open door 09.07.14Last night we trekked out to Oak Park for the Songwriters NOT from the Great American Songbook show.  Hannah Frank did a set of Bob Dylan songs and we did a set of Rolling Stones songs.  Turns out the Open Door Repertory is gem of a home for theater and music.  Acoustically perfect. A first-class setting – hardwood stage, oriental carpet – a great theater space for audience and performers alike.  A handful of folks got an earful of great songs.  We did our best with a pretty ambitious set of Stones songs.  It was challenging to take on “As Tears Go By” and “Wild Horses.” They are such beautiful, and delicate, numbers. We did our best to fill that space with our vintage, over-caffienated energy. It was one of those is the cup “half-full,” or “half-empty” experiences? I’ll go with “half-full!” – Jammer

photo by Linda Solotaire

UnknownWorking on Rolling Stones songs for our upcoming show at the Open Door Rep on 09.06.14. We are on a bill with the Hannah Frank Group. They will open with a set of Dylan songs, then it’s us doing the Stones. We know a few already: Paint it Black, Sister Morphine, Dead Flowers, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Shine a Light.  We are trying some others on for size, working them out on acoustic guitar in the kitchen: As Tears Go By, Wild Horses, Under My Thumb, Jumping Jack Flash, Beast of Burden.  Can’t wait to try these out with the band at the next rehearsal.

These are all such great guitar songs. There’s an effortless logic to the riffs and chord changes. The Stones totally absorbed American music: Blues, Country, R&R. Their catalog of songs is impressive and overwhelming.  We want to pick songs we think we can make our own. As Tim Obrien, our bass player said, we don’t so much “cover” songs, as “interpret” them. These songs are so good, they can stand up to interpretation. It’s only r&r, but of course, we love it! – Jammer

photo by Dominic Tarle


stones_posterWe did our Stones Tribute show on Saturday. 10 acts performing 25 Rolling Stones songs; an intimate coffeehouse setting, an enthusiastic and attentive audience. Lots of smiles and positive vibes. Our band did a little mini-set of some of our favorite Stones songs: “Shine A Light,” “Sister Morphine,” “Paint it Black,” “Satisfaction.”  And then there was the big singalong at the end on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

We were happy with our set, no screw-ups, and we brought a real abandon and energy to the songs. The band was tight. We were a little concerned; rehearsals were clunky and a little messy, but all that evaporated in the heat of performance. We rode the wave of energy to r&r glory! There was the “post-show glow,” with the neighborhood buzzing about a great show, and there was the “post-show funk,” that inevitable feeling of emptiness after a show. The smoke clears in the light of day, and it’s all gone.

One major mishap: someone set a cup of water on my amp, and of course, the cup got knocked over, and well, H2O and tube amps don’t mix. The amp came up DOA, so I had to play through another amp, and the sound just was not the same. Turns out my amp is fine. I took the tubes out, let everything dry out overnight, re-installed the tubes, turned it on – all is well! Yes, of course, it’s only r&r but we really, really love it! – Jammer

I’ve been falling so long it’s like gravity’s gone and I’m just floating.”Mike Cooley, Drive By Truckers

Will I Miss the Sky?
Good morning existential crisis, your arrival is like the punch-line in a good joke. Things happen. We live in a little community where you see the same people all the time, you know the shop-keepers, neighbors and resturant owners, for good and bad. You say hello to the passing scene, spark up little conversations about this and that. Then one day something happens. A fluke accident. Death. Death, you are now a stranger, one day you will be a close friend. You try to remember the face, the laugh, you hear lines like “Will I miss the city lights? Will I miss the snow? Will I miss the laughter? Will I miss the jokes? Will I miss touch? Will I miss love? Will I miss you?”  – Yoko Ono

Time on your side. vs. Time on my side.
I look through Fashion magazines all the time (it’s sort of part of my day job), a line from an advertisement sticks in my head….Time on your side….. music comes swirling in, cuz that’s what’s going on inside my head… (music, colors, visions) next thing I hear is, “Time is on my side, yes it is. Time is on my side, yes it is.” The Rolling Stones. The mind makes funny connections. Time on your side, time on my side – I realize that is a very different thing.

Saturday morning.
I’ve embraced this existential crisis. Today I have it with yogurt and tea. I discover that Antony and the Johnsons have a new live album, “Cut the World.” I see the Secretly Canadian logo in the corner of the ad. (We sent 10+1 to them, along with many other labels.) I see a little ray of light. I look foward to hearing this new piece. I am inspired by the creative work of others. The way someone runs a little community business, the way we support one another in life, or the way a fellow aritst creates a new surprise. I remember the face, I remember the muse. I see our project taking flight and opening doors to new worlds. Then incoming: “Man gets tired, Spirit don’t, Man surrenders, Spirit won’t, Man crawls, Spirit flies, Spirit lives when man dies.” – Mike Scott, The Waterboys

— Carla

We asked the band for their “go to” albums; music they continually gravitate to for deep inspiration. Carla likes to draw a hot bath, crank the boom-box, and chill to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” Chet Baker’s “Let’s Get Lost,” and two early discs from Van Morrison: “Astral Weeks,” and “Veedon Fleece.” Rich’s wide-ranging picks include the Brazilian singer Maria Rita’s first two albums, Clifford Brown & Max Roach’s “In Concert – L.A. 1954”, plus Erik Satie, Jascha Heifetz, Joan Baez, and The Beatles. Tim likes to put on his headphones and jam along with the Jack Bruce-driven, British-blues-based, psychedelia of Cream (“Disreali Gears,” & “Wheels of Fire”), and also “Clapton and Winwood Live.”  James is stuck on those late 60’s, early 70’s, Jimmy Miller-produced, Rolling Stones records, especially, “Exile on Main Street,” and Neil Young’s loose and dark-edged, “Tonight’s the Night.” He also zones out to the “Donnie Darko Soundtrack.”  “Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?” – Jammer