Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vocabulary of a One-Year-Old

A vocabulary test on (<-- careful) has been burning up Facebook the last couple of days. It's multiple choice, but I tried to find answers that maybe revealed some humanity or suggested larger ideas. It makes me seem really smart, so hopefully that means I win. We'll call this a poem.


love :: life
much :: deal
child :: forget
large :: faded
deal :: plea
companion :: fool
trash :: crack
above :: work
specify :: assail
fall :: succeed
fly :: drink
spade :: needle
done :: squeaked
beg :: recant
lax :: neurotic
quash :: enumerate
minor :: crude
drab :: admissible
related :: alien
annoying :: clicker
incipient :: capricious
widow :: fiend
omen :: demand
querulous :: fractious
hightail :: surmise
gargantuan :: promiscuous


tell :: old
yep :: yes
try :: come
unable :: active
dangerous :: sadness
obey :: distant
punish :: narrow
break :: separate
standard :: normal
nasty :: foul
extortion :: compensate
inept :: acquiesce
aerate :: adamant
sluggish :: alienate
aver :: avulse
current :: catalyst
inimical :: amorphous
buoyant :: aggrieved
physicist :: apologist
yoke :: avarice
provoker :: alacrity
apocrypha :: altruism
needy :: affinity
inveigled :: baneful

Patrick McCurry, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

S/S Marie Robertson Featured at JCSM After Hours (6/23/2016)

I am conspicuously lax about doing posts about events that I'm involved promoting and even performing. Feel free to analyze this in the comments, and my apologies to anyone else involved who thinks my efforts here would have possibly gotten more ears and eyeballs pointed toward our projects.


Marie Robertson
Marie Robertson does lots of things. One is that she writes songs. Another is that she sings those songs and other songs while playing the piano. She'll be performing for the newly dubbed JCSM After Hours this Thursday (6/23/2016). Here's an event page on the museum's website. Learn more about Marie at this post on the museum's blog.

The museum's weekly 5-8pm offering has been, for the last couple years, featuring mainly jazz, and mainly the music of Cullars Improvisational Rotation, a trio I'm in that serves as kind of an extension to the ambient, folk-inspired jazz concept of guitarist Dan Mackowski (more at We, or kind of an alternate version of the group without two of its three members, will open for Marie on Thursday. Guitarist Taylor Pierce and bassist Ben Young will join me.

Lately, we've been mixing up the kinds of music presented at After Hours. Last week we hosted a live-music milonga (tango night) with Tango Orchestra Club Atlanta and the Auburn Argentine Tango Group. In the upcoming weeks, we'll have other jazz groups, a kind of classical music jam session we'll call a musicale, Indian music, Iranian music maybe, and who knows what else. As the museum's site says...
"Hear original songs, jazz, classical, cultural, and sometimes adventurous music fill the pristine spaces at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University."
The museum's Facebook page is a good place to keep up with what's happening Thursday nights. We're trying to make it a place to hang out after work, have a drink or two and a bite to eat, watch the sunset, and hear good music.

Auburn: A Muscle Shoals Review with the Amy Black Band - Sundilla, 7/14/2016

I got an e-mail from Sundilla. Go to to sign up and get them yourself. Got a release for an upcoming show in the area? Send to


On July 14, the Sundilla music series will return to its original venue with a special concert co-sponsored by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities, and featuring A Muscle Shoals Revue with the Amy Black Band. The show takes place at Pebble Hill, 101 S. Debardeleben St. in Auburn. Showtime is 7:30, and admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Pebble Hill, Spicer's Music, Blooming Colors, and online at

Amy Black and her talented band present a high energy show with a mix of soul, blues, country and rock-n-roll. Amy's third solo release, The Muscle Shoals Sessions (June 2015) was recorded at historic FAME studios in her family's homeland of Muscle Shoals, AL and features Spooner Oldham, an original Muscle Shoals Swamper. The result was, "a blend of sultry desire, ardent passion...a sound that's both tough and tender" (Relix). "To showcase her true potential as a bluesy, R&B heavy hitter, Amy Black had to go home. Black's soulful chops shine" (Elmore).

In July 1993, an outdoor concert was held on the lawn at Pebble Hill; that was the first concert in what was to become The Sundilla Concert Series. In the 23 years since, Sundilla has become one of the premier concert series in the southeast; about 13 times per year performers from across the country, and the world, take the Sundilla stage at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and bring the best of the world's music to Auburn.

Sundilla president Bailey Jones says that putting this concert together "was one of those things where everything came together at the same time. We were approached by the folks at Pebble Hill about doing a Sundilla concert there. I started to look at their available dates, and one of them filled a hole in Amy Black's schedule. Amy and I had been trying to schedule a Sundilla show for years, and not only did this date work out perfectly, but Amy is currently touring with a full band for her Muscle Shoals Revue. The band has too many members to fit on the stage at our usual venue, so this is a great opportunity to get Amy and her band to Auburn, and to highlight the great new listening space that has been created at Pebble Hill."

"It should be a great time for everybody," Jones said. "Amy will perform those Muscle Shoals classics that everybody knows, by folks like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, The Rolling Stones, Etta James, Lou Rawls, Mavis Staples, Bobby Gentry, Bob Dylan and many others, as well as some originals that capture the spirit and soul of Muscle Shoals."

Though chairs and some tables will be available, Jones encourages everyone to bring a folding chair "just in case. And coolers will be allowed, but glass will not; plastic and aluminum only, please. Like all Sundilla concerts, we'll have some free food and coffee, but anyone who wants to bring their own food, or their favorite beverage, can do so."

In the case of inclement weather, the show will moved inside.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Martha’s Trouble to Rehab Historical Opelika House into Studio/Creative Space

I received a nice news release about Martha's Trouble doing the headline of this post. Got a news release? Send it to me at

### | |

Jen & Rob Slocumb of
Martha's Trouble
Husband-and-wife folk/rock duo Martha’s Trouble (aka Rob and Jen Slocumb) have purchased a historical Victorian house, originally built in 1910, in downtown Opelika, AL, and have already begun work on rehabbing the abode into a creative studio space in their hometown. The renovation should take approximately five months.

“We’ve wanted to do this for about four years, and we looked at a number of potential locations including warehouses,” says Rob.

“This particular house came available in February,” adds Jen, “and we liked the look of it and the vibe of the place. We wanted something that would be part of the town, to help support and grow the arts scene here, to support the community, and a space that would inspire artistic endeavors and creativity.”

The completed facility will be known as The Sound Wall. The Slocumbs are hoping to provide a small town recording experience in a premiere space. Two studio rooms are planned for the first floor. The rooms can be used for recording, rehearsals, writing sessions, post-editing video, photo shoots, video shoots, and will be available for special events. A gourmet kitchen with a large family-style farm table will allow local chefs to prepare meals on-site for visiting artists and bands. A one-bedroom apartment will be housed upstairs, offering lodging to artists using the studios downstairs or to people who want an inspiring place to stay in town.

1910 Opelika house set to be transformed
into The Sound Wall.
The Slocumbs moved to Opelika from Canada ten years ago. “We are always asked, ‘Why did you move here?’” says Jen. “And really the short answer is we felt–and still do–that there is something special about the Auburn/Opelika area. Now that we are touring less and spending more time at home raising a family, we are very passionate about contributing to our local community.”

“We hope The Sound Wall will become an extension to the already existing and expanding arts community,” adds Rob.

Martha’s Trouble, called “a hidden gem” by Billboard Magazine, is known for its signature sound of folk and country twang, which has been praised by some of the most influential and well-respected music critics of our time. Martha’s Trouble has been listed and featured in the aforementioned Billboard Magazine, as well as USA Today, AOL Music, Sirius XM Satellite Radio and Performing Songwriter. Their songs have received awards and have been featured in the show “Army Wives” and made-for-TV movies on Lifetime and CBS. The duo’s band name comes from a Bible story about Martha and Mary, one that they say is a reminder to stop and smell the roses and to keep an eye on the bigger picture and the important things in life.

In late 2015, Martha’s Trouble offered some new additions to their holiday repertoire with two digital singles, “River” and “White Christmas,” which followed on the success of two independent holiday albums, Christmas Lights (2002) and This Christmas (2008). Prior to that, they also released: Jen Coates’ Seed Sessions (2014), A Little Heart Like You (2012), Anchor Tattoo (2011), EP (2008), Forget October (2006), Still (2003), Sleeping Dogs (2002), and The Road Ahead (2000).

Friday, April 29, 2016

Pierce Pettis Plays Sundilla 5/6/2016

Pierce Pettis
Photo by Rodney Bursiel.
Below is from Sundilla. Pettis's website is MAL.

Legendary Alabama songwriter Pierce Pettis returns to the Sundilla Concert Series on Friday, May 6. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30 pm, and admission at the door is $15, $12 for students. Advance tickets are $12 and available at Spicer's Music, Blooming Colors, and online at There will be free coffee, tea, water and food, though as always attendees are invited to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.

You know you've got a shot when Joan Baez covers one of your songs. That's what sparked the career of Pierce Pettis in 1979 when Baez chose to include "Song at the End of the Movie" on her Honest Lullaby. From there, Pettis was involved with the Fast Folk movement in New York in the '80s alongside artists such as Shawn Colvin and Suzanne Vega. He continued to write songs and eventually embarked on his solo career in 1987, releasing CDs that garnered much critical praise, as well as praise from other artists who started recording Pettis songs. Among them were Dar Williams, who snagged "Family" for her Mortal City disc, and Garth Brooks, who recorded "You Move Me" for his hit Sevens. Read more.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Neptune's Car Plays Sundilla Friday (4/22/2016)

Neptune's Car is Holly Hanson and Steve Hayes.
More at
Got an e-mail from Sundilla about an upcoming Neptune's Car concert this Friday (4/22). You can get the same e-mails about this local (Auburn) music series that features folk, singer/songwriter, americana and more. Sign up at

Also, the best way to get me to post anything about whatever show you have coming up is to e-mail me at I don't always have time to scan the calendars anymore, so an e-mail with a writeup that's easy to cut and paste makes it more doable. Below is from Sundilla...


Award-winning duo Neptune's Car make their long-awaited Sundilla debut on Friday, April 22. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30 PM; admission at the door will be $15, but advance tickets cost just $12 and are available at Spicer's Music, Blooming Colors, and online at Students admission is just $12. Free coffee, tea, water and food will be available, but the audience is welcome to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.

...It is impossible to describe Neptune's Car without using the word "harmony." Holly's light soprano blends perfectly with Steve's warm tenor. From there, vibrant lyrics and compelling melodies nestle in inviting arrangements, telling stories rich in detail, with lyrics as beautiful as the poet's work. Music critics have not been shy when writing about Neptune's Car, with lines such as "there are hints of Nickel Creek and Alison Krauss but Neptune's Car do not need to be compared to any other artists. This is a strong musical duo whose music can stand on its own two feet." Read more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Auburn Grad, Nola Musician, Is Raising Money for "A New Earth"

Auburn University graduate and Auburn Knights Orchestra alum Khari Allen Lee (, is working on a crowdfunding project for a new recording. Link to his Indiegogo page is at right.

Khari performed in Auburn with his jazz group, The New Creative Collective in 2013 (post) and again with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra in 2015.

Click over and watch the video and listen to his music. He plays beautifully, and is a respected teacher and performer in the New Orleans music community.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Grammy Nominated Southern Gospel Group Will Perform in Lafayette, 3/12/16

The Dixie Melody Boys
Below is edited from last Sunday's OA News. The group is kind of a big deal, having existed since 1961 (Wikipedia) and sort of having schooled a host of successful artists in the Southern gospel genre. The venue does not have a website that I can find, and I can't see anywhere if there's an admission charge. Here's a number to call: 334-332-8533. There's sort of an event page here on the group's website.


The Southern gospel quartet The Dixie Melody Boys (website) will be performing at 6:00 pm on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at the Union Hill Community Center, 7524 County Road 53, LaFayette, Alabama. Based in Kinston, NC, the quartet has received a Grammy nomination and numerous Fan Award nominations from "The Singing News Magazine," a Southern gospel music fan and trade publication. The quartet, led by 50-year veteran and recent Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee Ed O'Neal, has had more than 20 top-40 hits, including eight Top-10 releases and a No. 1 single. -from the Opelika-Auburn News, March 5, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ACMS Presents the Bennewitz Quartet Thursday (2/25/16)

Bennewitz Quartet
photo by Pavel Ovsík 
The Auburn Chamber Music Society (Facebook page) will host the Bennewitz Quartet ( Thursday night (2/25) at 7:30 at AU's Goodwin Hall. My friend and the Society's co-president, Virginia Transue, is crazy about this group and says it will be amazing.

Click here for the event page on the AU Music Calendar, but the ACMS Facebook page will have more info.

From the Opelika-Auburn News: Bennewitz Quartet to perform in Auburn by Tonya Ponds.

The bio excerpt below is from the group's website.


The Bennewitz Quartet is one of the top international chamber ensembles, a status confirmed not only by their victories in two prestigious competitions – Osaka in 2005 and Prémio Paolo Borciani, Italy in 2008, but also by the acclaim of the critics. As early as 2006, the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote: "... the music was remarkable not just for its clarity of structure, but for the beautiful tonal palette and purity of intonation in its execution. Only very rarely does one experience such skilfully crafted and powerful harmonies... Great art."

The quartet currently performs at major venues both in the Czech Republic and abroad (Wigmore Hall London, Musikverein Wien, Konzerthaus Berlin, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Paris, The Frick Collection New York, Seoul Art Center, Rudolfinum and others), and is regularly invited to festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, Luzerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus, and the Prague Spring. Read more.

Sundilla Presents Cliff Eberhardt and Louise Mosrie 3/4/16

Got an e-mail from Sundilla...

Cliff Eberhardt and Louise Mosrie
A pair of Sundilla favorites will take the stage together when Cliff Eberhardt and his special guest Louise Mosrie come to town on Friday, March 4. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30; admission at the door will be $18, but advance tickets are just $15 and can be found at Spicer's Music, Blooming Colors, and online at Free coffee, tea and water will be available, and attendees are invited to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.

Eberhardt has run the musical gamut from being a founding member of the Fast Folk Music Cooperative of New York City in the 1980s to writing and performing Shakespeare. His contemporary compositions are deep, honest and sung with rich emotional vocals and appeal to a wide audience. His music is a rich mélange of pop, rock and folk styles...

...Louise Mosrie grew up in the small town just outside of Nashville, TN on a farm with British parents and several siblings – riding horses, writing poetry and singing with the radio. After college in Knoxville, she “borrowed” her brother’s Sears guitar, bought a simple chord book and started writing songs. The early material was mostly acoustic pop as she tried to channel her English roots while listening to Everything But the Girl and The Sundays. Read more.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Interview: New Orleans Improvising Trombonist Jeff Albert

My previous post tells about the improvised music events I'm involved in this week. At right is the short version (4:50) of my interview with Jeff Albert for more about what he and drummer Dave Capello will be doing, and about what they'll be doing with Cullars Improvisational Rotation (Cullars's SoundCloud feed).

>>> Here is the link to the full interview (34:26). <<<

Friday, February 5, 2016

New Orleans Improvisors To Visit Auburn and Columbus, 2/11 and 2/12/2016

Photo credit goes to Ujan
Mukhopadhyay (left 3) and Zack
 (right 2). Poster design by
Brennen Reece.
My last post, "Improvised Post about Improvised Music Events, 2/11-2/12/2016," gave you all the facts about the upcoming improvised music events in Auburn and Columbus, but I'll organize them here. My next post, "Interview: New Orleans Improvising Trombonist Jeff Albert," includes an interview of one of the New Orleans players involved in these events. You'll come out because you like improvised music, you like free or adventurous jazz*, or you want to (or are willing to) witness me and some other Auburn players taking some risks. We could use your support.

February 11, 2016
noon-1:00 pm CT // A Little Lunch Music // Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art // trombonist Jeff Albert with drummer Dave Capello // free concert // event page // Jeff's website // Jeff & Dave's CD

5-8 pm CT // Jazz! Food! Art! // Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art // Jeff Albert and Dave Capello with Cullars Improvisational Rotation // no cover // event page // Cullars's Soundcloud page

February 12, 2016
7-9 pm ET // Jazz at the Loft // The Loft (Columbus, GA) // Jeff Albert and Dave Capello with Cullars Improvisational Rotation // no cover // event page on The Loft's website not yet live as of this post

The Visiting New Orleans Improvisors

Jeff Albert
Photo by Zack Smith.
Jeff Albert is a musician, music technologist, and educator. He was named a Rising Star Trombonist in the Downbeat Critics Polls each year from 2011-2015, and performs regularly in the New Orleans area, and throughout the US and Europe. In 2013, the Paris-based record label Rogue Art released his CD, The Tree on the Mound, which features Kidd Jordan, Hamid Drake, and Joshua Abrams.

In addition to leading the Jeff Albert Quartet, Jeff is a member of Hamid Drake’s Bindu-Reggaeology band, and co-led the Lucky 7s with fellow trombonist Jeb Bishop. Jeff has performed with many great improvisers, including Georg Graewe, Tobias Delius, Dave Rempis, Jeff Parker, and many others. He has been a member of the bands of New Orleans greats George Porter and Wardell Querzergue, backed artists like Stevie Wonder and Bonnie Raitt, and performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New Orleans Opera.

He is an Assistant Professor of Music Industry Technology at Loyola University New Orleans, and in May of 2013, he became the first graduate of the PhD program in Experimental Music and Digital Media at Louisiana State University. Jeff’s areas of research include the intersections of improvisation and technology, performance paradigms for live computer music, and audio pedagogy. Jeff is the founder and chief instigator of the Open Ears Music Series, and writes the blog Scratch My Brain.

Dave Capello
Photo by Zack Smith.
Dave Cappello moved to New Orleans from New York in the early 1990s, and has been an integral part of the creative music scene ever since, working with some of the city’s most adventurous musicians, including Jonathan Freilich, Rob Cambre, Jimbo Walsh and Helen Gillet.

Before coming to New Orleans, Dave was a member of the Bern Nix Trio with William Parker, and worked with some of the greats in the New York scene, like Steven Bernstein and Steve Swell. Dave is also an active writer, with a new book forthcoming from the University of Louisiana Lafayette Press.

*I shy away from calling modern improvised music free jazz, but it comes from that lineage, and most of these guys have a jazz background that will no doubt make itself known during the shows.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Improvised Post about Improvised Music Events, 2/11-2/12/2016

I'm posting this post stream of consciousness. To make a point. That we will be performing improvised music on February 11th and 12 and Auburn Alabama and Columbus Georgia. When I say we I mean the group that I am in cullars improvisational rotation. Return can I return? Know. As I speak into my phone this post, I see I don't know a command for carriage return on the screen. But it's not only the group that I'm in cullars improvisational rotation, it is also to improvising musicians from New Orleans, Louisiana. Their names? Jeff Albert and Dave Capello. On February 11th we will play with them on not on but at the jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art from 5 to 8. Now, I don't know if that will be 3 hours of improvised music, but there will be improvised music, and there will be the sounds of our trio mama and combined and this will be combined with the sounds of Jeff and Dave. Then, on February 12th we will be at the loft in Columbus Georgia. That show will be 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern Time. The Auburn show will, of course, be Central Time. But wait there's more. Even before the first collaborative show that I mentioned kama Jeff and Dave will be performing as a duo for a little lunch music at the museum on Thursday February 11th from noon to 1 o'clock p.m. That is again central time, and the concert is free. They will perform in the auditorium. The two of them have made a new album of strictly improvised music on the breakfast4dinner label. And they have also just released another album with a bassist, whose name I don't remember right now standing in a playground outside my child elementary school making this post.  I have played with Jeff, though it has been a very long time. We were in college at Loyola University studying together. We played mostly jazz, and rock and roll gigs around town. Jeff has gone on to do great things in the improvised music world, & I mean worldwide players like, Hamid Drake and many others. My group, colors spelled wrong there but should be spelled cullars improvisational rotation has improvisational tendencies and will occasionally improvise outside of normal jazz improvisational solos, but this will be new for us and we are looking forward to the experience and how it might affect the way that we continue to make music together. I want include any links or anything in this post just to keep it relatively pure, though I did have to make an edit or earlier just for accuracy sake. The next post in on this blog will be a link or an embedded video of me interviewing Jeff about improvise music and about his visit. I will also put more information in there these are the links to good information about to these people are White are coming up here and what we'll be doing. Did you happen to be white but the word White popped up there in my voice recognition interface, and is not relevant to the events discussed here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sundilla Presents Celtic Band RUNA Friday (2/5/16)

Got an e-mail from Sundilla...

We don’t get to use terms like “super-group” as much as we’re able, but February’s offering changes that. RUNA ( is quickly gaining recognition as one of Irish music’s new “super-groups”, and they’ll be showing us why when they appear at Sundilla on Friday, February 5. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30; admission at the door will be $15, advance tickets are just $12 and can be found at Spicer’s Music, Blooming Colors, and online at

RUNA has been enchanting audiences by pushing the boundaries of Irish folk music, since their formation in 2008. Interweaving the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of bluegrass, flamenco, blues, jazz, they offer a thrilling and redefining take on traditional music. The group has been honored internationally, winning Top Group and Top Traditional Group in the Irish Music Awards and an Independent Music Award for Best World/Traditional Song. Read more...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sundilla Presents Chuck Brodsky 1/29/2016

From the Sundilla website. Brodsky's website is

Chuck Brodsky brings his unique sound, one-of-a-kind stories, and a brand new CD to Sundilla on Friday, January 29. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30; admission at the door is $15 ($12 for students), but $12 advance tickets are available at Spicer’s Music, Blooming Colors, and online at Students can get in for just $12.

Chuck Brodsky is a storyteller, a songwriter, a troubadour, a modern day bard. His acoustic guitar and voice draw you in with genuine, down-to-earth warmth and quirky, rootsy, finely crafted songs. Chuck’s wit and irony, set to haunting melodies delivered over syncopated guitar strumming or sweet fingerpicking, tells stories of oddball and underdog characters. His songs celebrate the goodness in people, the eccentric, the holy, the profound, the courageous, the inspiring, the beautiful. They poke fun at what needs poking, and sometimes challenge what needs to be challenged. They’re sworn to tell the truth. Read more...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Making the Piper Pay

"Performing is the price we pay to get to rehearse."

A friend said those words to me at a party the other night. Sure, I go to parties. Anyway, he's a very good recorder player with a beautiful collection of recorders, harpsichords, and a Baroque flute or two. He plays in recorder societies in Atlanta and sometimes Birmingham, and has participated in big-deal performances. He's a math professor, grows succulents, and used to play tuba and I think saxophone. He is a quiet person, and reserved. What he said fits him perfectly. He'd much rather rehearse with people for fun than perform for any reason.

It was funny to me, and after thinking about it for three seconds, also applicable. Until moving back home to Auburn, Alabama, I didn't have a history of seeking out performances. Though there's a college here, it's a small town in a rural area with a widely spread-out musical community. After a few months, I discovered that creating my own opportunities is far and above the best way to get gigs. After a few years, I've already gotten out of the habit. These days, I generally play only when I'm asked, and that's not terribly often.

The scene here covers a lot of real estate. So beating the bushes, networking among the people you want to play with, jamming, etc. means a lot of driving and being out late. I have a job. My wife has a job. Kids. Tired. Old. But my friend's comment suggests that it's likely not kidstiredold, though I don't want to give up on my best excuse for staying home and watching Elementary, even if you know who the killer is in the first ten minutes because it's always that one actor you know from something else.

Public performance is stressful for musicians. At least it is for those who are compulsive introverts. At least it is for this compulsive, introverted musician. Me. I mean me. It makes us vulnerable to criticism and embarrassment, it is intimate, frightening, expensive, staggeringly inconvenient, and easy to avoid. That last thing is especially true for those whose livelihood doesn't depend on it. But even when it is, in fact, a feed-your-family necessity, it can be easier to find something else to fill that need.

But like any risk, performance can have huge payoffs. First of all, it's where all the rehearsing and practicing gets locked in. It's where the clay pot you made gets fired, and not because it's the final step in the process. There's more to it than that. It's like when they put the magic hat on the snowman, and he comes alive and says, "Happy birthday!" And on a practical level, performance is where the turning points in a musician's career happen. It is also where we interact with humanity on an artistic level. And sure, a bad performance can fly your plane straight into the cold, hard earth, but those are rare, really, at least among people who have any business doing this at all.

So is it worth the cost? Hell, I don't know. And I don't even know if the question is relevant. For me, music seems to have its own consciousness. It has a momentum that drives itself toward public performance. It's the undertow everybody warns you about. Sure, the ocean's fun until you're a mile out and have to remember to swim parallel to the shore and punch sharks in the nose. But sometimes, when I'm there, it can be sublime, even transcendent. And other times, when it doesn't seem like much more than an hour or three of hard work, a bit of sincere audience feedback and/or a surprisingly good recording can make me forget what an ordeal it was.

I was happily surprised to hear my friend say what he did. It meant maybe I will get to hear him play more. In a couple weeks, it will be me performing, and aside from the normal stressors, it will be in a genre of music outside of my comfort zone. Its my own fault. I was the one who invited the people up here, and I was the one who suggested they do a couple of shows with a group I'm in. See what I mean? We'll rehearse once.

And that will be fun.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I Recorded Some Interviews / Improvised Music Coming to the Museum

Click on the track name above (or here) to be able
to read the description on SoundCloud and see
some relevant links.
Just sent off the news release to the museum for this week's A Little Lunch Music concert (1/21/16) by Chicago improvised-music group, The Few. Last week, after a New-Year's-Resolution style commitment to buckle down and catch up on home projects, I decided to do my first-ever video interview of the two improvising groups that are on the schedule this season. That turned into two separate interviews, due to Steve Marquette's bad cold, one which ended up with a ton of problems and became an audio interview.

Both of course involved post production. I am not quite a noob with regard to video and audio editing. After a handful of projects in recent years, I think I can upgrade myself to a hack. It takes a fair amount of time for a hack to produce something decent, but I think what I ended up with is ok.

I did fortunately make some progress on the home-front, and got some experience with recorded interviewing and subsequent editing. I like it. Maybe too much. I have done a bunch of it for written articles, but it's a different thing altogether to record it for public consumption.

This week's audio interview of Steve Marquette is above. If it's not there, comment on this post. I may have had to fix something and repost. Come to the show Thursday. Eat your vegetables. Or don't. It's in the interview.

The video I did of the other improviser, trombonist Jeff Albert, is at this link. He'll be in Auburn with drummer Dave Capello for A Little Lunch Music and some other things on 2/11/16.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Open Monthly Jazz Jam in Columbus

The Columbus Jazz Society has started the Columbus Unified Jazz Jam at The Loft. Looks like the dates scheduled are every second Wednesday, 7-9 ET. The Society's website says it's in collaboration with CSU Jazz, has lead sheets with transpositions and everything. Open to all. Society link with more info is

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Among FSU Tenor/Piano Duo's Music Will be Iraq Soldier's Poetry, 1/24/2016

Chuck Chandler
Tenor Chuck Chandler will perform with pianist Tim Hoekman on Jan. 24, 2016 at Goodwin Hall. Chandler is on faculty at Florida State University as is Hoekman. Everything you need to know, including how to get advance tickets, is at this link:

If I get more info, I'll post it here.


I got more. Below is from Dr. Chandler (emphasis added to tempt your eyes to read more). There will be lots of new music! -Patrick

Our recital of living American composers features as its first cycle of songs, Serenade written by Timothy Hoekman who is also playing the recital! The songs in Serenade are contrasting and rich, with both light-hearted and somber moments.

Songs of the Poet is a cycle of songs written by New York based composer, Norman Mathews. All poems by Walt Whitman, this cycle is esoteric and dramatic, and expresses themes common to Whitman's writing including unreturned love, music in nature, the human soul, and despair.

Following intermission, selections from a very new set of songs entitled, Here, Bullet will be performed. These pieces are musical settings by Reginald Unterseher of poems written by US soldier and writer, Brian Turner. Turner's poetry is a brilliant juxtaposition of the beauty of poetic form and sound with sometimes horrific subject matter. The poems were written during Turner's one year tour of duty in Iraq and are based on and inspired by those experiences. Both the music and the texts are exciting and moving.

The program ends with a few pieces that are especially beautiful and more in the standard literature. A Ricky Ian Gordon aria, an American folk song, and Richard Hundley's "Come Ready and See Me" should all be crowd pleasers!

We hope you will share your evening with us as we perform music by these living American composers.

Sundilla Presents Jack Williams Friday (1/15/2016)

Got this e-mail from Sundilla. Concert Friday night.

Jack Williams
Jack Williams ( returns to Sundilla on Friday, January 15, 2016; showtime at the AUUF is 7:30. Admission at the door will be $15, but $12 advance tickets are available at Spicer's Music, Mama Mocha's Coffee, Blooming Colors, and online at Student tickets will also be $12 at the door. Even bigger discounts are available by purchasing a Sundilla Season Pass, which will get you into every 2016 Sundilla concert held at the AUUF; additional details about the Season Passes are also available on our website.

Many who are familiar with the work of Jack Williams stopped reading after the first sentence; they already know how incredible his concerts are, and are now busy making plans to be at the show. The title of "legend" is thrown around far too loosely, but every so often, it's a perfect fit. Such is the case with Jack Williams, a longtime Sundilla favorite who never fails to dazzle the audience with his great songs, wonderful voice, and dazzling guitar playing. Oh, that guitar playing; the accolades for his picking could fill a page all by themselves. Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) calls him "the best guitar player I've ever heard," and that's just one of many similar raves. Read more...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Lament (video)

Here's me and Dan Mackowski as 2/3 of Cullars Improvisational Rotation performing J. J. Johnson's "Lament" at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art where we are the house band every (for the most part) Thursday night from 5-8. The trio has a SoundCloud, Facebook, and Twitter page @cullarsfield.


Friday, January 8, 2016

All Job and no Expression Makes Patrick Something Something

I have never been one to be able to create for the sake of creation. My music has always been driven by external circumstances. Sometimes, I've been hired to write music or make music, and that's impetus. Other times, I've had an opportunity to make music with other people. And whether money is involved or not, this has been enough motivation to do it to a reasonable degree of success. When I say "to do it," I mean to prepare myself and my abilities on the instrument to perform the music or to write the music itself, to organize rehearsals, and to browbeat other musicians to involve themselves with me for little or no money.

I have a job. The forms call it homemaker. More trendy, and more accurate to my wife's domestic management style, is the technical moniker of stay-at-home dad. We're in transition now that all three boys are in full-time school. We're catching up on things. Soon, our lives will need to change, as there's not really much justifiable need for a full-time homemaker, especially one as distracted from domestic tasks as me. How and where and I guess whether I will become employed will be the question.

The internet offers an opportunity for someone externally motivated like me. The relatively simple act of laying myself out here like this for the public to see, no matter ultimately how few of the public's members will ever read this, encourages me to make some forward motion, some artistic progress. Maybe the pork ribs Susan made on New Year's Day—they were amazing—have inspired this. The trick will be to work quickly, uncompulsively, and fearlessly. This will not only apply to expression, but also, and probably more so, to my job, whatever it may become, as I hew out an expressive persona that will balance with the needs of my family.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cullars, Playing Tunes, Edward Forstman

It's coming up on two years now that I've played with Cullars Improvisational Rotation, a jazz trio whose regular weekly gig is Thursdays from 5-8 at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Big question is why have I not mentioned it here on my blog? It's the most satisfying musical collaboration I've had in decades.


Tonight our guitarist and conceptual father, Dan Mackowski, was out, so I asked guitarist Taylor Pierce to play. It was us and bassist Jason DeBlanc. The crowd was light, so I forced a challenge upon us to play tunes that the others didn't know. Taylor pulled some Pat Metheny and Bill Evans tunes out of the Real Book that were beautiful. Jason, whose repertoire covers more square miles than Taylor's and mine put together, picked McCartney's "Blackbird," which we butchered, and Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing," among others. It was a lot of fun!


A Little Lunch Music, the weekly noontime series I run at the museum on Thursdays, happened today. Pianist Edward Forstman played. It was casual and the audience was riveted to his music. He played a Ravel's "Gaspard" and a Ligeti piece, both of whose terrifyingly difficult bits were made to seem effortless by Forstman's confidence and skill. He was professional and easy to work with. He has an interest in 21st century pop- and electronica-inspired art music for piano. I've asked him to come back with a full program of that. Some of our regular listeners will hate me for it. Not really, but they do like the Brahms and the Bach, which Edward also played today. Fine guitarist Katie Holmes returns next week.


This weird little post is a further attempt to put content out there for its own sake and for mine.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Creating in the Spaces Between

A couple (few?) years ago, I had this idea that I could write short pieces of music to satisfy the urge to create during this period of life I find myself in where just about every minute is crammed with responsibilities. I gave myself 15 or 20 minutes to sketch out a really basic framework, and then spent the next 30 minutes or so fleshing it out. What happened with those pieces I don't have time to write here because I'm attempting to do something similar. I am trying to create something, in this case a simple blog post, in a very short amount of time.

I'm even speaking most of these words to my phone in my car while I'm waiting to pick up my sons at school. You may see the problem with this as quickly as I do. A life full of tasks is being filled up even more, but with this creative task. Is it different? Will it make anything better? Worse?

All I know is that I want to create. An occasional music gig where I can improvise or sometimes even play my own music is not enough. In fact, doing those things increases the desire to make something more or something else. It's awful.

And that's all I get to say about that because the bell is about to ring.