Saturday, December 15, 2012

At the Hearth...

Many changes are taking place.  The country just reelected Obama and everything feels like it's shifting to a new era.  The old guard is nervous but all the great young thinkers are excited.  Everything feels uneasy right about now.  Another school shooting in Connecticut, another political argument, another gentrification spat.  It all can be a bit noisy and confusing and then theres the damn Iphone's and Ipads and think pads and this pad and that pad.  Insta this and Pinster that.  I don't think we can even begin to see ourselves and to understand the mass confusion we are going through.  

Winter is upon us and the old house is getting cooler.  Our house, The McGovern house as I was told last Saturday by Mrs. Augustus and Bob.  Beautiful couple that have been in this neighborhood throughout all its changes.  Fire is a beautiful, soulful thing.  Much can be learned from building a fire.  Gathering dry, small pieces of wood over the sparks and then layering it with bigger pieces until big chunks of coal start to form.  Then come the logs and warmth.   When I build a fire it reminds me to be patient in all things.  Restoring, writing, friendships and relations.  All things needs patience but it's harder and harder to come by.  This is why I love fire.  It reminds me of being at the hearth in my Mamere's kitchen in an old simple wooden house.  The basic needs were met, we had fire, an omelette and coffee in the percolator and maybe 12 stations on the TV.  Mostly we had each other and a game of card tricks.  How hard would that be now, to sit in that stillness.   

This old Gibson was a guitar that was in a closet in my house where I grew up.  I remember going in there to peek at it.  I would always go in there very quietly because I knew it was special to my dad and didn't want to him to worry I was going to harm it.  I never touched it or took it out of the case.  I simply opened it and looked at it and it was always so beautiful to me.  I never considered playing it but it meant a lot to me back then.  Years later when I had become a musician in Brooklyn, I remembered that guitar and when I visited I ran to the closet and there it was, same place it had always been.  At the time, I was touring and home to play the House of Blues.  It was as if I was playing in the Super Bowl or something to folks back home.  No one ever heard me play, just my recordings.  It's funny to look back on.  I played a song on this guitar that night and it was feeding back like a wild stallion but my band and I just thought it was so special and had something about it.  They named it "Wild Pony". 

Now that I'm playing more guitar, it means so much to me.  Sitting next to the fire playing Hank Williams, Sr.'s music brings me back to the Hearth so to speak.  I want to always remember that simplicity and hopefully I can extract it and put it into song so I can share with others.  I feel this is what  I have to do but there is so much noise out there and I don't always know how to cut through it.  

The song writing parlor

A year ago, we were a little uneasy with the purchase of this property but things are changing everyday.  The median has been getting a face lift and the houses are now selling as fast as they're listed.  But the most important thing is the diversity of folks living here.  

I've been reading The Secret Languages of Birthdays and it told me that mine is the day of social ideals.   It goes into my attention to detail and believe me I'm suffering through some things in this area right now but am working through it.  It told me to use these skills and put them to use in the community.  It says if I direct too much of this on myself, it won't be useful to me.  

Todays meditation:

Everything is related.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Garden Room Renovation....

It's been a hell of a few months.  While working on the garden room we've been through a hurricane and lots of changes in the neighborhood and some live shows.  Between working, rehearsing and working on the house, I'm averaging maybe 5 hours of sleep.  It's nice when you finish a phase though and can look back on a project.  This Garden Room came out really nice and feels a lot bigger with all the renovations to the wall and ceiling.  Once again, Jay came to the rescue and worked with me.  This room needed some ceiling repairs along with many repairs to the wall.  The floor had a lot of damage too from termites and I managed to find more wood at the Green Project.  

We decided to expose the bricks on the fireplace and it really made a difference.  After a lot of chiseling and dust clean up, it totally transformed the room.

We had to cut out all the sections of the floor that were eaten and replace with the real nice wood that I found.

I finally found an old fan with a school house light on it on craigslist.  Simple fans have proven really hard to find.  Most modern fans are way over designed and look like they belong in some Italian castle.  I'm happy with this one though.

The Garden Room

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Garden Room Renovations 2.....

We took a quick break to have a Monday night dinner party.  We had a small group of neighborhood artist over for Amanda's mexican specialties.  Every night of the week we are invited to things or we are going for a quick drink at one of the new places opening.  It can be exhausting but it is so exciting to be a part of all the different things happening in the neighborhood.  It's funny, at least 4 people at dinner had lived in Brooklyn and now are building their lives here.  Brooklyn South!

I did a lot of scraping on the walls and broke any loose plaster away and found a beautiful patina underneath.  We're not going to leave it like this but it is really nice.  It looks like a mixture of paint and plaster of paris.  This is going to be a very nice guest room with a garden view.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Restoring the Garden Room...

Jay and I are at it again after some time off.  I spent the last two months rehearsing music and finishing up the record.  I still have two songs to go, but am meeting people in New Orleans that I want to record with.

We spent the day yesterday chipping away at the old plaster that was covering the brick underneath.  We weren't into the faux look that someone had left behind.  It didn't seem natural in this house and we're not "Faux" kind of people.  We're more "what you see is what you get".  

Though I get annoyed to have to get back into working on the house after gaining momentum musically, I do love the restoration process.  I'm starting to appreciate having to work for things.  No matter if it's trying to find musicians, plastering or chasing dollar bills.  Everything is Everything!  The Lottery is up to like 300 million and we considered buying a ticket, but then I thought, "I like living here, I like my circumstances".  I think it will be a nice road to sharpen ourselves on.  This road in the Nouvelle Marigny along with all the talent and experiences of New York, will lead us onto the path of contentment.

The ceiling didn't turn out to be so bad.  We have some plastering to do but doesn't look as bad as down stairs.  Well, it's a beautiful rainy day in the city and a good day to get dirty.  I'm loving this morning coffee with some Debussy on vinyl in the background.  Simplicity is king!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Farewell Uncle Lionel....

Over the weekend while on a road trip to play music I began to see images of New Orleans' Uncle Lionel's second line parade and couldn't believe how many people there were.  I'm not surprised as he was a fixture on the street who couldn't pass by unnoticed.  He was always sharply dressed in a full suit and topped with his bowler hat and jewels with the watch around his hand.  He always had, "time on his hands"!  
As the miles of road flew by I couldn't stop thinking of how crazy it is how much we celebrate people when they die and when they're living don't really pay that much attention.  I guess the old saying "you don't know what you got til it's gone", rings true.  I think the most beautiful thing about Uncle Lionel is that he was brave enough to be himself and to layer himself with the whole experience of his life both good and bad.  It truly is a beautiful portrait to see an aged person in the twilight of their years sit in their comfort seat resting in the compilation of all those years.  
From now on I'm going to use this image of Lionel as a reminder to my young self, to weather the storm and let it shape my character and to resist the phony luxury of short cuts of our time.  Here's to you Uncle Lionel!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Orleans Coffee Review...

On Monday night I saw that the New Orleans Coffee Brigade was going to be on Magazine in the morning so I woke up and headed straight over there really excited.  When we walked up we were ignored a little and felt a little unwelcomed and I quickly got excited because it felt like a Brooklyn cafe.  A mustached gentleman fumbled around and finally figured out how to decant the cold brew and gave us our $4 coffee's.  In short, if you're going to give me the Bitchin Barista treatment, your coffee has to be slamming and it just wasn't.  St. Coffee is still the champ!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Living Room Restoration.....

There were times during this job that I thought what did I get myself into buying this house but after it was completed and we sat down to read and hang with friends it felt all the better having worked for it.  Such as life, work has its purpose. I'm hoping to one day have this feeling playing music for a nice appreciative crowd having come through so much.  The path of integrity is a long and lonesome road but there's no better feeling than taking the long road and coming out a knight.   

This room wasn't that bad.  We had one major plaster repair and all the corners were redone.  Jay taught me his technique for making those corners like new again.

We're painting the majority of the house in Swiss Coffee white.  It really looks nice and crisp against all the natural wood.  We were excited when we found this vintage rug at a Saturday morning estate sale.  The chairs came from St. Vincent Depaul for $25 each.  All we had to do is replace the cushions and find fabric.