Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Westy Named Tux....





Many changes taking place in the past few months.  After years of grinding away on Campo Santo and restoring my house I have decided to hit the road and take the leap of faith that one thing will lead to the next and a sustainable path will be found.  

Over the course of an 8 month period I began researching touring vehicles that I could do solo tours in or possibly duo tours.  The VW Westfalia kept popping up and I began to research them and it wasn't long before I knew this was the only vehicle for me, for my Louque project.  It was boutique, quality, and free.



As I began looking for one for myself, I realized it wasn't going to be easy to find a good one.  It was competitive getting these, especially online without being able to see them.  Some karma was going to have to part of the equation.  After a long time, I settled on a charcoal Westy in Bellevue, Washington near Seattle.  It's the same place I bought the vintage Mercedes years ago.  



After looking at it for a while, I decided it's name was "Tux" because it had clean lines like a tuxedo with its black stripe.  I had thought it was going to be a girl but after I put the 16" wheels and drove it it was indeed a little dirty boy with scuffed up knees.  Below is the first week of taking it around my hometown on the Mississippi River Road.  



I have spent the past few weeks taking it out and getting the kinks out and learning how to use all the camping equipment.  This is truly the swiss army knife of vehicles.  I have made many friends on Instagram.  The Westfalia community is an amazing group of people daring to live their own lives and carve new paths with less.  I'm so thankful to be headed out on the road and thankful for my family and their support.




Tux in Bay St. Louis, MS.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Signs of Life & Culture in Louisiana...




Came across this photo the other day.  It's an old black and white 35mm picture of a chair in my bedroom in my Brooklyn apt. pre 911.  I've kept this picture because it always reminded me what role dreams and imagination play in our lives.  We shape our destiny and no one else.  I've learned that if you can't see it and imagine a path then nothing materializes.  I remember using this chair to write when I had the crazy idea that I was going to make a record called So Long.  All I had was determination and a gift for telling stories and a great team of folks contributing.  At the time Donovan Guidry and I were living in this two bedroom in Williamsburg. He'd work night shifts while I stayed home to record and write. I'd have major break throughs and would pass out late night and then when he got up we'd have coffee and play back the work from the night before.  Every week we experienced small victories but most days were filled with doubt.  I think as creative people, there will always be doubt at every level.  When I read Neil Young's book he's even worried about not being able to write the way he used too.  Bob Dylan in an interview looks back on the body of his work and shakes his head and says he can't do that anymore.  It's a scary, precious thing to have this fleeting creativity.  

After a three year period, it was nice to sit in this chair and blast the beats from the record we made through the Bose speakers.  The same speakers we'd crank Massive Attack, Digable Planets, Bob Marley and now little old me from Grand Point, Louisiana was coming through the airwaves.  

One morning I heard the TV on in the other room at 8:45 and found it odd cause Donovan worked so late and usually stayed in bed til 10 or so.  Then the phone rang and it was my mother asking if I was ok because the twin towers had just been hit.  I went to the chair and opened the window and saw the smoke and the building and the people running on the bridge to our neighborhood.  I would never be the same.


Spoon at The Civic Theatre in New Orleans


Though New Orleans is a bit hard for a musician like me, I have enjoyed living here through all its changes.  I have become overwhelmed with Chateau St. Roch and am beginning to wonder if it's a smart idea to continue putting so much time into it.  




Last weekend I drove to Baton Rouge to hear my friend Jacob's band Ghost Foot.  They were a three piece band with a baritone guitar as bass.  They sounded really good and was so impressed with Jacob's voice and delivery. 

Also on the bill was New Orleans' Julie Odell.  I've seen her in New Orleans once doing a solo show and loved it.  This night she was with a band and was just as good.  I expect some solid work from her in the near future.  




This is my good friend and film maker Mac Premo.  This is why I love him.  He's a grown ass man and is donning baseball pants to play in his softball league.  We met years ago in the East Village, NY and would battle at stickball at least once a week.  He is the artist who did the artwork for So Long.  It matched the 3 year process of the making of the record.  It was fully layered.  He gave me a big confidence boost in 2010 when he commissioned me to write a piece of music for an animation.  Months later we were in tuxedo's at the Emmy's because we were nominated as he one many of those little men.  He'll be in town this weekend to make three little short films on me to help promote my work.  I'm very excited that he's taken the time to work with me, especially when the last video he did with Oliver Jeffers was the U2-Ordinary Love video.  


On Tuesday night I was invited by my new friend Lee Martin to the Jack White concert in the newly renovated Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.  It was so nice to see the renovations and see that place thrive again after being destroyed in Katrina.  

Jack White was a beast up there and a gentleman backstage.  I have so much appreciation for him and his body of work along with all the great stuff he's doing in Nashville for Third Man Records.  Neil Young just recorded in his recording booth for his new record.  I plan to take a road trip up there real soon to see all this for myself and maybe even record in the booth myself.





I found these old photo's of my maternal grandfather Fredrick P. Arras.  He lived in New Orleans in the Ninth Ward before his father moved the family to St. James Parish.  


Lutcher High School 1920's

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sings & Strings Festival 2014...


On Sunday, Garyville hosted their first Sings & Strings festival.  Garyville was known as a cypress town during its lucrative years.  It was divided by a passenger train track where passengers would stop in for a bite to eat before continuing on.  Over the years, the town has become pretty abandoned, well at least the old town square and all the old commercial buildings.  

Last year when I played in the old bank I fell in love with this little town square and it was nice to share and  to see a little ripple in the culture.  Well this year Peyton Falgoust and the whole village started a festival to raise money for the old Timbermill Museum.  There were lots of guys and gals with guitars jamming all over and food and drinks everywhere.  When I drove up I couldn't believe all the cars.  As I expected, people are starved for culture.  



The bank ended up being a popular spot for all the musicians.  Everyone seemed to want to play in there but the place was loud and I couldn't hear myself think much less hear the music.  My good friend and photographer, Bryan Tornowski, suggested we move to the old barn just outside and it was a good call.  The sound was great in there and intimate.  I needed a place that was more focused and less party and more of a platform to raise an awareness of our deteriorated culture.  It felt right in there.  My cousin Todd was in there who gets me in all my depths because we've been through much loss together and always remind each other to live life. 


















Me and Peyton Falgoust





Sip from the root oh bountiful bank...