Happy Island Times

My friends can’t believe it when I tell them I’m headed to the French West Indies next month for a two-week stay…well…a gig, really but I think it’s probably gonna be hard to call it work when I’m playing music with a great band and living on a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean, right? Right. So, yeah, I can’t believe it myself but there it is and in a few short weeks, I’ll board a plane headed for beautiful St. Bart’s, where I’ll be backing up a badass youngster whom I’ve known for a little while now, Jonah Smith.

He can sing. He can write and he can damn sure play. Dig it,

Should any of you fine folks happen to be in the neighborhood while we’re there, come to the Baz Bar and say hi! Meanwhile, I’ve got sunshine on my mind…

Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy…courtesy of St. Barths Online

Later.

San Fran, Is Too Cool

Four nights at the Great American Music Hall in SF this past weekend…what a great time we had. The crowds for the CRB were not only cool but very respectful of us. Not a single person got rude with their cell phone nor did anyone have to be thrown outta there for bad behavior, and over the course of that many shows, it’s worth it to make note of that. The music, the energy, people dancing, the gorgeous venue & sound was just wonderful and we soaked it all up. I am quite literally exhausted.

So, here’s to all the beautiful folks who came to see us…thank you!

All that remains...courtesy of Neal Casal.
All that remains…courtesy of Neal Casal.

Off to San Diego for a two-night run at the Belly-Up Tavern.

It’s Gonna Be A Good Christmas

This Christmas, my lovely gal and I will be traveling to Memphis together for the first time and I am delighted beyond measure. She’ll get to meet my folks, hang with some of my dearest friends, see where I grew up and get a rare opportunity to see me preform with my long-time friends and musical comrades, The City Champs. The trio hasn’t done a show together for more than a year and the three of us are definitely looking forward to dusting off those cobwebs. It’ll be a gas.

Memphis organ trio, The City Champs. L to R: myself, Joe Restivo & Al Gamble, circa 2010, courtesy of Christopher Parks.
Memphis soul jazz organ trio, The City Champs. L to R: myself, Joe Restivo & Al Gamble (taken several years ago), courtesy of Christopher Parks.

Can’t wait to play with these cats!

Get Set…

Hittin’ the road again next week and I’m super pumped for this next run. Having had some time-off to be at home, relax, practice and be with my gal has definitely done my soul much good, preparing me for the work ahead.

In the rain, up in Arcata, CA 2012...courtesy of Neal Casal.
In the rain, up in Arcata, CA 2012…courtesy of Neal Casal.

New CRB shows posted, here…

CRB Tour Dates

The CRB, clockwise from left: Adam MacDougall, yours truly, CR, Muddy & Neal Casal...courtesy of Matt Mendenhall.
The CRB, clockwise from left: Adam MacDougall, yours truly, CR, Muddy & Neal Casal…courtesy of Matt Mendenhall.

Stoked & ready.

Cleveland, Tonight!

So psyched to be rockin’ once again in Cleveland, Ohio. The CRB will hit the historic Beachland Ballroom stage tonight at 8PM, so c’mon if you’re comin’!

Myself, Muddy, CR, MacDougall & Casal...AKA, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, outside our rehearsal space in Los Angeles...courtesy of Matt Mendenhall, 2014.
Myself, Muddy, CR, MacDougall & Casal…AKA, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, outside our rehearsal space in Los Angeles…courtesy of Matt Mendenhall, 2014.

Solid.

 

LA, Memphis & El Paso

Just got home to Los Angeles after having been gone for a week and even though it’s good to be back, I’m already missing my friends, family and all the crazy food we ate. My Candida Diet suffered a little bit while I was gone and I’m trying really hard to get back on track but it’s tough. One or two mistakes here and there is okay but it’s a slippery slope, (as my girl put it) especially when all I can think about are those delicious tacos we were eating in El Paso, Texas last week. Man, they were so good. Of course, there’s a taco truck just around the corner from my house here and I’ve been really tempted to go but I have to wait a couple more weeks in order to make sure enough Candida have been killed off. So, it’s quinoa salad for a few more days. What a frickin drag! Not really, though. Quinoa is pretty good, although not the same as a bean burrito!

Anyhow, it was a fun trip.

About a month ago, I received a phone call from my old friend Terry Manning, asking if I’d like to play a gig with him down in El Paso and that the band was gonna be comprised of several of my longtime comrades who would all be rehearsing together in Memphis for several days beforehand and then flying over to El Paso. Man, that sounds great, I said! He wasn’t aware that I’d moved out west nearly three years ago but was more than happy to get me back there for this gig. I was jazzed. Terry is a great guy and if you’re not aware of him, his credits are way too crazy to go into, so check out the link I’ve attached to his name and you’ll get the picture. A total badass who’s produced and/or engineered some of the biggest selling albums of all-time and he has, as they say, Been there, Done that with just about everybody who’s anybody in the music biz. A very intense, talented and seemingly ageless man – who enjoys referring to me as, “The Polish Miracle” (my favorite nickname ever!) – Terry Manning gets the job done at whatever the cost. He takes his job very seriously and having worked with him in the past, I knew this would be a lot of fun.

So, plans were set, flights were booked and a few weeks later I was back in Memphis…and for the second time this year. What joy to be home again and as expected (Memphis is never disappointing) it was as much fun as it’s ever been.  I got to see my mom & my wonderful sister Dawne, play lots of music, hang with some close friends, relax in a luxury condo and eat a little bit of BBQ. Not too shabby for only four days and before I knew it, I was back on a plane headed for Texas.

Me & Mom, just after a delicious catfish dinner.
Me & Mom, just after a delicious catfish dinner.

Originally from Oklahoma, the Manning’s lived in El Paso for a short time where Terry attended high school, just a few years before they all made the move up to Memphis. He’s still pretty well-known among the locals, as everyone seemed to know him and were well-aware of his accomplishments. It was great to meet so many of his childhood friends. His high school band, The Wild Ones, were a very poplar group in the early 60’s.

Anyhow, the gig was called the Border Legends Concert and featured many name acts from west Texas and the surrounding area. Various members of the Bobby Fuller Four, the great guitarist Rod Crosby and even the one and only Peggy Sue Gerron. Our group performed for nearly an hour and in all honesty, it sounded like we’d been together for years. My good friends Marc Franklin, John Whittemore & Jim Spake, all kicked major butt and my newest friends, Leo Valvassori, Christine Ganglehoff and Jen Harrison were amazing players and a wonderful bonus. Terry was absolutely amazing and of course in typical Manning-fashion…an eight piece band wasn’t gonna be enough and he had to take it one step further with the addition of two go-go dancers at either ends of the stage. Dancing nearly the entire time we were playing. Ten people all rocking out together…it was really fun!

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Me & Terry
This was a rockin' crew of folks! L-R: Avery Segapeli, Christine Gangelhoff, Terry Manning, Leo Valvassori, Marc Franklin, John Whittemore, George Sluppick, Jen Harrison, Jim Spake, Nabil Gonzales
This was a rockin’ crew of folks! L-R: Avery Segapeli, Christine Gangelhoff, Terry Manning, Leo Valvassori, Marc Franklin, John Whittemore, George Sluppick, Jen Harrison, Jim Spake, Nabil Gonzales

Thanks Terry and I can’t wait till the next round!