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Friends With Perks – A Songwriters Tale of Friendship

I’m horrible at reviews, so I don’t do ‘em. I host house concerts, though. And excuse me, but I do a pretty good job of getting great acts to come play. When I started hosting, it was because we never had anyone interesting come to town to play. Very very rarely did anyone pass through that moved the dial. Thankfully, some establishments opened in the area geared towards bringing cool acts to the area. Now, I just host because I love it.

It’s the music, for sure. But it’s also the personal relationships you develop with the artist. I got this right away with my first house concert with Kevin Montgomery.  Maybe I was living in the dark in 2007, I wasn’t really hip to the idea of concerts in your house as a thing and how many artists were doing it. He was doing this crazy tour called, 50 States In 50 Days. He was playing a house concert in all 50 states in 50 days. Not 50 business days. 50 days.  On top of that, Kevin was sponsoring a charity. A gesture that really stuck with me. That was 2007, and Kevin has done three  such tours since then. Sponsoring a different charity each time. It’s been my pleasure to host the West Virginia leg each time.

Kevin is an extremely busy, but personable one. It amazes me what he remembers. That he stays in touch and that he’s so thoroughly engaged with his friends. I’d call us fans, but he treats us more like friends. A trait not uncommon with all the acts that have played my house concerts. Yesterday was a special day, because I received my copy of Kevin’s latest work, Some Comfort (my favorite Kevin has put out and I’ve only had it one day!). Also, we confirmed him playing at the Children’s Home Society of Parkersburg September 24th. The charity he has settled on for the long haul, The Orange Duffel Bag Foundation is special because it is focused on Foster Children that have aged out of care. It’s directly linked to what my friend Steve Tuck faces at the Children’s Home Society. I’m happy that we can do the show there. Glad we can have Kevin back again. Glad Kevin got me started on this crazy adventure.

Another act that recently released a new CD, Blackwater Mojo. Was recently in the area. But I wasn’t, and I hate it. Don’t get me wrong, I love their music. But I would have liked to have seen them. To just hang out. I like the day after a house concert when the artist can stick around. The day of the show, everything is rushed before and after the show is a party. But the next day is calm and relaxed. You get to interact on a normal level. When you find you have something in common with someone, it’s fun and interesting. As a songwriter, it’s really cool. Right now, I just hate that I missed seeing my friends.

The new CD is called, Cold Holler. It’s absolutely fantastic. I hear a lot of things I would expect to hear from them. But there’s a couple songs that I’m just blown away by. And haha, the one in particular is called, Blown Away. I’ve heard it live, but the studio version is so full. I guess because they are a two piece, when they got in the studio and were able to flesh the songs out, they could add all the other parts that were running through their heads. And those parts are something else. Well worth your time to follow the link above and give it a listen!

Finally, Peter Katz also has a new CD that came out in April. As I told you before, Rob Szabo produced it. I really haven’t taken it out of the CD player since I got it. I’ll never forget meeting Peter. He’s so positive and upbeat. I know I’ve told the story before, but when I was showing him around the house he wanted to just go skipping around the first floor. I wanted so bad to join him. I had just put my dog down and had knee surgery the two weeks prior. So I was dying for anything to pick me up. Although I couldn’t skip, it was a huge life to my morale. A supremely incredible show and experience. Influential on a lot of levels as well.

Being a songwriter myself, I’m always looking to be influenced and inspired. Peter did a lot more than just introduce me to the world of loop pedals, though. I do love mine and all the ideas I’m getting with it. But he has a sincerity about his songs and as himself that is almost too good to be true. I’m just left to marvel at him. I have video of that around here somewhere. I’m making it my goal to show, because it’s just too good not to be out there.

These people all have influenced me in one way or another. I’m happy to say that they have all played at my house and are all people I count as friends. I hope I’ve pointed you in the direction of some music that you find both enjoyable and inspiring.

Kevin Montgomery

My plan over the next few days is to write a little something about everyone that has played a show at my house.  As I recover from the knee surgery I would like to do more than just soak up Trailer Park Boys episodes. You know, throw a little love to the people that have made house concerts a must for me. Every effort I put into house concerts, these people give it back to me tenfold. It seems fitting that I should bring up the man that got me started hosting house concerts. The man that has come back every year since. Kevin Montgomery.

The picture above is of Kevin and Jill Jackson. Jill toured with Kevin on the first 50 States in 50 Days tour. I have to say that I have never seen two people work a crowd together like these two.

 

When I think about Kevin, I think he is someone that every independent musician should want to study if not mold themselves after. He’s so engaged with his fans and followers. Even with the thousands of people he’s tied into, he noticed that I had surgery on my knee and sent me a get well note. Enough said, right? Right.

He’s also a fantastic singer/performer/songwriter. I had to work in the performer part, because not all singer/songwriters are great performers. But Kevin has that “it” that he can control an audience, captivate them, humor them, and leave them with the feeling that they didn’t pay enough for this.

In his own words, Kevin is a Road Dog. He’s almost constantly touring except when he is recording. I know right now that I am not cut out for that kind of travel. 50 states in 50 days. Think about that. You know snags will happen, but he just keeps on and on and on. It’s just remarkable to me. When I was a computer tech, I drove 70,000 mile in one year and thought that was a big deal. Hell, I think he does a third of that in 50 days. I guess I should probably just show you some video, because I don’t know what else I can say. Go to his website. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. I promise, you’ll enjoy the ride.

The State of Things

It’s cool to clean out the noggin every once in a decade, right? It feels like that for me. I want to share some OMG! great news. But I don’t have any to pass along. All I’ve got is your run of the mill dairy goodness.

I think it goes without saying that playing out with Ovada is super good news! We played 123 Pleasant St. last Thursday with The Young Reptiles and David Bello. Both are well worth your time. This was the first time the Reptiles played out, and really carried themselves well. Their website is a blast! And oh yeah, they got some cool songs. David Bello did a solo set that was hip, solid, and right on.

We’re going to be back at 123 on September 2nd with David and Captain Catfeesh. Also, we’ll be playing at Adelphia on August 26th. This is a nice new performance room for the valley. If you haven’t been, I strongly urge you to! Joseph and I will also be playing Adelphia on August 20th as part of the Songwriter Night Invitational.

Kevin Montgomery is going to be playing at the house on November 29th! Can’t wait to see him again! Visit his website and friend him on Facebook. He’s a fun person to follow.

Other than that, Lou and I are just trucking right along. I’m not the least bit worried about covering football this year. I plan to make some college football songs, though. I’ll have to put a link back up on the sidebar to Songbook Sports. Please do go check it out. I’m part of a network and they don’t like that I have been on leave for so long.

Kevin Montgomery 50 States 50 Days Tour

Kevin Montgomery is getting ready to head out on his 2010 50 States/50 Days tour and he could use your help. Why should you help? I’ll tell you why. Kevin is the kind of person that isn’t just in it for himself. He’s sponsored a charity on every tour, giving a sizable portion of his earnings to said charity. He’s connected and engaged with these charities. You’ll notice the link to the Wounded Warrior Project at the bottom right of the side bar as well as Farm Aid and the Red Cross. Inspired by him. True story! I know I’m not a magnet for helping charities, but I try. Many hands make light work. Right?

I haven’t mentioned that he is quite funny and personable. Or that he’s a damn good songwriter and performer. Hosting one of his house concerts truly is a “get more than you give” evening. He really is that good, and in a way I feel bad that he isn’t more famous. I think he should be a household name. But the world’s loss is our gain.

What I ask of you is to go to his website and read and listen and enjoy. If you are on Facebook, you should join the 50 States in 50 Days group.  If you are interested in hosting Kevin or you know someone that has the perfect house to host, contact him at kevin at kevinmontgomery.com. The logistics of doing a 50 day tour in 50 states is as hard as you might imagine. I could go on forever, but I’m afraid that I might lose you. So here’s the video from the concert at my house last year. I wasn’t drunk. Nope. Not at all.

Kevin Montgomery House Concert Video

What a great night. Kevin, Kaci, and Sean were just awesome! It’s hard for me to put into words what it means to me and how I wish everyone could experience a night like this. When you’re younger, going out to bars and fighting a crowd and listening to music so loud your ears ring for days sounds like a good idea. But as I get older, I’m more interested in the music and catching every moment. Everything is perfect. A relaxed atmosphere, great songs, great stories…that’s what a Kevin Montgomery house concert is like. But it’s more than that. More than I can describe. I have some video that I’ll be posting in the future. But for now, here’s a video Kevin produced for the show. He does this every night for 50 days. I just watched for one night and I’m still tired.

Kevin Montgomery Is Almost Here

It’s true! In a little over three days, the West Virginia leg of the 50 States in 50 Days Tour hits Parkersburg. I’ve been working to get the house ready and making some special plans for this show. I’ll announce those at a later date. Probably tomorrow. For other information, see my previous posts on Kevin. I think I’ve built up a good bit of material over the past year about him. Also, please do check out his page and the videos from all the shows he’s done so far. It really is incredible the effort he puts into this.

If you are interested in attending the show, shoot me an email with Kevin Montgomery in the subject line to johnnypm427 at yahoo dot com. Sorry to spell it out like that, but it keeps the spam to my email address to a minimum.

The show starts around 730pm 11/22/09. Here’s a video of Kevin doing “Let’s All Go To California.”

Tuesday…Afternoon…

I don’t know why, I just feel compelled to put something up rather than nothing at all. Of course, now that I start typing, I remember that I do have some news! Wooo!

As anyone who cruises this site knows, Kevin Montgomery will be playing here at the house on November 22nd. He’s easily one of my favorite independent artists. And once you meet him, it’s kind of hard to not think of him as one of the nicest people you’ve ever met. Last year, he brought Jill Jackson with him on the 50/50 tour. Everyone really enjoyed Jill, and several people were curious to see if Jill would be on the tour again. Sadly, she isn’t. But the good news is that Kaci Bolls will be joining Kevin. And after listening to Wreckin’ Ball on her Reverb Nation page, I think it’s safe to say we have a winner! If you’re not convinced yet, check out the video.

So there you go, beautiful voice! If you’ve seen Kevin before, you know he has quite a few good stories and tells them well. So it’s nice to get a little background and some flavor of what Kaci is about. So I’m excited about this!

What is it people say, “just start writing…”? Something good might come out of it.

Oh yeah on the Ovada front, Joseph got back last night and reports that the trip to New York for the Mark Mulcahy tribute show went well. There is a list of people that he got to hang out with that really makes me wish I could have gone. But I won’t be doing any name dropping. Sadly, we still need a drummer. So if you have a good drummer in your band, you better refer someone to us or we might be stealing yours. Hehehe!

Wha Happened! And What Will…

Hey! Wha Happened? Well let me tell ya, good buddy. The Adam Carroll and Owen Temple house concert was just simply amazing! Great music! Great stories! The surprise? Gary freakin’ Floater!!! I swear I have not laughed that hard in years if not ever. I have video and audio of the show that will make it’s way out eventually. I’ll have a day that I put all my favorite videos from the night up on youtube, and hopefully the audio is good enough that Todd can do something cool with it through songwriternight.com. I’ll update as those things happen.

I guess I just need to say that I’m not going to host another songpull until I get all the video from #9, #10, and #11 up on the site. I know it’s awful, but to put it in perspective I will tell you that I shouldn’t even be writing this right now. I should be changing strings and working on Ovada and solo songs for the gigs upcoming. This is the life I chose, though. So I’ll stop my whining and move on.

First of all, Joseph and I have a gig at the Emerson Grill this Friday night from 9-12. We’ll each do a set and hopefully join forces for some Ovada songs as well as some others we’ve performed together before.

Next up, I’m opening for Matt James & the Progress Notes on July 25th @ Six Pence Pub. Then, on August 1st Ovada will be playing a house concert in Morgantown. I don’t have any details about that just yet, but I’m guessing that since it’s in Morgantown that there will be drinking and point guards running over pedestrians and whatnot. So basically, my musical self is coming into focus. And I haven’t even mentioned Moon Over Mountwood this past weekend. Seriously, I like it like this!

I’m fooling around with the idea of going to Crete next summer for Songs in the Sun with Kevin Montgomery and thinking about putting all my musical proceeds into a savings account to fund the trip. How cool would that be? It’s been a long time since I’ve been over seas. I think it’s time!

Speaking of Kevin, he’s planning his next 50 states in 50 days tour. If you can’t make it to the one at my house on November 22nd (hint hint: email me if you want to come!), then why don’t you think about hosting your own! Go to Kevin’s page and check out the details.  I promise, it will be one of the best musical experiences you will have!

OK, I’m off to change strings and do some practicing! Lord knows I need it!

Kevin Montgomery at the Buddy Holly Celebration

I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple days but haven’t found the time until now. Sorry bout that. Our good pal Kevin Montgomery played at  Buddy Holly’s 50 Winters Later celebration a couple weeks ago. And of course Kevin had his camera with him.

A little bit of background as I understand it, Kevin’s father and Buddy lived beside each other in Texas and wrote songs and performed together before Buddy hit it big. Actually, it’s better if you click the link above the video and just read and watch the whole thing for yourself. But if you’re too lazy, here’s a snip.

Well, i’m here in Clear Lake, Iowa for the 50 Winters Later celebration. Buddy Holly passed away 50 years ago in that horrible plane crash. Buddy was one of my dad’s best friends, and first musical partners. I was invited by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the good folks here at The Surf to perform with Tommy Allsup. Tommy played on alot of my dad’s early songs with Buddy, and was on the last tour with Buddy……..flipping the coin with Ritchie Valens for his seat on the plane.

We also want to thank Kevin for putting a permanent link up to this humble blog. And we look forward to the next time he can play for us here in Parkersburg!!

Things I Like: A Link Dump Story (mostly without the links)

First off, West Virginia is finally playing like the team I thought I would see at the beginning of the year. So, I like the fact that I don’t have to photoshop pictures like this anymore. Although that’s a statement that is always one upset away from changing.

I’ll go into more detail and bring back the Music for Your Enjoyment posts featuring each of these two artist. But if you’re at all into myspace or music or looking cool because of the music you listen to, check out J. Minus and Icaboyd. I’m really digging on both a lot these days. I guess this should be a statement about independent music and the fall of the music industry. I hope so! I have absolutely no use for record stores and major labels with very few exceptions.

House concerts, obviously! I had Kevin Montgomery here a couple weeks ago, and Brooke Brown Saracino tomorrow night. It’s just a neat experience, and probably the best way I know how to draw cool artist into our little corner of the world. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more with the new year right around the corner.

Coming home to a friend that is absolutely overwhelmed with joy to see me. Dogs are a great thing! I had to put my best friend down a month ago and it really tore the heart right out of my chest. But every time God closes a door, he opens a window as they say. I’ve taken over a friends dog that couldn’t keep him anymore. Sad for my friend, because he (Lou) really is a good boy! But he’s brought a lot of joy into my life and I’m thankful for that.

There’s a woman in my life, too. But maybe it’s best not to talk about such things in this forum. But it’s a really good thing!!

I’m digging the layout of this blog. It’s not ground breaking or anything, but it’s me. It involves black, guitars, and music. What more could a person ask for?

Finally, I’m glad we have a new president-elect. What I wanted in a candidate was someone that will represent our country in the best possible way. For lack of a better word, someone that “fit” the role of president. Someone that carried themselves the way a president should. Someone that will lead and inspire the country. I don’t think we’ve had that since Reagan or Kennedy. I think we got that with Obama. I hope!

Kevin Montgomery Show Was Awesome!! And Other Things Chris Farley Would Say

photo by Kevin Garrett...http//www.kevingarrett.com
Define professional. Kevin Montgomery is that and more. Let’s look past him being an exceptional songwriter and performer for just a second and marvel at his presence and how he interacts with his audience. Background: Kevin is doing a 50 states in 50 days tour with Jill Jackson, whom I’ll get back to later. But Kevin and Jill are cris-crossing this great country in support of his latest cd, True. We were shooting for 50 people to attend the show last night, and as it drew closer I knew that we weren’t going to get 50 people. But I thought we could bring in about 30. However, it ended up being somewhere between 10-15. I never actually did a head count, and it really doesn’t matter looking back. The people that were here were given one of the best shows you could ask for.

The reason Kevin is successful and the reason he will always rise to the top is that he just walks into every experience expecting it to be good. He had absolutely no outward signs of disappointment at the size of the crowd. He was in good spirits, and came ready to put on a good show. Now keep in mind that he and Jill are averaging about 8 hours driving a day and that we were stop #30 on the tour. Imagine just for a second how you feel after two or three days driving. I used to be a traveling computer tech, and would put 70k miles a year on my car. I know how I felt after a two or three day stretch when I would drive 8 hours a day. I was mean and tired, and generally not the person you wanted to be around. So I look at what Jill and Kevin are doing with a great respect.

The Show

I can’t even begin to describe the songs beyond what you already know. It was two people with two guitars and two mics. But it was magical to me. You’ll just have to imagine a tingle throughout your entire body. Totally relaxed, and a smile on your face. We all have those moments in our life, and last night was one for me. What I thought was really cool was the interaction between Kevin and Jill. The stories of their tour, the inspiration for the tour, the friendly digs at each other. It was almost as entertaining as the songs themselves. That’s saying something, because I know I lose people in about 20 seconds whenever I tell a story. You may have noticed this if you’re thinking about clicking on a link away from here. Hehehe!

Jill Jackson

Jill is from Scotland and seems to have done some extensive touring of her own. She has a beautiful voice and is quite proficient on the guitar. I feel like a sexist every time I say something like that, but I was never exposed to female guitarist growing up. So excuse me for saying it, but I like to give credit with someone’s playing, and Jill can play. I bought here CD, Jill Jackson, and I promise you, it’s worth every cent. As is Kevin’s.

Looking Back

I could have done a lot better at promoting this show. I think, or expect everyone to have the same eye for talent as me. I expect everyone to have a name thrown at them and to do some background checking to see if it’s something I would be interested in. I hate that this was my first hosting of a house concert. But I learned something from it to make future concerts here at the house more of a success. On the good side, I think we sent Kevin and Jill out of here with enough money to get to Nashville plus some. It seemed like everyone bought at least one cd if not both. They earned permanent links on the right side there, and I hope we can have them back again and again!!!