Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Song Circle

After much much thought, I killed the Song Circle. The one that I have been hosting for a few years now, in Hudson.

It was still floundering, and I have one more session left, but for all intents and purposes, it died.

I really didn't want to do it. I loved hosting at Rev. It was a coffee house, with an assortment of living room type furniture in several rooms set up in railroad car style. As I was fond of saying, it was like hosting a jam at home, but I didn't have to worry about cleaning or cooking or drunk folk or anything, just gather, smile, and provide an atmosphere conducive to music making. It was fun, rewarding, musical, friendly, welcoming..... I was real proud of what that that circle was, the role it had in the community, the musical collaborations born there, the friendships started.

Then ASCAP said NO. I looked frantically for a place that already paid ASCAP.

And, Red Dot said, Ok, you can come here.

I have had some great times there. Memorial moments. Having the whole bar singing old folk songs, harmonizing with the owner, playing on the patio, having a professional musician share his stuff with us. But lately, no one shows. Or we attract people whose music just doesn't easily fit together, and it feels more like work than fun. Seems like the magic left.


I LOVE playing with other people. I happen to think that music is a team sport.... and when people play together, there is something that happens in that space, and it can only happen at that moment in time with those folks present. That is where the healing is, the connection, the reason.

Now, I also love working on a song, solo or with a team (band) (folks) and taking a song and learning it and developing it and making it sound RIGHT. Love that too. I think maybe, now is the time for me to focus a little more on that....

But sitting with a group of people, playing a song you have never played before, trying out a harmony line or fill on the guitar, fitting a sound into a space that adds to the texture, and everyone 'on the same page', so to speak. Ah. That is close to heaven. It fills my need to be spontaneous, creative, and collaborative.... and I love hearing what other people bring to the tune-- new ideas for old songs.

That is what I loved about song circle.

I knew that I would get my dose of Jam every week. But not lately. And it was depressing to wait for the fun to return  :(

So, I killed it.

But now I look forward to what the next part of my musical journey will be. Developing my solo act? Getting a band together? Song circle in another format, another place? I don't know, but I am sure I will head somewhere..... and it will be an adventure, it will be fun, and it will be creative and musical and something to share out.....

This winter, I will search for my next path....

(In complete disclosure....We also met at Hudson Opera House, and we get a fair turnout there, but, due to administrative constraints, we can no longer have the space)

Victorian Sessions

Sunday, I stuffed my fears into a bottle, and left them on the shelf in the closet while I ventured into a group of musicians that I did not know.... yet.

Wow. Am I glad that I did THAT!!

 What a kind, welcoming, talented group of people I met .... i completely and thoroughly enjoyed making music, and listening to others make music, with these folks!!! 

Another thing to be thankful for.... I've added it to my bouquet of thanks.....

The day before, I hung around the house. Puttered here and there. And finally it was time to go to the gig. 

The gig was a private benefit, and I was asked to perform by a friend of mine who actually asks me to help out on a lot of musical projects, mostly benefits. For some reason, I am never at my best at the things he asks me to do. As a matter of fact, it seems that I just can't pull it off. I should be able to. I have been doing this a long time now. Yes, I still get nervous, fearful, stage frightened, but i just shrug it off. I don't pay attention. I don't let it own me. I know that I have to forget the ME and concentrate 100% on just letting the music come through me... the music is the main thing. That almost always works for me these days.

But not usually when i work for this certain man, and I can't tell you why. And this day was no different. I sang 'Wagon Wheel' and that was fine. Then I wanted to do 'I Got You Babe'. Couldn't find my start note. Couldn't find the melody!!! Wow, I sing this song all the time, what is wrong??? I stopped, made a joke and restarted, but it wasn't much better. 

Later, after the presentation, I sang some more off mic, which was ok, but I couldn't GET into it, if you understand me.  My friend complimented me (a rare occurrence!!! and much treasured......). Later, he even thanked me via email and implied he would call me the next time something comes along..... and my other friend gave me some other excuses i could use....

But there is no excuse. I don't know why that sometimes happens. It happens less these days, but it still happens, and so, when it does, it really really really gets me down.

So Sunday, the next day, I was invited to a jam. I had indicated I would come, and they were expecting me. I have known about this gathering for a while, wanted to go, but felt really shy about it. I have been invited to other musical gatherings where I knew no one..... sometimes, it seems more like I was invited so I could listen to others play, not so that I could participate.... and that is ok, but a dissappointment if I thought i was going to make music with some new folk! 

The last one had been this past summer, and most of my time there, I felt like a fish out of water... I didn't know anyone, and they all knew each other. There was a few people who play together quite a bit, who just kept playing and playing, and would throw the ball at me but take it right back, later making comments like, 'we don't want to be the only ones playing', while they just kept going, not giving much opportunity for others to give a song. No one was mean or impolite, and I was likely overly shy, but, still, the feeling of not belonging was very strong.....

So, it was with that background that I ventured nearly an hour south, by my self, to the Victorian Session. I had gotten directions, I got assurances that YES, they really wanted me, and I easily found the property. But there were several buildings. Some cars, but not a 'group of cars up by the house'. 

I tried texting, calling, facebook, but I didn't have a good enough connection. So I went up to the house. The man at the door said, I don't know if they are having it today!!! He also said, they usually don't start til 4 (the announced start time was 1!!). So I left and went to town and had a bite to eat....

Just as I was heading out of the driveway, the folks, who had been visiting at another place on the property, came out, and saw me drive away.

The host facebooked, Come back!, but I didn't have reception and didn't see it.....

So, I went to town. I ate. I seriously contemplated heading home.

But I went back. I was warmly greeted. One of the hosts, as soon as I had my guitar on, wisely asked me to play a song he had seen me play at an open mic (i did not know him at the time....). I did it, it felt good, and I was asked to play another, which I passed on, deferring to the other folks who wanted to lead a song. But he asked me to play another song, pretty soon. And another. And I was feeling very very welcomed and very very appreciative of the musicianship that existed in that room. And privileged to be a part of it. The music being made there was simply SO good and SO much fun..... the comradeship!! It fed my soul to be in that room, listening to and making music. 

I was so excited, that listening to the tapes, I was loud and obnoxious and talkative and laughing.... but if you know me, i guess you know all that too.... at one point, I think I was thinking about this being 'home' in some sense, making music with people I just met! ....But I know that most of my home-feeling-situations, involves making music.... and, again, that reminds me that music is a connection between people. Sometimes a profound connection, sometimes just comfortable..... but a connection. Always.

Another item in my bouquet of thanks.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Music on the Trail

Wow. Flying home now. Thinking of a lot of things. Thinking about good friends from far away and fun times. Let me talk a little bit about that here. I am going to try to NOT use names, for fear of leaving someone out.

I came into Seattle on Thursday. Thanks to several very wonderful people,  got to where I was going, watched a house concert at a great friends house and prepared to get ready to ride to Half Moon Bay. 

Caravan starts on Friday night at the home of a Rusted Couple well known for their Rusted parties around the Sacred Rustie Campfire (only a few of these exist in the world. One was recently removed, from Saratoga Springs Hilltop, the traditional site of Rusted lore). 

Laughter, hugs, joyful greetings and introductions are heard throughout the evening. Some of the usual suspects are no where to be found, because Bob Dylan is playing in Seattle. But overall, a good group of folks who have a lot of love for music, for neil, for each other.

We make music that night. Guitars are passed around, songs are sung. Seems like that was a long time ago, and I am not sure, but I think that we did not just stick to Neil, but included all sorts of acoustic songs including originals. Maybe somone will correct me....

The food, Scott Youngs spaghetti recipe, is absolutely delicious. Slooooooowly we start to wander off in search of a place to lay down and catch some sleep. My spot is good for someone who doesn't need much sleep, but that is not me..... LOL. I am in the center of the house, and people coming and going out/to the bathroom/in the morning disturbs my sleep, but it is all good. I am leaving down the coast in the morning with one of my best all around buddies to see my best musical hero. And we will be making music all the way. Heaven.
Oh, I should have made this as I traveled. It is all so distant. I do know that, as per our usual, we ambled down the coast, making stops to fill growlers at select breweries for the party in the evening. We also have several favorite places to visit, like Hug Point and Oceanside. There is the spectacular Northwest coastline all the way down, visable when traveling the slower Route 1. The stop at Chesters, the best oysters on the coast, as merriweather says. The (nearly) daily stop at  Fred Myers to grab something we forgot to pack, a jug of water, a snack for the road.

And at night, a walk on the beach, hopefully while the sun sets in the west, while we all discuss our days and what we saw and what we did. Every night a different team makes a SPECTACULAR meal.

The weather this trip was spotty, but really did not much affect us. It was usually warm and hazy much of the time, with that drizzly Northwest style rain happening most days, if not all, so the raincoat was important. Except for one evening, the rain did not affect the party at all. It did, however, come down real heavy during one evening, disrupting the sleep of most caravaners!! But we soldiered on.

There are a few things I absolutely LOVE about caravan. First, the people. It takes a certain sort to want to drive down the coast, camping with a group of (the first time) strangers. You have to be tough, as it is a gruelling adventure. Little sleep, lots of driving and things to see, cooking and clean up every evening, interesting personalities (multi cultural to boot) that sometimes don't travel in the style you personally prefer (my first trip, we decorated our cars. Mine said, 'I need a crowd of people........', planning to add the 'but i can't face them day to day' when that applied, but it never did. :) lol).  But caravan is an adventure, and for the OPL/IRF/BSB part of the trip, you may frequently hear mini caravan reunions happening. There is a feeling that develops between people on the road that becomes a tie that binds, in wonderful ways! I love the people I caravan with. Love.

And then, I love to travel and I love to camp and I love to MOVE, and I get plenty of all of these traveling down the coast.  It is a vacation that suits me to a T. I get mountains and views and good food and ocean and BIG trees!!! I spend all my time in a car or in the a yurt sleeping or in the open air, but MOSTLY in the open air. Soooooo good for the soul to spend LOTS of time outside. I love it. Love.

And then, there is the music. Every night. Around the campfire. There are loud, rocking strummers; quiet, soulful players and lots of singing. We do a fair share of Neil songs, but also originals, folk songs, classic rock. It is our opportunity to make some of the best music that we will make, sitting there, under the stars (sometimes clouds), sitting around the fire with those wonderful folks we are traveling with. I hope someone made some videos of some of the sounds we put together those evenings. Those are special times, very intimate and beautiful. They feed my soul, my mind, my heart. I love making and listening to caravan music. Love. Love. Love.
And then, after getting pretty accustomed to these small group sessions, we head into OPL/IRF. People! Laughter! Greetings! Never being able to finish a conversation before i see yet another person i must speak to!!! Oh. My. It tends to be a bit overwhelming at first, but soon I am into the groove. After all, i like ACTIVITY!!! LOL.

This year, I share responsibility with two others for the OPL experience. One bringing and setting up needed equipment, but my best buddy and i have been working on strategies for keeping things moving so that all players are able to do what they had planned to do for a set. I am a bit nervous. I have a (day) job where I am constantly making decisions and telling others what to do, so it is not a difficult task for me. However, my rustie friends don't take kindly to direction and my group role has not been one of leading. But we knew what we had to do, and, to use some of Pegi Youngs words, braced for impact.

What a PLEASURE to work that night!!! We gave most acts a 30 min warning, reminding them to be at the stage for the last song of the act ahead of them, tuned, and it HAPPENED!!! Each act was given a time to end (ok, i missed a few) and a time piece, and without exception, cooperated, often with a smile!!! In the end, we started the electric set 10 minutes earlier than planned! People sounded great, the crowd sang along. If only we could package up the positive energy in that room that night!!! Thanks to ALL!!! It truly is amazing that people, without practice together, can pull this off time after time, with love. Amazing evening.

IRF was up next, on Friday night. The meal was great, the people wonderful as always, but the magic was not in the air. When we first started to do the International Rust Fest, 18 years ago, Saratoga Springs Campground in Saratoga, CA was a perfect venue. About 15miles away from where Neil and Pegi Young held their party for the BSB performers, we partied under the sky in 'Neil Country', with the redwoods above us smelling like heaven, the sacred rusted fire on Hilltop where we made burnt offerings of pumpkins carved with neil pics, electric music from rusted performers shaking the ground.

Now we party on astroturf, no amplified music allowed and the firepit is one of those moveable circles. But rusties are still together. We are still talking and laughing and making music. Perhaps we can find another place in Neil country?

Then we head into the third leg of the trip- BSB. Great shows. I think, besides Neil and Pearl Jam, my favorite part was Tom Jones! LOL. Guilty pleasure.

Music. Really, music is what brings this group of people together. The making of it. The listening to it. The love of it. Music. I think many, if not most, would refer to music as an integral part of their lives, their religious expression, perhaps. It certainly is a fine foundation for some amazing friendships I have made. I love these two weeks, with these people, on the West Coast, usa, making, listening to and discussing music. Love. Love. Love.


I just read a quote about Neil Young on Facebook. It has to do with looking and observing and attending to love as a guiding force. It doesn't surprise me that those who go to great lengths to hang around each other and/or follow his shows are also big on the LOVE thing.
Love. Look for it. Embrace it.

Six Lessons Learned from Neil Young about Making Music

I have watched Neil Young a LOT. 109 shows and counting, as well as innumerable videos- solo, with bands he works with and one offs, such as joining someone on stage at the Bridge School Benefits.

People often remark that when he enters a group, the energy level increases, the musicianship skyrockets and he takes it all up a few hundred levels or so. LOL. This year at BSB, I watched carefully. Smiling, he approaches the other musicians on stage and almost HANDS them some energy, with his playing and his dancing and his smile. The people playing with him start to respond. There is a palpable increase in everyones ability to put the music out there, in a way that touches the players and the audience. Lesson one.

When Neil plays a show, there is always a reason behind what he is doing, what songs and stories he uses, even the shirts he wears. The entire show is a piece of art. Lesson two.

I think that art is the expression of the human truth that we live, the common and utter truth of being a person. Everytime Neil is on stage, he tells the truth about life as he sees it, what is on his mind about the world and the way things are.  Telling the truth is Lesson three.

Neil sings the songs he believes in at the time, and for that reason we can believe them too. Lesson four.

I once heard a story from a man who played the warm up band for neil. He said that Neil told them to play for the people in the parking lot, make the sound big through how you use your energy that way. Lesson five.

Dont listen to the critics, don't listen to your friends, don't listen to other people about your art. Listen only to the muse, she is your artististic spirit guide. As Ryan Adams once said, Just Make Art. Lesson six. And I am sure there are more....                 

Bridge School Benefit and a little bit of healing

Every year, I take the same vacation. I travel from Seattle, WA to Half Moon Bay with 10 to 20 of my good friends, or good friends soon-to-be. Every year, I am a little afraid that what I look forward to all year will lose its magic.
I am happy to say that has not happened in 8 years. As a matter of fact, it keeps getting better.
There is an ultimate goal to the trip..... seeing the Bridge School Benefit, and Neil Young. This show is always a celebration, of the kids who attend the school and most definitely, of music. Those of us who tend to travel the globe to see Neil (and other rusties.....  I would not do all this travel if not for seeing my friends), also have been impressed year after year watching Neil and Pegi and the love, respect and appreciation they so obviously have between them.
But now, we are told they are divorcing. I feel like an adult child who has just been told my parents are separating. I sorta understand, because I think that their life together must have been difficult. Raising a severely disabled child, the work that brings one away more often than not, the idea that Neil is difficult, etc. But one can only hope that they remain friends, and that the BSB can continue.
The first day of the show, Pegi, looking happy, thanked the wisdom dancers who bless the stage prior to starting, and said a few words before announcing that she would be playing tonight and leaving her other duties to a woman (i didn't catch her function) and her son Ben. Ben introduced Neil through his communication box. Neil came from the left side of the stage (late.... said he was in the shower), but everyone else came from the right. Hmmm...... Two songs and left, and someone else introduced Pegi. We fans of the Benefit worried about what seemed fractured. However, our concern increased when the only person to join Neil at the end of the evening for the 'Grand Finale' was Eddie Vedder. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......
Continued the next day in much the same fashion. This time when Neil left the stage after his first mini set, he started to leave to the right, looked up, saw Pegi, turned on a dime and headed left. During his closing set he made numerous musical errors, such as starting a song without putting ANY harp in the holder, messing up chords, saying that he was distracted and laughing. He also laughed about having to 'dominate' and wanting his guitar to go louder. He never appeared to be anything but happy, though. And I noticed Pegi standing at the stage entrance (I got to see the show from row 4), and this time, when neil asked for help for the last song, Pegi and many others came out to join him, and all singing and smiling. The great little thing though, is that Neil and Pegi did their traditional ending of the evening, with Ben between them..... Neil says, 'Say goodnight Pegi', and Pegi says, 'Goodnight Pegi'. They laughed and hugged and walked off the stage.
Phew. I hope they can continue to be able to pull that off and Neil and Pegi can work together for that show, for the Bridge School, for their children.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Neil Young in Boston

Last night I remembered why I follow this man. Why I call him my musical hero.

Neil comes out on stage and sings his heart out. We forgive his numerous mistakes. They seem to make him a little more human than you usually think your hero's should be. But he believes, and makes you believe, that music is important and powerful and necessary for life. That art and life are inseparable. That there is healing in the singing of songs that are truth for your life. That music itself is a living, breathing thing that would be silent if not for the person who lets it come through them, to the ears of the listener.

And that action creates a bond that is like no other. 

Inspired. We were lifted last night, through those amazing sounds, delivered from the heart, to a very special place.

Thank you Neil.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Camp Copperhead

Steve Earle.
An amazing songwriter.
And, starting tomorrow, I am going to spend three days getting everything about songwriting that I can from him. I wish I felt more prepared. I wish I felt healthier (I have some sort of stomach bug that is kicking my backside). I wish my muse would return.
I haven't written a song that found its way to the public ear for a year. I have spent a bit of time this week, trying to find melodies and words and ideas worthy of being repeated over and over again, because that is what I think is necessary in a song.
So, am I going to be only person in the room without a song?? LOL. Or not.

Today, I search for the muse.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dallas- a fan story

Some times, you don't really know what it is you want.

Right? For years I have said I was not interested in meeting Neil Young. It is far and away enough just to listen to his records and go to his shows. And.... I have been to enough shows to be able to say that. One Hundred One. 101. Yes, a little obsessed? LOL.... yes, but I think 'obsession' is one of those definitive descriptors of my life in many ways. And, I like it that way.

My other Neil Young obsessed friends and I have thought that I could certainly decide WHERE my 100th show would be. Exciting destinations like Iceland, Israel, Europe were some of my available choices.... After all, he will be with Crazy Horse, my favorite 'version' of Neil, in all those places this summer.

Then, I received a proposal from my friend Terri, to meet her in Dallas, share a room, and see Neil solo acoustic.

Hmmmmmm....... Dallas. Never really had a great desire to go to Texas. (But I can say now, what lovely folks live in Texas!!!) I probably will be borrowing against my vacation time to make the trip. AND, I am trying to pay down some of my bills, amassed during last summers trip to Europe to see Neil (lol).

Terri just laid it out, no pressure. Almost impulsively, I said yes, and then, of course, I HAD to carry thru to not disappointment my friend.

Terri was at the hotel when I arrived Wednesday evening. We went for a long walk, to the fest site (where our other Neil Young fan friends, or RUSTIES, as we call ourselves, would meet before the show), around to the venue, and all the way to the Historic District, where we had a beer and looked at the memorabilia on the walls of the Dallas version of the Hard Rock Cafe before heading back to the hotel, playing some guitar together and retiring for the night.

We were a bit slow getting ourselves together Thursday morning, and did not get to the JFK stuff as planned. We did, however, spend some time in a park, playing NY songs to sculptures and big black birds (which could have been starlings or could have been grackles, but they were EVERYWHERE!) while waiting for Terri's sister Donna to arrive,

What the birds sounded like.

 First order of business were greasy burgers for lunch, but then we had to go back to the hotel and get ready. After all, this was going to be my ONE HUNDREDTH Neil Young show. A milestone. I had no real plans except to see the show, but I was in the minority, LOL.

Donna, a first grade teacher in some past life, had printed out the words "Celebrating Marilyn's 100th Neil Young Concert" and some doves and peace signs. She also provided scissors, tape and artistic direction for Terri and I as we cut and taped words and paper to create a LARGE sign...... Plan being for me to display the sign, maybe during the show, maybe outside Neil's bus, maybe at any other time I can maybe attract his attention.

WHAT!?!?!?!? Nope, I don't want to meet Neil, what would i say, i will die of embarrassment, he will think i am a crazy wacko fan.

YES!!!!! Oh! one of my dreams has been to meet Neil and tell him how much his music has meant in my life, let him know about the friends that i have met that are his fans, and thank him for the so many wonderful things i have done following him around for those 100 shows, and then, there is the music that i make that all started with learning a few NY songs.....

But NO, I can't.

Yes, I should.



I think you must get the idea.

And Terri and Donna, being who they are, just are so cool about the whole thing. 'Only if you want', they said. 'Only what you are comfortable with.' And I guess, like the drug dealer that takes you from the soft stuff to the harder stuff, I, with much trepidation AND excitement, followed forward, step by step.....

We stood and waiting for the bus outside the venue, for what seemed like an amazingly long time. There were other people there..... some fans, some autograph hounds, and one guy we couldn't really figure out. He was carrying Neil's book, Waging Heavy Peace, but he didn't know who Elliot was, by sight or name, although Elliot has been Neil's manager for the vast majority of his time as an artist.... Ah, well, to each his own. WE are fans, we know or have heard of most of the behind the scene folks, and we are going to treasure everything, including the wave Neil gives us as he exits the bus. Yes, the wave, but also the obvious slowing of step to read my sign, and the smile.  Yes, he slowed his walk to read the sign, smiled and waved!

OK, says I, he saw it, it is time for the rustfest, lets go.

No, says my friends, not if you want him to autograph your sign. But we will go if you want. Up to you.


So we wait. I post to the party event on Facebook that I am delayed. We wait. Sound check is forever. I figure, he has to play every instrument that may be used, sing into every mic, check everything he is going to use. But it takes SO LONG. There are people waiting,  back at the rustfest, I am sure, and I am the 'host'. I feel guilty, but I stay.

And finally the door opens and he walks out with his entourage and someone says, Neil, sign for us please? And he stops and we rush, his assistant demanding.... SLOW DOWN! ONE ITEM ONLY! NO PICTURES!!!! ....and other such directions, sorta making you feel like a jerk, a child maybe, instead of a reasonable adult, which I believe I am.

Or not. I can't find my fricken sharpie that Donna provided!!! Every pocket! LOOK.... Fast! I am a jerk!! A child!!! WHERE is my sharpie!! Frantic looking. When my turn comes, he has one in his hand, and applies it to the paper.

'Thank you for 100 great shows, Neil'
'Your kidding'
'Nope, I am not, tonight is my hundredth show'
'Well, thank you'
'No, thank YOU'
..... as he signs his name, prints in large letters, THANKS and pauses....
'What is your name?'
I laugh as I say 'Marilyn', but it is right in front of you, so you can even spell it right'
And he laughed.

And right there, my night was made. I gave my hero a chuckle and a smile.

And then I heard Donna....'Neil, can I shake your hand?' (The hand that makes those wonderful sounds on those wonderful instruments,  you know). And he does it.  Then, 'Neil, please shake Marilyn's hand?'..... and he does!....still smiling...

Then he was gone. Gone.

And i realized, i had hardly looked up into his face. Just glanced to see the smile. Afraid of his eyes, those very piercing eyes that seem to look right into you, even in pictures. But I got to touch THE HAND. If you are a crazy fanatical fan of an artist,  you will understand....

The show, as you can read elsewhere on the internet, was an absolutely amazing, riveting performance, and I was privileged to see it from 4th row center, likely closer than my front row Carnegie seat. The stage is low, and the seats start right at the edge of the stage. And he played like he meant every word, every note. Told stories. Wandered about the stage like he is wont to do when performing solo. Touching his instruments tenderly as if to say thank you, after finishing the song and before going to the next one. Telling how he loves this venue. How he appreciates that we came to listen. Smiling. Owning the stage, and all of us.....Heaven, you know......

I was gifted a backstage pass during intermission. I worried the whole second half of the show about going back there, what would I say? What if...... and I hoped my friends would also get gifted. They were not. I had to go alone. I said, no take it, and Terri looked me in the face and said, GO. And so I did. I was stopped, but I decided to 'act as if' I knew what I was doing, and the stage crew starting greeting me if I ran into them more than once.

But Neil was gone. On the bus. I wandered around, everyone was gone except the folks packing up the guitars, and I wandered away, surprisingly disappointed.

We went back to hotel, had a drink before the bar closed at the  ridiculously (for this New Yorker) early hour of Midnight. Exhausted, we went to sleep. But not before Terri got this video of our new friend, William....

Day two!!! We get up and eat and out to see the JFK thing.... not the museum, the line was too long, but we wandered the ground and one of the independent tour guides, one that told the 'other side' to the official story, talked to us and discussed the issues.... I have to say, that was cool. We tipped him well.

I said, 'Are we going to meet the bus again?' Guess I changed from the night before (do you see why I earlier compared this to drugs??). Terri and Donna were game. The day before, I had moaned about the long wait, and wishing I had a guitar to pass the time with. We did not make that mistake this time.

I brought my tiny Little Jane guitar, that I had bought for my trip to Europe. It fits under the plane seat or in even the tiny bins above the seats. No amplification, but I did not anticipate needing that. Just a guitar to strum with other rusties. This guitar, though, means a lot to me. It was my friend all through Europe and was played by many many rusties, as well as both the guitar players in Los Lobos (read my blog entry about that trip for the story). So Jane has been pretty meaningful to me, but rarely brought out to play, since last summer. I brought it along, to see if it could meet Neil.

When we got there, no one,  including police, crew, autograph hounds or fans were there. Hmmmmmm..... We waited anyway.  Then they started coming. One guy made a point of telling us how to get Neil to stop,  because we are women, you know. Yeah. Right.

Donna had made me another sign, quickly, that said merely '101'. I held it while Neil drove up. When he exited the bus, he looked over, appeared to pause a split second, brief wave, no smile and entered the building, to return after that looooong wait.

This time, to our dismay, as soon as he reappeared,  without asking, the group starting rushing him. Donna calls out,  please Neil!  Can you sign for us? He paused and Eric,  the assistant, started barking out his orders. Neil looks up at a guy at the back of the group, and says VERY firmly 'Take my picture and I leave'.  The guy says,  'No pics?'  'Try to take my picture and i am gone.'  I think it was either Terri or Donna who begged, 'Don't make him leave!'

He was very obviously not happy today, having a sour look about him, and less than a welcoming manner.... like he was just all business (during the show he mentioned having problems sleeping.... so no, it is not all only about US! ) He did sign everything presented to him, and most folks just walked off after he did what they wanted. I was toward the end, but this time I had my sharpie in hand....so I just watched him, as present in the moment as I could be.  He took my pen, and I said, 'Neil, tonight is 101' as he signed the belly of my little guitar. He looked me in the face as he handed me back the pen, and I said, 'Thank you so much for last night's show, it was wonderful! I really enjoyed it a LOT'.....

He gave me a BIG smile,  and a very sincere 'Thank you' that struck me in my heart, and a couple more scribbles on a few things for folks, and he was gone. Again.

This time I was exhausted after he left.  The day before I was ecstatic. What was wrong? FOOD. I went to the fest, and ate and realized,  my hero was just so close.  My hero. And he left me a guitar with his signature that was special and now is just priceless....

First song after signing.... Helpless. Then William played it, and he did wonderful solos on Down by the River and Over and Over.

The venue,  Jorges, had let us play music the day before, but tonight the piped in music WAS LOUD.  Finally,  though,  Randy got them to turn it off and William and I played a couple Neil tunes. Dave came up to me in between songs.

You are Marilyn?
Happy one hundred shows!
.....  and he hands me a cd.
I read the paper that covers it... it is a copy of last night's show!  THANK YOU DAVE!
Rusties are the best, most generous, thoughtful, people in the world.
This is a stranger?..... nope,  just a friend I never seen. Lol.

Then off  to the venue where Neil again played a wonderful,  special, amazing show. And again,  I was gifted another pass backstage just to get back there to find an empty room. Oh well..... I got already far more than I had hoped...or knew I wanted.... recognition from Neil about my triple digit shows, a signed guitar, time with great friends...... I am an extremely fortunate woman. Very blessed.

Tired but unwilling to end the evening,  we gathered up our newly decorated stuff (Terri and Donna have their own stories!) and head to the hotel bar. Lots of people.  Loud. Two different groups of people ask me to play the guitar,  to give them a song ('Do you know any Neil Young?'  Lol).  So I do.  I play.  I sing.... The busking thing I do, you know....Seems like everyone in sight is enjoying what I do, they are singing along, smiling.  I am the only player, and I mix a little non Neil in, too, such as a loud singalong version of 'California Dreaming' (the crowd sang it wonderfully!!!)  And then the waitress approaches.... 'We are getting complaints,  you will have to stop now. '  I was about to stop anyway, I told her.

But gesh. I  thought I was entertaining folks, at least everyone I saw around me. Oh, well. And then, I get approached a bit later by a couple of women who were willing to get security called if I wasn't allowed to play them a request (No, please, lets not cause trouble),  and then a young man who would not take 'no, you can NOT play my guitar', as an answer!

 SO.....Time for me to say goodnight! ... and *I* disappeared.

What a wonderful time! Thank you more than I can express to Terri, for the invite to Dallas with her, because it was all just so perfect.... To Donna for her artistic and strategical direction..... And both of them for their wonderful friendship! Thanks to all rusties for celebrating my 100th show, both on and off line.

And thanks most especially to Neil Young,  for all the wonderful music,  for still creating after all these years, for doing shows that never, ever get boring, and are ALWAYS inspiring.... THANK YOU. What did he say during the second night in Dallas about music? I am sure someone taped it, so maybe I will hear it and come back here and quote it. But the man loves music.  He has taught me the importance of music. And he lives it.  Thank you for that, too, Neil..... Thank you for it all!

Terri and I at Thursdays fest ..... Over and Over  :)


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saturday Night at the Pub

What a LOAD of fun!!

The Peint o Grwr in Chatham, NY is a local pub that has a variety of musical offerings throughout any given year. One of the longest running and most community oriented nights is their Open Mic, run by Pat. As each musician comes in, they are greeted heartily by the others. It is a celebratory mood, and we celebrate making music and seeing each other. It sort of feels like a homecoming. And then, there are the regular listeners, all happy to be there, chatting to each other, but always noticing when the song ends,  to encourage the performer with some appreciative noise. And, there is a house band, a talented group of folks who can hold down the sound with tasty bass lines and spice up the music with wonderful fills and great solos....

This Open Mic has it all..... friendship, networking, house band that makes it all sound GREAT!!! Wonderful to play at, and wonderful to listen to....

Foregoing my own songwriting, I decided to choose easy to play (less challenging for the house band), well known (less challenging for the audience) songs, so I did Dead Flowers, Wagon Wheel and Rocking in the Free World..... and ROCKED OUT!!! Wendy helped out with some fantastic harmonies, Pat gave me really delicious guitar solos, and the bass player (sorry! his name escapes me at the moment, it sure is tough getting old!!) held us all together with his excellent lines!!! What a wonderful, fulfilling, FUN performance!!! Thank you all.....

And the audience! So appreciative of the music, they make it a pure pleasure to play for them....

Finally, the other musicians!!! Again, my ability to remember names is not one of my strong points. There was a young woman who has her first NYC gig very soon, who has a great sound and interesting songs. Aaron, who I think grew up at this open mic, wowed us with his fantastic blues guitar and songs. Connie, who appears everywhere and is one of the pillars of the local musical community. Amy, who came with band and played us some wonderful sounds. Oh, and so very many more, the evening was chock full of music and laughter and good times.

Thank you Chatham, for hosting this monthly musical wonder......

Monday, March 31, 2014

Working Towards a Record

I am getting excited about my current project.... I have asked some of the best musicians I know to help me out in making my next record..... and so far, it is sounding GREAT!

This past Saturday we gathered together, all except one very key player, but we had the rhythm section complete. Drums and bass. What a difference in the sound!! We did six songs in 3 hours, and I think that we have something worth sharing.... A sound, a feel, and folks who can deliver it up....

Thank you to the the musicians who are working hard, making what I have in my head a reality. It is the most amazing thing, to hear your own songs coming to life.....

Stay tuned....

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Farmers Markets! Craft Fairs! Benefits!

Lots of opportunities out there to be heard. My calender is filling up for the summer... but I am still looking for more!! 

Are you having a party/gathering this spring/summer/fall?

Like folk/rock, old classics, new originals? Enjoy guitar, harmonies, uke, violin, banjo music?

.....Then consider inviting Hudson Busk to your event!!! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


What a long, hard, cold winter it has been.
My yard is STILL covered in snow.
 But there are signs of spring out there.....
Birds are flying and singing!!
 People are on the move!!
We are saving Daylight again (LOL)!!

......and HUDSON BUSK is out in front of Mexican Radio, Hudson, NY, singing and playing for some happy passersby....

Children are fascinated by the sight of people singing and playing guitars on the street.

Adults who are scowling as they rush uptown, start to smile when they see us.

Fellow musicians stop by and add some songs to the mix.

Hudson Busk is all about:


Sharing Music

Having a good time!

Come and join us, stop by to see us, sing a tune with us.... you will find us most Saturdays, singing in front of Mexican Radio, Starting NOW!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

New York 2014

A video put together by a good friend about our trip to NY to see NY at Carnegie Hall. Great time, wonderful friends, lot of music and laughter.....