Monday, July 7, 2008

Red, White and Blue Jam

Travelled to Dallas to visit daughter Megan and her husband Brad for the July 4th weekend and since my other daughter, Erica and her husband Danny were also there and son John was with us, it presented one of those rare moments when all our immediate family were in one spot. Really nice when that happens.

What was also nice is that Brad has taken enough interest in the guitar to begin taking lessons and is progressing quickly. In between hanging a ceiling fan and running errands, we spent a bit of time hanging around with guitars being plucked by Brad and Danny (who picked up playing tips from his ex-college roomies) and they tweaked son John's enthusiasm by getting him to work through some chords. Brad even treated us to a trip to Guitar Center's Stratothon sale and to a vintage furniture store that had quite a collection of vintage microphones.

The highlight of the evening, and the reason I was asked to pack my harmonicas along, was the arrival of Brad's teacher and Megan's boss, John Sanger and his wife Vicki. After a bit of dinner and a little chit-chat, John pulled out a Baden acoustic guitar which is produced by T.J. Baden, who while an executive with Taylor guitars got the itch to put his own spin on things. John explained that Baden got French luthiers together with a Vietnamese manufacturer to produce a might fine sounding product--in John's hands anyway. He was as good as Brad had told me he was and had quite an infinity for the blues.

John effortlessly went from picking a generic shuffle to spot-on Blind Blake Piedmont finger picking blues and rags to exquisite Robert Johnson. When he slipped a bottle-neck slide on his finger, he did amazing job on Johnson's Come On In My Kitchen and proved that he can sing also. I tried my best to work something in and around his picking with my harp, but I'd have really rathered just sat and listen to his intricate techniques. Brad added what he could during the proceedings and at one point he swapped his Martin with John's Baden. Of course, the Martin went through a transfiguration in John's hands. I could have listened to his playing all night, but they had to go too soon. He and Vicki had attended a ukulele society function prior to coming over (seems that if it has strings, then John's all in) and were tiring. It was a blast and I'm looking forward to our paths crossing again.

We didn't spend a great amount of time visiting, but with the time that we did have I learned that John also has an interest in playing the harmonica. He attended one of Jon Gindick's harmonica jam camps that featured artists such as Dennis Gruenling, Richard Sleigh, Brian Purdy and others. Matter of fact, he has one of Brian Purdy's made-for-harp amplifiers. So, John knew a bit about my instrument also and all I've got to say is that Megan's got a cool boss and Brad has a most excellent guitar instrutor. Anyway--


Peggy Ehrhart said...

If you'd like to read my blues mystery, Sweet Man Is Gone, email me at and I'll send you an advance copy.

Brad Knapp said...

It was a good jam--many thanks for the visit, and I'll have to carry my guitar down for a repeat next chance we get.

Ricky Bush said...

Hey Peggy, I would love a copy of your book and I'll take you up on the offer. E-mail headed your way.

Hey Brad, the weekend was great! You surprised me with your guitar chops for the length of time you've been at--keep at it. If I can get the John boy going, we'd be doing some serious family jammin', huh? Yeah, the guitar WILL travel when you head south. Anyway--

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Tell John Sanger, Jon Gindick says "hi!"

Anonymous said...

Blues ukulele?

The short harp is my main axe, but I like little instruments... I know Del Rey plays blues on the uke. I'd be curious to find out Brad if that's what you're doing.

Ricky keep it up! I'm enjoying your blog. Howard Parks

Ricky Bush said...

Hey Jon--
Thanks for visiting the blog and leaving a comment. This is all your fault anyway. You're the one that convinced me that I could play harmonica.

Hey Howard--
Thanks again for the kind words. John Sanger is the guitar slinging/uke player.