Back from New York
Just got back from the east coast. Had a great bunch of gigs out there, all in New York State: Wellsville, Buffalo, Geneseo, New York City. Highlights were Wellsville Arts Center where Andy and Pete keep things on a community level with regular concerts and workshops (I did both) and a real quality open mic that draws from a 30 mile radius. And Geneseo – Geneseo! The Sweet Briar concert series, run like a house concert with pot luck food and drink and music in an extraordinarily perfect acoustic room, no sound gear, it’s the real thing. The gig to die for (live for actually, since if you died you’d never get it again). And you can’t mention Geneseo without talking about Buzzo’s Music! Buzzo’s is a great little place on the main street crammed full of stuff – vinyl records and sheet music, guitar strings and tuners, lots of guitars in the back with cases and stands, a mountain of inventory, all of it in a shop about as big as two broom closets. And the capper is hat you get to talk to Buzzo himself, gray bearded hipster trumpet player who everybody in town knows, and they come out to hang with him at least once a week. Go there and say hello for me: http://www.buzzomusic.com/
And of course New York City! Manhattan. My favorite city on the planet, no question. The gig was The People’s Voice Café, held in a church basement, been going on for 30 years. Good turnout (hard to do in the city) and shared the stage with Dave Lippman, the great contemporary satirist – Tom Lehrer of the modern. Got to hang out for a day after and ride the subways. What’s so wonderful about New York City. aside from the humor and historical depth of the place, is the way that’s it’s made up of millions of little worlds. Everywhere you look is a world and almost all of them are small. Little groceries that fir on a street corner and have been owned by the same family for generations. Cafes and restaurants that you have to stoop to get into. Of all the cities in my life this is the best. Did a one last gig Sunday night organized on 8 hours notice by my bass player buddy Mark at the Catholic Worker house on East 3rd Street. Very cool, another acoustically perfect room. This was the place where Dorothy Day did much of her work way back when and the room was filled with stacks of news papers and political action signs. It had a great stage that we didn’t use – we played in front on the floor – and theater seating for about 75. I won’t say how many came out for the gig on 8 hours notice but I will say that those who were there will be talking about it for a long time to come.
Other highlights were hanging out with Moira and Cindy in Buffalo – Moira interviewed me for the online Think Twice Radio in Buffalo. Here’s the link: http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/jim-pray/jim-pray.html My spot is dated 10/5/10, hosted by Jim Pray. This station itself is worth a gold star. Operated in the basement of the house that the organizer grew up in, all the gear (and there’s a lot of it) was acquired through eBay. So it’s all a little past current state of the art but it’s all really good. They do radio and TV.
Anyway, it’s good to be home but I’ve got that New York itch again. We’ll see where it leads. Going down to California Bay Area in a few days. More soon…