Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fishing Report...

I know you tune in here for all the latest of whatever so it's that time again for the latest fishing report. Your forecasters for this report were me of course, Cathy, my cousin Beverly and her husband Donnie. Evidence points to great thing expected for spring cat fishing. 

The day began slow with us trying several places before returning to the place that has produced many good sprig bites. We call it the place. Normally about 5' deep or less the place ranges 10-15 feet right now after all the recent rains. Lake is very high and the public boat ramp at Hank's creek is closed. They will let you launch at the camping ramp if you have an annual permit for U.S. Forest service ramps.  

Here's the fashion model sunglasses on the head shot. Don't let it fool you. This girl thrashes the water to a froth with the best of them. We had a lot of throw backs of small fish but we ended up with 22 keepers. All the throw backs (probably male fish)  and only finding one female fish with eggs indicate that the bigger females are yet to move into shallow water. With the water high looks like a good year for fish  reproduction in an already fish rich ecosystem. 
Donnie gets on the score board. That's his first fish on one of our trips. Donnie is a boater/skier, not necessarily a fisherman which is what makes this noteworthy. He caught two. 

Lots of spring sights on the lake. Here is a flock of water turkeys heading to roost as the round a point and fly past us. There were hundreds of birds in this flock. It's another indicator of the health of this lake. These birds eat a lot of fish and I'm guessing several pounds a day. I wish I had timed the amount it took this flight to pass to be able to give some meaning to the number of birds. We also saw one osprey pair and several nests. 

 Another sundown on big Sam. We came home and fried up our dinner and put a about 3 pounds in the freezer for later. 



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

First but the Last of This...

Got just a few photos and a report, it's a week( I been busy) late, of the Hidden Village Music Festival which was hosted at the Standpipe Coffee House. Thanks to all down there who put this together and if you missed it well then I guess you will have to be there next year. In the mean time see live music, buy cds and play your own instrument. 

This is a group the Howlin' Brothers, I did not expect to see in Lufkin again. Since their last local visit they have a cd out produced by one of the big time guys and I figured they were out there 9 to the universe and all that kind of thing. Lucky for us they are back with that country hillybilly class act and I hope we are able to see them again here in the future. 
Check the banjo. That's right he is using a slide. Slide banjo. I think I love him. 
By the way my dad wore khaki hats with pants and shirts to match like these  back and forth to work. Wish I had one. Don't worry co-workers. I would not wear it to work. 

 Closing act for the festival was Ben Caplen.  Just a man  singing, playing keyboards and guitar and a drummer. What a picture they were able to paint. Gruff voiced not getting my barstool to far from these cigarettes with a hint of old time melodies in the songs this was a duo that really worked with the drummer filling in more than the standard beats using mallets, brushes and glockenspiel to provide a fine accent to the song stories told by Caplen. 

Ok, I think I am caught up on the music blogging this week. I bet I have bought 15-20 new cds since Christmas. plenty of new music to bounce around in my head. We are done with Hidden Village till next year. It's on to the next festival. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Let Me Teach You How to do This...

You know how it is when you are standing up there on stage playing a loud electric guitar. You raise the right hand and the crowd ripples like waves carried by a brisk west wind across a finger of a sand bar just barely noticeable as it rises up from the deeper surrounding water. Then you raise the left hand and the wind is suddenly out of the east and back the wave rushes in the direction from which to first appeared. Then you raise both hands and it's forward, up, over and out.  If you don't know how here is what I do. 
These photos are from the Cotton Square Explosion (name gives you an idea of how things sound) gig a couple of weekends ago. My apologies to the rest of the band but it was my son in law making the pictures. He took a bunch of me. 

OK, ya think you got that? 

Spotted this awhile back...

I spotted this gravestone while attending a funeral for a friend a few months ago. It's off to work I go. Wish I was fishing and ,maybe this is proof reaching out and affirming that there are catfish in heaven. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Late Birthday to Geneva...

It's a busy week around here with fun activities and long work days and I completely lost track of wishing Geneva a timely happy birthday. 

Here's a photo of the girls hanging out, Geneva, Nell and Cathy. It was taken at Christmas time. 

Geneva, I hope you had as much fun on your birthday as Nell and Cathy did hanging out with you on the day this photo was made. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hidden Village Music Festival...

That's a good name for a music festival. It's been held the past three nights at The Standpipe Coffee House and continues tonight. This gem of a fest is certainly hidden from some and I would know because other that Saturday night when I had my own gig somewhere else I have been there for all and I have not seen some of you music lovers in attendance. 

The place really rocked on Sunday night with the Feeble Contenders opening and then the rof was brought down by a band from Detroit Flint Eastwood. Here's a photo of them. It's a grainy phone photo but I think it catches the swirl of a hard working band with a very charismatic front woman.   

Just when I thought I had had as much fun as I could dancing to a great band along come a South Carolina band called Sol Driven Train. I don't know what to call their music other than dancing, party, soul, tropical, funk driven by great solo playing on guitar, sax, trombone, bass, keyboards and drums they definitely know how to get the party started. 
Really great vocals by the three guys across the front. Kind of people that come to play, sing, entertain in a completely natural way that makes you not just like the music but like the person making the music. 
Wish I had got a better picture of the drummer. Outside next door at the old Pines Theater he had me make is photo under the lighted marquee which announce a showing of the old Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles. I can't imagine why a drummer would be so thrilled to be in a photo like that.   

Back to the guitar player, the sax man and the trombone. In talking with these guys after the show they mentioned they had been playing music since they met in middle school band. The guitar player told me, " Our middle school director was a great guy and when we moved on to high school he did too and we got to have him as a director for 7 years." He was pretty excited telling this story to me, also an old band dude who could feel just where he was coming from. The drummer also mentioned high school band and some time spent as a music major in college. These guys are trained, disciplined musicians. In addition to those 7 years together in school band they have been a working band with 6-8 cds to their credit for 10 years. Once again and I have written about this before we see hard work and a long arch of creativity to become successful. 

Sol Drive Train is off to Austin for some SXSW dates. Tonight the music continues at Standpipe with Ben Caplan (lot of folks excited about seeing him, first time for me) and a group that has played Lufkin before the Howlin Brothers. I'm surprised and we are fortunate to have them back because their latest release has a big time producer and all that but they liked Lufkin and I'll be glad to see them tonight. 

I'll be late because I play the Lufkin State Supported Living Center monthly dance till 7:30. See you after that. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

When You Are Not a College Student Anymore...

There is no excuse for getting arrested on Spring break if you are not a college student. Actually most folks think there is not an excuse for getting arrested at all but you know, the older you will get and all that. 

How old do you have to be to drive? 

Best laid plans:
"I'll help you climb out and then you pull me up."

Now don't both of you feel silly about all that?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Project Unveiled This Weekend...

This Saturday at 5pm you can catch a new musical project I am involved in at Lugnutz. "The Cotton Square Explosion" will play a 45 minute set. We are part of a mulit band thing called Matt's B-day and tribute to Larry Barfield. If you recall Larry was a local musician and friend who passed away earlier this year. 

Here is the story of the original Cotton Square Explosion. If you recall Cotton Square was downtown where the Lufkin Independent School District Office sits. It's now called Caulder Square. Here is what the Historical Marker Database has to say about the explosion in Cotton Square:

On the evening of March 2, 1913, an explosion destroyed the Houston, East & West Texas Railroad depot at this site, disrupting the town's vital source of transportation and trade. Although a body was not discovered, it was presumed a railroad employee had been killed in the mishap. He was later declared legally dead and his stepmother collected on his insurance. In 1916, however, he was returned to Lufkin by Judge E.J. Mantooth, a local attorney acting on behalf of the insurance firms. The railroad employee stood trial for insurance fraud, but was subsequently acquitted

There is a marker downtown to commemorate the event. Here's a couple of old photos courtesy of the internet.  

I think this is a good name to highlight our sound as well as an unusual local incident. There is also more symbolism at play where you might imagine that anything new that came to Lufkin arrived through Cotton Square. We are covering Muddy Waters, Allman Brothers, Black Joe Lewis, Social Distortion and more in our set list of loud aggressive blues/punk/rock/sci fi garage. I don't have a band photo but memebers are Danny Beard, Mike Amison, Jared Beard and me. You can find a band page on facebook. 

Here's a rough phone recording clip of an original scfi/garage/blues song of mine called Flying Saucers. I'll try to get a better recording of some blues this afternoon at rehearsal. 

Come check us out this wekeend. 

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Sunday, March 08, 2015

A Public Service Announcement...

I do not know if you have ever checked my pbase photo hosting site. It's at this LINK.  I began hosting photos on this site in 2003. Maybe it was the father to this blog, which was begun in 2005 (in my 10th year here!) and the way we advertise ourselves on the internet. Actually I had an old photo hosting site run by Kodak way before this but they made a lot of bad decisions about cameras, film, printers and trying to sell your pictures to you after you had posted them and I don't think they even exist as a company anymore. That old site went away and so did your photos if you did not buy them and that's what this public service announcement is about today. The pbase site is probably going away at the end of the month. 

I started hosting photos here with an album of Rose and Juan's wedding pictures. There was no facebook and it seemed like the best site at the time to do something like this. It costs a little bit like maybe $25 bucks a year. I went on to put all the kid' wedding photos here and as time went on it worked well for  family members and friends who did not facebook. $25 is not breaking the bank around here but there are so many free ways to host photos that I don't think I will keep this site going. 

I have all wedding photos except for Rose and Juan's on my computer and I have downloaded them so now I do have them and I'll be going through the rest of the albums to make sure I save anything I do not have a copy of somewhere. If family or friends want to do the same now is the time. 

Just to give a sample and prove that a picture is worth 1000 words here is a photo of me and Mary dancing at Rose and Juan's wedding.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Cigar Boxes and Sold Souls...

Here is the latest work to come out of the mudbelly primitive guitar factory. I have one for sale and the other I traded for all the souls in the Tobacco Barn in Huntington, Texas. 

Here's a box I picked up at the little flea market south of town some time back. I was well stocked at the time on boxes and this was one I almost passed on because the label was a bit peeled up but we were returning from a trip somewhere and beginning that post depression phase that  can only be cured by buying a thing you don't need. I guess it was not too bad a depression if I cured it with a flea market cigar box purchase. You may have had them blues but I bet it was not them mudbelly blues. 

I am glad I did not pass on the box because it made a real fine sounding guitar. The acoustic sound is good and through the 2 watt Dia de Muertos amp with the gain turned up a bit it has a big reverby sound. Have not tried it through a big amp. Maybe a video demo later this weekend
One thing I have learned is that you can never tell what a box will sound like. I would not have picked this as a good sounding box. A little light weight and while most wooden cigar boxes are cedar, a good tone wood, this wood was not really readily identifiable. 

You know how they started making the Ritz Cracker packages a little shorter? I cut down on headstock length. You know the drill, three strings, tuned to a happy E chord and played with a slide.  

Here you see the folded up corner that almost made me pass on this box. I checked around on the internet and saw some boxes like mine selling for $75 and more plus shipping. I'll sell this with it's small imperfection for $70 and throw in one free slide lesson. 

It's electric. Two piezo pick ups, the big ones shielded in bottle caps to make it a bit less feed back prone. 

On now on to the souls I own. Tiege, who runs the nearby Tobacco Barn donated a box to me. I turned right around and made a two stringer out of it for her. Kind of a deal with the devil thing. 

Might make some more two stringers when I have small boxes. It does not have a huge bass sound but I think I might just need to experiment around with string gauges. It's definitely gigable and I made a pick up sandwiched in a sliced up wine cork. Seems like might not have a great response at low volumes but this might be a usable tactic to get a rock volume out of the piezo pickups.   

Now the Barn has to keep me supplied with cigar boxes. When I left after delivering the guitar this morning there was a gargoyle head over the door I had not noticed before and 9 black crows lined up along the roof line. I guess I did not really need to say black and crow in the same sentence did I? I think Tiege is going to be ok with her soul owned. I don't know about the other girl that was in there. 


"...I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinking to himself "Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf..."Bob Dylan from "Lilly Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
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