jwgh: (Van Halen)
As some of you might now, I've been booked to play at RISA's Songwriters in the Round show next month, on Sunday September 9 at 7 pm.

Part of the deal is that each month the audience picks a theme for the next month's show, and then the four singer-songwriters who play at that show have to write a song based on that theme. The songwriters who performed tonight had to write a song about "Too Many Hats", for instance.

So tonight I got to find out what theme I have to write about. It is: Absolute Zero. (It beat out "Dumb Blonds", "The History of my Feet", and "Too Many Shoes".) One of the people I was at AS220 with tonight asked me, "What is absolute zero exactly?" I said, "Oh, I think it's, uh, -273.15 degrees Celsius. It's the lowest possible temperature, the temperature at which all motion ceases." Now that I am home I can check my facts before posting nonsense to Livejournal ... huh, guess those high school physics classes stuck with me.

So, we will see what I do with that. I keep thinking of the Sonny Boy Williamson II song "Nine Below Zero", which is about getting kicked out of your house by your girlfriend in the middle of winter when it is nine below, but this theme is pretty far beyond that level.

(Also, Ryan Fitzsimmons, who normally hosts the show, is going to miss next month's, which is too bad, but Frank Martyn is going to guest-host for him. I like Frank a lot, so that is cool.)

misreading

Jan. 25th, 2007 12:36 pm
jwgh: (Default)
I just got a little bulletin from RISA, and one of the announcements it contained had to do with a band named NEMO. I think NEMO is a pretty good name for a band, as these things go. However, when I first read the note, I thought the band's name was MEMO, which would have been one of the worst band names ever.
jwgh: (Van Halen)
ilyAIMY (which it turns out stands for 'i love you And I Miss You') updated their blog) and said:
Last night we played Ryan Fitsimmons' singer/songwriter showcase at AS220 in Providence and then stuck around for their open mic. The showcase had a great cross section of performers, with Ryan keeping his head down on one side of the stage (we've seen him play for REAL now, and though he played hard and sung out, we know now what he can REALLY do when he's play a Ryan show and not just playing host), Allison Calory (God knows if I'm spelling that right) singing sweet, fingerpicked tunes, and Jacob Holler performing bizarre country-esque tunes about a father being so proud of his budding Satanist daughter and drawling out fantasies about killer robots eating people's heads.

It was cool.

I must admit, I myself waxed poetic for a bit about Transformers. I even wore my Decepticon shirt to reprefuckingsent. Megatron wouldn't eat your brain, he would stomp you into jelly.

They also posted this picture (taken by Rob of ilyAIMY during the show:

me

jwgh: (Van Halen)
The show yesterday went well. My material was well received, including the new song, which I was worried would creep people out, but everyone laughed.

I talked a little to Allysen Callery before the show started. She was quite nice, and I enjoyed her music also. (Somewhat unusually, she plays a nylon-string guitar.) I asked her if she had done one of the 'Songwriters in the Round' events before. She said that she had done three, and that something about it tended to make her write about things that she normally would never write about -- often intensely personal things. She expressed hope that I had written something funny to offset this.

Which, actually -- I had brought along the lyrics on a piece of paper so I wouldn't have to worry about remembering them. (Performing a new song in public always kind of freaks me out.) While I was singing the second verse, I noticed that the guy sitting to my left, Rob Hinkal of ilyAIMEY, was raptly reading the lyrics sheet, so I broke off to tell him, "Hey, there's no reading ahead! That's not how this works!" and he looked away, abashed. He told me afterwards that he noticed there was a big word at the beginning of the first line ("Hey, darling, won't you please put down that old Necronomicon?"), so he looked ahead to see what the song was about, and then the next verse was about goat sacrifice, and it was around then that I called him out, so he was just as happy that I had done that. Ryan Fitzsimmons declared it the most evil country music song he'd ever heard, which, OK, fair enough. (Although is it a country song? I guess I will have to record it sometime soon so you can judge for yourself.)

A half-dozen of my friends turned up, which was very nice and made me happy.
This all (mostly) ties in with topic #2 of this post:

There is stuff happening at the open mike on Wednesday January 17 at Tazza Caffe this week: ilyAIMEY is one of the featured acts (they were good on Sunday), Chris Monti and his bass player Nick Pagano are going to be open miking to promote their show the next day, and I'll be open miking also.

So if anyone wants to join me at Tazza, my old offer of A FREE DRINK for anyone who comes to an open mike to see me play still holds.

Tazza's address is 250 Westminster Street in downtown Providence. The open mike generally starts around quarter to 9 pm. I will angle to get an earlyish slot (before the featured acts, which start at 9:30 pm and go to 10:30 pm generally).
jwgh: (Van Halen)
I bought some new microphones yesterday and wanted to try them out. Also, I continue to be obsessed by tomorrow's Songs of Social Consciousness show, which I will put some more information about at the end of this message under a cut.

I'll be doing three or four songs, so here are some old songs I'm thinking of doing, plus two new ones, plus two new songs which I should under no account play at this show, I think.

Old Songs:And here are the new songs (the first one is an original song):And, finally, here are the two ringers:As usual, these songs can be retrieved from my music web page and you can also get them via podcast.

Information about the show )
jwgh: (Van Halen)
I just got a last-minute call from CMonti asking if I could fill in on Friday at Cafe Zog (239 Wickenden Street in Providence), and I agreed to do so, so I'll be on for a half-hour solo set starting around 8 pm 9 pm or so. Josh Lerner and Chris will also be playing.

(Also, Chris and I will be performing together as The Killdevils tomorrow at Nick-a-Nees from 9 pm to midnight.)

Oh, I guess it might be worth mentioning: I got a RISA mailing the other day saying that they are looking for people to play Saturday night shows at the Brewed Awakening in Johnston (1395 Atwood Ave), and I wrote back saying I was interested, so we will see what comes of that. (Admittedly JF's response was 'who is this?', but I think I have straightened that out.)
jwgh: (Default)
Tonight CMonti came by for practice, and we played music for tomorrow's show for about an hour until 8 pm. Then he said, "You know, there's this song I've really been wanting to play at the Tazza open mike: 'Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond Of Each Other'."

I have that song in iTunes, so I played it a few times, we figured out the chords and lyrics (the latter with the help of the Internet), and we put together a passable two-guitar version. Then we headed over to Tazza, looked for parking for a while, found it, and headed in.

By this time it was slightly before 9 pm and all the open mike slots were full, so we stuck around for a few acts, then took off.

While leaving, we encountered:

* [livejournal.com profile] refuz, who noticed me leaving and came over to say goodbye.

* Chris Rosenquest, who apparently had earlier posed semi-nude for a RISA calendar (I think; some calendar or other, certainly), an incident which he referred to as 'the biggest mistake of my life'.

Earlier, when I arrived at Tazza, I encountered:

* A guy who asked if the thing I was carrying around in a guitar case was a guitar, and then exaplained that he was a heroin addict who had lost $400 in a four-day blackout, and that one of the cars on the street was his, and that he also played the guitar, and that if I gave him some money he would give me his license. (He was a little scattered, as who wouldn't be?)
jwgh: (Van Halen)
The show went well. I was nervous, as usual. Mark & Beverly Davis, who [livejournal.com profile] katylady74 knows, were very good and very nice, and told me they enjoyed my set.

Did anyone manage to listen to it over the Internet? I brought my laptop with me in hopes that I would be able to record the Internet stream of it, but I couldn't figure out how to get it to work.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] crazyanimallady and [livejournal.com profile] elhortez for coming to the show.

set list )

John Fuzek encouraged me to sign up for some shows at Brewed Awakenings in Wakefield, but having looked at a map I think I will give this a miss, unless someone feels like making a pitch for me doing this. These shows are on Saturdays from 8 to 10 pm.
jwgh: (Van Halen)
I joined the Rhode Island Songwriter's Association last week, and today I decided to write to them and give them my website and other information and ask if there are any shows coming up that I can play at. About ten minutes later John Fuzek replied asking who I was and what I did, and after I provided that information he asked me if I could play a show this coming Friday. Which I can. So:

When: Friday, September 15, 8-10 pm
Where: The Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House, 209 Douglas Avenue, Providence [directions]
What: I will trade half-hour sets with two other artists/groups, probably John Fuzek himself and Mark and Beverly Davis.

It will be a free show. I believe it will also be broadcast live over the web, maybe; if so I will post information about that. Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House is a nice little place, so I hope some of you can come check it out. (They don't have much in the way of food, so have dinner first.)

In unrelated news, I recorded a strange Johnny Cash parody using lyrics provided by [livejournal.com profile] elsibeth, me, and [livejournal.com profile] advorpt in this discussion. (This is, of course, completely different from my other weird Johnny Cash takeoff, which [livejournal.com profile] urbeatle provided the lyrics for.)

music stuff

Sep. 4th, 2006 11:34 pm
jwgh: (Van Halen)
I'm working on a couple of new songs -- 'Spike Driver Blues' on guitar (a Mississippi John Hurt song which is an alternative take on the John Henry story) and 'Junko Partner' (also spelled 'Junco Partner'), a lighthearted New Orleans song about a victim of drug abuse. (I guess I could also add CSSOB to the list of songs I'm working on.) Hopefully I'll eventually get 'em into to shape to the point where I can play them in public without embarrassment ...

Junko Partner's kind of an interesting song. I have four versions (by Louis Jordan, Professor Longhair, James Booker, and Dr. John). They all have different lyrics, some of them have different chords, etc., so I think this is more or less an invitation to try to place my own personal stamp on it, so we will see how that goes.

Thinking of going to the Tazza open mike on Wednesday and bringing my accordion. I'd do 'Avocados and Beer' and 'I'm Sick of This American Life'. I am currently a little shaky on both, so will need to run through them a few more times before Wednesday evening if I'm to do this. If anyone's interested in coming along let me know -- I'll try to be the first act (so I'd go on around quarter to 9) and my offer of 'come to see me play at an open mike, get a free drink' still applies.

After talking over my situation with [livejournal.com profile] christychristy a little I decided it would make sense for me to join the Rhode Island Songwriters Association, so I filled out the form and dropped it and a check in the mail today. According to CMonti this should result in me getting some more solo shows (maybe one or two a month), which I'll post about if and when it happens.

For folks in the area, I should note that the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River has some neat shows coming up.
jwgh: (robot)
This weekend Chris Monti had a large number of things he was playing in and I ended up going to a bunch of them. Today he was in a 'songwriters in the round' event which was part of a block party put on by the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, so I headed over and checked that out. At that time he mentioned that he was in another 'songwriters in the round' event that night at AS220, a monthly event organized by the Rhode Island Songwriters Association. The RISA event has a different theme every month, and each of the four participating songwriters is supposed to write a song on that theme. This month's theme was 'going swimming', and Chris said that he had started writing his song that morning, but that he thought it was pretty dumb, like a dirty limerick, and that he would only perform it once. He then asked me what it was called when a submarine took on ballast before diving, but I wasn't sure.

So the RISA event was tonight at 7:30 and, of course, I had to go. I got there a little early and was, for a little while, the only person in the audience; then I was joined by an incredibly drunk gentleman who spend four or five minutes blowing raspberries with his mouth, and then switched to croaking at irregular intervals. Ryan Fitzsimmons, who organized the event, looked a little worried, and asked croaking guy if he was doing that on purpose; the guy croaked and nodded. He then asked him if he was going to continue doing it while people were performing. Croaking guy thought about this briefly, then croaked and shook his head 'no'. Ryan suggested that if he could avoid doing it during the performances it would be greatly appreciated.

Ryan started his song (which wasn't the 'going swimming' song -- each songwriter got to do four songs, the third of which was the theme song) and, apart from one relatively subdued croak and a little kicking of the metal chairs in front of him, Croaking Guy more or less kept to his word. Then he left for a short while, and after retrieving a bottle of wine from somewhere he came back and sort of lay down on the floor behind me. Then after another couple of songs he left again.

The first round of songs was complete, and Chris's friend Bridget showed up. Croaking Guy showed up again and sat next to Bridget, giving her the full benefit of his unique odor. Then he left again, this time for good, although his scent remained for a bit. Anyway.

The third round of songs, which was the 'going swimming' songs, came. Everyone had little introductions to their songs, which I recognized from my days in a writing group as the obligatory 'this is why what I wrote sucks' segments. The songs were all pretty enjoyable, though. Chris's song was told in the first-person and was a song about a guy who goes to the beach checking out other guys in speedos. He suggested that the only way the song would be any good would be if all the other musicians also played, which they did, which was very nice and which I felt kind of subverted the 'songwriters in the round' paradigm a little.

After the theme songs were done, the theme for next month was chosen. The way it worked was this: Everyone in the audience (which was six people) wrote down a possible theme. Then four of the themes were chosen at random and given to the songwriters, each of which read one of them. Then everyone voted for which theme they liked. The proposed themes that were read were 'robots', 'riding on the subway', 'hurricanes', and 'surreptitiousness'. Guess which one was mine?

When the themes were read out, 'surreptitiousness' caused a lot of comment, because people seemed uncertain as to what it meant. The final vote count was: robots 5, surreptitiousness 4, riding on the subway 1, hurricanes 0, at which point there appeared to be quite a bit of consternation about the difficulty of the winning topic. This entertained me greatly.

Then they each did one final song and the evening was over.

After the show, I took Chris and Bridget to Trinity Brewhouse for drinks and a little food, and Chris recited the lyrics to his song again, providing a little commentary for Bridget and my benefit.. Then we went to the abandoned telephone booth by the old fire station nearby and Chris took out some matches and burned the only two copies of the lyrics to cinders.

It was a good night. I think it will be necessary for me to go back next month.

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Jacob Haller

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