Looking for a unique way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Why not come and spend a Saturday afternoon 333 feet below ground in a cave?
Yup, a freakin’ cave! How cool is that?
My friends the Nashville Celts will be putting on their trademark rousing show of Irish music and dance in the “volcano room” at Cumberland Caverns, as part of the Bluegrass Underground concert series.
They’ve once again invited me to join them on accordion. It should be a blast!
Tickets are apparently going fast, so grab ‘em while you can.
This Thursday, 12/10, I’ll be bringing my accordion and sitting in with the Nashville Jazz Workshop Trio, backing up the students of Christina Watson’s “French Chansons” class. This is sort of the “final exam” part of the class, where the students get to perform what they’ve learned in front of a real, live audience.
If last week’s rehearsal is any indication, it’s going to be a very cool show. The set list is full of classic French jazz standards such as La Vie en Rose, La Mer (“Under the Sea”), and Sous la Ciel de Paris (“Under Paris Skies”). And they’ll all be sung in French!
Details are at NJW’s website. It’s open to the public, completely free, and BYOB. So grab a bottle of Bordeaux or Burgundy and come on down. J’espère te voir là-bas!
photo credit: Scott Hammaker
Wedding season rolls on! This past weekend I had the pleasure of playing accordion during an Italian-themed reception dinner.
Never mind the fact that my accordions are all German and that I myself am about as Italian as a haggis… When you’re strolling among tables of pasta and red wine while playing classic Italian songs like “That’s Amore“, “Volare“, “O Sole Mio“, and “Funiculì, Funiculà“, you can’t help but get caught up in the spirit of it all!
“Black Beauty” (a full-sized accordion that I usually play sitting down) and “Red Baron” (a smaller and lighter one I use for strolling) await their turn to be played.
Look closely (on the right) and you’ll find yours truly warming up in the shade.
May marks the beginning of wedding season, even for accordion players! I was able to kick things off in style with a beautiful wedding at the Old Natchez Country Club.
Even better, I was joined by this violinist I just so happen to know–my wife Anne Landis Jetton.
We were asked to play the prelude music, the ceremony itself, plus the cocktail hour afterward.
These sorts of job are always a lot of fun, because it gave us the opportunity to play everything from Beethoven to Dean Martin, with some French waltzes and Argentine tangos thrown in for good measure.
Another successful gig for “The AV Department”. (A for accordion, V for violin!)
One of the great things about Nashville is how the city really embraces its “Music City” identity. Case in point is Centennial Park’s “Musician’s Corner”.
Inspired by London’s Speaker’s Corner, it’s an free event occurring each week in the spring and fall that presents a diverse bill of music to the community. Add in food trucks, a beer garden, local artisans selling their wares, activities for kids (and even for dogs!), and you’ve got yourself a great way for the whole family to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Yesterday I was given the opportunity to appear at their “Kidsville” tent to play and demonstrate the accordion. I even brought one of my old, broken accordions, so I should show everyone what the “guts” of an accordion looked like, and how everything worked inside.
Three cop cars nearby? Yeah, I think it’s safe to leave my accordions in the car this time…
Afterward I got to sit back in the shade and enjoy a couple of hours of great music on the main stage from the likes of Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, The Brothers Comatose, and Over the Rhine.
All in all, not a bad way to spend the weekend!
Update: Here are some more pix from the day, courtesy of photographer Jon Karr.
You know that wonderful old Steinway grand piano in the drawing room of the Cheekwood mansion? The one with the little sign telling people not to touch it? Well I got the chance to play it for four hours this past weekend, during one of the First Tennessee Fridays they’re having in conjunction with Bruce Munro’s sprawling outdoor art installation, LIGHT.
The guests that passed through to listen were wonderful. I had some great requests, heard a few people singing along, and even got a few couples up and dancing!
The bad news is that LIGHT is in its closing week. The good news that, until the last day on the 10th, Cheekwood is open every night until 11:00pm. Check it out while you still can!
I always enjoy playing weddings. There’s just something about being a part of such a significant moment in people’s lives that makes it more than just a “typical gig” This past weekend I was hired to play piano (sadly, not accordion) for a post-ceremony reception, and it was extra-special for two reasons:
First, it was at the marvelous Hermitage Hotel here in Nashville.
Over a century old, the Hermitage ranks among the great “grand” hotels of the South and is a perfect spot for a wedding. Getting to play a grand piano with a view of that historic, beaux-arts lobby was a real treat.
Second, my wife’s string quartet was providing the ceremony music!
Anne Landis stays booked with weddings pretty solidly these days, whether it’s as part of a quartet, trio, or as a solo wedding violinist. But I don’t get too many chances to see her on the job.
It was sort of like a “take your husband to work” day…
The gig yesterday was my first trip out to Amber Falls Winery, which turned out to be a very charming little spot. Just the place for a weekend picnic, tucked away in the hills of Middle Tennessee.
I thought I’d share a few pics I took during the breaks…
A winery with a sense of fun… I like it!
This was my view. It was a hot afternoon, but the shade and the fans made it plenty comfortable.
And yes, it is a working vineyard…
In the mood for some wine, women, and song on Sunday, June 23rd? Come visit the beautiful Amber Falls Winery (that’s the wine part) and enjoy the “world jazz” music of Rose on Vibes (one of the women and all of the song).
I’ll be sitting in on piano. And hopefully also sitting in on some wine tastings between sets. Not a bad way to spend a summer afternoon, eh?
You could be here…