July 26, 2017

Sweet home Chicago: Blues, baseball and barbecue, Inspirato, Summer 2015

Sometimes, if you’ve worked with an editor for a while, she approaches you with an assignment. And occasionally she opens the door to your dream story. When my editor at Inspirato suddenly had an opening for a feature and asked me to pitch a story about Chicago, I sent in essence a three-word reply: “Blues, baseball, barbecue.” Ultimately I got the assignmet and wrote about my favorite aspects of the City of Big Shoulders.
Here’s an excerpt from the story: Wrigley Field has been showing its age, but that’s part of its charm, and a new Jumbotron installed this year adds 21st-century technology to the creaky yard. Mark Gonzales, who covers the Cubs for the Chicago Tribune notes that baseball is “deep-rooted” in Chicago and that loyalty is passed down through the generations. “You can always sell hope, and hope remains strong with the Cubs.”
That hope is captured in Norman Rockwell’s 1948 painting The Dugout. It focuses on a slump-shouldered bat boy with dejected Cubs players sitting in the dugout behind him. Above are several jeering fans, but there’s one smiling kid, thrilled just to be at the game. That’s the symbol of the true Cubs fan.

Grateful Dead documentary: North Bay has starring role (May 2015)

“It will come out when it’s ready,” said Kreutzmann, 45, the son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. “It would be nice to hit the 50th anniversary, but making a better film is more important.”

Boz Scaggs still smooth after all these years (May 2015)

The classics remain fun because “I never play a song the same way twice,” Scaggs said. “It’s different every night.”

Pete Seeger: 3 stories you’ve never heard

Just two months ago, Seeger appeared in support of the Buffalo newspaper guild to encourage the union to fight for its rights.

Adriena Daunt Leaving Single Malt Curlers

Singer, tambourine player Adriena Daunt announced she’s leaving the Single Malt Curlers.

Cowboy Junkies keep it fresh

In the early 1990s, Cowboy Junkies lead singer Margo Timmins performed just for me.

Hugh Laurie’s in the house: concert preview for The Press Democrat

“Blues can bring out in me every single human emotion,” Laurie said, “or at least every emotion that I know of. ‘Let Them Talk’ is an odyssey — my destination is the holy city of New Orleans.”

Heavenly voices: How Ladysmith Black Mambazo went from dream to fame

I recently interviewed a founding member of the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo who told me the band started as a dream – see excerpt below. The band plays March 2 at Napa’s Uptown Theater – here’s the excerpt: Mambazo’s music, a hybrid of Zulu harmonies and gospel stylings, came to the group’s […]

Leo Kottke: How the guitar saved my life

“I made up an E chord and I strummed it and I sat up like Dracula coming out of his box. I was alive! I’d been on my back for two months and I was out of bed in a week.”

Interview with Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson

I asked what he thinks of former SF Giants pitcher Brian Wilson. His reply: “Never heard of him.”