WWSP @ FEW Spirits 09.10.21

If you pressed us, (the Lovely Carla & I), I guess we would say the only thing that has kept our “heads in the game,” is keeping our heads in the game. What game? The game of imagining, creating, collaborating.

We have done it in various ways thru the years, especially thru theater, poetry, music, art. Lately, having a band, creating music with a group of musicians, in tune, all on the same vibrational wavelength has been amazing, gratifying, totally exciting, fulfilling and satisfying.


We sorely missed it all during pandemic lockdown. We are back at it, working on new songs, reinvigorating old songs, rehearsing indoors, all masked, and a bit distant, and we have played out in the world, in parks, gardens, on sidewalks, in alleys.


Nothing quite like creating and collaborating with creative, gifted and giving human beings. And, we are reminded that there is an audience thirsty for it all. Amazing. Beautiful. Keeps our heads in the game, feeds our hearts, our heads, our souls. – Jammer

photo by Jeffery Korman

Jeff & Daniel Connolly

Yes, playing in the alley at FEW Spirits has been an uncommonly fabulous experience. Last evening Daniel Connolly and Jeff were on the bill with our band WWSP. Together we filled that raw urban space with positively good vibrations.

Someone remarked to me after our set, “Rock and roll is one thing, beautythat’s something really unique.” Indeed.

We will do it again next Friday, September 17 with special guest Baby No Name. As the FEW motto tells us: “Fortune Fancies the Bold.” And beauty, well, yes, beauty is unique, but it can be found in every pebble, every grain of sand, every smiling face, every twinkling eye. – Jammer

Hot today. Clean-up time, late Friday afternoon. We have fans running, and A/C on in the kitchen, but it is a killer heat in our 2nd floor apartment. Perfect time to sweep, scrub, mop and polish. Yikes.

For the soundtrack we decide on a 5-CD mix on the big stereo in the living room. Our tribute to Charlie Watts (June 1941- August 2021). This is early Stones, Brian Jones-era Stones. Bluesy. Garage-y. Musical & raw. Almost punky. Some tracks a bit psychedelic.

Some folks say the Stones were trying to follow & emulate the Beatles. Doesn’t sound like it to our ears. No George Martin sweetening here.

Best to play these CDs in “mono” mode. Even the stereo mixes sound better in mono. These tracks were made to be played on a transistor radio, or blasting away in the car with the windows rolled down. Yes. Charlie sounds fabulous throughout. He will be missed. Spin these recordings and it all comes alive. Any time. – Jammer

Peace Garden

Yes. We played the Peace Garden yesterday afternoon. The great singer-songwriter Cynthia Marchant played an opening set, and then WWSP in a “never before” quintet (TV on bass, Chuck on guitar, Nura on violin, Carla vocals & percussion, and me on my Hohner acoustic) ran thru some old and new songs. It all seemed to roll out quite nicely.

A fabulous afternoon. Good cheer. Good vibes. It was so great to play music for a group of attentive folks. We played for the greenery and the blue sky too. Sending the WWSP vibes out into the world.

As you can see, I was totally entranced by the multi-colored canopy looming above us. – Jammer

photo by Carla (the magic sauce/sweet rig)

Who knew playing in the alley next to FEW Spirits (their company motto: Fortune Fancies the Bold) would be so validating? Folks told us our band sounded great; they also said they loved the street sounds: sirens, buses, rattling trains overhead, wind-gusts, the grit, the dirt, the urban beauty all around us. Our vibrations rattled down the alley and off the walls of church across the street.

Chuck’s “black slab” guitar & Gibson amp are pictured above, they were waiting patiently for the set to commence. A killer combo for sure. We were so happy we held it together, (four of us: Chuck on guitar, Rich on drums, Carla and I doing our thing), playing some old songs and some brand-new ones too. We were fairly pleased with how it all rolled out.

We will do it again at FEW on August 20, hopefully next time with the full 7 piece band. It was a kick to be able to play once again to a small crowd of human beings. Fortunate. Yes. Indeed.

Jammer

photo by Matt Golosinski

Yes, Tomorrow is TODAY, Friday, July 30, 2021! Cocktails, Music, Spirits & Friends.

Few Spirits & whitewolfsonicprincess two Evanston Originals. We both conjure the spirits, stir the soul. We are moving up, from the sidewalk to the alley!

Our set outside in the alley later today will start around 6p.m. Bring a chair. If no food truck (still iffy) you are free to bring food in from any of the local Evanston restaurants including La Principal, The Lucky Platter, etc.  Hope to see you there! – Jammer

The “Playing Cool, but Unlikely, Places 2021 Tour” Continues. We’ve gone from the sidewalk to the alley! Next Friday whitewolfsonicprincess plays at Few Spirits (in the alley) 918 Chicago Ave in Evanston, IL. 

Yes. To play is the thing. Pretty much anywhere works.

This one will be WWSP pared to the bone with Carla on vocals & percussion, Chuck on guitar, and James on guitar & vocals. For maximum comfort bring a lawn-chair. We will play an hour set beginning around 6 p.m. Food,** fun, frolic and fine Spirits!

** Food Truck TBA!

Jammer

That opening narration is from Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” (1973)

Yes. There is something elemental, raw, & real about the streets. Play there and you will be changed. Our series of gigs on Record Store Day on the sidewalk in front of Vintage Vinyl have been exquisite lessons in the real. Playing music on the streets is our Church!

There’s the dirt, the grit, the spit, the blazing light, the passers-by, the cars, the buses, the exhaust fumes, the chatter & clatter; all the sights and sounds of life in an overwhelming Universe swirling around and over us.

Naked. Vulnerable. Exposed. No place to hide on the street.

Making vibrations and sending them out into Universe has become our creative mission. To be able do so with such dedicated, talented and inspiring musicians is a pleasure, an honor, and a kick. – Jammer

Alabama Shakes

Still, even in the face of all that, (see previous post), optimism is a choice. Maybe it’s an inherited trait too? I don’t know. To think, to hope, to dream. To live in the moment with as much attention, enthusiasm, heart and soul as you can possibly conjure up. It is an act of will. It takes a bit of gumption, discipline, determination. We all need some luck and pluck. See the light all around us. It is there. Lean into it.


The A.M Soundtrack – Alabama Shakes’ “Boys & Girls”  (2012). The Gospel According to Brittany. A total blast of fire, thunder, unbridled joy, & enthusiasm. A monster statement of creative purpose. What is the message? Hold on, Hang Loose, You Ain’t Alone.  It is a head spinner, a heart-warmer. Some fabulous grooves, a band giving their all, fronted by Brittany Howard’s overwhelmingly powerful voice and guitar. Yes. Highly recommended. Sets the tone for the day. What is the setting? Soulful & Optimistic!Jammer

Sure. Let’s celebrate, it is July 4th 2021, blow-off some fireworks, at least in our heads. Happy to be here, still kicking. Born in the USA and feeling pretty lucky. You know, Democracy, Freedom, Equality, Pursuit of Happiness, and all that. Nice, high-minded concepts. But, you know, it is complicated, and this is a profoundly Imperfect Union.

Those high-minded concepts bump against some hard, deadly, soul-killing realities: Genocide – “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” Racism/White Supremacy – Slavery, Ku Klux Klan, Trump-ism, Wars & Atrocities, Institutional, Societal, Political, Psychological Inequality, Gun-Crazy, Murder Inc. And our Enthusiastic Embrace of Idiocy – see: the Anti-Vaxxers, the Anti-Science Brigades, Conspiracy Theorist Nut-Jobs.

And the Confidence Man’s Amusement Park – “A sucker born every minute.”

The Hustle, The Sales Pitch, The Scam, The Hoax, The Lie, The Big Lie, The Cheat. We love to sell and to be sold. We love to lie to ourselves and to others. And, remember all those fireworks are made in China. Cheap thrills: Gunpowder, Smoke, Razzle-Dazzle and BOOM! That’s America, Baby! – Jammer

The A.M. Soundtrack – Wilco’s “Yankee Foxtrot Hotel” (2001) – Great early Wilco record. Great American Band. 

“Ashes of American Flags”

The cash machine is blue and green
For a hundred in twenties and a small service fee
I could spend three dollars and sixty-three cents
On Diet Coca-Cola and unlit cigarettes
I wonder why we listen to poets when nobody gives a fuck
How hot and sorrowful, this machine begs for luck All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new We want a good life with a nose for things
The fresh wind and bright sky to enjoy my suffering
A hole without a key if I break my tongue
Speaking of tomorrow, how will it ever come? All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new I’m down on my hands and knees
Every time a doorbell rings
I shake like a toothache
When I hear myself sing All my lies are only wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new I would like to salute
The ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves
Filling up shopping bags

– Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett