If Crazy Horse Were Here Today

This has been a busy time for me despite having very little paid work. I’ve been rehearsing with a new ragtime band I put together, an organist, and the Detroit Party Marching Band, all of whom are contributing to my current recording project. And in the past week not one but two people close to me were suddenly hospitalized. (Both of them are recovering, for which I’m grateful.)
So I don’t have a lot of gigs to share but here’s what I do have:
– A Gig + More in Feb (with Corn Potato!!!)
– A Video I’m In
– Bandcamp Friday Is Tomorrow
– Join Patreon
– Book Reports
My One Big Gig + More in Feb
Saturday, Sep 4, at May’s Barn (2439 Arthur Rd, Remus, MI) 7pm, $20 suggested donation — I played here last fall and it was simply quite magical. If you live within 100 or so miles of this place I’d say it’s worth it. We will certainly be hanging out afterwards, too.
And in February the Corn Potato String Band will ride once again! It’s been over two years, maybe even three at this point. We are playing in Big Rapids, MI, for two nights, Feb 4-5, and we are playing at The Ark in Ann Arbor on Feb 10. Additional gigs TBA — If you’d like us to play a weekday house concert or any type of venue anywhere in the region let me know!
A Video I’m In
Being a part of this was so much fun. This is Corn Potato Lindsay’s band, The Boblo Islanders, and I’m an extra in the background. I really love this band, please check out their Hawaiian steel guitar version of Fascinating Rhythm. Here’s the  video.
Bandcamp Friday Is Tomorrow
“Bandcamp Friday” — It’s the one day a month our benevolent overlords at Bandcamp allow us pathetic artists to keep 100% of the donations our fans contribute. (Any other day they take 15% although it’s not clear to me how that works because I’ll get a notification from Bandcamp saying someone downloaded an album and paid $20, and then I’ll get a message from PayPal saying I got $13.85…)
This month’s featured album is The Froggy Mountain Boys – Route 77 — This full-length debut recording from the all-star Berlin swing band The Froggy Mountain Boys is loaded with fifteen swingin hot cuts of country-gypsy love for you! Lots of classic tunes and a couple of originals as well. This album was recorded entirely live and acoustic with no overdubs one day in October of 2011 in Berlin.
Nearly ten years ago, I can’t believe it! I miss the Froggys so badly. They taught me so much and we went on tour all over Europe, mostly playing in squats and punk houses but also playing major festivals such as Kaustinen in Finland. Listen to our album and feel the youthful energy and fun-loving optimism pulsing through. I chose this album as a pick-me-up for all of us. Also, I do have a limited number of physical CDs available, with artwork by Doug Chayka.
I’ve been doing this series called Tunes from the Bag on YouTube — new videos are going up every week (please subscribe if you haven’t yet!) — and Patreon supporters get early access as well as many other perks. For $3/month it’s a pretty good value. I currently have 46 supporters and when we get up to 50 a new level of Tunes from the Bag challenge will be unlocked! Sign up just to see what happens and then unsubscribe. I dare you.
Book Reports
Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, as told through John G. Neihardt was first published in 1932. It’s a truly remarkable book, as it is the first-hand autobiography of someone who lived through the time of the Battle of Little Big Horn and the surrounding events. This book is powerful and mystifying, and it sheds light on historical events which I knew little about before reading this. It’s not written in a modern style, of course, but the language is beautiful and I would recommend this to most anyone interested in the history of the US.
And then I read a related book, The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History, by Joseph M. Marshall III, whose ancestors were right there with Crazy Horse. This book is much more detailed and researched, as a third-person account of many of the same events. It was astonishing and tragic at times, and it really shifted my perspective.
This book was well-written, but in a different style than anything I’m used to, i.e. it is nonfiction written in an almost novelistic storytelling form, however there is no dialogue, kind of like stage directions. Anyway, I finished reading this book while I was doing a short tour in Colorado, where some of the events described took place. Meanwhile I’m surrounded by happy people telling me “This is the land of plenty!” and I have to wonder if they know for whom it’s a land of plenty how it got to be that way.
Since my last newsletter I also read The Coming Insurrection, by The Invisible Committee, an author or group of authors in France. This book was published in 2009 but it’s as relevant as ever. There are many references to events in France but it’s easy to follow. Frankly I was intrigued by the title, and the fact that the book is only 70 pages made me say why not.
This book is not for everyone. It’s a bit shocking, especially if you consider yourself an activist or feminist or antiracist or pro-environment. It’s also inspired me to take action locally. Physical copies can be hard to find but here’s a free pdf from Yale’s website you can print out if you like. If you’ve ready this I’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve read anything ever I’d like to hear what you think!
Until next time mes amis,
I remain,
Banjovially Yours,