spaced out journal

ok [sarsaparilla session 20210330, lowell ma]

Solo acoustic version of “ok” from Hola, Sayulita! (2010), and also included on my early-years greatest hits collection Your Song Is Beautiful: 2002-2012 (2012).

This performance is from March 2021 in the old Hood’s Sarsaparilla Soda factory, my temporary home Lowell, MA for the last 8 months. We leave Lowell for good in ~2 weeks on 7/31. I will be wistful about this place, but am also ready to return home to NYC, if only for a few months. Home is home, no matter how long you’ve been gone, or how long you can stay.

A couple days ago, my phone served up some video “memories” of a 2018 trip into Manhattan’s West Village. That night, I took an uptown F from Brooklyn, saw my brother play with his band at The Bitter End, walked a few blocks around Bleeker, and went home. It was just life as we knew it pre-covid, hopefully will know again. Maybe that’s why the images fit so well over this song of enduring friendship, no matter how far-flung in distance and/or time. The videos’ random appearance was my City telling me, “I’m still here, and I’m ok, too.”

The shot of the ambulance in the middle verse, is from covid times, fwiw, and the opening shot’s from a quick round-trip to Brooklyn two weeks ago to start moving back home. Cat is working on the latest final season of Dexter up here in MA, and it was hilarious to see the book that the show was based on sitting in a front-stoop giveaway pile on our block.…

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The Resurrection of Uncle

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That Old Guitar on That Old Guitar

Uncle, a 1934 Gibson L-1 flat-top acoustic, came to me via my wife Cat’s father, Steve, a stellar pianist and big band leader in Chicago. Cat’s great Uncle Ernest, Uncle’s original owner, bequeathed the guitar to Steve.

Uncle guarding Luna, May 2021
Uncle guarding Luna, May 2021

Cat & I found Uncle (in his original case) in Steve’s basement on a trip to her Chicago home. I tuned him up best he would, and strummed an open G major (the strings were a dozen years old, at least). He rang for less than a second before the bridge popped off. The sound of the chord was brilliant, however, and I took him back to New York, where the luthier of legend Paul Schwartz of Peekamoose Custom Guitars worked his magic (he is “The Moose” in the lyrics).

Paul has modded all my guitars, and also built me Fabien, an extraterrestrial Peekamoose M2 that’s the only electric guitar I’ll ever need if I ever need to have only 1. Definitely the one I’m grabbing, running from a house fire.

Fabien et moi
Fabien et moi

Uncle’s restoration process at Peekamoose involved a lot of micro-movements, acclimation periods, and clamps. And took almost 2 years.

The original bridge and half of the top’s bracing were not salvageable, and got replaced. Everything else is a time capsule, a literal message in box. The fretboard is still worn where Ernest spent most of his time playing (lower frets in open G tuning from what I can trace), and the flat-top’s 87-year-old finish reveals the most gorgeous cracks when the light hits it just right.…

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[img] May 12, 2021 at 08:52AM

“Let me in, Luna.”
“No.”
“Why?”
“Take me to @downtowndoghouse to see @baracudajo. Massachusetts has turned my coat into hard scrabble!”
“Kid, that’s where we’re going. Tomorrow you see JoJo.”
“Oh, ok. In that case what are you waiting for? Come in! I’ll ring the Footman.”
May 12, 2021 at 08:52AM
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[img] March 16, 2021 at 04:33PM

“Moose fact socks?” sniffed Luna. “Even for the northern realm of Luna’s Lands, they show no taste.”
“There’s-”
“Dare you argue?”
“Lol.”
“Lol hold tongue or I’ll take it.”
“They’re staying on, Kid. I have never had a bad day in moose fact socks.”
“Plebs all around me. Pfft.”
March 16, 2021 at 04:33PM
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[img] March 11, 2021 at 11:54PM

“Behold Queen Luna’s Lowell castle until July!”
“You 3rd-person now?”
“Topic! Why don’t these horseless carriages slow for we?”
“This is Massachusetts, the OG bird-flipper at monarchy.”
“Well they are my subjects. They will submit!”
“Speak for we-self, Kid.”
“Silence, Jester!”
March 11, 2021 at 11:54PM
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