aka jetison

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stephen Bruton

"The Soul of Texas Music"

We're losing too many wonderful artists and performers lately, I had not intended this blog to be an obituary but I have to say a few words about Stephen Bruton. I've been following him since his early days as part of Kris Kristofferson's original band. He is the high harmony and lead guitar you hear on those performances. He also played on the Bob Dylan Pat Garrett session and had a part in the movie Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid with Dylan and Kris. In later years he went on to play with Bonnie Raitt and others as well as producing and playing with Alejandro Escovedo and putting out some solo work as well.

He was the musician's musician and lent his art, authenticity, and feeling to many projects along the way. Some of his last projects will be heard soon. He appears fittingly with Kris Kristofferson on Kris' new CD Closer To The Bone, and in the soundtrack to Crazy Heart that he was working on with T Bone Burnett when he died. T.Bone Burnett called him "The Soul of Texas music".

Below are some links to samples of his work.

Below are some links to samples of his work and an interview segment.

With Kristofferson at: Austin City Limits

Song Preview:Getting Over You

Song Preview :Waiting for a LongTime

Live Performance !:Nothing But The Truth



Monday, August 17, 2009


Another era passes with John Dawson founding member of The New Riders of the Purple Sage.

Jim Dickinson 1941-2009

Musician, Producer, and Recording Artist, and owner of The Zebra Ranch Jim Dickinson has remained largely unknown to most outside the music business, however has been deeply entrenched since the early days of Rock and Roll at Sam Phillips' Sun Records Where he cut Cadillac Man in 1966. He played piano on The Rolling Stones Wild Horses, and played on Bob Dylan's Grammy winner Time Out Of Mind sessions ! He was also in the House Band at Atlantic Records and backed Aretha Franklin and Sam and Dave.

It doesn't get much better than that !

...in progress

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Les Paul Lives On...

I am thankful for an opportunity I had to spend an evening with Les Paul at his Monday night gig at the Iridium in New York City about 7 years ago. I knew at the time I was experiencing a legendary moment and it occupies a special place in my musical memory bank today. He was sharp as a tack, laughed and joked with the audience, played with guest musicians, and generally held court creating a comfortable space to be completely enthralled with the man and his music. And man - did he play !

We love you even more - Les !

Full Stop

This photo about says it all for me as I once again put on the brakes, rest / recover, and move toward new goals. In contrast to one of the posts that began this blog a few years ago which described a person quite broken, this post reflects, in similar circumstance, an extremely worn and tired individual but with a recognizable inner strength and vision just waiting to be released. This event then, must be noted with a current post to mark the moment.

I unexpectedly realized yesterday that the past 3 years have been very productive though perhaps in unexpected ways. I have developed new artistic skills and self awareness, explored new musical paths, made an invaluable new group of friends, grown even closer to my wife, and together we have begun to form a vision of our future. But, in further reflection, these may not have been the biggest gains made during this period.

If I were to label the last 3 years I would perhaps call it 'The Constant Commute' as my main impression is being on 495 driving to or from my job, punctuated with brief moments of eat, sleep, and work, and fueled by music and caffeine. Yet somehow as the odometer measured my linear progress, I was imperceptibly accumulating the intuitive implements needed to blaze a new trail. This period should more realistically be labeled 'Milestone'.

These implements came in the form of acceptance and positive feedback from family and a continually growing group of friends and coworkers who repeatedly and graciously chose to listen, share, commiserate and celebrate feelings of mutual interest. And while these brief encounters provided the balm which made the daily routine less painful, the full weight was not to be realized until the camouflage of employment and blacktop was removed. In this new light these gems transfer their true luminance and register value far beyond their physical worth !

This post then, becomes an homage to all those who helped get me here, I hope I've made it clear along the way who you are and offered some repayment in kind.

So here I am, bouyed by their spirit at yet another beginning, wrapped in expectations, uncertainties and a rough hewn plan.

Until the aforementioned blazing begins, however, I need to smolder a bit.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Almost Heaven...

Part I

With no disrespect to residents of West Virginia, John Denver may have gotten it wrong. It was about 1am on Wed[/Thur], about half way through James McMurtry's set [the third act of the night that I reached nirvana - that I fully realized where I was and why. It could have been partly the lack of sleep or partial dehydration, but it was definitely the searing electric guitar going over, under, around and through every level of intensity in that small room and hitting every nerve.

I was in Austin, the Continental Club, doing simply what one was meant to do - slip over the edge of consciousness into a meditation, where the laws of physics no longer apply. And if some higher power should decide at that moment that my time here has concluded, rest assured a sweet ride is awaiting outside to provide the ultimate transportation !

Saturday -

We arrived in Austin for the second time in consecutive years, and basically picked up right where we left off. With the exception of a monolithic condo complex that had stolen the parking lot of our favorite morning launch pad - austin java, things looked pretty much the same. Cathy and I were both ragged from a long and tough New England winter and job pressures, so our planning was not up to its usual snuff making scheduling and my hopes of making it a productive trip questionable. Cathy had done her job well though, and we were here. In Austin, at least from a visitors perspective, there always seems to be a conflict between relaxation and choosing from the full menu of entertainment, cultural, and commercial venues. I kept trying to remember this was supposed to be a vacation - but the city was calling.

A short ride later we were settling into our perch on the 15th floor overlooking downtown Austin and the water. Friend and food awaited.

When we go to New Orleans we always make our first stop The Gumbo Shop to get a quick fix on the local cuisine. Fortunately Austin has our friend and consummate host Donna, who generously offered us a wonderful lunch greeting of homemade etouffee - a perfectly delicious start ! Our first evening found us too tired after a full travel day to look for unplanned entertainment. The amusement for the evening came when we went downstairs at the hotel to have desert and walked into a Boston University Alumni hockey tournament gathering in the bar area which saw Boston pull off a dramatic come from behind win. So far we had traveled 1700 miles to watch hometown hockey - Boston is EVERYWHERE !

BU Hockey Video - Final 3 minutes

Sunday -

Texas has a long rich history, and we decided to spend our first full day picking up where we left off last trip. We wanted to see the next battle site following the Alamo, where the troops of Col. Fannin were also defeated and massacred by Santa Ana at Goliad, a 2 hour ride south. What we hadn't expected was the bonus history lesson on the Spanish era of Texas and to find that this town claimed the birth of cattle ranching in Texas.

The Mission Espiritu Santo, below, records some of the Spanish legacy.

Goliad - Mission Espiritu Santo

I'm not sure why angels painted in the the 18th century look like Elvis - but I decided to cover my bets by singing 3 Hound Dogs and 1 Love me Tender later as a self-prescribed penance.

We finished the afternoon of Easter Sunday with a meal at The Hanging Tree restaurant - NO, really - I'm not kidding !

The Hanging Tree - THE CART WAR OAK

This concluded our brief history lesson and provided additional depth and understanding to our growing knowledge of Texas. Next it was time to get back to Austin in time for our our scheduled evening music event !

So, that concludes the first 24 hours of our trip - still a whole week to go, but that was too much to fathom at the time, we were still getting our feet on the ground. When thinking toward a second consecutive vacation to the same location I was doubtful the second visit could offer the same level of excitement, enthusiasm, or experience as last year's overwhelming awakening, but again Austin rewarded us with more that our fair share of new offerings and old treats and still left us wanting more !

It should prove more logical and interesting if I provide further information on the musical, artistic, and other points of interest on our visit in separate posts, so please stay tuned for more.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Winter Beat

What I did on my winter vacation -

Well, it's nice to be able to finally write March on paper and see the snow melting and baseball on TV. I'm not a winter person and this winter was more severe than normal right from the start so it was quickly obvious I'd need a survival strategy. I coincidentally uncovered a Fela Kuti CD I had bought last summer and not yet listened to. Finding the upbeat rhythms and revolutionary message just what was needed to begin the immunization, I became focused. The similarities between Kuti and Bob Marley were obvious so it seemed a perfect opportunity, with an abundance of commuting time and a stash of generous gift certificates, to expand my knowledge of African and Jamaican music - the mission was now defined.

It proved to be the perfect choice - and so it went for 3 months as the on line research, the CD orders and arrivals, and the infectious beats and musical histories eased me through the weather, the miles, the days, weeks, and months. The scene seemed pretty well set, and was going quite nicely the plan seemed to be working, I was unaware of an unexpected surprise that was about to put the proverbial cherry atop the sundae.

Another nice diversion this winter was the unexpected arrival of Elvis Costello's Music/Interview show on Sundance Channel. It is an entertaining show with an impressive list of guests and a truly knowledgeable and engaged host. During a show visited by Jacob Dylan we were treated to a discussion of Joe Strummer and a performance of one of his songs. These guys don't mess around and pulled no punches by delivering a killer version of Straight To Hell, !

I like to think of myself as musically aware and fairly knowledgeable, but for some reason I slept through the punk scene missing The Clash and some other bands of note in the process. Of course I had heard the hits, but that hardly qualified. In addition, I somehow missed the reemergence of Joe Strummer despite his consistently great reviews. Though I had recently put both The Clash and Strummer on my catch up list, Straight To Hell, was like a slap in the face and it was suddenly clear I could wait no longer - I had been missing something vital. Having now begun to wade into the extensive catalog, I am a changed man and feel like a baby just learning to walk. Without exaggerating I can say I haven't had a such a musical moment since I first heard Elvis, Dylan or Professor Longhair many years ago !

So as the Ides of March approaches in a new year, I can say I'm probably having the best musical year since 1970. Though there is some personal shame in realizing again the extent of my subjective ignorance, I am heartened also by the fact that there still remain enough discoveries to keep me looking forward to new experiences of equal or greater weight. At my age that is an important thing to know !

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Houston, We Have A Winner !

N.A.S.A. - The Spirit Of Apollo

This project unexpectedly came to my attention on a sampler disk I received from Paste magazine, and admittedly caught my attention because the track featured Tom Waits. While it's fun to pick up the latest CD from your favorite artist and revel in the intimacy of familiarity, for me part of the real joy of music is finding something totally new and foreign that takes me somewhere I wouldn't have naturally gone and teaches me something in the process.

I'll start by stating that I'm basing my comments on the basis of what I've seen and heard on 4 pre-release cuts, so my final opinion could change, but I'd pay the package price even if this was all there is. I also have a lot of homework to do as I know very few of the players on this project.

N.A.S.A is the brainchild collaboration of DJ's Sam Spiegel (Squeak E. Clean) via NY & Los Angeles, and Ze Gonzales (DJ Zegon) Sao Paulo, Brazil with guests including Tom Waits, Kool Keith, Karen O, , David Byrne, Chuck D and others. In addition to the music, there is collaboration with a mixed bag of visual artists, including OBEY/Obama artist Shepard Fairey, who provided 5 interchangeable CD covers and a video. There will also be a documentary on the making of the project.

With a brilliant border bending mix of rap, reggae, rock, techno, pop, funk and much more there's a lot here to get into. I've never been much on pure pop, rap, or techno. I have viewed these genres as interesting but limited in scope and development. But here these genres are melded into a wonderful gumbo that perfectly releases the flavor of each ingredient.

And, by the way - if you think policies of the recent past have left no imprint on public consciousness check out the video for 'Money' below.

I hope you'll check it out - I think its worth it !

ANTI - The Spirit Of Apollo Home - with music samples & Trailer link

Video - Money - Large HD Playback @ Youtube

Art - multi Cover Artwork


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why I Love My Wife

Reason 10, 000, 001

This week I unexpectedly received this photo message on my iPhone from my wife while at work - I had recently told her I was looking for a new pillow. This picture is SO immediately spontaneous, funny, cute, cuddly, childish, intimate, sweet, therapudic, and desperately welcome ! This picture came to me like a drink of water in the desert - the only thing in the weekday wasteland that reminded me that there was something really real.

I have never had any wallpaper photo on my iPhone other than a picture of Cathy... I like knowing she's there. This photo may replace the current one because it says Cathy to me maybe more than perhaps even a real photo of her - the love, the laughter -the young woman who became my friend when I needed one and partner because she wanted to.

This is more than a picture of stuffed animals. It says remember who you are, remember how to smile, remember someone cares, remember what matters - it's life - it's simple - it's US.