New Year, New Page…

I have done something new.  Asked.  It has always been difficult for me to mention as much as the tip-jars during the show. There must be something about asking money for something that is a gift that is hard to do.  So, I say that the music is free, but please contribute what you can to the pipes, wires, electricity and what-else (and folks do).

Then my son mentioned a website created to fund artistic projects, called Patrion.  Ideas, films and videos, even music projects become funded there, so why not?  I said to myself one day when I was actually listening.  I don’t know if it will net as much as a dollar, but I’m looking to fund the idea of having guest-stars be scheduled (and paid) to show their stuff, backed by the Best Available Band, of course.

If you’d like to support any part of the foolish endeavor – or have rich friends you can inspire about this live-music sanctuary called The Crooked Path – here it is: https://www.patreon.com/TheCrookedPath

And goodness gracious, Thank You!

Crooked Path Music 2016

2016 Was another season of musical exploration. Many magical moments, many players of great heart and soul. We attempted to record every show in magnificent 16 track 48K. Some moments held the presence and a few examples are below. Watch the slides, play the music. It’s all recorded live.



 

 

 

A life.

Inga PhotoInge Steinbach became a friend of mine over the past years.  She was an avid photographer, artist, with a constant curiosity about life and art.  She would stop by or call me with questions of cameras, computers and the electronic paint-programs she was trying to learn.  I’m not sure how old she was, perhaps 80 something.

I had not heard from her in a little over a month, when Paula Paola (also friend) went by her place to see how she was.  From a neighbor she heard that Inge had died 3 weeks ago from melanoma.  It had happened pretty quick, but unfortunately painfully.  This picture is the only one I was able to take of her one day when we were both out photographing horses.  She otherwise refused to have her picture taken even though she did several (exhaustive) sessions with me as the subject.  Inge was born and raised in Germany and had the love of precision often expressed by Germans, but loved all living creatures and would bring treats to my mother’s dog.

There was no memorial, I don’t know if she had family left, and it (again) made me think of life here on planet Earth.  Inge lived a whole life, traveled, met people, served everyone that I know of and all that is now left is a single picture, along with this 30 second video-clip I randomly recorded one day when she was discussing her art with my then-friend Robyn.

It may not be much, but I carry a bit of her spirit with me.

Bless your soul, my dear Inge.

 

 

Stimulation Overload

This is a live recording from the Crooked Path.  Two fellows of advancing years performed in the garden.  One sang and played the guitar, the other a keyboard.  It came out pretty good.

No tricks, no replacements, cuts or added tracks.
Just Ronn Cobb, a Texan.
and Bent Myggen, a Dane.

Bent and Ron

Come listen again this Saturday.
Sunday is Open Jam with Frank, Rick, Grace & others.
Bring your own wine.

Dance at CP

 

Linda Hance caught a video clip of people having a great time at CP today, Saturday.

Sunday: Off the Grid Video Party

Twas a splendid time at the Crooked Path this Weekend.  Video production of Off the Grid with Ray Pannell, Frank Palmer, Mama K, Vince Denham, Jamie Greene, Liz Brumfeld, and the recently returned Wizard of Odd, Rick Norton.

The video and new CD album will be released soon.  Of other noterieties in attendance: Jeff Elliot, Lasse Blumberthelsen and Matt Schick.  Stay tuned…

Music track: Free Lunch (B Myggen, BMI)

Summer 16

 

So summer 2016 have anchored up to the curb at the Crooked Path. We look forward to an amazing season where all kinds of alignments are gifting us. Our latest treasure, a Vintage Hammond B3 Organ and Leslie speaker is finding her voice under the able hands of Ronn Cobb. Frank Palmer, the mayor and full time outlaw of Los Olivos, is showing up with a stand-up acoustic bass, the kind only serious bass-players pack.

The sounds have been extraordinary, heavenly, actually as we have been playing the last weekends and I’ve had moments when I thought I would simply float away. Ron, Frank and I have enjoyed high praise from souls wandering in and enjoying the rich sounds. I say People wander in and wonder out. This summer Dave Smith will also be here, Ray, Eric, Grace, Mama K, FeelGood, Leon, George, Benito, Tony, Rick, LP, and others will hopefully come visit the Crooked Path – and the odd nexus of a Hippie, a Texan and a Dane.

  • The garden is blooming, the sails are up.
  • This year, there are rumors that Tommy will bring some of his BBQ creations for consumption.
  • I’m still dialing in the mix in now three separate monitor systems, all analogue – better than ever.

4/20 was amazing.

Bent.

The Sendoff-Celebration of Momma Myggen

Lillian Myggen and Toby

Momma Myggen with Toby

And so it was that Lillian Myggen, 90 years old, closed her eyes on Friday the 15th of January, 2016.
Born between two World Wars, creating an enchanted life with our father, Arne Myggen. It will take me about a year to tell their story, but we celebrated her life here at the Crooked Path for the past four years.

She would take walks about Los Olivos with her little white Terri/Poodle and was always telling me how helpful strangers were if the dog-leash got caught or there was a steep curb to negotiate. After a while some got to know her, some came to the garden and often had conversations with her during out concerts. She used to play play piano, building houses, tile pools, run our household, and support her husband in a way most men can only dream of these days.

 

A Thank-you-forever to the Hospice Team from Visiting Nurses, and to Felicia Cody, who became mother’s (and my) friend and coach through a tricky passage. My brother Finn and his wife, Carol came through and pulled off an incredible lunch-feast with Danish Specialty foods along with American Lasagna in the garden. Our family arrived from San Francisco and San Diego for the afternoon – and spoke of the woman and her husband who died 10 years ago as a glowing example of partnership, talent, faith, hard work and love.

After speeches in chocked-up voices and music by Magi Myggen, Frank Palmer, Eric Brittain, Ronn Cobb and Yours Truly, we drove to Figueroa Mountain where I blended my parents’ ashes and released them both into the Light.

It was a good sendoff.
Thank you all who came and special thanks to those who helped set up and clean afterwards.

Mom would have been proud.
Dad would have expected nothing less…

Art from Fire

Frank’s dwellings recently experienced the state of fire, and from it many lives were changed.  Frank is cleaning up. Ruth and others help him.  I went to see him and saw his walls and metal plates and what the fire also did.  See for yourself:

Time Change

Authorities, once established, never want to give up their power – no matter what domain they preside over.  I get confused each time we “spring forward” or backwards.  The whole thing about changing time was dubious from the beginning and benefits thereof  highly questionable years ago, but it prevails like eskimos through a blizzard.  Laws are made – sometimes with good intent – and then things change, but the law doesn’t.  Twice a year we all must switch gears in a slightly unsettling way and go on about our business.Time-Tracking-Software

The system says to it’s citizens: “I am in charge of what time it is and now I say it is something else than yesterday”.  It is unsettling in two ways: The change by itself – and having someone you don’t know change your life arbitrarily.  My cat is also bothered by the change in routine.

I would prefer time to stay the same as yesterday,  have a meal around sunset – rather than when it’s pitch black and things like that.

So I’m going to revolt!
For the next 6 months, if I say to you I’ll see you at 10 tomorrow, that means 9 o’clock in your time-zone.
I will get up at my usual hour, have breakfast, lunch and dinner at my usual time, and my aging mother will be back to her routine.

It is a small thing to remember that if I want to see a movie while they still have movie-theaters, I can be an hour late and still see the whole thing.  The more I think of it, it seems eminently reasonable to have my time be a personal matter.  I suggest we all do it, we simply declare our own time-zones and don’t go along with foolish ideas of springing back and forth.  I imagine employers could also simply ask their workers and staff to not change their watches either, or simply agree to come at 10 instead of 9 and go home at 6 instead of 5.

So that’s it!  I have talked about Los Olivos Standard Time before and here time follows the sun and does not change.  It may he 10 o’clock in Buelton, but here it’s already 11.
Oh liberate us from state sponsored impositions!

Senses we have.

We have sight and sound.  Two senses.  They say we have 5 senses: Sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste – but we have more.  We can feel heat, which is neither sight, sound, touch, smell or taste.  How about our sense of balance & gravity?  That would be yet another sense.  Seven senses.  Then what is the sense that starts an energetic transformation when lovers kiss?  Pheromone receptors in our nasal cavity, doctors say is what makes us hot for sex, not just sight and touch – which makes it a separate sense – number eight.  From there we go to a feeling in our stomach we can get when something is not right (nine), and a feeling in our hearts when something is good (ten)…

Just like some folks use less than a thousand words, while others access twenty times more – so it is with our senses, I venture to say.  Most people are visual, obtaining all the information they need from sight, while sound, smell, taste and touch is barely noticed. Words are used to convey information, rather than setting up emotional connection.  Most folks focus their attention on the visual aspects of life.

Music is an anomaly in the animal kingdom.  Birds sing, but do not harmonize.  Perhaps crickets do, but as far as I know, humans are unique as a species to sing and play interactively.  Everything in nature has a purpose, but what is the purpose of music?  A horse may make murmuring belly-sounds to welcome another, while a wolf will growl to scare off a foe, but music gives no message other than feelings.  Somehow humans can sense and connect with others through melody, rhythm and progressions, but for what purpose?

It is precisely for the reason that music serves no purpose, that it is so meaningful.  It makes no sense and really has no place in the physical world, and just like a rainbow, music only exists when a sentient being bears witness to it.  It is a secret handshake between souls.  A recognition of other beings around us.  You cannot hear music unless you have a soul. We smile, dance, move and shake and demonstrate our connection to each other when music is live and present.

Music is another sense – number eleven, perhaps.

 

Soulvang

  1. Willin Dave-Bent
  2. No Woman Dave-Bent
  3. Hendrix – Dave-Bent-Dan


Dave telling Frank

Dave telling Frank

I have gone to jam with Dave every Wednesday in what I now call Soulvang.  Sometimes we hit the groove and I’ve tried to capture it via recorders.  Last Wednesday I dragged my little big rig mixer.  Tape is still brutal, but the idea that this is just two guys playing for tips in a bar, while two tourists from Chekoslovakia are listening is funny to me.  Later Danny joined in – here are a few moments from that memorable evening.

Xmas in LO

Xmas Bent Flying Band2

Xmas tree-lighting party in Los Olivos last night.  Thank you Ron Cobb/Keyboard, Frank Palmer/Bass, Tommy Joe/Guitar, LP/Drums. Thanks Linda for the picture.

We pulled out all the stops, speakers, subwoofer, mikes – and (greatly appreciated) a garden heater.

It was fun to stand before the residents of LO and sing L.O. Standard Time.  Perhaps we can fish out a mix from the recordings.  What an amazing town.

Today in the garden.

IMG_4086Karen, Mama K to some – came to visit and sing a bit with me today. It was very quiet in town, as Solvang was celebrating Danish Days and many visitors of the valley presumably went there.
It was a very pleasant day, and my efforts to “tune in” various instruments, piano, guitar and such paid off.  The speakers delivered the splendid sound of real wood, real strings and hands.  Our voices met well each other and we indeed called in a few visitors, couples in love and groups of friends.  Not many, but very appreciative for the space and the music.

We exchanged a few gifts after the show along with spirited conversation about life, music, and the moment “now”.

After everyone left, after the cleanup and putting instruments away I counted the tips left in the box. I always count, and regard every dollar as a gift from someone’s heart, since we don’t charge for the music at the Crooked Path. Among the ones today, fives, a ten and a twenty, there was a fifty – and also a hundred dollar bill.  A hundred dollars!

I’m not saying this to brag of how touching our show was today.  It was good, but there was also a spirit present in the garden.  Now, music cannot be measured, weighed or framed on a wall – it only exists because there are souls who listen, so when someone leaves more than a polite amount in the contribution-box, it a very solid kind of applause.  It – in essence – says to me:  Keep going, keep writing, playing, performing, set up the equipment, turn on the fountain, put out the chairs, invite everyone in – because music, live music is needed.

Thank you very much.
I will…

Plans.

I’ve been thinking.
Fixing the grass.
Hanging up a sun-shade.
Testing speakers and a new mixer.
Mixing live performances here at the Crooked Path, in Soulvang and the Garlic Festival. Listening to the recordings and thinking some more.

Jamming over the last few years has been fun and I’ve learned a lot. Things tend to go a certain way: Tight and wonderful in the beginning, and loose and loud at the end. Party is party, and some musicians seem to have a great deal to celebrate. Nothing wrong with that, everything has it’s time and place, but for me the fun is not in getting lost – it is in coming together.

Music happens.

IMG_3689

To me Music is the art of listening. Without listening there is no music. The more listening, the bigger the creative field of music. In a bar, music is often used as a way to create an environment of sensory overload, along with TV-screens and alcohol. It serves a purpose and there seems to be a need for all that, while I would like to create an environment of sensory expansion – not overload. This summer I will be inviting those who write, those who play because they like to listen – and those who listen because they can hear – to come to the Crooked Path.

The park next door has had new grass installed. I suspect they will open it back up to the public for the Jazz Festival on June 7th. They usually finish their program around 5, hence I’d like to have a good show ready to go, starting a summer of beautiful music.

The Garlic Festival.

Paul isn’t ready, but he will be. This week-end the musical excitement in Los Olivos will be at Paul’s Garlic stand. Each year the music gets better. This year it will awesome. It will be Frank Palmer, Ray Parnell, Dave Smith, Jeff Elliot, Benito Tapia and some “amazing sax player” coming up from LA.
Pauls garlic stand
An unusual feature to the day’s musical presentation will be the presence of an audio-engineer, actually mixing the band. The performance will also be professionally recorded and the cameras will be rolling for history to decide later what actually happened.

More info to come.
Stay tuned.
Mark your calendar.

Dognabbit

Time to mow the lawn.  Oops, ran out of gas.  Luckily I always leave a little in the bottom of a can, so I could complete my task.

Image
Gas cans nowadays are very tricky.  I tried several at Home Depot.  One has to twist a thing in the right direction, then pull back and keep holding the can and contraption in a firm grip until enough gas has been dispensed.

Ladies and gentlemen who make rules and regulations:

I know what gasoline is.
I have sofar been able to go through life without gas cans exploding in my hands.
I find it much more convenient to open the can, use a little funnel and dispense said fuel than using the Micky Mouse contraception you have approved.  If you think you are doing the multitudes a favor, please be advised that I do not think so.  Kindly un-force your demands for manufacturers to make things that pretend to be better – and that we are then forced to buy.  The truth is that my gas can may only be a small example of how things are all over – but I must say that things all over have gotten less fun and more complicated because of stupid ideas becoming laws. Everybody gets stupid ideas, some of us even try them out, and some even turn out to be good ideas. That’s life, and stupid ideas come and go. The trouble is that when stupid ideas come from the government, they become law and wether they work or not they don’t go away.

Electric lightbulbs from China.  That was a great idea for while. Now we know better, but still have to use those unsafe things.  You made it illegal to manufacture a 60 watt bulb? Now I see I can get an old-fashioned bulb rated for 58 Watts.  Brilliant!

Obama just went to give money to the farmers up north fighting the dry season.  They need water, but cannot get it because a fish will cancel it’s campaign contributions.  Instead they’ll print more money and pass it around.  Try some blue-cheese dressing on those hundred-dollar bills, it still won’t be food.

Dear people working in government: Your job is to serve the needs of the people?  Have we asked for safety-funnels on gas cans? Have sufficient tax-payers in the Valley asked for a new roundabout as a matter of great urgency – right at the time California is running in the red?  Why are there cameras everywhere?  That must have cost a pretty penny?  What are all those yellow emergency phones every half-mile along the highways still doing here?  That was another great idea until everybody (including the homeless) got cellphones.  Are those yellow boxes still maintained? They even have braille keyboards, solar panels – heck those things can’t be cheap.  Great idea, very compassionate idea.  While I’m at it: The vista-point on the 154 towards the bridge where I notice the sign says “Vista point”?  The vista is not there.  Trees now grow where the view used to be. Folks have to get out of the car, which is a nice idea, then walk a fair jaunt to come to a lookout.  What the heck?  There are four million trees everywhere around, and we can’t cut a few of them back so all people can see the view? Is there some rule that we can’t cut trees?

If I may summize: Dear people working in government: Please ask what I need before trying to serve me. I know what gasoline is.  If I fall off a ladder it is not because you failed to warn me where steps are.  I have climbed trees, scaled mountains, navigated rivers and crossed many streets without being hit, so I don’t feel the need to stand on some street corner at 3 in the morning waiting for a light.  Kindly do not instruct me unless I ask you, or if it looks like I’m hurting others.  It took me a long time to disassemble that gas-can spicket so I can use it.   Please don’t protect me and I do not believe you need to protect others from me either.

There are too many laws. Period.
You can keep them if you like them.
I view them as ideas.
Often dumb ones.

Yours truly.

Greg Deleon

Greg died suddenly when his bulldozer flipped over.  Nobody knows exactly what happened, it was a shock to everyone.  For me he was a hard-earned friend.  He did not do things the usual way. He liked to rattle folks to see what they were made of, I imagine, as he rattled me more than once. He was a gifted player and committed rock’n roller, playing with Frank Palmer and others since high school, in a band called The Grasshoppers. He could play like lightning, but excelled with his melodic sensibility.

I learned a few things around the man, certainly to know what I stand for. He was not shy of showing his opinion, even his musical compositions reflected a preference for the unexpected “just because”.  He was, as they say, a man’s man.

I will miss him, as many will.

Here is a clip with Greg and the Grasshoppers I shot in Los Olivos a year or so ago.

[vimeo 18932438 w=500 h=341]

Holes in the Crust of the Earth

Who runs Los Olivos? I asked an innocent bystander.
He had no answer, but I have to ask: What’s up with the holes in the roads?

I see the highway constantly being paved and cared for, other roads as well. It seems there is no end to the willingness of our entrusted agencies to put men and women to work directing traffic while others care for the roads. Why not Los Olivos?

My mother of 87 years old has now taken two tumbles navigating across Alamo Pintado. There was a hole large enough for a rat to hide in and it darn near knocked her out. Kind neighbors scrambled to her rescue, then called me and 911. She’s ok, but the roads everywhere are becoming a challenge for elder pedestrians and bicyclists.

Who runs this town?

Fire at the Grange

Perhaps a bit tardy, I would still like to express my condolence to everyone who loved coming to the Grange. I woke up that morning to smoke and firemen doing what they could. Smoke. Lots of it engulfed the old building. In the afternoon all was calm.

I went inside the building and took a few pictures.  It looked to me as if the fire had started under the floor.   Like the phoenix, perhaps. I hope it will all be for the better in the end.

Although I did not participate in many events at the Grange, I often heard talking and playing from my backyard.  Rotary, POLO, kids’ disco-events, blue-grass music, and church services on Sunday with a beautiful female lead singer.I wish I had risen earlier, seen the smoke and lessened the damage, but wishes are horses that beggars can ride, I think they say.

I hope all will be well, I hear a lot of activity inside, and it seems the Grange will rise again in a few months with – perhaps – a new and better kitchen.

Blessings from the Crooked Path Music Sanctuary.

Thank you.

CP April 2013_01771000I so appreciated both Sat and Sunday last week, while Sunday took the cake as far as new style of music is concerned.  The sense of presence, not just notes was felt and I want to thank Grace, Erik & Feel Good for putting my words into action.  This week-end I WILL have the multitrack ready to go, and we can see it the magic translates into binary code.Image

Thank you all.

And thank you to Jake and Peter Loper who came to help with logistics.CP 131000

What me, a snob?

I think some think I’m a snob.
You only listen to your own music – a disgruntled female once flung at me.
You are so full of yourself, the expression goes.
But
snob

Truthfully?
Who else should I be full of..?
Somebody else? That would be silly.

I’d like to say that I have learned from every player and singer I have worked with, but I’ve never tried to copy someone that I know of. Why should I?  Nature never repeats itself, so why should we humans?

And about this snob-thing – let me explain something: I was born into a home of classical musicians. What incredible luck! I played, studied and improvised piano every day from early childhood. Then the Danish State Radio music-department became my second home in my teens.  There was only one station for the Danes back then, so we played and sang to a whole country at a time. I could feel the listeners through the microphone.

After hours I would sneak into empty studios and concert halls, finding instruments to play.  The first time I opened a 12 foot Steinway Grand and sat at the keys (in absolute studio silence)  I first was intimidated even sitting all alone, and found myself apologizing to the piano for not playing Chopin or Rachmaninoff.  But with the first three notes the doors to my church opened. From that moment the grand piano has been my altar, the keys, my scriptures – and my hands a way to pray.

The Crooked Path is a music sanctuary.

And to answer one particular female: I don’t usually listen to other people’s music because if I do, some song will keep playing in my ear for the better part of the day.  I prefer an empty canvas.  That doesn’t mean I think poorly of things like rock’n roll, I just wasn’t part of that scene, so I don’t have any ways relating to it with my heart.

I do sometimes listen to Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi or Benny Goodman.
Not because I’m a snob.
It’s because it’s amazing music.

Oops.

Rollerblading around the neighborhood with my mother’s little poodle who kept good pace with me, I ran into a fellow who asked about hotels in the area.  His name was Mark and he was from Manchester, England.  Upon inquiry he explained he was on a motorcycle ride following Route One north –  he had also biked on stretch in Australia, just by himself.  Some people you get a real good feeling about right away, Mark was one of those. He was a good looking fellow in his thirty-fourties and I felt as if we had grown up together.  In my life I have been in strange places and often lodged by people I ran into, so I enjoy it when I can return the favor to another.  I happened to have a guest-shed/room for traveling friends, so I suggested he would be welcome to spend the night at my home.

Mark thanked me for the the splendid offer that would save him some money, and I explained where I live. Then I joyfully went onward on my rollerblades.

I came home, but no guest for the night showed up.  Later I realized the poor fellow probably thought I was gay and as such looking to enhance my resume.  “Good heavens” I thought to myself, and saw the picture of me with and the poodle blading down the street. I even introduced myself as “Bent” – which in England means something different than here in the US.  Oh yes.  This fellow saw the writing on the wall.

Need I say that none of my gay friends think I’m of that persuasion – but isn’t it funny how much we care about what someone thinks, even if they live in Manchester and we will never see them again?

Vaya con Dios, Mark.

After the opening Weekend…

The Sign is Up

It was Rex Harte, drums, FeelGood on bass, Dan Kressler on guitar with me on Saturday.  On Sunday it was Grace Feldmann on percussion, Feel Good on bass, and Eric Brittain with mando, fiddle and dobro.  As usual my soundman was missing, and we started out sparse. The audience starting coming in as we played and eventually we had some very appreciative people here.  It is always interesting when musicians who have not played together – do.  It’s like driving in partial fog – all of a sudden the picture clears and everything works.  I learned a lot, and on both days we made some real music. Thank you all for coming.