Friday, September 29, 2006

Guns Into Guitars

Promoting peace, Colombian crafts guns into guitars
Thu Sep 14, 2006 1:07pm ET
By Patrick Markey

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Polished rosewood and an artist's deft touch are all Colombian craftsman Luis Alberto Paredes needs to turn tools of death into symbols of hope.

One of Colombia's top musical instrument makers, Paredes has branched out from traditional methods to fashion electric guitars from shotguns and AK47 rifles once used by fighters caught up in the country's lingering guerilla conflict.

"This used to hit a target at 800 meters (yards)," Paredes said holding up one of the guitars which still has a Kalashnikov rifle's distinctive, banana-shaped magazine. "Now the target will just depend on the concert stage."

In a workshop above his modest family home in Bogota, Paredes has created the "escopetarras" -- shotgun guitars in Spanish -- since he was approached by local musician Cesar Lopez with the idea about three years ago.

After stripping the soldering and gutting the trigger mechanism, he crafts a polished wooden handle over the barrel and his son installs microphones in the stock. The process takes a week to ten days.

(for full story, see http://tinyurl.com/zrr52 )

Friday, September 01, 2006

Blues in Trinidad, CO


I had an interesting weekend. A grueling, fascinating, sleep-deprived, wonderful weekend. Heaven Davis called Thursday needing me to fly out the next morning to Colorado with her to play the Trinidaddio Blues Fest VIII. There was to be a pre-party Friday night, then Saturday morning I'd rehearse our band (borrowed from Erica Brown of Denver). The band would then hustle out to the festival and play around 2, and we'd go on at 4.

As planned, we rented a car in Denver and got to Trinidad (about 3 hours from Denver, just inside the border from New Mexico) about 5PM. Our limo was to pick us up at 6. (Yes, there really was a limo, they took us back and forth as necessary all weekend) They did, and took us down to the Lucky Monkey, which seemed to be a century-old community hall with maybe 8-foot stamped-tin ceilings, packed with merrymakers. We were given a fistfull of drink coupons and directed to the buffet in back. From there, I saw that the back parking lot had also been roped into a party area, with lots of tables, a couple bars, and speakers fed from the stage inside.

Shortly after we arrived, a one-man-band act (I think he was John-Alex Mason) kicked in, playing a variety of guitars while singing and stomping out rhythms barefooted on a cluster of pedals linked to drums, tambourines, etc. One of his instruments was made from a cigar box, a couple broomsticks forming two parallel necks an inch apart, and two strings on each neck (one of them a bass string), with some odd black circular magnetic pickups about the size of a quarter each. Sounded good! He kept up this very physical act for two hours! Then Bernard Allison (son & student of the late Luther Allison) brought his band on, and things really heated up. I rocked along as long as I could, but it had been a long day, I was still on Atlanta time, and I had to go back to the hotel.

The next morning saw the band arrive on time for rehearsal. We rehearsed for maybe an hour in Heaven's room, and it was apparent we'd have no trouble on stage with this crew. They scurried out to prepare for their show, and we did the same. We didn't arrive in time to catch their (Erica Brown Band's) set, but we did get to hear part of Albuquerque Blues Connection's smokin' set, and they & the crowd showed their appreciation for Erica so she must've been good. Then it was our turn.

Due to my well-earned distrust of airlines, and the well-meaning silliness of the Fatherland Security people, it didn't seem smart to try and bring any equipment. After all, three times in my life I've checked my baggage, and two of those times the airlines lost it. So, arrangements were made for me to have a guitar & amplifier waiting there; I literally arrived with nothing but one guitar pick. The backline crew set me up with a nice maple-neck Strat that seemed identical to my own, except for being cream-white and having .009-gauge strings instead of the .010 I'm used to. The amp was a Fender Deluxe. No effects except a wah pedal that I used for maybe 10 seconds - simple, elegant, effective. I may consider going that route again at some point, rather than the all-digital command center I currently run. It was all rockin' along great.

Then the storm came.

Weather happens quickly at high altitude. While we were onstage, a lightning storm came in. The people didn't mind the rain, they had clear tarps and umbrellas and there wasn't really that much rain, but the lightning was worthy of respect and we had to get offstage a couple songs early. Within 30 minutes it was all gone, and the next band was on time. There were 3 more quickie storms that evening, but they didn't pack so much lightning and didn't interfere with the shows. Elsewhere in the area, Pueblo picked up a whopping 3.5" of rain, and I think there was a tornado somewhere. Remember, this is practically Road Runner country, and somewhere around 5,000 feet high, and to have anything over an inch of rain is really something. Trinidad fortunately got very little of all that.

Anyway, the festival grooved on. The artist's area behind the stage offered us all we could eat and drink, which I and the other artists happily did, as the evening went along. Some of the very best BBQ that I have ever tasted! The final act was Little Charlie & The Nightcats. They put on a really good show, with Charlie Baty showing some serious swing guitar chops worthy of Brian Setzer. While they were wrapping up, Heaven & Erica & I rode back to the hotel with Bernard and his crew to change for the afterparty. Charlie and his harp player Rick Estrin caught up with us there, and we all piled into the limo to ride back to town (about 5 minutes, gotta love a small town) to the old saloon that was hosting the final jam. Charlie got his hands on a borrowed guitar and played a couple cool songs with the band, then I did, along with Heaven and Erica. Finally it was time to fall over again, and I got myself out to the limo to find the rest of the crew had already done just that and I was barely in time to ride back with them. (Wouldn't matter much, the limo would've been right back to wait for me)

Nothing much happened after that - packed my bag and slept a couple hours before we had to drive out at 3AM to catch the morning flight from Denver. Not much sleep for me that weekend, but I loved every second of being awake. I highly recommend the Trinidaddio festival to anyone looking for a good time, the best I've been to.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Evil Genius strikes!

I finally got around to installing a computer game I acquired last year. I shouldn't have waited so long. Evil Genius is a bucket of fun, kinda like The Sims doing an Austin Powers movie. Lots of humor, a great soundtrack, great art, good game design, reliable operation. No wonder it won "Best of E3" and a bunch of other awards. My old vice, MechWarrior 4 (at which I excel, by the way) has been retired for a while.

Incidentally, try putting "Evil Genius" (use the quotes) into Google for a whole lot of interesting stuff.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blues Camp 2006 a success!

This was a good birthday weekend for me, beginning Friday with the George Benson & Raul Midon concert at Chastain Park (along with my sweetie Barbara, and our friends Rich & Liz). Then I had to get up in the middle of the night Saturday morning (6:30 AM!) to drive up to Blue Ridge, GA for the first annual Blues Camp.

The setting for the "camp" is a beautiful house tucked away in the north GA mountains. The students had gathered Friday night and jammed, watched guitar videos, etc. I got there about 09:30, set up my gear and started classes about 11:30. Late afternoon, I took a break while Ms. Michael Broderick taught the segment on vocal techniques. We learned hard and played hard and ate very well and learned & played some more until about 02:30, then got up the next morning and did some more until mid-afternoon. The students were attentive and dedicated, and all said they got what they were looking for (and a few things they didn't know they needed).

Topics covered: Basic music theory (linear scale, numbering the notes, melodies as numbers, chord construction, chord sequences as numbers), what makes 12-bar blues so special, variations on 12-bars, basic scales, harmonized scales, modes, new chords, going beyond 12-bars (intro to jazz blues), how to read music, and a walk-through of the software, videos and other goodies on the DVDs that I had burned for them. The lectures were well supported by labs (meaning we played a lot of songs).

A few photos are saved at:
http://musicians.meetup.com/266/photos/90441/575352/

All in all, a successful first run for Blues Camp and we hope to do it again soon. Please let me know if you're interested. My thanks to Mike "Cathead" Nunn for organizing this, and to the students for your faith and hard work.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tuesday Jam going away?

Hello Friends, it's been a while.

First, the bad news: the lovely Wanda has informed me that Tuesday, August 1st will be our last Tuesday Jam at Nik's Place. For whatever reason, not enough people have been coming out and spending on Tuesdays in recent weeks, so she has to try something else. She's bringing in Johnny Knox (the best rockabilly guitarist I know next to Brian Setzer) and I'm not sure if it will be a jam. I don't have a Tuesday gig nailed down for us yet, I'm asking around. Let me know if you have possibilities for us to investigate.

This is not an evil act on Wanda or Nik's part, so be nice to them; it's just a part of the business. They have bills to pay, and need to draw a spending crowd. To a venue owner, a band is only as good as the dollars they bring in. Venue owners rarely care much how good a band is, the bottom line is "how many people will you bring me, and are they spenders?" The real strength of Kiss was the Kiss Army; the Grateful Dead stayed alive so long because they had legions of devoted Deadheads. When you hear musicians say "Keep the blues alive" or "Thank you for supporting live music", remember that we really do need you and your business in order to keep doing what we do. I really do thank all of you who've come out, even just once, for helping to keep music (and musicians) alive. You regulars, who come out often, you totally rock.

So, to recap: ONE LAST HOO-HAA at Nik's Place, Tuesday August 1st
Nik's Place
645 Whitlock Av. (aka Hwy GA-120)
about 1 mile west of Marietta Square
Marietta GA 30064 770-792-6666
web: http://www.niksplace.com/
map: http://tinyurl.com/b3gql

Moving on: Those of you who came out to Tavern On The Bridge last week noticed that my usual partner, Andrew Black, had apparently been to Sweden for a very successful operation. Not really, that was the lovely & talented Marlyn Campbell, and we had a great time. Why didn't I tell you she'd be there? Because Andrew was going away on vacation, and it's a bad policy to spread the word that someone will be away from their home for several days. But he's back now, and last night the three of us turned out some good music. Good enough that we'll be back as a trio next week, and who knows after that. Don't miss out.
Tavern On The Bridge
9775 Medlock Bridge Rd., Suite A.
Duluth, 30097 770-232-1210
Nice room, good food.
S.E. corner of State Bridge Rd. & Medlock Bridge (Hwy 141)
One door south of Stony River.
web: http://www.tavernonthebridge.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/8lp8g

This Friday, my friend Brian Stephens' new band Ocean Street will be throwing a "pre-CD-release-party-party" at a new venue in Roswell called The Saloon. The band will be there at 8PM to meet, greet & hand out swag, then will play at 10PM. Todd Smalley (of Derek Trucks Band) will be on bass. Brian says the response & buzz from their 3-song demo was great, getting a fair amount of airplay on Dave FM and others, and "tons of podcast plays" out to a huge global audience.

Then on Saturday, Gophertunes.com is throwing their first Subscriber Party which will feature a great free show with Barry Richman Band, and opening band Lyric, at The Langford. This is free to their newsletter subscribers, and all that requires is that you go here:
http://www.gophertunes.com/info/index.php?id=7
and sign up for a weekly newsletter. (Or, you can subscribe at the party). They will not overspam you, nor sell or rent you to spammers; they aren't collecting too much info, they don't even want to know your name. Then you get the free beverages, free t-shirt or tank top, and maybe other goodies.
The doors open at 7:30 pm
(Lyric, 8 - 9 pm; The Barry Richman Band, 9:15 pm - 12 am)
See the details on the front page at http://www.gophertunes.com
Langford Sound & Stage
633 Holcomb Bridge Road
in the corner of the Roswell Village Shopping Center
Roswell, GA 30076 770-518-9151
web: http://www.LangfordSoundAndStage.com

PS, this party is free and open to all ages. I encourage my students to attend. Bring the whole family, tell friends. Forward this email.

And finally, here's a list of lost souls from whom I've been getting email bounces. If you know these folks, please help us reconnect.
















Bob Augestad
Kate Mullin
Jonathan Mock
Marcus Petruska
Lara Polangco
Paul Garrett
Toby Huffner
J Shelley (or Stelley?)
Gaylon Nelson
Tom Regeski
Seth Watters
Melina Birdsong
Kerry Creasy
Ruthie Smith
Jerry Hendricks
Lance Tilton
Bryan & Kim Hutton
Samantha Hart
Sarah Malkin
Sheila Ledford
Shawn Harris
Tammie King
Rod Kelly
Morris Borenstein
Christopher Afful
Cindi Carbone
Brad Haddad
Debra Fedorchak


Just a suggestion: Get a web-based email account. Jobs change, ISPs change, people move. And some companies really get nasty about what goes through your email; all companies monitor, and when they want to "downsize" you, your email is the first place they look for excuses. You're much better off getting your email through a free web-based system; Yahoo Mail is usually the top award winner among those. (Then, remember NOT to access your private email account while at work!) You can access your email from anywhere in the world that has Internet, from public libraries to Amsterdam coffeehouses. Stability is great; I've had at least a half-dozen ISPs since 1985, but when I got my Rocketmail address (now owned by Yahoo) in 1997, that has been unchanged for nearly a decade. If you have a non-work email address, I strongly suggest you update me so I don't send my emails through your employer.
Yahoo Mail: http://mail.yahoo.com
Google Gmail: http://www.gmail.com

Friday, July 07, 2006

Welcome, Gophertunes.com

Gophertunes, brainchild of guitarist/singer Pete Waddell, has finally popped its furry little head into the world. This website is an online guide to live music in the Atlanta area. It lets you search by zip code, type of music, date, venue or artist. Want to know where I'll be playing? If I have a public show under my own name, it'll be posted there. (Shows where I'm a member of someone else's band are up to them to post, for a variety of reasons) You can also find (if posted) individual artist bios and contact info, or venue info. Gophertunes also writes their own stories, artist interviews and reviews, and they've published one of my instructional articles. Owned & operated by & for musicians, the emphasis is simple: music. You won't have to wade through lots of "community calendar" announcements for dramatic readings, quilting clubs, or other stuff that can be found on existing sites. Gophertunes has great potential and I will try to make the most of it. I strongly suggest you should too.
http://www.gophertunes.com
PS, the furry mascot's name is Mojo.

Moving on: Jesse Smith, 1968 - 2006


My nephew-in-law Jesse has gone away, after a long struggle with Hodgkin's disease. One of the nicest people I ever knew, and one of the giants of the ballroom dance world, Jesse was beloved by everyone who met him. He and his wife Lynda (my niece) were undefeated dance champions, competing and teaching all over the world. Jesse was also featured in an episode of HGTV's "TIPical Mary Ellen". Here's his obituary from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Smith, Jesse E. age 37, of Minneapolis. Professional ballroom dancer and owner of Arthur Murray Dance Studio of Minneapolis/ Edina, MN. Survived by wife, Lynda; children, Dayton and Elyse; mother, Mary Louise Bodinski; father, Jesse Smith; siblings, Therese Larson, Stephen Clausen and Nejla Smith; grandmother, Alice Smith; many loving family members and friends. Jesse was born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD and moved to Minneapolis in 1988 where he began his professional dance career. He began dancing competitively with Lynda in 1990 and went on to achieve four U.S. American Style ballroom titles. After retiring from competition, Jesse continued to achieve excellence in the international dance world and was highly sought after as a teacher, choreographer, coach, judge and performer. He was a member of the Arthur Murray World Dance Board and an area Chairman for Arthur Murray International. Although Jesse's professional accomplishments were many, being a loving and devoted husband and father gave him the most joy. Memorials may be directed to the Jesse Smith Miracle Gift Fund. Interment service 9 AM Monday, July 10 at Lakewood Cemetery Chapel, 36th & Hennepin Ave S. Service will follow at 11 AM at Hope Presbyterian Church, 7132 Portland Ave S., Richfield. Washburn-McReavy Edina Chapel 952-920-3996

The obit doesn't mention his loving in-laws (my brother Gary Price and his wife Joyce, also of Minneapolis) who are also deeply greiving. My heartfelt condolences go out to the whole family, and to his worldwide family of friends, students and fans.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Marietta Square show a Major Success!

Friday June 30th at the Marietta Square was flippin' amazing! I had no idea that it would be such a major event or I would've made a lot more noise about it in my newsletters. My guess is 5,000 people packed into the square for a Chastain-like experience, complete with a row of reserved tables, candles, flowers in glass vases, etc. When I got there for 4:45 soundcheck, the grassy parts had already filled with lawn chairs. The city even blocks the street behind the stage, and that fills with audience watching us from behind (making it interesting to play in both directions). Most of you haven't seen the full Andrew Black & The Naturals show, and I must say it's a big'un. We had Andrew, Jon Schwenke on bass, Ben Taylor on drums, myself, female vocalists Kim & Bobbi, and Marcus & Adam (of King Johnson) on sax & trombone. The northwest sky looked threatening, so we started 15 minutes early, rocked the joint until about 9, took a short break and hit 'em again until the storm finally did arrive, ending the show exactly 15 minutes early with very theatrical lightning and wind effects. There was a moment at the ending of the next to last song, I was flailing my guitar on the final chord, holding it up high, facing the rear audience, the furious gust front of the coming storm blowing in my face, the lightning, the thunder, the shouting applause... it was like being Charlton Heston as Moses in "The Ten Commandments". What a rush! Then we ended on "Sweet Home Marietta", complete with a reference to The Big Chicken, and finished just as the fat raindrops started pelting the crowd. For us, the storm wasn't bad - the storm came in from behind us so we pulled our gear downstage a few feet and started packing - by the time things were in cases, the storm had blown through, so we weren't trapped long. I know that some of you were there taking pictures, and I sure would love to have copies, please. I'll post the best ones in my blog as soon as I get them.

Saturday I did a new venue (for me anyway), Rafters at Jones Bridge and State Bridge, with Jon Schwenke and Jack Jones. I like that place, the staff is extremely nice and the room is laid out in a way that makes sense for live music; the stage area is on one end, pointed out an open sliding door so a lot of sound vents outward, not at the bar area. There's a dance floor, low tables, and the bar is above and somewhat behind the stage. Then the restaurant area is on the other side, kept airtight to seal out any smoke and noise from the bar. The whole venue works very well, and I like & recommend Rafters.

William and Ricky, you're not forgotten.

Remember to celebrate the 4th; stick up for sticking up. Nothing is more American than the ability to think for yourself and speak your mind. Your "country" mostly boils down to your rights & freedoms, so guard them all (especially free speech) and don't let anyone whittle them down while telling you it's to preserve them. Some of our founding fathers, especially Ben Franklin, warned against exactly that. This is the week when we especially remember and celebrate our ancestors' struggle, and just as we don't want to dishonor our current troops we sure don't want to dishonor those who fought directly for THIS soil, THESE people, making sacrifices and efforts you can barely imagine. Remember their work with pride, maintain it with determination. That's being a Patriot.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I support Free Press


The General Manager at Radio Sandy Springs is, like most GMs, pretty conservative. At least that's my impression, and he's well within his rights to be so. He sent this email to publicize this letter: (click to enlarge)
http://www.radiosandysprings.com/images/RBMLetter.jpg

I too agree with RBM. We aren't torturers on par with Al-Qaida. We're Americans. We outsource most work like that. (see here for examples)

I also agree that RBM has the right to complain, and to withhold their dollars. But I agree much more with the rights of the press to examine and publish as they please, and I sincerely hope that no amount of complaints will sway any paper from publishing whatever they honestly believe - that would amount to censorship by whoever had the dollars to afford choosing what we get to read. Our founding fathers protected the press for good reasons. Sure, it means that everyone will eventually see something they object to, it'd be like trying to shoot straight though a forest without hitting any trees. But, straight shooting is important; "flavored" news like Pacifica on the left or Fox on the right don't do us any favors.

I further agree that our troops do need all our support, from us and from our government (ask any vet about that one). They are in a tough spot, they have to follow orders "or else". We must keep a close eye on those orders and who gives them, and that's one of the main jobs of the press, as long as it doesn't compromise actions that both need an element of surprise and fall within legal & moral limits of war.

On another topic, I'm proud of my country too, and agree that "together we stand" is a great phrase, but one that's often misused. It does not mean "we're standing together", it means that excessive dissent can be, well, divisive. Standing itself is a constant balancing act, correcting to the left and right and all other directions. In political form those corrections come in the form of vigilance, careful thinking, debating, and voting. Anything that threatens any part of that process is bad for America, and threatens the future of freedom itself.

Those are my opinions. Yours probably vary. I'm pretty sure my friend David Moxley doesn't completely see things as I do, and that's fine. As requested, I'm forwarding to a friend.

--- David Moxley wrote:

> From: "David Moxley" (address deleted)
> To: "David Moxley" (address deleted)
> Subject: We Salute RBM of Atlanta
> Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 06:46:25 -0400
>
> and their stand against the Atlanta Journal Constitution!
>
> Tune in this morning www.radiosandsprings.com
> and hear more!
>
> Please forward to a friend!

Monday, June 26, 2006

What a week!

Well, it has NOT been a quiet week at Lake Jamalong... it has been one of those weeks you should be careful about wishing for. But I love it! Monday started with a long drive (the second half of my trip home to Roswell from family reunion in Baltimore) then a nap, then driving to downtown Atlanta for a rehearsal, and finally home. Thank God no lessons that day; I love 'em, but I needed the nap instead. Tuesday was my usual slammer; up early to catch up on email and research for my radio show, then drive to the Radio Sandy Springs studio, do the show, grab a quick lunch to eat on the way back to Roswell, then a full slate of lessons until 8PM. Then over to Marietta for the Tuesday jams at Nik's Place (which happened to be totally supernova that week, see my previous blog post from that night titled "Hoolawd!"), and finally home by about 03:30. Wednesday was another mostly full slate of lessons, then over to Tavern On The Bridge for my duo show with the fabulous Andrew Black. Thursday was a morning of errands & minor chores, followed by a day of lessons, then home to pack for a road trip. Friday, drove to downtown Atlanta again to join a band (the leader of which has asked not to be named in my email reports) for a road trip to a gig in south GA. Gig went great, packed up & sound asleep by 02:00, only to get up at 05:30 for the trip home (no complaint there, I wanted to be back early). Back in time for Saturday lessons at 11:30, mostly full until 5. Home, change clothes, drive to Decatur for a brief show with Unnamed Artist at Maddy's 3rd birthday party. Caught the last of a hot set by Chicago Joe Jones, then Barry Richman Band, then our turn, and finally got blown away by the headliner, Francine Reed with Java Monkey. (Marvin Taylor has joined Barry Richman, Mike Martin, and a few others as one of my guitar heroes!) Home, nearly immediate sleep, then up Sunday morning for a jazz gig downtown with Will Scruggs, Zak Pride and Ben Taylor. Home, a quick nap, and down to The Langford for the Sunday evening jams, where a burst of climactic energy brought my unusually busy week to a loud happy close.

Don't misunderstand, I have no complaints about any of this blessed basketful of work. Well, maybe a chuckling grumble here & there, who'd be human without one or two, but nothing that even I could take seriously after saying it. To be a musician entrusted with a workload like this is nothing short of deeply gratifying, and I thank every single one of you who makes it possible. It's such a cliche' to say "I'm not worthy", but... well, thanks. Really. While driving, I listen to lots of books (hardly ever music, you figure out why) and I'm almost to the end of a really good biography of Mark Twain. I'm sure he has written something somewhere about being tired and happy; he was, after all, the equivalent of a rock star in his day and went on exhausting tours for weeks at a time. Find what he said, and I'll second it.

And now, believe it or not, I'm off to bed before midnight. Tomorrow is another of my infamous Tuesdays. I hope to see you at the Tuesday jams, and the Wednesday duo. You know the details. G'nite!

PS, it's mathematically probable that someone will get some wrong impression from something I've written. Simple arithmetic, coupled with my less-than-perfect writing skills. Let me just cover this by saying I'm sorry for whatever you thought I meant. And don't think that I'm far too busy for whatever project you were considering me for, let's talk about it first.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hoolawd!

Tonight at Nik's Place was incredible! We played the first set as a trio (Jon Schwenke, Charlie Bailey & myself), then brought up some special guests we were expecting: Willie Green (drummer for Neville Brothers), Sal Padillo (percussionist for Sal's Soulful Sinners and Francine Reed), and Charlie Wooton (bass for Zydefunk). With them we had Keith Barnhart (keys for Chaka Khan and many others) and slide guitar wizard Terry Bradley. I mean, HOT damn! Willy Green happens to be in town because he'll be playing tomorrow at Chastain with BB King, Dr. John, and his band the Neville Brothers. After cookin' that for an hour or so, Andrew Black joined in, then Lola Gully. After that, other jammers including The Soul Shakers, Pete Waddell, Scott Phillips, Barry Richman, and more. This was one smokin' night! I still have to let the buzz chill down for a while before I can go to bed. Ya shoulda been there!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

New jam venue: The Langford, Sundays at 7

Hi Friends,
Sorry to have been silent so long. A hard drive crash didn't exactly catch me unprepared, but some of my programs (such as WorldCast, my emailer) had to be re-registered, address lists had to be retrieved from backup, etc. Anyway, I'm mostly back in the saddle.

So, you've heard me talking about Langford Sound & Stage in Roswell. It's two doors to the left of Ken Stanton Music, in the corner of the shopping center between Eckerd and Dollar Tree. The map websites don't show it very well at all, but here's the best. If you have Google Earth (and you should) just copy & paste these coordinates:
34.03363372008272,-84.34430625917679
and you'll fly right down to a hi-res rooftop view. (I know, I could just include the .kmz placemark file in this email, but many among you won't even open emails with attachments)

Anyway, The Langford is hosting jam sessions every Sunday at 7PM. What makes this jam special? Many things!
1. It's at a real stage venue, not a corner of some bar's floor.
2. Family-friendly: no smoke, no alcohol, early hours.
3. Pro sound, and some audio & video recording abilities. I wouldn't be surprised to see them offer CDs and DVDs of performances at some point in the future. And if you musicians want to do real audio/video recordings, they're not just a nice stage, they have a full studio next door.

Since they're not a full-service bar/restaurant (except at catered events), they do need to charge $2 admission but most of us can afford that.

In addition, I ran into jazz guitarist Skip Runte the other day, and when he mentioned how our mutual jazz mentor Howard Roberts started the Monday night jazz jams in Hollywood, I whipped out my phone and introduced him to Tony Langford. We may have a nice Monday jazz jam of our own soon.

Anyway, things are just getting started up on the jam front there. If you're a player or singer, c'mon down tonight and let's make music!

In other news, literally, Marlyn Campbell and I were shown briefly on Fox 5's news yesterday as part of a story about how merchants on Decatur's square are nearly bankrupted by all the MARTA construction there. It seems people aren't drawn to a neighborhood blighted with dirt piles and cyclone fence, as opposed to the park/plaza atmosphere that area normally had, and business is waaay down. Marlyn & I were playing a benefit "battle of the bands" at Birdi's when the camera guy came in. His camera seemed close enough to be checking out her earwax, but her looks withstand scrutiny. He also took various shots of the packed audience, the warzone construction site, etc. After all that we were only onscreen for a couple seconds. It's amazing how much stuff gets tossed out at a news shoot; he was probably onsite for 90 minutes to get 60 seconds of story. Anyway, I urge you to patronize Birdi's and the other merchants in that area, or they might not be there when the construction's done.
Birdi's On The Square
115 Sycamore St. Decatur 30030 404-371-9906
web: http://www.birdisonthesquare.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/dvcg6

The Tuesday jams at Nik's Place are still rockin', and in this summer weather the deck outside has been heavenly. Come check out the good music and nearly-full moon this week, try a nice meal & drink under the stars.
Nik's Place (10PM-2AM)
645 Whitlock Av. (aka Hwy GA-120)
about 1 mile west of Marietta Square
across the street from Waffle House
Marietta GA 30064 770-792-6666
free wi-fi, good food
web: http://www.niksplace.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/b3gql

Wednesdays, Andrew Black and I are doing a duo act at Tavern On The Bridge. With Andrew's versatility and vast song library, and my digital guitar system's ability to imitate any guitar & amp, it's a pretty impressive show.
Tavern On The Bridge
9775 Medlock Bridge Rd., Suite A.
Duluth, 30097 770-232-1210
Nice room, good food.
Southeast corner of State Bridge Rd. and Medlock Bridge (Hwy 141)
One door south of Stony River.
web: http://www.tavernonthebridge.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/8lp8g

That's it for now. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or write me.

Remember that Twilight Zone movie where the guy says "Wanna see something REALLY scary?" Check this out:
http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdpenny.htm
How the !@#! do you run up $70 BILLION in debt last week alone?
Who's to blame, and what should we do?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Great music coming to Roswell May 5th


Hi Friends, I know I just updated you a few days ago but there's a great show, a world-class show, coming to Roswell tomorrow (Friday the 5th). I know, it's Cinco de Mayo (spanish for "help, I'm sinking in mayonaise") but there's more to life than waiting for hours in an overcrowded Mexican restaurant.

Steven King (not the author, this one is scarier) is one amazing guitarist. In fact, he's the National Fingerstyle Champion. He has earned quotes such as "And I thought Joe Pass had chops!" (L.A. Times jazz critic), and "King knocked us silly" (Guitar Player magazine), and this one:

"From 1968-1982 I wrote 33 articles for 'Guitar Player.' I have more than 8,800 jazz guitar recordings and nearly 2000 jazz guitar videos. I feel qualified in saying Steven King is the greatest solo guitarist I've ever seen or heard!" - Robert Yellin, music professor & Guitar Player Magazine columnist

Sound like someone you'd like to experience first hand? You can. I just checked, there are still some tickets available. I bought some, but I left some for you, my friends.

Check out some clips:
http://www.guitarbystevenking.net/King_CD_sound_clips.html

Steven King In Concert at The Forum @ Langford Sound & Stage
633 Holcomb Bridgde Road
Roswell, GA 30075
SW Corner of Holcomb Bridge & Hwy 9
(2 doors down from Ken Stanton Music)
Friday, 8-10PM
Advance tickets $22, or $25 day of show
See the info here: http://tinyurl.com/hm9qw
Buy the tickets here: http://tinyurl.com/fgy64

The Langford Sound & Stage complex is a great new venue, making use of an old movie theater much like Variety Playhouse, but with TWO stages, decent facilities for the talent, and a recording studio. I am excited to have all this in my own backyard, and I want you all to check it out and help make it the success it deserves to be. Roswell has been a musical black hole for far too long.

The Tuesday jam at Nik's Place went very well; having Rich "Nooch" Ianucci on Hammond organ does tend to liven up an evening. Tony Langford and Doug Easterly were on hand; Doug, an accomplished solo singer/guitarist, sat in for some blues, while Tony took in the vibe. Then Big Robert T (Atlanta's winner of the International Blues Competition) did an electrifying set. Tony & Doug looked like the guy in the old Maxell ads, the one in the chair with his hair and necktie blowing straight back. I'm guessing Tony didn't see much like that back in the UK. Doug said the next day he "got schooled", but I told him that's OK, the jams are where we all go to school. I will definitely have Nooch back. Tony loved the whole evening, and wants me to set up a Sunday night jam along the same lines at Langford; we're working on that.

And speaking of Sunday night jams, Sundays have been "soundcheck" nights at Langford. Open at 6PM, all ages, free admission.

In other news, belated congrats to Rashaan Griffith on the birth of his son Miles. Congrats also to Grandpa Larry Griffith, who recently emailed me that he's got new management and is working on a record deal.

There's a slim hint of a whiff of a possibility that I'll be doing some duo work with Andrew Black. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, Andrew does a mean solo set at Tavern On The Bridge on Wednesdays.

Reminder: I'll be playing with the lovely & talented Marlyn Campbell at Birdi's this Sunday afternoon, 4-6PM. The food is good, and the vibe is pure party.
Birdi's On The Square
115 Sycamore St. Decatur 30030 404-371-9906
web: http://www.birdisonthesquare.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/dvcg6

Tuesdays:
George Price Band open jam & Meetup
Nik's Place (The Back Porch)
645 Whitlock Av. (aka Hwy GA-120)
about 1 mile west of Marietta Square, across from Waffle House
good food, free parking, free Wi-Fi, nice patios
Marietta GA 30064 770-792-6666

web: http://www.niksplace.com/
map: http://tinyurl.com/b3gql

That's it for now. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or write me.

Final thought: If you're gonna drink too much tequila on Friday, bear in mind that a hangover is largely dehydration. Drink some Gatorade before and after the party, and some the next morning, and you'll feel much better. Works for me, anyway.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Browse my new photos, vote for best shots


I had a rare & wonderful opportunity a couple weeks ago. Valerie Smith of Wild Side Portraits contacted me regarding my public query to photographers on how to take good live band photos. After chatting a bit via email, she offered to take some pictures of me in exchange for exposure and some guitar lessons for her son. I've rarely sat for portrait photos since high school, and this sounded like a lot of fun so I eagerly agreed. Then I called Sandy Smith (no relation), a Marietta hair designer who frequents the jams at Nik's Place, and made arrangements to get spruced up the morning of the shoot. While at Sandy's, I asked if she wasn't busy would she like to come along to the photo shoot; she wasn't and did. So, for a couple hours that afternoon I was getting snapped, primped, and posed just like a star. Or at least I assume. When that was all done, I sat down with Valerie's son Aaron and got him started on guitar. He was a good learner, so the hour went by quickly. When we were finished, Valerie had already gotten her camera hooked up to the TV and was running through the pictures. They all looked great, I couldn't decide on any.

So, I invite you to look them over and tell me which ones you like best. Go to http://www.wildsideportraits.photosite.com/gprice and write the numbers of your favorites, then reply to me here with the results.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Music Report for April 4th, 2006

Hi Friends, time for another update.

The out-of-town gigs with Heaven Davis have been interesting. Y'know that song "Love Shack" that describes a party shack in the woods? Bradfordville Blues Club, somewhere outside Tallahassee, fits that pretty closely. Just turn onto the dirt road where you see the sign with the two burning tiki torches, pass the derelict trailer homes, take the left fork, and when you get to the big field, you'll see a cinderblock building with some Christmas lights. Inside, the walls are lined with portraits of blues royalty, from Charlie Musselwhite to Bobby Rush, many signed by the musicians themselves. The tabletops are also painted & signed. Yup, this is a serious blues club. Get a beer and walk outside, where they're frying up fish. Walk a few paces down the hill and there's a bonfire with a ring of folding chairs. Sit down, swig your beer, look up and you see an enormous oak tree with lots of spanish moss - beyond that, stars, lots of stars, just like you don't see in Atlanta. The bonfire has been a regular feature there for more than 40 years, longer than the club. The large field was one of the old Negro League baseball fields, and it's easy to imagine the crowd and players coming over after a game for some beer & fish by the fireside.
http://www.yodaslair.com/bradfordvilleblues/about.htm

Then there's Sassy Ann's in Knoxville TN. Take a huge old Victorian house, gut the second story, then cut the floor out of the third story so that it forms a balcony. Put little tables into every little nook & cranny for lots of hideaways. Make the band lug all their stuff up the narrow old stairs, but then treat 'em real nice so they don't mind after all. Throw in a manic-dancing drunk couple from Scotland. That's an interesting evening.
http://www.sassyanns.com

The weekly Tuesday jam at Nik's Place is going well, and with the new springtime weather the patio is a real treat. Be sure to come out for that. Tuesdays are also the meeting & jam night for the North Atlanta Musician's Meetup Group (104 members and growing).
Nik's Place Restaurant and Bar (aka The Back Porch) 10PM-2AM
645 Whitlock Ave. (aka Hwy GA-120)
Marietta, GA 30064 770-792-6666
about 1 mile west of Marietta Square
across the street from Waffle House
Free Wi-Fi, GREAT food!
web: http://www.niksplace.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/dhdek

Wednesday, April 5th, is the final show at Tavern On The Bridge as a 4-piece (Andrew Black, Jon Schwenke, Ricky Fargo and myself). Andrew will be continuing Wednesdays as a solo artist. This is a fine venue, and a fine band, and I really hope you'll come see us off. Directions below.
Tavern On The Bridge 8:30-12:30
9775 Medlock Bridge Rd., Suite A.
Duluth, 30097 770-232-1210
Nice room, big floor & stage, pro sound, good food.
Southeast corner of State Bridge Rd. and Medlock Bridge (Hwy 141)
One door south of Stony River.
web: http://www.tavernonthebridge.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/8lp8g

Thursday, April 6th, I'll be with Andrew, Ricky & Jon at Wild Wings in Suwanee. That too is a nice venue, hope to see you there.
Wild Wing Cafe, Suwanee
3265 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road
Suwanee, GA 30024 (770) 945-9090
web: http://www.wildwingcafe.com/suwanee.html
map: http://tinyurl.com/gtngo

Sunday, April 9th, I'll be playing a duo with Marlyn Campbell at Birdi's in Decatur. That's pretty different from what I usually do, always a good time, c'mon down.
Birdi's On The Square, 5PM - 7PM
115 Sycamore St. Decatur 30030 404-371-9906
web: http://www.birdisonthesquare.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/dvcg6

Every Thursday in April (13, 20 and 27) I'll be playing with my own trio at Two Urban Licks, a very popular restaurant down by the Carter Library.
Two Urban Licks, downtown Atlanta
820 Ralph McGill Blvd. Atlanta 30306
For reservations, phone 404-522-4622 or reserve online:
http://www.opentable.com/single.aspx?rid=3431&restref=3431
web: http://www.twourbanlicks.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/dj3kr

On the radio front, the Music Scene radio show is coming along nicely. While I'm far from being as smooth at interviewing as I hope to become, I do have fun with interesting guests. Ed Wier, usually known for his fine classical and latin-jazz guitar work, brought by some of his comedy radio theatre. This week my guest will be drummer & singer John McKnight. Future guests will include Sean Costello, Andrew Black, Doug Easterly & Rick Laser, and many more. The shows are broadcast on 1620 AM and streamed live from the Radio Sandy Springs website. The shows are also available as files for free download at the website, and thankfully no longer require iTunes.
The Music Scene Tuesdays 1-2PM
Radio Sandy Springs, 1620 AM
stream: http://nick8.surfernetwork.com/Media/SandySprings.asx
downloads: http://www.radiosandysprings.com/musicscene.htm

Speaking of that show, I'm still working on assembling a live music calendar. Tell me about your gigs. And, the station manager has asked me to put together a Saturday show of local music; if you've got some tunes you'd like played, please submit a CD or email an MP3 along with a bio and your upcoming shows.

And finally, Sunday was my sweet granddaughter Lauren's 21st birthday party. Her little sister Kristen will be graduating high school this year, too, and will be going away to college. A double dose of pride & loss. My best wishes to both of them.

That's it for now. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or write me.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Music report for 2-8-2006

Hello Friends, it's been a while since I updated you.

The George Price Trio shows at Nik's Place and Woodstock Live (aka Firehouse) went very well, thank you. And thanks for all the kind words from those of you who came out and made the show better by being there.

Last Saturday with Heaven Davis at Jake's was interesting. It was a four-band show, headlined by Randall Bramblett (formerly of Sea Level, Greg Allman, Steve Winwood, Traffic reunion tour, and much more). The first band was a competent acoustic (bluegrass?) group that reminded some of us of "O Brother Where Art Thou" (in a good way). The second band, Goddess Rocks, was also competent in general but most memorable (also in a good way) for its inclusion of a striking 6-foot redhead ballerina, wearing a tutu with tall boots, and playing flute. Turns out she's a ballet instructor too. Then came our set, which we were all pleased with, and then Randall's. Let me make this real simple: if you learn that Randall Bramblett is playing somewhere, GO! I bought the latest CD, and it hasn't left my player since (except briefly, when I needed it while interviewing him on my radio show). Randall did great keyboard work (mostly juicy Hammond/Leslie tones) as well as electronified sax and guitar, and all the vocals. There were technical troubles galore, but the only thing that was obvious to the crowd was a bad mic cable that kept making huge pops, making the band jump as if shot - they were wearing in-ear monitors, and the pops were about like a shotgun blast to them. The band carried on like troopers through the smaller problems (most of us didn't even notice) and delivered a fascinating show. Randall will be opening for Bonnie Raitt later this month and doing one leg of the tour with her.
Check em' out: http://www.randallbramblett.com

Those who read my blog, or are members of the Musicians Meetup Group, already know I have a new radio show. It's called The Music Scene, and it's Tuesdays at 1PM on Radio Sandy Springs, 1620 AM. Chances are you won't be able to pick it up, unless you live in Sandy Springs, because they transmit on a matrix of 1-watt transmitters scattered around the town (in order to be a micropower station so they don't have to deal with the FCC). However, the station streams on the web at http://www.RadioSandySprings.com I play music and interview interesting musicians such as Randall Bramblett, Keith Barnhart (of Chaka Khan, Quincy Jones, Janet Jackson), and Heaven Davis so far. Upcoming guests will include Davy Hewitt (Peter Frampton, Humble Pie), Beau Hall, and more as I can get them lined up. Fun! The shows are being recorded for future podcasts, as we get that service organized.

The Musicians Meetup Group is doing very well - in fact, just a few members away from being among the top five such groups in the WORLD. You know I've recommended this group, mostly on optomism and faith at first, but it really has become a powerful force for good. Last night's jam at Nik's got two "industrial" musicians (heavyweight film/TV production composers/producers) together. One of the jammers was an actual bigtime Hollywood guy (former producer of Hollywood Squares, among other projects). Working pros, basement studio musicians, fun-loving amateurs, all getting together, having fun and making valuable connections. Check it out at: http://musicians.meetup.com/266

Speaking of last night's jam, it was VERY active and well-attended. I don't know what made everyone decide to come out at once, but it was great. Every Tuesday, Nik's Place is THE place.

Tonight, Wednesday, is your chance to come hear Andrew Black & The Believers (Andrew, me, Jon Schwenke, Ricky Fargo). Very nice spacious venue, nice sound (professionally run by the fabulous Tweak), excellent food & drink. We'll also be there Saturday, which will be a very busy night, so if you prefer good music in a less crowded scene you should come tonight.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I got a radio show!

Well, it's a micropower radio show, but one step at a time. Starting next Tuesday at 1PM, I'll be hosting a 1-hour show on Radio Sandy Springs, 1620 AM. If you're not lucky enough to live in fabulous Sandy Springs, you can still theoretically hear the stream with this link:

http://nick8.surfernetwo rk.com/Media/SandySprings.asx

I say theoretically because I couldn't get it to work for me. Try the link and tell me if it works. If it does, then I'm bad, I'm planetwide.

Anyway, back to the show. By coincidence, I used to do some radio work at a student FM station at Oregon Tech (and, I'm pretty sure I did it badly). No doubt my license from those days has expired, but I do still maintain an Advanced-class ham radio license. I was contacted because I supposedly know all about the northside music scene (not even close!), but in reality I'll be talking about whatever comes up - funny gig stories, artist interviews (live or by phone), recordings I've made at jams, performance reviews, topics of interest to musicians, whatever. I'll definitely have some live studio performances. I'll have my own engineer, and he seems to be a pretty good one, so I'll be free to be a wild & crazy guy!

I'll be wanting to talk to whoever might be interesting. Do you have a project you want plugged? Funny stories? Wanna play or sing? Let me know.


Radio Sandy Springs website:
http://www.radiosandysprings.com

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wilson Pickett dead at 64

Dear Friends,
Just as I was about to send this out, I got word that Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Wilson Pickett passed away. We have him to thank for great old songs like "In The Midnight Hour", "Mustang Sally", "Land Of 1000 Dances" and many more. Just consider how many calories have been burned to his music, how many dollars (or yen, or pounds) have changed hands for his undying hits - not just in record sales, but every musician who's ever been paid or tipped to play them. It's safe to say he's bought me dinner many times. No performer can take his place, but I sure wish someone would come close. He'll be missed.
News: http://tinyurl.com/92epp
Profile: http://tinyurl.com/awabc
Discography: http://tinyurl.com/dyasn
ArtistDirect: http://tinyurl.com/7fqah

The Tuesday jam nights at Nik's Place have been drawing fine talent, too much to list, on average 20 participating players per night. I highly recommend you come out for this, there's always something interesting to see & hear. The magic of music being created from scratch, on the spot, by artists who may never have met... I lack the eloquence. Ya just gotta be there. Here's a few photos: http://musicians.meetup.com/266/photos/
Come on out, and bring friends.

I continue to be impressed by the Tavern On The Bridge gig in general. Andrew Black & The Believers consist of Andrew, Jon Schwenke, Ricky Fargo and myself. The level of musicianship & harmony, the venue itself, and the pro sound management by Tweak make this gig a treat. Last night at TOTB, we were visited by singer Doug Easterly, who sat in for a couple songs and did a great job. Doug is half of the duo Cover To Cover, who I highly recommend. Barry Richman and Kelly Thomas stopped in too, always nice. But here's the discovery: Richard Porter and Ellen Hamby came by and shot video of the last set. Ellen has been taking videos of various musicians around town for quite some time, and has posted about 150 of them online on a new service I didn't know about, Video Google. This is something I've always wanted to do, to archive some of the brilliant talent we have in this area before it either gets too big for us (like John Mayer) or gets away entirely (like Tim "Kokomo" Gunther). I wish more people would do it. You can see Ellen's works here: http://tinyurl.com/9mgp3

I've been getting more calls from Heaven Davis, a great entertainer I heartily recommend. Did a fine show with her at Chip's recently. There was some early, preliminary, vague possibility of overseas gigs. I've done my homework (having seen both "European Vacation" and "Eurotrip"), and I'm ready to go. I can say "where's the bathroom?" in 5 languages. And just this evening I got word that I've also been recommended to Mitch Ryder (yes, the famous one) for a slot in his band too; there again, nothing but the vaguest preliminary possibility at this point but cool to imagine anyway. (back in my computer days, this is what we called "vaporware")

The North Atlanta Musicians Meetup group is up to 60 members now. 80 will make us one of the five largest in the world. I invite you to come by the website, check us out, and if it looks like fun join up. No dues, no hassles, nothing but fun and maybe some profitable connections. We're using the Tuesday jams at Nik's Place as our weekly meetup and jam. http://musicians.meetup.com/266

My shows for this weekend are:

Friday, Jan. 20, 10PM-2AM
The George Price Band
Nik's Place Restaurant and Bar (aka The Back Porch)
645 Whitlock Ave. (aka Hwy GA-120)
Marietta, GA 30064 770-792-6666
about 1 mile west of Marietta Square
across the street from Waffle House
Free Wi-Fi, GREAT food!
web: http://www.niksplace.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/dhdek

Sunday, Jan. 22, 7PM-??
The George Price Band OPEN JAM
Woodstock Live (formerly The Fire House)
12195 Hwy 92
Woodstock, GA 30188 770-924-5594
In the Publix Shopping Center at Hwy 92 and Trickum Rd.
web: http://www.firehouselive.com/sunday.htm
map: http://tinyurl.com/ann4f

Regular shows:

Tuesdays:
George Price Band open jam & Meetup
Nik's Place
645 Whitlock Av. (aka Hwy GA-120)
about 1 mile west of Marietta Square
Marietta GA 30064 770-792-6666
web: http://www.niksplace.com/
map: http://tinyurl.com/b3gql

Wednesdays:
Andrew Black & The Believers
Tavern On The Bridge
9775 Medlock Bridge Rd., Suite A.
Duluth, 30097 770-232-1210
Nice room, big floor & stage, pro sound, good food.
Southeast corner of State Bridge Rd. and Medlock Bridge (Hwy 141)
One door south of Stony River.
web: http://www.tavernonthebridge.com
map: http://tinyurl.com/8lp8g