Rob Reid Takes Philadelphia by Snowstorm


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"Here's to the robot who took my job..."

Rob Reid, that reliable rascal, was here Tuesday, & we put on a hell of a show at the Satellite Coffeehouse in West Philadelphia that night. I mean, those five people were really enjoying themselves, even the baby. (Yes, a real baby came to see us! And with all that snow on the ground! That's dedication.)

(above picture is Rob's percussion set-up seen from the stage)

"I'm glad I could be automated. I felt like a robot anyway..."

Rob brought his own kitchenware with him & a tiny guitar. And his loop pedal (the robot who helps him do his job). These pictures were taken with my cell phone camera, which is a pretty poor piece of machinery. Sadly, no pictures of us dragging equipment through the snow drifts. (A bad mistake, by the way. Rob sprang for the cab home: $4 plus tip.)

Rob & Zhenya & I went back to our place, had a couple bottles of Bell's Kalamazoo Stout (not a bad little stout), and looked at pictures of cities, especially a cd of Detroit that Rob was packing, and some Philly shots i have on my hard drive.

(above: Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia,
looking east from the top of Calvary Church at 48th & Baltimore)

The next morning i accompanied Rob to the Greyhound station via the Reading Terminal Market, where Rob purchased a banana for the bus ride. Then he was gone.

Me texting Rob the morning of the show: Very important. How do you take your coffee? Milk? Cream? Haffenhaff?

Rob texting me back: i don't drink coffee, but in social settings i like to carry an empty mug. ShareThis

The amazing Peter Mayer


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Greetings to all!

Just going to put up a quick post on this particular day. It is obviously an holiday for many, therefore this relates, sort of.

Now I don't often remember to listen to Peter Mayer (singer-songwriter from Minnesota), or at least enough. That's my first problem. However, with the snow nearly being washed away here in Chicago from the rains of the past 35 hours, I am recalling a time when I saw Peter Mayer in central Minnesota in the winter of 2002 at a lodge on the grounds of a Lutheran summer camp and retreat center, to be exact, it was the Luther Crest Retreat Center in Alexandria, Minnesota (located in an amazing region of that State of Minnesota with its clusters of beautiful lakes). The snow was falling that night when some acquaintances and I went to see him. It was another magical night. I certainly wish that the snow were falling today on this here Dec 25 2009, as it was on that night in the winter of 2002. I have failed, since, in my desire to see Peter Mayer perform again, hopefully that can change soon.

There was actually a time, in the middle part of this soon departing decade, when Peter Mayer didn't know if he would be able to play guitar anymore due to advanced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or a disorder akin to that. During that period, he would play shows with a local Minnesotan guitarist, Dan Schwartz. Dan played the guitar and Peter sang. I believe Peter even tried alternative medical therapies to address the pain in his hand, acupuncture, occupational therapy (I assume), Yoga, Pomegranate tea (just kidding!), and the like. Somehow things have improved with his hand, which I assume was his left hand judging from the strap on his left hand as can be seen on this video posted below.

This fella is great to catch if you see him with a tour date near your home or in your city. Another great memory of Peter Mayer was catching him at Marine Town Hall in a town called Marine on St. Croix along the St. Croix River, northeast of the Twin Cities area, it was late Summer 2003. That drive, also, was amazing when going to the show, the warm summer's day in eastern Minnesota that it was. I'll never forget hearing one chap say to his friend, as both were leaving the venue after the performance, "I've gotta finish that album I've been working on.". Alot of us feel that way, don't we? Especially after seeing a Master or Sensei like Peter Mayer in the flesh. That'll quickly sober up a writer's-blocked songwriter in a jiffy.

For the locals in the Chicagoland area, Peter is playing in Northbrook, Illinois (northern suburb) this upcoming January 30, 2010 (Saturday). Tickets are $25.00, the show is at The Northbrook Leisure Center. I am sad I won't make it as I'll be playing some shows with my band in Michigan that weekend. He often stops by Valparaiso, Indiana to play a few nights at Front Porch Music. In the meantime, here is a video of a song that might fit with the holiday.

Thanks for reading!

Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Adam Faucett blew out his voice one night in June 2009 and I lived to tell the story


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He lives to sing.

Perhaps every entry I develop and submit reminds me of exactly why this blog exists: to be a vehicle and a conduit for getting good music across to a more broad audience. Here, in this particular entry, I have some words to share about Adam Faucett. It was a pleasure to host him with some friends one day last June 2009, the 5th, to be exact. Some nights are so shockingly brilliant, a person has to write about them, just that they might perdure. I'm hoping to do just that with this posting. The story follows below.

To frame this properly and give some context, the audience that given night was completely different than any kind Adam had ever played to before. I suppose every night is like this. This show took place at my job, so I think all of us, musicians and audience alike, had some trepidation going into this. And, much to our delight, it worked out extraordinarily well for all involved.

If there were a snapshot of me from late this morning, I could've been seen reading a little article from Tape-Op magazine about how music and the brain interact with each other, in the process of creating music, editing new songs in one's notebook, listening, re-listening, and performing, etc. There was a brief segment of the interview/conversation that dealt with the emotions in humans. At the time of this writing, it is once again music that is the victor or hero, this evening in my life. Things aren't right at the moment and music seems to be tipping the scales so that matters can get realigned. Part of that process of calibrating the emotions, tonight, involves listening to a song, which will be depicted in the video for this blog posting, 'No More Story'. It is the right song, the right cadence, and it is the right prescription for now. So the author of the song and the performer in the video need to be discussed.

Adam is another one that, when I watch him perform live, I wish i could play and sing as well as he. The experience of listening to Adam, if one were to take a moment to step back for awhile after hearing a few songs, often situates a person into a state of being grateful to have come across such good songs in a lifetime. Once again, the story is repeated that there exists a body of song in this world, written and unwritten, that astounds and that is not heard enough of. These songs from Faucett cause a man to shake the head in disbelief. Slap the face to wake up from a dream. It is probably the voice. Its dynamism. Couple that also with the fingerpickin' on the guitar. The J-45. The patterns of arrangement, the construction of the melodies. The mood. Mix it all together and a person could come up with some of the reason why this man's music is important. But undoubtedly, Mr. Faucett can craft a song, tell a story. Just knowing Adam and encountering him, a person can tell a good story.

I cannot wait to see the trajectory of this man in the coming years because the story isn't going to conclude anytime soon. From Hotti Biscotti to where? I'm looking forward to it. He recently completed a lengthy 8-week stint (Sept into early Nov 2009) of touring with his backing band, Chad Conder on drums and Jonny D on the bass guitar. I didn't have occasion to watch their show at the Gallery Cabaret due to my line of work preventing such good fortune, but I hear the tour, in general, was a real outing that took them across the the span of the country, one coast to the next. Surely they had great nights where all parts of the band were dialed in, as it is often said. Shame I missed it. Last time I heard the band in full was at a house show in Russellville, Arkansas in Aug 2008, They blew me away then.

About this show from June 5 2009, I'll be working hard to get it posted online soon, in the mp3 format. Stay tuned to this here blog for the updates. I heard from my bandmate that Adam recalled blowing out his voice on a song that he shouted during that moment of the night when the crowd just can't let go of the magic: the encore. I believe it was a soul song, might have been funk, but Adam rendered it using the acapella method. I am embarrassed that I can't bring the name to mind. It was the kind of thing that might equate to eating a wonderful dessert item from The Bleeding Heart Bakery on Belmont at Damen, which used to be near the old Lithuanian grocer on Chicago by Damen, their desserts finish off the coffee really well, they also conclude a meal in an profound way. Adam's encore was no exception, it rounded off, nicely, the audience's collective music palette, that one special evening in Skokie. Got some photos to show, too.

There's William Blackart right behind the blurred Adam Faucett during his impromptu encore.

Adam was traveling with William Blackart that night. They both played a set and brought some good friends along, as well. The apprehension I felt about the night was because I wanted these guys to have a great show. I just didn't know if the folks at my job would be a receptive crowd. All of the feeling quickly dissipated within minutes of Adam and William arriving and meeting the folks I work closely with. As I get to realizing that the seasons just changed by calendar, we are now freshly into the vernal equinox. The snow is on the ground and more is falling right now as I edit. I was waiting for the change of seasons, for the snow, and now it is here. It is also about due time that I see Adam perform again. This season of not having seen Adam Faucett and his band perform in a while has now passed. I better go reference his tour dates. I will be waiting for the next time Adam rolls on into town with Chad and Jonny D.

Everyone, please enjoy! Thank you for reading.

Mr. Whiskers

oh,'s a photo from said house show in Russellville, Arkansas August 2008

p.s. A special 'Thank You' to Daniel Makos, from Warsaw, Poland, for the permission to use his photos from the show in June 2009.

Adam Faucett - (1 Track) - you'll do it too - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett- 2 Track - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - 3 Track - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - (4 Track) - poor directions in rabbits blood - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - 5 Track - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - (6 Track)- interlude about Caroline - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - 7 Track - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - (8 Track) - no more story - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - (9 Track) - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett -(10 Track)- california - 5 June 2009.mp3
Adam Faucett - (11 Track) - 5 June 2009 live.mp3 ShareThis

song for the day



everyone should know eric nassau. his songs are well written, and engaging. his personality is warm. he gives giant hugs, and his smile will stick with you for years. sometimes, when the day is rough, i think of this song, and i cant help but smile.

Jeremiah Weed ShareThis



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Hello to all & any reading this post.

Since i am a stranger in the world of Blogger, i have accidentally created another blog for myself, too: A Dull Thud. Even stranger there.

I am your correspondent (your stringer, if you will) in Philadelphia. I will try to post relevant postings about musical & other cultural goings-on in these parts.

Of note to regular readers of Derelict Songs might be that the illustrious Rob Reid will be breezing through town on the 22nd of December. He & i will be playing that night at The Satellite Coffeehouse, at 50th & Baltimore, in West Philadelphia. This is a familiar venue to two of the contributors to this blog, Chris having played there & Mr Whiskers having enjoyed some sort of sandwich there. (i think it was something with pesto.) At any rate, i look forward to hosting Rob & showing him around the pesto. Rob, if you're reading this, i look forward to showing you around the pesto.

That'll do it tonight.
-bg ShareThis

Ty Maxon 2nd Draft



I wanted to write a review of a show I saw the other day, and I did just that. Only, when I read it back I thought to myself, "I hate it when writers do that!" It was full of fancy words, thoughts about what led up to my excursion to see the show, and in the end, I think I was trying very hard to sound like a writer. If I'm not carefull, I can easily do that again. So let me cut to the chase.

Ty Maxon is great. Go see him perform sometime. He brings Simon and Garfunkel to mind, but there's is a melancholy about it. I saw him Wednesday, 12-9-09 at Underground Lounge with Ryan Suzuka accompanying on harmonica. This is a favorite hangout of mine, and what is lacking in sound-system quality is made up for in gritty ambience. You will be hard pressed to find another bar in Wrigleyville that isn't infested with that very Wrigleyville type that Logan Square types such as myself have come to loathe. However, this little oasis, in it's stinky, underground way, somehow doesn't attract that crowd.

It isn't perhaps the best suited place for a singer-songwriter night, though I find singer-songwriters will play just about anywhere. Like I said, the sound isn't great, and it can be hard to catch what the perfomer said, let alone what he sang. Also, there was an annoying, loud clicking coming from the room with the pool table.

I know Ty has great lyrics. Though I would have liked to hear them better, his melodies enchanted me throughout his set. There were times I thought he must have been singing about something so sad. His song "Dawn is When I Go" grabbed me from the first line and didn't let go till it was over. His album Furthest From the Tree is worth owning. When it's snowing outside, this is what should be playing on your stereo.

I love Ryan Suzuka, and he is brilliant on the harmonic. In this case, though, I would have like to hear a little less of him, just enough so that Ty could have cut through a bit better. But all in all he did a terrific job, and when he played his set, with his soulful voice accompanied by his 6-string ukulele, I got to hear some of my favorites. His banter is adorable, and it's hard not to love him.

What a great night it was! Finished off by Jessica Robbins, I wish there could have been more people there to see them, but the intimacy of the evening was perhaps a contributing factor to the joyful feeling I had when I left that place. ShareThis

Some recent weather scenes in north Chicagoland



(The duck's name is Merle, named after 'The Hag'.) ShareThis

Change in Plans



This was a classic evening for Whiskers. I had a plan to catch the Rob Reid show at the bar called Weeds, he was opening for the local ukulele sensation Populele. The night was Thursday Dec 3 2009. So my traveling companion and I drove on into the city and grabbed the North Avenue bus on toward the intersection of North and Clybourn. We jumped off the bus and onward it was towards the bar. I rather enjoy taking the bus over the new North Avenue bridge spanning the Chicago River. It provides an great view of the downtown region of the city from the bus. Anyway, as the bar grew increasingly closer and closer in sight, it seemed very dark along the street. I thought this was a bit suspect. Indeed it was. A sign was posted on the door that the bar was under renovation and would re-open the next day. Needless to say, the show didn't happen, but I actually had the wrong date in mind. My fault. We laughed it off, made a call to Rob to see if the show was tonight. He confirmed that I was confused, but proceeded to give me instructions on how to have the "Greatest night ever in America, so far.": go to Little Bucharest bistro on Elston Avenue to watch Alfonso Ponticelli. Ponticelli is apparently playing every Thursday night at the restaurant from here on until further notice.

Alright, so I thought it was a bar that we were going to. Turns out I had to actually spend money at this place, which was not a problem at all, I just didn't listen well enough to Rob's description. Besides writing this little piece about Alfonso Ponticelli, I should really Yelp about the restaurant since it set me off on a good course that night. I could probably go on and on about the restaurant and the human component to the place. My advice: just go and take a date or a friend, or three, and enjoy a night with Ponticelli, on any given Thursday. A person would be hard-pressed to regret for having gone.

Plan A didn't work and I needed a miracle. Laughing it off can only work so much before the emptiness of it doesn't replace the fact that the original plan didn't pan out. Plan B worked. And I should've known better, that any time I see Ponticelli perform, the night always gets the label 'Remarkable', in the discussion afterwards. Typically I see Ponticelli at the Green Mill on Lawrence and Broadway during his usual Wednesday night residency. This given night was the exception, not only did I see him in another setting, but also his configuration was as a Trio (Jason Miller on rhythm, Alfonso on lead, and, I think, Lou Marini on upright bass...still needing to fact check this.). UPDATE: The bassist must've been Beau Sample, who is listed on the band's website: Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan. I kind of had a hunch it wasn't Louie Marini just by looking at posture and coolness factor.

(My only decent photo from the night.)

And now a clip from the night. My fellow adventurer and I tried to snap video in a less than conspicuous manner, I don't think we were successful in the least. But we did manage to create a pretty cheezy table setting so that these videos could be salvaged, well at least to my eyes (note the removal of table accouterments from seconds 2 to seconds 5 in the filming - very classy). The alternative is that I could've left the camera in my coat pocket and flipped the camera on to only capture the audio. So here is a nice glimpse into the world of Alfonso Ponticelli and his trio format while doing the weekly performances at Little Bohemia.

As with many other guitarists and musicians, Ponticelli fits into that category of folks that, once they start playing, I really realize the true effect of music on our human lives. That particular night, during the given week in which this all took place, hearing Gypsy Jazz on a Thursday was a very tangible celebration of La Dolce Vita.

As for me and my own, I have yet another place that I can take out-of-towners to for an evening in Chicago. Ponticelli at The Green Mill is always an event I keep in mind. For those needing a locale to take guests during the month of December, Ponticelli is always reliable on injecting holiday songs, for guitar, of course, into his sets. And with that statement, I have officially revealed my identity as that sucker that always ambles down the aisle of the department store where one can see a selection of New Age music, and by the press of a button, play 'O Come All Ye Faithful', with the new age acoustic guitar sound.

As I think about it, I don't believe Ponticelli's sound has made it to the department store morass. Sometimes you just have to press the Play button on Derelict Songs blog, give the music a listen, then amble your own way down Elston Avenue to Little Bucharest 3661 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL, the Thursday performances start at 9:30PM. For those of you staying at home, bring out the glassware and a bottle of your favorite vino. My traveling partner described the night as their 'Greatest night ever in America, so far.'. For anyone residing in Chicago, enjoying an evening of music as interpreted by Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan, their own next 'Greatest Night ever in America' is very much within grasp.

Thank you for reading!

Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

View #42,983 from band practice


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Just trying to put something up really quickly as I am behind on organizing a few future posts that are already in process. This is quick to do.

Thanks for reading!

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Flying, invasive, non-native Asian Carp fish coming to a Great Lake near you!!!!!


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OK. Some of the format is getting worked out here. This is obviously not a music article, but for the readers that don't pay enough attention to all things fish and wildlife, the links to the videos on this posting are worrying to watch and consider.

Big problem. Asian carp are bottom feeders, they caught the eye of some fish farmers in Mississippi and Arkansas in the 1970's...the video tells the rest. Things might get bad very soon if this pesky fish makes it somehow into the Great Lakes. This is major news in the Chi right now, so bear with me, out of town folks.

Part I

Part II

Things are getting strange right about now...

Thanks for reading and watching. I am worried.

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Chris Darby and Friends Singer-Songwriter Night at Phyllis' Musical Inn


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[Chris Darby in late July 2008, Sleeper, Missouri. Chris was recording a demo getting the best sound possible with the most clever of methods in mind.]

In recent weeks I have been watching a considerable amount of televised interviews with Charlie Rose. I work with an intern from a foreign land and I have this crazy notion that there are myriad ways in which a soul can learn and develop a facility with the English language. I often encourage my intern, their friends, and previous interns, with whom I am still in contact, to watch Charlie Rose interviews on his website: One of the interviews I caught about two weeks ago was one in which Charlie interviews Steve Jobs and Jon Lasseter, the director of the Pixar film 'Toy Story' (interview from 1996). I am interested in this Steve Jobs fella because he was ousted from Apple in the 1980's only to be brought back in the 1990's to successfully restore the company to a certain market dominance. The company was viable again, and still is, under Jobs' direction.

The Singer-Songwriter night at Phyllis' Musical Inn coming up on Wed Dec 9 2009 has a story nearing that of the Apple story. There may well be some parallels to draw upon. Chris Darby is a singer-songwriter that has been calling Chicago home for the past 7 years, with the exception of a few remarkable journeys that took him out of the city, of which one should inquire to learn more. Missouri native, the guy has pipes, and he can craft a song that will get you to stop your conversation during the first song of his set. More about his songs in coming entries.

The history of this songwriter night at Phyllis', in my mind, begins with a guy named Craig Moorefield, who is no longer physically present, but certainly is in spirit. Chris is the protagonist now and brings the story to its current sequence. Chris and his friend Rob Reid have taken the night and built upon it with some additional embellishments, much like Steve Jobs did with the Apple company. The night is switched to a Wednesday compared to former times, which was Sunday. There is a program each night with a bio section of every individual on the given night's bill. And there appears to be a core audience that is faithful to show up during each presentation. As this Derelict Songs Blog began to unfold as an rough idea, and I continued to incessantly watch Charlie Rose, I knew that an interview with Chris Darby would be in order, and very captivating. I submitted a list of questions and Chris was prompt to agree to an interview in advance of the next Chris Darby and Friends Singer-Songwriter Night at Phyllis' Musical Inn.

Steve Jobs, in that Charlie Rose interview, shared some great wisdom on the impact of working as a team, with others, when trying to achieve mutually shared goals. In like measure, Chris Darby has a few thoughts on the subject, too. The interview picks up below. I hope you enjoy!

Chris Darby
Singer Songwriter Night Host


1. You have an upcoming Singer Songwriter night on Dec 9 2009, at Phyllis’ Musical Inn. Who will you have on the bill?

The show will feature performances from Steve Leaf, Arthi Meera, Pezzettino (from Milwaukee), Emily White, and Justin Birchard, songwriter for the band ‘Facing Winter’. Everyone will perform a half hour of original music.

2. How do you choose who is best for the bill? How do you get the musicians for each bill, not speaking about phone calls or e-mails here? But how do you conclude in your mind who to ask, what informs that decision or thought process? Going after a theme for each night? Does frequency come into the process?

I give a great deal of thought to each songwriter night. With each night, I try to formulate a show that will be a good experience for both the performers, and the audience. The people I book generally have several things in common. They are hard working, they write well thought out songs, and they are interested in being involved in a musical community in Chicago. How the exact pairing comes about is sort of hard for me to define, and perhaps a bit arbitrary as well. I generally spend some time wondering how each person’s music would sound, before or after another person’s music. If I can imagine it working in my mind, I will set it up that way, and see how it goes. If I can't imagine it, I will see about another spot, or another date. Much of it also has to do with the performer's schedule. For instance, I have been asking Arthi to play one of these nights for several months now, but because of tour obligations with her band, she was unable until now. Regarding frequency, I do try to keep things mixed up, and always look for other people who might be interested in playing. I find that it's easier to keep people coming back to see the shows, if the lineup is always changing, at least a little bit.

3. How did the Singer Songwriter nights come about for you?

To me, music is as much about the sharing of oneself, as it is about the music itself. The two are intertwined to me. I have found bits and pieces of a music community in Chicago since 2002, when I began to be active in the music scene with my band. One goal of the nights was just to bring together all these seemingly separate pieces, and make them a unified whole. By working together, we as humans can create much more than if everyone works separately. I guess the main goal was to help foster a small community of musicians who were already interested in these ideas. Another way to look at it is just me doing my part to keep things happening in Chicago, musically speaking.
Around 2004, my bandmate and i decided that it might be best to play some shows at our house, and invite friends to play as well. This evolved into a truly wonderful house concert series, which became a great vessel to help support touring musicians. It was always a great night when one of these events would happen, simply for the atmosphere of musicians playing songs for the joy of playing the songs. This is the truly great thing about a house concert atmosphere. Once that concert series began to fade, I started to look for other ways, and venues where I could maintain this spirit of friendship and music.
The singer/songwriter night idea came about from a musician named Craig Moorefield, who ran a monthly night at Phyllis’ for over five years. I liked his shows, and I decided to combine that idea with the intimacy of the house shows, to further help out this great community of musicians who are all interested in working hard, and lending a helping hand when appropriate. When Craig moved to New York City, I stepped in, and asked the bar if I might take up the torch, as it were, and continue the nights.

4. What do these events accomplish for you and the musicians participating and attending?

It seems that when people have a full room of attentive people to play to, they feel a great sense of encouragement. When people play on a bill that is full of other interested, and interesting musicians, there is also a sense of encouragement. For me, these nights accomplish much, in that they bring together musicians who might not otherwise have known each other. I believe they also encourage further songwriting, and community building for those involved. I have seen this is action on a couple of occasions, when the performers decided to write an entire new set of songs for the occasion of the songwriter night. This is exactly the sort of thing I had hoped would happen when I first had thought about these nights. Its exciting to see ideas come to fruition sometimes.

5. What do the next few months hold in store for Chris Darby and the music?

I am planning a full US solo tour, beginning in early July of 2010. At this juncture, I am unsure of how long this will take, but my thought is that it will be longer than 6 months. The plan as it stands is that the tour will take place in conjunction with the release of a solo EP, which will be recorded in January.

6. Are there any goals that you are setting for yourself now to achieve by the end of 2010?

Aside from the touring bit, I hope to have some more songs written by the end of next year. If I could play a couple hundred shows by the end of 2010, I would be more than pleased.

7. What part of the creative process, in writing songs – the composing of the music and the designing of the lyrical narrative, presents itself as the biggest challenge for you at this particular time?

Songwriting in general always seems to be a difficult process for me. I will struggle with trying to write progressions, lyrics, and melodies…for months sometimes. Then it will just all click, and ill have several decent songs all at once. I don’t know that any particular field is any more difficult than the other. I do tend to take a lot of time writing and re-writing the words, because good lyrics are hard to come by.

8. Any advice that has been helpful or insightful for you, that you might offer to aspiring musicians?

Go play shows. Research places on the Internet, and go tour for a week or two at a time. Even weekends, if that’s all that you can do. The playing of shows constantly will make you a better musician and performer. This is true in my own case, and in the case of everyone else I know. It is not difficult to find places to play, if you are determined to tour. Play shows, as many as you can.

9. If you could sit down and have a cup of coffee with another musician, irrespective of time period or age, be they alive or dead, who would you be most interested in having a conversation with?

I would say William Blackart, who I consider to be the greatest living songwriter at this time.

10. Any other musicians out there right now, that are unsigned or unnoticed by the masses, that you feel deserve a second or better glance because of their great songs and/or consistently great live shows/performances?

Yes. There are too many to name in this blog post, but one songwriter who comes to mind at the moment is someone I played a show with in Oakland, California once in 2007. His name is Padraic Finbar Hagerty-Hammond. He really has a way with spinning words, and more people should definitely know his name.

Phyllis' Musical Inn
1800 West Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622
Show starts at: 9PM

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Rob Reid is a principled man


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Ever met anyone born of Polish immigrant blood and ancestry that once came to America in hopes of establishing a new life, whose ancestors supported the family by working in the copper mines of northern Michigan? Rob Reid fits that description, as such a person with such a family history. How many world travelers can you count, that you know well, on one hand? Perhaps for some of you it might number higher than 5, I can't think that mine goes any higher. Rob, however, stands out in the fore of those that I can bring to mind when considering such a question.

Rob is a founding member of the progressive enterprise better known as 'Bash', a collection of musicians, real or otherwise, that were focused enough to birth four full-length discs of instrumental music emphasizing percussion and successfully exploring the many moods that can achieved within percussion. I believe, from the stories Rob has told, that it was with the Bash project that he forever damaged his wrists because he was so inspired to play drums and percussion as well as Stewart Copeland, the remarkable drummer of The Police fame.


[Rob Reid plays the South Haven, Michigan Farmer's Market, summer outing 2008. He was a sensation that morning. The crowd loved his set of songs. Rob proceeded to play two more shows that same day, sharing the stage w/ Them Damn Kids.]

Some friends of mine and I have traveled extensively with Rob Reid, throughout the Midwestern United States, playing shows to throngs of espresso machines. It is always a pleasure to travel with this fella. Refers to himself and others as rascals. Ever the student, ever the professor. This rascal can make a broken trip all better. He can turn a bad show going nowhere into a good show with everyone laughing and enjoying life and going somewhere different and better than nowhere.

I have to credit Rob for furthering my interest in jazz guitar. I won't pretend to be anything near Joe Pass, but the sounds of jazz chords and composition really hold my attention these days. It all started with my dad making sure that Grant Green was heard on our new compact disc player back in the late 80's. Rob probably took that early learning, coupled with some VHS video instruction from Brian Setzer, when he played his songs composed with a jazz sensibility, and it quite made me see there is more to the world of guitar than that found in the song Leper Messiah from the remarkable 'Master of Puppets' album. I still love Leper Messiah, but I also indulge in many styles of music, as I hope all of us do.


[Here's Rob on the Summer 2008 outing w/ Them Damn Kids, somewhere in Indiana, south of HWY 30.]

Alot of this music dabbling, for me, is quite a bit personality as well as music. Rob is no exception, and that is all the more reason to not only czech out his upcoming shows, but also his catalog of song. Rob is, indeed, sitting on a newly-pressed album, he just received copies only days ago in the mail. His official record-release shows begin with the first at Weeds by the North and Clybourn Red Line stop in the city of Chicago, IL. It seems to come to mind that he is opening up the night, only to be followed up by another record-releaser, Populele. Stuff is contagious, this record-release biz.

If you need another reason to go see the show, at least consider what it would be to ride home from playing in Fargo, ND southbound on Interstate 94 with two other rascals onward to Chicago, IL, only beginning the trek at about 2AM. Imagine passing east of St. Paul, MN around 5AM listening to Rob Reid scream aloud as he is behind the wheel of the Buick LeSabre in hopes that it would keep the two individuals in the front seat awake. The goal was to just get home to Chicago, after playing the last show of the summer tour: we all just wanted our space and our own beds. It appeared that the auto was moving along rather calmly, then out of nowhere, no warning, no alarm, there it is: Rob Reid screaming behind the wheel just to stay awake. It was certainly a strategy. I think it worked. We didn't crash, we all began to laugh, actually. Driving through Wisconsin was rough that overnight, and not because of the state, it was because of the state of mental and physical health: both were faring poorly as all three in the car were attempting cat naps only to prepare for the next leg of driving, which was the year of the 1-hour driving-shifts experiment. I remember pulling over at some gas station near that Army base in mid-state Wisconsin and purchasing an energy drink called 'Hair of the Dog'. I was worried about what I was drinking, the flavour was foul. I remember the sun on that morning as we pulled over into the Rest Area just north of Madison. The heat began to make its presence known again, as it was summer.

Rob is a storyteller, you see. The man loves the railroads. He loves the empty shell of an abandoned building, he loves taconite. He loves Mexican food from the south side of Milwaukee, WI. He is probably from another time. Better catch him before he has to go back to that other time period, and one can be assured that he will take his collection of terrific fedoras with him. Where can you see him next? Note the following:

Saturday, December 5
1555 N. Dayton
(312) 943-7815
starts at approx. 9:30 PM
(opening for Populele)

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Tuesday December 29, 2009
Uncommon Ground
3800 North Clark Street
8:00 pm
(sharing a bill with Them Damn Kids)
[note: this business encourages all in attendance to support by getting a beer or food. a tip jar gets passed around for each band, as well. Be forewarned!]

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Rob's website is:

[additional note: I am still figuring out how to add mp3's to this blog. I'll get it 'fore too long. In the meantime, visit the websites of the bands listed.]

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Holiday Tip: Beware the Mulled Wine



Holiday Tip: Beware the Mulled Wine: "The classic Scandinavian Christmas drink is warm and spicy, but be careful--it's very, very strong...." ShareThis

A First for the New Month!!!


Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages, it snowed for the first time yesterday in north Chicagoland! I made an attempt to document the activity, in particular, because the snow coming down with the backdrop of a near full moon made for a perfect tonic. I immediately jumped on the Edens Expressway, after taking this brief video, traveling toward the city of Chicago and soon realized that the snow in the north was clearly what is most often termed as 'Lake Effect Snow'. As my traveling companion and I inched our way into the city, less snow was falling. Upon reaching my apartment, I asked my roommate about the winter weather up near Door County in northern Wisconsin, they are a native of the region, and they indicated that the peninsula receives a considerable amount more by virtue of being surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan. The wind, the cold air, and the water come together to put on one of the greatest shows on Earth during these winter months. It occurred to me, that this is one more reason why I have enjoyed the change of seasons from autumn to winter here in the Upper Midwest. Last winter, I should've counted the number of days that I noticed flurries that fell throughout the length of the season. There was not any accumulation to mention last night, but it was a perfect point of entry for this particular and favorite kind of weather activity for the season. Enjoy the video!

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Changing One's Name


I have been dying to publish this video, or at least provide the link. I suppose some reasoning may provide a bit of back story. In the late 80's a relative had lived in Miami, Florida for a year or two. I had gone down there to visit, at least once, with parts of my family, it was very excellent to go and explore. This took place at a time when I was a rabid Miami Vice fan. Along came Michael Mann with his television show and the movie 'Band of the Hand', and for the young impressionable chap that I was back then, I was hooked. Bob Dylan had a song on the soundtrack for the movie, a song I will remember for as long as I live, 'It's Hell Time Man'. (Now I am thinking about Hibbing, MN. I have to remain focused.). For today, I'll stick to the southern part of the United States as regards geographical and musicial focus. No matter, the song often starts playing in my head, at times when least expected, and it is always a pleasing noise in my brain. It's a good one, hope y'all enjoy.

Ridiculous factoid: Izzy, the two-bit informant on the show 'Miami Vice', apparently was also one of the actors(Martin Ferrero) in 'Jurassic Park' (a movie I have yet to see). There was a program on the Weather Channel recently about how the filming of Jurassic Park was disrupted in Hawaii because of a substantial hurricane that caused a good deal of damage to the area where filming was taking place. The guy who had played Izzy, actor Martin Ferrero, said he and his wife were worried about their son, at the time of the hurricane, because the son has Autism and suffers from a seizure disorder, it was feared that the son's disorder might get triggered by the hurricane. No problems occurred amazingly enough, they were glad to report.

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis