From my back porch...

From my back porch...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Chilly but beautiful here at the Ranch this morning. Walking the dogs on this frosty April morning gave me plenty of time to think, as always. I value freedom of expression… it’s one of the many things that make this country great. I’ve talked about this before. I do not want or expect everyone to agree with me. As my old Harrisonville neighbor, Larry Vance said on more than on occasion, ‘Jorma, if we wuz all the same, what a boring world it would be!’ Words of wisdom for sure. In this strange virtual world that all of us inhabit so much of the time I guess there’s a time and a place for everything. I will not tolerate ad hominem fallacy attacks on me or anyone else on my site and I reserve the right to vet a priori judgments. Hey, that’s just the way it is. I don’t proselytize or preach to you guys so please don’t do it to me or to each other in this site.

Vis a vis the spirit of the 60’s, we could talk forever about this. Wavy Gravy and the Seva Foundation (Founded by Ram Dass) more than walked the walk since the 60’s. Jefferson Airplane was not really a hippy band as I would describe it. As independent as we were, we managed to do battle with and function within the boundaries that the recording business proscribed in those days. Artists are so much freer in this time, but that’s another story. The Airplane and later Hot Tuna did countless free shows and benefits. We also bought houses and vehicles. We were, in the truest sense of the word, an American success story.

What does this all mean to me? Listen, it’s interesting but ancient history. My ability to be a husband to my wife and a father to my two children is where the rubber meets the road today. As a 79 year old guitarist, that I am still able to function at an acceptable level is more than a blessing. That I still have the health I have… well, nuff said on that. My Higher Power treats me better than I deserve but I’ll take it.

Anyway, it’s Earth Day today and where I live, it couldn’t be more beautiful. That’s the real deal! Last but not least, every one is entitled to their own opinion but no one has a right to be factually wrong. I don’t need some outsider to tell me what I think, who I am, or what I really mean.

Today is really the only moment we have.

Make it a good one!

The view from my back porch

The view from my back porch

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen


  1. Comment made on April 25, 2020 by Judge Jim

    Bravo Jorma!

  2. Comment made on April 25, 2020 by John B

    Lost a life long buddy this morning . His name was Steve and he loved Hot Tuna . Could you do Death Don”t Have No Mercy in his memory ? Thank you Jorma for making a difference in the lives of so many people and especially during this difficult time .

  3. Comment made on April 25, 2020 by John B

    Lol Ed……..I like that one!@Ed

  4. Comment made on April 24, 2020 by Susan

    @cgeorgas Indeed, our Governor Cuomo shared beautiful stories of how people are rising in these times. Take good care.

  5. Comment made on April 24, 2020 by johno

    There are about 300 nesting pair of bald eagles in New York state alone. Most have come back on their own but there was a program in the 1980s that brought them from Alaska to settle in NYS. The resurgence of the bald eagle has been a huge success. I see them mostly down by the Delaware river. Saw one up my valley last summer.

  6. Comment made on April 24, 2020 by J. R. in St. Louis

    My mother lives in a house overlooking the Missouri river, and sometimes in winter you can watch the bald eagles fly with their young, who are distinguished by their mottled plumage, over the river. When the Missouri (often described as too thick to drink, too thin to plow) gets cold enough to support ice floes, the eagles will land on them and ride them down the river, but they never ride them under the bridge which is visible from my mom’s back yard. They will always fly off before crossing underneath that span.

  7. Comment made on April 24, 2020 by Tom

    Hi Jorma… Little story about Bald Eagles making a comeback in your state. Growing population in NY too. Isn’t that great!

    Ever see any in the skis or on a tree branch, or above the ranch or when you are up there with your “bird” doin that solitary flyin’?

    Thanks in advance for the show tomorrow night. You look strong. That northern European DNA and God’s grace.

    • Comment made on April 24, 2020 by Jorma

      Yep… there’s couple of nests not far from the Ranch. They have become not uncommon to see in both Meigs and Athens Counties. Most cool!

  8. Comment made on April 24, 2020 by Richard K

    Just read the email Jorma from the Ranch and you ask for more requests..Well one of the shows you said you were trying not to do a song twice..Well how about Hesitation Blues another one of the good Reverend..You did the other Reverend song Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning..Thanks
    Funny had a friend who I used to see HT with back at the Palladium in NYC in the 70s,who has since long gone from the other big C..Well his backyard backed up to the Rockville Cemetery to where the Reverend is buried..We had no idea he was buried there being such big fans of his music until You mentioned you visited a while ago..I have since been to visit and lay a stone. it happens to be the next town from me..Small world sometimes

  9. Comment made on April 24, 2020 by cgeorgas

    Certainly most relevant to people in this time.

  10. Comment made on April 24, 2020 by Bob S

    @Jorma – I noticed that John Hurlbut is doing a sold out workshop the weekend of June 13, my wife and I are going to be there (if open) for the Jorma and Radney Foster performance. Anyway, John’s course seems to be right up my alley. (You may remember from the Sanibel song-writing adventure, I’m more of a campfire strummer.) Wondering if you will have John do similar FPR online workshops in the near future. I’d be up for that!

    • Comment made on April 24, 2020 by Jorma

      That’s a great idea Bob. I’ll talk to John today when he shows up for work. Stay well!

  11. Comment made on April 24, 2020 by Brian Doyle

    In 2008 my brother was riding home on his motorcycle when a very young girl from New Jersey decided to make a U-turn…He told me all he remembered was suddenly seeing the front corner of a bumper angling in to his bike…I have experienced the same phenomenon on my bicycle…For some reason the mind looks for headlights and cars but dismisses anything less…The bike was cut in half…Steve told me he was flying through the air for so long that he had time to think to relax and he thinks that was what saved him…The doctor said my brother’s leg injuries would require amputation in most cases…Thank god his didn’t and he managed to recover…Me and my mother went up to help him run his house for a couple of months…Nyack, Rockland County…

  12. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Susan

    @carey georgas
    Ram Dass’ “How can I Help” is a gem too…..

  13. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Rob

    I wondered whether you were referring to how easy it is to record music without the need for a professional studio, to be able to play all the instruments yourself or do it with a band working remotely and using the Cloud to exchange tracks, and then upload it to YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. where lots of people can hear it.

    I agree that it is easy to get your music out there but it’s not easy to make a living doing it on your own. I think that “success in the business” is simply being able to make a living from music alone without having to have a day job and relegate music to nights and weekends. It’s tough to be creative and to grow as a musician when a lot of your energy is spent outside of music. Industry backing helps in that respect but then you have to be a puppet, especially today. I guess that between the ease of home recording and circulating music and things like Go Fund Me, it’s possible to break through on your own but winning the lottery is possible, too.

    I hope that people who take this DIY route bother to have their music copyrighted before putting it on YouTube or portions of it might wind up in someone else’s hit.

    And yeah, the publishing deals of the 50s and 60s sure were atrocious.

    • Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Jorma

      It was not possible to do ‘professional’ recording back then because ‘civilian’ equipment didn’t exist. In my opinion, to be a professional musician means that’s all you do. It’s all you think of and it comes before everything. That’s how it was for us/me and that’s all I can attest to with any authority. I didn’t mean to imply that it was easy to make a living playing music. It’s almost impossible. I’m one of the very few lucky ones. My last ‘day job’ was in a filling station in D.C. in the summer of 1962. I’ve been supporting myself playing music for almost 60 years. All the creative stuff notwithstanding, music is a business and one needs to know a lot of stuff in addition to being talented, working hard and being very lucky. That’s the way I see it.

      Nuff said…

  14. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Ham Neggs

    Athens Ohio number one pick
    Peace Love All Ways 740

  15. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by richard

    hey jorma thanks just wondered I am so glad you are still around to make people like me so happy thru this quagmire. you sound so good these days. I always learn so much from you. thanks

  16. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by johno

    Are you taking requests for this week?
    i got a couple. “Song for the Stainless Cymbal” and “New Song(for the morning)”.
    Both are Hot Tuna classics.
    Either one would be appreciated.

  17. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by carey georgas

    Yeah, I read an article said hair color could be next in the shortage saga.

  18. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Ed

    Glad it amused you, Rich.
    And that’s very funny about the 300 million trying to get haircuts.
    I’ll need one eventually like everyone else, but alas, the hairs on my head began their own social distancing many years ago….

  19. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by rich l

    Ed, That was funny!

    I read a caption yesterday that noted if you think the toilet paper was an issue, just wait until 300 million try to schedule hair appointments.

  20. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Ham Neggs

    Excellent book review in the New Yorker by Caleb Crain ( April 27 issue) that goes into some of the blood stained banders.
    “…..accompanied by a group of armed South Carolina vigilantes known as Red Shirts. The Red Shirts had a reputation for violence; LeRae Sikes Umfleet, who was the lead historian on a state-commissioned investigation into the coup, in the early two-thousands, described them as “effectively a terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.” Their outfits were likely a reference to the phrase “waving the bloody shirt,” a meme-like label that Southerners habitually used to deride any attempt to call them out for political violence. After Tillman’s speech, the Red Shirts spread into North Carolina. In Wilmington, they were led by an Irish-American casual laborer named Mike Dowling, and, in the run-up to the election, they fired into a black school and at least one black home, and stabbed two black men.”
    The book is Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy
    By David Zucchino. Oh Good Shepherd feed my sheep.
    Peace. Love All Ways

  21. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by carey georgas

    Hells bells. My postings are going into the ether on an apparently random basis. I was trying to offer my guess to Rich’s question to Jorma. I’m thinking he meant today’s musician is freer because they don’t need a contract to get content to the masses. It’s just a click away, it’s just a click away. If they hit the jackpot, aka go viral, then that’s the old school cover of the Rolling Stone. Besides that, marketing of all sorts has become so niche oriented that supergroups exist within genres. Overarching is tough in the times of “me”.

  22. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by carey georgas

    Am I still gone?

  23. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Ed

    Hey Rich, don’t cut it. You’re cool!

  24. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Ed

    @rich l

  25. Comment made on April 23, 2020 by rich l

    “almost cut my hair today…it was getting kinda long.” – David Crosby

  26. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by carey georgas

    Reading Ram Dass’ “Be Here Now” had a profound effect. That man exuded love right up to his samadhi.

  27. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by carey georgas

    The internets must be overheating.

  28. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by carey georgas

    I been knocked out again.

  29. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by Rob

    Jorma, when talking about the 60s you said that “artists are so much freer in this time.” Do you mean they’re freer today or they were freer in the 60s? I assume it’s the latter because everyone I’ve ever read who was recording back then and signed to a major label said that they could do what they wanted in the recording studio because the people running the labels didn’t understand rock music and assumed that anyone with long hair and a big amp knew what the “kids” would dig. By the 70s, this was over and the label dictated what an album should be. It became the music BUSINESS and not the MUSIC business and it’s gotten progressively worse since.

    I can’t imagine any current band popular enough to be on the cover of today’s equivalent of “Life” magazine making an album like “After Bathing at Baxter’s” or “Crown of Creation”. Someone from their label would probably come into the studio and shoot them all and hire lookalikes to continue making hits. I know that the Airplane was being pressured to write the next “Somebody to Love” or “White Rabbit” but RCA accepted “The Ballad of You & Me and Pooneil” which is nothing like those earlier hits.

    • Comment made on April 23, 2020 by Jorma

      Hi Rob… back ‘in the day’ one couldn’t record without a studio and only record companies had them. There was a huge paradigm shift from the mid sixties to the late sixties. When the Airplane first recorded we had to fight for everything including the right to own our own publishing. By the time that Life Magazine issue came out with us on the cover, much of the music industry had changed and accepted he fact that like it or not we had become successful in a mainstream kind of way. Today, my daughter and her friends can cut a project on an iPad and have CD Baby manufacture it, and/or sell downloads. The kids today don’t need to be indentured servants to a large corporation. That said, when you become successful in this business (whatever that means) and become a source of revenue, you get to call more shots.

  30. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by richard

    Right on jorma…Whats goin on 2nd chances? you know amps for sale. ?

    • Comment made on April 22, 2020 by Jorma

      Hi Richard…Nope. Back when I started Second Chances years ago I was surrounded by tire kickers and I came to my senses. No one was offering me true value for the stuff I had so I figured since I already own all that stuff anyway, why sell it? Now I’m really glad I didn’t sell any amps. They’re all on stage for folks who play the Station to use. Not this coming weekend, but next I’m going to break out some cool stuff. Thanks for asking anyway…

  31. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by carey georgas

    There I am. Peace is all I can say.

  32. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by carey georgas

    I can’t get in!

  33. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by Greg martrlli

    Enjoy the sunshine,
    Whatever color

  34. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by johno

    Happy Earth Day!
    Good luck everybody with this corona virus.
    I think they’re lying to us. They have no idea what’s going on.
    There’s a power vacuum in DC. Nobody knows what to do next.
    Got 120 acres, an old dairy farm up in the Catskills.
    It’s a little slice of heaven up here. Built this house in 1995 for Y2K.
    Never thought I’d need it for WW C.
    Stay calm.

  35. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by Ken Millroy

    Well said brother.

  36. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by Ed

    Enjoy the earth, everyone – and I recommend making these images full screen on your device.

  37. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by AndyK

    Thank you, Jorma.
    I thought we were done with the proselytizing, politicalization and unfriendly messages on this site. Unfortunately, it seems as though some require the need to receive a reminder every so often. Hopefully, we can again stick to good vibes and good sounds.
    I’m thinking there’s a big surprise in store this Saturday. Perhaps jumping Jack flash?

  38. Comment made on April 22, 2020 by Dan Nigro

    Indeed a day to enjoy. The Loggerhead Marine Center in Juno Beach has reported an increase in the number of nests for both Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles, perhaps some good can come out of all of this. Enjoy Earth Day

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