Nov 2020-2022. Vaccines and following strict pod protection protocol we think about music. I meet a new musician, drummer Don Stahl, and along with a very ill Chris Briggs (my bass player for over 35years) and Ray Wiggs (my keyboard player for more than a decade) begin to just record some fun stuff at my studio. Don, who is a native of Fairbury Illinois, has been gone for several years or so playing professionally everywhere he has lived. He and his lovely wife Dawn moved back to Central Illinois and through a chance encounter Don and I met and talked music.
There was no grand scheme here or any idea how much time we have together but we ended up recording a great deal of music because we knew it was our last chance to create with Chris. It became clear late in the fall of 2021 that Chris wasn't going to make the end of the year as his health had deteriorated quickly. His passing in December 2021 left a huge hole in our collective souls but the music has to go on if for no other reason that to keep his spirit alive and well.
We are so very fortunate to have been working with Jeff Walker for the last year or so on another project and he was willing and able to be with us for the recording project and the band.
He has tons of experience and gelled so quickly with the section. You don't replace 36 years, you adapt to the reality of the deal. The deal is he is a beast and plays the shit out of the instrument regardless of the genre. He has jazz, rock, blues, fusion chops and indie blood runs deep with this one. Please to say he fit the band, the grooves and heart of the project so honestly plus he's great to hang with.
We also landed two of the....wait....6 amazing guitar players to the project and two for the band. (see above mentions) The horns from the old band....okay the spirit of the horns from Hip Pocket is once again alive and well. Drew Davis, Chris, Miller, Jay Wright, Sarah Lange, Jeff Estes, Michael Archer,, Aaron Garcia, and Russ Zehr share the shows with us.
John Kerner and Kirk Ellis are also featured on some of the recordings to come. I am also sure to have more guests to feature along the way.
Special kudos to our amazing vocalists Jenae Thomason, Kenzie Ahlman, Jessica Bella, and of course Dakota Kisandi.
More about the extended family to come.