(There’s always late breaking news. Sometimes good, sometimes bad… and sometimes it just is. I got a call early this morning from a friend who told me that Robert Hunter had just passed. ‘Don’t say anything,’ he said. The family hasn’t announced yet. That’s what they wanted and that’s what I did. My orbit tangented Robert’s from time to time. I played on his Amagamalin Street. double LP back in the 80’s. We never really hung out, but over the years we occasionally worked together and… in a distant way he was a respected friend. I shall miss sharing the same astral plane with him.)

Robert, Jorma and Bob

Robert, Jorma and Bob

This picture was taken fifteen years ago easily… there we are, frozen in time for the times to come.

Fall is beginning to wrap its leafy fingers around us all here in Southeast Ohio. The end of another year is underway and even before it arrives I know that Spring will come again and the world will continue to spin. If indeed there is another destination for us when we shuffle off this mortal coil, I hope that Robert is there surrounded by people who will challenge his intellectual curiosity.

Fair winds and following seas my friend.

Back to the Ranch Diary

Yeah, it was a great road trip and he gigs were some of the best ever… great venues, great people to play with… good times! Sometimes I hear, ‘Yeah, you’re going home. Gonna kick back for a while?’ Are you kidding? Kicking back is not part of my existence, and for me that is a good thing! The detritus of the atmosphere in the bus finally caught up with me and as the week evolved I started to show signs of something. Tour Kennel Cough we call it. That said, I had two motorcycle rides to lead. It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it!

The Sportsters fuel up in Nelsonville.

The Sportsters fuel up in Nelsonville.

Foto by jorma Kaukonen

The big bikes all had five plus gallon fuel tanks so the gas stops were for the two Sportsters with peanut tanks. There were some detours due to Fall construction and the ride wound up being 130 plus miles… then back to the Fur Peace Ranch, a class, dinner and the concert with Rob and Trey with me opening the show.

Nessa blos the conch shell for dinner

Nessa blows the conch shell for dinner

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

As time approached for set opener I had no voice at all. I grabbed John Hurlbut and asked him if he wanted to do the gig with me, and do all the singing. He said ‘Sure,’ and started to make up a set. What are friends for?

The Kaukonen/Hurlbut Allstar Review:

Embryonic Journey…..Jorma
Ballad of Easy Rider…..JK and JH
Kansas City Southern…. JK and JH
Oklahoma Hills…….JK and JH
The Old Homestead….JK and JH
Summertime…….JK and JH
Driftin and Driftin……JK and JH
All Along The Watchtower…..JK and JH

Thanks Brother Hurl, and… we gave the folks a great set!

Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley were awesome as they always are! Love these guys.

Before you knew it, Sunday came with Student Open Mike ans pictures et al.

Cameras anyone?

Cameras anyone?

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The collective classes

The collective classes

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Well… fall is coming but it’s warm today…

Rob, Jorma & Trey

Rob, Jorma & Trey

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

A great weekend with good friends!

Two wheeled friends blissfully together

Two wheeled friends blissfully together

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen


  1. Comment made on October 19, 2019 by John

    RIP, Hunter.

    Just wanted to chime in that my experience at FPR in August was one of the finest times
    I have had related to music.

  2. Comment made on October 6, 2019 by carlo pagliano

    Shinin’ ole Rock smashing fresh in stock. Nth stellar concert mastered live on Earth at twilight (San Francisco) by the titanic Rock Band HOT TUNA. And it’s just the beginning, as they say.

  3. Comment made on October 5, 2019 by carlo pagliano

    Rock Them All High Tonight, Jorma!

  4. Comment made on October 4, 2019 by John B

    His book was great ……

  5. Comment made on October 4, 2019 by johno

    RIP Augustus Owsley Stanley III

  6. Comment made on October 4, 2019 by AndyK

    Thanks, really good article.
    And the Boyz’ “Before We Were Them” is an excellent example of the fine work.

  7. Comment made on October 4, 2019 by Chinaski

    The San Francisco Chronicle features an interesting story about Owsley and his Sonic Journals, his tapes and what is to become of them:

  8. Comment made on September 30, 2019 by Tom NY


    You are welcome Johno. Jerry was a healthier guy then. Most often a beautiful sweet tone, through his Fender twin reverb amps and Mcintosh head, and the mosty tastiest of licks. I recall Garcia introducing Hunter as “my old pal”.

    At Garcia’s funeral, held in a Christian Church in California, St. Stephen’s to be precise, w Bob Dylan and many others in attendance Hunter said something to the effect that he never told Jerry that he loved him.

    Surviving this life, and with God’s word being true, as it says in the Book of Hebrews, “we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses”.. Hunter may have the opportunity now to tell Jerry that he loves him.

    Pray for peace

  9. Comment made on September 29, 2019 by Tom NY

    @Tom in St.Louis
    Brother John makes good coffee too.

  10. Comment made on September 29, 2019 by eaglesteve

    La Shona Tova to the Kaukonens and Tuna Nation

  11. Comment made on September 29, 2019 by Tom in St.Louis

    John Hurlbut is just the greatest, isn’t he?
    We love that guy.

  12. Comment made on September 29, 2019 by johno

    Thanks for turning me onto Promontory Rider be Robert Hunter and The Jerry Garcia Band. I was never was into the Grateful Dead – I was a Hot Tuna purist.
    However I just love that song. Never heard it before.
    @Tom NY

  13. Comment made on September 28, 2019 by AndyK

    That’s quite a lineup!
    And TTB is an amazing band
    So much good music. We are so fortunate to be treated to.@Chappy

  14. Comment made on September 27, 2019 by Chappy

    Andy K, yes I got to see Eric Krasno play with Foundation of Funk (with Zigaboo Modeliste, George Porter Jr, and John Medeski) at TTB’s last Sunshine Music Festival in January 2018 in St. Pete, FL. He’s a great guitarist indeed and that band was awesome too. Hot Tuna (electric) were on that bill as well and played a rockin’ hot set on a vey chilly night…about 35 degrees when they hit the stage.

  15. Comment made on September 27, 2019 by Brian Doyle

    Marty gone 1 year…That guy Balin did some incredible stuff in San Francisco…

  16. Comment made on September 27, 2019 by AndyK

    Anyone ever have the pleasure to see/hear Eric Krasno (Soullive, Lettuce) play guitar?
    He’s amazing…very talented player and producer.
    Anyway I just read that his first concert growing up, his dad took him to see Hot Tuna at the legendary Capitol Theatre in Port Chester NY!
    No surprise, Hot Tuna has inspired a new generation of musicians.

  17. Comment made on September 27, 2019 by LWE

    Thank you. @Dan Nigro

  18. Comment made on September 26, 2019 by Susan

    I saw that commercial a few times in one tv show and did a double take. wondered if permission was needed and granted.

  19. Comment made on September 26, 2019 by Kevin

    Yup, it caught me eye, and ears, yesterday. Pretty nice as commercials go.

  20. Comment made on September 26, 2019 by Dan Nigro

    Just heard it twice watching MTP daily

  21. Comment made on September 26, 2019 by johno

    Did anyone besides me hear White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane on television? It is being aired as background music by Celebrity Cruises and airing it in the NY Metro Market. They use the whole Alice in Wonderland theme. Look for it and for your residual check in the mail Jorma.

  22. Comment made on September 26, 2019 by Dan Nigro

    You can find Amagamalin St. complete album on You Tube

  23. Comment made on September 26, 2019 by LWE

    In 1984, I was fortunate enough to see Hunter performing with The Dinosaurs in Phoenix. It was a great show through and through, although John Cippolina did not look well even then. I wish Amagamalin St. was available through Apple Music or the like because I doubt the cassette tape I have of it in a box somewhere is still functioning. More importantly, I wish all of Jorma’s recordings on Relix were made available for streaming. The Land of Heroes and Too Many Years are two favorites that, with so many new cars eliminating CD players, can now only be played at home (which isn’t all bad, just less flexible). I will dare to dream. Speaking of streaming, I enjoyed watching Saturday’s show very much and look forward to seeing the Electric Hot Tuna show in November. Thank you guys for making that possible.

  24. Comment made on September 26, 2019 by Ben Hochberg

    The motorcycle rides were outstanding – love the roads around there, especially the Triple Nickel – and Hurl really stepped up and helped out by playing a fine set with you JK, indeed. Sportsters generally need gas stops more often, but, as we know, they have been “BLOWING AWAY BIG TWINS SINCE 1957.” It was a marvelous weekend, and I am already looking forward to the next time.

  25. Comment made on September 26, 2019 by Tom NY

    Hunter, God rest and bless his soul.

    He said once, his favorite line he had ever wrote was, “there is a fountain, that was not made by the hands of man.” A nod to the creator… I always liked his line from his and Garcia’s tune, “small wheel turns by the firing rod, big wheel turns by the grace of God”.

    He alluded to Jesus Christ in some ways.

    Found a stack of blank pictures
    A passport out of Hell
    Left here by a stranger
    Seemed to wish me well
    Signed, Promontory Rider
    Territory Ranger
    Asking: Can you thread a needle?
    Can you shoot the moon?
    Walk the silver screen
    To your judgement at High Noon
    Like any Promontory Rider?
    Territory Ranger … step up


    Above Garcia and Hunter doing Promontory Rider.

  26. Comment made on September 25, 2019 by johno

    Great photo of Jorma, Robert Hunter and Bob Weir.

  27. Comment made on September 25, 2019 by mikie

    So sorry Robert had to leave this brokedown palace, peace be his journey.
    Hey, just a bit of shameless self-promotion: if you get to Athens, pls stop in at the Kennedy Art Museum (the ‘Big dorm on the Hill’). There’s an exhibit of collections there that includes my collages of five decades of concert ticket stubs. Many from JK and FPS shows, as well as a 1972 JA from the LJS tour, I believe. Frank McDermott’s guitar exhibit is what you’ll really want to see, tho.
    Enjoy your hometime, m

  28. Comment made on September 25, 2019 by Greg martelli

    Let there be songs
    To fill the air

  29. Comment made on September 24, 2019 by John B

    RIP Robert Hunter . I had this fantasy of seeing him at the Ranch but that is no more……. “Our life Is Like A Mist…….’

  30. Comment made on September 24, 2019 by John B

    Looks like a great time……I agree with you in that there is no sense in kickin back…..keep moving forward while we still can ! May God Bless and keep you always.

  31. Comment made on September 24, 2019 by Rob

    Robert Hunter, fare thee well…

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