Labor Day weekend at the Fair

My friend John calls it “The State Mediocre.”  My friend Bruce won’t go because “stinky animals.”

Their loss.

This coming weekend, Friday Sept 2 through Monday Sept 5, I’ll be spending a fair amount of time at the Minnesota State Fair.

On Friday Sept 2 (3:15 – 6:30) and Saturday Sept 3 (10:30 – 1:45) you can find me at the Ramberg Senior Center playing Rat Pack era jazz with the Blue Eyes Band, featuring singer Tim Patrick.  Everyone says Michael Buble sounds just like him!

On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons (Sept 3, 4, and 5, at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm, on the hour), members of Collide Theatrical Dance Company will do short “pop-up performances” outside the Education Building.  Tim Patrick will be joining us for these, so that will be fun.

DIRECTIONS:  On the Fairgrounds Interactive Map, the Ramberg Senior Center is at R-29 (Judson and Underwood, southeast corner of the fairgrounds) and the Education Building is at W-21 (on Cosgrove between Dan Patch and Wright, middle of the strip on the east side of the fairgrounds).

See the gigs page for more info, and see you there!

The Singers: After Dark!

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Meet my newest musical collaborator, Melissa Culloton.  I got to know Melissa by working with her this past spring on the convention committee for the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (see the “Monday Music Madness” edition of this blog).  Now, for some strange reason, temporary insanity probably, Melissa has asked me to be her pianist for The Singers: After Dark! which will take place at Hell’s Kitchen on August 29 .

This event is a production of The Singers—Minnesota Choral Artists, widely recognized as one of the premier professional choirs in, well, the whole world.  “After Dark”, now in its 3rd year, allows choir members to goof off a bit (read: sing standards and show tunes instead of classical music, and drink while doing it).  It’s also a neat way to launch their 2016-2017 season.

So please come to Hell’s Kitchen on August 29 to hear Melissa, me, and many others strut our stuff.  Doors open at 6, show goes 7-9.  Tickets are available at the door ($15) or in advance ($10, until August 28)

“Infinite Potential” cover art

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I’m excited to be able to give you a sneak preview of Infinite Potential by The Auto Body Experience. It’s the band’s fifth record, and my first with the band.  I’m especially excited because we began recording in early 2009!  I think the long process has been totally worth it, though.  Besides, bandleader Scott Yoho has hardly been dilly dallying.  The other thing that happened in early 2009 was the birth of his second son.  (For a beautiful portrait of their relationship, buy the record and listen to track 7.)

The release party isn’t until August 5, but Scott said I could post an image here ahead of time.  I think it’s helpful to see the junkyard full of cars along with the album title, which is a bit of a sleeper.  (For an explanation of the word sleeper, buy the record and listen to track 8.)

Finally, I’ll stop with the teasers and say that a preview of the record itself, in the form of track 9, is available here on my recordings page.  I included this track, “Wound Too Tight”, because it’s the one where I got to play with the most toys.

On the road to Asheville

Hit the road yesterday afternoon.  Traveling to Asheville NC for my dad’s memorial service.  He passed away May 14 at my younger brother Jim’s home in Cary NC and we delayed the funeral to allow extended family time to make travel arrangements.

In Madison WI this morning.  Arrived last night in a rented black Nissan Rogue, met up with my older brother Paul, got him some clothes for the funeral.  We are driving to Lancaster KY today, where T and Diana live.  T is a first cousin and honorary brother.

Last night I asked Paul if we should go via downtown Chicago.  He was up for it. “Kennedy Expressway!  If you think you can handle this car.”

Nichole Carey sings at Pride

My good friend and chanteuse Nichole Carey will be singing at Pride!

Nichole Carey at Twin Cities Pride
Sunday June 26
1:00 pm
Loring Park
1382 Willow St
Minneapolis, MN 55403
tcpride.org

Nichole sez:  “I’m singin at Pride ya’ll! Come on down to Loring Park at the Rainbow Stage and join me in celebrating some Twin Cities Pride and all the fabulousness that goes along with it. I’ll be doing some great numbers by some amazing artists like; David Bowie, Patsy Cline, Carole King, and more! Let your freak flag fly with me and let’s get our groove on. Woot!”

I’m sad that I have to miss this shindig.  I was supposed to be joining Nichole on stage but will be in North Carolina with my own family, celebrating the good and long life of my dad.  Nichole, knock ’em dead and consider yourself hugged at 12:59 on Sunday!

Monday Music Madness

“Monday Music Madness” was the featured concert at this year’s convention of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA), on the evening June 13 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN.

It was a cabaret-style event with student artists.  I played piano and organ and pretended to be in charge.  We had James Towns on bass, Beth Varela on drums, Cheri Sykes on guitar.  Vicky Mountain sat in on vocals for a few tunes too.

Loved loved loved Anna Quirk’s rendition of “Gimme Gimme” and was especially proud of my own student Tony Zuchora-Walske, who played  his own tune, “Fever Polka”, written while he was at home from school with an actual fever.