How’s this for rock n’ roll?: I’m fresh out of bed on this lovely Sunday morning, kicked back in my studio, Adidas track pants and fuzzy robe, sipping a vanilla latte and choking down some Quaker Oats, while I spin a little Henry Lee Summer( The debut, with “I Wish I Had A Girl”, his one true opus), and peck out this update.
In the interest of hopefully maintaining at least some small degree of street cred, I DID drink a couple of KY Bourbon Pumpkin Ales last night, whilst viewing a pretty serious R-rated program. I also hung around a horse track….but I only played slot machines. Why don’t we forget the credibility thing, and just get to what’s been going down as of late and what might be on the horizon?
Friday night, we ran through our first full acoustic performance in quite a while, up in Madisonville, KY, at The Crowded House. Technical difficulties aside, it was a good night, and featured a tasty pretzel, a spontaneous burst of songwriting DURING the set, a Kevin Cronin impersonation, and Matt completing no less than a dozen 50 yard dashes to the soundboard and back, as he attempted to repair whatever the hell was happening with the mix out front.
Prior to that, we played as part of Terre Haute’s annual Blues Fest lineup, and got our first-ever request that we “play some Sublime”. First, I’m about as blissfully unfamiliar with Sublime’s output as a guy can be that has worked in record stores for over 20 years, and that’s still not ignorant enough of it as I should be, I’m afraid.
(Now, some guy yelled “Dio!” earlier, and I attempted to play the opening bars of “The Last In Line” while Patrick was tuning up between numbers….but I actually like Dio.)
I’m just not a Sublime fan, but I believe Bret Michaels is, so maybe they can get his solo act to play next years installment, because the gentlemen who asked of us that we perform one of their selections was not happy with my somewhat polite rebuke. I know this because when he asked me if I at least liked the band, and I replied to the contrary, he then informed that “Well, I don’t like the Foo Fighters”. What that has to do with the price of tea in China(as my grandfather was fond of saying), I have no idea, so I let him know that Kenny doesn’t like Foo Fighters either, and kicked into the next song while his buddy yelled for some Rage Against The Machine.
You play one or two damn covers in a 90-minutes set, and suddenly the world assumes you’re a jukebox. Was it Rod Stewart or The Beatles that gave away our vast knowledge of 90’s Alt-Rock, do ya think?
I did a solo acoustic show next, at City Winery Atlanta, along with my brother Joshua Ketchmark. We’re likely gonna be teaming up on a few of these next year as well. In fact, we’ll be back at City Winery in March, with some more Southeast dates to go with that.
This seems like as good a place as any to mention that I’ve started bouncing new song ideas off of Joshua, with the idea that he might work on a new solo record with me while The Great Affairs are out running ‘Ten & 2’ up the flagpole for the next year or so. He’s got a great ear for arrangement and production, and has known me long enough to know when I’m not turning in my best possible work, so I’m looking forward to getting a little extra push from him creatively.
We’ll probably rope in a handful of our usual suspects and track in a few familiar haunts, but I’d also like to take a few risks with this one, and at least try to deliver something that truly stands apart as unique from previous efforts.
Speaking of previous efforts, here’s a promo clip of “A Little Bit Broken” from my last solo album ‘An Overnight Low’ that Joshua recently edited together from footage shot by Scott & Nate Moore.
Now, hot on the heels of my recent (as in just a few paragraphs ago) tirade about people expecting us to know The Great American Songbook, I’m forced to walk back that assertion somewhat.
So we headed up to Central Illinois for a pair of back-to-back shows. Night one we headlined, doing 75-80 minutes of our finest compositions, after sets from the band Thomas, and an acoustified Brent Stortzum & The Valentine(s). The crowd was loaded with familiar faces from back home, and places far & wide for that matter, because a mess of folks had descended on the greater Peoria area for night 2’s festivities: a 50th birthday party for my former Best Of Seven bandmate Shane Tassart.
That little shindig took place at a Marine Corps League building on the outskirts of Pekin, IL, and we played….yeah, that’s right….all covers. For the record, this was not asked of us, we CHOSE to do it, just to keep things interesting, since we’d played less than 20 minutes away the previous evening, and for many of the same people. I have to admit, it was actually pretty fun….but we didn’t do any Sublime.
We DID however, have 3/5ths of Best Of Seven on hand, so we raised a few of those tunes from the dead. It was great to hear Shane’s voice on that stuff again, and I got my Cardio in for the week trying to keep up with Rob Wood’s chosen tempos for those songs. Our sub bassists Mike J. Nichols and Matt Andersen did admirable work on short notice. (Thanks, guys.)
OK then, I’m rambling now, I’ve switched to regular coffee, Henry Lee Summer has given way to the first REO Speedwagon LP, and my ass is getting tired of this chair, so I’m gonna wrap this up.
HERE ’s a cool little Q&A I did for a cool blog site overseas called Sweet Sweet Music.
…and here’s what we’ve got on deck for the rest of the year. (Note: We haven’t posted any 2019 dates yet, but yes, there are some on the books. They’ll start appearing on the calendar soon, once we fill in a few more gaps.)
Friday, October 5th Wild Wing Cafe-Spartanburg, SC
Friday, October 26th Mickey Finn’s-Libertyville, IL
Sunday, October 28th Rock N’ Skull Fest 2018 @ Persie’s- Creve Coeur, IL
(w/Angel, EZN, Roxy Blue, Tango Down, and more)
Friday, November 2nd Bokeh Lounge-Evansville, IN (w/Joshua Ketchmark)
Friday, November 9th John Brown’s On The Square-Marion, IL
Saturday, November 17th The 5 Spot-Nashville, TN (w/The Ivins & TBA)
From there we’re off to enjoy the holidays, plot our 2019 agenda, write some new tunes, and figure out how to survive another year in the margins.
I’ll catch you up again in November. I’m sure we’ll have something good to talk about after our late October run.
Be good to each other,
The Great Affairs