Tag Archives: Robbie Fulks

The song I wish I had written. Kalamazoo Star by Gerald Dowd.

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The best written song I have heard this year is the non-kindie type written by all things a drummer in a kindie band. A DRUMMER! Yes though I am not as shocked and amazed as you might think. The song is Kalamazoo Star and it’s written by one Gerald Dowd.  Most of the time you find him behind his kit backing one of the many fine bands he plays and sings with (Justin Roberts, Robbie Fulks, Frisbie, Kelly HoganElectric Dirt, etc) but, on this occasion he has released a CD of his own material.  Home Now is a great example of American Music and Kalamazoo Star is as good a song as one can ever hope to write. A superior CD with filled with great American music.  Props to Liam Davis stars-in-the-night-sky(producer), John Abbey (engineer) and the many wonderful musicians and singers (too many to list) behind the music. As good as the CD is this tune stands apart.  The magic of the song is its positive message in the face of and mournful and sad occasion. Add in the fact the band itself sounds like they could be playing on your front porch, barn, campfire etc. It’s a celebration of life in the face of death and it’s all done in a single take (They saved the best take for last!).  “There’s another star in the Kalamazoo Sky tonight. Same old sky but it feels brand new”. Someone special has passed on and even in death they are looking over family and friends. It’s poignant, sweet and smart. Anyone who ever penned a song wishes they could write songs like this. Thanks for this one Gerald. I’ll be looking for that star next time I’m in Michigan.  So where can you get this CD.  Head on over to www.geralddowd.com and he’s supposed to have it available by Friday.  You can also catch him in the street or a concert venue near you. I’m sure he’ll gladly sell you a copy or two. I intend to buy a bunch as Christmas gifts this year. Go and support an independent music artist today!

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Day of THE DOWD… or how all drummer are now called in my house.

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Tomorrow is Saturday, November 8, 2014 and it is also the Day of the Dowd at Fitzgerald’s Nightclub.  Many of you who read this blog or are friends of mine on Facebook are aware that my son is the creator of THE DOWD.  Not Day of the Dowd (that credit goes to his smart and talented wife) which I will be supporting tomorrow. While he is best known as a drummer extraordinaire and in our family the drummer for the Justin Roberts band to which we have attended a few shows.  Somewhere along the way of seeing him at shows and festivals we became friends. Our two sons get along thick as thieves being only a year apart and living in the same neighborhood. So a  while back I was having a morning jam with my jam cartson which we are known to do on more than one occasion.  He will gather all of his drums, keyboards,ukes, guitars (some real, some toys) and bring them all out to the front room and say… “Daddy let’s Jam!”  He does this on occasion with his mom too but mostly me as I am usually practicing my guitar or attempting to write a new tune. Well on that day my wife was home and since he was jamming on keys and guitar and I had a guitar he asked his mom to play the drums.  Only he asked her “you be THE DOWD.”  We asked for clarification and he matter of factly explained “you play the drums, you be THE DOWD.”  Now I have a great drummer in my band named Frank Izzo and never have we referred to the drummer as “THE IZZO” or as his Pooch jersey saysJoe mendota “JOES DAD” (the original drummer was Frank’s son Joe).  Not sure if it was Gerald’s son’s influence or the beard or that he plays for Justin Roberts.  Whatever the cause all drummers in my house are now referred to as THE DOWD.  I’m sure this inspired Gerald to go write an album immediately as 3 year olds have the power to inspire.  Or maybe his many years of hard work, gigging, recording, practicing, singing, hanging around great musicgdowdians and life may have a small reason to do with him releasing a brand new album.  You go ahead and think that. But around here we know the truth. Go forth tomorrow and by a ticket for Day of the Dowd at Fitzgerald’s Nightclub and enjoy some great music. Hope to see you there and be sure to by a copy of the new CD ‘Home Now.  I’ve heard a few of the tunes and it sounds good!

Go see this show!

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This is where I would be this Saturday if I didn’t have to worry about paying for school books and mortgages.  Robbie Fulks is playing at the Old Town School of Folk Music this Saturday, September 6th at 8pm.  Robbie is an awesome entertainer as I have mentioned here before and a heckuva songwriter as well.  The good news is that if you can’t make this show he plays at the Hideout mostrobbiefulks Mondays for a mere ten bucks! One of the best music deals in the city.  But if you wait till then you won’t get to hear his opening act extraordinaire Gerald Dowd!  You can usually find Gerald (friend, father, husband, musician and all around good guy) behind the drums playing for someone else (too many to mention) including Mr Fulks.  But behold! On this date Gerald will be out in front singing some of his own tunes. This is a double bill well worth checking out. Why will I not be there?  Because I just found out and can’t get out of work on such short notice (less than 4 days, thanks Gerald!). But you should go and tell him I sent you. Then buy a copy of his EP as well cause it’s pretty damn good too!  Go support an independent artist today!

Hope they play one of my favorite Robbie songs…

Not the weekend I planned, Acts to see and here come the Fierce Frogs!

come sundayToday was Sunday.  The day I get to spend with my family as long as I’m not at the firehouse.   I had hoped to head over to the City Winery and catch Come Sunday perform at brunch with my family. They have some fantastic vocalists and the jazz gospel they bring is like listening to pure joy.   That was my plan.  Life’s plan was to saddle my son with throwing up and general misery. Life’s plan always wins.  It’s when you can line up Life’s plan with your own that things seem to go according to plan and even then…   If things go according to plan the rest of the week I would be at the Hideout Monday or Tuesday to see Robbie Fulks and Nora O’Connor respectively.  Friday Expo 76 is playing at 27 Live in Evanston as well.  There is a Plethora of local talent to fill the soul with some awesome music here in the Chicago area.  As I write this Steve Earle is in town at the City Winery which I shall not be attending. Maybe next time. Go support a musician today!

Here is the blog premiere of the video I wrote and produced for my children’s school.  Many thanks to the folks that made it possible.  Thank you Cheryl Lacost for letting us use the school to record the song. Thanks to the great teachers education my kids.   The credits are as follows.

  • Dave Degand – Vocals
  • John Huber – Banjo
  • Don Zaloudek – Bass
  • Frank Izzo – Drums
  • John Joyce – Acoustic Guitar
  • Kevin Carey – 12 String Guitar
  • Alton Smith – Keys
  • Brickton Students – Fierce Frog Choir
  • Chris Wyer – Camera Work
  • Joe Somers – Video editor
  • John Abbey –  recording
  • Kevin Carney – recording, mixing and mastering.

In case of songwriting emergency

I just discovered this brilliant emergency hotline due to a posting by Stefan over at Zooglobble on Monday.  Robbie Fulks is a really talented singer/songwriter based here in Chicago and usually plays Mondays at the Hideout for a mere 10 smackaroos (one of the best deals in the city!)  As I like to write here about how songs come to be  it seems he has discovered where to go when the process bogs down via the Fountains of Wayne Hotline.  The “where to go” when you get stuck in a song.  Have a listen and look for some “expert advice”.

We’ll be catching up with one of my favorites Brady Rymer this week on The Song and the Process.

Great Chicago music at a bargain

I have posted here before about concerts and gigs I have seen in this city that don’t break the pocketbook and are as good or better than anything your dumping $100 on.  The other day I saw Nora O’Connor at the Hideout who’s doing a Tuesday residency and boy can that girl sing!  There are 3 more shows this month.  For $10 bucks it behooves you to catch one of these shows. Next Tuesday, February 11 at 9pm they are performing the entire 1973 Buckingham/Nicks record. It should be pretty cool.  I should also mention that Robbie Fulks is continuing his Monday residency of amazing shows there (at the Hideout) as well and his shows cost… $10.  They both come HIGHLY recommended!

Another running gig I have mentioned here before is Brian O’Hern and the Model Citizens.  They play every third Monday of the month at the Gallery Cabaret.  How you ask do they fit an 11 piece horn section with a full rhythm section and a keyboardist in a rather small bar? Where they pass the hat (pitcher) to collect for the band because there is NO COVER. I leave these questions for others, put 5 dollars in the pitcher (a hat would be cooler), order a bar pizza and try something tasty on tap.  It’s great music and one of Chicago’s true gems in the music scene.

Which brings me to tonight. Electric Dirt is playing tonight at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn.  You can Usually find them them at Simons in Andersonville the 4th Wednesday of every month. They too pass the hat (pitcher) and be sure to drop at least 5 dollars cause they’re worth it!  Tonight you gotta cough up a whole $8!  Crazy!  If you like the music of Levon Helm and The Band this is a must see.  So get out and hear some live music because CD sales ain’t paying the bills these days.  Go support you local musician today!  I leave you with a song (written by Springsteen) they will be playing tonight sung by the late great Levon Helm himself.