Greetings, Neptuners. Here we are at the end of September and I realized I haven’t been updating shows. I’ve listed the ones I left out on the upcoming shows page. One was at the Old Capitol Blues and BBQ festival in Springfield IL. My first big Bluesfest and it rocked. Met a lot of great people and hung out with Kenny Neal. I played with him many years ago (he didn’t remember) and we hung out then too (he didn’t remember that either) but he’s a personable guy so all is good. I have shows in Iowa, Illinois, and one I’m especially looking forward to: Hickory Ridge concert series. This is a listening room type venue so I’ll need to start working on my diction. I usually just play at the wine bars as people are busy getting hammered and I don’t want to detract. I’m looking forward to being able to tell my stories that go with the songs. I promise to update this site from now on. For best results, go to my facebook page and hit the LIKE button. That is always updated so you’ll get info as it’s happening. Meanwhile, enjoy the transition of summer to fall, and I hope you are all happy and well!
Well, here we are in July and I’m just back from a little vacation in Florida with the family. Last month had me playing with the John Byrne Band at the WCI Art Center in Macomb. That was a blast. July has me at the Very Vintage Market Fest in Burlington IA. This event had 6000 attendees last year and they’re expecting up to 10,000 this time around. I’ll also be playing in Carthage, Monmouth, and St. Louis in the coming months. Check the Upcoming Shows section for an up to date listing.
March is a busy month for me, and is getting me up to playing and performing speed. It’s not enough to just play the songs-that’s a recital. The stories behind the songs are what gives them life. And it takes skill to present them. That’s something I didn’t realize until I began playing out as a solo artist. That and how to sing. I was always a guitarist first, hiding behind the singer, not aware of what the singer did other than to provide vocal cues for the choruses. But I learned. It’s a lot of work to present the songs in 5 dimensions. If nothing else, I have learned to appreciate live music even more. It’s nice, growing up. Wish I’d done it sooner.
2017 is well upon us and I have my first shows listed on the Upcoming Shows page. Looking forward to more things this year. I’ve added more songs, have a rocking haircut, and hope to book more new gigs than the previous year. Thanks for checking in and I hope to see you at a show sometime.
I just added a new show to close out the year (in all probability, that is). It’s in Cedar Rapids, well north of where I live. That seems to be the direction I’m going. Most of my new shows are that way, which means I can concentrate on Chicago and Minneapolis, where I have family who will have to put me up. So even though I already wished you happy holidays, I’ll just say (or type) it again, in caps this time and what the heck I’ll use bold and italics, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
I wrapped up this year with a show in Geneseo, IL that went really well. I’ll be working on new songs and preparing for 2017. I’m still around, just laying low over the winter. I have shows booked for March 2017 and I’ll pick up a few local shows till then. Have a wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you all soon!
It’s late September now and I’m starting to play again. I took a month off and learned some more tunes. Booked some shows for the Fall in some new places that I’m looking forward to. And I bought some new PA cables (yea!). So I’m all set. Out here in the heartland it gets pretty miserable come winter, so I don’t play then. Too cold and windy, folks stay home. I think I will too. I’ll start posting my Autumn shows so keep checking the Upcoming Shows page. Come out and say Hi!
Just got back from two weeks in Florida with the family. I didn’t book any shows, just worked on new material. I’m adding some Blind Blake tunes. We always drive and it’s insane. Sixteen hours in a car is a drag, but if you can get off the interstate, you see some sights and that makes it worthwhile. June was a busy month for me. Five shows, which is good. All of them went well, met some new people, some new stories. Nice weather and a reliable car make all the difference; it is possible to enjoy the road. July and August are a little thin, and I have to book for the Fall. But I’ll be gigging up to winter, when I’ll take a break and learn new songs. Stay cool, see ya out there.
May 21st I played the First Annual Macomb Blues Fest. I led a workshop on the morning and a very short set that afternoon. It was fun and pretty well attended. It’s cool to be part of something from day one. A lot of good people came together and got it done. I said for next year, the important thing is getting it done. Maybe fix one or two things along the way. But keep moving forward. No reason this can’t be as big as the Al Sears Jazz Festival, or Heritage Days, all Macomb productions!
Alright! Had a busy weekend (May 13-15), three shows in a row. I haven’t quite reached road warrior status, but it’s a start. I probably drove about 350 miles all together. What I learned was: know what roads to take. Don’t rely on your phone’s app to route you. If you do, know how the app works, perfectly! It will save you some stress. A paper map will help too.
I‘m doing some traveling this month-my next show won’t be till Saturday March 26 at
Walnut Street Winery. I had a great time there last time I played. If you live in Springfield/Rochester, stop by sometime. It’s a cozy wine bar with live music most nights. Everyone’s really nice and they have a full bar for all you wine/beer/spirit connoisseurs.
Here are some shows I have in February:
FRIDAY FEB. 12 Walnut Street Winery
This is a new place for me. It’s in Rochester IL, just past Springfield. I’ll be playing from 8-11.
THURSDAY FEB. 18 Evangeline’s Bistro and Music House
My St. Louis debut! Very excited because this is a New Orleans inspired restaurant/bar owned by a musician who books the best acts in the midwest. I’m honored to be added to the list. Check out their website to see what I mean.
Great news! The CD is now in production and I will have it by the end of next week. Check out the listen page and you’ll hear some songs from it. As the date gets closer (Sat. January 30th, 1 pm) I’ll be promoting the release party at New Copperfield’s, which reminds me-I need to ask what happened to the old Copperfield’s. They probably just moved to the other side of the square or something. Go to my Facebook page for more info: King Neptune/Facebook and like my page while you’re there!
CD RELEASE PARTY
This is exciting! It will be January 30 at New Copperfield’s Book Store in beautiful downtown Macomb IL. Kevin Nichols will be playing drums with me on some songs with his cool jazz kit and I’ll be performing the entire CD. More info to come, but mark this date down. This will be one to remember!
THANKSGIVING! I’m thank and grateful for many things this year. My family, the house we live in, the stuff we have. The fact that I’m able to play music and record for people who not only appreciate my music but become my friends. I hope you all are well and satisfied and that we can meet someday and enjoy music together. Thank you and love and best wishes!
The Home Page has the two photos I’m going to use on the CD. The second pic will be on the back with liner notes over it. The songs will be listed on the disc, but that might change. I’ll post the liner notes and track list later. I was going to make digipacks, which are the fancy CD covers, but decided to do Jackets instead since they’re much less expensive (notice I didn’t say cheaper!). And there will be 11 songs. Stay tuned, this is happening now!
Well, the recording is done and I’m listening to the final mixes. The photos are taken and the copy is mostly done. So I should have it all to the manufacturer in a couple of weeks? This is exciting. So far it sounds fantastic, and I think you will like it. There will be a release party at New Copperfield’s Book Service and “a splendid time is guaranteed for all!”
I was just reading my post from June where I wrote I hoped to have my CD done by the end of that month. Well guess what? Still working on it. Had a pal lay down some killer drums last week, though. Have to recut a vocal because, umm, well, because. AND, I think I’ll add another song! This year, I promise!
Bessie Smith has a birthday coming up Sep. 26th, so I’ll be posting a video of me doing one of her songs. Any suggestions? Here’s a bunch of her songs I do.
- After You’ve Gone
- Ain’t Nobody’s Business
- ‘Lectric Chair
- Do Your Duty
- Lock and Key
- A Good Man is Hard to Find
- Gimme A Pigfoot
- Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down and Out)
- There’ll Be a Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight
- Alexander’s Ragtime Band
- I’m Wild About That Thing
Make a request and I’ll play it! It’ll be up 9/26.
I’m in Florida now, on vacation, and yesterday I visited Jacksonville, a town closely associated with Blind Blake. He was not born there, but spent a lot of time playing on Ashley street, then called the Harlem of the South. In fact, he was sent to record for Paramount Records after being heard by a talent scout who owned the Hollywood Music Store at Broad and Ashley St. The building is still there, as well as the former Globe Theater and Wynn Hotel/Lenape Bar. For a history of the area check out THIS. Below are some photos I took.
Wow. Almost a month since my last post. Well, fear not! I’m still jammin’. It’s early Sunday morning/late Saturday night and I finally finished my recording last Thursday. I mean guitar and vocals. I plan on having a friend lay down some drums/percussion, like washboard and whatnot. I’m pleased with it and hope to have it out by Halloween. Have to mix and master it, then print CDs and probably those download card things people use now.
I posted a new video last month and got a good response for it. I’m going to do 1 per month. Maybe bump it up a little. I’d like for more people to check me out so I can book more shows and tour. For real, not just road trips. But first things first, and I’m liking the way things are coming along. And a big thanks to everyone who is helping me make it happen. And when you’re done reading this, please check out my Facebook page and give it a like!
Yesterday I began recording vocals on my upcoming CD. I’ve been listening to the rough mixes and I’m very pleased. Playing guitar has always been my strong suit, vocals less so; however, I’ve been working on them seriously for the last year or so, and with the efforts of myself and my vocal coach, I feel confident in them. The disc is really coming along. Recording is very hard on a person because you have to confront your abilities and deficiencies. The microphones do not lie, and it can be a demoralizing event. But I’ve passed the test with myself (my harshest critic) and I can’t wait to do more.
I shaved. And cut my hair. And ditched the shades. Why? Well, I can do without the hassle of grooming. Being good at music is hard enough as it is. I’m keeping the suits, though. Since I paid for them, and I kinda just dig wearing them. A lot of guys really get in to the blues look, which is a suit, tie, and hat. And that’s fine, except it kind of typecasts you. I don’t want to go too whole hog on it. Maybe just half whole hog. So when you see me, tell me what you think of the new old look.
It’s the start of summer and I’m hard at work recording my debut CD. I finally finished the guitar and will doing vocals and percussion next. This project has taken much longer than I anticipated, but that’s the nature of recording. Turns out I had to rearrange some songs because the vocals and guitar were getting in each other’s way. But I think the extra time, work, and $ will pay off with a swell CD of which I’ll be proud. Hopefully you’ll agree! Anyway, I just remind myself this is a labor of love, and if I can’t go straight at least I can go forward!
I haven’t had any shows in May because I wanted to focus on recording and learning new material. But I have three shows booked in June:
June 3 Chandler Park, Macomb IL June 13 Hillside Inn, Ft. Madison IA June 19 Market Alley, Monmouth IL
Hopefully I’ll have CDs by the end of the month. And hopefully someone will buy them! If not I’ll just have to work harder.