moonriseAnd then we packed up the F-150 with surfboards, bikes, lounge chairs, coffee, guitars, scarves, whiskey, tents, necklaces, and bahn mi’s and headed out to Montauk. We judiciously used our lack of showering and/or anywhere with a roof to go to avoid becoming embroiled in any of the overarching Montauk sceneyness, and pretty much spent all of our time gazing at the ocean, getting into it, surfing/watching the surfers, eating fried seafood, and drinking beer. That, singing songs, killing a Thursday NYT crossword, and waking up to infinity stretching off into the distance and it was an alright time indeed.montaukcampsiteditchplainssurfboardssunsetThank you to AMR for the snap of the surfboards and for inviting me along for a little tag-team-third-wheel.


Ain’t We Got Love


MeandSweetheartSweetheart finally asked me the question I’ve always been waiting for: “Will you sing a duet with me at a small mountain-town variety show?”. I said yes. We sang this (which I think might just be our theme song):

And the audience liked it so much that they asked us to sing another! So we sang this:
And then luckily, they didn’t ask us to sing any more because we don’t know any more songs. Yet.

What we did…

We couldn’t help but wonder at the places we found ourselves, the swimming holes and animals, the music and marvel, and how fast we remembered that each others’ presence in our lives isn’t a luxury but an absolute necessity. The best part? It all starts again in three days. Stay tuned, campers, Summer is at full flush and wanderlust is being realized.
Just. Say. Yes.

Infinite thanks to Chaaaales (at right, below) for building his small corner of paradise and allowing us to call that our destination.

Also thanks to Miss McKay and Mlle Elizabo for a few of these shots. Thanks also to Bill for turning off the blinkety noises and beeps on my camera for stealth shooting.

Getting The Spirit

Up several flights of stairs into a small but airy blue sanctuary with high windows, the singing hasn’t started, but the drums and organ are warming up, seats full and pews stocked with paper fans from the local funeral home. Needless to say, getting the spirit raises temperatures. Amen. This Saturday I met Carrie up in Harlem for the fourth annual gospel choir festival at the Elmendorf Reformed Church. Our friend Laura was singing, the proceeds went to autism research, and the noise promised to be joyous unto the lord and anyone else who might be listening. The church itself (now in its fifth home uptown) was founded 350 years ago, and, as the MC Elder Kevin Spooner said “it feels like some of us have been here that long”. Amen. Four choirs. Organ, piano, bass, drums.The crowd instructed to sing out if the spirit moved us, and moved we were. And afterwards, we waltzed out into the warm Saturday Harlem night to Sylvia’s for fried chicken. Amen.

The 5:15’s

I’ve been in Virginia for a few days now, halfway down the great rolling coast en route to the spanish moss and still country of south Georgia. If I get within a hundred mile radius of my hometown on a Monday, I’ve gotta go sit in with “The 5:15’s”.

Each and every Monday, The 5:15’s meet at the “rock’n’roll office”. It used to be a dentists office my dad built and, left vacant two years ago in the recession, now it’s where people come to rock. The set up just lives there, the amazing accumulated wealth of years of gear: full drums, a wall of huge ancient speakers that still sound awesome, keyboards, multiple amps, mics, Fender tweeds, Rickenbacker 12 strings, pedal steels, SG’s and Les Pauls, electric fiddles and mandolins, my old acoustic guitar from high school, Stratocasters tuned to Keith Richards and and PRS’s hardly tuned at all, Precision and Jazz basses, and, of course, my mom on Cowbell.

It’s pretty amazing, I grew up knowing these guys, the doctor, the lawyer, the chef… and every Monday they shed skins and drink whiskey and play the songs they’ve always loved. There are the obvious classics: BADGE, Down By the River, Dead Flowers, Springsteen, The Byrds, Joe Cocker. Then there’s some more obscure stuff, Steve Earle, Delbert McClinton, Government Mule. If you want to learn to play a song, you bring a sheet: a printout of the lyrics and the chords, just make sure you bring enough copies for everyone.

These guys aren’t professionals, they just love playing together. Sometimes people hit clams or miss parts, and sometimes everyone kills it. We hit the harmonies, nail the drum break, slay the solo and the room gets that full and lifting feeling, that elevated heart-rise that happens when music is good and music is love.

They don’t play for anyone but themselves. Every Monday, starting at 5:15.

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