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)

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
> 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


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:
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

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

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.

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:
How the !@#! do you run up $70 BILLION in debt last week alone?
Who's to blame, and what should we do?