Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Well, it seems about time to write another one of these.  A bunch of shameless self-promotion in a bit, but first:

I watched a great film last night:  "Throw Down Your Heart", a documentary showing banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck's trip to Africa in 2008.  Incredible music, where he goes to several countries and plays with local musicians.  Since the banjo's roots came from Africa, it shouldn't be so remarkable how well it fits in with African music, but it is (of course, it helps if you have the chops and the sensibility of Bela Fleck).  Really, really enjoyable film, great special features on the DVD, too.  (Just found its nice website as well, with samples:

OK ... me!  I've been very active lately and have some events coming up soon as well.  (Some of this stuff I posted on Facebook so I apologize if you've seen this before.)

-- The Charm City Reactors Reunion gig in May was a whole bunch of fun, and I've put together a CD's worth of recordings from that night, all remixed and shined up.  It's available in high-quality "FLAC" files as free downloads for you to burn to a CD if you'd like (there's even cover artwork), or the tracks can be individually streamed, all at this page at the Reactors website:

-- The Reactors are going to be playing soon yet again.  We've been invited to be a part of a two-day festival, October 5th and 6th, organized by a guy who started a Facebook group called Baltimore Bands Of The 70's, 80's and 90's.  The guy's name is Stan, so he called the festival (regrettably) Stanstock.  But it's all for a good cause, with proceeds going to Johns Hopkins cancer work, and there's going to be about 35 bands and two stages.  Somehow we're booked to be the final act of the festival (prior to an ending jam session which sounds like it's going to have a Beatles theme, in honor of this year being the 50th Anniversary of their arrival in America).  Here's the Stanstock web page and Facebook page links, hope you can make it: /

-- Speaking of The Beatles, I felt the need to put together and record a song of theirs, but with a twist (and shout?).  So here's a link to my folky-ish take on George Harrison's "Within You Without You.  Hope you enjoy it.

--  As you may recall, I've also been getting together with Matt Douglass over the last few years to play acoustic stuff.  And we've been joined by Patrick Sheridan (bass) and Davis Shingleton (mandolin) when we played at a Dylan tribute and at a Woody Guthrie one.  Well, we've made it official, and we're getting married -- wait, I mean -- forming a band.  We're calling ourselves The Old Part Of Town, and we've got a debut gig scheduled for Saturday, November 16th at the same Fell's Point bar where the Reactors Reunion was, 1919 (at 1919 Fleet Street).  We'll be doing a combination of old and modern folk and country songs, originals, basically whatever feels right to us.  Here's a recording from our practice the other night -- still working out the kinks, mind you -- of the Skeeter Davis tune "I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever Know":

What else, hmm...?  Don't know, there's something I'm forgetting.  Oh, well, if I remember I'll bother you again.

'Til next time,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reactors Videos

Videos of all songs from the second set of the Reactors Reunion Gig are now available HERE.

(The audio for the first set was not recorded properly due to operator error. This operator. I forgot to press "Record" - D'oh!) Particularly enjoyable, at least for me, are Matt and Alex's guitar interplay on Mabelline, and the jam leading from Scarlet Begonias into Houses In Motion.

Until next time ...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Reactors Mid-Life Crisis Edition: The Website

The Reactors website is basically complete now, with the recent addition of all of the two-camera videos from 2007 of our first Reunion.  We'll still be adding some various steaming audio, and then, after this coming Saturday's reunion gig at 1919 I'm sure there'll be more to add.  But please visit it and peruse what's there, if you're so inclined. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Remembrances, Recommendations, and Reactors

Hi again, all. Seemed like it was time to send out another one of these, a few things have bubbled up. Some of this I posted on Facebook, so if you saw it there I apologize for repeating myself.

Firstly, a remembrance. One of my favorite drummers, Tommy Ardolino from the band NRBQ, died last month, but I just found out a few days ago. He was one of the more versatile drummers out there, it didn't seem to matter what genre he needed to support, and whichever one it was he always did it with taste and a not a little bit of spice. They were one of those bands I love where they can't be pigeonholed musically and there are multiple lead singers and songwriters. NRBQ were pretty terrific with covers as well, used to pass around a hat for folks to put in song titles -- typically songs they had never performed before -- and they'd draw one out and have to do it on the spot (one particular recording I have somewhere has them just butchering "Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat & Tears). Their live shows were really what they were all about, and they were funny as hell, too, but, as a recommendation, my favorite LP of theirs is Tiddlywinks, a studio recording which is still available on CD which doesn't have a clunker on it. Here's a little Tommy Ardolino tribute someone put together:

Speaking of recommendations, and being out of the loop, there's a band that I just discovered that has already broken up, a Philly area band with a couple of national releases that didn't do anything: Huffamoose. Another hard-to-categorize group, I heard one song on the radio and gave them a shot, and was not disappointed. The CD I bought is called We've Been Had Again, and I'm about to buy another. A little grunge-y, but then there'll be what could be considered a country ballad, and then some sort of Steely Dan-ish stuff. I'm having trouble not listening to this everyday. These guys should have been more successful.

Back to the Remembrance Department: I'm going to be a part of a memorial event on Thursday March 14th for local poet Chris Toll, who died last year. He was a huge Dylan fan, so the tribute is to be some Dylan songs interspersed with poetry readings. Starts at 8PM, at the Windup Space on North Ave. I'll be doing some songs with my cohort Matt Douglass along with two other new friends (and great players) Davis Shingleton and Patrick Sheridan. Lots of other folks are part of this, should be a great evening.  Here's a (somewhat doctored) recording of one of our practices: Too Much Of Nothing

Finally, the big news in my own music world is that my friends and get-together-periodically-to-see-if-we-can-still-play band mates The Reactors (well, we now refer to ourselves as The Reactors Mid-Life Crisis Edition) will be having a reunion concert on Saturday May 11th, at the Fells Point bar 1919. We've got some new material and of course will be playing lots of the old stuff. I'm sure I'll be sending out another mailing as it gets closer, but if you think you can make it that would be great, please put it on your calendar. In advance of that I've been lately redesigning and updating the website that we've had for years,, so it now has a plethora of old and new recordings and videos (embarrassing as some of them may be) with still more to come -- please check it out.

OK, that's it for now.