Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012: An Eventful Year

It's been a while since I checked in with the world. How the hell are ya?

I thought I'd give a rundown of what's new in my life, beginning with the most significant event:

1. I'm engaged

... Thank you. She's a great girl, and I'm honored that someone so kind and beautiful would take me in and give me her heart. We'll live a long, healthy, happy life together. I proposed to her on Christmas Eve, at our favorite cafe, and at the table where we had our first date.

So it's been an exciting few days and, having crossed this major bridge with Casey, I feel renewed focus and creative energy. Which brings me to my next endeavor:

2. Geet-ar Playin. 

After delving deep into the singer-songwriter world, I'm beginning to pen some new songs. I'll be updating my Soundcloud stream often, so please check it out every so often. After a busy year in 2012 with solo gigs, I'll once again take my blend of originals and covers" on the "road" (more like on the town) with solo gigs in 2013. I'm always looking to play with other musicians, and a band is certainly not out of the question; it's just a matter of timing for me and some friends.

Here's my new business card I designed and printed through Vistaprint ... not very exciting, but feel free to pass the info along to anyone you know looking for live acoustic music.

3. In Heavy Rotation: 

Mumford and Sons
Arcade Fire
Deer Tick
The stalwarts: Phish, Grateful Dead, Umphrey's McGee
Newgrass/jamgrass: Infamous Stringdusters, Trampled By Turtles, Old Crow Medicine Show, Hot Day At The Zoo
John Prine
Black Keys
Gary Clark Jr.
Robert Johnson
Lightin' Hopkins
Assembly of Dust
Cool bands I'm getting into: Dead Feather Moon, Gary Clark Jr., the xx
And many more. Send me some of your favs!

4. Top Concerts of 2012:
It was a year of many weddings, but when I found time and money, I caught some great music. No arena rock for me, mainly small venues:

1. Deer Tick @ Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs, NY
2. Dr. Dog @Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, NY
3. The Felice Brothers @ Gillian's in Albany, NY
4. Yonder Mountain w/ The Infamous Stringdusters @Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, NY
5. Ryan Montbleau @ Putnam Den
6. moe. @Palace Theater
7. Wild Adriatic and Formula 5 @Shepard's Park in Lake George, NY (Free Show/Local Acts)

So that's about it. My New Year's resolutions are to get healthier and enjoy the outdoors with my fiancee and our awesome pooch. Let's face it, 2012 was a sad year for many reasons: natural disasters, mass shootings, etc. If there's one thing I learned in 2012, it's that life is too short and we need to make our own opportunities to be happy, and make the most of them. 

Let's spread positivity and end the madness. Let's talk with our leaders and push for positive change. Let's work across the aisle to pass meaningful legislation. Let's share the wealth and create jobs. Let's help small business owners, and still make the wealthiest pay more taxes, lol! 

Here's to health and happiness in 2013. 



Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Philistines Jr.

Love it when I discover new music that just fits the mood:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Trampled By Turtles: Squidbillied

In my search for a Monday bluegrass fix, I stumbled on Trampled By Turtles' new video for "Walt Whitman," featuring the wonderfully twisted landscapes and characters of Adult Swim's Squidbillies.  The Squidbillie's camp isn't shy about plugging some of their favorite acts -- as they animated Widespread Panic for one awesome episode a couple years back.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Poor Moon

In my search to see what Fleet Foxes are doing these days, I discovered that Fleet Foxes' Christian Wargo (bass) and Casey Wescott (keys) have a side-project called Poor Moon. Here's a very cool EP they just released. It's awesome how they nail the early 60's sound (Beatles meets Flaming Lips meets Nick Drake?).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You know I like me a river, and some Eric D. Johnson ...


Also check out/donate to the Deschutes River Conservancy and their work.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Listen to New Band of Horses, "Mirage"

"The Slow Cruel Hands of Time," yet another beautiful acoustic Band of Horses song, reminiscent of "For Anabelle" and "St. Augustine."

Listen to this and the rest of the new album, "Mirage Rock", streaming in its entirety for free here.

Oh, be sure to buy the album too when it comes out on Sept. 16.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Me, Illustrated

A new self portrait I made using Illustrator. After trying so hard to master the Wacom pen, using Illustrator feels like selling out. 

But damn it feels good ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Norah "Casey" Jones

Apparently, Norah Jones' band is a "bunch of Deadheads," as she attests. Here's their version of "It Must Have Been the Roses" that would have made Jerry swoon.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Newport Folk Fest - Live Webcast

In my search for songs to add to my own live acoustic repertoire, I've come to respect many singer/songwriters who happen to be of the folk genre. I've always loved Dylan, but I've since discovered the music that inspired him - from Woody Guthrie to the nameless troubadours whose songs live on, re-done by countless artists. There's few places to connect with folk roots like the Newport Folk Festival. I didn't act soon enough to get tickets, but I'm happy to learn that NPR will webcast most of the sets, including the Friday night triple bill, including Wilco, Blitzen Trapper and Megafaun.

I had whole-heartedly planned on being at Wilco's Saturday night performance in Cooperstown, N.Y., but that plan was nixed due to more wedding-related activities (wholy f**** shit). So I'll have to settle with a little couch tour.

Click here to watch it all go down as close as you can to actually being there.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stony Creek Melody — Original

A choppy melody I recorded today on SoundCloud inspired by a recent trip to Stony Creek, N.Y. Mainly river, mountains, barns and cabins.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Band of Horses

You may have heard Band of Horses' new one, "Knock Knock," on the radio recently. Here's a video to go along with it. It's a refreshing sound from Band of Horses. As always, there's some nice harmonizing, but the lyrics and driving beat are more in line with their more rocking tunes like Compliments, NW Apartment and Great Salt Lake. Loving the nature scenes (wish I knew where that trail was ... Idaho maybe?). Their new album, Mirage Rock, is due out Sept. 18.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A (Summer) Rundown

The blog is getting thirsty for new content, so here's a quick rundown of things I've been wanting to post but haven't gotten around to.

1. An inspiring illustrator, Jason Grube:

2. Nothing goes with a drive through the Adirondacks to my favorite trout stream better than some great "newgrass/jamgrass" music, like that of Minnesota's Trampled By Turtles. Lovin these guys.

Oh, and Old Crow Medicine Show has a new album coming out that you can stream here in its entirety.

3. I love the idea behind these iphone/iPod speakers that don't require electricity. Although, I say save your money and do what I do: Place your phone in a ceramic bowl you have in your cupboard. Your friends will be amazed ("dude ... that's freaking awesome") as the sound is amplified twofold.

4. I've been playing some music of my own and have a solo gig at a jazz bar every other Thursday. I also played a wild backyard bash this weekend (dubbed "Mustacio Bashio"). Ever tried riding someone else down a 25' inflatable water slide while drinking a beer? #thekidsarealright

5. Go Yanks. In first place yet again.

Other than that, I've been enjoying a great summer in the Northeast with my awesome and beautiful girlfriend Casey and our dog Abbey Road, barnstorming across the state, attending countless weddings and coming home broke but happy.

Here we are at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY. Gorgeous place if you ever get to visit.

Here's to hoping your summer is going as well as mine. Cheers to life, inspiration, music, PBR, freedom and the great outdoors. God Bless America. 

- J

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wilco + Cooperstown = Timeless

Looking forward to seeing Wilco at the Omegang Brewery in quaint & timeless Cooperstown on the 28th. I love the logo the band is currently using for its Facebook avatar.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Make It Rain

My thoughts and prayers go out to victims of Colorado wildfires. I don't know what I'd do if I had to watch my house burn or worse.

You can help by purchasing one of these T-shirts. Donate, dance, do anything to make it rain out there.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Belated Father's Day, Dad

I remember going to work with my dad when I was four or five years old. Saratoga Springs was like Gotham City to me and he may as well have been Bruce Wayne, a reporter covering the police beat for the Daily Gazette newspaper. I recall the dusty smell of his office and stacks of old newspapers in every corner. Back then, manual typewriters were preferred over computers, and I can still hear the clink-clank-clack of keypresses and basket shifts.
He began his news reporting career in the late '70s, back when there were five people on staff for every section of the paper: A business desk, a crime desk, arts & entertainment, and, of course, a sports desk. Cigarette smoke filled newsrooms, phones rang off the hook and reporters hustled to make deadline before the early edition (back when there was an early edition). The way he describes it, it was like a scene out of the City Room.
More than 30 years later, in his late 60's, and he's still at it. One of the few reporters that city officials actually enjoy talking to. His objectivity and professionalism is often rewarded with breaking news directly from the mayor or chief of police.
It's becoming more and more rare to find reporters like him. The old-school reporters. The ones who write news like Dylan wrote prose. And, believe me, news can be poetic. I've asked him a few times why he doesn't write a daily or weekly column. Isn't that what older, experienced reporters do? Nah, he'd say. But I could have answered my own question. He'd rather keep his opinions out of it and let the facts do the talking; preferring a meaty front-page story over pushing some idealistic point of view.
I hope to one day get him to write a book. That is, if he ever retires. I know it would be great. He's met so many fascinating people and has so many interesting stories. That, along with his love of classic American literature and knowledge of nearly every great battle that's ever taken place, would make for one hell of a memoir.
Father's Day was last week, but I'm thankful for and proud of my dad everyday.

Check out his bio here:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's OK to print

You hear it everywhere: paperless workflow, paperless office, etc. It sounds great in a marketing pitch and dovetails with the "going green" craze. Working for a paper manufacturer, I have a biased take on a "paperless society," but I'm tired of hearing how bad logging is and how the paper-making industry is to blame for deforestation.

First of all, it creates jobs -- one thing people SHOULD be worried about right now. Second, a wider demand among consumers for certified sustainable paper means that more logging companies are practicing sustainable forest management, which takes into mind sensitive habitats, wildlife, rivers and watersheds, etc. Sustainable management means no clear-cutting and calls for removal of the poorest quality trees in stages over a 70-150 period. This gives the better quality trees more room to grow and drop seeds for the next generation and keeps the forest healthy and productive for the long term.

So don't believe the hype, it's OK to print. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of Americans. Working forests are good for the environment and provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest management, we have more trees in America today than we had 100 years ago.

Don't get me wrong, it makes me sick to see the deforestation in the Amazon (mainly being clear cut for high-value timber used in fancy furniture sold in the U.S.), and elsewhere in the world, and therefore I would encourage people to demand their forest products come from a certified sustainably managed forest.

Thanks for letting me vent. I'm going to explode the next time Joe-know-it-all on Facebook shares his misinformed views about politics, business and society.

(5/15/12 -- from a recent What They Think newsletter)

"As I have said many times before, the environmental benefits of reducing or eliminating print and paper are not especially clear, and are often rather dubious, but the danger is conflating other benefits of reducing print and paper with environmental benefits:
Although Noonan says more and more universities do have committees interested in the environmental benefits of saving paper, the first order of business is saving time and money. To wit, the University of Oregon saved $200,000 by eliminating paper course/faculty reviews (and scanning costs/labor). The University of Washington’s online admissions system helped it avoid having to send 30,000 pieces of mail.
If there is a drive toward a paperless office (or, more likely, a more modest "less-paper office") it's being driven by cost, convenience, and de-cluttering, and not so much by green concerns. And that's fine. Chacun a son gout. (Studies have found that even people who opt for paperless billing often end up printing out the invoices themselves. So, basically, the cost of printing has been shifted from the invoicer to the invoicee. Clever of them, eh? I think of this as a hidden fee so I still refuse to choose paperless statements.)
Are we inching closer to a paperless office? I doubt it, but:
According to the GreenBiz State of the Paper Industry 2011 report, total paper consumption in North America declined 24 percent between 2006 and 2009, and per-capita consumption of paper in North America dropped from more than 652 pounds per year in 2005 to 504 pounds per year in 2009."


- J

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I don't often get the opportunity to work with Illustrator at work; so when I do, I have fun with it. This logo (or whatever you want to call it) took me about an hour to create and will be used for a slide presentation at a sales meeting, never to be seen again.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stream The New Jack White

iTunes is streaming the new Jack White solo album, Blunderbuss, free for a limited time. Head to your iTunes store and search "Jack White" or "Blunderbuss" to listen.

blun·der·buss   [bluhn-der-buhs]
1. a short musket of wide bore with expanded muzzle to scatter shot, bullets, or slugs at close range.
2. an insensitive, blundering person.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Green Graffiti?

It was only a matter of time; graffiti has gone green. Check out this Huff Post article about the rise of graffiti that utilizes eco-friendly materials to make a street statement.

I wonder what Banksy thinks of all this cutesy stuff ...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Delta Spirit Live @ Noon today

Photo cred: Mike Hallock via

Then this pops up: Listen to (and watch?) Delta Spirit's live World Cafe session at noon EST today. Check it out here! These guys fuckin rock.

Dry The River

If you like Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses, I hear a little bit of each in London-based Dry The River. Here's a new one of their first full-length EP, Shallow Bed, due out April 17.

Here's them performing the song that put them on the map, "Bible Belt:"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Mashup

Bridge Session
Between college basketball, Tiger Woods in the Arnold Palmer Classic, and spring training baseball, I made time to catch the Bridge Session webcast on Saturday night, featuring Bob Weir and members of The National. I can't speak for the political panel discussion (I got sidetracked with Face Time), but the music was great. The highlight was the closing portion of the performance where Bob and crew played "Ripple," "Uncle John's Band," and "Brokedown Palace" among the crow surrounding a single mic. You really felt like you were there. I definitely got a tingle during when Bob sang, "If I knew the way, I would take you home."

Stream M. Ward's New Album
Stream "Wasteland Companion" at NPR. As I listen, I'm hearing a lot of the vintage 50's-60's stylings we've come to associate M. with, along with some songs that venture into the soundscapes that are inventive and obscure. Good stuff ...

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Shins Live Webcast Tonight

I watched the Shins' exclusive NPR webcast last week, a couple days after it was aired live. I thought their new tunes translated well to the live setting, better than some of their more tuned-down songs like "New Slang." Tonight, you can watch the Shins play live from SXSW festival at 5:45 p.m. ET on Google's "Live from SXSW" page. This time, you don't have to have an iPad! (That's a shot at you, NPRR ...)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Avi Buffalo

A cool new tune from the Long Beach, CA, duo Avi Buffalo:

Avi performs this song and other washed-out "new ambiance" tunes in their recently released Daytrotter session, recorded at the respected Big Orange Studios and mixed by Matt Oliver. They're a little wish washy, but I hear a lot of Neil Young and Nels Cline (Wilco) influence, so I'm hooked. Worth a download (gotta subscribe though ... I did!).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Changes ... Better, or worse?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A little fun with Photoshop.

One of the best songs I've heard in a while. Can't wait for March 20.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Shins Live Webcast Tonight

If you have an iPad, download NPR's free iPad app and tune in at 10 p.m. ET tonight to hear The Shins debut songs off their new album, Port of Morrow.

If you don't have an iPad -- well then, fu@* you ... Nah. They'll rebroadcast it tomorrow and have it in the archives to enjoy forever and ever.

I, for one, do not have an iPad; however, I will still try, unsuccessfully, to watch it on my iPhone.

- J

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bonnie Bear?

Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon has made a lot of headline following the Grammys, and for good reason. His speech had a "fuck you" tone to it, but I thought it was great that he acknowledged the many, many bands who never made it to the prestigious awards ceremony.

Here's a performance from Vernon and Bon Iver's Sean Carey, recorded at London's AIR Studios back in 2011, and features a cover of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me".

You don't have to be a Bon Iver/Vernon fan, but give the man props. This is pretty amazing:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Greener Road Ahead

Beach Road (Via Adirondack Almanak)
There's a number of environmental advocacy groups who do a great job protecting Lake George and it's watershed, the Lake George Association (LGA) being the most prominent. It - along with the Department of Public Works and NYS Department of Transportation - deserves major cred for an innovative, $6 million project to install porous asphalt on Beach Road, which is host to motorcycle rallies, restaurants and businesses, and is one of the most travelled roads in the lake's southern rim.

The LGA identified storm water as the No. 1 cause of pollutants entering Lake George. The porous asphalt acts as a filter for storm water before it enters the lake.

Kudos to the LGA and New York State for their environmental foresight and for keeping Lake George "George-ous."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gotta love a little Tenacious D. New album, Rise of the Fenix, due out in May. The dudes have it figured out. After all, they're headlining the biggest festivals every summer and they write songs about Kielbasa.

New M. Ward Song/Video Released

It looks like it's animated video Friday. Here's the first song I'm aware of off of M. Ward's upcoming release, A Wasteland Companion.

Director Joel Trussell and his team of animators use M. Ward's lyrics as a basis to tell a three-part story following a girl who's run away with her pet llama and fish. The soft, pastel colours are a perfect companion to M. Ward's soothing voice. (Via Chartattack)

Sasquatch! Music Festival 2012 Lineup Announcement from Sasquatch Festival on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wilco on ACL

Wilco returns to Austin City Limits this Saturday (Feb. 4), playing songs off of The Whole Love, which was recently nominated for a Grammy in the "Best Rock Album" category. The Grammy's air Feb. 12. Wilco is in tough company in Best Rock Album, nominated alongside the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Jeff Beck (Rock N' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul). I predict Foo Fighters, unfortunately. Mumford and Sons (Sigh No More) and, of course, Adele (21), will likely walk away with the most hardware.

Here's a behind the scenes look at Wilco's ACL spot:

Watch Wilco "Dawned on Me" on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Listen to Dr. Dog's New Album Be The Void

Apparently, Conan O'Brien and his team really like Dr. Dog. Team Coco is offering a first listen of Dr. Dog's new album, Be The Void, on their website. The album's due out next Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

News Bits

Some cool music news to share:

-- Neil Young releasing new material with Crazy Horse Via Rolling Stone

--Chemical Brothers bring their dance/freakshow to the silver screen Via Guardian UK

--Radiohead releases new songs from their DVD, King of Limbs: Live From The Basement Via Dead Air Space

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fleet Foxes on ACL

I tried recording this the other night but somehow ended up with Head and the Heart's session instead. The Fleet Foxes/Joanna Newsom recording is available to stream until February 19.

I'll be routing this to the flat screen with some "sound enhancements". But you can watch it right here if you so wish:

Watch Fleet Foxes / Joanna Newsom on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.

New M. Ward!

This is exciting news for your Tuesday: M. Ward will release his sixth solo album, Wasteland Companion, on April 10 via Merge Records. Better yet, he'll be venturing out of the California hills to tour the Northeast this spring, hitting Higher Ground in Burlington, Vt., on May 6. He'll also make stops in New Haven, Boston and NYC in addition to playing "the" Royal Albert Hall on March 25 and Coachella on April 13 and April 20.

Can't wait to hear some new tracks. Based on the diddy playing on his website, it should be vintage M. Ward at its best.

More on the album (via Merge Records):

The album, consisting of 12 stunning tracks, was made with 18 musicians and recorded in eight different studios in Portland, Omaha, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin and Bristol (UK). Ward’s honey-soaked vocals, deft finger-picking, innate sense of melody and beguiling lyrics have already cemented his reputation as one of America’s true musical treasures and A Wasteland Companion features some of the finest songwriting and most striking delivery of his career. With each and every recording Ward finds new ways to make the colors of his songwriting palate sparkle and his dexterous skills as producer, arranger, guitarist and singer seem to burst into even brighter bloom on each release.

A Wasteland Companion features the talents of M Ward (piano, guitars, voice, production), Mike Coykendall (percussion, bass), Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb (piano), John Parish (percussion, marimba), Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis (organ), Susan Sanchez (vocals), She & Him’s Zooey Deschanel (vocals), Jordan Hudson (percussion), Adam Selzer (bass), Nathan “JR” Andersen (piano), Scott McPherson (percussion), Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley (percussion), Dr Dog’s Tobey Leaman (bass), Devotchka’s Tom Hagerman (strings), Oakely Hall’s Rachel Cox (vocals), Amanda Lawrence (violin), John Graboff (pedal steel) and Tyler Tornfelt (bass). The recording utilized eight engineers, including Tom Schick (Rufus Wainwright) and John Parish (PJ Harvey).

Saturday, January 21, 2012


A quick Jimi Hendrix sketch using the Wacom digital drawing pen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fleet Foxes Play Austin City LImits Sat. 1/21

Seattle's bearded bohemian brothers Fleet Foxes will play the best show on television, Austin City Limits, tomorrow night. They'll play tunes off their newest album, Helplessness Blues, and share the segment with Joanna Newsom. A good way to spend a snowy Saturday night in Upstate New York if you ask me.

Here's a behind the scenes look at the filming:

Watch Behind the Scenes: Fleet Foxes on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In The Dust

Some warped-out awesomeness from the illustrators at the UK-based ilovedust design studio for the 2012 X-Games. At first glance I thought for sure it was another fav, Adam Haynes. But further research (and I had to dig) proved that theory wrong. Here's the animation spot that's been running on ESPN.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I noticed this digital illustration being used by ESPN. I'm still honing my skills, but getting better. I'll add some more soon.

- J

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A little homemade poster I designed and framed for a relative this Christmas. (Spelled Moffitt wrong, but who's gonna notice.)