Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Fashion Show Crawfish Eating Apparel...

In addition to the other creative endeavors I have partnered with my grandson Warren to design a fashion line of crawfish eating apparel. It will be called the craw pant pull up. Based on the timelessly efficient disposable diaper design it will be printed in Louisiana folk art patterns. 

It's use is simple. We all know that crawfish boils get messy. Don the elegant fitted  craw pant pull up and get with all the shelling and head sucking. Go ahead and wipe your hands on your pant. Carry an extra one with you and change mid boil if you so need. In this photo Warren models the pant in action. It works so well he can't even take time to smile for the camera. 
Cathy was wearing the same thing, in an adult size of course but would not sign the waiver form necessary for me to post her photo on the Internets. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jimbo Mathus at Under the Volcano...

This past week me, Cathy and Ann caught Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition at a little night spot called Under the Volcano in Houston. It was a great gig. We have followed Jimbo for some time and he was on our must seen list. 
If you recall Jimbo was a member of a band that had some national acclaim in the mid 1990s called the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Nut Zipper is a southern term for moonshine. He is all over the place stylistically with his music from country, swing, blues, gospel and jug band.  These are southern guys from Mississippi and one thing that made this gig so great was their warmth and friendliness. 
Here Cathy gets a hug from Jimbo. Cathy is going to hug most people she meets and Jimbo is the same way. He said to her in his Mississippi drawl "Baby girl, yew doing all rite tonite?" Under the Volcano is a great listening room. The area in front of the band holds 50-75 people comfortably and has some bar stool seating. There is also a lounge area and looked to be an outside patio. I think Jimbo talked to everyone of the people there personally on the band's break. There is also a lounge area and looked to be an outside patio.    

Cathy continued her habit of stealing club posters. She got the one posted on the wall behind the band. Jimbo saw her take it and he moved all his merchandise off a road case set up as a table and dug out a different poster with the dates of the Houston gig and gave it to me. Note the nice worn Fender Mustang bass the bass player Stu has. He told me it was a 1976 model. That's the same year model as my Fender Strat. 

Here's a good evil eye I am Jamming out photo.
Jimbo was a very personable fellow. He was warm and welcoming but plain spoken. At one point he made the statement, "Lot of music out there is not about jack shit these days. My music might not be the prettiest but these songs are about something." He followed with a song about racial injustice. Me me glad I have followed this guy and supported him by buying his music.  

Speaking of support Ann and Cathy help Jimbo sell t shirts. Get you some Jimbo Mathus. He has a new cd out but the old stuff is good too. 

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Boat Driving Lessons...

Coraline and Warren are here for a couple of days. We managed to squeeze in a lake trip and got home about the time the storm hit. The lake trip was pleasant and here are the photos. I guess it would have make a better blog post if I had taken photos of the flatbottom boat Morgan stored at my house trying to mate with Mary's car during the big blow but I was too busy doing emergency body work so she could get her door open. 

Everybody wants to drive the boat. 
A lazy after noon of casting produced exactly one fish. It did wonders for relaxation. 
Warren says "If I sit back here at the back of the boat I could probably fall in and they would not notice."
For your future reference Coraline has learned to crank the motor and put in in gear. I was standing in the front of the boat pulling up the trolling motor. Cathy was snapping the photo and laughing at my struggle to stay aboard. Of course I have laughed when Cathy fell in. I am not laughing anymore. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More Shameless Self Promotion...

I bet you are used to that by now. If you are tired of my money compliments and publicity pitch you will be glad to know  I have been pondering dark night of the soul substantial type stuff and will write about that later as soon as the research is in. That will be in a couple of days. Until then here are two items of note. 

Saturday night March 29th you will find me laying down the old country root five bass line with the Back Porch Band at the Nacogdoches VFW. Show starts at 8 and we play till 12. I think admission is $5. 

Thanks to Ben at the Standpipe Coffee House here in Lufkin. The Standpipe has many local artist hang their work there. It's all for sale. I am honored to get the invite to display my guitars along side their great talents. 

Here are the two instruments that I took down.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

New Orleans Street Musicians....

New Orleans is a great town for street musicians. I don't know exactly what the rules are, if permits are required or fees should be paid so that stops me from trying it myself. I don't want to get arrested. Because I work a 7 on 7 off shift there are people suspecting I am already on some kind of work release program.  But no matter about the music. They got it covered. No help needed. I am content to throw a few bucks in a tip jar, make a photo, watch, dance and move on to the next street corner discovery. So I have some pictures to show from the most recent trip. I also posted some street musician photos from the last trip about a year ago and I recently had some feed back on those photos from an anonymous poster.   

I have found out that what I write here may mean something different to the reader than it meant to me. That has given me pause to think if I even knew what I meant. It was a bit of a surprise though that the feedback from the anonymous poster asked if I was making fun of the people in the photos from a year ago. I think I had written something like "thanks for the music degree mom, sorry my nose is so red in these photos from huffing the intoxicant of my friends choice." I tried to explain that I was really writing to people that knew me and I was just referring to missed opportunity, things I did, things I was told I did, things I should have done and as to the fact that (I am going to use a milder word than lied) I have spoofed people on this page before. 

After several exchanges trying to explain myself and the nine years of writing linked here they stopped responding and I suspect they still were not clear. If I had known where they lived I could go over and knock on the door and continue. Maybe I do know where they live because the comments were anonymous but I doubt on knowing the knocker they would have opened. That's a great allegory of life, a thousand doors knocked on and only a bare few opened and how far those got us. Thanks Cathy, love you.

Anyway here's the photos. These folks played great. Most have  shirts and cds for sale and they are good quality. Maybe some day they make it on Idol and you see them and say, "that was the guys hanging with mudbelly in New Orleans"  and I get more cards, letters, calls, emails and knocks on the door. 


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cigar Box #34...

Here is a nice cigar box guitar for sale.  It's the second one I have made from this type of cigar box and I don't mind repeating myself since it's such a good sounding box. The other guitar went out of town so no chance of you showing up at a local jam and having the same guitar as someone else.  Besides how many black Strats are there in the world? I got one. That does not stop me for an instance when it comes to playing some howling crazy blues. It should not stop you either. 

Here's the guitar. I made it in one morning this week. It was completely built, tuned and playing in 3.5 hours. It has that gritty blues sound I like when played electric but also sounds good acoustic. The Flor De Antilles cigar line is all Nicaraguan tobaccos and was selected as the #1 cigar of the year. The box should get an award also. No box corners on this one but it does have a gold latch and you can open it to inspect the inner build. That's something we should all do, inspect our inner this or that. Here's the photos.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


It was a nice warm day in the sunshine but out in the wind on the lake I was very comfortable wearing my insulated coveralls. I think the big fish were wearing their coveralls also as it was mostly little ones that bit. Pop and Geneva accompanied us on this trip and we boated 9 keepers and probably thew back enough undersized cats to put us well into the double numbers caught. Here's Geneva with one of the "grow big" candidates.  

This is not one of them but Cathy took big fish honors for the day. 

Hats with chin straps were desirable headgear. 

Pop faces into to the wind as he waits for the big bite. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

St Patrick's Festival...

The St Patrick's' Festival was held at our church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church yesterday. It was a bit subdued because of the cold windy weather but all who came out had a great time. Cathy and I worked the lottery ticket booth which has been our job for the last several festivals. Best part I liked about the festival was the Matachines Dancers. There were two groups. One was from St Patrick's and one was from Nacogdoches. 

According to the Texas State Historical Association the roots of these dancers go back to a Spanish medieval sword dance and in the New World it has incorporated Indian, Mexican and American influences to symbolize the battle between Christianity and paganism with the Virgin Mary and Holy Cross as heavy influences and devotional signs. The various characters are El Monarca (Montezuma). his bride (Malinch), El Abuelo (the grand father) and El Toro. Maybe if you check the photos I made you can pick out some of the characters. If any of my friends can expand or correct this explanation please comment. 

The blue and pink group is the Nacogdoches group and the red, green and yellow is from St. Patrick's. I know I have seen the St Pat's group rehearsing almost every Sunday evening when I arrive to play music for the 5pm Mass. They have worked very had and add much color to our parish life. 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's a Job Somebody Has to Do...

We attended a wedding outdoors in the pouring rain. Location was the Azalea Garden at Stephen F. Austin State University. Azaleas were not in bloom but despite the weather love was as Jeremy wed Donna. Jeremy is the son of Sharon who works with Cathy. I knew about three people at this wedding but I enjoyed taking a few photos, eating a nice reception spread and a just being around folks having a good time making the best out of a rainy day at an outdoor event. 

The bride and groom look very happy. I think all their friends were happy also. Especially happy because umbrellas were in good supply. Only problem was I did not bring one. Lucky for me the nice man on the right in the next photo loaned me an extra one he happened to have. 
The hard job I was referring to in the title of this piece is the job the young man in the blue suit on the left was doing. I did not catch his name but I spotted him and took a few photos because he was doing a very important job and that was playing the wedding march and other music on a boom box type system. He brought a lot of energy. He had a schedule printed on a wet piece of paper clutched in his hand as he scurried around getting soaked and making sure all happened right on time. This is how show business is folks. A nasty, wet hard job but some excel at it. 
Here he even pitches in to help the other artist, the video man to do his job. 
Later at the reception I noticed he hooked an ipad up to the hall sound system so their could be music. Good tech savvy. After this he helped herd all the families together for a group photo. He's got skills. He used them. I don't know if he was, friend, family or what but this behind the scenes attention to detail made Jeremy and Donna's day very nice. 

Show business. It's a job somebody has to do. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hi Ho Silver...

My latest cigar box build is a good guitar. Sounds good acoustically because of the wood back and sounds serious good with a dirt pedal to overdrive the sound. Tune to a minor key and play Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave is Kept Clean" while adding a little bit of flanger and you have outer space is the place blues.  I am calling it silver because of the generally silver predominance but you can call it red if you like.

Most of the time hinges and hangers that I use for bridges are gold in color. A lot of cigar boxes have some gold going on and I have made a couple of instruments with gold tuning keys lately but to keep the silver pattern going on I went low tech with this bridge. I am not sure if this is what contributes to the sound or not because I did use a different glue to secure the pickup to the box. I was using hot glue because if I had a malfunction it was easier to correct and I would then recycle the malfunctioned pickups into the experimental drums and diddly bows. I think I will use this glue from now on since I am becoming more and more consistent with the finished product. 

Speaking again to the nice overdrive sound, in sonic experiments last night I noted that the 1930s cigar box sounds very good with an amplified clean sound but lacked the note definition with the distortion. That's ok. Just means I have something for everyone's ears. 
Sometimes I make different length neck but I do measure the scale from nut to bridge  so it is similar to a Fender or Gibson guitar. Some of these take a bit of familiarizing to get used to finding the notes on the fretless neck. Some the slide falls easily to the notes. This one is an easy player for me, my hand and ear find the positions almost without looking. 

This guitar for sale. I am asking $75. It's #33 I have built.  It's a good one. 

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