It's been a while since I last reported on my activities, I will attempt to fill in the blanks with this post.
The Summer heat is hanging on like a 95 year old congressman. let it go! It's been the year from hell as far as the environment is concerned. Fires, hurricanes, earth quakes, and floods! Wow, I had no idea that denial could be such a powerful force. Not even Donald T can save us if we don't change our ways. (sarcasm)
I have recently become a full time starving artist with the sale of my long time money making venture. For those who don't know, I've been paying for guitar strings and studio gear for many years by building and installing cabinetry. I am trying to adjust to the changes that come along with this, but you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks. There's a lot of truth in that one. So I'll be playing more frequently and opening up my studio to do recordings for any local music makers who need to capture their magic. Two things I enjoy doing. I'll miss the splinters, but I'm sure that will pass.
I've just returned form the Lake County Folk Festival in beautiful downtown Eustis, Fl. The weather was perfect, the crowds were very appreciative, and the staff and volunteers were amazing. If you've never ventured out for this one, put it on your list. You'll thank me.
The most dreaded words that any musician's spouse has ever heard, "the band is getting back together" shall be invoked once again. The Ashley Gang Family Reunion will be taking place on Sunday Oct. 29, in Vero Beach, Fl. at the Heritage Center. We have officially been disbanded for several years now, but have not lost our love of playing together. We're all looking forward to this event. If you'd like to make the scene, please let me know, so I can get you on the guest list. Yes, a very swanky affair! There will be light food items, beverages and a chance to hang out with some really great folks. The doors will open at 5:00, music around 6:00. The Steel Blossoms will be opening the show, a duo from Nashville with a really great sound.
Well there you have it, a short, yet informative run down of the world according to Al. I will put a serious effort into updating more frequently now that I'll have time to ponder the meaning of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thanks for listening, Al
The first days of summer have arrived, and the heat indices across the country bare witness to the fact that climate change is doing quite well under the new administration. It's good to see something is! We've got ourselves in a real doozy on all fronts it would seem. Environmentally, financially, globally, heck, the only folks still talking to us are the Russians! There's something that just seems wrong about that.
Meanwhile here on the home front, our favorite politicians are diligently working on the best healthcare bill you've never seen. Talk about your beautiful chocolate cake! So in an effort to shine some light on this travesty, I have started the "I AM A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION" campaign. These are people who need healthcare more than any other segment of society. The insurance companies and our elected representatives are in cahoots, jacking the rates up to an unaffordable level for those with a pre-existing condition. It's just not right, and maybe even criminal! So join me in letting these dirtbags know that we're on to their slimy tactics. Proceeds from sales of these shirts will be donated to Moveon.org.
Okay, enough about that for now, let's talk music. It's been a busy couple of months for me, traveling around spreading the joy of Gibtown. I had a gig in Melrose at the world famous, Artisan's Way on the way to the Florida Folk Festival. The Countries longest running, and hottest folk festival. Two great claims to fame. We had a great time and survived the event without to many disasters. The mark of any successful mission. From there we made our way up to Lynn Haven, for a show at Robert's Hall. The legendary Hank Williams played there many moons ago, and the place has some magic in it still. Lucky Mud, Mike and Maggie McKinney, run the show there, and are great hosts and human beings. It's always great to hang out with them.
I'm back to hosting the Open Mic on Tuesday nights here in Sebastian at the Blue Lion. It's a great place to unwind and hang out on a Tuesday evening. So stop in if you get a chance and bring your talent with you.
And remember, if you need a new black T-shirt, keep me in mind.
See ya soon, Al
Okay, I've been slacking on the blog updates. But my vast group of followers have indicated they'd like to see what my latest random thoughts have been. So here goes!
It's been a busy beginning of the year, it's already March! I've been doing live sound for a bunch of shows with my friends at the Indian River Arts and Music community. The visiting dignitaries have been great to work with. We've had concerts by, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Radislav Lorkovic, Andrew Hardin , and T Bruce Bowers, Runa, Susan Werner, David Amram, and our last show of the season was John Flynn. Needless to say my engineers hat needs to cool off for a while! But it was a blast!
From the Gear head dept: I've been using a Behringer wireless digital mixer for all of the shows for sometime now. The 100' audio snake is history, and I can't say I'm sad to see it go!
I can do all the mixing from my iPad anywhere in the venue, and it has set my soul free! The App that controls the mixer is chock full of effects and a Real Time Analyzer (RTA) to clean up those pesky frequencies. It's a beautiful thing!
On the more musical front, I just returned from the Will McLean Festival. A fabulous family reunion of sorts, deep in the heart of Brooksville, Fl. Thanks to long time compadre Paul Garfinkel's generosity to share one of his sets with me, an Ashley Gang reunion took place. I have to say, it was more fun than i could have anticipated. Many thanks to Paul, Kay, and Bob.
I also, for the second year in a row, was asked to do a young folks song writing workshop. I thought that last years successful attempt at writing a song with the younger crowd was a fluke and most likely would not be duplicated. But the kids were awesome once again, and managed to turn out a very cool song. The topic we finally landed on was an ode to the Sound man, "Sound Guy" I believe was the official title. They performed it on Sunday before the festival closing ceremony, very cool! They make an old guy proud!
I've got some other things coming up, and I'll do my best to keep you informed. Don't hesitate to bug me if I appear to slip off the grid. I'd love to hear from you!
Take care of each other, turn off your TV, and try to put yourself in someone else's shoes!
,Another year has come and gone, but the adventure has only just begun!
The new disc "Gibtown" was released in October, but the holidays and other important activities sidetracked my intentions to really push this project. So now with a new year, it's time for me to act like a real starving artist and get to work.
I'm in the process of closing down my official occupation, which has allowed me to be a semi casual performing songwriter for a number of years. This starving artist thing may get real very soon!
My multi prong strategy for survival will be A) to play more gigs, rumor has it, you can make hundreds of dollars a year doing this! B) taking on clients in my recording studio. A small but decent recording space with some pretty sweet gear. The results can be heard on the new "Gibtown" disc. Like most things, the learning process involved in recording music is never ending, but I think at this point I've got enough experience to offer my services up to the public. And
C) Doing live sound for small to medium sized venues. I've been doing sound for a local house concert presenter, Indian River Art & Music, for a while now with some decent results. The series was originally presented in someones house, which was set up really well for such activities. But due to the producer doing such a bang up on job in the promotion department, we outgrew the space. The latest concerts have been held in Vero Beach at the Heritage Center, a great room with plenty of space. We recently hosted Sarah Lee Guthrie to a sold out room. Our next show, Feb 5, will be Runa, a 5 piece award winning celtic band! If this one doesn't kill the sound guy, (me!) nothing will!
I guess that about wraps up my thoughts for today. I'll try to update the site more often this year, part of my unofficial New years Resolution. And I hope to see your smiling faces as often as possible somewhere down the road!
Well it's been a long hard road, which is something I'm pretty familiar with, but the new disc has finally arrived!
This project has not gone without it's share of minor disasters along the way, but these things build character. I actually received the discs several weeks ago, but upon inspection we noticed the bar code had been left off of the back cover. You might not think this would matter much, since we have no plans to sell these at Wal-Mart, but the online retailers won't handle the disc without the magic bar code! After freaking out for a spell, I contacted the folks at Discmakers. Once we determined that it wasn't my screw up, they bent over backwards to make things right. Yes, they made a mistake, but they went above and beyond the call of duty to make it right. So I shipped all the discs back to them, they reprinted the jackets and repackaged all the guts, and shipped them back! I"m sure I'll be using them again for any future projects. I believe this would be considered labor pains!
You might notice a new page on the site titled "Gibtown". If you dare to click on that tab, it will sweep you away to an alternate universe, where you can get a glimpse of the finished product. You can also order a disc or download from there. If you order the disc, you'll get the awesome art work, as well as a twelve page booklet with all the lyrics and musician credits for each song.
So here's to hoping everyone enjoys the new disc, and we still have a few friend left after the elections!
See ya soon, Al
September has arrived, along with some tropical storm activity. There's never a dull moment in the Sunshine state. We are anticipating the cooler weather, it should only be a couple more months of swealter, then we'll be able to start wearing grown up clothes again.
The tracks have been sent out to the duplicators for the new disc, and the graphics should be headed there any day now! I think this thing is really going to happen. I appreciate all the patience on the part of my gigantic fan base, you two are the best! If all goes well, I'll have them on hand at the Lake County folk Festival Oct 8 & 9 in beautiful downtown Eustis! Here's a preview of the cover Art. See Ya soon!
I'm not sure how it happened, But the month of June disappeared in the rear view before I even realized it was here. Not to much music being played in this kind of heat, but I did manage to have a great time playing the Sarasota Sailing Squadron for the Sarasota Folk Club this month. I was joined by my long time compadres, Paul and Kay Garfinkel, and Bob Bronar for what turned out to be an Ashley Gang reunion of sorts. Great fun with some great folks!
The New disc is well on the way! I've been working with my favorite graphics person, Chrissy Trujillo, putting together a great looking package. This lady is an artist! I'll be sending things off for duplication very soon, and should have them before the fall festivities begin.
On the health front, I've completed my latest round of treatments and have been given some time off for good behavior. But I have to say, this good behavior stuff goes against my families genetic code. It may be doing more harm than good, but I'll stick with it and hope for the best. I'm looking forward to a tasty craft beer when all the dust settles. Maybe you can join me for one!
Be good to everyone, Al
Now that June has arrived along with the summertime heat, I thought I'd reflect on the month of May. The festival season here in Florida has gone into hiding until cooler weather returns in the fall, and who can blame it!
The Grand daddy of all folk festivals, The Florida Folk Festival, which traditionally occurs on Memorial Day weekend every year for the past 64 years, was a ton of fun. Our home town hero, Arlo Guthrie headlined the Saturday night show, his witty stage repartee and great music always grabs the crowd. After fifty years of playing Alice's Restaurant, it's still something his fans love to hear, and sing! I know I do. Along with Arlo, another home town hero who has amassed quite a following, Ben Prestage made the scene. A great blues/one man band kind of guy hailing from Vero Beach, he had the crowd on their feet for most of his show Friday night. Other noteworthy performers were, John McEuen, Billy Dean, Les Dudek, and Jim Stafford. If you've never been to this festival you should make plans to get there next year. There's nothing better than sweating it out with a bunch of folkies!
The new CD update: I would have liked to complete it by the Florida Folk Festival, but unforeseen health issues surfaced and slowed down my work flow. Now that I'm back in the saddle, so to speak, I'm hot on the trail of the final mixes. This is the part of the project where my OCD kicks in. I'll be busy getting things ironed out for the next month or so. I think we've decided to title this disc "Gibtown", it was either that or YO HO, and it seems to me that pirates get enough press already.
So enjoy the summer and keep tuned in here for the next update. Hopefully by the time I get back here with my next report I'll have a more definite completion date for this project. Many thanks to everyone who sent me healing vibes, prayers and sage smoke, the world could use more folkies!
See ya soon, Al
So, here we are on the 8th day of April, and I'm finally getting to my March blog update. My homework assignments were usually late too!
Anywhoo, March was full of wonderful events and plenty of musical madness to go around. We made the annual pilgrimage to The Sertoma Youth Ranch for the Will McLean Festival on the 11&12, a family reunion of sorts for the Florida songsmith community. A great time was had by all, at least everyone I came into contact with. There's always a grump or two in attendance, fortunately, I didn't run into any of them!
I had the extreme pleasure of working with the Shining Star youth program this year. They asked if I'd do a songwriting workshop with the young folks, and in my usual style I accepted before fully realizing what it would entail. A better group of young folk I have never encountered, very talented and bright. Our mission was to craft a song during our time together, two one hour workshops, and if all went well, perform it on the main stage Sunday before the festival's closing activities. No pressure! Thanks to Laura Julian for setting me up with this project, it was a wonderful experience. The song turned out to be a real hit with the crowd and I'm sure this program will continue into the future. I'm quite willing to pass the mentor torch onto some other songwriting mastermind for next year! Here's a link to the video performance.
The following week I had two sound gigs for the Indian River House Concert series here in Sebastian. Our featured performer was John Flynn from Delaware.
A Great singer songwriter, if you ever have the opportunity to see him, don't blow it! Wednesday the 16th was a private event, then he played again on Saturday at Shirtstock. An annual event, we like to think of as Sebastian's version of Woodstock! A little smaller but just as groovy! Thanks to T-Shirt Kathy for putting on this great series, and allowing me stalk my way into this groups of folkies.
I've also been hanging in there with the Blue Lion Open Mic series every Tuesday night. It's kind of grueling to do it every week, but on the nights when something really special happens, it's all worth it.
Oh yeah, the recording. It's so close I can almost smell the discs burning!
I think I've enlisted some of Florida finest folkies to help me out with this project. I'm not going to drop any names, that would be uncool, plus it would take an entire page of credits. You'll have to wait. Yes, it's marketing ploy!
Thanks for continuing to follow my ramblings, and check back often to see where I'll be making some noise!
Stay safe and healthy! Al
Better late than never! The February update, and it's almost March!
When last we talked, I was on my way to the South Florida Folk Festival in Ft Lauderdale. It was a wonderful event and a chance to hang out with some of our south Florida folks we don't often get to see. Unfortunately, I didn't win. Fortunately, my good friend Larry Mangum, from Jacksonville, was one of the winners! Good Job Larry. The other two winners rounding out the top three were, John John Brown,from Winter Park, Fl and Kirstin Maxwell, from Huntington, NY. The weather, although initially threatening, calmed down and turned out to be beautiful. Thanks to the South Florida Folk Club for all their hard work and flexibility!
The CD report! Things are progressing very well on the new disc, I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. In spite of my anti social behavior, I've managed to round up a bunch of great folks to contribute their talents to this project. Hopefully by the next update I'll have everything recorded and be in the mix down and graphics portion of the production. There are just a few more folks I need to round up to add the finishing touches. It's been a long strange trip, but I believe it will be worth the wait. I'm hoping to have it in hand by the Florida Folk Festival at the end of May. We shall see!
Until we meet again, have a great time and don't vote for anyone I wouldn't vote for!