Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chateau St. Roch Mardi Gras Weekend....

Things are looking good in the neighborhood when you can eat Vegan Crab Cake down the block.  This is the view out of St. Roch Tavern looking toward the St. Roch Market.  We had a great Mardi Gras weekend renovating the house.  I asked my neighbor Jay to help out and he turned out to be a joy to work with.  He's a lover of New Orleans architecture and loves the house as much as we do.  

I knew he was the guy I wanted helping me when I saw him go fearlessly up and down a huge latter.  You can tell he's done this a lot.  I think we'll be able to learn a lot working with each other.  Amanda and I have been researching the many colors of white out there and bought, well tried to buy a can of "Swiss Coffee" white from Helm Paint, but Ronny was so generous to give us one to try.  Thanks Ronny!

I cleaned up the foyer and painted it.  I did not fix the natural cracks in the plaster as I wanted it that way.

Removing the last of the big items left in the house was a breeze with Jay.

Removing the tin over the windows took the garden into the kitchen.

This room was packed with stuff for so long that we didn't realize how big it was.  We'll use it as a living room with a working fireplace.

Let there be light!  Jay climbed way up the latter to unleash the light that was being locked out by the shutters.  What a difference when you can get natural light in. This room, the blue room, has a magic about it.  I almost don't want to touch it.  I think we're going to pull the falling plaster down and leave the laths exposed.  I strummed the guitar in it and stared out the window.  It's going to be a good room.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Folk Impressionism....

"the force that through the green fuse drives the flower", Dylan Thomas

Art is an act of faith, and we practice practicing it.  Sometimes we are called on pilgrimages on its behalf and, like many pilgrims, we doubt the call even as we answer it.  But answer we do. -Julia Cameron

Creative hopes and dreams rise and fall secretly.  No one hears my melody of fallen trees, only me and I'm left on my own to conquer them.  It's an overwhelming feeling, like riding the sea to another land and then having to deal with the thick of the brush when you get there.  Yesterday we recorded piano over my acoustic song "iniquity blues" and wanted the piano player to use Satie and Debussy as a guide to push us in a more folk impressionist direction.  Upon hearing the play back I couldn't believe my ears. It was as if the sun finally shone through the cafe window after the many drips on the pane and countless cigarettes and fits of nostalgia.  The first person that came to mind was Bill Evans.  I had no idea he was so influenced by the Impressionist era.  I mean, it makes sense now but to me he was always Bill Evans the man that created the mood on Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.  

Bill Evans

The position of the artist is humble.  He is essentially a channel.- Piet Mondrian


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dreamland Recording Studio Session...

The recording process has been going well but it's a long one.  On Tuesday, Danny Blume went into Dreamland Studios in Woodstock to record drums with Jerry Marotta on "Iniquity Blues".  I was happy he agreed to work with us.  I'm hoping to one day be able to work in a place like this from start to finish. Until then, I'll have to keep piecing records together the way I do.  Maybe it's best for me to work this way.  I'm enjoying this process for the time being.  I'm steeped in "new" New Orleans culture writing and doing some recording but working in Woodstock which allows me the perspective I need.  Since the first Mink Hollow session things have turned more acoustic but blend well with the electric songs too.  All the songs are special to me and am starting to listen to them all together as a record and am very excited with what I'm hearing.  

The live room at Dreamland Studio

Engineer Adam

Jerry Marotta

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chateau St. Roch...

At this point in the process we're feeling so many emotions.  We feel like pioneers for buying in a new upcoming area on the outskirts of the Bywater.  If you listen to the local news you'd think we were nuts for buying anywhere in New Orleans.  But, if you spend anytime in the Bywater/ St. Claude Arts district you'll notice an international crowd building a new community.  There are folks from NY, San Francisco and modern communities such as Portland all choosing to set up their lives in New Orleans.  Amanda and I have gone from being excited to nervous so many times but now it's starting to feel like the positive energy is starting to win.  The other day I was on the latter and a news van was at the light across the street and I was yelling at him trying to get his attention.  I told him his crime stories were cheesy and that if they truly loved the city they'd cover more than shootings and football.  I don't know but that sounds like they are only in it for the money and not the city.  I know conflict and drama sell but how about a feel good story?   

It was my pleasure to paint over this X.  Fuck Katrina!  I know that is harsh but that's the only way to put it.  I'm over that story for our city.  It is not our story anymore.  There's a new story happening right before our eyes.  

Yes, that is the front page of the Times Picayune working fine as a paint splash.  Good enough is not good enough anymore.  

It's so nice to escape the trappings of modern life in our old bedroom with the fireplace.  Luca is totally at home with his mom and dad.

We're preparing the garden for the spring party we're going to have.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Soul Train...

This is an ode to Don Cornelius, creator of Soul Train and curator for almost three decades.  He was Miles Davis in a Dick Clark world.  When I heard of his passing, I instantly thought of being by the TV around 11 a.m. on Saturday mornings.  It wasn't like anything I had ever seen in the few years I had lived at the time.  I remember coming home one time with a box of hair products begging my mom to perm my hair because I wanted a reason to carry a pick in my back pocket and unbutton my fly collar shirt and walk with my earth shoes.  I used to think it was only because of Michael Jackson, but realized quickly upon you tubing Soul Train that this was a huge factor in shaping my early childhood.  I remember when we were first gathering material for "So Long" and we were trying to define the parameters for what the sound was going to be.  When we explored early New Orleans funk and old 70's R&B, my pick came to mind and that feeling of walking on air was back.  Here's to you Don! And your friends Rick, Marvin, and James. Oh, and you too Teddy "late to the party" Pendergrass.