Back to Work (just a little bit)
The clubs are closed, the breweries and restaurants trying to get by on take-out, festivals are cancelling, which leaves musicians with no stages to play on, no crowds to perform in front of, no easy way to gather with our fellow players and make a few songs together.
But that hasn’t stopped many of us from putting our music out there for you to listen to and watch as we learn how to Livestream on Facebook from our homes.
Here’s a song from a recent show:
Welcome to the new normal as we try not to make each other sick.
I livestreamed on Facebook for St. Patrick’s Day, had a great time and apparently, so did the people who tuned in to watch. Erin Go Bragh!
Friday March 20th I’m on again, but as a member of the Triple A Blues Band. We’ll be at The Music Mart (closed like most everything else), but owned by our saxophone player, and will stream through the band’s FB page – facebook/The Triple A Blues Band. We plan s to start @ 6pm EST.
If you’re enjoying the music and want to help us get through it, you can send a tip via PayPal.me/JTBlues – thank you and stay safe!
Yes, I love the Blues, and I love playing the Blues. Blues piano is my wheelhouse, as they say. But that doesn’t mean I play ONLY the Blues – just come out to most of my shows and you’ll see (and hear) me play plenty of songs that are not Blues, some not even close to the Blues.
On the first Sunday of each month you can hear me playing Blues with Andy Tolins at Webster’s Cafe & Bookstore, but you’ll also hear us play Jazz standards such as “Green Dolphin Street” and “Four” by Mile Davis.
Drop in to Doggie’s Pub on home football Saturdays and catch me with the Skoal Brothers rocking out on Ozzy Osborne’s “War Pigs” followed by Pink Floyd’s “Time” and “Have A Cigar.”
I also hold the keyboard spot with Natascha & The Spy Boys, covering Pop/Americana tunes like “Don’t Wait Too Long” by Madeleine Petroux and “Folding Chair” by Regina Spektor.
Don’t be surprised on Thursday nights at Talleyrand Tavern and I break into some Backstreet Boys, Post Malone, Beatles, or Oasis.
So yes, I play a lot of different songs that are not considered Blues, but you will hear a bit of Blues in all of them, because among my influences are great Blues piano players like Dr. John, Eden Brent, David Maxwell, Otis Spann, Deanna Bogart, John Cleary, Honey Piazza; shall I go on? Several of the groups I perform with are bona fide Blues Bands: The Triple A Blues Band, the Doug McMinn Blues Band, my very own group the Denicats – we all primarily perform the Blues. But we all perform other styles of music, too, and knowing how to play the Blues provides the foundation for those other styles. So when you hear me playing a wedding processional, or cabaret tunes, or easy listening dinner music, know that the Blues is pulsing within all that music.
That’s why I call myself a Blues Piano Player.
So July was a whirlwind of rehearsals and gigs, mostly due to Arts Fest (officially, The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts) in State College. Over the course of 4 days I played 9 shows with all of my regular bands: The Denicats, Triple A Blues Band, Natascha & The Spy Boys, The Skoal Brothers, plus a duo set with Andy Tolins for good measure.
(to be continued…)
And July means Arts Fest which means a lot of intense fun because I have to practice and rehearse and practice and rehearse for all the shows I’m playing that week – and then I get to play the shows!
You can look at my schedule (right over there >>>) to see when and where I’ll be playing with who.
Typically, January has been one of the slow months of the year for gigs. After all the hustle and excitement of the holiday season, people are exhausted, the weather turns colder, belts get tightened, and tax returns start to get worked on. At least, that’s how I always feel.
But this year, things barely slowed down. Because Christmas and New Year’s Eve fell on Mondays, I didn’t lose any of my regularly scheduled gigs, but did pick up extra holiday shows for those dates. Then Natascha and I answered the call for a last-minute party, I got a little TV time on the piano at WTAJ, played the Blues at Elk Creek Cafe and Bullfrog Brewery, and got Soulful at the State Theatre. Sure, there was a cancelled show because of the snow, but that will be rescheduled.
No matter the weather or the time of year, people will always want and need music, and I will be happy to provide – because I need it, too. So I look forward to seeing you out and about, humming along, singing a song, tapping your feet to whoever’s playing their music for you.
I hope you’re having a great holiday season, mine’s been good so far. But in case you need it, I’ll be doing my part to spread a little joy this week. So, whenever you need a break from the in-laws, elves, and reindeer, come find me. I always enjoy making music for the holidays, so it won’t be difficult.
Monday is Christmas Eve, and I’ll start off by playing Christmas songs for residents of Juniper Village in State College, 2:30-3:30. A little later I’ll have the piano set up at Local Whiskey on Beaver Avenue, playing the Christmas Blues from 8:00-10:00. Right after that, it’s downstairs to The Phyrst where I’ll rock it out from 10:30-12:30. Santa usually stops in for a break from his rounds; he’ll be happy to share a Guinness and cookies with you.
After I get done playing with all my new toys on Christmas Day, you’ll find me back at Local Whiskey for another 8-10 show, and right down to the Phyrst again at 10:30. When you add Christmas, music, and the Phyrst all together, well, this will probably be the best Tuesday of the year!
Thursday will feel kind of normal with Tunes & Trivia at Talleyrand Tavern in Bellefonte starting at 7:30, and the same for Friday with The Triple A Blues Band playing 7-9pm at Zeno’s Pub in State College. But Friday follies don’t end there, as I head out to Boalsburg for a 10pm solo show at The Bar.
Saturday it’s a road trip all the way to the Berwick Brewing Company, where I’ll team up with Doug McMinn for some good beer, great pizza, and straight-ahead Blues from 7-10pm.
Sunday I’ll catch up on football for a moment, then Monday brings New Years’ Eve, which I’ll be making the most of by playing 3 different shows. First up is Jazz with Natascha & The Spy Boys at State College Presbyterian Church from 6-7pm, immediately followed by the Funky Soul of Jackie Brown and The Gill Street Band at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 7:30-8:30. Finally, The Denicats swing into in 2019 at Happy Valley Brewing Company, 10pm – 1am.
And after all that? I park myself in front of my computer and install the latest version of TurboTax. Not my favorite game, but I feel compelled to play it every January. Wish me luck ~~~