is one of life’s greatest blessings. My son Zach is a self-supporting young man… what a concept! He’s going to be spending some time with us in August so indeed, the kids are all right.

The virus is not going anywhere, and the folks that think masks are a political statement are no friends of mine. I don’t need to know someone to know what they think of me if they’re in my face with no mask. Just sayin’!

Having said that, the music is balm that never ceases to salve the soul. I watched the free Fur Peace Ranch show tonight featuring Spencer Bohren, Larry Campbell and myself. Spencer has been gone a year know and this show was taped four months before he was diagnosed. The soul goodness of this man was so evident in everything he did but his music always spoke to us all, deeply and profoundly. Death removes all possibilities and Spenser’s story now belongs to the ages. That said, to see and hear him still fit and healthy tonight on the small screen was magic.  Remembrance is difficult, but there are those who must be remembered. My mom and dad have been gone for over two decades but they still walk beside me every day.

The music continues to sustain me. My buddy Jack will be pulling into town and we will be doing some vigorous rehearsing for the July 4th show. The last time we saw each other was at our last gig in February at a casino in St. Louis. It seems like a lifetime ago and in some ways it is.

I get interesting questions from time to time about the creative process in my life. During these WWCV times I have chosen to seriously try to elevate my guitar playing as well as resuscitating some old seldom played gems. I have also been spending golden time with the family. I’ll take that win.

The older I get, the smaller my world of old friends become. I guess the good news is that I get to lament their passing in person. In the spirit of good news, I’m still in the game of life and that is more than a miracle.

Well, as confining as it is I’m grateful for the Zoom lessons. It is truly better than nothing. I was hoping to go paddle boarding at the lake tomorrow, but it looks like thunderstorms are going to make that unlikely.

Still and all… you never know..

Moving right along…

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  1. Ed
    June 28th, 2020 at 07:29 | #1

    Thanks, Jorma. You’re helping us get through this. Means a lot to all of us. It really does.

  2. June 28th, 2020 at 08:42 | #2

    You don’t know how much it means to see you on Saturday nights Jorma. It means the world to us.

  3. carey georgas
    June 28th, 2020 at 09:57 | #3

    Who’da thunk that when we grew up, it would be the good guys wearing the masks? Upside down is is a mild description of the state of the Union right now. We were blessed to be able to have our 8 year old grandson over to visit for a week. That was the best tonic I’ve had yet to dispel the acrid angst stirred up by this calamity. Well, I took the boy fishing for his first time on a little public pier not far from where I’m staying. Got him his own little rod and tackle box. I showed him how to bait his hook with a shrimp, he made made an impressive first cast, and bam! He caught one on his very first try. We danced a little jig, and he went on to catch five more. What the f**k do I have to complain about?

  4. mikie
    June 28th, 2020 at 10:55 | #4

    I’m told about a special place in heaven for those who take a kid fishing. For me, there are few greater joys. I just got back from a ten day fishing trip to northern Minnesota. It was really something to see the dis-parity in approaches to The Virus – some places acted like nothing going on, others in the same state were better protective. I did help get my buddy his personal best muskie – nearly a four footer – so it was a wonderful time. Looking forward to the 4th show! m

  5. John Q
    June 28th, 2020 at 10:56 | #5

    Appreciate it, Jorma. I appreciate your thoughts on masks, as I see you as someone who really tries to stay out of political discussions. To me, this gives your opinion on this a lot of weight. Keep being safe and cherishing your family. Looking forward to the Hot Tuna 4th of July bash!

  6. George Anthony
    June 28th, 2020 at 11:54 | #6

    My Dad loved Big Band, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, but when he saw Elvis on Ed Sullivan show, he knew, and passed the love of 50’s rock onto his 5 kids, which blossomed into Dylan, JA, etc.

    This Sunday morning, I was playing guitar, specifically your arrangement of ‘Follow The Drinking The Gourd’, love the droning A minor chording, a great piece for solo acoustic. Thanks for passing on the light.

  7. Joey Hudoklin
    June 28th, 2020 at 12:08 | #7

    Jorma thank you for discussing your feelings. It takes a big man to do so.
    I hear ya regarding not saying anything, at all.
    For me one day recently, where I work, some news topic came up in discussion. In Florida, I’m outnumbered as far as ideology. I became a little, just a little bit animated, but I had to remember the pointlessness of my needing to be right. Let it be😊
    It’ll be good to see Jack huh?
    ✌&💜

  8. dickie
    June 28th, 2020 at 13:38 | #8

    hello jorma..not to pry..how is larry c.? keep going brother,,, we need you

  9. Bob S
    June 28th, 2020 at 14:25 | #9

    Amen on your sentiment Jorma. I started to get into it a little bit with my brother and his wife, both of whom I love dearly. However, their harsh positions, regarding those who wear masks and those protesting injustice, just got the better of me and I reacted. No tremendous harm done as we eventually said we loved each other and parted ways peacefully.

    Debate almost never results in changing one’s mind and landing on eventual agreement. It only widens the chasm.

    A wise person once said “If you argue with an idiot in public, onlookers can’t tell the difference”. Sage advice indeed…

  10. Richard K
    June 28th, 2020 at 15:52 | #10

    @carey georgas
    My Grandpa took me fishing at 5 years old for the first time from Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn on a party boat so many years ago..I sure do miss him..Caught 3 big blue fish,of course he helped..Cant wait to take my 7 year old grandson soon to pass on the hobby..I am glad for you too..

  11. mikie
    June 28th, 2020 at 17:12 | #11

    Yep, that’s what us grandpas are supposed to do. One of mine passed when I was 3 mo. old, the other when I was in third grade, but my dad made up for it with his skill and determination. I see the same skills and determination in my son (musta skipped a generation?), and I’m thrilled to see him teaching his girls casting techniques. I’m convinced the world would be better if more folks would, as they say, “shut up and fish.”
    m

  12. mromeo
    June 28th, 2020 at 20:44 | #12

    Jorma, I often read your blog, but have never commented. That show last night was such a treat for me. Having arrived relatively late to the Fur Peace scene, I never had the opportunity to see Spencer play live and while there are youtube videos aplenty out there of him, the intimacy and quality of that show (tip of the hat to Andie and crew) made me feel like was back in the first row at Fur Peace Station. The passion Spencer brought to his performing is genuine and abundant. The show was a great representation of what the ranch is about, to me at least. Great musicians, seasoned professionals, but friends just hanging out playing and enjoying the hell out of it and we get to feel a part of that when we are there and it is a gas. Thanks, see you soon.

  13. Judge Jim
    June 29th, 2020 at 06:23 | #13

    Hey Jorma, we’re all trying to get through it and the reaction of certain to people to the masks is confounding as it is a rejection of science – well, with this new found time maybe we will dig deeper into ourselves and find something new – for me, it’s back to oil painting which I used to do quite a bit while keeping my chops up – all the best, we love the blog as you are one of the steady lights in the darkness

  14. carey georgas
    June 29th, 2020 at 08:29 | #14

    @mikie
    Yes, indeed, Mikie. I wear a t-shirt says just that. My Paw Paw taught me to fish when I was a tad, and I spent many happy hours with him sitting on a bank somewhere or other fishing for whatever would bite. My son never really took to it, but I got his boy hooked! I had a special relationship with my grandfather, and now that I’m on the other end, it is more than gratifying to see the circle come around. I’ll have him tangling with bronze-backed tackle buster ‘fore too long, and our special bond will be fully forged. Ain’t life grand?

  15. JOHN B
    June 29th, 2020 at 19:02 | #15

    We had great time at Paninni 4 Jorma . Thank you to the
    Fur Peace staff for once again making us feel welcome. THat road up to Seneca Lake was awesome ! So many twists and turns, it was just beautiful.Thanks for the heads up on it.

  16. Steve Goldston
    June 29th, 2020 at 19:29 | #16

    Hi Jorma,
    Could you please post The Setlist fro Panini 4? Thanks again!
    Wonderful time

  17. June 30th, 2020 at 01:59 | #17

    Hi Jorma – every time “Song From The Stainless Cymbal” fades out I imagine there’s about 10 more minutes that couldn’t fit on the LP – as it gets to the end of the groove you guys don’t sound like you are about to stop – i like to think there is more – those “heavy” albums mean a lot to me as they were the first i ever heard from my brother when i was 5-6 years old – do you have any particular favorite songs from that era? – i know you get asked a ton of questions so i don’t want to add to that – thanks for these internet shows – i hope you and your family stay happy and healthy during all of this – yer pal – Pat……P.S. the first time i ever saw you and Jack was in 1988 in Hillsborough NC – it was this weird place they held flea markets in that had a big statue out front that was supposed to be Daniel Boone – it looked more like Jed Clampett to me….

  18. Ed
    June 30th, 2020 at 15:01 | #18

    World War C? Jorma might have a copyright infringement suit here….

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/opinion/world-war-c.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

  19. Rich l
    July 1st, 2020 at 08:40 | #19

    As Jorma, you seem to have a case of those “day to day out the window blues.”

    Keep humming “deep in my heart, I do believe, that I’ll be alright, someday…’

  20. July 1st, 2020 at 10:32 | #20

    Interesting take Rich… and I recognize that you’re being cute. That said, this isn’t Pollyanna we’re living in today or any day for that matter, and neither is life in general. For me to take a moment not to airbrush the clouds in the sunset doesn’t mean I’ve got ‘the blues.’ It just means I’m a realist in a real world. Now this next is a little dark but I embrace it’s basic sentiments.

    ‘And there’s some say you get what you deserve but they’re wrong
    Sometimes you get what you’re given and then it’s all gone
    And you are lucky if you are sufficiently strong
    To daily decide not to die’

    Thanks to the great Scottish singer/songwriter Karine Polwart for this. BTW check out her work. Now you’ve got me going. If you can find it, Colin Mackay’s Cold Night Lullaby, a book of poems about his aid service in Bosnia in the time of the Genocide. Here’s a sample:

    By The Riverside by Colin Mackay

    After the battle,
    as the day scatters its murmurs of angry flame,
    a girl strips by the riverside
    and shakes her hair over the water,
    while the tide caresses her soft body
    and sings

    And I think that she is so lovely
    just for being alive,
    with the sun and moon for breasts
    and rainbows for thighs

    She rises
    and dries her long brown limbs
    ties her hair in a tight band,
    pulls on her jeans,
    buttons up her blouse,
    and takes her rifle in hand

    And I watch her hips
    swing like chiming bells,
    causing the feeding crows to start.
    And she is lovely
    For being alive –
    but death is in her heart

    What’s the point? Hard to say… you started this and thanks for that… seriously. At almost eighty years of age does it give me ‘the blues’ to know that I will probably not live to see my son and daughter as they embrace middle age? It does not. It sure makes me appreciate every moment I spend with them today. I’m sentimental, but not soft and fuzzy.

    Hey… gotta rehearse with Jack for the July Fourth show at eight Eastern Time Saturday.

    Thanks for getting my brain moving on this beautiful Wednesday morning.

    Jorma

  21. carey georgas
    July 1st, 2020 at 12:11 | #21

    Do you believe, deep in your heart, that everything IS alright? That is the question that needs pondering. Despite all the chaos existing outside the heart space, as long as one knows it’s alright within that space, inner peace is attainable. Everything that’s happened up to this moment has created this moment, so how can we be hold regret for the past and have peace in the present? Even on the days I got the blues, it’s the me outside the heart space, not the I Am within.

  22. Gary Dion
    July 1st, 2020 at 13:22 | #22

    Very interesting thread of comments, including Carey’s last – you made me think of Carlo Rovelli book, “The Order Of Time.”

    Jorma, thank you so much for your thoughts – and the poems. Looking forward to the 4th!

    In these times of terrible stress (or worse) for many, there is always … The Infinite Wonder of Everything. That, along with life sustaining connections (people, music, a deer munching on what one planted, etc.) is for me what it’s all about. The human exploration of micro and macro universe is phenomenal — infinite possibilities. I don’t want to include the link here, but if anyone is interested, do a search for online article by David J Eicher, May 19, 2020 “How Many Galaxies Are There? Astronomers Are Revealing the Enormity of the Universe” – Discover magazine.

  23. JohnB
    July 1st, 2020 at 14:43 | #23

    I am watcing a thunderstorm work its way up the Toms
    River.A beautiful setting that reminds me of the awesome majesty of God.

  24. JohnB
    July 1st, 2020 at 15:09 | #24

    Slashing lightning quickly followed by a great booming clap of thunder. Around that point on the left is where my dad taught me how to swim and in front of me the dock we jumped off of as twelve year olds.A man playing bag pipes on the boardwalk trying to finish before being overtaken by the rain.

  25. carey georgas
    July 1st, 2020 at 16:01 | #25

    @JohnB
    Do you paint? I kinda flashed on Winslow Homer as I read the picture you wrote.

  26. Rich l
    July 1st, 2020 at 23:08 | #26

    @Jorma
    make no mistake about it, life is hard. It’s a heavy burden at times. The modern day saying, “It’s all good,” makes me want to vomit every time I hear it. As Euripides noted,

    “Happiness is brief, it will not stay. G_d batters at its sails.”

    There’s a lot packed in to Euripide’s thoughts there. I loved the “and you are lucky if you are sufficiently strong, to daily decide not to die.” I was with a friend this weekend and he confided to us that for three months earlier this year, he contemplated suicide. Thank goodness he was sufficiently strong…

    That Rev Gary Davis song is so uplifting. I think about all he faced, the struggles, trials and tribulations, and yet when I listen to this song when you play it, there is an undercurrent of true joy. A peace which surpasses understanding. I don’t think you could compose a song like that unless “deep in your heart,” you believed that you will be all right someday.

    At any rate, thanks for being real. For what ever reason, in this world, were forced to digest the good with the bad. Reality sucks! Your thoughts made me pull up the lyrics to “these are a few of my favorite things.”

    Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
    Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
    Silver-white winters that melt into springs
    These are a few of my favorite things
    When the dog bites,
    When the bee stings,
    When I’m feeling sad,
    I simply remember my favorite things,
    And then I don’t feel so bad.

    may there be many more “silver white winters that melt into springs” in your life!

    Somehow, the image of you paddle boating seems incongruous; remember, no spill no thrill.

    one of my favorite things is watching Hot tuna; I’m really looking forward to Saturday night.

  27. Art
    July 1st, 2020 at 23:52 | #27

    Loudon Wainwright III from his 2010 album “10 Songs for the New Depression.”

    “Middle of the Night”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fG-XrKUy_A

  28. Rich l
    July 2nd, 2020 at 09:00 | #28

    @Art
    Art, those are great lyrics. Awesome, thanks for that pull.

  29. Tom NY
    July 2nd, 2020 at 11:52 | #29

    @Rich l
    We are to have trust in God and not to worry. Have an active conscience and do the right thing.
    Yes all is not well, but much is, and folks from all camps can’t agree. Nothing new under the sun unfortunately, except maybe all the components to Trial By Fire, put together in that particular way.

    Happy July 4th…
    Jorma, I am sure you and the Misses have some of Jack’s favorite chow lined up. Have a blast.