August 27th is “Play Music on the Porch Day!”

So I just found out that this is a thing…

Poster: What if for one day we all just listened to the music? / International Play Music on the Porch Day / Always the last Saturday in August / playmusicontheporchday.comFor more, see

Music Slice of Life

42 years ago today…

Tony Pierce reminded me that two formative parts of my youth entered the world on this day…

42 years ago, on July 25th, 1980, one of the greatest albums of all time came out: AC/DC’s Back in Black, the band’s first album after the death of original vocalist Bon Scott. Brian Johnson debuted as the vocalist on this album, and it ended up being the third best-selling album of all time.

Brian Johnson now lives a 90-minute drive south of me in Sarasota.

Also released on this day 42 years ago: Caddyshack!

So now you know two elements that warped my youth.

It Happened to Me Music

Thanks for the encouragement, microphone stand box!

I rather like the encouraging message printed on the side of the box for the microphone stand I ordered (it holds two mics — one for voice, and one for the accordion!).


R.I.P. Gerry O’Kane

Gerry O’Kane onstage with guitar, holding up a bodhran (Irish hand drum) with the Queen’s University Bands logo painted on it
Gerry with a bodhran with the Crazy Go Nuts University’s bands logo, which he painted on it.

T-shirt design: Photo of Gerry in sunglasses, with the text “Sex and Drugs and Traditional Folk Music”.

If you were a local in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in the ’80s and ’90s and enjoyed a pint (or more) of Guinness, chances are you saw Gerry O’Kane play a couple of sets of traditional Irish tunes, along with some of his originals.

I love live music as well as dark and rich beers served in cosy pubs, so I managed to catch Gerry during my first year at Crazy Go Nuts University, at a then-new pub called The Toucan. A couple of years later, I’d live in an apartment above that very same pub, which was near another pub called The Wellington, and Gerry played both places often.

Sooner or later, if you were a student at Crazy Go Nuts University and had any semblance of a life, you’d end up at a Gerry O’Kane show, where you’d learn to shout “Macintyre!” at the appropriate moments of The Old Dun Cow…

Later on, when I graduated and moved back to Toronto, I was still able to catch him when he came to town and played at places like The Monarch:

The exterior of the Monarch Tavern (Toronto) at night.

The Monarch Tavern’s (Toronto) distinct front door, at the corner of the building.

I learned a lot watching Gerry: how to read and banter with the audience, handle the usual cock-ups that will happen during a live musical performance, and of course, I also got a feel for what made traditional Irish music distinct.

Gerry O’Kane onstage, standing with his hands in the air.

It’s largely because of Gerry that I’m familiar enough with the Irish folk repertoire that I can passably back up Irish trad bands when called upon to do, as I’ve done a handful of times, including a couple of numbers with The Jackdaws:

Gerry suffered a stroke in late January, and he passed away earlier this week. Requiescat in pace, Gerry, and thank you for all the music.

Gerry O’Kane in blue shirt and jacket, smiling.

Gerry O’Kane, playing guitar in a small venue in front of a fireplace.

Gerry O’Kane, sitting on a rock by the water, playing guitar.More about Gerry O’Kane

It Happened to Me Music

Birthday stretch

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Today, November 5th, is my birthday. And today, November 5th, 2021, should be the start of an interesting weekend.

We’re making the 45-minute drive to this place…

Sirata Beach Resort. Tap to view at full size.

…to attend this event

…and I’m going to learn how to play this instrument…

Tap to view at full size.

…along with this lovely lady:

Tap to view at full size.

I have to admit that I’m terrible with string instruments. However, Anitra’s been taking up the ukulele for the past few months, and the big Tampa Bay uke conference falls on my birthday weekend.

But hey, birthdays are a great time to take personal stock and even stretch oneself. So, I ordered a ukulele (we’re now a two-uke household), we got VIP tickets to the Tampa Bay Ukulele Getaway and also snagged rooms at the convention resort, the Sirata. It’s on St. Pete Beach, and right next door to where we got married — a return to the scene of the crime!

I’ve done a couple of evening’s worth of noodling on the uke, and I can already fumble my way through:

…and a whole lot of I-IV-V songs. That should help, because there are a lot of play-along jam sessions happening this weekend. I’m going to have to tap into my Pacific Islander powers this weekend.

And yes, I’m also bringing the accordion.

Music Slice of Life

It’s November 1, 2021, which means…


It’s “Hug a Bassist” Day!

Today, October 12th, is Hug a Bassist Day! Celebrate by hugging a bass player and watching this classic Kids in the Hall skit, The Bass Player: