Saturday, July 10, 2010

& then….

Howdy, all!  Just checking in with a bit of personal news & general observations.  No Sepia Saturday this week, & with a weekend performing schedule that’s filling up, I think it’s likely I’ll be bowing out of that group for awhile.

I’m off to the Cambridge, Idaho Farmer’s Market shortly, where I’ll be performing with friend & student Heather U., who sings & plays some wonderful contemporary “folk”—Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Natalie Merchant, Neil Young, Nanci Griffith.  Yours truly is just filling in the gaps on my resonator guitars.  Afterwards, I’ll play a set of the old-time blues.  Next weekend, Eberle & I will be playing a wedding, & at least one aspect of the event is a first—we’ll be transported to the island where the wedding is being held on a pontoon boat.  This will be the first time I’ve caught a pontoon boat to a gig!  In addition, I’m exploring some regular performing options in McCall—a resort town, hence a good place to play—& it looks like I’ll be forming a trio up there (or quartet, when Eberle’s free) playing the old blues.  One of the trio members will be familiar to regular Robert Frost’s Banjo readers: Lois Fry, the violin player from the Alice in Wonder Band.  Those who are curious to know more about Lois can read her delightful Musical Questions interview right here.

On the more problematic side, I learned yesterday that the job I’ve held since September 1989 (with a few gaps here & there) with a “major manufacturer of household consumer goods” is no more.  I’d been laid off all year—first, it was a 3-month lay-off, as company policy had been amended to dictate that all contract workers must take a 3-month lay-off every two years.  That freed me up for the great cross-country odyssey, & I returned from this fully expecting to go back to my telecommuting self.  At that point I was informed that they couldn’t take me back until the new fiscal year.  The new fiscal year came, & finally, so did the answer. 

As Eberle has pointed out, this is not altogether bad news.  For one thing, this job isn’t my main income source, & it’s likely the income can be replaced to a large degree by music—I’d cut way back on teaching of late, & it looks like it’s time to expand again.  Who knows: there may even be more Music Teacher’s Notebook posts!  She also points out that it will free me up to travel more, & it’s true I seem to have a major case of wanderlust following the big road trip.

Still, it is a transition point to say the least.  I moved to San Francisco in July 1989 & first started working as a temp with this Oakland-based company in September; I left in 1993, but came back in 1994; my job (along with most of the consumer service jobs) was eliminated in 1996, but I was back as a contract worker in 1997.  When I moved to Idaho in 1998, I began telecommuting.  & as riots went down in Oakland on Thursday evening in the wake of the Johannes Mehserle verdict, it took me back to the time we were all hustled out of City Center Oakland after the Rodney King verdict in Simi Valley.  Let’s all hope for both justice & peace in the Bay Area.

& a happy weekend to you all!


  1. Hmmmm... I've attended a wedding held on a boat, but then it was a big three-master reproduction (the HMS Rose, which used to be docked here in Newport for years until owner John Millar moved her down to Newport News, VA, back in the late '80s). Pontoon boat transportation to the gig sounds interesting.

    Sorry to hear about the job, but then you seem to have back-up. Good luck!

  2. Well, then, here's to hoping for justice and peace in the Bay Area and everywhere ... and to brighter news on the job front. Good luck, John. I know you will not be idle and it sounds like there are promising alternative plans -- music, teaching, travelling.

  3. Hey! It's been a while. Love what you've done with the place :)
    Sorry to hear about the job, but you seem to have the right attitude :)

    Hope you and Eberle are enjoying your summer.

    Peace ~ Rene

  4. John-good health and happy transition to you. That's a long time to hold a job. I'll be sad to see Sepia Saturdays go, I always enjoyed that popping up in my feed reader.

    Things down here in Oakland were not nearly as bad as the media made them out to be. It was a necessary and peaceful civil protest followed by "rioting" by a relatively tiny and pathetic group. Nothing at all like the LA riots. The media should be locked up for intent to incite hysteria though. Don't get me started!

  5. Sometimes ostensibly bad news turns out to be a new lease of life.I hope so.Good luck John.The wedding gig sounds magical!

  6. Good luck with the new changes in your working life. I'm glad you'll be doing more music. How do you top the pontoon boat? Maybe on your next gig, you'll go by outrigger canoe.

  7. Hi Roy, Lorenzo, Rene, Scotty, TFE & Jacqueline: Wow, thanks to you all for the well wishes!

    Roy: That sounds like a great wedding! Yes, I have back-up, & the job had dwindled to a great degree over the past few years. I'll be ok--but thanks.

    Lorenzo: Thanks so much!

    Rene: Well, ditto--love the new look on your blog as well! Thanks a bunch--hope you're summer is going well. I hear it's pretty hot back in New England!

    Scotty: Sepia Saturdays will be back when the performing schedule starts winding down in September. Thanks for the update on Oakland--glad you're all doing ok!

    TFE: Really looking forward to this wedding gig--we've known the bride since she was a grade school & she's a very special person from a very special family! Thanks!

    Jacqueline: Thanks for your kind wishes. Actually, canoe was an option, but this didn't seem like a good match with a resonator guitar!

  8. Wow! Lots of news. Enjoy your upcoming gigs. Sorry about the job, but I'll bet it can be replaced. You are very resourceful and then there is the opportunity for travel.

  9. Hi Lizzy: Thanks for the well wishes! Yes, things will work out--I sure enjoyed today's gig.

  10. Sometimes — as Eberle has pointed out— there are up-sides, to the down-side. I'm sure your being free to have more time for the music will nourish you creatively and spiritually and if you can teach to make the money, then it seems to be a fairly good arrangement.

    Interesting that you should mention Neil Young, as we were just watching Johnathan Demme's excellent film of the Prairie Wind concert the other night and now I can't get the song "Only a Dream" out of my head (not that I want to).

    I hope everything goes to plan for you from here on in, John.

    Love to Eberle,


  11. Hi Kat: Thanks so much! It will take some scrambling, but it will work out. I'll have to check out that N Young song--don't know that one.


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