Friday, February 29, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 5

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette:

Russel Settle’s 90th Birthday Party
Just Judy’s
Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wow! The Red Key’s Russel Settle turned 90 on Saint Valentine’s Day. His children threw him an early celebration at Red Key home away from home, Just Judy’s. The party was full of good wishes – Dan Wakefield sent his greeting via Jane Rulon, former Indiana Film Commissioner, cake, euchre and singing.

Besides the traditional “Happy Birthday” the room was full of singing – Karaoke style. I have an irrational fear of Karaoke. I’m afraid that somehow I’ll be dragged to the microphone. I am not a singer. In seventh grade almost all of the class tried out for the choir. Only two of us didn’t make the cut. I took that as a sign. A big fat sign that I was never to sing in public again.

Luckily there are lots of talented folks out there that are not afraid to stand up and entertain. There were two standouts, Ezra Todd Shelton and Linda Goeke. Ezra sings professionally, you’ve most likely heard him as part of the Bob and Tom band. Linda lends her considerable talents to local theatre production.

Please join me in wishing Russel a happy birthday; I’m honored to know him.

Charlie Smith Tribute
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The Jazz Kitchen

The Jazz Kitchen opened their door for a tribute to jazz musician Charlie Smith. Charlie died unexpectedly, of a heart attack on February 8. He was only 52. Charlie was a fixture on the Indianapolis jazz scene performing with Steve Allee, Frank Smith, the Indy Guitar Summit and his own group the Charlie Smith Project. Charlie's Smooth Jazz CD, "Absolutely," was selected as "Indianapolis' Best Smooth Jazz CD" of 1999 by NUVO Magazine. His second CD "On The Double" was released in 2005. Charlie was also well known for his work with the Bob & Tom Band. Charlie was long time member of the band.

Jamie Ridpath, LuAnn Lancton, Bill Lancton, Kristi Lee

The Tribute was amazing, every jazz musician I could think of was there. I got to hear Ezra Todd Shelton and the Bob and Tom Band perform a song about social activities in prison. Actually I hear him sing that song at Russel’s birthday party also. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d ever hear “Prison Bitch’ performed live twice in two weeks.

The afternoon was amazing; I got to hear lots of great Charlie stories and some amazing music. Charlie Smith will be missed in the Indianapolis music community.


Spud Puppies Hiatus Show
Saturday, March 8, 2008
9pm, 21 and over.
Locals Only
2449 E. 56th Street

After five and a half years the Spud Puppies are hanging up the leash, at least for a bit.. The bluegrass band formed after the musicians worked a record for Greg Ziesemer and some front porch picking parties.

Greg Ziesemer is calling the gig a “time and space hiatus show. No tellin’ when we’ll do it again, but I’m sure it will happen sometime. We’re just going to give it a rest for a while, a long while. We all really still love each other. That’s a good way to go out, I think, on good terms, with a bang.”

Many of the band members count playing at the Magnolia Festival in Beanblossom and the Music Mill gig opening for Tony Rice and Peter Rowan as their favorite shows. The memory of Gary Wasson mooning Boyd Thaxton to defend the honor of Delmar Lincoln was mentioned by more than one band member. I didn’t ask the necessary questions to find out what prompted it.

Attend this show, you won’t be sorry!

The 50 Years of Music Legends Tour
Friday, February 29, 2008
Mansion at Oak Hill
6:00 pm, $45.

What does the Number One Stage Show in Phoenix for 2007 and the Corner Wine Bar have in common? Pat Brunner! Pat is part of the Gateway Trio. The group played 25 shows in 26 days last February in Phoenix. This February they’re taking it a little easier, but they are taking advantage of the extra day to play a benefit for OASIS educational programming.

Gateway Trio is teaming up with the OASIS Time Steppers to present The 50 Years of Music Legends Tour. The Gateway Trio has been performing for more than 40 years. In the style of a classic folk trio, they play renditions of tunes, ranging from Broadway shows to the music of legendary artists like Rick Nelson, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot and the Kingston Trio. Their knowledge of show-stopping tunes is seemingly endless!

What a great way to celebrate Leap Day! Tickets are available at the Glendale OASIS Center (6101 N. Keystone from 10:00- 3:00, M-F) or by calling 889-0267

Friday, February 22, 2008

Soul Bus at the Slippery Noodle Inn

Here are photographs from Soul Bus show at the Slippery Noodle Inn last night.
I can't quite get the right setting for that light.

As always the band sounded great.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Doug Hoekstra at Lazy Daze 2-23-08

I wrote a preview for the Saturday, February 23, 2008 Doug Hoekstra show at Lazy Daze.

Here is the NUVO blurb.

I wish I could have printed a longer piece - I really enjoyed his answers to my questions, so much so that I purchased his book. I've only read the first story and I'm really digging it.

Here is the full interview, be sure to check out his Web site.

Have you played Indianapolis before?
No, I’ve performed all over the U.S. and much of Europe, and I’ve passed through Indy many times going between my home of Nashville and my hometown of Chicago – but I’ve never played in your fine town. Looking forward to it!

Tell me about your new album:
Blooming Roses is my sixth cd of “new material” (there have been a couple live and “outtake” cds) and although artists always say this, I do feel it’s my strongest work yet. I tell people that it seems, as artists, we spend half our lives developing a style and then once we get to that place, we spend the rest of our lives trying to distance ourselves from it. Meaning, you want to build on what you’ve done and developed and retain elements of that, yet also stretch and take your music to new places. And, so I feel like “Blooming Roses” does this, it's rooted in whatever it is I do, and yet branches into new places too, and as a result, I’m very happy with it.

The CD was recorded primarily at True Tone Recording studios in Nashville, with David Henry producing (David Mead, Josh Rouse, Vienna Tang). David did an excellent job, producing, playing cello, and generally helping shape what I wanted to do. We also brought in a bevy of Nashville’s finest to help round out the sound and I think the CD is a nice blend of “band cuts” and more orchestral or layered pieces. I’d say the title track, “Blooming Roses” is a favorite of mine; a true story about people from different backgrounds coming together over stories of their children – nice Stax-band groove on that one. “Gavin Geist” has been a favorite of folks live – it’s a more acoustic song about a boy I went to school with who was an outsider, was bullied, struggled, and eventually became self-actualized, for lack of a better word. I’m also really fond of the “Everywhere is Somewhere,” the album’s closing track. I cut that at the end of a tour, in Stavanger, Norway at Out of Tunes Recording with members of Thomas Dybdahl’s band (Oyvind Berekvam, Eirik Lye) at the helm. We did it in a day at this studio just off the coast, with the sun blazing and the fjords shining in the distance and I think there’s a nice magic to that song.

What can people expect at your show?
Well, I’ll be playing solo, so you’ll get a variety of songs from my six-CD catalogue, you know, fast and slow, happy, sad. I’ll probably use loops on a couple things, blow a little harmonica, and tell a couple stories. Chances are I’ll also read a short selection from my “Bothering the Coffee Drinkers” book in the middle of the set. It’s a collection of music-related fictions that came out last year and won a Bronze Medal for Best Short Fiction, in the national Independent Publisher Awards. I’ve always written prose, as well as songs, and since the book came out, I’ve read from it live – folks generally dig it and the book reflects back on the music and vice-versa, to complete the picture of what I do. I really strive to make each show unique, so much of how I present the evening will depend on who’s there, how folks are feeling, what kind of connection we make. That’s the best part of playing live, really, each gig is its own separate entity, dependent on every circumstance and individual that contributes to making the night a good experience.

Anything would you like the fans of Indianapolis to know?
Just that I’m looking forward to coming to town and meeting all the good people supporting live music. Needless to say, we’ll have books and CDs for sale, as well, and lately at the live shows, I’ve been doing the Radiohead model – i.e., letting the audience “haggle” or price the product at whatever they think its worth. This has been an interesting and successful experiment – it seems it acts as another way to break down the barriers and allow the audience to take ownership. People rarely offer a price less than what I would ask for, but it helps everyone feel part of the process, it’s a cool thing.
Oh, and if you can slide the websites in the article, Nora, that’d be great –,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Indianapolis Irish Aires

first published in NUVO. 
The Irish Aires are playing an Indy Folk Series show. 
Read all about it here

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 4

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

Hunker On Down Monday
Cliff Snyder
Otto and The Gearheads
Cara and the Desperate Seekers
Monday, January 28, 2008

Hunker On Down Monday’s happen last Monday of each month. They are hosted by 19Clark25 and feature different guest bands. I arrived just in time to hear Cliff Snyder’s last song – it sounded good!

Otto and The Gearheads were formed for a one-time battle of the bands gig. They haven’t looked back. Brothers Otto and Rapper, both of The Slammies are joined by drummer Corey Barnes. They are good old-fashioned fun - rockabilly surf-rock with a good dash of Otto’s “dipped in sexy butter” comedic flair. You can next catch the band at the Historic Melody Inn on February 15. Otto hosts a monthly comedy show and open stage the third Monday of every month also at the Melody Inn.

Susan and the Desperate Seekers were also conceived as a one-gig band. They formed for the Tonic Ball to perform on the Madonna stage. They are too good to quit playing together. Cara Jean Wahlers, Jon Martin and Gary Wasson sing beautifully together and are all talented musicians. They have a bluegrass-y, traditional country feel. And they are darn fun to watch.

The hosts of the evening, 19Clark25 also started as a just-play-once band. And that was three years ago. The talented Cara Wahlers did double duty also, playing bass for the band. They are jam-bandy, in a country sort-of way. Besides hosting the monthly showcase at Birdy’s, you can find them the second Thursday of the month at Locals Only.

Emily Wood
Cliff Snyder
Friday, February 1, 2008
Indy Hostel

Remember the big snow storm that was predicted? The one that didn’t pan out? I’m not criticizing the weather folks- they were just following the fancy Dopler machines, and I’m not mad that we didn’t get storm. Anyway, parts of the country got socked in, including Boston where singer-songwriter Antje Duvekot was stranded. Host Robin Coleman called Cliff Snyder to fill in. He had a brand-new, just purchased that day guitar in his hands when she called- I don’t think she had to twist his arm too hard.

I’ve been remiss in not seeing either Emily Wood or Cliff play before (okay, I heard most of a Cliff song earlier in the week). I meet Emily on the set of The Gendercator, written by my writing workshop classmate, Catherine Crouch. The Gendercator is playing a several festivals this summer. I really just wanted to throw in that I took a writing workshop. At Butler. From the talented writer Dan Barden. Don’t blame Dan for the lack of skills that shine through in this column. He tried, he really did.

Anyway, back to the music. Emily and Cliff sat on stools, trading stories and songs. This is my very favorite way to hear music. Emily’s songs ran the gamut from “standard sad” to “happy songs.” Cliff songs ranged from “American commercialism” and “road songs.” They had a lively discussions centered around their songs.

I’ve been listening to Cliff’s new album, Fools Highway. He played the title song, telling us it was loosely based on a motorcycle trip to Arizona. I’m sure the missing his family part was real, but I don’t think he killed a man (and if he did- you didn’t hear it from me). Fools Highway is full of well written beautiful songs. It has become a staple in my CD player.

Yats/Jazz Kitchen Marti Gras Party
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Jazz Kitchen

I seem to have a new habit for 2008, going to see music after I’m done with my Saturday night Red Key shift. When I arrived at 2:00 (yes in the morning) the music was over, but the party was still going. I was able to score some of that delicious Yats bread and an equally as yummy Jazz Kitchen whiskey. I got to chat with musicians dressed in their Marti Gras finery. Mike Wiltrout looked he was the Captain of Ship Impalas. Jamie Ridpath, Impalas singer had on scary cool eyelashes. Cynthia Layne was decked out in finery.

Jazz Kitchen sales manager, LuAnn Lancton (also looking Marti Gras hot) gave me a tour of the expanded Jazz Kitchen space. They have room for parties and meeting space. I don’t think the cage for dancing is staying.

I was glad to get there in time to say hello to the hosts Dave Allee and the always snazzy Joe Vuskovich. From what I could tell the party was a huge success. Laissez les bon temps rouler!


Father Stan Fortuna
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
6:30 and 8:30, $12, 21+
The Jazz Kitchen
5377 N. College

This sounds like the perfect Lenten show. Fr. Fortuna has been playing music since he was given a red electric guitar for Christmas when he was in the second grade. His life long love of music is paired with his ministry. Fr. Fortuna is a Catholic priest, one of the eight original members of the Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The community was established in the Archdiocese of New York under John Cardinal O’Conner in 1987.

Fr. Stan studied with legendary jazz musician, Lennie Tristano, and still performs with his trio Scola Tristano in NY area clubs including the prestigious Birdland. He is making his Indy debut playing original material and classic jazz standards in Tristano's signature improvisational style. Fr. Stan is touring with veteran guitarist, Peter Prisco, and renowned percussionist Rickey 'Bongo' Carthen. Fr. Stan is internationally known for his music as well as for his powerful preaching. He travels extensively to preach the Gospel but resides in the South Bronx where he serves the poor and needy families.

This promises to be an excellent evening.

The 50 Years of Music Legends Tour
Friday, February 29, 2008
Mansion at Oak Hill
6:00 pm, $45.

What does the Number One Stage Show in Phoenix for 2007 and the Corner Wine Bar have in common? Pat Brunner! Pat is part of the Gateway Trio. The group played 25 shows in 26 days last February in Phoenix. This February they’re taking it a little easier, but they are taking advantage of the extra day to play a benefit for OASIS educational programming.

Gateway Trio is teaming up with the OASIS Time Steppers to present The 50 Years of Music Legends Tour. The Gateway Trio has been performing for more than 40 years. In the style of a classic folk trio, they play renditions of tunes, ranging from Broadway shows to the music of legendary artists like Rick Nelson, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot and the Kingston Trio. Their knowledge of show-stopping tunes is seemingly endless!

What a great way to celebrate Leap Day! Tickets are available at the Glendale OASIS Center (6101 N. Keystone from 10:00- 3:00, M-F) or by calling 889-0267

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Otis Gibbs -- Karluv Most

Happy Saint Valentine's Day.
Here is a beautiful Otis Gibbs waltz.
He wrote this after visiting the Charles Bridge in Prague on Saint Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

John Gorka at the Old Centrum

Here is a preview of the John Gorka show and a bit about the Old Centrum. The historic venue is closing at the end of March. The article was first published in NUVO.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

National Road Montage

Clips from an upcoming National Road documentary.
Music by Greg Ziesemer and the Spud Puppies.
Catch the Spud Puppies last show- March 8 and Locals Only, Indianapolis

Friday, February 1, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 3

originally published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

Three Girls and Their Buddy
Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller
Friday, January 18, 2008
Clowes Hall

I have to go on record as saying this was one of my favorite shows, ever. As much as I love seeing music in my usual haunts, it was fun to have a grown-up experience. Real seats, people listening and a gorgeous venue. I’d written two preview pieces for NUVO, one on Buddy Miller and the other on Emmylou Harris’s influence on local musicians. I was prepared for the concert – and nervous as hell. Earlier that day, I found out that I would have a photographers press pass. I’d signed an agreement that I would only take photographs during the first three songs and not use my flash. I was convinced that I’d throw-up on Buddy Miller’s boots.

When I checked in at the box office they told me the photo release was faxed in too late. No pass. It was almost a relief. I’d already checked my camera a dozen times to make sure the flash was turned off and my hands were shaking. So it was probably just as well --especially when I saw the photographer from the Indianapolis Star and his giant camera and lenses. I did saunter in with my camera and was dying to take a picture from my seat, but I was on my best behavior. I was seated next to David Lindquist, the music writer from the Star. I joked that I was going to copy off of him, and then I felt guilty all night. I did learn a new trick from him-- your cell phone produces enough light to read by.

I’d been to last January’s songwriters show at Clowes featuring John Hiatt, Joe Ely, Guy Clark and Lyle Lovett. This show improved on that model, made all the better by the interaction between the musicians. Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller all have a long musical history together. Buddy tapped the young Shawn Colvin in 1980 to be part of his NYC band. He was Emmylou’s band leader in Spyboy and produced her live album by that name. Buddy toured with Patty and Emmylou as part of the Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue. The four of them joked about everything from rescuing cats to astrology.

The concert started promptly at 8:00, all of the musicians sitting in a row. Emmylou kicked off the show, “because I’m the oldest,” and they all took turns. No matter who was playing, at least one other musician was singing harmony or playing guitar.

I was the most surprised by Patty, and I knew the least about her. Her voice is strong, clear and beautiful. My favorite parts of the evening where when she was singing and everyone else joined in on harmony. They all sounded fabulous together. Patty said “this is just about the best tour I’ve ever done. It is fun each night and we never know what the others will do. Even the sound check is fun.”

Emmylou told us that she was worried about the people sitting in the middle, that they would have a hard time getting to the restroom. She suggested a group break, during one of Buddy’s songs. That brought one of the many rounds of laughter. The special effects were a hit also. Emmylou handled the light show and Shawn the flying monkey. They looked at the empty theatre during sound check and were convinced they couldn’t fill it. They marveled at the near sell-out 2100 strong crowd.
I was also surprised by how grown-up Shawn Colvin is. I don’t know why I pictured her as an old hippy. She told great stories about life as a folk musician – bars with the stage on the path to the restroom and falling asleep at her own gigs. “Look at us now.” Shawn said that “the sadder her songs are the better off I am.” She said her songs are heavy on the “theme of death and regret.” Emmylou chimed in and said she prefers “death and hope.”

Buddy Miller was amazing. He surrounded himself with six guitars and a guitar tech kept bringing him new ones. He played an electric guitar at times and it sounded beautiful. It’s hard to do in an acoustic setting and not sound obnoxious. Emmylou called Buddy “one of the best guitar players of all time.” He’s such a great player that I was convinced that I could walk up on the stage; pick up one of his guitars and play. You know, like when you’re watching Olympic ice skating and think you could lace on your skates and do a triple sau cow when in reality you can’t even do a somersault. Buddy’s voice is deep and gritty and a perfect compliment to the three women.

Buddy Miller (taken on the sly)

All and all it was a terrific evening, from the pre-concert lecture by David Lindquist to the post concert chatter with my dear cousin and aunt. This was a great start to the musical adventures of 2008. I can’t wait to see what the year brings.

Punk Rock Night 10 year anniversary party
The Melody Inn
Saturday, February 25, 2007

Technically it was Sunday (2:45 am) when I arrived at the historic Melody Inn. Punk Rock Night guru Greg Brenner called earlier in the evening asking about Second Helpings rescuing food after the party. I told him I’d swing by after my Red Key shift. I got there just in time to hear the last song of the evening. I’m sorry I didn’t catch their name, I enjoyed what I heard.

Nora Spitznogle and Greg Brenner

I got there just in time grab a last-call whiskey and catch up with some friends. Second Helpings got some much needed huge cans of tomato products (middle of the night food rescues are not the norm) and I got to hang with the cool kids for fifteen minutes. Here’s to another ten years of Punk Rock Nights.


“Fast” John Scarborough benefit
Circle City Blues Band, 19Clark25 and other guests
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Birdy’s Bar and Grill
7:30, donation, 21+

Blues guitar player "Fast" John Scarborough (Circle City Blues Band) recently had reconstructive heart surgery and is currently in heart rehab. His band mates and friends are playing a benefit to help with his expenses while he's convalescing.

Tennessee WalkerSaturday,
February 2, 2008
D’Vine Wine Bar

5252 E 82nd Street

I have not been to D’Vine Wine Bar’s new location, but they’ve continued their commitment to live music. This will be the first time the acoustic duo Tennessee Walker (Krayg Bartley and Scott Manning) have played the wine bar. Band mate Krayg promises “an excellent time. We have been playing together in different bands for nearly six years but have been gigging as Tennessee Walker for just over a year. We play acoustic/rock music. Nothing fancy, just two guys bringing some thunder.” Sounds like the perfect thing to accompany the great food and wine.


Music Mill is now ages 18+ venue

The Music Mill announced that the concert venue is now open to ages 18 and over for all concerts. They built two eight-foot structures that surround the bars in the music hall to accommodate the change. All concert goers will be asked to present identification upon arrival. “This change allows concert goers ages 18 and up the ability to enjoy all of the shows that we present and experience our state-of-the-art facility despite not being 21 years old,” said Managing Partner, Nick Davidson. “This change also positions Music Mill as a more attractive option for touring artists seeking to reach college age concertgoers and the 18 to 21 age demographic.”

I think this is big news. As you all know many people are music fans before they turn 21. I’ve been encouraged by the excitement of the parents of teenagers about this news. Several called their kids after I told them the news.

Second Friday’s at the Upper Room

The Upper Room (above the Broad Ripple Steak House) is starting a songwriter’s series on the second Friday of each month. I’ll let you know when I know the line up.

Russel Settle’s 90th birthday, February 14

Russel will be celebrating his birthday at the Red Key on Valentine’s Day. You can catch him between 5:00 and 7:00.