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Porchfest in Bridgeport

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Lets play music in Connecticut.  The Greyhounds welcome you to the house.

But first a dip in the pool.

And then it’s off to the porch.

George, gig one of three…

Sound check

And then another dip in another pool, between gigs.

Gig the next.

All we’re missing is the drummer.  George, gig three…

 

 

Lets Get COVID in New Hampshire!

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We thought we had narrowly escaped COVID with our collective departure from Italy.  But it was not to be.

Everything was looking good, from the could-have-been-worse schlep through the Zurich train station with the enormous guitar case (no carts?!  no humans who help?!), through wine tasting in SwissAir First Class, to smooth arrival in Boston.

My trusty ally and friend Spoolia was there to scoop me.

And driving into Newton it was as if we hadn’t even left Italy!  Heck, dinner even was Italian, but pronounced incorrectly.

Mabel was impressed, and this is a dog not really impressed by much!

So it was off to New Hampshire for some music.  And a side of accidental COVID.

Oopstock has been going strong for 29 years.  Many of the usual folks were in attendance. But get this: there was a professional sound guy, and there were high school kids manning the grill.  Holy cow, so upscale!!

This made my life much easier (not to mention Rhine’s).  Here are my feet on the table where the sound board USED to be positioned way back when I was the sound guy.  The hombre to the right is Steve.  He ran great sound.

The usual instrument pod.

The East German Gold Medal Swim Team Captain.

New blood with high charisma.

Where’s Aubrey did an iteration of the Into the Unknown game.  We all missed Sogol’s dancing.  But here is the picture that April made.

 

The Moose Hut guys also got whacked by COVID.  Chris was down and didn’t make the party.  As a result, a game of musical chairs around who plays what instrument resulted.  Zack played drums?!

Everybody missed Romey.

There was, in deference to Italy, a Negroni session mid-day.

The sun set.  The babies went to bed.

And the bands came out under the actual light show.  FWIW, LED lights still attract shit tons of mosquitos.

Guy Ferrari played some original music.  Tight.

Moose Hut became Moose Nut or maybe Moose Butt.

And then it was the Grayhounds (a quasi-iteration on Splatterfoot with a new guy named Paul whaling on guitar).

Sadly, Rhine was infected the whole time.  He started feeling symptoms Sunday.  And I got it from him.  I am pretty sure this all started with the Italian villa art collective (and I secretly wonder about their self-reported negative test results before our performance).  So many years of top notch risk management come tumbling down when you change your risk stance.  WHOMP.

A view from the stage.  We played electric until 10 then shifted to the campfire where this year’s highlights were a complete treatment of one side of the Pink Floyd Animals record, and a coveted iteration of Hangin.

\

Then it was off to Spain to become a vector.  Unknowingly. Alas.

Special thanks to Spool for making this all possible and to Rhine and April for persisting with the music party even in a summer crammed with art and fun.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Performing in Campiglia Cervo: Into the Unknown

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The stadium in Campiglia Cervo is scaled to match the interstate highway system that blazes through the center of town.  We packed the stadium to the gills with what I am told was 65 people, including the vice mayor who introduced us, but not including the mayor himself who had more important things to do like look at himself in the mirror.  Just so you know, this was a much bigger show than the show Metallica put on at the same stadium!

The show was actually very good.  Intimate. Interesting. Tight.  During the rest of our time in Rialmosso we ran into lots of people who either attended or heard through the grapevine about our performance.  That was both really cool and very gratifying.

So what happened, exactly?

First we invented the idea.  And we practiced.  Then Matt arrived and things got remarkably much better.  in the end, the performance included:

April Claggett, realtime art

Gary McGraw, violin, mandolin and vocal harmony

Matt Savage, piano

Sogol Shirazi, piano and dance

Rhine Singleton, guitar, dobro, vocals, songwriting

The road crew set the stage after arriving the day before to check electricity levels and make sure all of the seating was available.  We have nothing but admiration for our intrepid road crew.  They work so hard so we can do what we do.

The show consisted of three parts as shown on the billboard above.

Here is a stage floor view of the set list for those of you collecting bootlegs.

And a view of the nosebleed seating in the back before anyone was in the house.  You can see the dancing props professionally built by our dedicated construction crew.

Publicity was run by our crack PR team who were able to put up a poster with the last of the tape.

Fortunately that poster was all it took to fill the space to the gills.  When we started (only 5 minutes late), people were standing because the seating was gone.  Even the reserved section for mastiffs and toddlers was full.

We sincerely appreciate the willingness of the locals in the area to support our art with enthusiasm and love!

The stage is set.  The weather is perfect.

And we’re off. Sogol and Matt play Bach together.

Dancing to Vivaldi Concerto in G major for Two Mandolins, Strings and Continuo, RV 532 (re-re-arranged for violin, guitar and piano).

Realtime art during We Will Float Away.

Then the game.

Here is a (raw) video compilation of the show, barely edited.  This is six minutes of an hour long show.

A complete properly-produced video will be available someday (or so we believe). We are told it is being edited by the BBC in cooperation with NPR.

Another view of the Finale from the audience.

We had so much fun inventing the game and performing it that we want to do it again.

 

 

How many paradises are there, anyway? A visit to Terzo Paradiso in Biella, Italia

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You might die, but if anything is noted as the cause of death, it will be loneliness.

There are no people doing art or even visiting Terzo Paradiso unless you count our unruly bunch.  Here’s what we saw (and what we did).

First we explored random spaces.

And then we found some art to see (but only after getting lucky).

After a short nap in the hammocks near the circles, we found the projector and those glowy rocks from Land of the Lost.

There were no Sleestaks. So here are two for good measure.  They covet the glowy rocks.

There was dirt.

There was also very silly science.  But it was arty.

Not surprisingly, the room was better than the dirt.

Watch this video. Really.

Rhine took pics too.  It was hard not to.

We got lucky and found another human who told us how to cross the highway, go down the stairs and find even more art.  Or rather more art places with not much art.  Something like that.

Rhine woke up from his long nap, dreaming of Sleestaks and late 1970s TV.

The space rang a long cool echo of lost civilizations and the empty planet to come.

So there was dance.

And reflection

We climbed back down to reality using a ladder that was too short to reach the sky.

And then we left.

 

Creating a New Art Form

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Eight of us have convened in Rialmosso, Italia to create some art together.  Sadly, three of us were almost immediately infected with COVID from the trip across the ocean.  So far, the other five of us are healthy and working together to create, well, something.  Here’s how that is going.

We have a movement artist, a painter, and three musicians.  For one section of the show we are performing this Sunday we’ve decided on an art form where we pass a token between us, one after another (and sometimes to a group).  The idea is for each artist to improvise in their medium given what the artist before them came up with in another medium.

This set of videos shows our second attempt at this performance game.

It all starts with April Claggett

 

Who passes the token to Rhine Singleton (uncharacteristically playing the dobro).

 

Who passes the token to Sogol Shirazi.

 

Who, uh oh, passes the token to me (Gary McGraw).  Fortunately, I was unable to film myself playing the violin.  (Though you can find some video on Rhine’s blog Blame it on Sally.)

Now that Matt Savage has joined us on the piano, we have five players.  This is an interesting experiment that we’re having fun with.

 

Ready…

Set…

Go…

We are also performing some classical music.  Here is some Vivaldi being worked up.  Sogol will dance to this once we figure it out.

A more pedantic video of the Vivaldi sessions.

There is Bach being worked up, and Chopin too.

 

And we’re spicing up some Where’s Aubrey tunes with simultaneous art and dance.

The incredible result of one of our improvisations

Our time together at Villa Emma has been filled with ideas, collaboration, and the joy of creating something together.

 

Making music Near Biella (Miagliano)

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What happens when you convene an eclectic group of artists with a vague plan to “make something” involving music, dance, drawing, and possibly opera?  Well who knows.  We haven’t been able to find out yet as one of the dancers came to Italy with COVID (everyone tested on arrival) and spread it to two others in our group before proper quarantine set in.  The biggest impact involved our fearless leader and chief convener Shooka taking to her bed.

The upshot on Sunday about three hours after landing in Italy was a hastily constructed spettacolo involving Bach, improvisational movement art to unplanned spontaneous music, and Where’s Aubrey in Miagliano, Italy. Amazingly, the people who came to see us actually enjoyed themselves.

We fittingly call ourselves, Into the Unknown.

Instruments fly from Germany

 

Giant guitar case travels well

 

Sogol plays Bach to open the show

 

The audience mostly avoided the actual amphitheater seats, instead opting for the shade

We shifted the “stage” to face the shade loving audience.

 

“Backstage” with a dobro

By far the most interesting part of the show was when the musicians played whatever occurred to them (us?) as the dancers moved to the improvisational music and the artist drew what she heard and saw.  We divided that piece into eight parts defined by the artist.  We also asked the audience to participate by drawing as well.

Movement art

 

Sogol and Dani and April

 

Where’s Aubrey performs with a kluged up sound system

 

Paparazzi

 

Sure

Ultimately, we all had a good time at our first performance (one of three planned so far). Benvenuto in Italia.

More about the show can be found on Rhine’s blog.

 

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.

 

 

Birthday Show in New Hampshire: Where’s Aubrey

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Where’s Aubrey
photo by Tom Singleton

What’s the best way to celebrate birthday 52? With a show in New Hampshire of course. Where’s Aubrey played a show in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire for a receptive audience at the Mole Hill Theater. As always, we played a benefit performance, this time for the LEAF (nutritious lunch) program of a public charter school operating out of the same revamped machine shop where we played the show.

Alstead

A machine

We played our sets right next to a huge blue machine. Not sure what it actually used to do. Stamp out complete cars??

Where’s Aubrey and the big blue machine

The show was high energy and fun, one of the best we’ve played.

Where’s Aubrey: Gary McGraw and Rhine Singleton

Laying into the fiddle

Rhine sings

Mando and the big blue behemoth

Where’s Aubrey in Alstead, NH

no silly allowed? definitely no silly.

fiddle and the big blue behemoth

What kind of stuff does it take to play an acoustic act??

the stage

Well, to be fair, we played our two set show. Then after a break we electrified the whole thing with drums, bass, and electric guitar. The LEAF Cutters were born. Dancing happened. Much fun was had.

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A message from Rhine

Dear Friends and Music Lovers –

Because you and so many others turned out last Saturday night, we not only had a total blast playing music, we raised $1250 for the healthy lunches program at the LEAF school through donations at the door. The silent auction brought in another $1000, so the event truly was a smashing success!

And, you were a wonderful audience to play for. So, we’re sending our heartfelt thanks. Hope to see you at another music event before too long!

fin

Pictures from the Where’s Aubrey Habitat Show 12.29.17

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We played a show last year. Hah. OK, last year was only 7 days ago, but it’s true. During the show, we dropped a new CD called “diversion” which you can order for yourself. Have a listen to our favorite track!

BTW, the super delicious cover art is by Eli McGraw.

Collectively, we raised $1181 for Habitat for Humanity’s work in Clarke County, bringing Where’s Aubrey’s all concert total to $15,662.

The concert was a blast to play. Here are some pictures. In each set, we started out with only two people on stage, Gary McGraw on violin and Rhine Singleton on guitar.

Where’s Aubrey performs at the Barns of Rose Hill 12.29.18 (photo Amy Barley)

 

Eventually (during both sets) we were joined by stunt guitarist Allen Kitselman and drummer Nick Schrenk (both of the Bitter Liberals).

Nick Schrenk of the Bitter Liberals plays drums with Where’s Aubrey 12.29.18 (photo Amy Barley)

 

The gang’s all here. Allen Kitselman play stunt guitar with Where’s Aubrey 12.29.17 (photo Amy Barley)

 

Where’s Aubrey plus two Barns of Rose Hill 12.29.17

 

The highlight of the evening for us was honoring our biggest fan and long time Berryville arts supporter Michael Hobert. Here’s what I said about Michael from the stage.

Michael Hobert (photo Jen Lee)

 

Rhine Singleton (photo Tom Singleton)

 

Where’s Aubrey mid-jam (photo Tom Singleton)

 

Gary McGraw (photo Tom Singleton)

 

Rhine concentrates (photo Tom Singleton)

 

Paging Allen Kitselman, Allen Kitselman to the blue courtesy guitar (photo Tom Singleton)

 

The energy was palpable during the show. Thanks to the 100+ people who came to see Where’s Aubrey perform. We’ll be back.

Where’s Aubrey Jams at Barns of Rose Hill 12.29.17 (photo Jen Lee)

 

Goofing off on stage (in the middle of a song) (photo Jen Lee)

 

Yeah, this is fun (photo Jen Lee)