We have two great weekends coming up at this year’s Fur Peace Ranch On The Road at Dana Point In San Diego. The first week will feature G.E. Smith which would be Feb. 2nd through 6th. The second weekend would be be Me (Jorma) with David Wolff, and Larry Campbell… Feb. 9th through 13th.

It’s been an interesting time to say the least. Recently a number of friends have passed… some my age, some quite young. These things tend to lead to reflection. I start to think about what is important to me in my life and in my art and at this point in time, it is the tell… the story. I love the guitar, the instrument, the music, but these are the setting for the story… the real jewel.

Feb. 02, through 06th, 2015, at Dana Point in San Diego, is a songwriting workshop and I have been rethinking my approach to a class that so far, has been quite successful. We’ll be dealing with melody for sure. What is a song without the song? That said, this time around I see some serious interactive discussions about message, motive and metaphor.

My method has always been to write from life. I need to write about things that are affecting me at the time of the writing. I have never really been able to put myself in someone else’s shoes and create an imaginary landscape from scratch. Hopefully we will be able to learn to discuss the writing process and the emotions that drive it in an un-self conscious way. The writer will be led to put words on paper and music in the air in a way that will leave a lasting memory in the listener.

For me, song writing has always been cathartic and as a goal, to be able to really say what you mean and have others actually understand it is worth striving for.

Having just put all the emphasis on lyrics in these previous paragraphs… I’m going to back track a little for this next class, the 9th through the 13th of February, 2015… also at Dana Point In San Diego. In this workshop we’ll be learning, yes, instrumentals. Mostly ones that I have written, but not limiting ourselves to that. Again, with or without words, a musical piece must take you on a journey that has a beginning and an end. This is not about technical flash although we hope the songs we have chosen will challenge an elevate the student. It is about taking one on a listening journey that will have them at the end of the song saying to themselves, ‘That was nice!’

Since I’ll be going out to San Diego in about a week, I find myself psyching up for the trip and the teaching experience…. And having said that…

From Apprenticeship Of The Mule
Charlie Mehrhoff
‘They hand you a pen and perhaps some small corner to make
your home. And if you discover the strength which carries one
past exhaustion, if you are blessed, perhaps someone will arrive
to look over your shoulder and read what you are doing,
what you have done.
And if you are of the word, and if you have the duende,
they’ll be standing there, reading, long after you have gone.’


  1. Comment made on January 26, 2015 by Martha

    I was at the Dana for songwriting last year. I started as a quivering trembling, simpering, self-doubting………(etc.) , but I lived through my first hours and became a little less shy! AND Jorma plays lots of music during class, so just as Judy sings the first song ever with the word “recapitulated” in it, Jorma adds a little Living in the Moment… it didn’t get better than that. Calvin’s African piece during open mike?? So bold and brave. Hats off to EVERYONE IN THAT CLASS! It wasn’t easy, but the fun we had!

  2. Comment made on January 23, 2015 by charles newman

    @Ham n Eggs
    I usually say it with sarma and a great bread.

  3. Comment made on January 22, 2015 by Ham n Eggs

    So I connected with my old friend since we were discussing Ukraine and well I’ll let him have his say
    …”thanks for thinking of me and for sending this. I have a pet peeve when the Media says, ‘The Ukraine’ because it was part of Stalin’s Russification of Ukraine. He wanted to erase the language, the culture, and the history.
    Russians always considered Ukraine as ‘theirs’ so to add the article gives it a feeling of region like, the Rockies, the Alps, the Midwest, the Soviet Union, the USSR, etc.

    The France, the Japan, the Germany, the Ireland, the Italy?
    So, it should be just plain …Ukraine. That’s my rant for today.”
    Just a thought to think about.
    Love All Ways
    and how do you say Peace and Love in Ukrainian?

  4. Comment made on January 22, 2015 by andriy holovatyy

    I was hurt in the war then time for me to leave for usa. I am waiter in restaurant serving Ukraine food. Also volunteer math tutor for kids. I love to live here.
    Barbara comes to eat in restaurant where I meet her. She helps me to learn more English. We read together the New York newspapers and she gives me books and many DVD. I have very busy hours working no time for seeing Hot Tuna concerts but o.k. because I watch the videos. I am saving my money maybe one day I can travel to see new places in usa and see Hot Tuna. Until then I am serving the hot tuna!

  5. Comment made on January 21, 2015 by johno

    How many years have you been in the USA – how do like it here – have you ever see Jorma or Hot Tuna perform.

  6. Comment made on January 20, 2015 by johno

    Brighton Beach is beautiful. Thanks.

  7. Comment made on January 20, 2015 by Andriy

    Because you ask, I do not mind writing. I Live in brighton beach by the ocean. Very nice with fishing and birds beautiful nature.

  8. Comment made on January 20, 2015 by johno

    Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself – if you don’t mind.

  9. Comment made on January 20, 2015 by Andriy

    @johno I Am 28. You are fishing almost my whole life! I Hear about you and read about in discussions here. Thanks to all here for welcomes for me.

  10. Comment made on January 20, 2015 by Andriy

    @Jorma Very good they came to usa because you are here to make great songs and music. Also very beautiful photos that you take in the usa and share here with us. Thank you for all these good things .

  11. Comment made on January 20, 2015 by John B

    Hey there Andrij. Welcome.

  12. Comment made on January 20, 2015 by johno

    Andrij – how did you know I like to go fishing? I’ve been fly fishing for over 25 years in the Catskill mountains in upstate New York. My license plates reads
    FLIFISHN. Are you clairvoyant?

  13. Comment made on January 19, 2015 by charles newman

    Well of course I hit the wrong button but hopefully @Andriy knows this was meant for him.

  14. Comment made on January 19, 2015 by charles newman

    @Ham n Eggs <
    Please be sure to share with us the names of some Ukrainian musicians and groups.

  15. Comment made on January 19, 2015 by jim hitchcock

    Well, hello, Andriy, very nice to meet you 🙂

  16. Comment made on January 19, 2015 by Ham n Eggs

    Just finished reading Taras Bulba!
    Several of my friends from high school were children of Ukrainian immigrants and /or from the Ukraine. The area around the Old Fillmore East on Second Avenue was Little Ukraine. It was through them I was introduced to the magic that is the East Village. Thank you for your post and kind thoughts.
    Love All Ways

  17. Comment made on January 19, 2015 by Andriy

    @johno Thank you johno. You are the nice guy and you like fishing and to be in nature. Also here I can say hello to John b. He likes art. Also hello to Jim Hitchcock. He likes films. Ham with eggs is a teacher of kids they need extra help. So many others here very nice for reading and writing. Thanks you for being here.!

    • Comment made on January 20, 2015 by Jorma

      Hey Andriy… My Mother’s Father was from the Ukraine… My Mother’s Mother was from St. Petersburg… They came to the U.S. in the 1890’s.

  18. Comment made on January 19, 2015 by Andriy

    @Jorma Thank you yes I am from Ukraine. My name is pronounced here as Andre-e.

  19. Comment made on January 19, 2015 by Kerry Cavanaugh

    Getting my tickets today for your show in Athens at the Melting Point! I can hardly wait! I hope to get the opportunity to talk with you, but will be more then happy to see you play live! See yo then!

  20. Comment made on January 18, 2015 by Anna Stegemoeller

    That was nice. 🙂

  21. Comment made on January 18, 2015 by johno

    Jorma – my guess would be he’s from the Ukraine or Russia. I have a friend from Jersey with that name. He’s Ukrainian.

  22. Comment made on January 17, 2015 by Steve Levenson

    “In a normal world” – When my parents married they were 10 years younger than I was when I got married-but when I became a grandparent I was 10 years younger than they were when they became grandparents. I have a friend who became a grandparent at 39, and one who had her 1st child at 42. So, like they say, why be normal? Just be happy. And yes, getting to spend time with those who are generations younger is good times for sure. Keep smiling…….

  23. Comment made on January 17, 2015 by jim hitchcock

    You tube is exactly that to me, Mike. A so far largely untapped gold mine that brings recollections back to the here and now.

    An aside to Chuck: it’s always been a wonder to me that when our minds are the most relaxed, when it’s most deprived of outside sensory input, it turns to it’s own creative devices?

    Whoa, forgive me, Jerry Garcia/Joseph Campbell influence, I guess 🙂

  24. Comment made on January 17, 2015 by Mike Anderson

    I’ve seen Hot Tuna and Jorma shows over a long period of time up here, I’ve been fortunate enough to even have chance meetings with him and he is the complete gentleman. There are some great venues here that he has played but I would really like to see them all at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT, it’s considered one of the best acoustical theaters in the USA. Being semi-retired now brings budget constraints, we started late with having children and now with college costs and all we are being frugal so seeing these shows on YouTube is probably the next best thing.

    • Comment made on January 17, 2015 by Jorma

      Hey Mike… I get it, believe me. In a normal world, I’d be a great grandfather but in this one I’ve got a 17 year old son and an 8 year old daughter. Good times for sure.

  25. Comment made on January 17, 2015 by jim hitchcock

    One could argue, Mike, that when I left L.A. for Carson City 8 years ago, I left a lot of culture behind. But check out Oct. 18th (2012):


  26. Comment made on January 17, 2015 by Mike Anderson

    Just thought I’d make a quick stop here on a cold Connecticut night watching some amazing videos on YouTube of Jorma from way back in the 70’s, the early 70’s was when I veered away form my crush on Grace to turn my attention to the Hot Tuna aspect. Through 4 years in the Navy and other adventures, I finally made it to my 1st Jorma show in 1980 at Toad’s Place in New Haven. Back then New Haven was a gold mine of musical venues, small coffee house style bars. A great time. Anyway, I don’t know where these videos came from but they’re great at reviving very fond memories! I was so mesmerized by Jorma’s playing that I went and bought tickets for a few friends and relatives to his next show there. Now I’m older and it’s a little harder to get out to see him or the Tuna line-up wen they breeze through our little state. Life can sure get in the way.

  27. Comment made on January 16, 2015 by charles newman

    I’ve sat for days at a time staring at paper, the outdoors, the indoors and the inner me and come up dry and unable to get anything to come. Then sometimes I’ll be half asleep or shopping etc. and a phrase will just pop in sometimes complete with music. The music is better and more complete on the half asleep ones. Shame is I don’t read/write music. All memory. That being said I think Jormas approach is to be natural as possible.

  28. Comment made on January 16, 2015 by Larry Petrillo

    Love the Mehrhoff quote. Thanks for sharing ..

  29. Comment made on January 16, 2015 by Andriy

    I look forward to one day when I can be there to learn. My friend suggested this site as a great place to improve English reading and writing skills. She is correct in her suggestion. Maybe her sentimental thoughts were not appreciated by a few guys but others here got along with her. To learn from everyday life and express my feelings in a song, is a freedom that is not given in the country where I came here from.

  30. Comment made on January 16, 2015 by Ben

    Write on Capt. The words are stars in all our crowns.

  31. Comment made on January 16, 2015 by Craig K.

    Any shows scheduled for San Diego? Nothing is listed on the website…I just happen to be out there in a week myself.

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