Invisible Words is released - week one

We had a nice party in Austin at the Strange Brew to celebrate on Oct 30...  The heavens opened up the day before and a lot of Austin was flooded expecting more rains on the 30th...  They came around 3am and were not so bad..   but it kept people in doors...  we still had a great crowd considering and i played the record down with Dave Monsey and Dony Wynn who has been working with us in a trio ( JJ has that awesome gig with TTB and they have kept him busy).  I got to spend some quality time with John Gibson Visuals and get some photos and more video work done.  STAY TUNED!

I set out for the Cali gigs with Matt Vasquez and stopped over in Midland one night to hang with Gil Prather and second night with Butch Gilliam.  Both good friends over the past few years.  They  got themselves a hit TV show last season it turns out.  West Texas Investors Club...this was our first visit since last summer.  Gill and I finished a bottle of mezcal and sang songs till we passed out.

I broke the trip up with a stop in Santa Fe where I got to perform with Jono Manson.  We went to different schools together.  Many common friends but our first meeting and thankfully with guitars in our hands.  It was spacial night.  Jono has a recording studio here in SFE and his client, Mark invited me to come record a new song I debuted last night at the High Note.  Jono is recording music for Mark's film and he has the studio locked up...  He must really like the song...  It;s called "easy come easy go"

My bud Freddy Lopez is being the most gracious host.  We always have too much fun.  I guess I need to push off for Cali tomorrow.  long drive.  or maybe Saturday.  It's about 1100 miles to San Fran.  Cruising in my '78 450 SLC.  because its the only car I've got....  and It's pretty fun to drive.

Closing the Summer

I wasn't sure what this summer had in store for me when it started but it couldn't have worked out better.  I spent most of it back in Austin playing a slew of gigs with my trio at the continental club and the continental club gallery (my favorite club on earth).  The last of which Charlie Sexton came out...  he sat up front and stayed for the entire thing...  What an honor.  He's a hero of mine..  i have so much admiration and respect for that man's musicality.  Anyway, this Austin town has really been sending back a lot of positive energy my way since coming home.  I really love Austin, TX.  Now I want to go out there in to the world and make y'all proud of me.

*Back in March I shot a music video with my friend and talented young film maker, Joe Salinas at Enchanted Rock we'll release that with the album late fall.

Next week I'll fly to Birmingham, Al to work more with D. Paul Jones III who shot the website cover photo (with the long horns)...  Then the following week I am flying to NYC to work with world class photographer, Mary Ellen Matthews.  I'm sure I'll play some gigs while I am there... (stay posted).  The GPS east coast office is there and we will be working hard up to that late fall release date keep ing me busy and getting all this art together...  maybe I'll even stop in and check on my Mom in G-burg MD.

Love. 

Global Positioning news...

Good news from camp JRB.  Today I signed a management deal with GPS Global Positioning Services Inc.  JW Johnson will be personally managing me and the release of invisible Words.  The GPS team has been a great ally to me over the years and I am thrilled to have them on board for this effort.  They also handle my personal friend, James Maddock and have done a very impressive job as he is not really very good...  (I'm kidding James is amazing).

So today we embark on a new relationship that I hope will bring my music to many new ears and help me build a base for years to come.  This is an exciting day!

I also look forward to collaborations in the coming months with Birmingham's David Paul Jones III Photography as well as videos collaborations with David Paul Jones III, John Christopher Gibson, and Joe Salinas.

If you are in Austin, TX...  Tomorrow night I get to rock the Continental Club stage with "Monster" Dave Monsey and "The Boogie Man" Dony Wynn.  

Greetings from Austin

I have been back home for several weeks and it feels incredible.  Like home does.  It was unplanned before I got back but I landed a residency at my favorite club, The Continental Club .  up in the Gallery.  That room is home to legends.  I have seen Jimmy Vaughan and Billy Gibbons with Mike Flanigan...  the great guitar playing of Dave Biller, Denny Freeman,  The Greyhounds, Red Young.  Songwriters, James McMurtry, Jon Dee Graham are regulars.  It is one of the coolest places on the planet and home to no less than great music.  It is an honor to be there on Thursdays.  I am always lucky to have Dave Monsey with me who I made the album with and while JJ is out of town we get to play with James Gwyn from Junior Brown's band.  I love playing with James.    

I have been composing some new music and songs and will be breaking them in at these shows.  I am feeling inspired and blessed.  If you are in Austin please come visit us there.  We are having a good time.  If you are not from Austin maybe it's time for a visit.

Hola from NOLA (heavy story warning)

I'm writing today from New Orleans.  A place I called home for a few years in the mid nineties.  I moved here on a whim from the DC area. Well not entirely.  My cousin owned and operated a vintage guitar shop uptown on Oak street.  Besides my father, my cousin was the biggest influence on me becoming a guitar player and pursuing music full time.  

A couple of months ago, smack in the middle of SXSW mayhem I got some phone calls from several of Mike's old pals.  Joe Tullis and Pat Sansone, James Hall, Pete Winkler, Michael Paz.  It seems Mike had gotten into a little trouble. Mike's close friends knew that he had inherited the the Huntington's disease gene from his father, Steve who passed in the early 90's.  We all had our eye on Mike but some people moved out of town and started families and it was hard to tell from a long distance phone call how Mike was holding up over the years.  It was clear to me this time that the disease had absolutely arrived and was advancing to the point where he could no longer take care of himself.  Last I saw him was in NYC about six years ago.

NOPD had arrested him and not being fully aware of his condition he was was stuck in New Orleans jail for two weeks with the general population until Joe Tullis, Michael Paz, music cares, and Nathalie Brignac came together with a plan and got him out.

He has remained in the care of Nathalie all month long.  She was a big fan of his band Motorway.  Nathalie is a true saint.  Her friend Charlie Brown stays with Mike every day to make sure he is safe and he is doing very well and in great spirits.

When I arrived Mike and I went to Oak Street and got a coffee in the coffee shop, the sight of his long time vintage guitar shop.  We walked the block and I was flooded with memories.  It hit me that I had moved here because every time I spoke with Mike there was some hero of mine in his shop buying a guitar.  Keith Richards, "Clarence Gatemouth" Brown, Jeff Tweedy.  I could hear the music in the background and I swear i could smell it through the phone.  Mike was often recording and renting gear to famed Kingsway Studio and I wanted to be in the music too.  I have always wanted to be in the music.  I wanted in.  Mike let me in.

I met James Hall in Mike's shop during that time.  We were sitting on the couches and listening to WWOZ.  He performed "illingness" solo, promoting a new album and later we went to his sold out show at Tipitina's.  James and Mike have remained friends for well over two decades now.  Often performing together.  He is very committed to Mike.  James and I met up during SXSW at the Kessler Theater day party.  We talked a lat that day.  We also played together that night for the first time in a beautiful environment with the great Eric Mcfadden.  A few weeks later James and I randomly met up in Birmingham, Al and played couple of more times and now again this week in NOLA.  Nathalie and I took Mike to the Circle bar for James' show and it was electric.  Mike felt great.  On Saturday we hosted a grill out backyard party at Nathalie's and picked guitars in the yard.  Michael Paz came by.  Michael is in music production here in NOLA (also a picker) and is helping us find a temporary home for Mike and heaping to plan a fundraising concert to help with some of Mike's expenses.  But most of all we celebrated music and food and company of old friends, the disease was not the focal point.  The hang was not sad.  The music was at the center once again...  where it belongs.

I am thankful for all of the support.  This disease is uncomfortable to watch and be around.  It dismantled both my father, my uncle, my grand father, and my cousin Jeff.  Dementia is coming full speed ahead and the physical body is beginning to fail him now too.  I have seen this before.  I know what's coming and it scares me. 

Though Mike has some trouble playing these days he still enjoys the guitar and music more than ever.  He is sweet and humbled by the challenges.  He is well aware of what is happening to him. The gig and the back yard was a big joy.  The positive stimuli lifted him, the music and company filled him.  It's the little things.  

Life is short.  I try and find the joy in the little moments.  Help when I can  Stay true to my passion and live in it.

 

 

Greetings from Nashville: stories from the road since SXSW

I found myself in Nashville this month.  What a town!   I should have started coming here sooner, I thought that the minute I got here.  I came on the heals of a lovely SXSW (Something I never thought I'd say).  I got to play with the band, JJ and Dave as a trio twice and I played on Fox morning show one day.  The trio was an incredible experience.  I love that band!  I can't wait for the next chance to play with them.  Sunday of SXSW I ran into James Hall at the Kessler Theater party, we sat in the pool and reconnected while Homer Henderson slayed a one man band set.  "lee harvey,"  great tune.  We discussed some recent news out of New Orlean's regarding the health of my cousin.  

I met James in '95 in New Orleans.  I was just a kid.  I had just moved there because my cousin Mike had a music shop and every time I called hime up some hero of mine was in there buying or playing a guitar (Keith Richards, Clarence Gate Mouth Brown, Jeff Tweedy).  The day I arrived we tuned into the radio because James was doing a promo on WWOZ.  I remember he played "illingness" live and came to the shop right after.  We were on the list that night at Tippitina's and there was a line around the block when we arrived.  James and Michael kept a tight friendship for the past 25 years.  Often playing together when James passed through NOLA.  So James was in the know.  he knew that Michael's father had passed from Huntingtons disease, a brain degenerative disease.  His brother suffered the same fate two years ago at the young age of 42. Those who knew Mike well knew he had inherited the gene.  The call came in that SXSW weekend that Mike was no longer going to be able to live on his own.   There was an outpouring of support from a slew of musicians who knew and loved Mike.  I spoke with a lot of them that weekend.  Later that evening James and Eric Mcfadden and I played a late set.  It was beautiful.  The Kessler people are some my favorite folks in this business.  It was a beautiful ending to a rich week.  

My course was set to come to Nashville after SXSW and spend some time with Words and Music Admin, my new publishing co. and take a few meetings on behalf of the album.  I am currently seeking management, an agent and a label...  We are making headway.  More on that next blog.  When I pulled out of Austin I got a call from rock photographer Michael Weintrob and he had a room for me...  and he had another surprise.  Another friend from Austin, Paul Jones was now in Birmingham, Al.  Paul is a fantastic artist and photographer.  They were throwing a party and they wanted to hire me to play it.  Done deal.  It was a blast.  Aaron Lee Tasjin came down to join me and low and behold James Hall was in town and he joined us too.  I got stuck in Birmingham for well over  a week catching up with Paul and his lovely fiancé, Mary Clayton..  We had an amazing photo shoot. One of the best for me.  Paul is an artist when it comes to lighting, a true chiaroscuro specialist.  It was sick.  They took me to his lake house where we celebrated another year around the sun for me...  Birmingham is full of love and great food.  What a great town.  I am connecting with the Southeast again and it feels great.  The food culture there is incredible.  Though I think I put on 10 lbs in !0 days.  I call it the best 10lbs of my life.

So we tore up Birmingham and Kawilaga lake (where Hank Williams went off to write his hits)  And it was time to get back to Nashville...  get back to business.  Day one reentry I went to the Nashville film festival for the film premier of Heartworn Highways Revisited, a film directed by my friend, Wayne Price from the NUBLU in NYC days.  He made a film about modern Nashville singer songwriters a few of which I knew personally and all of which were on my radar.  and it was great fun.  Later that night I shared a few cocktails with Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit and reminisced about Dripping springs and Orange Co.  Weird combo but awesome night.  I like that guy.

Yesterday I ate lunch with Jim Stephanson at Jacks Bbq on Broadway and we watched a couple of bands at Roberts.  The music was great...  The Bbq could take a lesson from TX.  Truth.  Jim played on my early records on the first Flexible Sensuals album and a few other deep cuts including "Blooming in the Sun" with Kat Edmonson front the Radio Dial LP.  He's a super hot tele player from DC, relative of the Danny Gatton musical family tree, and an early music mentor of mine.  Jim is in Nashville with his wife until Tuesday. maybe we'll get to do some picking.

The past few days have been a bit emotional for me... been thinking of my cousin, Mike in NOLA a lot.  We talked a bit and I had several long conversations with Nathalie, an angel who has taken Mike into her home and giving him care.  I think I might pack the car and head back to NOLA.  throw a party for him on Saturday and get all the guitars out.  James Hall is in town for a friday night gig at the circle bar.  So life.  You gotta live it... 

I have spent most of these last two days in this hotel room writing, playing, pacing and snoring.  revitalizing, planning a scheming.  I needed it.  

Lastly, I met Kim Logan at SXSW through JW Johnson.  She was lovely.  We played guitars out in front of the broken spoke with western swing songwriting legend, Gil Prather...  turns out she has a spare room this month.  So looks like I'll be hanging my hat in Nashville mostly + a little NOLA + Bham for the souther makers fund raiser for the farmers.

Yeah.  its a rich life. 

Greetings from Southern California

If you are reading this you already know I just made an album with JIm Scott.  I've decided to call it Invisible Words after one of the song titles.  A lot of my inspiration for this batch of songs came from my travels through West Texas' Big Bend.  Sometimes I'd stop in a little town called Alpine, where they put me up at the Holland Hotel.  I'd play in the hotel bar or on the courtyard for a room and a few bucks.  It broke up my trip from Austin by a few hours and was a beautiful place to spend the night and play guitar.  One night I was playing outside on in the courtyard and some children were playing in front of my make shift stage. One of the kids yelled out "invisible words" so I just started singing and making up a song on the spot with that phrase in it. They were amused.  When I got to the hotel room I flushed it out and by the morning I had a new song.  Something about that Rio Grande and wide open sky breeds creativity like no other.

So I'm on my way back to Austin.  It's my first time back since I came out West to start working with Jim in Nov.  I'll be back in just time for the SXSW mayhem and will get the chance to perform with the band  (JJ Johnson and Dave Monsey) who I had the pleasure of working with in the studio with Jim.  I am excited to get play with them again and it will also be nice to see old friends.  Heck they are even putting me on the Tee Vee friday morning of SXSW.  Channel 7 Good Day Austin.  Boy Howdy!

The next few days I'll be getting ready for my journey east...  first stop will be Santa fe, New Mexico,  I'll visit with friends and charge my batteries there before getting back to the ruckus of SXSW.  I'll need it.  I have a feeling this is gunna be a busy year and I'm so excited about it  I can barely sleep.

The end of the year goal is to get back to Valencia, CA with JJ, Dave and Jim Scott and take a crack at the next batch of tunes.  

jrb