While you’re at it, look around the site. It is a great community of musicians, writers, and music-loving folks of all kinds, and it has some videos that you can’t see anywhere else.
I’m working on plans for a big spring screening tour, starting with Folk Alliance in February, continuing with the Winter Roots and Blues Roundup in Edmonton, Alberta, and continuing with the 10-day celebration of film, music and interactive media called South By Southwest. I’ve never been able to go before due to teaching commitments, and I’m very excited to be going. I will be working with RajiWorld, an Austin-based event booker, in trying to get my film in front of some of the movers and shakers of the alternative media.
Waiting for a response from the Phoenix Film Festival, which nearly accepted the film last year and invited me to re-submit. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one! Meanwhile, I’m trying to work out a tour schedule that will get me into most of the major music markets between April and June.
Meanwhile, I’m downsizing. REALLY downsizing. I’m selling off a dozen vintage guitars, half a dozen collectible keyboard instruments, 20 years of accumulated recording gear, framed artwork, books, movies, furniture, you name it. If you’re interested, e-mail me and I’ll send you a list. I want to get to the point where all my possessions fit in a small van. For now, I’ll be staying in the Pittsburgh area as freelance opportunities are the best for me here, but a year from now, who knows?
Just completed a week of shooting on the new documentary, Don’t Give Up Your Day Job, about musicians who DON’T make a living at it.
I spent Saturday and Sunday in First Baptist Church in Oakland, listening to dozens of talented opera singers auditioning for parts in a Mozart opera, La Clemenza di Tito. Undercroft Opera is a non-profit organization run by my friend Mary Beth Sederburg that presents four full-scale opera productions a year, all with volunteer talent.
It was eye-opening to sit in a big church and watch the singers come in — most looking very much like the guy or girl next door — open their mouths, and create magic. I’m going to follow Undercroft through a year of rehearsals and productions for the eventual documentary.
I also spent three days last week collecting interviews with musicians in Erie, PA, my hometown. There’s always been a remarkable diversity of musical talent in Erie, which has produced world-class musicians like John Novello, Jon Ims, Pat Monahan, Chris Vrenna, Joe Travers and others. Last week I interviewed drummer Rick Lopez, bassist/keyboardist Derf Hopsecger, and drummer Mike Russell; back in July I collected interviews with bluesman Rodger Montgomery and guitarist/producers Michael Graham and Rick DiBello.
I want the film to reflect the musical, geographic, and ethnic diversity of this big country, and to reveal the stories of people who perform solely for the love of making music. If you’re aware of unique local music scenes anywhere in the U.S. — particularly the Deep South, Southwest, and mountain states — please drop me a line and let me know.