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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #150 on: September 16, 2012, 01:12:01 PM »

Catchy  grin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzHAlwEK7a4&feature=youtu.be
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #151 on: September 24, 2012, 09:17:41 PM »

I want this played at my cremation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqc1_RQHOKM
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Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #152 on: October 08, 2012, 02:41:47 AM »

I want this played at my cremation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqc1_RQHOKM

Very nice, never heard it before.
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"You see, it's not the blood you spill that gets you what you want, it's the blood you share. Your family, your friendships, your community, these are the most valuable things a man can have." Before Dishonor - Hatebreed
Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #153 on: October 08, 2012, 04:11:01 AM »

I enjoy both versions...

From my Father down to me
Then on to you my son.
Someday you will be the one, to carry the pride.
My Lion, roar!


Remix:




Original:




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"You see, it's not the blood you spill that gets you what you want, it's the blood you share. Your family, your friendships, your community, these are the most valuable things a man can have." Before Dishonor - Hatebreed
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« Reply #154 on: October 26, 2012, 10:40:56 AM »

'Jed Zeppelin': They're Country, But Raised on Rock 'n' Roll .
By DON STEINBERG
 
Getty Images
 
Eric Church: 'There's a lot of Iron Maiden in what we do.'
.
It might seem odd that Eric Church's song titled "Springsteen" reached No. 1 on Billboard's country-music chart this summer, but it really shouldn't. More than ever, country artists are channeling the rock of the 1970s and '80s.

Though Nashville traditionalists don't fully approve of all the rocking, Mr. Church is nominated for more Country Music Association Awards than anyone else this year, with the ceremony set for Thursday. "Springsteen" is nominated for song of the year.

It's not just about Bruce. On country radio these days, it's easy to hear echoes of Bad Company, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Joan Jett. For music fans raised on the straightforward guitars and ragged drumbeats of classic rock, the latest country music has a familiar ring.

"What you're hearing is a change in the way country songs are mixed," says Brian Philips, president of Country Music Television. "You're hearing dirtier guitars, turned up louder in the mix. The rhythm section is more prominent. The drums are heavier. The vocal is a little more defiant. It's a rock mix. It's very different from what you would have heard in Nashville a decade ago."

Rock and country have fed on each other since before Elvis Presley showed up at Sun Studio, of course. What's different now is that today's country stars grew up in a world when rural America was less isolated than before. Country traditions abide in some quarters, but for these artists, rock—even heavy metal—was the currency.

Randy Houser's summer hit "How Country Feels," with its power-chord and kick-drum opening, sounds eerily like AC/DC's "Highway to Hell." The first bars of Thomas Rhett's "Something to Do With My Hands" evoke Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady." Lady Antebellum's "Friday Night" is very "Jessie's Girl" (Rick Springfield). Love and Theft's summer hit "Angel Eyes" channels Tom Petty. Dierks Bentley's raucous "5-1-5-0" pays homage musically to the Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane," though its title is a nod to Eddie Van Halen, who used "5150" (a California police code for somebody acting crazy) to name his guitar and a Van Halen album.

 
"We joke and make up names in the studio, like Jed Zeppelin," says Ronnie Dunn, formerly of country duo Brooks and Dunn and now a solo artist who recently released the single "Let the Cowboy Rock." Brooks and Dunn's work included a remake of the 1973 B.W. Stevenson classic "My Maria." Their hit "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk out of the Girl" sounded like the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up."

"That's what we were going for," says Mr. Dunn. "I tell people my ultimate fantasy for a band is where the Stones meet Merle Haggard."

Superstar Kenny Chesney has a song, "I Go Back," where he recalls his passionate younger days listening to the Steve Miller Band, John Mellencamp and Billy Joel. In July, Mr. Miller joined Mr. Chesney onstage during an Oakland concert, and they performed the classic hits "Rock'n Me" and "The Joker" together. The Dixie Chicks famously covered Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." Oklahoma good ol' boy Toby Keith, on his 2011 album "Clancy's Tavern," performs Three Dog Night's laid-back "Shambala."

In the song "Springsteen," which has the solemn vibe of Mr. Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," the singer-songwriter Mr. Church recalls his own teenage glory days listening to the radio.

"When I grew up, yeah, I listened to country music," says Mr. Church, 35, who was raised in small-town North Carolina. "But if you were going to a football game, rock 'n' roll was playing in every car and every truck. You were listening to everything from AC/DC, Metallica, all the way to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mellencamp, Springsteen, Seger, Petty."

Mr. Church figures the first song he learned to play on guitar might have been "Born to Run," or maybe "Jack and Diane."

"I went to an AC/DC concert in an amphitheater, and it just damned near changed my life," he remembers. "Guys with their fists in the air. The raw energy of rock 'n' roll is something no one else has been able to duplicate. In our show, we try. There's a lot of Iron Maiden in what we do."

Country lyrics have evolved, too. They remain rich in confessional narrative and honky-tonk wordplay, though increasingly there are fewer tales of woe, more attitude and gratitude. Often the down-home words contrast with the guitar-amped sounds. Mr. Houser's "How Country Feels" kicks in on the highway-to-hell riff, then cuts down a dirt road to heaven: "You never rolled in the hay/Never thrown it in four-wheel/Climb up on in here, girl/Let me show you how country feels."

"They're almost overcompensating these days for kind of injecting even metal influences into some of the country songs," Mr. Dunn observes. "They'll overwork the lyrics to testify that they are country: 'I've got my dog on my seat in my truck, on the dirt road, in the backwoods.' It's almost like you catch yourself apologizing for rocking out."

If today's country music sounds like 1970s rock, another reason may be because what passed for rock during that musically diverse era was infused with twang. Bad Company were considered hard rockers, but listen to 1975's "Feel Like Makin' Love" again some time. It doesn't sound like the electronic pop that's on rock charts these days, and if newly released it would be most likely to get airplay on a country station. You could say the same about many hits from the Eagles, Grateful Dead, Neil Young, the Band, the Doobie Brothers, America, Bob Seger, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Olivia Newton-John, Linda Ronstadt and, of course, Southern rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. Bad Company weren't the only Brits to cowboy up. A good slice of the Stones' fertile early-1970s period was country, and the Who gave voice to country-style violin (in "Baba O'Reilly") and banjo (in "Squeeze Box"). Country's plaintive steel guitar accents Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." And the quirky '70s hit parade featured countless country-flavored novelties: "Convoy," "Afternoon Delight," "Still the One," "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Angel of the Morning," "The Cover of the Rolling Stone," "Delta Dawn," "Dueling Banjos."

Country's spread into rock territory has coincided with a geographic incursion. Country is thriving where you'll never find a hayseed. In Philadelphia, where venerable rock station WYSP last year became another major-market rock casualty, country station WXTU is having its best run ever.

"I think people are surprised how well country does in the Northeast," says Natalie Conner, the station's general manager.

Country-music sales trail behind rock and R&B, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But country's 5.6% increase in album sales in the first half of 2012 (over 2011) was a bigger rise than any other genre.

Pollstar says the highest-grossing concert tour of the summer was Mr. Chesney and Tim McGraw's tour together, which featured their new duet, titled "Feel Like a Rock Star," of course. The tour reached $96.5 million in gate receipts and sold one million tickets, according to Pollstar. Their two football-stadium shows in Foxboro, Mass., broke the sales record for a New England country-music event. Mr. Chesney broke the New York/New Jersey record in 2011.

Bill Flanagan cultivated the long-shared DNA of rock and country when as an executive at CMT he created the "CMT Crossroads" TV series, pairing country artists with rockers. In one episode, Taylor Swift rocked out with Def Leppard.

"It seems totally incongruous," Mr. Flanagan says, but he traces a direct line: Ms. Swift grew up listening to Shania Twain, whose producer (and ex-husband) Mutt Lange also produced the classics by Def Leppard and AC/DC.

"When the series began, we assumed it would be young rock artists wanting to work with older country artists like Merle Haggard or Willie Nelson. It's actually worked out the other way," Mr. Flanagan says. "Now it's Keith Urban getting to play with his hero John Fogerty. Ninety percent of the country artists we talk to ask if they can do it with Springsteen. We had to create a No-Bruce Zone."

Write to Don Steinberg at don.steinberg@dowjones.com
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #155 on: January 11, 2013, 04:02:23 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hnLsfnchbGs#!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #156 on: May 21, 2013, 11:37:11 PM »

R.I.P. Ray Manzarek of The Doors:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ray-manzarek-photos-20130520,0,147206.photogallery
http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-ray-manzarek-20130521,0,3258512.story
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ccp
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« Reply #157 on: October 05, 2013, 11:21:58 PM »

We have all heard the long and short versions of "Hey Joe" sung and played by Jimi Hendrix.

The origins of the song are quite murky.  Look up "Hey Joe" on Wikipedia and one can read what I mean.

One claim is this is the original writer and singer of the song that was stolen by her boyfriend and rewritten as "Hey Joe".

I think this singer is great:

http://www.numerogroup.com/catalog_detail.php?uid=00950#
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ccp
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« Reply #158 on: February 06, 2014, 11:54:49 AM »

The only thing I remember about this when I was somewhere around the age of seven was my sister hogging the TV and sitting Indian style (I hope I didn't offend anyone) in front of our little black and white TV with the antennae (no remote back then) and giddily screaming and screeching over these guys.  I couldn't figure it out.  undecided

It was as though she was possessed.    My oldest sister felt that way about Elvis I think.

http://news.yahoo.com/ed-sullivan-beatles-39-item-headed-nyc-auction-051556647.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #159 on: February 06, 2014, 12:22:23 PM »

My father took me to see (not hear) the Beatles at Philadelphia Convention Center in 1963 or '64.  There was not a dry seat in the house.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #160 on: April 11, 2014, 12:01:27 AM »



www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnDLa-8MAHQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBsENI3F9FE

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Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #161 on: May 06, 2014, 09:56:11 AM »

The Green - The Power in Words
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JC-di8CjCY
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ccp
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« Reply #162 on: July 17, 2014, 09:39:47 AM »

Circa 2000 we went to see him at the House of Blues in Orlando (when we were leaving the house).  He was one of my favorites in college.  Unfortunately, he looked very sickly.  Someone said they thought he had aids.  He was injecting heroin so it is feasible that he also injected a deadly virus.  OTOH albinos sometimes have associated neurodegenerative disorders as well and for all I know it was this that made him appear the way he did.   We left the show early because frankly he was so weak and terrible that he could only repeat the same few chords while his band was obviously trying to compensate for his inability to play.  We thought he looked like he was going to die soon at that time so I am surprised he lasted till now.   He will be remembered for his "mean" guitar work.   His music struck a chord with me that is for sure:


Blues legend Johnny Winter dies at 70 in Zurich

Associated Press
By JOHN HEILPRIN 43 minutes ago

FILE - In this Friday, June 19, 2009 file photo, Johnny Winter plays during the Canton Blues Festival 2009 in downtown Canton, Ohio. Texas blues icon Johnny Winter, who rose to fame in the late 1960s and '70s with his energetic performances and recordings that included producing his childhood hero Muddy Waters, died in Zurich, Switzerland on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. He was 70. (AP Photo/The Repository, Bob Rossiter) MANDATORY CREDIT
   
GENEVA (AP) — Texas blues legend Johnny Winter, known for his lightning-fast blues guitar riffs, his striking long white hair and his collaborations with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and childhood hero Muddy Waters, has died. He was 70.

Winter was a leading light among the white blues guitar players, including Eric Clapton and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, who followed in the footsteps of the earlier Chicago blues masters. Winter idolized Waters — and got a chance to produce some of the blues legend's more popular albums. Rolling Stone magazine named Winter one of the top 100 guitarists of all time.

His representative, Carla Parisi, confirmed Thursday that Winter died in a hotel room in Zurich a day earlier. The statement said his wife, family and bandmates were all saddened by the loss of one of the world's finest guitarists.

There was no immediate word on the cause of death.

Winter had been on an extensive tour this year that recently brought him to Europe. His last performance came Saturday at the Lovely Days Festival in Wiesen, Austria.

The tour, a documentary that premiered at the SXSW Festival exploring his music, youth and substance abuse battles, and a newly released four-CD set of recordings were all part of Winter's celebration of turning 70 this year.

John Dawson Winter III was born on Feb. 23, 1944, in Mississippi, but was raised in Beaumont, Texas. He was the older brother of Edgar Winter, also an albino, who rose to musical fame with the Edgar Winter Group.

Winter was one of the most popular live acts of the early 1970s, when his signature fast blues guitar solos attracted a wide following. But his addiction problems with heroin during that decade and later battles with alcohol and prescription medication, including methadone, also drew attention.

His career received a big boost early on when Rolling Stone singled him out as one of the best blues guitarists on the Texas scene. This helped secure a substantial recording contract from Columbia Records in 1969 that led to an appearance at the Woodstock Festival and gave him a wide following among college students and young blues fans.

Crowds were dazzled by the speed — and volume — of his guitar playing, which had its roots in urban blues but incorporated elements of rock 'in roll.

Winters paid homage to Waters on "Tribute to Muddy," a song from his 1969 release "The Progressive Blues Experiment." He continued to pick up accolades, producing three Grammy Award-winning albums for Waters and recording with John Lee Hooker, which helped revive their careers.

Winter performed often with blues and rock singer Janis Joplin and the two became close during the 1960s.

Among the blues classics that Winter played during that era were "Rollin' and Tumblin'," ''Bad Luck and Trouble" and "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl." He also teamed up with his brother Edgar for their 1976 live album "Together."

He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988.

There was no immediate word on funeral services.

Gregory Katz contributed from London.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #163 on: July 17, 2014, 05:51:42 PM »

I saw him sit in with Electric Hot Tuna at the late show at the Fillmore East around 1970. 

I LOVE his rendition of Dylan's "Highway 61"!!!
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ccp
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« Reply #164 on: July 19, 2014, 09:35:58 AM »

"I LOVE his rendition of Dylan's "Highway 61"!!!"

Yes!  1970?  Was he the main act or the opener then?  I think I got into him some years after.   Early to mid 70's.  I liked him better than his brother.

I had a couple of his albums.  My favorite was AND/LIVE though it was circa '75 when I first heard it in my fraternity during a party.  
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #165 on: July 20, 2014, 08:32:08 AM »

The show wherein I saw him was an Electric Hot Tuna show and he was invited onstage to join the set.

Frankly to my ear he often did not play with much heart, instead more with volume and speed and with a competitive attitude with Jorma.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #166 on: February 17, 2015, 11:38:30 AM »

Happy 75th birthday Grace Slick!!!
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ccp
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« Reply #167 on: March 12, 2015, 09:36:05 AM »

It's about time someone actually won a copyright infringement in the music business.  If it wasn't a family of a famous artist the verdict almost certainly would have been different.   No names almost never win against the celebrities.   Unfortunately this is only the tiny tip of the iceberg.

***** AP • MSNBC • USA TODAY • FOX News • New York Times Movies • Movies • Music • TV • Entertainment News Videos
   
'Blurred Lines' verdict likely to alter music business

Mar 11, 11:07 AM (ET)

By ANTHONY McCARTNey

(AP) Marvin Gaye's daughter, Nona Gaye, talks to the media outside the Los Angeles U.S....

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A verdict saying Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke copied Marvin Gaye's music to create their hit song "Blurred Lines" could ripple across the music industry, potentially changing how artists work and opening the door to new copyright claims.

An eight-person jury determined Tuesday that Williams and Thicke copied elements of Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up" and ordered the pair to pay nearly $7.4 million to the late R&B legend's three children.

Millions more in potential future profits for "Blurred Lines" are now also at stake.

The Gaye family will seek an injunction against the song, which will give them leverage to negotiate for royalties and other concessions such as songwriting credit, although Tuesday's verdict could face years of appeals.
 
While the verdict affects Thicke and Williams' finances in the short term, artists and music industry lawyers will likely face new constraints as they sort through the verdict and its implications.

Howard King, lead attorney for Thicke and Williams, said in closing arguments that a verdict for the Gaye family would have a chilling effect on musicians trying to evoke an era or create an homage to the sound of earlier artists. Williams contended during the trial that he was only trying to mimic the "feel" of Gaye's late 1970s music but insisted he did not use elements of his idol's work.

"Today's successful verdict, with the odds more than stacked against the Marvin Gaye estate, could redefine what copyright infringement means for recording artists," said Glen Rothstein, an intellectual property attorney.

He said the decision sets a precedent because "paying homage to musical influences was an acceptable, and indeed commonplace way of conducting business and even showing respect for one's musical idols, (but) after today, doubt has been cast on where the line will be drawn for copyright infringement purposes."

Music copyright trials are rare, but allegations that a song copies another artist's work are common. Singers Sam Smith and Tom Petty recently reached an agreement that conferred songwriting credit to Petty on Smith's song, "Stay With Me," which resembled Petty's hit "I Won't Back Down."
 
In the "Blurred Lines" case, the Gaye family will seek an injunction against the song, giving them leverage to negotiate for royalties and other concessions such as songwriting credits.

Nona Gaye, the late singer's daughter, wept as the verdict was read and later told reporters: "Right now, I feel free. Free from ... Pharrell Williams' and Robin Thicke's chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told."

Larry Iser, an intellectual property lawyer who has represented numerous musicians such as Jackson Browne and David Byrne in music copyright cases, criticized the verdict.

"Although Gaye was the Prince of Soul, he didn't own a copyright to the genre, and Thicke and Williams' homage to the feel of Marvin Gaye is not infringing," Iser said.

King, the pair's lawyer, said record labels are going to become more reluctant to release music that's similar to other works — an assertion disputed by Richard Busch, the lead attorney for the Gaye family.

"While Mr. Williams' lawyer suggested in his closing argument that the world would come to an end, and music would cease to exist if they were found liable, I still see the sun shining," Busch said. "The music industry will go on."

So, too, will Williams' career, said Joe Levy, editor-at-large at Billboard.

"For Pharrell, the story moves on," he said. "It will move on quickly."

Williams, 41, is a seven-time Grammy Award winner whose songs he's performed or produced have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. His hit "Happy" has helped make him a household name, as has his work as a judge on NBC's music competition show, "The Voice."

"It's much to Pharrell's advantage that he is at a high point in his career," Levy said.

Thicke's career may have more issues as a result of Tuesday's verdict — which came on his 38th birthday — because "Blurred Lines" was a global hit and his follow-up effort failed to connect with audiences, Levy said. Despite the song's popularity, feminists have criticized it, saying it promotes rape culture.

While the verdict will likely make musicians and record labels more cautious, it won't stop artists from using others' works as inspiration, Levy said.

Despite the decision, he predicted that "Blurred Lines" will continue to make plenty of money for Williams, Thicke and, in all likelihood, the Gaye family.

"People aren't going to stop playing it," Levy said. "It's not just going to disappear."****

---
 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #168 on: August 12, 2015, 11:14:05 AM »

Jorma Kaukonen Finds Somebody To Love

The former Jefferson Airplane guitarist and Hot Tuna lead man comes home to his mother’s faith at his Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio

By Wayne Robins
The former Jefferson Airplane guitarist and Hot Tuna lead man comes home to his mother’s faith at his Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio
By Wayne Robins
August 12, 2015

I. ‘Shalom, Brother’

At Fur Peace Ranch, hidden away on an unpaved road in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio, one expects to hear the moo of cows, the rustling of corn. But Fur Peace doesn’t raise dairy cattle or crops. Its primary product is guitar players, mentored during numerous weekend retreats each year by owner Jorma Kaukonen. One of the most celebrated and influential rock guitar players of the last 50 years, Kaukonen was a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, the band whose very name represents the base camp of the 1960s counter-culture in all its striations: lysergic visions, political upheavals, feedback-fueled rock ’n’ roll, the San Francisco-born soundtrack to collective hallucinations, urban revolution, and pastoral pleasures.

Kaukonen came to rock ’n’ roll gradually and unexpectedly. He was a product of the folk and blues boom of the late 1950s and ’60s, meeting and playing with nascent stars such as Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, and Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner in the clubs around Santa Clara, the southern part of the San Francisco peninsula, now absorbed into Silicon Valley. (“If I was scripting Janis’ life, she would have stayed just a blues singer,” Kaukonen said of Joplin, whom he accompanied in clubs in the early 1960s.)

His empathetic, energetic, and erudite guitar playing was there from the beginning, on Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Kaukonen’s electric playing propels the band’s classic rock hits, including “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.” Devotees of his distinctive, folk-raga style from the Airplane’s heady days like to cite his instrumental “Embryonic Journey” on the watershed Surrealistic Pillow album and his arrangement of the traditional “Good Shepherd,” a peaceful interlude on the up-against-the-wall psychodrama of Volunteers.

By the end of the 1960s, Kaukonen—overshadowed at times by the big three egos of singers Grace Slick, Marty Balin, and Kantner—was also moonlighting with his oldest friend from D.C., Airplane bassist Jack Casady, on what has become their most lasting combo, blues-folk-rock band Hot Tuna. Though the repertory has stayed the same, the approach often changes, as Hot Tuna tours and records in acoustic, electric, and blended formats. Its original lineup featured a violinist, Papa John Creach. Since around 2002, it has included mandolin player Barry Mitterhoff, whose expertise and repertory include both klezmer and bluegrass, sometimes at the same time. The band’s name—rowdier fans sometime add an “effin” between “Hot” and “Tuna”—evokes an active connection to both ’60s nostalgia and 21st-century American roots music. (As usual, they are currently on tour.)

At lunch in the building named after Kaukonen’s mother, the Beatrice Love kitchen and dining cabin, Kaukonen sidled up to me, stretched out his hand, and said, “Shalom, brother.”

 

II. Judaism, Appalachian Style

Now a we-should-all-look-so-good-at-his-age 75, Kaukonen lives a full and interesting life divided between the guitar school at Fur Peace Ranch and tours with Hot Tuna or as a solo artist, as well as gigs with whomever he pleases. Earlier this year, Red House Records released Kaukonen’s latest solo album, Ain’t in No Hurry, produced by fellow guitar star Larry Campbell (Tom Petty, Bob Dylan). The most recent Hot Tuna album, Steady as She Goes (2011), was also done for Red House.

Just as important as his still-flourishing music and teaching career is Kaukonen’s embrace of his Jewish heritage, a process accelerated in unusual fashion: The spontaneous decision 10 years ago of his wife and partner, Vanessa, to convert to Judaism. This was not a conversion prodded by marriage, since the couple had already been married for many years. Nor was it something that Kaukonen, with a Finnish father and Jewish mother, had ever contemplated, much less pushed for, since he had always identified as more cultural than religious. “It was mainly the food, the chopped liver, and my grandparents’ stories about Russia,” Kaukonen said.

In fact, Kaukonen still takes delight in the food aspects of Jewish culture, adapted to the rural Ohio region in which he and Vanessa have lived for many years. On Saturday morning, bagels and nova (along with granola, fresh fruit, and excellent strong-brewed coffee and the ranch’s own line of artisanal teas) were available at the Fur Peace Ranch buffet breakfast. Kaukonen placed some nova (sliced thin) on a bagel but instead of the classic companion, slapped a spoonful of peanut butter on his plate. Noting my quizzical glance, Kaukonen pointed at the peanut butter and said, “hillbilly cream cheese.”

(Photo: Scotty Hall)

Jorma’s Jewish identity was imprinted not just by his grandparents, especially his beloved grandmother Vera, a dominant figure in his childhood, but by the great-grandparents who were leaders of an agrarian commune of Russian Jewish tobacco and potato farmers in the Connecticut River Valley known as the Rockville Settlement. His great-grandfather Samuel Levine, known as Shmuel, served a rabbinical function in the community’s synagogue, Congregation Knesseth Israel, built in Ellington, Connecticut, in 1913. According to a website quoting a local newspaper at the time: “The cornerstone of the new Jewish temple was laid Sunday afternoon with appropriate exercises conducted by Samuel Levine of Vernon.” Levine was also a sofer, the scribe who created the community’s first Torah.

With his father traveling often as a foreign service officer, Kaukonen was raised in the Chevy Chase section of the District of Columbia (not to be confused with Chevy Chase, Maryland). Kaukonen remembers Washington, D.C. in the 1940s and 1950s as a Southern city. “Many of my friends at school were Presbyterian southern kids,” he said. “The food I ate was ethnic Russian Jewish cooking. I never gave it a second thought. Jews were the outsiders. I got into fights all the time because I was a Jew. I just accepted that’s the way it was.”

The most influential figure was that maternal grandmother, a leftist Zionist. It was Vera, “an outlaw” who was not at all religious, who gave Kaukonen Israel Bonds for each of his birthdays; to buy his first electric guitar, Kaukonen cashed in those bonds. To underline the particular place of honor she holds in his life, he acknowledges that there is a reason she does not rest in the family plot in Connecticut. “She was cremated, and she’s in my garage, next to my motorcycles,” he explained.

Vanessa Lillian Kaukonen was raised Catholic, coincidentally in Hartford, Connecticut, near Jorma’s ancestral roots. “When I become confirmed, my parents got divorced, and all I could think was, I didn’t have to do this”—going to church—“anymore,” she said one afternoon at the Fur Peace Ranch, while the sounds of acoustic guitar players being taught by Kaukonen and the weekend’s guest instructors, bluesman Guy Davis and Irish musician John Doyle, chimed in the air. “I didn’t want to be part of the Catholic Church, but I kind of wandered. I always believed there was something bigger than me, but I didn’t know what, or why.”

Addiction and alcoholism play a part in both Vanessa and Jorma’s spiritual journey. She has been sober 22 years; Jorma for 19. “That was a huge part of my search. I’m not giving myself a pat on the back for having been an addict, but one of the things, when I got sober, I realized there was something missing, a power greater than me that I could relate to,” Vanessa said. Twelve-step programs helped, but Vanessa, apparently, needed something more. The epiphany, when it came unannounced, changed her life.

The time: about 10 years ago. The place: an old synagogue, Congregation B’nai Sholom, in Huntington, West Virginia, just 57 miles south of the Fur Peace Ranch. The occasion: a concert by the Klezmer Mountain Boys, a band led by clarinetist Margot Leverett that blends the traditional Eastern European swing music with good old American bluegrass. Mitterhoff, the Klezmer Mountain Boys mandolin player, is close to the Kaukonens, a perennial Fur Peace Ranch teacher of a popular course called “Bluegrass and Beyond” and a near constant traveling companion as a member of Hot Tuna since the early 2000s and sideman on Kaukonen’s own headlining concerts and recordings. Kaukonen cites Mitterhoff as an important influence in his enhanced Jewish identity.

“We’ve traveled endlessly together, 100 to 150 days a year for 13 years,” Mitterhoff said in a phone conversation from his home in Scotch Plains, N.J., “and it might have been the first time he spent that much time with another musician who was Jewish. I’m not very religious, but if we see something in the newspaper about Jewish life or issues, we point it out to each other and discuss it.”

When Jorma and Vanessa arrived at the West Virginia shul for the Klezmer Mountain Boys show, they were greeted by a man in a cowboy hat and boots who said, “Shalom, y’all!” So far, so cute. But something in Vanessa Kaukonen changed when she walked through the doors. “It’s a very modest looking sanctuary,” she said. “Something happened to me, so out of body, I started weeping. Not like somebody-died kind of crying, or I-hurt-myself crying, but it was so deep, like from 100 years ago, I couldn’t tell you. I looked at Jorma, and I had to go to the bathroom to compose myself. I told Jorma, ‘This is the same feeling I had when I met you. I feel like I’m home.’ ”

A week later, Vanessa was on the phone with Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, spiritual leader of the Hillel in Athens, Ohio, 25 miles north of the Kaukonen home in Pomeroy, Ohio. Though Athens is a college town, the Hillel at Ohio University there is the hub for all of the small Jewish community in the region. “Whenever anybody calls me and announces they’re interested in conversion, my initial reactions are always the same,” Leshaw, who is Reconstructionist, said in an email. “I’m excited, but also cautious.”

She continued: “Our first few meetings were spent discussing her spiritual path, her family of origin, and her hopes for a religious connection to a new community of faith. Jorma began to attend the meetings, in part because Vanessa encouraged him to explore his Jewish past, but also because he was eager to create a Jewish future with her.”

Together with the woman they call “Rabbi Danielle,” Vanessa and Jorma had immersive conversations about Jewish holidays, rituals, the importance and meaning of Shabbat, raising Jewish children, ethics, and Torah. “I required them to participate in Jewish life in Athens, build friendships, and devote time and talent to supporting this community,” Leshaw said.

“I wasn’t bar mitzvahed,” Jorma said about his youth. “I didn’t know who I was, or why I felt different. Now I know, I was a Jew from a Jewish family.” When Vanessa decided to begin her Jewish transformation, Jorma said, “it struck me that I need to do it, too.” Though he is not observant, Kaukonen’s increased Jewish awareness provides something essential that had been missing from his life. “I’m not fond of dogma, but I feel very comfortable in the [Jewish] milieu. At our little Reconstructionist synagogue in Athens, not only is our rabbi a woman, she’s a got a little tattoo on her ankle. It felt like being home to me. I had never considered it in a conscious, intellectual way before, but it felt like it had been there all along.”

It’s not that extra motivation was needed, but raising a Jewish child was about to become relevant to the Kaukonens. They were beginning the process of adopting a young daughter from China. Their daughter, Israel, known as Izze (pronounced “Izzy”), is now 9 years old and is often seen at Fur Peace Ranch. (The family actually lives on another farm about eight miles away.) She had a little crafts table near the entrance to the theater before the Saturday night concert by guest teachers Guy Davis and John Doyle, selling her colorful handmade cloth “don’t worry” dolls at a brisk clip, negotiating prices with hagglers while Jorma sat by quietly and beamed with pride.

Tall for her age and sophisticated in her worldview, Izze is home-schooled and also participates at Hillel. “She’s getting a little old for the children’s services, so she goes to adult services with me,” Vanessa said. “I want her to be part of the conversations after services.”

The ranch has become integrated in the region’s Jewish community. One year, they held Rosh Hashanah services at the ranch. Jorma was the co-leader of the musical part of the service with Carol Weiner, a local Jewish musician who sings and acts as cantor. Kaukonen and Weiner also did the music for the Rosh Hashanah children’s service at the Hillel in 2010.

Jorma wrote about the experience on his blog. The headline on the post is “5772 Comes in With the Blues.” Kaukonen notes:

    We did a number of appropriate tunes but I think our big number was The Yom Kippur I’m Sorry Blues by Lisa Ann Green. Other songs in the service included Shanah Tovah by Judy Farber, L’Shanah Tovah by Debbie Friedman, Avinu Malkeinu in English by Judy Caplan Ginsburg, May You Be Sealed, Shofar Blast and Ahavah Love is Gonna Carry You, all by Peter and Ellen Allard.

***

Jorma and Vanessa had been living in Woodstock, New York, long thought of as a felicitous settlement for musicians with strong affinity for the 1960s. Jefferson Airplane, after all, was one of the headlining bands of the 1969 Woodstock festival, which benefited from the town’s artistic cachet, even though it was finally held in Bethel/White Lake New York, across the Catskills in Sullivan County. Their move to Ohio was pure serendipity. Twenty years ago, an old friend of Kaukonen’s from the 1950s called—“a phone call out of the blue,” he says—offering him approximately 130 acres for $32,000. “It seemed like a good idea,” Kaukonen shrugged. “If I was thinking of a higher power in those days, which I wasn’t, I would have realized this was a good deal and an opportunity, which it really was. It could have been a royal pain in the ass. Being a farmer is real work.”

Kaukonen’s notion was that it would be a nice place to have some kind of music camp. “Left to my own devices, we would have been sitting around a campfire with some hay bales, not necessarily singing ‘Kumbaya,’ but sitting around playing. But Vanessa had a real life before this as a civil engineer, and she drew up the plans, went to the bank, and did all that stuff to make it happen.”

Vanessa was living in Key West in the 1980s, working as an architectural designer. A friend dragged her to a Hot Tuna concert, they sat near the stage, met the band, partied all night. She gave Jorma her phone number. For the next few months Jorma courted her ardently, and he frequently flew her out to see him when he was touring. The turning point was when she was in Woodstock, Vermont, on a design job, and Jorma came to see her from Woodstock and asked her to marry him. Jorma had to go on the road, but he left Vanessa his massive Cadillac Eldorado at a nearby airport. “It had a beautiful black leather interior and a trunk you could fit four ex-husbands in,” Vanessa said. “I turn the key, and start to drive, the song is [Hot Tuna’s] “Genesis” with the line “and I want to go with you,” and the DJ says, ‘that was Jorma Kaukonen.’ I heard the angels sing, the universe was saying go-go-go-go-go-go, there was no going back now.”

It’s no surprise that this instant love story between two people who were heavy substance abusers at the time might have its bumps. “We got married on a pirate ship in Key West. The next five years were shit,” Vanessa said. Jorma spent considerable time in California with a Jefferson Airplane reunion project that did not turn out well. And Vanessa hated Woodstock. “He was on a methadone program, I was drinking heavily and still doing my drugs. I lost my paradise in Key West and went back to Woodstock, which I never liked, because his ghosts from his old life and his addictions were there. He kept saying, it’s all part of a bigger picture. And I was saying, what’s the bigger picture? Is this all some kind of cosmic joke? He gets this land in Ohio, I cried all the way here. He goes out on tour, and I find God in the hills of southeast Ohio. I got sober and he’s not. In the three years before he got sober, he has an affair that produces a child. I’m like, thanks a lot. I’m sober and I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. All I ever wanted from that, when I found out, I just wanted to learn how to forgive him, because it was the righteous thing to do.” In a follow-up conversation, Vanessa added emphatically, about Jorma’s son: “Zachary is not a secret; he is a blessing.”

In retrospect, this focus on righteous forgiveness made the Kaukonens’ embrace of Judaism—he from the inside, she from the outside—seem natural, if not predestined. At the Fur Peace Ranch, they have created a sanctuary for musicians of all levels who find an atmosphere in which to grow. The ranch is alcohol and drug free; the psychedelic experience is represented by the ranch’s Psylodelic Gallery, a two-story silo dedicated to the arts and culture of the 1960s: concert posters, photographs, memorabilia, the occasional light show. One poster captures the era: It advertises a New Year’s Eve show in San Francisco, 1966/1967: Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service. Tickets $6, breakfast included.

At the time of my visit, the Psylodelic Gallery also featured original work by local artist Kevin Morgan, credited with creating the “visual identity” for Kaukonen’s recent musical efforts, including the last covers for both Hot Tuna and Kaukonen’s solo albums. There’s also a store, at which you can purchase all kinds of Fur Peace Ranch, Hot Tuna, and Jorma merchandise: T-shirts, hats, guitar keychains, as well as CDs and DVDs by kindred spirits.

***

The gallery and store are both steps away from the barn, which is transformed into a concert hall that seats 200 and has a laid-back mood and state-of-the-art light and sound. Cardboard nametags are spotted on many seats, and the impression is that of a down-home version of the gold-plated nameplates on the backs of seats in many synagogues. They are reserved for season ticket holders, and they make up what appear to be a majority of the seats in the hall.

On Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, the guest teachers Davis and Doyle were the headliners. Ranch manager and longtime family friend John Hurlbut was the emcee with a folksy Prairie Home Companion delivery, sincere and satirical at the same time. Kaukonen played guest slots with each of the headliners, to heavy applause.

“We’re a destination, not a way point and not a bar,” Kaukonen said the next morning over more nova and, for him, peanut butter. “We have well over a 90 percent return rate among season ticket holders. There are other cool venues [in the region], but we are part of the community.”

Both instructors and students get something more than just musical lessons at Fur Peace Ranch. And they come from all over. The gifted blues singer and stylist Lisa Biales came from Oxford, Ohio, to study with Davis to “get instruction from a master” and add to her repertoire. Leading a small class of blues guitarists, Guy Davis spoke of trying to “unlock something inside of us” along with the drill of “focus and regularity” in the chord changes. Aside from Biales, almost every other student seemed to have traveled long miles. One was from Norway. Others came from Jacksonville, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; Salt Lake City; upstate New York and Long Island; Athens, Georgia.; Sudbury, Massachusetts. One of Jorma’s younger students, Albert Von Ledebur, from Regina, Saskatchewan, is what is referred to as a “repeat offender,” one who comes every year, with an obsessive, detailed knowledge of Kaukonen’s music, from early Airplane to late Hot Tuna.

David Wolff, Jorma’s teaching assistant, may be the original “repeat offender”; he began following Hot Tuna around the country when he was 15 years old. He is also a valuable resource in Jorma’s Jewish development. Wolff was raised in a nonobservant Conservative Jewish home but became more observant as a young adult. His first two children were raised kosher, shomer Shabbos, Modern Orthodox, and went to the Abraham Joshua Heschel school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

“When Jorma and Vanessa told me they were committing themselves to Judaism, my own journey to a more observant lifestyle gave me some insight into what they were embarking on,” Wolff said. “Many aspects of Judaism have helped me to move in a positive direction, and I had the sense that this could benefit the Kaukonens at this time of their life as well.” (That includes one of Wolff’s sons helping “Uncle Jorma” find the right page in his siddur when davening in Hebrew at a Manhattan shul, B’nai Jeshurun.)

Kaukonen’s secular muse is the Rev. Gary Davis, whose songs and finger-picking style are so much a part of Kaukonen’s life that there is a Davis song on almost every album he’s ever made. “Hesitation Blues,” a rock song in Hot Tuna’s repertory, is a Davis tune. Teaching it to his guitar students one afternoon, he pointed out how Barry Mitterhoff had taught him the same chord progressions were in the classic Jewish song, “Sholom Aleichem” (A minor to E major, transition to C7).

There are two other underappreciated guitarists from the early 1960s whose spirit Kaukonen is dedicated to keeping alive. Steve Mann is one, commemorated by the Hot Tuna song “Mann’s Fate.” Another was Ian Buchanan, who died in 1982. Buchanan was a protégé of Rev. Davis and bluesman Lonnie Johnson; Buchanan taught his Antioch College classmates Kaukonen and John Hammond Jr. the finger-picking style and instilled the classic repertory that Kaukonen plays to this day. “Ian was a really important guy to me, an utterly pure and uncommercial spirit. I followed my spirit most of my life, but I really liked getting paid for it. Ian never cared whether he did or not.”

***

Kaukonen has made two trips to Israel in the last five years. One tour was with Hot Tuna in 2010; another with Mitterhoff, playing small gigs at Israeli clubs in December 2012. His support for Israel is uncomplicated. “It’s there,” he said with finality. As for those who won’t recognize that, he says, “I’m glad I’m not called upon for a solution. My experience is very superficial. I was there working. I met countless Israelis who love the same music I do.”

Vanessa and Izze, who weren’t working, got to see Israel from a slightly different angle: walking on the beach in Tel Aviv on Christmas Eve, marveling at the elevators set to stop at every floor on Shabbat. (Hungry, they managed to find a Thai restaurant in Tel Aviv open on Shabbat.)

On an off day in Jerusalem during the Hot Tuna tour, the Israeli concert promoter had arranged for a small tour bus to show the band and their entourage the sights. Jack Casady’s wife, Diana Balfour Casady, was already in a wheelchair, suffering from cancer. (She died on Sept. 8, 2012, at age 65.) The concert promoter introduced each of them individually to the guide and driver, whose ears perked up when he heard Diana’s British accent and the name “Balfour.”

The guide said, “That’s a very important name for us.” Diana acknowledged that she was a niece of Lord Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary who wrote the essential 1917 letter expressing his government’s support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. In Diana Balfour’s honor, the tour guide adjusted his itinerary that day to show her some of the sites that might be more relevant to a gentile visiting the Holy Land.

“The promoter kept saying ‘I’m sorry the way the tour has turned’,” Vanessa Kaukonen recalled. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me? This is beautiful. What a gracious man, he did it because she was a Balfour, because it was the right thing to do. Knowing that you have that obligation.” In the telling, Vanessa became teary. She paused to reflect. “I was never offered that in the faith I was born into,” she said. “If I was, I missed it. But I know I was never offered that.”

Later, asked to amplify the thought, Vanessa said: “When I talked to you about the one thing that drew me to Judaism, it was this responsibility to be righteous in your life, no matter what. To walk a straight line, so to speak. The faith I came from spoke of walking a clear path, but I never found it to move me like the words and prayers did when I read them at Shabbat services. … I feel it every time a group of students comes and leaves four days later. It is powerful and magical and lives are changed. And Jorma and I are better people for walking this path.”

***

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