A Bit of Catch Up… Jeff Fest, Slab Fork and Lollapalooza!

WebBanner_960x338What a great time we had at Jeff Fest again!  The band sounded good and the sound folks did an excellent job.  Not to mention Rob and Sharon made us feel like a million bucks and quickly took care of any problems at hand.  It is really one of the best festivals in the City and many thanks to the Jefferson Park  Chamber for making it happen.  If you have kids this is a must festival.  For a mere $5 entry you get the bounce houses, arts and crafts, a fantastic family stage with many interactive acts not to mention the great music coming from the mainstage!  With plenty of great food and beverages available I highly recommend you to put this one on next years calendar.

slab forkI would be highly remiss here if I failed to mention the show my friend and fellow Poochamungas bandmate put together back on July 16th.  Alton Smith gathered some of the best musicians in the city (some of my favorite people too!) and once again paid tribute to the music of Bill Withers. For a mere $10 at the City Winery one got to behold the power and majesty of a tour de’ force musical experience.  When and if they perform again I shall let you know and you should make haste to wherever they are playing.  Thank you Bill, Wally, John, John, Gerald, Mike, Steve, Manny and Alton for doing what you do so well!

Kidzapalooza-6-photo-imageThis Friday I get to play on the Kidzapalooza stage at Lollapalooza with some of my favorite Chicago Kindie Folk!  Many thanks to Laura Doherty for setting it up and for Tor Hyams for having us perform.  If you’re at Lolla stop on by Friday at 1:30pm. I will be performing along with some super talented Chicago folks including Little Miss Ann, Mr. Singer, Jeanie B!, and Ralph of Ralph’s World not to mention Laura herself!  Make a visit it’ll be a lot of fun!

A Gig to the Wayback… Jeff Fest!!!

jeff park signThis weekend I am super pumped to be playing the Jefferson Park Arts and Music Festival, more commonly called JEFF FEST! We take the stage on Sunday 2pm.  Back long ago when I was a mere skinny lad with a full head of hair. Back in the summer of 1980 (I think). The place to be was the Jeff Park Pool.  My friends and I were part of the first twenty kids in line when it opened.  Finally we had a public pool of our own with a diving board!  Prior to it opening we had to go to Norwood Park Pool which had two significant problems. One you had to jeff park poolget a ride from a parent to get there.  Chauffeur us as they did, a lot (before the seatbelt laws you could get quite a few kids in a station wagon), they had things to do and weren’t always available.  Second was the fact it was the coldest damn pool in the Midwest.  I recall the pool leaked and instead of fixing it they just kept filling it.  I can remember jumping off the diving board, hitting the water and my eyes froze open. Arms and legs felt like they were encased in ice.  Did I tell my buddies how cold it was… well the scream as I surfaced may have given it away.  They all jumped in anyway.  It became a rite passage.  The Jeff Park Pool represented freedom.  No longer did we have to get norwood park poolrides because it was only a THREE BLOCK WALK and one major intersection to cross.   No longer was the pool freezing!   By the second week all the lifeguards knew our names and eventually made us junior lifeguards (swim tested at the beach).  We all became pool rats and swam every day. The next summer as well.  I did once manage to forget my sister once (she claims twice) and she never lets me forget it, Sorry (again) Mouse.  Other than that all I can remember is magical days of Marco Polo, can openers off the diving board (bigger splash than a cannonball) and seeing who could swim a length underwater.  So if I’m a bit nostalgic on stage on Sunday it’s because I’m remembering all those great times I had back in the day with the kids from this neighborhood. Sunday we’ll be creating new memories and making our own nostalgia.WebBanner_960x338

We’ve been on a 5 month hiatus due to work and life so we’re all primed and ready to rock.  Stop on by the show Sunday, July 27th at 2pm.  There are a lot of great acts over the weekend so if you can’t catch our show be sure to check a few out. Other than the food everything else takes place in the park proper and it is very family friendly. Drum circles, arts and crafts, kids stage, bouncy houses are all included in the entrance $5 entrance fee (kids 12 and under FREE). Plus don’t forget all the great music which is what Jeff Fest has become known for.   We’d be going to this fest even if I wasn’t playing as it’s one of our family favorites.  The action starts today.  Hope to see you there. Jeff Fest is where it’s at!

pooches at Jeff Fest

A year of music.

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The goal is a simple one.  To spend every weekend for a year attending different music festivals.  Ideally Poochamungas would play at a bunch of them as well.  I would prefer no Jumbotrons.  One should be able to identify all the performers onstage from anywhere in the audience.  I shouldn’t need a TV to see the band I’m viewing at a concert but not a deal breaker.  That’s why I really enjoyed the American Music Festival last week at Fitzgerald’s and today at Irish Fest at the Irish American Heritage Center.  It’s about music and then the festivities.  People come to see and interact with the bands.  Gaelic Storm had such a crowd standing and singing along. Dublin City Rovers spread a lot of joy as well.  Such fun energy to be a part of.  Unfortunately my youngest child had no more energy to spare and we had to head home early in the show. My daughter on the other hand stayed and closed the show.  A year may be to ambitious… Maybe start with a summer full of music and expand from there.  The kids are young and they follow in their fathers music loving footsteps. So maybe?

For your consideration

grammy entry 2

 

I did it.  I just addressed the CD to be sent to The Recording Academy so I can let my peers vote on my CD to be nominated for a Grammy.  What are my chances?  Not very good.  We have an excellent product and by we I mean all the folks who worked on it –  Alton Smith, Pete Cunningham, Don Zaloudek, Frank Izzo, Nancy Rose, Frank Rose and John Abbey.  We also had some super help in vocals with Anna Fermin and Emily Hurd. Is It Grammy worthy?  Well I like to think so but that really has no bearing on who wins.  Justin Roberts put out a power pop masterpiece last year and lost to a lesser album.  Not that theJR recess winner’s wasn’t really good.   Just not as good in my opinion.  Which others would perhaps disagree.  But I digress…  The great thing about recorded music is that eventually the truly great pieces transcend time.  Grammy or no Grammy.  Why do I enter mine if I’m pretty sure I’m not going to win?  I’m a dues paying member so why not?   No one ever won anything by staying home.  If you’re a voting member please make Poochamungas one of your 5 selections.  Thank you.

My New Favorite Festival

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Photo by David T. Kindler

It’s Jeff Bogle’s (Out With The Kids) fault. A couple of years ago he convinced me to attend the Grammys as I had access to tickets and he was looking to go.  Many fine kindie artists had been nominated that year and so I attended the Grammy Pre Telecast show to which one of my colleagues would win (The Okee Dokee Brothers won, yea!). Then in the middle of the show I was introduced to the music of John Fulbright with a blistering performance of Gawd Above.  I became a fan on the spot. This year my photographer friend David Kindler asked if I was interested in attending the American Music Festival at Fitzgeralds in Berwyn.  Heck yeah!  I had wanted to go for years and knowing John Fulbright was playing sealed the deal.  What a great fest indeed.  I prefer my concerts without jumbotrons and this one is just the right size. Here are the highlights for me attending on the last day of the festival…

Walked in on the Bellfuries (Austin, Texas)  with the sterling vocals of Joe Simeone and the Rock-a-sense-ability of Schecky Seaver, Mike Molnar and Chris Sensat.  I could listen to them all day!Fest2014_070514-2469

The Split Squad – What do you get when you hook up a bunch of career rock and roll guys?  FACE MELTING ROCK!  I also got some vinyl of the band. Double Win!Fest2014_070514-2602

COCHOMBO – You take a Cochon de Lait (Roast Pork Po’ Boy) + The best Andouille sausage I’ve ever had  = Superior Sammich.  The Cajun Combo so to speak.  I ate two (one early, one late). Tom “Festival” Cimms and staff do a fine job indeed!

Girls, Guns and Glory with Sarah Borges – Amazing! Best surprise of the festival.  Had no idea about either of these acts and was blown away. They have a 7″ Vinyl coming out out on July 20th and highly suggest you check it out!Fest2014_070514-3171

John Fulbright – opened the show singing Acapella and quieted a full crowd.  Amazing talent and songwriting ability.  The inspiration for my coming to the festival and it was well deservedFest2014_070514-3228

Free Water available all over the festival.

$3.50 Miller Lite bottles

David Kindler – My favorite photographer.  Never fails to make an introduction and really enjoys his work. His photos really capture the festival as seen here in this article. I was there because of his invite and will be back again next year.

Joe Ely and Reckless Kelly – Joe is an American treasure and sang a Townes Van Zandt song. You should catch him with Reckless Kelly who were down right smokin’.  Magical closing song of the night for me with Not Fade Away. Fest2014_070514-3266

The Sound Guys – Kept things rolling and sounding good with sooooo many bands.

Many thanks to the Fitzgerald family and staff for an outstanding job.  This was my first year attending but definitely not my last. All fests should be run so well. Thank you for an outstanding day.

All Photos by David T. Kindler

A Parade for Everyone

opp firetruck

The siren of the Fire Engine signaled the start. Kids, parents, friends, neighbors traveled on wagons, bikes, scooters, big wheels, roller blades, trailers and on foot for my favorite parade of the year.  The Oriole Park Independence Parade in which the participants always far out way the spectators. Everyone is polite, kind and thoughtful. It seems any fallen biker is instantly helped by the nearest adult till their parent arrives. OPP grand marshall  The cacophony of stupidity starts later after the sun goes down so this event is all about kids and the community. Most kids decorated their mode of transportation (especially my kids) and everyone’s color coordinated in the red, white and blue.  The  Grand Marshall is Children’s Librarian Mary Dresser (we love the local library) followed by The Oriole Park Grade School Band (playing the Star Spangled Banner), Revolutionary War re-enactors, a local scout troop and the rest of us in no particular order.opp flag The Chicago Police protect the rear.  After .7 miles of parade all participants enter into the park where small speeches are made, the Star Spangled Banner played (the band played that song a lot), and a cannon fired.  Then off to eat watermelon, get candy (free) and Dilly Bars for a dollar!  Kids ran around the park as parents reunited to talk about what’s been Oriole Park Parade Fire Enginehappening during the summer.  It’s a beautiful summer day and it feels good to be a part of the community.  One by one the families left till there’s just a smattering of us hanging out. We walked and rode home, just a tired family after a full morning.  We aren’t always the most neighborly community but it’s nice to see that we can all come together for a small party to celebrate the birthday of our nation.

opp wagon

Happy 4th weekend and be safe

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It’s that time of year where we all wake up from the cacophony of last night.  Hope everyone survived the evening with all facilities intact and had a great time with family and friends.  Have a great day today and we’ll be back on Monday as well!