Monday, May 26, 2008

We made it!




Well folks, we did it again, one more time! The Santa Monica pier was packed upon our arrival, of course it wasn't all for us, it is Memorial Day Weekend. It precluded our usual drive onto the pier, but that didn't stop us, we hoofed it...it forced Devin and Mike to do an air bass and drum performance. Maybe that is the way to go, it makes our acoustic 'box-sets' look equipment-excessive. The ocean air sure felt good and the coastline was a friendly site to us Cowlifornians.
This trip has been just that: a trip!
I would like to take the time to thanks all the people who helped us out on this road challenge:
Al Kildow JMW Associate Director, my spiritual guide and support, you worked as hard as any of us and a lot of the success is purely your doing, Scot McKay who helped launch the project and hosted our kick-off funraiser, Bill Kane who provided so much moral support...
Keith Watkins, for his assistance, positive and even-keeled attitude throughout it all, a true friend, (you made the whole trip, I can't believe it!) Jack Zoephel who maintained the blog, edited the video and gave great advice and was always fun.
Our road friends who supported us, put us up and put up with us: Mike and Judy in Collinsville "The Catsup Bottle folks", Bob Reynolds in Springfield MO, Rick and Terry in Sapulpa, Bumblebee Bob in ALBQ/Santa Fe, Andy and Kathy in Rolling Hills, Whit Smith, Shelby Eicher,(I am sure that I have forgotten some of you here, but not in my heart) and all the rest of you, we couldn't have made it without you, and the kids and musicians really appreciate all you have done for the workshops.
For our sponsors: Ed Littlefield Jr, Ribbecke Guitar Corp. Dean Markley, UltraSound Amps, Mike Lyons & Len Wood (both Board Members) Greg Pasenko and Blujazz, Georis Winery, Big Sur River Inn
Many thanks to all of you who pledged so far...for those of you who haven't, there is still time...hint, hint
And of course, the band, I am so grateful for your caring commitment to JazzMasters Workshop, to the band, and for going along with my unusual idea. You were fun, gave more than I could have ever hoped for and I will remember it all with profound respect and appreciation...you are the best!
To all the people out on Route 66, thanks for everything, keep it all up, we cherish our time with you and the legacy of the road and its place in our country and culture, you are truly torch-bearers.
This isn't goodbye, I'll be blogging some more, so stay tuned....next time??? We'll have to think about that for a while...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cowlifornia Dreamin



Ambled our way down the old 66, the Interstate was a distant ribbon of noise and speed, unaware of the world around it. Even the trees are weird around here. We passed by the bra tree (I am not kiddin) about Pammy just had to do a bit of shopping at the shoe tree.
Arrived in the mountain town of Wrightwood late afternoon, bunked down thanks to Kieth and played a fun hit at La Cabana. The house was packed, very supportive of our cause and music, and we even had a young girl play a bit wiht us JazzMasters style. Mikey, I think your gig is safe...at least for a year or so, she was swingin though.
Tomorrow, the finish line, a party at my pals: Andy and Kathy and then The Jazz Bakery Monday.
I can tell you it has been one wild ride...stay tuned

Cow-lifornia Here We Come

Split Flagstaff before the roosters were even awake, of course, they might be icicles if they were left out last night, ouch, it was cold and the van was covered with snow. Saw the rim of the Grand Canyon, Seligman, Peach Springs, got rousted at 10 am by the Indian Reservation Police (a sobriety checkpoint), of course we were clean...
Then onto Needles (we skipped the donkeys in Oatman) weather was really thick. Crossing the Colorado river and entering our home state felt really good, but I can only imagine what the people who originally traveled west on Route 66 thought. After a long road to Califoirnia, thinking beach, palm, trees, and a cornucopia, only to be assaulted by the scorpions, rattlers and endless scrub of the Mojave Desert. I wonder how many turned back...but not us. Got the gig in Wrightwood tonight, set up by Keith Watkins, who has made the whole trip with us, check out his blog (you can access it from here...I am sure it is a different perspective than me). If I haven't shown all my gratitude Keith, thanks a million, you have helped immeasurably!
Plans are to cross the finish line tomorrow...a day early, then two parties: one in Rolling Hills and the then The Jazz Bakery. Hope to see you there.
Remember: You do know why we do this? Please help by making a pledge, it'll make a big difference in the lives of kids and musicians...a double whammy...come on, take the plunge. Thanks!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Arid-zona? Try North Pole

We crossed the eastern half of Arizona today, The Petrified Forest (hasn't changed much...for about 50 million years!) Holbrook and The Wigwam Motel, a corner in Winslow (sorry, couldn't resist) and had a wonderful lunch at La Posada, one of the remaining Harvey Houses. This place is immaculate, a perfectly restored piece of history, with a look and feel that is unbelievable. Don't go through here without checking it out. Incredible food too, and service by Harvey Girls.
We pulled into Flagstaff in a snow flurry...the kind that goes sideways. I wasn't planning for a bivouac on this trip, but we're ready for it. We fell into a great opportunity here to play at The Flagstaff Brewing Co. one of the best places to play and hang out in town. Flag is a college town, and now that classes are out, I am hoping we get some locals and Memorial Day travelers to pick up the slack. We can thank Greg Brown, whose son is a jazz guitar player for hooking us up like this. These trips really test your resolve, one minute it seems futile or hopeless and the next you are blown away by acts of support and kindness, and then the music is just the icing on the cake. Which is why we do this, I sure would hate to see kids who have the desire to play not have the opportunity to learn by rubbing shoulders with great players...what JazzMasters Workshop is all about. We would greatly appreciate your help.
Now I don't usually gripe much, (please don't ask the rest of the guys and girl in the band) but I got something to get off my chest: People, when you walk by someone who is playing it is common courtesy to acknowledge their existence. We are not invisible and you are not committed to giving money or even a smile, but hey, wake up, we are here! Join the world, be present, get out of your bubble, you just might be surprised. There, I feel a lot better.
For the most part however, everyone is extremely supportive and we'll all remember you for the rest of our lives, but those of you who missed it...oh well.
We have to leave very early tomorrow after a long gig, between the weather and the miles we need to cover, that and tons of cool places along the road: Seligman, Oatman, Mojave Desert with all those old towns, The Bagdad Cafe...and a dinner time hit in Wrigthwood, gonna have to get out the spurs...sounds like a perfect day...wahoo!

Harley and Annabelle Perform "Route 66"

So when Cow Bop stopped off to see Harley and Annabelle in Erick, OK, they graced us with a great rendition of Route 66...

Gallup



Pulled into Gallup after a snowy crossing of the Continental Divide...that is right: snowy! In late May! We met up with a team of Model-T enthusiasts, I'll tell you that is roughing it...and we set up a rendezvous at The El Rancho, a beautiful movie star lodge from the mid 1930s. They did a lot of filming around here back then, now it is still going, mostly a haunt for road enthusiasts and historical devotees like us. In previous years we have played and stayed here, but this time it was over the top. First, a couple of hours in the bar with locals and the T-crowd, then we met up with Sisters on the Fly, a group of vintage trailer enthusiasts, women who really know how to party...and I mean party...wahoo! They invited us to dine with them and we played for dancing and general jollification (whoever that is?). Video to follow.
Can I remind all of you that we are doing ths to raise funds for music-mentoring programs for kids, a pledge is how is all works, thanks.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Devin gets the real Route 66 experience...

Our beloved Cow Bop bassist Devin gets a real taste of some the characters on Route 66...



Stay tuned for a phenomenal performance by Harley.....

Santa Fe Trail

Yesterday: What a day! This town is beautiful, the people friendly, a Cow Bop Outpost if I ever found one. We showed up at The Cowgirl (they saved us on our first Route 66 trip) and they remembered us, we played a set in trade for lunch and pulled in some support for the program as well. Then, a long walk around, lots of sights, great weather and made it to Bumblebee's Baja Grill for a gig. I gotta tell you Bumblebee Bob is a champion of jazz music and has given us a lot of heartfelt support, I can't thank him enough, and friends showed up: Larry & Phyllis from Greeley, CO The Peak View Jazz Society, Jan Brooks, Bryan Lewis-a pal that I worked with over thirty years ago-a swingin English left-handed drummer (try say that fast three times!), Michael Handler on the harp, and Pat Kelley in the saddle for another night....wahoo!
It's hard to leave and pardon my brevity, but we gotta hitch up the wagon and head west, a major storm is brewing, I'll check in later today...please remember, a pledge is matched two-for-one!!!
Come on, put your money where your ears are!! Thanks

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Baja bebop


Played at Bumblebee's Baja Grill to an enthusiastic audience, most of them named Salazar, but also a great friend and stellar guitar player, Mike Anthony. Pat Kelley made the hit and sounded sooo sweet, he's in now, once you go Cow Bop you can't go back. I don't think he can afford to work with us too much, but he says he's following us up to Santa Fe tomorrow. Gotta get some rest here, recharge for the big swing west. Got some action in Flagstaff, let's hope it all works out...gotta believe in magic and music.
Hope to see you all out on Route 66...and consider a pledge, it'll be two-to-one. We really appreciate it.

New Mexicali Rose










































Swung across New Mexico today, left Tucumcari...try saying that three times fast, at 9 am!!! Stopped at a few curio shops (weird how most of the stuff was made on a reservation called "China"?). Had lunch at a great cafe, they played mambo as we dined, Pammy and I had time for a quick table dance.

We were excited to get to Albuquerque...try to say that one as well! Pat Kelley, a compatriot, fellow professor at USC and swingin jazz guitar player is joining the band for two nights as he heads west (on his way home to Tulsa...where we just came from). We made our way into the heart of Phil Salazar's family, he has more cousins here than you can imagine, it bodes well for a decent showing at the gig, although, I have done a bunch of radio interviews, they are so helpful here. The Salazars run a mortuary, we took a quick tour (not everyday you do that!? and never thought I'd volunteer for one...other than my own) We went to a lunch of the best red chile I can remember macking down! (A Salazar family establishment) I'll let you know how the gig went...check out the eye candy too.

Can I ask you to make a pledge....pleeeze

Blue Ribbon Day



















We headed out of OK City early and as the prarie opened up we fell into great stuff. We played at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum (were covered by the local paper) and then made our way to Erick, home of Harley and Annabelle, The Mediocre Melody Makers. These people are the greatest, a force of nature. They took us in, played for us and with us, fed us and entertained us, I can't even begin to describe it. While they use the term 'medicore', they are anything but, and Harley can pick with the very best of them, and I should know. It is no surprise that they are are the only living people who are designated as Route 66 landmarks...wow! No trip down the Route is complete without a stop there...but be forewarned...it will change your life!

Then we gobbled up a lot of the road, which is actually frontage to I-40 and made it into Amarillo as the sun was sinking into the horizon. The air was warm like velvet and the customary winds that rip across the plains there were unusualy silent. We decided to make a twilight visit to the Cadillac Ranch, found some people there (taggin the caddies) and we played a short concert. Then we headed into the sunset, crossed the halfway point and bunked down for the night as the biggest full moon rose to sing us a desert lullaby...this is what these trips are about!!! That, and raising funds and awareness for kids music-mentoring programs...will you help?
Stay tunded for video ...wahoo!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Route 66 Jam Session

A jam session along Route 66...



More to come soon!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We're OK in OK City


Rolled into OK City after a swingin party at Whit Smith's house, a rousing jam, a great meal in a wonderful section of Tulsa. It was really tough leaving the town, but we got a gig in Albuquerque on Tuesday and a date with Harley and Annabelle tomorrow. Lots of open road as Route 66 turns due west...the towns are further apart and the desert looks like it'll be scorching if this weather holds. We'll have some street playing in our future for sure.
I gotta say that everyone is holding up well, we'll be hitting the halfway point soon, can almost smell the Pacific Ocean drifting in through the stockyards pungent aroma. Near missed an unfortunately squished polecat that left us rather pungent as well...I don't think you can bathe a whole van in tomato juice and you sure can't outrun it...oh well. If they don't hear us coming they'll smell us. Got some video posting to happen soon so stay in close touch...just in case you were wondering why we do this...go here

Bruce

Archives

Here are some pictures from Phil's camera...Thanks Phil!!!



















A very expensive drum...has a great tone, though!
























Playing any and every way we can...































A bunch of troublemakers doing what they do best...eating, of course!


































Bruce

Checkin in















Howdy! Sorry to have been so remiss in my posts, and brief at best, but as you can imagine, I've been busier than a one-legged man in a butt kickin' contest! So many miles, so many cool people and situations, many jams...wow!



















We made our tri-state trek yesterday, finished of Missouri, swung through the corner of Kansas and into Oklahoma. Played at Galena, KS, the place that Tow-Mater comes from, the actual tow truck that inspired the character in movie, Cars. We got some video I think, should be posted soon. Then we arrived in Tulsa, the home of western swing, Bob Wills got his start and spent most of his career here, a town full of music history.















The Jazz Hall of Fame, where we played, boasts Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel, Oscar Pettiford, Chet Baker and many others as inductees...all from OK! (Pat Kelley, my compatriot at USC, and a homegrown Tulsan who is going to sit in with us in New Mexico while he is on his way home for a visit) Our sets had some great guests: Whit Smith from Hot Club of Cowtown, Rick Bentley and Chuck Cissell, who runs the place.
Then we went to a jam session at Rick's where Shelby Eicher (from our CD, Route 66) sat in...we played til 3 am! More today, a Bar B Q art Whit's, gonna have trouble getting out of this town.

Remember: we can use all the pledges we can get!

got some photos: the world's largest totem pole, a collection of fiddles made from various exotic woods, and the Missouri Hick (only on Route 66), gonna be posting more photos as I get the emailed to me, thanks for being patient!

Bruce

Friday, May 16, 2008

Missouri Time

We made it through Missouri today...a stop at the Missouri Hick Bar B Q, some street playing and then a back deck jam at Cartoons. We saw a lot of great Route 66 sights, beautiful Ozark greenery then we met up with our old pal Bob Reynolds, who helped us out. We has a great hang and are going to rest up for a big day tomorrow. We got lots of great pics, but no internet connect at the hotel, so, we'll post tomorrow. Hope all of you are swingin along, hope to see you out on the open road,oh yeah, why not make a pledge...it couldn't hurt...

Bruce

Meet me in St. Louis

Hung out in St. Louis for the day, after a rousing gig at the Stagger Inn...we staggered out last night, we had a relaxing day (you really come to appreciate these on a tour like this) and played at Fazio's Frets & Friends, a great guitar store on the west side of town, right on old Route 66. Stephen Rekas, an old pal at Mel Bay came by and drew some cool pictures of the concert, I'll try and see if I can't post them. (Check out their site for some interviews about the past trips the books that I did with them).

Had an interview on the radio too, and got in a final hang with Mike and Judy the Catsup Bottle folks (That has come to be a relaxing day, funny how one's perspective can quickly alter) Now for a long stretch, we hope to make Springfield and find a place to Cow Bop for the night...it is Friday night so it'll take some doing. Between here and there there is a lot of 66 history. Gotta head west now so expect more detail and pictures on the next post. So far, everyone is getting along and happy...I hope their medication doesn't wear off?!

A mild suggestion: Consider helping out JazzMasters Workshop with a per-mile pledge?

Bruce

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ups and Downs















What a bunch of hours! Last night was tough, due to some misfires or whatever we were nearly skunked in Springfield. I'll tell ya, on the eve of my birthday, talking these people out on the road for a good cause I was feeling like I let a lot of us down...a tough night.

Then as mornings often are, everything was fresh, and what else...a birthday cozy dog?! That's right, the birthplace of the corn dog...we walked into an enthusiastic crowd, very generous, made us realize we were doing the right thing. Lots of historic stops, Soulsby's Station and The Rabbit Ranch, before sliding into Edwardsville. We had a cool hang with Mike and Judy, (the Catsup Bottle folks) and they set us up with the coolest gig at The Stagger Inn, just footsteps away from Route 66. Saw my pal Rick Heydon, he runs the guitar program at SIUE, a swingin picker. We got some video, I'll try and see if I can get it put on the web...stay tuned.

Just a reminder, we are out here raising funds and awareness for JazzMasters Workshop...could use your help...hint, hint, come on, put your money where your ears are!

Bruce

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Route 66 Road Video Blog #1!

On their way to Chicago, Bruce and Pammy let us know what they were up to and gave us a quick tour of their humble (and mobile...) abode. Check it out below or at Cow Bop TV on YouTube!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On Our Way Down Route 66



















After a fun gig in Chicago at Martyr's, we left this morning from Michigan and Adams, the beginning of Route 66. The long road of more than 2,00 miles will take us home to California, but not before seeing and playing with some old friends and making some new ones.


























We made a detour at The Launching Pad and at Funks Grove on our way to a hit in Springfield. We will more than likely make a stop at the Cozy Dog (we have every time so far). Corn dogs for breakfast?????


The REAL Route 66 Challenge...

Our friend over at Byfrost Blazz, Keith Watkins, is keeping a road journal for the Route 66 Challenge. It'll be nice to get a third-party perspective, so definitely check out what he has to say about our trip. You can check out the first post here.

Chicago Public Radio also interviewed Bruce before they left...if you missed it or aren't in the Chicago area, you can hear the whole interview here on the WBEZ 91.5 FM Website!

We've also got some great video of Phil, Bruce and Pammy coming up, so check back soon!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Across the Mississippi















We made it, Chicago, the whole band is here...plus an extra friend, Keith Watkins, who is covering the event caravan style with his own blog. He is either an incredible free-spirit who knows how to have a good time or a glutton for punishment. In this case--as a veteran of two previous trips--I advise a healthy amount of each. You can access his blog by clicking on the icon (it'll be up any minute now). It is going to make a huge difference and will be fun to experience the trip from a more objective perspective.

I got to tell you that we ran into some hard weather getting here, but nothing like what has happened to the south of us. We are going to go through some territory that has been hit really hard, first with flooding this spring and now a rash of killer tornadoes. I know we are out here supporting kids music, but the whole band has an added purpose, to bring some music to everyone and in some small way help these people who are enduring hardship. The last thing they needed was a one-two punch from Mother Nature after the hand the economy has dealt.
They say music soothes the soul, well, we are going to put it to the test. Ultimately, I know deep down that people will help us out, I just hope they let us help them too!

We plan to do some hanging in Chicago tomorrow before the gig and we are all looking forward to hitting 66 on Tuesday morning. The whole thing: we leave from Michigan and Adams...all the way to the Santa Monica pier...yikes! See you out on the open road.

Bruce

Chicago here we come

In eastern Iowa, headed into Chicago, should be there by mid-late afternoon. Rode through a killer storm last night, now we gotta do it again...hope the guys have no trouble (they're flying in). It wouldn't be a "Challenge" if it was easy, although it might make for some soggy concerts when we play on the street. The Weather Channel has me a bit concerned, but then again, they got to make it interesting for everyone I figure. Happy Mother's Day everybody (especially you, Mom)

Do you remember why we are putting ourselves through this?

Bruce

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Phiddlin Fill

I'm very excited about the Route 66 challenge. I grew up on Route 66
between Albuquerque and Los Angeles and I've never been east of Albuquerque
(unless it was in the 60's and I don't remember!) Playing with the master of Bebop Guitar is quite an honor. And wow...Pinto Pammy is a thrill to stand next to and hear that Golden Western voice.
Lets Ride.

Fiddlin' Phil

On our way















Woke up in eastern Nebraska...good thing I went to sleep here!? More than halfway to Chicago, kinda feel like the car we found in Rawlins, WY. Things are holding up well, getting better gas mileage than I hoped, but of course once we put the band in things'll change, that is, if we can fit them in. The Weather Channel is scaring us with typical spring weather across the midwest...hey we've done this before. What would it be without some of the hardships that everyone else endured in their expeditions west...otherwise, everyone would do it. Turns out there are a few other roadshows in play on the road, hope we can converge...why don't you consider doing it too? Come on, get out and do it..and bring your axe! And while you're at it, check out why we are doing this, that's right the kids and music.
ps>Pammy and I are getting along...so far!

Bruce

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Loading Up for Route 66...

Loading up...what was I thinking? A minivan? I told everyone to pack light, but how do you compact a double bass? I've got between here and Chicago to figure out how to do this (the guys are flying in). I guess we can always tie Devin to the roof...maybe I'll bring the dogs too?

























Isn't that Joey? He looks familiar...




















I hope I don't need to remind you all why we are doing this?? Why are we doing this??? Go to JazzMasters Workshop and find out!

Bruce

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Route 66 - My Way

Did I say I would do this again? I don't' remember agreeing to this, after all I have traveled down this road with this band twice already, and though those trips had some unforgettable moments, they also had those "other" moments. Think about it - one woman; 4 men (boys, some); one van; lots of instruments, bags, amps and other flotsam; and the stress and strain (and sometimes smell) of touring and playing music.

But, you know what? I love it!!! I love music and singing, and I love men. Don't get me wrong, I have really profound and special relationships with my close girlfriends, but I have loved the company of that other sex since childhood. I come by this honestly; my mother, and even her mother are the same way (I could tell you stories about them, we'll save that for another day . . .). We are of Scottish descent, and i guess we've got that Celtic blood a'boilin.

So here we go again - I'll rest when I'm old . . .

Luv,

Pinto Pammy

Friday, May 2, 2008

Devin shares his thoughts on the Route 66 Tour

Recently, I sat down and talked to Devin about his thoughts on the upcoming Route 66 tour with Cow Bop. He's by far the youngest member of the band, so check out what he had to say...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Challenging Times

It seems like every time we go on one of these trips, the price of gas makes the Route 66 Challenge more of an odyssey. But $4 a gallon...that's $1 a quart! Well, we'll tough it out no matter how, we've gone too far with this to turn back. Plus, with all of our going away parties I'd hate to disappoint my friends by sticking around.

Show biz is in my life: the smell of the crowd, the roar of the grease paint! Watch out everyone, we're coming to a town near you...and you can help out by pledging to ensure that music performance remains an important part of youngsters lives...I'll bet you can find a button to push that'll make that happen...look around!

Keep swingin'!

Bruce