17 April, 2017

The Road to Memphis

The Road to Memphis

     On Sunday the ninth of April in 2017 I went to my first blues competition. It was a very jovial, bouncy, happy group of people who simply adore the Blues. I had been building up this sort of nervous anxiousness since I entered the competition, and it all drained away as soon as I entered the door of the bar where everyone was.

     This week I'm going on about the competition, who is throwing it, the contestants, and the winner. Next week I'll going on about where we stayed afterword. It’s a lovely place in Stillwater, Mn called, “The Water Street Inn”.

     The competition is called, “Road to Memphis’ because the winner gets to go there and compete in an international blues competition organized by the Blues Foundation (link). Which I think will be great when I win next year. Imagine going to the place where so many great musicians from all over the world are going to play and be able to throw yourself into the mix with them. I think it would be very influential to do and be apart of.

     The Minnesota Blues Society(link)  is an organization that’s mission is to keep the blues alive through education, celebrating the culture,  and promoting the past, present, and future of Minnesota blues music.  They are apart of a larger organization which I’ve mentioned called, ‘The Blues Foundation’ (link).

     The contestants this year were all terrific musicians, and I am so grateful to have been able to be apart of it. Brother Jon duo consists of two members of a larger group called, ‘The Brother Jon Band’ who were winners of 2016 Famous Dave’s Battle of the Bands. The next was Louisville White Lightning Curtis  duo. They played a tremendous set and had people dancing in the by their tables. Mixing covers and originals for a fun porch stompin good time.
Javier Matos  opened the show up and ended up winning the day with his fingerstyle old tyme originals. At one point in his show his son came up on stage and being the good dad I can see he is Javier let him sit on his lap while he finished the show. I wish him luck (like he needs it he’s terrific) and the best of days. Finally I was the last for the evening and I also took second place. (Yes, I am counting it.) I used my prewar Gibson L-1which Tommy Benz at Brickhouse Music in River falls, Wi put a none destructive jazz pick up in. It performed super. People seemed very engaged in my music, and stories. The crowd even asked me about certain songs, and remembered them enough to tell me which ones were their favorite. People even danced and all had a great time.
     In the end I met several new people, played and heard some great music and am glad that I was able to hang out, listen to such great musicians.

Thanks gang for allowing me to join you on stage.
Here you will see a video of the show. I was only able to get a few minutes of each competitor and a few minutes from my songs too.




All my best
Trevor Marty

27 March, 2017

BEWARE THE FOG


     The salesman fog. It's like a spell they cast on you when you are vulnerable. I don't mean vulnerable like you've gained a little Winter weight and seen yourself in the window, or an old school bully called you that thing he always did and gave you a momentary PTSD type flashback. Nope, I mean the kind of vulnerable where you're driving with your life partner just trying to stay out of the house and not realizing how open to change you really are. They can smell that sort of thing like blood in the water, but in this case it's money.

     This is the sort of happy go lucky day that my wife and I experienced about a month ago. It was another in the long line of cold Winter days and we were trying to stay out of the house to keep our spirits up. While driving around we found ourselves at a car lot. 

The little red light came on in my head, and I heard my voice telling me to beware.

     Now before I go any further let me explain something. When I use the words, 'Kung fu' I don't mean it in a beating up bad guys sense. No, I mean it in a more general sense. You could use any term you want. How about ‘The Force’, or Witchery, maybe Mental Acuity’? All that matters is that when we were visiting that car lot there was a master in residence and it wasn't me.  A salesman with such power that he was able to take proud and self-proclaimed 'Cheap Skate' and turn him into a blithering idiot. He came out and started chatting with me. Now normally when they do this I pull out the trusty old “grumpy face” and give it to them. They leave us alone and we can go about our business, but like I said we were in a vulnerable spot. A place in ourselves that was ready for change...or something. I just kept chatting. 

The little red light amped up and an alarm sounded in my head, but his witchery was stronger then my alarm bells and I listened to the siren's call. 

     Yup by now I’m sure you’ve guessed it. That was the day we abandoned reason (not to mention our old beater of a car which we still feel bad about) and purchased a new one. It’s a 2012 Toyota Prius V. The 'V' isn't for five as I thought but for versatile. It’s suppose to mean it has more space. They call it the station wagon of the Prius line.
Here’s a picture of our faces. I know we look happy here but really we’re just hypnotized.

Don't let the smile fool you. We were under a spell.

     The Prius has a computer that would make Star Treks USS Voyager NCC-74656  jealous. It monitors the miles per gallon that you are getting and updates itself every five minutes. I bet even seven of nine couldn't do that. Thus far it says we are getting around forty, but I’m testing it. We gassed up and zeroed the odometer, so far we’ve gotten over a hundred miles and it’s not quite at a quarter of a tank used yet. I guess that’s pretty good, but I’m stubbornly holding onto my grumpiness about buying it because I feel like it. Grrr.

It does have a sexy profile though doesn't it?
Not much for clearance though.
Those two indents are how you lock the silly thing.

     The video will show you a few other of the things that are sort of neat about it. I do have to say though that it’s got a nice stereo, and it does fit all of my music gear with room to spare. 
Have a great day friends and don't go into car lots.

20 March, 2017

Update on the van

How about an update on the van to rv project?

This is a smallish one and it’s all about making a butcher-block counter top.
We went to Lowes and got a nice piece of Aspen and then I put food grade Butcher Block oil on it. In the video you will see that I have six layers of it on the wood. It’s a very pretty wood and with the oil on it I think you’ll agree it’s brilliant.

Have a great day. 

13 March, 2017

Van to RV Plans

     With Summer not to far off it’s a good time to start planning where and what you’re going to be doing. My wife and I will probably be camping a lot this year which brings up my van to rv conversion project. I live in Minnesota and the van is much to large to get into my garage so any work that I’ve been doing has been outside and in the snow. Yes, you’re right that does mean that it’s been going slower than usual even for me. If we go back in time to my other entries you’ll notice over and over one common denominator. I have very little experience with construction. Which means that this whole project is a big challenge for me and something I am very excited to learn about.
Today, let’s talk about the counter top, flooring, and the water situation.

Countertop, sink, and the junk that holds it all in place.
    
    We’ve decided on the counter top and the type of wood it’s going to be. We’ve also decided on the height, length, and depth of it as well. The counter top is going to be Aspen with a butcher block oil all over it to protect it. The height will be between 33 and 43 inches, the length around 5 feet, and the width/depth (I get those confused all the time) about 18 inches.
Counter top
 Aspen, as you can see in the picture is a light wood and sort of reminds me of Pine a little bit. The height was completely dictated by the window it’s going to be sitting in front of, the length will be five feet because that’s all the space we've got on that side of the van.
    “What’s going to hold it up”, you ask? Well, that’s the part I’m excited about. If all goes well it’s going to be a light skeleton frame tall enough to fit two or three of these plastic drawers under and strong enough to hold the counter in place. 
Storage under the sink.
      As far as an outside covering I think we’re going to use anything we can find for the sides but leave the front open. When I say open what I mean is we’re going to have some kind of draw string curtain covering. Now this is just an idea and it can change. The reason we’re leaving the front open is weight. We’re trying to keep the weight down. Weight and gas mileage don’t play well together and as it is we get between 12 - 18 miles per gallon. Imagine with all this wood.

Under the sink
The Sink
The cute drain plug
     The sink is made out of a big red plastic rectangle thing we found at Goodwill. I’ve drilled a hole large enough to put a drain in and after I get the counter top oiled up I’ll cut a space in it. Of course it’s one thing to say something like this and quite another to actually do it. When that happens I’ll be sure to get photo’s and we’ll have fun watching it.

Water

    We’re still deciding on the containers, but have decided on where and how it’s going to work. There will be two containers located right underneath the sink. One will be fresh water and the other will be gray water. That’s it. Chances are they’ll both be bungee corded in place.

Flooring

     We were looking for the perfect flooring for our little camper van thingy. That's a technical term by the way. 'Thingy'. We checked out Menards, Lowes, and any other place that we thought might sell that sort of thing. Eventually we found an open box item. It was way cheaper and although it’s not our favorite color we’re good with it. You can see it’s darker, but that’s okay with us. We did get this at Lowes, and we figure one box will cover the floor in our little van. 
      As you can see the plan is finally at a place where we can really start putting it all together. Now all we do is hope for some sunny days. When that happens I’ll be sure to take more photos.

Keep it tuned here for more updates.
Thanks for taking the time to read and hang out here. You're awesome!!


-Trevor Marty




06 March, 2017

Date Night

Today’s entry is a night out on the town.
Elissa and I went for a long walk on a date night earlier this Winter. We have several favorite places to eat where we live and one of them is our very own Food Coop.
Follow along as we go for a nice little walk to the coop, but stay tuned because in the end you get to hear all about how good it was.

We hope only joy for you.

Trevor


27 February, 2017

That Sacred Bean

Today’s blog is all about coffee, and it has a video to accompany it.

Ring ring. Ring ring. It’s coffee calling, and it’s wondering why you haven’t come over an hung out recently.
According to Wikipedia coffee can trace it’s origins as far back as the 10th century, and most think it started in Ethiopia later spreading to the Middle-East and then the world.
My favorite is an Italian roast. It’s just so rich in color and flavor. However I have at times settled for a blend. My food coop has a nifty little blend it calls breakfast blend and it is well thought of.

How about a momentary bit of a digression? Once upon a time I had a gig at a smallish coffee joint in the Twin Cities area. It was a small place near the border of Minneapolis and St. Paul a sort of no man's land. Part of the payment was a pound of coffee and they had this lovely blend called...are you ready for this? It was called, ‘Obama Blend’. It was a mix of Hawaiian Kona with a lovely Kenyan. It was the best!!! It was also expensive so it was good that it was part of the gig payment.

I have a French Press at home which I use with religious vigor every morning. Did you know it was patented in 1929 by an Italian fellow named, Attilio Calimani? Pretty cool huh?
The sound of the grinder buzzing away accompanying the musical sound of the tea pot bringing the water to a boil really perks me up.

In this video though I am using a Bialetti six cup cappuccino maker. It cooks on the stove top and is super. You really must get one.
Here it is the video where you get to watch me making cappuccino. Ah sort of. 

20 February, 2017

Thunder Bay


Thunder Bay
The video which accompanies this blog post was performed at the same place as the last blog post. Which is Kinney Creek Brewery in Rochester, Mn. My friend Dedrick Benz was playing with me, and unfortunately I had a bad camera angle, so you don’t really get to see him.

This is a song I wrote thirty or forty thousand years ago...eh give or take. If I remember right the humans were just starting the agrarian journey. The song is all about escapism. I think we are all escapist of one variety and density or other. By that I mean to say we each have our own thing that we do to get through the day, week, month, bad times. For some it’s drugs, booze, sex, eating, buying stuff and I’m not making a judgement call on any of them or the people who do them. I’m just saying we each have our own thing that we do and to deny it is to not really know yourself. For me it’s the road. The road for me represent hope, new beginnings, transformations, regeneration. It’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. What new journey lies ahead?
So for myself my escapist tendency is to regenerate and start again.
This is a song about that.