Archive for September, 2011

L’Shanah Tovah To All 5772

September 30th, 2011 10 comments

Vanessa went to New York to celebrate Rosh Hashannah with friends she rarely gets to see. Israel Love and I went the Hillel Of Ohio University. Like all the Jewish kids of the community, Izze was a part of the festivities and I played guitar on three songs with Carole Weiner. We did Shofar Blast, Ahava and our crowd pleaser from last year, The Yom Kippur I’m Sorry Blues.

This was the first time when it was just father and daughter at one of these functions and it was a milestone for both of us. It is early in the morning and she is still asleep. Soon I will wake her, make her some breakfast and walk her to school.

It’s going to be a good year!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Freedom Of The Road And Music

September 26th, 2011 9 comments

pp 1

Jerry Bayha, my son Zachary and I rode out the route for this year’s Pick ‘n’ Putt… and a beautiful one it was. We headed out towards Glouster, Ohio and over on Rt. 78 towards McConnellsville and then past lock 7 on the Muskingham.

Our next stop was at Lock 5 across from Stockport. It was such a beautiful day, we spent some time just watching the river.

pp 3

What a fine day for a great ride with friends. When we got back to the Fur Peace Ranch, I taught an afternoon class and spent the evening watching the Tony Rice Unit. An All Star lineup with Bryn Davies on bass, Josh Williams on Vocals and mandolin, Rob Ickes on dobro, Wyatt Rice on guitar and of course… the great Tony Rice!

pp 4

Another Fabulous shoe by the Unit! We thank them so much for making the trek and hope they will come back!

This evening after class and dinner, Geoff Achison, George Porter Jr and I had one of the greatest jams I’ve had in a long time. Free form… with divine direction.

On this note of enlightenment… I’m going to bed.

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Venues Tags:

Steel Guitars And Motorcycles

September 23rd, 2011 2 comments


Howdy Folks:

Second Chances rears it’s head again… This time with a fine Rickenbacker Three Legged Steel guitar. What a beauty this instrument is… and here’s the good news for me… I just sold it today before I got a chance to put it up. I thought I’d post a picture anyway:

Rickenbacker Electro Lap Steel Electric with case and legs

Sold kids… sold!

Well… tomorrow is our Annual Pick ‘n’ Putt and of course we’re very excited about that. Yesterday me and the gang led by my pal, Jerry Bayha, put in a 200 mile ride. Tomorrow will not be as long… but it will be just as good. A little rainy at the Fur Peace Ranch today, but not bad. Tomorrow promises to be a little clearer… no matter, we’re riding anyway!

millies 1

Shiny side up!

PS Don’t forget our Good Works raffle!

Infinity And Home!

September 19th, 2011 6 comments

infinity 1

The last gig on this little run was The Infinity Music Hall which is is an incomparable venue in Norfolk, Connecticut. I just can’t say enough about this place. It was our first time there and I hope it won’t be our last. The locale is great, the food is great… well, you get the picture. Here is our set list:

Jorma Kaukonen And Barry Mitterhoff 11, 2011
Infinity Music Hall And Bistro
Norfolk, Connecticut
Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Set:
1. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Children Of Zion
4. Second Chances
5. I’ll Let You Know Before I Leave
6. More Than My Old Guitar
7. Sea Child
8. Bread Line Blues
9. Come Back Baby
10. The Terrible Operation
11. Red River Blues
Second Set:
1. I See The Light
2. Too Many Years
3. There’s A Bright Side Somewhere
4. Things That Might Have Been
5. Goodbye To the Blues
6. 99 Year Blues
7. I Am The Light Of This World
8. Good Shepherd
9. Vicksburg Stomp
10. Parchman Farm
11. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
12. Encore: Embryonic Journey

It’s 0534 and we’re rolling on home. This weekend iw the Pick ‘n’ Putt at the good old Fur Peace Ranch. I’ll have to clean my bike tomorrow..

infinity 2

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Set Lists, Venues Tags:

Safe At The Sanctuary

September 18th, 2011 6 comments

Last night Barry and I played the Sanctuary in Chatham, New Jersey. This was my first time, but not Barry’s. Conveniently located a couple of miles from the Mitterhoff Family Manse, the Sanctuary is a nifty gig in an impressive Presbyterian Church. Here is our set list from last night:

Jorma Kaukonen And Barry Mitterhoff 10, 2011
The Sanctuary
Chatham, New Jersey
Saturday, September 17, 2011

First Set:
1. True Religion
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Heart Temporary
4. I’ll Let You Know Before I Leave
5. More Than My Old Guitar
6. Bread Line Blues
7. Children Of Zion
8. Goodbye To The Blues
9. Come Back Baby
10. Vicksburg Stomp
11. I Know You Rider
Second Set:
1. River Of Time
2. I See The Light
3. Things That Might Have Been
4. Mama Let Me Lay It On You
5. The Terrible Operation
6. Sea Child
7. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
8. 99 Year Blues
9. I Am The Light Of This World
10. How Long Blues
11. Genesis
12. Parchman Farm
13. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
14. Encore: Embryonic Journey

I’m getting ready for a real breakfast this morning and then we’re off to the Infinity Music Hall And Bistro in Norfolk, Connecticut. The gig tonight, and then the drive home. A very nice little run!

Categories: Diary, Set Lists, Venues Tags:

A Note From Salisbury, Massachusetts

September 17th, 2011 2 comments

summer is over

First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Willie ‘Big Eye’ Smith who passed away yesterday. I met Willie a couple of years ago when he played up at the Ridges in Athens, Ohio at the Kennedy Museum. To hear him play in such an intimate setting was truly a blessing. Subsequently, we had his son, Kenny ‘Beady Eye’ Smith, at the Ranch and what a fine drummer and great man he is… but that is another story. As for Willie, I have enjoyed his art for some time. He will be missed, but he will live in our memories. If you haven’t had the pleasure of his music… check it out.

Last night Barry Mitterhoff and I were at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury, Massachusetts. Here is our set list:

Jorma Kaukonen & Barry Mitterhoff 9, 2011
Blue Ocean Music Hall
Salisbury, Massachusetts
Friday, September 16, 2011

First Set:
1. Search My Heart
2. Been So Long
3. Heart Temporary
4. Hesitation Blues
5. Second Chances
6. Goodbye To The Blues
7. Come Back Baby
8. There’s A Bright Side Somewhere
9. 99 Year Blues
10. More Than My Old Guitar
11. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
Second Set:
1. Serpent Of Dreams
2. Children Of Zion
3. Things That Might Have Been
4. I Know You Rider
5. The Terrible Operation
6. Uncle Sam Blues
7. Good Shepherd
8. River Of Time
9. Bread Line Blues
10. Vicksburg Stomp
11. Keep On Truckin’ Mama
12. Nine Pound Hammer
13. Encore: Embryonic Journey

Onward to the Sanctuary in Chatham, New Jersey.

Categories: Diary, Set Lists Tags:

Life Is a Thin Thread

September 16th, 2011 12 comments

‘Life, is a thin thread
It’s a thin little hand, on a hospital bed
It’s all the things you left unsaid
Life is a thin thread’
(Connie Kaldor)

I was leaving Burlington, Vermont when I heard the announcement that the Challenger had crashed. It is a moment I will never forget. Last night as I was getting ready to go onstage with Barry at the Higher Ground here in Burlington, I got a call from Vanessa telling me that my friend, Donnie Ruben had passed. This is a moment I shall never forget either. Donnie and I had been friends for a long time. We didn’t hang together… he had his scene up in Columbus and me, well I’m always busy with something… just ask my family. Still and all, when we would meet we would always meet as men and friends.

He had been sick for a while… cancer you know. They carved him away trying to beat it and he rose to the occasion heroically with surgery, rehabilitation and such. There is no way for me to put myself in his shoes, or the shoes of his family. They are all heroes.

He seemed to be making progress, whatever that means in this game, but then he suffered a severe heart attack and flatlined. They brought him back and in the process found the cancer had metastasized and was pretty much everywhere. I understand he was surviving on life support whatever that means these days. Yesterday his lady, G_d bless her, let him go and pulled him off the machines.

Sometimes life seems more about saying goodbye than saying hello, but you know, it was my privilege to know Donnie for the time I did. It is not for me to tell his story, but he was an amazing man and if you Google his name you will find the marks he left on this world.

As I get older, I lose more loved ones and one of the things that pains me about the process is the stark reality that when one’s story is done… it is done and no more new chapters will ever be written. The memories of my parents live in ever changing glass balls where each time I look at them they are in a different phase of their lives. They live in the slide show of my memory. Over time, the images begin to lose their clarity… there is a soft focus that envelops them and in truth, I cannot deny that they have been consigned to the ages.

Selfishly, I have to think about myself. You hear so much talk about one’s ‘legacy.’ Well, I guess that’s all well and good. The things of this world will be inevitably consigned to the dustbin of history. They will just be stories. The true test of one’s ‘legacy’ will be if your friends and family can always see you as a mensch when they call up your image.

Donnie was a mensch. There is no higher compliment you can pay a fellow human! He is at peace now and that has to be a good thing.

He was a good man. Fair winds and following seas, brother!

Categories: Diary, Friends, Thoughts Tags:

Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont

September 16th, 2011 3 comments

Set list from last night:
Jorma Kaukonen And Barry Mitterhoff 8, 2011
The Higher Ground
Burlington, Vermont
Thursday, September 15, 2011

First Set:
1. True Religion
2. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Goodbye To The Blues
5. Second Chances
6. I’ll Let You Know Before I Leave
7. How Long Blues
8. Children Of Zion
9. Come Back Baby
10. Parchman Farm
11. Parchman Farm
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning
Second Set:
1. Too Many Years
2. Been So Long
3. More Than My Old Guitar
4. Things That Might Have Been
5. Bread Line Blues
6. I See The Light
7. Uncle Sam Blues
8. I Am The Light Of This World
9. River Of Time
10. Full Go Round
11. Whining Boy Blues
12. I Know You Rider
13. Encore: Genesis

Categories: Set Lists Tags:

Mimi The Cat Finds Her Door Into Summer

September 13th, 2011 16 comments

the drive at Hillside Farm

My Mother, Beatrice Love Kaukonen, passed away on May 8th, 1998… on Mother’s Day sometime around one PM. My brother and I had just gone to town to get her a bouquet of flowers and she picked this moment to slip away. She was fortunate to be able to die at home and I was fortunate to be able to be there with my Brother for her last days. When I returned to Ohio after her passing, I had with me her two kittens, Mimi The Cat and Doodie. Shortly after returning to Hillside Farm, Doodie took to the hills. I like the thought of him hopping a freight over in Carpenter with a bindlestiff over his shoulder. The country life was not for him.

It was, however, for Mimi. At the time, we had three full grown English Bull Terriers, A Chihuahua, and Jack Russell/beagle mix and a micro terrier of some sort. She joined the gang and ruled the roost for the next thirteen years. Bruce Wagman gave those cats to Mom, and in a way they helped occupy her life in the year she lived after Dad passed.

Animals come and go here at Hillside Farm. Cats in the woods know that the good buffet is here at our place and we have had as many as six regular dinner guests at a time. Over the last couple of months, Mimi was aging rapidly… losing weight… just getting, well, old. She used to like to sleep on the hood of my Jeep when I came home. When I would get ready to drive out, she would hop off, give me an affirmative nod and head for the back porch and a sofa she particularly liked. Anyway, she was on my hood a couple of days ago and when I got ready to drive, she wouldn’t jump. I stopped the car and gently took her off the hood and put her on the grass. She looked into my eyes and didn’t move as I drove over to the Fur Peace Ranch. Later that night when I got home, I found that she had gone to sleep under another car with her head under the wheel. This was so unlike that queen of survivors that it almost seemed architected. This was one moment she did not survive.

It was hard to imagine that after all these years with us that she was finally gone. Coyotes couldn’t get her, she hissed at racoons… It was just her time. I got up early the next day and dug her grave.

final resting place

Vanessa gently wrapped her in one of my Mother’s old cloths and I lovingly carried her to to her final resting place.

gone but not forgotten

I put her on the hillside overlooking Izze’s swing set and the porch where she loved to sun herself. What an excellent cat she was!

she will watch silently

The night before, after the accident… Vanessa came into the kitchen and on the floor out of nowhere, was a picture of me as a kid. Mimi channeling Mom? Coincidence? Who knows? Mimi… The Cat, was the greatest. We’ll miss her and this passing closes another one of life’s chapters. Mimi is survived by Eli… The Dog, and Zami… a fine cat in his own right.

in an unwritten time...

Mimi has found her Door Into Summer where she now plays with Marlo, Zola, Vinnie, Glory, Napoleon, Hazel, Flauber and her other friends… perhaps Doodie is there too. She sits again on my Mother’s lap, looks up… and purrs!

Categories: Diary, Hot Tuna, Thoughts Tags:

A Decade Of 9/11’s

September 12th, 2011 9 comments

nine eleven morning in the country

Vanessa and I were in Columbus, Ohio… in Westerville for a doctor’s appointment when I got a call from my old friend, Michael Falzarano. ‘A plane just hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center!’ he said tersely. I was thinking perhaps it was some light plane accident… something tragic on a more trivial level. ‘Let me call you back,’ I said. ‘I’m trying to park.’ Seconds later, the impact of what Michael had just told me broke through into my consciousness. I grabbed my phone and called him back almost immediately… the cell service was already gone. As the moment unfolded, the horror of what was transpiring was all too clear! The United States was under attack. The second plane hit… and then not too long afterwards, we saw the first Tower fall on a bank of TV’s in a Sam’s Club. An ironic place to be when to realize that in those instants, our lives would never be the same!

David Weiss

David Weiss

When I lived in Upstate New York back in the 80’s, I had a friend named David Weiss. He and his family were friends with me and mine and we both shared a love of motorcycles. Strangely enough, after I left Woodstock in 1990, I never saw David again. It was just one of those things… you know how it is. I felt that someday we would run into each other and go for a ride or some such nonsense. That of course never happened and now it never will. Indeed, that is life’s way… but our choice to take or not take that ride together was made for us and we had nothing to say about it. A friend sent me a picture of David. When I knew him he had more hair… and come to think of it, so did I. In any case, on this day of remembrance, it is nice to re-make his acquaintance.

Jerry, the flags and the bikes

My pal Jerry Bayha and I have made our David Weiss memorial Run each year since the Towers fell, but this one was special… being a decade since that dreadful day. The timeline is burned in our brains, those of us who were watching those events unfold that stunning September morning. On the morning or our ride, Jerry and I were in a little diner in Trimble, Ohio as the moments of those strikes on the Towers occurred. Jerry asked the breakfast patrons for a moment of reflective and respectful silence and they all obliged. It was a touching American moment!

Jerry and I rode through the Appalachian hills… a beautiful morning… so reminiscent. People honked and waved but underneath this surface of unity, was an abiding sorrow. I think of Bob Kelly, first responder, who lost his brother Tom… I think of Bels Belson… first responder and Hot Tuna fan… I think of families and friends and stories that ended on that day…

I still believe that as a nation, we still have many stories to tell. It is not the world that I grew up in as a child and like it or not, that it as it should be. I hope that some of my experiences may permeate my children to give them a broader perspective. (Yeah, I know… good luck with that)

final snap

I pray that our country stays strong and true and remains, as I believe it is, still the greatest country in the world and the best place to live.

far from New York, but close int the heart

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