Time marches on and the landscape of our lives is ever changing. The Pandemic has changed all us in ways that could not have been imagined two years ago. It has been the same and yet different for all of us. For touring musicians like myself and so many of my friends frankly I don’t think anything will ever ‘be the same’ again… and that has to be OK. Indeed, the only constant is change.
My old friend Michael Falzarano stopped by in a Penske truck on his way to Texas, where he and his family now live. Even in the 70’s when I first met Michael and Claudia they were always New Yorkers just doing time in the Bay Area and now the Tri-State is becoming a distant memory for them. For Michael and Jack and myself, the New York area will always be a musical home but we will probably never live there again and so it goes.
Michael and I spent decades making music and traveling together until the early 2000’s when we each received different marching orders. We talked a couple of weeks ago and decided that with him passing through in a truck with all his possessions we would be remiss if Kaukarano didn’t make an appearance for QC 48. Out came his Gibson J-45 (1953) that I gave him in 1990. Out came the Gibson Star from the early 90’s and of course, out came a gaggle of my instruments that have been living in the Fur Peace Station since the Quarantine Concert Series started and year and a half ago.
We broke bread and started rehearsing. We had gotten together five or six years ago when we played a Cold Cap Benefit in Brooklyn after our friend Marjorie Thompson passed from cancer, but other than that… it had been a long time.
Like riding a bicycle? Perhaps. Over the years we have both learned to forge and re-forge musical friendships and so it went. Michael’s playing is bedrock… it is solid without being rigid and the music flowed once again. Michael’s daughter Mia is my goddaughter and thirty years we played I’ll Be There For You’ at her baptism. We played it again last night. How passing time wraps us in a strange universe. She is grown woman with children of her own… and we can still play the song!
Vanessa joined John Hurlbut and I for No Woman No Cry. To play music with family whether with my daughter, wife or son is more than a blessing.
This morning early Michael had some Fur Peace Ranch Campfire Blend Coffee got in his truck and headed down the driveway, through the Fur Peace Ranch overhead gate, past the wooden gate at St. Clair Rd. Nashville bound… Texas in the distance.
Old friends come by and you share stories that only you know… smiles that only make sense to you. I remember in 1955 being in Finland with my mom and dad and brother, Peter. Grandma Ida came to Hanko…many of the Old Ones were still alive then. She stayed a week or so. Finland was no longer home to her. ‘I’m going back to LA. That’s my home.’ She walked to the plane and never looked back. I would not have that kind of commitment to being in the now. I would have looked back.
As Michael backed the truck around to head down the road, I turned around and looked. Each moment with family and friends is so precious I didn’t want to miss a second. There are no do overs.
Family, old friends, shared stories and songs.
The stuff of life!
OK, here’s the show from last night:
Saturday, May 15, 2021
- True Religion
- Blue Railroad Train
- Flying Clouds
- Hamar Promenade
- I’m Going To Live Forever with John Hurlbut
- No Woman No Cry with John Hurlbut & Vanessa Kaukonen
- Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
- Let Us Get Together Right Down Here With Michael Falzarano
- Where There’s Two There’s Trouble with Michael Falzarano
- I’ll Be There For You with Michael Falzarano
- Nine Pound Hammer with Michael Falzarano
- Living In The Moment