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 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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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:

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

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.