Monday, May 31, 2010

Whew, been busy, time to catch up...

I've been working long full days, so I haven't really had time to update the blog. Here's a quick review of some gigs I've had......

Borders Bookstore in Colorado Springs on Saturday May15th. I played solo Chapman Stick from 6-8pm in the coffee shop area. Not a very responsive crowd, most were there to peruse books and magazines or stare at laptop screens. I did get some nice compliments and the occasional smattering of applause. A fellow Stickist from the Denver Area came down for the performance. It was very nice to meet him in person and talk a bit during my break.
I got a call from the store manger this week, he said he got a lot of positive feedback about my performance. I'll be playing there again on June 19th.

On Saturday May 22nd I played at Cafe Dawn here in Salida. It was a reception for the Artists in residence for Colorado Art Ranch. The house was packed to the extreme, I found a spot to set up near the serving counter and played for about 40 minutes. The the residents gave presentations showing what they had been working on during their stay here in Salida. Toward the end there was a little time left for music so I invited Sarah Henson from San Francisco to play. She was one of the residents and played a couple of very lovely fingerstyle guitar pieces that she had composed.
I had been working out of town and rushed home for the start of the Colorado Art Ranch Artposium "Wade in the Water", which was a total blast! I was pleased that I was able to pick up my instrument for the first time in 5 days and play a good solid set. I'm also feeling way more comfortable performing in front of people than I have ever felt before. All in all, it was a fun evening.

Saturday May 29th I performed with Steel String Revue. Chris Nasca on vocals and guitar, Brian Pence on drums, Dave Sparkman on sax and yours truly on Chapman Stick. We played at the Fallen Bikers Memorial Rally here at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds. The stage was enormous! Three huge video screens, lights, lasers, fog machines, more decibels than really necessary! We played from 4-6pm, it was an absolutely gorgeous day outside, the problem was we were inside. There was a small crowd and at least we managed to get some folks dancing. I'm hoping to get some pics and/or video from this event, I'll post it here if I do.

It looks like another busy week, I'll be back at Adams Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs this coming Thursday and Friday, more later, peace.....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ark Valley Humane Society

Last night (Saturday), I played a party at my friends Jan & Dan's house nearby. The party was for some cat's birthday, and by some cat, I mean an actual feline. The party was also a fund raising effort for new facilities being built for the Ark-Valley Humane Society.
As far as parties go, this was a great time, muy excellent food, drinks, and dessert, lots of nice, interesting people. Lots of very nice compliments on my playing and the music in general, as well as the numerous inquiries about the Chapman Stick.
I really do need to get some new cards together explaining the instrument and my contact info. I'm getting much better at talking briefly while playing, but it still throws me when someone wants to engage in conversation in the middle of a tune. I figure I can always nod towards a info sheet while playing and then talk after I'm done playing.
I'm really liking this new rig, especially for gigs like this. I played my Bamboo Grand through a Berhinger Xenyx 1202FX mixer into my Roland KC-300 Amp. The mixer has built in effects, so I used  just a touch of reverb, and I have instant access to EQ and volume. Last night I could easily adjust my volume as the size of the crowd grew and then dwindled. I really like having the mixer at a height I can easily reach and adjust, plus it's a great clean sound. I got a lot of compliments last night on the sound as well.
I don't have any pets myself, but I do appreciate the good work the Ark-Valley Humane Society does. I donated my time and proceeds from CD sales to their cause.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jailhouse Art Gallery

On Tuesday April 20th I played an open house - wine tasting at the Jailhouse Art Gallery in Buena Vista.
It also happened to be Sherrie's birthday, so she tagged along and socialized as I was playing.

The Jailhouse is a very cool old building, long ago it once was actually a jailhouse, now renovated to be a gallery and working studio space for ceramic,glass, mixed media and digital printing. It's located just behind Mothers Bistro, one of my favorite places to eat and play in Buena Vista.
The call to play this gig was sort of last minute, but I really appreciate that they thought of me for it, thanks Cheryl! For a Tuesday evening I thought the turnout was great.  Lots of nice people and the usual curiosity about the Stick. It was a pleasant way to spend the evening. Sherrie and I shared a delicious pizza from Mothers Bistro, soooo good!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Adams Mountain Cafe

  Photo by Ted Castro

Finished up two days of gigs at Adams Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs Colorado. It was my first time playing at this venue.
Manitou Springs is a funky, cool little town just outside of Colorado Springs, lots of great shops and places to eat. Adams Mountain Cafe is on the main strip in a old historic building. The room I played had high ceilings and was long and narrow.
I decided to try out a new setup for my Stick, which was to just run it through a small mixer with built in effects into my Roland KC-300 keyboard amp. Usually, I have been using a Line 6 X3 floor processor to play through, but I like the simplicity and ease of this new setup, If I need to adjust EQ or levels the mixer is easy to reach and tweak. Nice clean sound with just a touch of reverb, the room took care of the rest.

It was quite interesting, I played at what I thought was a very low volume, but people said they could hear fine at the end of the room, even out into the building's marbled floored lobby, so I trusted their judgment.
Originally I brought a mic and stand, I thought I'd practice introducing tunes and interacting with the audience, but it became apparent quickly that I was there to provide ambiance, background music, which is somewhat my specialty. In other words, I kept my mouth shut!
I played Thursday evening to a pretty good crowd. I had been struggling with some kind of stomach bug all afternoon and my energy was definitely a bit scattered as well as my playing, but people seemed to enjoy it.
Friday mornings performance was much better, I felt much better. The wonderful servers made sure I had an unending cup of coffee as I played. I tried and tried to empty it with no luck, they're that good!  The food at this place is great, specializing in slow food, with a large selection of vegetarian and vegan meals. I had the Orange Almond French Toast for breakfast on Friday, ohhh yeah!
Overall a great couple of days, Sherrie and I stayed with friends in CO Springs and had a chance to visit and do some shopping. The manager at the cafe told me she had lots of positive feedback on my music and asked me back, I have four new dates lined up, so I feel pretty good about that!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

This afternoon I played some solo Chapman Stick® at Sugah's Cafe in Gunnison, CO. Sorry no pics :(
Easter Brunch
It turned out to be a nice day, still a bit too cool to play out on the patio so I set up inside. There was already a pretty good turn out when I arrived, so I opted to start as soon as I had set up my amp and effects instead of waiting till noon. This proved to be a good move, since attendance started to dwindle by 2pm. 
This is such a great venue to play, I always have a good time here. The owners Matt and Charlotte and the staff are all just super nice people. There were many familiar faces, and lots of nice compliments from folks... and applause, which, I suppose is better than people throwing things at you! The applause thing always makes me chuckle, in a situation like this, I'm really just providing background music, ambiance, so I really don't expect people to stop eating or interrupt their conversations to applaud after tunes, but still it's nice to be embarrassed in that way.
I've been keeping myself pretty busy lately and had hoped to spend yesterday practicing for this gig, but alas, it was not meant to be. So I was pleased that I could play of the top of my head for 2 and 1/2 hours without having a song list or giving much thought to it. I even played three tunes that will be on the new CD live for the first time!
I have noticed that I am becoming more comfortable and relaxed with performing, I think I played well today. Used to be it would take me 15-20minutes of playing before I felt like loosening up and being comfortable. Today it felt great from the very start, something I hope continues as matter of habit.
Afterwards I hung around long enough to have an awesome lunch, the food at Sugah's is always a treat!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Recent Gigs...

I've been neglecting this blog for sometime now, I guess between facebook, myspace, youtube and my website I've been asking myself, do I really need a blog? So I think I'll try this.. The blog is going to be primarily a sort of gig diary. 
So to bring things up to speed, so far 2010 has been pretty slow gigwise, I'm hoping to make that change soon. At this point I've got a handful of gigs booked through August,  I really want to play out as often as possible this year. So far this year I've played a few gigs, I did Valentine's Day at Sugah's Cafe in Gunnison, CO. I've played a a couple of house parties and open mics, and a last minute gig with singer-songwriter Chris Nasca at the Salida Cafe when that evening's act had to cancel.

 March 14th I played at the Heart of the Rockies Bridal Show at the Steamplant here in Salida. It was a snowy Sunday afternoon, so my expectations were low. Met lots of nice folks and got some gigs!
I played a bunch of ballads and love songs on solo Chapman Stick. Lou from Celestial Event let me play through his Bose PA-1 system. I love the Bose set-up, great sound, one day I'll have my own : )

 This past Saturday, March 20th it was Steel String Revue at the Salida Cafe. Chris Nasca on guitar and vocals, Brian Pence on drums, and yours truly on Chapman Stick. It was our first real time out as a trio and overall it went really well. It was another cold snowy evening but the house was packed We played a blend of originals, traditional roots, blues, rock, etc. Got some nice feedback, hopefully we'll be doing more gigs soon! These are great guys to play with, always lots of fun.

That's all for now....

(hire me for a gig so I'll more to write about : )

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Namm 2010

I was in Anaheim with my friend Matt from Patchman music for the Namm Show 2010
from January 14-17. What a blast! We got to see lots of great musical performances, new gear, plenty of celebrity sightings. I even found some fellow Stick players there!

Tom Griesgraber (Stick) and Ryan Moran (percussion) perform as Agent 22 on Sunday afternoon.

Stickist Steve Adelson jamming with a guitarist.

Besides all the cool stuff at the show, I was in sunny warm California (well it did rain some on the last day) , not bad!