July 4th, 2008

Had a great 4th of July weekend at home, busy playing music. I played on “A Prairie Home Companion” at Ravinia (my 3rd time there with the show), a 20 minute drive from my house. This time, it was an embarrassment of riches for me. I premiered my minor- key Bluegrass tune “The Streets of Paris” with the band and the great Sam Bush on mandolin, got to play “Lover Man” with the transcendent vocalist Jearlyn Steele, play a few tunes with Suzy Boggus, act and play harp in a Garrison Keillor comedy sketch, and perfom “The Stars and Stripes Forever” as a duet with Rich Dworsky. That’s enough for several shows, but I also soloed on several other tunes with Jearlyn, Sam, and Pat Donahue on lead vocals. It was a total treat for me. Doing that show is always a surprising and amazing experience, but this one was just about the tops.

The next night, I dropped into Bill’s Blues on Davis St in Evanston to sit in for what I thought would be a few tunes with Johnny Burns. We played together years ago with Steve Goodman and John Prine. John is a great guy and a hell of a guitar player. He kept me up there for an hour and I had a blast playing harmonica and piano with him. John is the son of the late, great Jethro Burns, mandolin master and guru to so many mandolinists (including Sam Bush).  Jethro was one of Evanston’s great musical citizens. John is living is New Mexico these days, and was in town for a reunion of his band “The Famous Potatoes”.

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