After a short break from band gigs, I am beginning the booking process for the new year. I have an Oasis Bistro gig on the 16th. I do this gig three piece - two guitars and a bass player. It's a short gig in a real nice quiet venue inside the Plaza Theatre in downtown El Paso. Then on Feb 9th, and March 8th and 22nd the full band will be at The Dome Bar inside the Camino Real Hotel from 9:30-1:30. Lately the band has consisted of a four piece - two guitars, bass and drums. But this year I would like to add a keyboard player for a couple of reasons; I am going to expand the type of music we perform. I am going to bring in some old rock/pop tunes of mine that featured keys. And besides that, I have always loved the keyboard. Even a number of tunes on the History of Blues CD has Little Georgie banging away. I am looking forward to a great year of music in El Paso and the surrounding area.
I love the library gigs. Saturday, the 12th I performed at two libraries. First the Judge Marquez Branch on Yarbrough at noon and then at the Westside Branch at 2. My fingers were sore after the first gig and killing me after the second. I'm still not quite accustomed to my old Guild acoustic. Next Saturday I'm off to the Moreno Branch on Pebble Hills at 2pm. I have three more scheduled after that. I sold a few CDs and really enjoyed the questions and comments fro the audience. The Marquez gig had about 30 people there. My largest library gig to date. I hope more El Pasoans stop by. It isn't very often you get to see a performer under these type settings. It is very informal. Quite a few younger folks stop by and that is always good.
Hey everyone. I have decided to give half of my song earnings to the Fender Music Foundation. It's well worth it. Don't be shy.....buy!
Like I mentioned in my previous blog, me and a couple of the guys from Breckenridge, CO packed up our belongings and moved to Austin, TX in 1982 or so. The bass player, T-Bone (Tom Rathbun) and me worked extremely well together. I was writing a lot of rock tunes and he was really adding the perfect bass parts. A drummer from Houston joined us by the name of Mark Stevens and we worked hard to make our music as tight as possible. We were really lacking a vocalist. None of us were very good singers. I was considered the worst. When I sang my songs the guys refused to record harmony with me so I had to add my own background vocals. That kind of sucked. I usually tried to pay for the recording tape (at that time it was all analog (2", 1", 1/2" and 1/4" tape was being used) and I paid for a lot of the sessions. We released a cassette called Self Destruction. We did the Chelsea St. Pub circuit for about a year. That was great fun and all we did was play music six nights a week. Something went haywire somewhere along the way and I broke up the band. T-Bone was totally pissed off as he should have been. As you will see by this album, for kids, we were pretty damn good. We did try out several vocalists but they were all either crazier than we were or they sucked worse that we did. It was a mistake to break up the band. I regret it. More later. Austin Jimmy
As many of you know I have been recording for decades, beginning in the 1970s. My goal through the use of my Reverb Nation site is to expose you to some sessions most of you have never been exposed to before. In the early 1980s I moved from Breckenridge, CO to Texas and lived on the border of Austin, TX and Cedar Creek, TX in a beat up old farm house that sat on 13 acres of land on rt. 620. There wasn't any heat or insulation in the place at all. Myself, Tom (T-Bone) Rathbun and Steve Campbell (drums) all played together in Breckenridge and decided to move to Austin and hit it big. We transformed our stone garage into a 4-track recording studio and got to work. I think Jane Zell, Jimmer DeOrdio, Ian Edwards and a few other New Yorkers came by to visit. Jane even recorded there. The studio wasn't much and nothing much was accomplished there, but it was a great practice room. Steve Campbell eventually moved on and was replaced with Mark Stevens (now deceased). T-Bone, Mark and myself formed the band SKITZ. We never went anywhere, but to this day it was the best band with the greatest potential I have ever been in. We did several recording sessions in Austin in a few different studios. I will get into this more and will post some of those sessions soon. These four new songs I have posted today (12/30/12) came from sessions I did with a young vocalist by the name of Jim 'Jimby' Stevens. This kid was an awesome singer as you will see when you listen to the tunes. These cuts were produced by me and recoded in Cedar Creek Studio under the guidance of the studio owner Fred Remmert. Sun Comes Up (written by Royal Warringer - now deceased) and Passion were released on a 45 rpm. Stevens did move briefly to Syracuse, NY with me in 1986, but Syracuse wasn't quite ready for him. I don't know what happened to Jim, but I always wonder if he continued with his career because he had such a natural talent. I hope you enjoy One More Time, Passion, It Was Love, and Sun Comes Up. They are a bit different from what you are used to hearing from me. Thank you. Austin Jimmy
I have placed four live cuts as the first selections on my reverb nation account. All of the cuts are from my A History of Blues box set. Three are from Shifty's and one is from the Dinosaur Barbque...both favorite Syracuse clubs. The fifth cut is Woman is this World. If this were a live cut we would hang o the G Minor in the end and jam it out. It's a good one. I hope to add more live videos soon.
Today I performed at the Doris Van Dorren Library to approximately 15 avid listeners. I sold a handful of CDs after the show. I am having a great time at these low-key performances. They are so personal. The audience is truly appriciative and I enjoy the personal aspect of the shows. I am really having a great time finger picking again. I kind of placed it on the back burner quite a few years ago. I hope those of you who have young guitar players and hopeful harmonica players will consider purchasing my CD, A History of Blues. I think it can be a great learning tool. Have a great weekend. Austin Jimmy
Last night an acoustic house party was held at my home in El Paso, TX. I have always been intrigued by the house parties I have heard about where everyone brings a dish and their own beverages and pays $10 or $15 to have a private performance with a folk artist who is passing through town. My brother John, who lives in Alabama, participates in these shows….he is a volunteer who helps with set-up and tear-down. I have often thought about hooking up with this circuit and hosting these performances at my house….but I never have. The Three Kings Acoustic House Party was originally going to be held at the Museum of History, where I work, as a fundraiser for the museum. Unfortunately, the City of El Paso has rules that would have denied me the opportunity to perform, so I moved it to my house and the admissions went to the musicians instead. 22 tickets were sold at $15 a piece. Since releasing my new CD, A History of Blues, I have revisited my finger picking tunes and really have been doing some wood shedding. It’s been great. I truly encourage all blues fans and folk fans to take the time to listen to a few of my tracks. There is some really technical finger work involved. I am very proud of the CD and very thankful to the musicians who recorded with me over the years. Ultimately, I am trying to expand my performance opportunities and get on the folk festival circuit and the blues festival circuit. The doors were scheduled to open at 6pm. A few people got there earlier than that. At 6:30 there were still very few people there. I encouraged everyone to get there before 7 because the show was starting on time. At 6:45 people started flowing in. The place was packed in minutes. At 7pm I sat down and started playing. I plugged my Guild D-40 C into my Fender Deluxe Reverb and I plugged my mic into it as well……no official PA system. I sat on a drum thrown. I recorded it and videotaped it. We will see what happens. At the end of my 40 minute set Geronimo Black took over. I played strictly blues tunes. I knew Geronimo was a great electric player but I never heard him play acoustic, or for that matter, I’ve never really heard him play with the exception of a few fleeting moments at one of my jams. Geronimo’s set was more varied than mine; more radio oriented tunes. That being said, he settled into his position and kicked ass. He played and sang out of a different amp (can’t remember what), but again, the audience loved it. By trade, Geronimo is a stone mason. As a gift, he brought my wife and me a beautiful piece of black volcanic rock that he had ground into a bowl. Unbelievable. Next came Guitar Slim (Pat Chase). Pat is one of those performers who is proficient in many musical genres, but he is a great blues guitarist and that’s what he stuck to; a great slide player and all-around blues guy. Pat brought a bass player with him, so I teased him about that. The audience ate it up. It was an exceptional evening. At the end, the three of us plus the bass player jammed to People Get ready and Sonny Boy’s Eyesight to the Blind. It was roof-raising! Someone brought a couple of guitars that we all signed, I sold a few CDs, had a couple shots of Jameson’s, took a few photo opportunities and really enjoyed everyone’s company. There was an immediate call for the same type gig at my place this summer. We’ll see. If you see it posted, I suggest you fly to El Paso.
Saturday, December 8th, I began my El Paso Library Tour beginning with the main branch in downtown El Paso, TX. The theater I performed in was really nice for a library. I posted a photo that day. It's on my Facebook page. About 25 people attended. It isn't very often we perform as solo artists acoustically in front of small, yet very interested audiences who are there specifically for us. I highly recommend to all players (solo or duos) to join in the library circuit in your hometown. One of the great things is that you get to tell stories to a very attentive audience and everyone is so quiet and respectful. After compiling and releasing the, A History of Blues, CD box set, I realized that I had forgotten how to play many of the songs featured pin the discs, and I have really had to woodshed and rediscover my own music. Not to be arrogant sounding, but back in the day when I was writing a lot of this material (1970s and 80s) I was pretty darn good....well at least the music was. My vocals leave a bit to be desired and actually the music is rough in many spots, but the energy and the musical integrity is there. I am a better guitarist these days and am considering going on a fingerpicking writing spree. But I encourage all of you to set up your own Library Tour. It's like doing a workshop. Everybody there wants to be there and they are there for the music. My next library is the Dorris Van Doren Branch at 551 Redd Rd, El Paso, TX (915) 875-0700.
One of the most challenging things in an artist's career is to gather a bunch of songs together, whether they are originals or covers, find some kind musicians who will record with you, find a recording studio with fair pricing and qualified engineers, find a creative person to design your artwork for you, have the recordings mastered, pressed and shipped to you in a reasonable amount of time....and then the most daunting part is trying to convince your friends and fans that your product is worth having in their library. Even more challenging is trying to get newspapers and fan magazines to review it. It my case, instead of releasing one CD and letting the chips fall where they may, I decided to go back through a series of recording sessions I had been involved in through the years and release a 4-CD box set of mostly original material. And then I had the audacity to call the collection; A History of Blues. The reason for the name is simple; the sessions date back to the late 1970s. Since that time I have recorded a personal History of Blues. A wide variety of blues styles from solo instrumental work to vocal and guitar tunes to unbelievable harmonica and guitar duo work to three piece, four-piece, five-piece and big band tunes. It really is an outstanding collection of music performed by outstanding musicians. It does seem to be a bit much for music reviewers to handle, but I hope they come around and give the set a listen. I think they will be surprised. Again, the musicianship is top notch. I've been writing since I was a little baby boy and have been involved in studio sessions for decades. A History of Blues is not 'THE' History of Blues, it is a singular history by one musician who loves the genre and has tremendous respect for everyone in the business.