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Play for Your Dinner

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The thing about Italians is that they love live music.  And they love Americans too (in spite of our recent proclivities for absolute dumb shit behavior).  Rhine and I took advantage of this by dragging around our instruments and playing for our supper where we ate.

The first great restaurant run happened after our worldwide debut as Into the Unknown in Campiglio Cervo.  The crowd converged and decided we needed a reservation subito subito.

In the end, I was spirited off with Santa Mariela so I could see the restaurant and meet the owners with my own eyes.  That’s because Ruers above Piedicavallo exists past where the road ends.  So you have to walk there once you ditch your car.  Incredible views await.  And the kindest people.

On the same fact finding mission, we also had to make a quick trip to visit Dick (a local Scott of great flare) and his cat, and catch up with pretty much everyone we encountered.  This was fun, but it made us late late late.

My scouting expedition revealed this view (that is Biella down there somewhere).

We returned (very late) in the Fiat 500, parked at the edge of the world, and proceeded to have an excellent dinner replete with local wine house made cheeses,  polenta, roast beef, and even gluten free stuff for Matt.

 

After dinner we got out our instruments and played a little music.  Here is part of the “first song” (a song by Bob that we always play first so we never have to figure out what to play first).

Then we entered the kitchen to play for the cooks.  This was a blast, and the staff was most appreciative.  Lets just say we are welcome back any time, forever.

Check out the face on this guy.

This kind of experience is what makes a trip to Italy an amazing, humanizing experience.  And to top it all off, the Signora would not let me pay all that I owed.

Of course, once we did it once, we had to do it again.  That’s just how it goes.

Rhine and I scouted out a restaurant run by the slightly pazzo Roberta in Sanctuario San Giovanni.  The moon was almost full, and the werewolves were awakening.

The local Barbera was outstanding.  This was one of the best simple meals we had on the trip.

Top of the world to you.

If you look closely, you will see Rhine.

Roberta recognized us as part of the concert crowd from Campigliano Cervo and asked if we had brought our instruments.  Since we rushed to arrive by 8:30 the answer was no.  Roberta asked us to return the next evening after our big opera, and a plan was born.  We promised to arrive a punto by 8:29pm.

She sent up home with a 100 year old plate for April and some goodies for breakfast.  We shared some grappa.

It took some doing after the big opera performance, but we did make it.  The moon was full.   Everyone else arrived shortly thereafter.  I played my violin at the edge and made Mariela cry.

And, once again after dinner, we played in the kitchen for the cooks even as the vegan meal was blitzkrieged on the massive stove.  The floor was sticky, but the love was palpable.

We stayed until the grappa ran out.

And we will return.

 

 

 

 

 

Metallica in Germany

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What do you do when you land in Germany?  The answer involves a Camaro and the Autobahn and Metallica.

Markus’s airport car service

 

After a quick shower to wash off the metal tube, it’s time for the first Radler.  A slippery slope to lots of beer.  It is, after all, Germany.

The download festival.  Here we come.

 

The duck is your co-pilot

 

Cider for the win

 

In the van things are serious

 

The weather GOOD

 

The weather BAD

 

duckface

After a bunch of beers (who is counting?), we wound our way over a 5km spiral into the venue.  Germans are a very orderly bunch.  Bt who thought up this entrance and exit plan?

MOO.

 

Sabaton from Sweden

 

Rock and roll

 

What?!

 

My crowd.  What an unruly, fantastic bunch.

There was beer

 

Did I mention the part about the beer?

 

We pushed off the rain through sheer psychic magic, but it was only delayed.

Nap time for the American

Five Finger Death Punch

You may start with five fingers, but you will end up with four.

Finally, Metallica

Are you feeling good?  Yes, we are.

Some guitar for you.

Rocker

 

Nothing else matters in this crowd of strangers.  Metalheads are a welcoming bunch.

I am not alone.

My first metal show was the best one ever.

Music Mode: Ritt and Wilder Release Hinge (with some fiddle)

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My music has been on a COVID hiatus for way too long — only the occasional rain in the desert with Rhine or a Bitter Liberal or two.  Fortunately, along came Ritt Deitz who just released a new album and did a four show tour to promote its release.  Buy a copy of Hinge here.

 

 

I played two of the shows with Ritt and his son, multi-instrumentalist and talented child Wilder.  The shows were great.  Here are some bits.

Wilder Deitz plays mandolin

The DC date was actually in Vienna at Diego Ruiz’s house.

The lineup (near the end anyway)

An excellent place to play a house concert.  Great people.

All temporary of course.  As we are not of this world.

Cocktails by Bill Shepardson.  Where did that doctor’s bag come from?

Wilder Deitz plays piano

 

No, mandolin. Wilder plays mandolin.

The feet

Wilder plays guitar

 

 

No wait, it’s piano that Wilder plays.

 

Some other fiddler

I did play, honest.  But nobody was there to record said playing.  He said he played. He played.

Sing it.

 

Then it was on to Wilmington, NC for a Sunday evening performance (close enough to the Stick to merit a long drive).

 

Feet up between sets

The venue was a fiddle shop of the highest caliber. Ronald Sachs for the win.

Who needs people?  Music is enough.  Right?  Yes?  Music is enough?

Nope.  The people add the magic.  Connect.

The mosquito green room.

On the stage again.  The music was even better.

 

These people charge the batteries. Thank you, people.

Sing it.

 

Then it was over.  More please.

Like a puppy on the beach.

 

Fin.

 

 

Nancy Griffith memorial

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During the 28th annual Oopstock, we spontaneously performed this version of Nanci Griffith’s song “Love at the Five and Dime” as a memorial.  Nanci died the day before we performed this song.

Thanks for the music, Nanci.

 

 

john doe krisin hersh grant-lee phillips pittsburgh

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There were three of them. The setting was intimate at Club Cafe.  Negronis were available. Seating was not.

Ye olde van carpool crew

 

 

Krisin opened up with an interesting guitar song that involved intentionally bending chords on an acoustic.  After that song, all bets were off WRT tuning.  Who needs tuning for an intimate acoustic set?  EVERYONE. EVERYONE MUST TUNE.

(please tune)

 

Grant-lee joined in and tuning became mandatory.  This also allowed for some breathing.  Grant-lee is charismatic and fun to watch but about as deep as a puddle.

Duo to go

 

 

 

 

Picture picture for Em

John Doe was fantastic. Thank the stars for a poet singer like him.

John Doe

 

 

 

Hells yes on a great Pittsburgh Sunday night.  So good to see Alisa and Greg!!

The Dead Bambis in Japan

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Best bass ever

Rock and Roll baby

WILCO C’ville Life -or- love is everywhere?!

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Yep. Thank goodness.  Just in the nick of time.  Bill and Em to the rescue.

Wilco, cville

 

 

 

 

 

 

box of wilco

 

 

 

before

 

 

 

tiny

 

 

 

Hinge

 

 

 

fin. commencer. we die to live another day.

House Concert in Fort Thomas with Ritt and Wilder Deitz (cincinnati)

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Here are some pictures taken by Tessa Killen during a magical evening performance in the house concert series known as Parlor and Patio held in greater Cincinnati. The location and sound are ideal for an intimate evening—impressive attention to detail, warm and inviting hosts, and post show music (not to mention bourbon).

Ritt Deitz

More about the musicians, Ritt and Wilder Deitz and me.

Wilder Deitz on the actual wooden baby grand piano

Gary McGraw on the fiddle

In the action

House Concert in Bloomington with Ritt and Wilder Deitz

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Yes please. Music with an old friend from the college days spurred into action by the seredipitous planet of ours. I was slated to be in Bloomington for a Dean’s Advisory Council meeting of the Luddy School of Informatics. Then a post card arrived with a request to “alert the Bloomington troops” scrawled across the front announcing a house concert on the very same day.

So a sideman on the fiddle was added to the bill. What a magical evening. Intimate, energetic, and filled with love.

Sound check in the light of day

A scrumptious spread

Concert at dusk.

Ritt Deitz

Set 1

Wilder Deitz

Ritt and Wilder

Back to the Eastside You Go

Ritt and Wilder

I swear I played the fiddle too.

The 2018 Solstice Fire

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The weather cooperated spectacularly for the 2018 solstice party. The rain cleared for a day or two. The moon was full. It was a crisp cold night with a beautiful sky.

Our ritual of gathering good friends from all walks of life every six months took place again without a hitch. Thanks to all who came to help us turn the sun.

Sunset before the party

This year, the fire lighting was cheered on by a rising full moon. The fire caught quickly and burned hard and fast.

Full moon and unlit pile

 

Lighting (time to run away)

Lots of people arrived for the lighting this year

Every solstice party is different in interesting ways. This year lots of people showed up for the lighting at 5:45. Then the BOILO got the party rocking.  The lighting is always a sight to see.

The fire gets going

2018 solstice fire

 

 

The moon was incredible and lent a silver tinge to everything.

The barn was alight in party mode

This year the unplanned potluck food supply was great with chilli, meatballs, sloppy joes, fried chicken, and even krispy kreme donuts. The barn bar took a licking. Gonna need some serious restocking before summer!

Sorry about the terrible Christmas music in the barn. That’s just how it goes. At least there is a disco ball.

Marco. BOILO! There’s nothing quite like extremely local product.

 

A violin burns

Possibly the most ridiculous and surprising part of the evening was the violin sword fight instigated by Josh Henry (my trusty and talented violin and bow repair guy). Unbeknownst to everyone, Josh brought three dead rental violins to the party. So when we got them out and started sword fighting vigorously with them and then threw their remains into the fire, the 20 somethings who were already wondering just what those old people across the fire were all about, freaked out. They thought just for the smallest moment that I was destroying my actual violin.

LOL! Got you.

There was lots of music this year.  It started early and went late.  Thanks music makers!  We love playing with you all.

 

Late night the music continues

 

Ember glow

I know, lets do it again this summer!!

Moonglow (picture by Amy Barley)

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