BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU EAT IN TENNESSEE... The Tennessee State Government, in their infinite wisdom, have now passed a law allowing concealed weapons to be carried into restaurants and into bars that serve food. The governor did the right thing and vetoed it. The state legislature quickly overrode the veto and it is now law. My friends who carry guns say they want to right to protect themselves and their families. I said, "From what, a disgruntled hamburger? An errant french fry?" If you think the restaurant or bar is dangerous or could be dangerous, don't take your family in there. If it's in a bad neighborhood, go somewhere else.
In my 48 years I've never felt the need for a gun anywhere, much less in a restaurant or a bar. I do own a shotgun that was given to me as a gift. I shot it a few times and put in my closet. It was fun but I don't feel the need to take it out to dinner with me.
The law states that owners have to take their guns to their cars after 11:00 PM. That's BRILLIANT because all the real problems don't start until 11:01 PM. Nobody hassles anyone until after 11:00 PM - everyone knows that. I think a fair consideration would be for the Tennessee State Legislature to allow citizens to carry guns inside government buildings. It should be fine as long as everyone puts their guns away by 11:00 PM. But no, the Tennessee State Legislature will not allow guns where they work. No way! Why, you ask? Well that's because they are afraid something bad might happen - like someone getting shot. They are right about that. And I think it's just a matter of time before something bad happens in a Tennessee restaurant or bar. However, I really hope I am wrong.
Personally, I have a hard time imagining a more reckless or irresponsible law. Yes, yes, yes I know all about the 2nd Amendment. But I also know a lot about common sense. We limit where people are allowed to smoke cigarettes because we are concerned about the health of all citizens - not just the ones who want a smoke. Why is it so bad to have limits on where guns are allowed?
Guns and alcohol do not mix.
People say that "Guns don't kill people. People do." Well, people pull the triggers and that's enough for me.
I'll be eating out a lot less in Tennessee.
April 26, 2009 Want to be healthy? Eat whole foods. Don't consume anything that contains High Fructose Corn Syrup. Yup, that's most everything that we enjoy drinking. All the soft drinks, many sports drinks and lots of prepackaged food contain it. It's just no good for us. There's a big push by the corn growers to try and convince us that High Fructose Corn Syrup is just corn and sugar. If that's the truth then why was it invented in a laboratory? Why are corporations the only ones who use it. You won't find in on anyone's shelf at home. You do the math. Try water, coffee, tea and more water. Fresh veggies, meat, fish, nuts, fruit. You just can't go wrong with that. Here's to healthy eating! And don't forget.... "Soylent Green Is People!..."
April 18, 2009 Last night I had a great experience. It was a trip down memory lane as I performed with Jim Curry and the Kansas City Symphony. Jim does a John Denver Tribute show and he does it quite well.
Here's how it came about: Several months ago Jim Curry had the idea to get John's old symphony charts and see what interest there might be for some concerts. So Jim called Lee Holdridge who was John Denver's orchestrator and arranger for almost all of John's career. When Jim asked about the charts, Lee informed him that, sadly, John's manager threw all the charts and scores in the trash after John died because he didn't want to pay storage fees. (This is nothing short of music sacrilege! 30 years of work thrown away. Many concerts could still have happened, giving joy and memories to thousands, not to mention it's intrinsic value as a part of the American pop culture.)
Lee told Jim that he still had his original pencil scores and that, though time had caused them to fade a little, orchestra parts could still be derived from them. The really big problem would be the expense to have parts copied. It would take two copyists working with Lee quite some time to recreate all the parts needed to put on a symphony concert. Jim was not deterred and said let's do it.
After they got everything finished I flew to L.A. so we could have a rehearsal and make sure that the scores matched all the rhythm section charts. This was sort of a proof reading rehearsal to avoid wasting time in rehearsal with the orchestra. (It's very expensive to work with an orchestra and you don't want to waste.) During the rehearsal we all made our corrections and changes in our parts and then waited for the day...
Yesterday, the rehearsal with the Kansas City Symphony went very well and we were all ready by show time. 2500 seats in a 2600 seat auditorium had been sold. There were large video screens on either side of the stage showing images of nature, John Denver, and some of the slides and videos that John had used to use in his own shows. Jim sang beautifully and the audience was totally into the show.
It was a real trip down memory lane. Here was Lee Holdridge, John Denver's conductor, orchestrator and arranger of 30 years conducting the orchestra, I was playing guitar, Richie Garcia (who also played for John Denver) was playing drums and percussion and Jim Curry was over there sounding like John Denver. A couple of times I closed my eyes and went back 15 years. It was strange and cool at the same time.
The real highlight for me was when I got to do one of my own pieces. I have a tune called McGuire's Landing that John was going to write lyrics for. He passed away before he got a chance to write those lyrics. It's a beautiful tune that sounds very old and Irish. (A friend told me once that it sounds like it was written by 'Anonymous') Don Hart from Nashville had done a string quintet arrangement for it a few years ago and we performed that arrangement last night. I was totally floored to receive a standing ovation at the end of the piece!
Thanks Jim, for getting all that music together! And for a night of memories. I hope we can do it again.
March 30, 2009 I was flying out of Nashville the other day. As I was walking into the airport I saw a big, black SUV parked out front and the driver was speaking to someone who was standing at his window. I looked closer and saw that the driver was Little Richard! I was truly star-struck. I waved and he waved back. There was a buzz all around the terminal as people realized Little Richard was there. He was wearing a bright lime green outfit and gold-rimmed sunglasses so it would have been harder to miss him that to spot him. It turned out that he was to be on our plane and since he's in a wheel chair now so he got on the plane first.
He greeted everyone with a smile and a handshake and spoke a few words to each person who stopped to talk to him. All the passengers and crew on the plane were sort of awe-struck by him and he put everyone at ease by just being a regular guy (As much as a bona-fide Superstar can be!).
One of the guys traveling with him gave me a book and an autographed photo of Little Richard. It was a Christian book telling the story of Christ. So I spoke with Little Richard on the plane and we chatted about his gigs and where he was headed. Then I thanked him for the book. He said, "You're welcome and God bless you." I said, "God bless you too." I started to walk on down the aisle and my wife was directly behind me. Little Richard looked up at her a split second after saying "God bless you" to me, saw my wife and said, in a low sultry voice, "Hey, how you doin', baby?" Now THAT was funny! He gave everyone on the plane some time and attention and we smiled all day because of it. Thanks Little Richard...
I grew up listening to Stevie on the radio. I didn't think of myself as a fan, I was just a kid who heard it and liked it. Back then that was enough. I didn't realize how deep his music was until years later when I listened as a player with a new set of ears. Hearing all the different parts and the cool chord changes he used (and still uses) gave me a new appreciation for his music. Stevie Wonder is one of the greatest songwriters/singers/performers there has ever been. His grooves are infectious. His melodies, timeless.
Recording an entire project of Stevie Wonder's tunes can be intimidating to say the least. There was definitely some work involved but it was fun the whole time. If I'm learning something new, I'm happy. Along the way there were some difficulties: Choosing the songs, deciding which parts to play and which parts to leave out, and mulling over whether to try to cop Stevie's parts and groove in a more literal sense or to put myself into the songs and do more of an interpretation. But I just took it one song at a time and tried to decide what was best for the song and for me as a player/artist.
I did this project to honor his music, to give myself a challenge and share some more possibilities. That's what music and guitar are about to me - possibilities.
I recorded three songs I have recorded in the past - "Superstition," "Overjoyed" and "Sir Duke." I'm playing them differently than when I first recorded them and hopefully better.
Deciding on the key for "My Cherie Amour" and the tuning for "Living For The City" proved to be the hardest part of those tunes. The harmony guitar parts on "My Cherie Amour" were a definite nod to the 70's. It would have been easy to get carried away with that so I just did a little here and there. Also, adding the second guitar on "I Wish" and "Overjoyed" really added some excitement and dimension to those tunes.
"You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" didn't require any fingerstyle acrobatics - just good clean playing and honoring the melody.
"Isn't She Lovely" has an incredibly infectious groove. I was warming up before a show in California and started playing the tune. I dug the groove so much that I opened the show with it 10 minutes later.
For all the intricacies of parts in tunes like "I Wish," " Living For the City" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," the simple melody and chord changes in Lately grab me and won't let go. Thank to L.R. for turning me on to that song.
So I did this project to honor his music, to give myself a challenge and share some more possibilities. That's what music and guitar are about to me - possibilities.
Thank you for listening……Pete Huttlinger
Good news! For all of those who are interested in THE NEED, it is now available by MP3s. It's on my site right now but will be available in iTunes in a month or so. Now you can get Thirty Feet Of Ireland and all the other songs.
My new CD, Fingerpicking Wonder: The Music of Stevie Wonder will be released and ready for shipping on March 17. We are now taking advance orders. The first 100 advance orders will be signed and numbered. Order info: http://www.petehuttlinger.com/online.cfm Listen to samples: http://www.petehuttlinger.com/discography.html
Also, we now have sheet music/TABs and mp3s available for purchase directly from the web site. You can purchase one piece of music or 50, it's your choice. Response to this has been fantastic so far. Some folks don't want a complete book of music or the whole CD so they can come in and buy just what they want. This new feature has also enabled me to offer things that I have recorded but have not released on CD or things that have been a part of other CDs. Check it out here: http://www.petehuttlinger.com/sheetmusic.cfm
February 20, 2009 Maybe I should have been a politician. Once I got a new stop sign for our street and a friend called me Governor for the next couple of years. I don't know if I have the tact for government but I'm more of a results oriented guy anyway.
Life is beautiful. It's also very short. Too short to spend time complaining about things. And too short to listen to someone else complaining about petty stuff. I love grapefruit in the morning, blue skies, green grass. I like the desert, kids that cry and kids that laugh. I love the internet, homemade chicken soup and birds. I don't have to look very far to find good things to be happy about. So today I was on a plane going from L.A. to San Jose. It was a full flight and a middle-aged couple that had settled in to the back of the plane decided that they wanted to sit next to me - in the middle of the plane. So everyone waited in the isle while they these folks made their way up to my row.
And so as they sat down the man (approx. mid-fifties) starts in. "I'll take the window. You know I like the window. (He sounds like a ten year old) Oh, would you look at this... the window is too short. How am I supposed to see out this window like this. Why do they make the windows this short. I can't see anything without bending over." Wife tries to calm him down. He starts in again. "Why did you bring that suitcase on board? I hate that suitcase" "Because it's the only roller bag I have." "Well, I don't ever want you to bring it on another trip." (I'm thinking I've met more mature 7 year olds. But wait, there's more) "Do you want me to open that gum for you? You do, don't you? You've been sitting there fooling with it waiting for me to open it, haven't you? Well, give it here. See --- all you have to do is open it here like this. Geez!"
At this point the plane was loaded but we were still sitting at the gate. I figured this was going to be a long flight sitting next to the biggest whiner I'd seen since the last time I saw a 6 year old throw a tantrum in Wal-Mart. So I decided to start writing down all his complaints.
Then the flight attendants started the safety demonstration. "Oh, will you listen to her...? Yak, yak, yak, yak, yak. You think she's trying to win and academy award or something... Brother..."
I turned in their direction and I heard a voice say, "Are you going to whine for the whole flight?" The couple looked at me. The wife said, "Excuse me? I heard the voice say, "Is he going to whine for the entire flight?" Then I realized the voice came from me. I had had enough. "Probably." The wife said matter-of-factly. He laughed nervously. He knew he was busted and that his wife/mother wasn't going to help him out of this one. He never said another word for the rest of the flight. It was sheer bliss.
Life's too short for all the complaints. I don't think politics is in my future. I'm a results oriented guy...
We all need folks we can look up to. They give us so much. They are examples of how to live, how to act, how to just BE and even better how NOT to live. My favorites in the entertainment industry tend to be people who aren't afraid to be themselves. The ones who can let their guard down and let us see who they really are. I like folks who don't get caught up in the hype of showbiz and don't believe all the amazing thing that are written about them. Even when they are true. Each of us has something amazing to offer. Whether on a stage or in a ditch or in a classroom or wherever, we've all got gifts to share.
So, a few days after the gig with LeAnn Rimes, I was up in Carbondale, CO playing a gig at Steve's Guitars. It was Sunday night and we had a nice crowd that braved the cold and the treacherous snow and ice to come out and hear a fingerpicker! John Oates (of Hall & Oates fame) a genuine, bona fide, pop singing, hit songwriting, superstar, pop music icon and super nice guy ---- came and sat in for a set. We had a blast doing a few of his solo tunes, some Doc Watson, old blues and other stuff together.
It was so nice to see and hear some of his influences. It included a fairly wide range of music and that is always nice to see in such a big star. Often their worlds are so insulated because of their fame that we don't get to see this side of them. But here was a guy who doesn't let that world hinder him and stop him from playing and enjoying music he loves. He came out on a cold Sunday night just to pick a few tunes and have a little fun with someone new. I admire that quality more than I can say. Reminds me of Herb Pedersen... Thanks John! Pete
January 22, 2009 I did a really fun gig with LeAnn Rimes last night in Beaver Creek, CO. We played at the Vilar Performing Arts Center to a full house. The fun thing for me was that the hour and a half show was just the two of us. The audience was extremely receptive to this intimate performance and their enthusiasm just fueled our fire. During the day I went to LeAnn's room to talk about the show and instead of rehearsing any of the songs we were to perform, we wound up learning two new songs and perform them in the show. It was funny the way it happened. LeAnn said "Do you know To Make You Feel My Love?" I said no so she played it for me from her computer and I wrote a quick chart. We played it a couple of times and I had goose bumps all over. It was in the show! Then I told her that I had learned a Stevie Wonder song that she had said she liked a couple of years ago. She didn't know all the words so she quickly got them off the computer and we found her key and played it a couple of times. I got goose bumps again and it too was in the show! LeAnn told the audience how we had just learned the songs and after we finished each one the audience went nuts. I have to say LeAnn is an amazing singer and by far the best I have had the chance to work with. I'm hoping for more opportunities to do this show in the future. And if you get to see it, I think you'll dig it too.