The Tinkerer

  The tinkerer's assistant

The tinkerer's assistant

So, Happy New Year and all that.

Jackie’s on vacation. It’s the longest vacation I can remember her having since we’ve been in Ohio. Instead of lying around doing nothing, which is my idea of a vacation, Jackie has been tinkering with my website.  When I say “tinkering,” what I mean is that she’s completely revamped the whole thing. Once J starts tinkering, it’s hard for her to stop. This particular site was skillfully and generously set up for me about a year ago by Mud Dauber Records founder, Patrick Bloom. I haven’t done anything with it over the past year, because I haven’t known how. So, Jackie, who is determined to spend her time productively, decided to take it on as a vacation project. I love what she’s done with it. J has added lots of pictures and an historian’s stroll through my musical past. You’ll now find such gems on the website as a picture of the Wigwam Village in Cave City, KY. (I can’t believe I get to play Wigwam Fest for a second year in a row in June of 2014. This year’s Fest has been dubbed by promoter, Jay Johnson, “We Are the Trailer Park.”) Or, you can hear a set by Ritchey and Fleming recorded live at Poor David’s Pub in Dallas, TX in the early eighties in which I play mandolin and … wait for it … banjo. Or, you can hear a snippet of Ritchey and Fleming from a compilation CD series called Kerrville Folk Festival: The Early Years. Oh, it’s amazing what J was able to dig up. The website has my schedule (such as it is), some of my past newsletters, some videos, a photo of me, Roger Feldhans and Byron Stuart all wearing funny pants … Oh, it’s worth a look, it really is: bejaefleming.com. Thank you so much, Jackie Blount. And she plays bass, too. How’d I get so lucky? (I’m sure many of you have been wondering that for years.)

  Rachel and Bryon Dudley, aka "Rat" and "Buzz," at DG's Tap, Ames, IA. Photo by Roger D. Feldhans, January 4, 2014.

Rachel and Bryon Dudley, aka "Rat" and "Buzz," at DG's Tap, Ames, IA. Photo by Roger D. Feldhans, January 4, 2014.

I’m very happy to share Bryon and Rachel Dudley’s Anniversary party with them on January 4 at DG’s Tap House in Ames. Bryon will join me on bass for my set. We play “sometime around 8:00,” Buzz said, “but you know how these things go...” Not really. Surprisingly enough, I’m not usually the first choice for music for anniversary parties or weddings. I get invited to do a wedding about once every ten years by friends who get carried away and book me because they love me and I always say yes, because I love them. Then we all start to think about what my material is like and realize that we’ve all made a horrible mistake, but none of us wants to say that, because we love each other. So, we carry on, combing through the songs about misunderstood hookers, dishonest card players, discontented ghosts, misfits and ne’er-do-wells, looking for material that might possibly be suitable for a happy occasion. I don’t have to worry about dark material with Bryon and Rachel, they’re very accepting. But, I realized, after I said yes, that what I do have to worry about is the other act playing the show: Mumford’s. They’re an incredibly high-energy band with lots of sweating guys (and the occasional sweating gal), acrobatics and a horn section. Nate Logsdon writes amazingly great lyrics, but you hardly notice that at live shows, cause you’re all caught up in the screamin’ heebee jeebees vibe of the whole thing and you’re concentrating on not dropping Nate as he crowd surfs.

  Nate Logston and Mumford's at DG's Tap, Ames, IA, January 4, 2014. Photo by BeJae.

Nate Logston and Mumford's at DG's Tap, Ames, IA, January 4, 2014. Photo by BeJae.

“What am I gonna do?” I thought to myself (or maybe I said it out loud, I can’t always tell anymore). “There I’ll be, sitting down on a low chair (you know, like the old blues guys do) behind that brass rail at DG’s, nobody will even be able to see me, the crowd will be boisterous and celebratory and I’ll be doing my quiet, slow, morose singer-songwriter stuff in front of this band that juggles knives and sets things on fire, this is SO not going to work, what am I going to do, what am I going to do? …” Then it came to me: I’ll hire somebody to juggle the knives, jump around, crowd surf and set themselves on fire … I’ll hire a bass player!!!! (“Hire” is probably a misleading term here. It suggests that there will actually be compensation involved.)

I haven’t told Buzz about anything except the bass playing part yet. I’m waiting for the right moment.

  Buzz and BeJae at DG's Tap, Ames, IA, January 4, 2014. Photo by Roger D. Feldhans.

Buzz and BeJae at DG's Tap, Ames, IA, January 4, 2014. Photo by Roger D. Feldhans.

Well, anyway, even though this is Buzz and Rat’s anniversary party, it’s open to the public, so come over. Expect to have a good time and consider wearing flame retardant clothing.

A number of people here in Columbus have asked Jackie and me recently where they can hear us play. Well, we’re hardly playing in C’bus these days, so here it is: Grandview Public Library, January 23, 7:00 till 8:00. That’s all I got, so if you’re in C’bus and you want to hear us play, this is your chance. Since Jackie has steadfastly refused to get a band tattoo for me, I’m pretty sure she isn’t going to set herself on fire for me either, so expect a calmer show than the one at DG’s. However, Canaan Faulkner (Is that the best name ever or what?), the PR guy at the library who books this series, is a musician himself and says that he feels it’s important for people in the community to experience all kinds of music the same way that artists present it in clubs, not in some cleaned-up library version. Okay! Just remember, though, Canaan, you asked for it. Here come the misfits.

Thanks for listening,
B