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What's Happenin' [11.21.17]

Hola visitantes!

It's Thanksgiving week, 2017. In these trying times, there is thankfully still so much to be thanksful for - health, family, friends, work, community, a home and all its quirky comforts.

It's been a challenging political year to say the least, one that's really brought many out of their comfort zones, out of their routines. It seems like the uncertainty of so much has pulled the rug out from many of us and lofted into the air all that we thought was secure. It's all up for grabs, it's all floating above us. Some are reaching, some are waiting. But either way, I think we're all just a little more on guard than usual. For liberal-minded folks, there's a relentless assault on our principles. We're on defense and it's exhausting! Anyone else feel tired? And for, dare I say, "radical" conservatives, it's a full-throttle scramble to see what can get rolled back while the cards are stacked. It's unusual weather, I think we'd all agree.

Fortunate for everyone, there's community, there's hope, and there's music.

It's been an interesting year for me, musically. My Gramblers family took most of the year off. We all needed some rest from the road and to re-callibrate ourselves, personally and collectively. We're gonna hang this weekend, I can't wait to see everyone! My ALO family had a few fun runs - Tour d'Amour XI back in Feb, and also some West Coast Summer dates supporting our labelmate/friend Jack Johnson. Always a great hang. My Big Light brothers reunited for some Bay Area shows including a special 10 year anniversary! It felt like the best show we'd ever played, probably because the small bar was packed with our most loving fans. We all know that music is nothing without the hearts that get it.

And then besides picking up some shifts at a new Oakland record store Open Mind Music (my dream day-job, in case you didn't know), and in addition to some grate local gigs at Terrapin Crossroads and beyond, I also joined a new band! Did I really have time in my schedule to do this? Well, it seems to be working out so far.

The band is called Magic In The Other and it's the brainchild of good friend and ripping local drummer, Ezra Lipp. Ezra tapped myself along with Oakland guitar-wiz Roger Reidlbaur to bring to life the soundscapes in his head. It seems to be working. It's been great for me to experience and explore the space of a trio. I realized how comfortable I've been in the quartet format, it's really where and how I developed as a player. I've spent well over half my life with ALO tucked into that quadrangle bounce-y house. The trio is a whole new world, and I'm loving it. We've been working hard on the material since the Spring, and we'll be going into the studio toward the end of December to start work on a debut album. There's a Kickstarter campaign that has just a couple weeks left that we hope will help us raise the funds to front the costs. Links below if you wanna help out.

Alright, I think I'll end on that note. If you're reading this pre-Turkey day, have a great one! And for all times - be thankful, give thanks, love each other, help each other! It's a blessed life but also a struggle for many. Count your blessings and be good!

Love all around, Steve

Quick Links: ALO | Magic In The Other | MITO Kickstarter