There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

18 July 2017

A Night in the Village


The night before, Trevor Hall had a show at Red Rocks with Michael Franti and Spearhead to 10,000 joyous fans. To come from that experience to a solo acoustic show with a crowd of maybe 200 people total was quite a shift for a musician.

Yet it was the opening night of Trevor's "A Night in the Village" where he was playing songs he wrote from his experiences in India, and telling the stories behind his lyrics and some of his life changing events that happened while over there.
It was an intimate show that I can not yet fully express, as I'm still wrapping my head around it.

I will say though that my own experiences in Kenya came back like a flood.

But I need to get something out there, so here it is, my memories of unity during a night in the Village with Trevor Hall at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, Colorado.


Trevor tells the story of his first trip to India, and how he travelled far up into the mountains to a sacred and beautiful temple. Just outside the temple was a lone beggar. He had learned in the cities not to give to beggars as it creates a mob that one becomes surrounded by, but out here the man was by himself. Trevor wanted to feel good, do good, and so he went up to the man and offered him a banana that he had.

But that man only held out his hands in the air, but wouldn't take the banana. Trevor didn't understand, he was trying to help, why was this beggar refusing his gift?

The wise men that were with him saw what was happening, and came up to Trevor and whispered in his ear....

"he's blind"

04 July 2017

Bluegrass Underground

The bands had finished their warm ups, and it was time to let us in to the stage area to get our seats. It was first come, first serve, and I was nervous about getting a rotten seat as there was quite a few people ahead of me in line. I thought about sitting on the rocks that were stage right, but then thought better of it and made my way down to the front...
One of many luxuries of solo traveling is you only need one seat for concerts. People have a natural tendency to give others space and not crowd perceived personal areas. This works to my advantage as two front row couples have left a single chair open between them, front row and center.

I excitedly grab it and get to know my neighbors before the show begins. The couple to my right drove down from Michigan. It was a birthday gift from the girlfriend.

The older couple on my left are from the South. She immediately questions me, wondering if I'm a "northerner?". We don't talk much after that comment.

Soon the lights go down in the cave, and Bluegrass Underground is about to begin. First up is Haas Kowert Tice
335 feet below the surface of the earth, the fiddles and banjos fly, the familiar plucking of strings and down home lyrics fill the cavern. Next up is Town Mountain, and they figuratively bring the house to it's knees, especially with their classic rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on fire".
Without a doubt, if you love bluegrass music, seeing it a cave in the South is a must.

30 June 2017

Paul Simon

Driving through the wild Wyoming Mountains with a young hippie girl as "50 ways to leave your lover" plays on the tape that she made for me. I can't believe that she loves me.

I slam the door. "Go ahead and kill yourself" goes through my head. The radio plays "Sounds of Silence".

We get done making love in the warm afternoon sunlight. "Cecilia" plays softly in the background.
The flood gate of memories is opened as Paul Simon is playing in Bend, Oregon.

20 June 2017

more Seu Jorge please

Walking down 7th avenue, a light rain starts to fall. As I'm waiting for the light to turn green, a chap next to me says, 

"Seu Jorge?"

I turn and smile and acknowledge that I am indeed going to the show.

"Your red beanie gave you away my friend."
I'm not one to usually dress up in costume when going to concerts, but after having seen Seu Jorge last year in Denver, I knew that Team Zissou would be worn this time around.

I continue down the streets of Minneapolis until the Pantages Theater is seen, the bright lights of the marquee shining like a lighthouse in a storm.
 Like most theaters in the midwest, the Pantages is ornately gorgeous inside. I marvel at the intricate artwork until the lights go down.

Seu tells the story of how his own Father passed away three days after David Bowie died. During this time his ex-wife pushes him toward a tour of the songs he so memorably brought to life in the movie The Life Aquatic.
Which is how our lives became intertwined over these last few months. I find no coincidence that I hear this story the night before Father's Day, and it seems to add something special as I let my own Dad know how much I love and miss him.

Which is what the movie was really all about.

I hum and whistle the songs in the Minnesota night as I walk back home in the rain, a smile repeatedly finds it's way onto my aged face.

17 June 2017

Us + Them


The year I got my drivers license, my first car ( a yellow Ford Pinto), and the freedom to drive to my hometown's local music store.

I bought Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" on tape. Back then it was touted as one of the top selling albums of that year, even though it was originally released in 1973.

I popped in into the sound system I'd just installed into my shitty little car, and what I heard blew me away, leaving an ever lasting impression on my world view.

June 14th, 2017.
Roger Waters, one of the founding members of the band, is still touring. This time around is the "Us + Them" tour, honoring music from this timeless classic album, as well as new material he has released.

I'm no fan of Trump, but Roger's anti-Trump sentiment in his new songs was a bit too much, even for me. When he stuck with his classic songs though, his concert was a huge success.

05 June 2017


I settle into my seat at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park just as the opening act walks onto the stage. I overhear the girls behind me remark "is that Karen Elson, Jack White's ex?"
What I saw was a beautiful red head, not someone's ex-wife, nor a former British supermodel. What I heard were heartbreaking lyrics, a tortured soul singing about her pain, and the magic that comes from baring your soul.
Goosebumps start as Ryan Adams comes onto the stage. This will have been my third time seeing him perform live, but after the first song I could tell that for me, he has never sounded better vocally, and the band was in tight form.
Perhaps it was because he was playing in his hometown, or perhaps it was just that he is in a good place in life, but no matter the reason, his Prisoner tour to showcase his newest album is a tour de force.
The night compromised of a 23 song set list that had such classic songs as Magnolia Mountain, Gimme something good, and Firecracker, as well as a new version of When the Stars Go Blue, plenty of tracks from the new album, and a final acoustic performance of Come Pick Me Up sung as a duet with Kate Elson.
If you have the chance, get out to see Ryan Adams this summer, as you won't regret it.

02 June 2017

Printers Alley

Back in the early days of Nashville, the printing and publishing industry was thriving in the downtown area. Between 3rd and 4th avenues and stretching from Union to Church streets, Printers Alley was born.
Today the work of this industry is only a remembrance in the signs and victorian architecture that still remain. It still has that Bourbon street feel though as you walk along the bars and restaurants. 
I find open art galleries and street singers during my wandering that delight my fancy in the cool Spring of the evening. Hearty beers and crazy women celebrating upcoming wedding nuptials seem to be on Nashville's menu tonight.

I disappear into an old bank building, find a bar stocked with library shelves of old books stacked from floor to ceiling.

I order a moscow mule, then another, finally melting away to the sounds of country music.

25 May 2017

Oils! Oils! Oils!

I'm the son of an immigrant. My mother came to this country from Australia when she was eighteen years old with the same hopes and dreams as most immigrants...the search for a better life.

I've never been to her home country, but I've always recognized that in me are Aussie roots. One way I've connected to my ancestry is through the music of Midnight Oil.
A band that is pro human rights, staunch environmentalists, equality for women, and currently anti-Trump. They took a fifteen year hiatus while the lead singer, Peter Garrett, pursued a career in politics in Australia so that he could make a positive difference in his country from his strong beliefs.

But now the band is back on a world wide tour, and damn if I wasn't lucky enough to see them at the historic Webster Hall in New York City.
The power inside this arena seemed to come from the electricity in the air. Everything was super charged with excitement, all anxiously awaiting to see if the band was the same after such a long absence.
As soon as they took the stage, any naysayers were silenced, as the Oils lit up the hall, rocking and sounding better than ever.

The chants of  "Oils!Oils!Oils!" reverberated in my ears long after the show ended. Peter's swaying body, flailing arms and piercing voice echoes in my head to this day.
It was epic.

04 May 2017

A rainy time at Kanab's balloons & tunes festival

When I first read about little old Kanab having an annual "Balloons & Tunes Festival", I couldn't believe I'd never heard of it before. I mean, I lived in Utah for some 40 plus years.

Yet it took me moving to Arizona to find a weekend of adventure up in Kanab.
The dark clouds looked threatening as I pulled into town mid-morning on a Saturday. I find the blocked off Main Street where booths were set up and the Battle of the Bands was to take place. I enjoy the small town feel of the locals as I admire their wares and tasty foods.

The hot air balloons were cancelled today due to the inclement weather, and the next day wasn't looking any better. I was bummed for sure, but I've learned by now that you can't ever let weather ruin your plans.

Dance in the rain, as they say.
Instead I stay warm under the tent canopy as local bands from all over the West play in the Battle of the Bands contest. I hear all styles of music, and thoroughly enjoy the scene. As evening time rolls around, a break in the rain does allow for a brief showing of the hot air balloon baskets to light up the night sky.
Later, the crowd that has stayed to endure the cold night are rewarded with a lantern glow. As we all make our wishes, I hear many that hope for good weather tomorrow. I feel sad as I know that wish will not come true. I light my lantern and wish for something bigger, much bolder and more universal.
 I watch my wish lantern slowly take flight as it rises with hundreds of others up into the night sky, becoming one with the stars above.

12 April 2017

Sigur Ros

I had never even heard of the band Sigur Ros before, but I know my instincts well enough by now to listen when I hear the words....
I find myself at the top of Berkeley's Greek Theatre, listening to lyrics in Icelandic, having no idea what they mean, but feeling the power of this group's music come through loud and clear.

They were phenomenal!
I can't recommend them enough, and if you have the chance, go see them live. It won't matter that you can't understand what they are singing about, the lead singer's falsetto voice, the light show, the ethereal and hypnotic feeling of the music, and the playing of guitar's with a bow string will be more than enough for you to fall in love with Sigur Ros.

31 March 2017

The Game of Thrones Live! concert experience

I was magnetically drawn to the show like a horse with a carrot dangling in front of it's mouth. The Game of Thrones Live! concert experience at the Talking Stick Arena in downtown Phoenix.
It may have just been a 2 1/2 hour promotion for the new season that starts this summer, but if you are a fan of the series, and love Ramin Djawadi's musical score, this is the show for you.
From reliving the past six seasons on the jumbo tron, to hearing the music live with an orchestra and Ramin conducting, to the costume and set pieces, it was everything I hoped for and more.

So which House are you in?

28 March 2017

Ventura Pier

The gringo shuffles his boots slowly along the boardwalk, waiting for the sun to rise. The ocean waves of Ventura are his ever constant companion.
He finds a quiet spot underneath the pier to sit and listen to the music the waves make as they cascade across the smooth stones on the beach.

He remembers hearing this music before, in Lima, in another life time.
The sadness seems to play a little more loudly this day, and he wonders if his time has come.

Not a bad way to go, the gringo ponders as his toes get soaked in the rising tide. He takes a step closer before seeing a squirrel on a rock watching him.

The squirrel speaks to him, "Today is not your day for banana fish".
He supposes not, and heeds the wise words of the squirrel and continues to listen to the ocean's music before carrying on through another day.

22 March 2017

of Mermaids, Jugglers, Living Fountains and Bagpipers

Over the past few weeks I've encountered many a strange and wondrous creature at the Renaissance Festival.

I fell in love with a silent yet enchanting Living Fountain, who swayed her hips and pulled at my heart.
A raucous and rowdy clan of bagpipers filled the air with the beautiful St. Patty's day sounds of Celtic songs, and we danced and cheered loudly, spilling our ales and laughing in triumphant jubilation.
I stood with a fairy whilst watching a mermaid blow underwater kisses to me as her tail moved elegantly through the water.

Her eyes gleamed with fantasy and wonder.
Crazy acrobats stunned the crowd with gravity defying feats and harrowing catching of moving swords. Kings and Queens sauntered the grounds, musicians played sweet sounds for little children under the watchful gaze of wise wizards.
All of this and more over my last few weeks being back in the time of the Renaissance.

07 March 2017

Get the Led out with the sexy Phoenix Symphony

I can still hear the infamous opening riff of "Black Dog" from the album Led Zeppelin IV. The tape played non stop in my basement bedroom as a young kid.

Some thirty odd years later, the music sounds the same, only the faces have changed.
 The Phoenix Symphony put on an amazing showcase of Led Zeppelin songs over the weekend, and Robert Plant look alike, New Orleans native Randy Jackson, brought the voice (and the hair).

The super sexy Isabella Rezy, from El Paso, flew in to lend her talents on electric violin. Conductor Brent Havens had his orchestra in fine form for one of the greatest nights of music I've experienced.
I think that when you let musicians have the freedom to play material out of their normal genre like this, something magical is unleashed in both the performers and the audience.

Like when they let the drummer go wild on the rock drum solo classic, Moby Dick.
Enjoy the music of Led Zeppelin.

28 February 2017

All Hail! The Arizona Renaissance Festival

For the past twelve years (give or take a year or two), I've been driving past the "Renaissance Festival" sign at the base of the Superstition mountains in the east end of the valley. I would look out into the vast desert and wonder what truly happens here for six weeks.

This past weekend, I finally made it myself, and it was, in one word, glorious.
As soon as I entered the gates, I felt transported back in time to the Renaissance era of yesteryear. Busty corseted women and lanky knights sauntered past me, wizards and pirates strolled across the courtyard, executioners donning black capes and elf children scampered through the trees.
I'm pulled into a comedy show of irreverent nuns, a man with a mean fiery whip, three guys and some drums, belly dancers, fire eaters, and a spectacular carnevale.

This was only the tip of the iceberg though. You can try you hand wielding an axe as you attempt to throw it at a target, practice your archery skills, or perhaps show your strength as you lift the mighty mallet to impress your lady.

I go grab a leg of tasty meat with a dark pint of ale, sit back and enjoy.
So much to see and do, I'm thrilled that I decided to get a season pass so I can return for more adventures all throughout March, as there is still so much awesomeness to be found.

Be prepared, as there will be more to come over the next few weeks, but until then you wenchs, spires, kings and wizards....

16 February 2017

The Pickin' in the Pines Festival 2016

For three glorious days up in the cool pines of Flagstaff, Arizona, you can hear some of the greatest bluegrass music our country has to offer at the Pickin' in the Pines festival.

Held in September each year, last years festival was my first time attending. From camping with a village full of bluegrass lovers to the bands playing at the Pepsi amphitheater to the workshops and classes being offered, it is a full bluegrass experience.
I'm salivating just thinking about it, and hope to return each and every year. Until September rolls around again though, I'll settle for this reminder of the great music to be found,

Enjoy the steeldrivers, just one of many great acts to be found last year. Long live Bluegrass!

09 February 2017

Pickin' in the Pines - the camping experience

Just outside the town of Flagstaff, Arizona, there is a little festival that happens each year in September.

People from all over come to camp for three nights, playing their banjos and other stringed instruments in what is affectionately called the Pickin' in the Pines festival.

Last year was my first time attending, and I went all out with a three day pass that included camping just outside the arena.
After making quick work of setting up my campsite, it was time to just relax under the tall pines, sip whiskey, and listen to the music and good times all around.

Many of the bluegrass acts playing in the festival were also camping in the same area as the attendees, which meant you could hear great bluegrass music all the time!

Hiking trails galore start from the campgrounds as well if you need to get away from it all for a bit.
It was here that I heard some great local music, new bluegrass bands from other parts of the West including Durango, Taos, and Moab.

I hope to make this a yearly event for me, but we will just have to wait and see. Until then, I'll strap on my cowboy hat, let my hippy flags fly in the breeze, and enjoy the sweet sounds of Bluegrass Americana.

05 February 2017

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

When the sixteen year old guitar prodigy first came onto the airwaves, I was in my late twenties. I think it was actually an old girlfriend that introduced me to his music.
Down home Louisiana Blues with smokin' guitar riffs had me hooked. For the next twenty two years, I've listened and hoped for the chance to see him live.

With a stroke of luck on getting a ticket, that finally happened last night at the Talking Stick Showroom in Scottsdale.
The band came out on fire, playing some great covers, including a version of the Sex Pistols "God save the Queen", which I still can't believe happened.
They then slowed things down with a couple of love songs, then went into some BB King classics, then returned to some more KWS classics.

The night ended with Kenny Wayne Shepherd playing his version of the Great Jimi Hendrix classic, Voodoo Child.