June 21, 2017 – Mark Pierce

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What is there to say about Mark Pierce? The guy is a true original. A tattooed ruffian with a charming twang in his voice and a slow, smile sly that conveys an almost menacing confidence. He’s an alumnus of The West Texas Millionaires, a country group that calls Bisbee home, but he’s definitely got a punk edge. His torso is slathered in tattoos and he’s imbued with a country-punk style. Whether he’s slapping the stand-up base playing the fiddle, you’ll never mistake this gentleman as anything other than a showman.

These day’s he’s rockin’ a sizeable beard and is the proprietor or Bisbee Soap and Sundry.
You couldn’t miss him struttin’ down the road if you tried.

You can check out his shop’s page here.
You can check out The West Texas Millionaires here.

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June 17, 2017 – John Doe

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John Nommensen Duchac, professionally known as John Doe, is a signer, songwriter, actor, poet, and guitarist. He is most broadly known for co-founding the LA punk band X – a group he still participates in – but he has also been performing as a solo artist. His compositions span a variety of genres, including rock and roll, punk, country, and folk. In today’s image, we see him performing in his country mode at The Bisbee Royale.

I am genuinely of the impression that most artists – true, in the bloodstream, unable to turn it off artists – naturally progress and experiment and often dip into different styles, experiment with blending genres, and even migrate to different media (from music to painting, or sculpture to poetry, or any combination you could imagine) in the pursuite of novel ways of expressing ideas and keeping their creations challenging on fresh – not just to the rest of the world, but to themselves as well.

John Doe is one of these people. Always trying new things. The leap from punk to country may not seem feasable, and it takes people like John Doe to throw his hands in the air and say “fuck it, guys – it ain’t that big a deal.” The leap from music to film is probably a little more intuitive; Doe has performed in dozens of movies and television shows including, just to name a few, Road House, Wyatt Earp, Boogie Nights, Carnivàle, and Roswell.

I only met him briefly, but he seemed appeared undeniably pleased to be playing to a thankful audience in an out-of-the-way small town. He was all smiles and handshakes and put on a great set.

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June 11, 2017 – Ghost Town Gospel

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Lifted from their website, I couldn’t say it better myself:

‘Ghost Town Gospel is straight out of Oakland, blending traditional American folk influences with elements of punk, pop, and protest music driven to create a candid portrait of life in a broken America. Relentless touring musicians, you’ll be sure to find Ghost Town Gospel at a music hall, festival, dive bar or sidewalk near you.’

I had the pleasure of connecting with this group a few years ago, just before New Years Eve. One of their band-mates was an old college friend of mine, and they played a set at The Bisbee Grand Saloon before crawling up the mountain to unpack their gear at my hilltop home. A booze-fueled evening of living-room jams, huddles around laptops watching videos, telling stories and pouring beverages ensued, until that sun came up.There’s nothing like connecting with energetic creative folks, and there’s nothing like live music. If you ever get the chance, this is a group of people worth looking into.

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June 07, 2017 – Carlos Arzate

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Living in Tucson for a majority of the past fifteen years, I saw a lot of bands come and go. Many of my college buddies had garage bands and a few of them had it in them to hit the downtown music scene. Most of them have scattered to the wind these past few years as degrees were earned, families begun and careers established. There are some,though, who have had some serious staying power here in Arizona, and Carlos Arzate is one of them.

Carlos Arzate is a singer-songwriter, native to Tucson, whose songs draw inspiration from his personal life growing up in the Sonoran Desert. I believe I read an article in The Tucson Weekly that described his style as “Sonoran Soul.” It’s got a ring to it, but it implies a softness that, while present in many of his songs, doesn’t communicate the dynamism of his work.

Arzate is just as expressive and kind in person as he is on stage, and he’s deeply anchored in the music scene, collaborating with other prominent musicians. I have enjoyed every performance and would absolutely recommend checking out Carlos Arzate & The Kind Souls. The songs tell a story, communicate an emotion and paint atmospheric pictures.

This is one of my favorites, written as a first person narrative of a laborer who chooses to risk the dangerous journey across the desert to the United States in search of a better life.

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June 01, 2017 – The Song-Man

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I’ve been trying to pick some kind of theme for each month and, after looking through the endless archive of images I’ve collected over the years, decided that I would see if I could identify a month’s worth of interesting “music and theater performance” images to share. I’m not a veteran concert photographer and I’ve always have a difficult time getting good images; low light environments and a pitiful lack of knowledge regarding flash photography and artificial light, I’m sad to admit that the terrible photographs outweigh the good ones by a sizable margin.

Nevertheless, I have managed to squeeze-out a few good moments.

We begin today, on the first of June, with the image of a guitar-man wielding his instrument. I lament that I don’t even recall his name. All I recall is that he was an opening performer at a night club in Bisbee, Arizona – a one-man band whose performance was nothing short of mesmerizing. He made the guitar do things I hadn’t seen before, making it both a percussive instrument as well as constructing a melody. It was close to magic, what he was able to do, and the room fell completely silent when he began to play.

If you recognize this man, please add his name in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
“Performance June” has officially begun. See you all tomorrow!

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January 18 – Farewell, Glenn (take it easy)

Glenn Frey post

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
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I don’t care how Jeff Lebowski feels about it, I’ve always loved The Eagles.

I was hiking along the Kansas River again this afternoon waiting for the sun to go down, hoping for some good color in the sky and some glassy reflections in the water. I looked at my phone and saw the notification from The Associated Press that The Eagles founding member Glenn Frey had passed away; he and drummer Don Henley formed the band in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, along with guitarist Bernie Leadon and bassist Randy Meisner. He passed away in New York in the company of loved ones. He was 67 years old.

It seems like a cruel joke to have so many beloved artists and musicians dying in such quick succession. Lemmie, Bowie, Rickman, and Frey are on a lot of minds right now, and the world seems a little colder knowing these people have left us. We’re all in the process of learning how to mourn in a way that we hadn’t a generation ago. Our rituals are changing, and social media is playing a significant role; it’s a magnificent engine that drives sad news into viral proportions in faster-than-light speed.

As with the previous deaths over the past week, I present you tonight not with a photograph of the day, but an illustration in commemoration of our friend. As with Bowie and Rickman, Frey will remain with us in our mix tapes and records, on the screen, and in our memories.

And I feel it important to echo what a friend of mine wrote earlier today:
“Someone needs to get a team of doctors to [keep an eye on] McCartney, Mick Jagger, Simon, and Taylor stat! We demand wellness checks!”

Now turn on the radio. Live in the fast lane or take it easy. Whichever makes you happy.

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