Lojo's Proze & Mr Boo's Newz

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ring in the New

My, how the time does fly.

I’m sitting here listening to the wind and snow whoosh-about the outside of the house and the furnace and cats whoosh-about the inside of the house and wondering where the hell the year went?

One might assume that a number of things both large and small, both real and surreal, both tragic and triumphant have occurred. And, one would be correct.  

Suffice it to say - the year went.
It went well.  It went fast.  And, I gotta say I had a remarkable time making it go!  So, now what?  What comes next?

Well, Today, one of two things happen: The world comes to an end because the Mayans didn’t consider a future that would last longer than 5200 years OR it marks the Solstice when the coming days slowly but inexorably grow longer as the sun returns and each day’s light lasts a little longer.

Well, I prefer beginnings to endings.

Today I will Begin.  I begin to think about the days and months ahead and all the beginnings that I have to look forward to - like…
  Working with my long-time friend, Adam, for the first time as co-producers to create my new CD, No Scars, No Stories. (Click this link for a free song demo)
  Discovering the music within me seemingly and continually  re-shaping and re-creating itself so late in my career.
  Encountering new friends and fans that I have yet to meet.
    Experiencing new memories that will be created and shared with the friends and the family that I have right now.

Upon the eve of this brilliant beginning I hope that you all take my love and my gratitude into your own beginning for I have carried yours with me all the days before and will carry it with me into the New.   #==OQ

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hurricane Tour 2012 - The rest of the story.

Oct 28-31:
“Sandy” be damned.  Her winds did blow and her rains did flow – yet not a drop did break our spirit.  Of course, I am hypothesizing since I was stuck outside in a freezing wet car while Herself was safe, dry and cozy inside the house.  Humph.
On Tuesday the morning broke and so did the storm.  My original plan had me and Boo ‘woo-hooing’ the New Jersey state line that day to spend time with my friend Eric and his wife and girls – unfortunately, that plan had to be scrapped - I will assume you’ve seen the news reports.  

It is said that house guests are like fish – after 3 days they start to smell. Not wanting to overstay our overstayed welcome we bid our MD friends adieu and headed inland to Virginia – “Woo-Hoo!”. 
Where I was greeted by my friends Star & Pooch with a “Sandy” – which was Pooch’s version of a Hurricane made with Sandemans Port instead of simple sugar.  Yeah, baby!
On Wednesday we had a Halloween House Concert and let’s just say it got a little crazy… ok, a lot crazy. At one point I was playing Pink Floyd’s ‘Brain Damage’ and the freak flag went flying!! Literally!

Nov 1-3:
Wave goodbye to your friends now, off to the airport to pick up The Girlfriend.  The 3 of us were to drive to DC to meet up with some college friends (The Girlfriend's, herself never went to college) for the weekend.  Does one “woo-hoo” the District of Columbia? 
It was a simple weekend filled with simple pleasures. Watching the traditional High Heel Drag Race, visiting the Mall (you know – the one with the monuments), eating exotic foods without leaving the house and mostly enjoying the company of old friends. Simple.

Nov 4
A brief visit with relatives in Virginia to fortify ourselves for the trip home. It was a lovely brunch with lovely friends. Then Herself and The Girlfriend got back in the car for the long ride home. Taking a more northerly route home we saw some of the side effects of the hurricane – snow.  An overnight in Toledo ('nuff said) and we were home.

All together now...
“Woo-Hoo, we’re in Iowa!”

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hurricane Tour 2012 - Day 2 & 3

Day 2 & 3 - Oct 26, 27:
As we headed further East we found ourselves being blown consistently to the left. I feared the oncoming “tropical storm” had something to do with our awkward bent. When we were passed by a Subaru with a surfboard strapped to its roof it was apparent that we were driving toward insanity or at the very least following it.  So, let us say it together, “Woo-hoo, West Virginia!  Woo-hoo, Pennsylvania! (an interminable 55 MPH later…)  Woo-hoo, Maryland”!

Showed up to my friend, Suzanna’s house on Friday just in time to hunker down for the hurricane. We spent part of Saturday preparing for the coming onslaught – lanterns at the ready, ice in the freezer, batteries in the drawer and plenty of propane. 

Saturday night was supposed to be an Oyster Festival at Lucky’s Last Chance (Deal Island, MD) featuring me and TheZen Monkeys - it turned into a “Hurricane” party instead.  We all had a fabulous time singing, dancing, laughing and thumbing our noses at “Sandy”.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Hurricane Tour 2012 - Day 1

It’s been a while since I’ve been East.  I hadn’t realized just how long until I visited my friend Suzanna and we did the math.  There were friends and shows that I wanted to get back to and an autumn tour seemed like a good idea... at the time.  But I digress.  Mr. Boo? Why don’t you start us off at the beginning.

Day 1 - Oct 27:
Go East young woman!  At least that was the direction we headed last Thursday.  We were looking forward to crossing some state lines that had not been seen for almost 10 years.  Not that I mind staying within our quaint Quad state area but when one’s entire existence is based on the celebration of crossing a state line one does hope for something more than; “Woo-hoo, Illinois!”, “Woo-hoo, Iowa!”, “Woo-hoo, Illinois!”, “Woo-hoo, Iowa!”, “Woo-hoo, Minnesota!”, “Woo-hoo, Iowa!” (ad infinitum)  …you get the picture.  So, it was with great anticipation when, after a few miles, we finally celebrated, “Woo-hoo, we’re in Ohio”!

Columbus was our first stop – a great new place called Natalie’s  that’s making some fine pizza and some great music. The stage was shared with Phillip Fox (OH) and Don ‘Doop’ Duprie (MI) - great guys, fabulous songwriters and talented musicians.  Did I mention how good the food was? Thank You Columbus, good night!

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A fond farewell...

Thank you all for a loving, memorable, unprecedented and unrepeatable day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

So... I've been writing.

It’s often said that great emotion is the catalyst for a writer.

I’ve never really believed that until recently.

In the past, my inspirations have usually come from outside of me; landscapes, conversations, television, sometimes just sitting around ‘noodling’ on the guitar and once from a Facebook status update.

However, the recent loss of a good friend has inspired me from the inside.  As much hurt and sorrow as I’ve experienced in the last few weeks I’ve also experienced great joy in remembering all the wonderful experiences we’ve shared.

So, I’ve been writing.

I’ve been writing about memories, about friendship, about loss, about life. I’ve been rewriting music which has been in the works for several years.  And I’ve been abandoning music with messages that no longer seem relevant or important.

The new album will be titled, “No Scars, No Stories”.  

Over the last year I’ve learned just how true this statement is.  And, though many scars happen because of some hurtful or tragic event I’m learning to understand and believe in the positive side of a negative experience.  A perfect example of this is the time I broke the headstock of my guitar – the luthier told me the wood is stronger where it’s been repaired then the surrounding undamaged wood.

It’s not always easy to accept but, the truth of it cannot be denied – we all experience mistakes, hardships and hurts but, it’s how we respond, learn and move forward from those experiences that make us stronger.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Introductions are in order...

It has come to my attention that, now that I’m back into blogging, some of you may not be familiar with my traveling companion, Mr. Boo. 
Seen here as my profile picture -->

Mr. Boo, the Fine Folk. Fine Folk, Mr.Boo.
Now, that the introductions are out of the way how about a little history. 

Mr. Boo and I have been together since – jeez, it’s been so long I don’t even remember how long it’s been.  Suffice it to say – years.

I found Boo while in Madison, Wisconsin with the Fabulous Lorraine. If memory serves we were performing at a SFF convention.  Either I was being a ‘stunt’ Emma for her band “Flash Girls” or FL and I were performing as Moggenaugh (more on that another time) or perhaps it was both.

While on a walk-about Fabulous Lorraine and I stopped into a local retro-candy shop for a little sweet something and there against the front wall was(were?) bins of beanie-babies.  Blech, right?  However, in one of those bins was Mr. Boo.  Well, actually there were a couple dozen Boos - we looked at each other, squealed with gothic delight (is that an oxymoron?) and each bought one.

I named mine, Mr. Boo and immediately placed him on the dashboard of my vehicle.  He’s been there ever since.  Boo has lasted through 4 vehicles and countless thousands of miles and celebrate at the crossing of each state line.  Boo always faces forward - watching the road ahead to make sure the way is clear - always forward.  He listens to me when I’m creating new songs, arguing with the radio, swearing at traffic and mostly, he gives me a little company on those long road trips between gigs and home.  Occasionally, I even talk to Mr. Boo - but with one very important rule – that he never talk back.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My summer essay 2012

Mr Boo and I have been busy little road warriors!
And, the last few weeks have put us on both sides of the “performance” aisle.
We’ve been to outlaw shows, outdoor shows, outrageous shows and outta-sight shows!

So, sit back, get comfy and let's start at the beginning...

Back in July we went to ashow that took place on an old farm in the middle of nowhere and the bands played in a feed barn.  One of the warm-up bands was a group from Madison called, Field Report - I would highly recommend checking these guys out. The headliners were Counting Crows – I will assume many of us have already checked these guys out. 

The barn was hot, the music was cool and the show was incredible!

I would like to point out that during the opening performances I noticed Adam Duritz (lead singer of Counting Crows) in the audience watching the bands.  I was very impressed by his attendance because in my experience, the ‘headliner’ doesn’t watch the ‘warm-up’ bands.  Thanks from all of us 'warm-uppers', Adam.

Next we headed for the great outdoors at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. The show was Brandi Carlile and included Ingrid Michaelson (the latter is now one of my top faves).

Now, frankly, this place could make watching goats fainting seem awesome – so imagine how much more awesome it is when there’s amazing music on stage. (And, no, we are not attempting to compare Ms. Carlile to fainting goats. It’s an analogy, silly.)  The performances were fantastic, including Ingrid doing a looping vocal solo of Night Swimming by REM – that could just about blow anyone’s mind - and Brandi’s band doing a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody - which (not surprisingly) got all our heads flailing back and forth in imitation of Wayne's World.

Of course, what was most visually astounding to me was the beauty and grandeur of the venue itself. The rock, the colours. 9,000 people seated on tiered steps, dancing, talking, watching, singing. No crowding. No shoving. No shouting. And the sun making it’s exit behind us while Denver began it’s evening light show below us.  In a word - Whoa.

Our week in Colorado ended with my yearly pilgrimage to Alma’s ‘Festival in the Clouds’.  This is one of those ‘best kept secret’ kinda shows where it’s just about feeling good and having fun – two things of which I am very familiar. (It’s even easier when you’ve been deprived of oxygen for several days…)

Soon after I found myself back at sea-level again and a bit north doing a few shows in Minnesota.  I always enjoy playing in MN - especially Charlie’s Irish Pub where there is no end of wonderfully talented friends who will jump up on stage with me and jam out a few tunes.

The highlight of that weekend was playing, “The Good Stuff” with none other than the incomparable, Emma Bull and my most talented brother, Joe. The surreality of this was compounded by the fact that I’d first performed this song with Emma and our band, Cats Laughing, back in the late 80’s and had re-recorded said song on a solo project with my brother back in the 90’s.  Time’s like this? that’s what I call the good stuff.

Next, I’m in Dixon, IL to perform at Gardenstock. A little hippie festival that raises money for area youth groups. And I’m a little hippie – so it was a no-brainer for me to play at this festival. The producers, Bud & Lisa, are amazing people, the volunteers were awesome and the entire event was just plain groovy!

At one point during the event an artist was free-handing what I can only describe as ‘linearspin art’ and there was band after band of just incredible musicians playing 60’s & 70’s covers as well as some remarkable original material. (My hat off to Wrong Element and their version of the Pixie’s, ‘Where is my Mind’.)

Then, in some alternate-universe-para-dynamic-time-warp, comes the “Gentlemen of the Road” tour featuring bands like, Dawes, Nathanial Ratecliff, (my personal favorites) Gogol Bordello and headliner’s, Mumford & Sons – IN DIXON, IL… WTF?!?!?!?!   That’s right, just down the road from this quaint little hippie fest was a raging cacophonic milieu of music, mud and mayhem. 15000 people standing, sitting, roaming around between two stages listening to awesome band after incredible band.   (Side note; the population of Dixon, IL is only 16000)

After a restful night’s sleep and a grand breakfast we were ready for the last part of this summer’s whirlwind musical adventure.

Mr Boo and I drove about an hour south of Dixon to Spring Valley where we arrived at the home of J and Linda – our house concert hosts for the evening.  However, this was no ordinary house concert… this was to be me, opening for… Marshall Crenshaw.

Anyone who was listening to radio in the 80’s (is that redundant?) will remember Marshall Crenshaw’s music. And, I have to admit, it’s only gotten better with age.

He is an amazing guitarist, lyricist, vocalist and played a fantastic show.  One of the highlights of the evening - for me - was sitting in on a tune playing backing percussion on a plastic ‘egg’ shaker (actually, it’s a purple skull-shaped egg shaker but who’s counting).  Marshall asked if anyone had brought a drum or maracas cuz he wanted a backbeat for the next song – I was never so happy as at that moment when I remembered I’d packed that thing in my FX case.
(There’s video of the song on YouTube.)

And, I’m happy to report that Marshall Crenshaw took the time to listen to my set.
He liked it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Mr. Boo and I have been putting on a few miles the last few weeks.
And all we can say is... it's good to be back on the road!!!

Davenport to Delano to Stillwater to Eau Claire.  woo!

I had such a great time at my shows.  Especially all my fabulous fans who came out and all my wonderful friends who came up and jammed with me.  In fact, I had so much fun playing over the weekend my thumb hasn't stopped twitching.  It's like my hand still wants to play guitar - whether I'm holding one or not...smart thumb.

The Jorgenson girls lent their wonderful voices, the Dayna Lady was incomparable as ever,  the Brust's (Next Generation) came up and rocked it, and Raymond Yates even came up and played a few with me.  Then there was my brother, who was in town from California, Saturday night, played a couple songs with me at Charlie's and I even got Emma Bull up for a couple of tunes, too.  Then the 3 of us played an old Cats Laughing tune, 'The Good Stuff', which, in a word... ROCKED!

Just when I thought the weekend couldn't get better - it did.

Did I mention my brother was in town?  And so was his wife and their new baby boy, Mac!
What a treat to see them all!!  My nephew was born on my birthday - which I gotta say, is just about the best birthday gift, ever!  And I couldn't believe I was seeing him so soon.  I have a great brother and I love his wife - it was so cool to spend time with them and catch up, reminisce, tease.  Then Sunday morning Joe came upstairs to feed the baby (and give his wife some more sleep time) and I noticed that Joe could probably use a little break himself so I unselfishly (ahem) offered to hold and feed the baby while he got some more sleep. It was 2 of the most incredible hours I've ever spent not on a stage.

All in all it was a great way to spend and end a remarkable weekend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gallowglass Irish "Trio"

Me and Boo took a little trip north.
Hello North.

I saw friends and Klingons and friends and Steam Punks and friends and  loin cloths and friends and Katnis-ses? – si? huh... anyway, there were multiple Katniss. This is CONvergence Science Fiction and Fantasy convention and it was good.

What else did I do?  I cruised the Art Room with my friend Robert.  I danced to 80’s pop with my ex, Stephanie.  I had a nice long catching up with my friends Will and Emma.  I counted all of John’s belly buttons.  I pretended to rehearse with my old band-mate Ken.  And, I drank endless toasts to my friend Michael.

I was here for one reason – to play music.  Gallowglass Irish Trio decided we’d do a show at CONvergence.  The 3 of us would come together for a weekend of merriment and mayhem and maybe even play a good show.  Gallowglass has had multiple reunion shows over the years due to the fact that we’d never actually broke up just didn’t live in the same town anymore.  CONvergence seemed like a good excuse to do another show.

The Universe doesn’t always allow things to go as planned.

On Friday was the final show of The Long Straight Forever – Michael’s last band.  That was the toughest show to watch.  Sunday was the final show of Gallowglass - Michael’s first band. That was the toughest show to play. But play we did.  With our friend Ray Yates standing in for Michael (as well as a number of other friends who wished to be a ‘stunt Michael’ and some fine singing by our newly dubbed ‘Gallow Lasses’) Ken and I were determined to create as much light and laughter as we had as Gallowglass Irish Trio all those many years ago.

As far as I can tell we succeeded in making everyone laugh while crying/crying while laughing. The music was fine and loud and filled with the memories of summer days spent among oaks and castles.

What I mostly did this weekend is remind myself what wonderful friends I’ve made over the course of my lifetime. Each and Every One of You make my life Richer for the knowing and more Brilliant for having Lived it with you.

Monday, July 02, 2012

It's going to be ok.

June... wow.
Busy? yes.
Happy? Mostly.
Sad? well, that's where I got the mostly.

June continues to befuddle, befoul, bewilder and just plain old pyss me off.

A number of people with whom I have shared a number of years getting to know; whether it be short or long, deep or fleeting – all have made an impression on my life. This blog was going to go into a long monologue about the latest loss of a friend. 

However, I realized that, as much as that might be beneficial to me – it might start to concern some of you that either I am slipping slowly into a philosophic depression or perhaps I’ve become the Harbinger of Doom.

Barring the latter may have merit – I would like to now invite you to a blog filled with faeries and flowers, unicorns and rainbows.

(OK, perhaps I might find a middle ground, yeh?)

Instead, let me just say... I am thankful to all those people I call Friend. My friends have changed me, enhanced my life. My friends have taught me how to play guitar, made me laugh, helped me cry and given me pause.  My friends have participated in my most incredible memories – both real and surreal and been an important part of creating my history. My friends have made dreams come true.

For those friends both gone and present – thank you, for everything.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hello My Fine Folk,

I'd like to tell you about a friend of mine, Michael. Michael and I go back quite a few years - though it seems impossible that so many have passed.

I met Michael in 86? or 87? along with his friends Joe and Ken. The 4 of us jammed around a bit and after a few sessions thought it'd be cool to start a band - so we did.

I always think of Michael as the "quiet one". He talks softly, he sings softly and has a very precise sense of humor. When we would be performing he never said much but when he did it would just knock you over - either with laughter or sheer profundity. (Unlike myself who will often say a hundred things just to get to that one perfect line.)

He is the same with his music - the songs he chooses to perform are always poignant and well-crafted. I've been performing one of his songs for the last 15+ years and to many of my fans it is "one of the most beautiful songs I never wrote."  My favorite story is about a jig he composed several years ago and was surprised one day to hear another band performing his jig and claiming it to be a traditional Celtic tune. As a composer you know you've written a good jig when other musicians think it's hundreds of years old... and from Ireland.

Over the years the line up has changed a little and we've been on indefinite hiatus due to geographical differences but whenever we get together we always have a great time...making friends, making fans, making music and mostly enjoying the 'feck' out of ourselves. And, despite those geographic hindrances we have always found time to get together for reunion shows or more often a wild weekend of jamming and drinking at Michael's when he lived in Colorado. My song, "Across The Canyon" was written in (and inspired by) his front yard.

Michael's passion for music and for life always made everything we did together that much more real. I love his smile - it's infectious.

For the last 2 days I've been reading all the comments left on his Facebook page made by friends, many of them mutual, and remembering all the goodness and joy and laughter and music that surrounded Michael. At least, I try to. Sometimes the tears just get too much in the way.

Michael Matheny lived until 12:20PM June 10, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Spring... wrapped in a Summer inside a El Nino. (or something like that)

It's time to get my brain going and my blog blogging and give Mr Boo something to do besides looking out the windshield.

My plan is to visit and update this blog with greater frequency than I have in the past. Every day? Probably not. But I will post something at least once a month prior to my gig e-minders. So, here goes...

Lojo & Mr Boo's News New Blog-o-lama-ding-dong:

Currently, I'm sitting on the couch in my pajamas and bathrobe trying to figure out what a marketing scheme looks like while "So I Married An Axe Murderer" plays in the background. (SIMAAM is in my top 10 faves). Mr. Boo says, "There's at least 2 things in that sentence that may have something to do with why you suck at marketing."

Shut it, Boo.

OK, the movie's almost over, my gig e-minder is ready to post and I just loaded up a song on Jango. Next is Spotify and Pandora...wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hello My Fine Folk,

Guess it's been awhile since I've been out to this page - but fear not! Soon I'll be blogging on a regular basis...but not here. The new blog will be up in a few weeks on my website .
In the meantime, I gotta tell you that life has been good to me. Love life? Good! Family life? Good? Music life? GOOD!!

Each year I'm playing more and more shows. And this year proves to be even better - if not in quantity than definitely in quality. I know moving to Iowa was a big change for me (and, presumably, some of you) but lately, I've noticed that it seems my music has found a new focus and rhythm. I'm finding my roots as it were. Which is somewhat ironic given the fact that I'm starting to expand my tour base and get out on the road more.

Recently, I got to spend some quality time with old friends back in Minnesota and it felt good to have some real one-on-one time with these people without having to interrupt a conversation with, "Sorry, gotta get back to the show now." It was good to re-connect with the people who have been such a large part of my life for so many years. I miss them.

So, as Mr Boo and I start our merry way across the USA I look forward to seeing old friends more and making new one's along the way! See you when I get there!