There’s been some barking over the last week or so about the lack of new photos (of my apartment, in particular). Rest assured, I have taken photos and you’ll all have a chance to see them. First things first, though: a month later, please take a look at the handful of shots from Jen and Joe’s Justin Roth House Concert. They are in the Milwaukee gallery.
Had a real fine summer solstice weekend here in Milwaukee. The weather was mostly beautiful, with a couple occasional rain showers. It set up a nice backdrop for outdoor activities…
On Friday, the Justin Roth show at Jen & Joe’s was great. The hosts provided ample food and beverages (including Spotted Cow on tap), and the music was awesome. We got to hear a few new songs, and some classic faves like “Dead Horse Trampoline,” “Ones to Hold On To,” and “Fatima’s Waltz.” Got a chance to chat with Justin a bit, and he said he is starting to work with a new producer on an album– but it sounds like it’s nothing that’s immediately on the horizon (maybe within the next 12 months or so? Hopefully?). Also got him to sign the picture that Christy took of him behind the wheel of the Festiva; he chuckled recalling the days when he shaved his head.
It was really cool that a lot of Jen and Joe’s friends who had never seen Justin or Storyhill, et al. were around to take in the show and enjoy it. That’s been my experience more often than not– if you get a chance to see the talent that these guys have in person, and how much they truly enjoy what they’re doing, it’s hard to not feel that energy and to have a really good time yourself. Justin sold a ton of CDs afterwards, if you want to use that as a measuring device. And of course, I took pictures during the show, so I’ll post a few of them here within the next couple days.
On Saturday, Mom, Grandma, the Mundschaus and I all went over to PolishFest for a few hours. I rode downtown with Mom and Grandma. We parked at WI & Plankinton, then caught the shuttle down to the grounds, but considering how early we got there, probably could’ve parked right there just as easily. We ate, drank, shopped for some Polish paraphernalia, and got to catch part of a set by Neal Zunker’s Music Connection, and Eddie Blazonczyk & the Versatones, respectively. We also ran into our cousin Chris and his buddy Scott, who got some free tickets from Uncle Mark.
Sunday was Michelle’s mom’s 60th birthday shindig at Joey Buona’s on Water Street. It was EXTREMELY filling, as usual. Sheryl seemed to have a really nice time; a number of her old high school chums made it out, as well as Michelle aunt & uncle from Sheboygan, among others. It was a fun party.
Earlier that day, I got to visit with Eric and Christine Kiefer for a while (!!). Yes, you read that correctly. I was thinking of them as we got primed for the Justin Roth show, and decided that I had put off actually getting in touch for long enough. They seem to be doing well, both on a professional and personal level. They’re staying very busy with 2 young kids around the house, but they seem pretty happy, top-to-bottom. Hopefully, I’ll be able to stay in touch a little better, particularly since I’m moving to their side of town. I got to share what limited news I could about myself, and I also spilled the beans about everything going on with everyone I know from back in the Osh Vegas days; didn’t think I was probably spoiling any surprises.
Sunday night, Michelle came over and helped me actually start packing a little bit. We took everything that was hanging down off the walls, and I began to strike the living room. I think I’m going to work on finishing that up tonight; I barely watch TV in the summer anyway, and if I really want to veg out, I have a laptop and the Internet. Packing up always seems daunting when you get started, but once you’re on a roll, it moves along. I think I’ll pick out my wardrobe for the rest of the week and get clothes packed out of the closet tonight, too…
Got a short week at work this week (took Thursday and Friday off to doing moving business), so I better get to it.
Like I was saying the other day, not a lot of personal news of note, but there is this wee tidbit: Justin Roth‘s show at the Mundschau house this evening at 8pm!
I know there’s room for you if you’re still interested in making your way over… Jen and Joe live at 6425 W Wisconsin Ave. Food will be served starting at 7, and the music gets going at 8. I’m sure it’s going to be a good time.
Two things I’m looking forward to– I have to get Justin to sign a photo of himself that Christy took a number of years ago. He’s sitting behind the wheel of my Festiva. It’s a funny picture. I’m also going to FINALLY buy Shine, which I have borrowed from people, but never actually purchased myself. Oops.
Back to work for the time being…
Jen and Joe are doing something pretty cool at their house later this summer– they’re having Justin Roth over for a house concert. I’ve been thinking that they have a nice venue for such a show pretty much… well, since they moved in there.
In my experience, house concerts are the most fun when you have people who really enjoy the artist there for the show. I went with the Kiefers once to see Chris Cunningham (of Storyhill) all the way over in Lodi. And cool as our friends and family may be, they’re not all necessarily hip to the Roth-jive. I encouraged Jen & Joe to offer to make the show open to the public, just because they would most assuredly draw some extra bodies that way. They agreed.
So despite what Justin’s current schedule might indicate for Friday, June 20, let me be clear on this point– ALL ARE WELCOME, but reservations ARE REQUIRED. You can contact Jen for that– jenjedi at soloshootsfirst dot com. I am going to try to spin some Justin tracks more often on the last.fm stream as we lead up to the show… He’s also got a MySpace page if you’re into that sort of thing. And some video on YouTube:
We’re into the third segment of our vacation now as I write this from I-15 about 30 miles south of Great Falls.
The part of Montana is just as gorgeous as the rest. Michelle and I agreed that it feels more remote than the cities along I-90, even though it doesn’t look that different, mile to mile. We attributed this feeling to the fact that neither of us have ever been to this part of the state before.
The last few days at Storyhill Fest were a lot of fun. When we got there, I had this warm feeling of coming home. A lot of the same folks made the trip, but I thought that the overnighters might have actually been a little fewer. I have no actual data to back that up.
We camped in the same spot, and our new tent slept pretty well. Michelle was warm enough with her new sleeping bag– in fact, both of us got a little sweaty the first night. Overnight Monday into Tuesday, it rained off and on throughout the night, and there were a couple times I was woken and lied awake worrying about the fly blowing off in the gusty wind. This was irrational, of course, because the fly was tied to the tent which was staked to the ground and contained two sleeping people to weigh it down. The wind was blustery enough that a little rain did sneak under there and get inside at one point, though.
The performances themselves were great. We bought CDs from The Get Up Johns (a bluegrass brother duo), Meg Hutchinson (folk-pop singer-songwriter), and Edie Carey (see Meg Hutchinson). Aaron Espe and Justin Roth performed again too, but we already have all those CDs. Interesting development in the personal life of one of the artists– last year, Aaron Espe met a girl at the SH Fest, and two weeks ago, they got married. Kinda neat. Chris and John were great in their typical fashion. We heard a couple new songs, but I don’t remember them really specifically. Each of them played a new song that they admitted were works in progress.
As a sidebar, I asked Justin Roth if he had his house concert dates for Wisconsin in October filled up. He said he still had a Tuesday open, but since Milwaukee is so relatively close to his home in Minneapolis, I should just write and let him know if Jen wants to host a show at her house. Might try to do that.
On Tuesday, we skipped out on the daytime Fest activities in favor of a rafting trip on the Gallatin River. There was a place we found online that did a 2-hour trip for a little less than 50 bucks a head. We had a really good time. Our guide was this fun older guy named Jim. He was born in the U.P. and said he spent most of his adult life in Lansing. He knew a lot of Yooper jokes. We shared a boat with a group of four people from Houston who were in the area for a conference of some kind.
The river itself was a bit less challenging than what Michelle and I had hoped for. I think we were both hoping for something that would be a little harder than the trip we took on the Wolf River at home last August. I got the impression from the guides that this is simply a time of year when the river is pretty low and the rapids are not that rough. Maybe we should try coming back earlier in the summer, or specifically try to find a trip that’s tougher.
So with the rest of today we have to make it Glacier and get our tent up. That’s the extent of our plan. Tomorrow, we’re going on a horseback ride mid-morning, and on Friday I want to try to do some hiking and photographing. We’ll be leaving the park again on Saturday, and we’re shooting to take the “low road” (I-90) all the way across to Wisconsin. We’ll have stops back in Bozeman and in South Dakota along the way.