Hello there friends!
It's been quite awhile since my last post and for that I apologize! Sometimes it feels like there are a MILLION things to spend time on and much of my life has been spent relocating to Reno, NV. My wife got a job teaching kindergarten here and we have been living here for about a month. So far I am really enjoying living here and it's nice to not deal with some of the things that big-city life presents. Less traffic, small-town kindness, and a sense of pride in the community has charmed me so far. I am in the process of building a studio of students and have been going to Bluegrass and Irish jams where I've met some kind-hearted souls who are only welcoming!
It's always interesting to change where you live. I've done it many times over the years and always with good reason whether it's for schooling or professional reasons. It provides the opportunity to reinvent yourself and to start fresh.
I've also begun the process of working on my next solo album which I intend to call, "A Million LIttle Love Songs." This past year has been full of love and bliss as Alexa and I are not yet one year married. We are having a blast falling deeper in love every day and are committed to a life of love, support, and happiness as well as supporting each other's dreams. This will be an unashamed love album and I'm enjoying singing and playing the songs every day to prepare for recording.
I have also been practicing a lot of Classical Violin and enjoying keeping company with Brahms, Bach, Tchaikowsky, Mozart, and Beethoven.....some of my favorite musical heroes!
Speaking of musical heroes...I had the INCREDIBLE honor of playing 5 shows with the one and only Phil Lesh who is the bass player of the Grateful Dead. Any of you who know me are aware of my love for that band and I could hardly believe that he called me to join him and 5 other musicians in the Bay Area at his new venue, Terrapin Crossroads. It's a great place with a pro staff who made me feel welcome and at home. I got to sing some of my favorite Grateful Dead songs and many of my friends came to see the shows which all sold out and were high energy! It blew me away to stand next to Phil on stage and I learned so much from him. I hope to have the opportunity to share the stage with him again someday!
Hot Buttered Rum has a show at the new Sweetwater in Mill Valley, CA coming up this weekend which is partly owned by another Grateful Dead member, Bob Weir. Perhaps he'll come see us! I look forward to walking around my old hometown and hope to see some friends from high school and beyond....
I'll be sure to write more often now that I'm settled in here in Reno. Here's to adventure, courage, and pursuit of your dreams!
I just got back from Summer Camp...no really....I did!
The great band, moe, throws quite the party every year outside of Peoria, IL. 25000 people show up to celebrate the beginning of Summer and Hot Buttered Rum was honored to be there for our fourth time. We flew there the day of our first set, which was at 2:30 in the morning! Not my favorite time to be making music but I have to admit, this was our best set of the festival. The weather got into the 90's during the day so the relatively cool 73 degrees was welcome to the multitude of people who made their way to our stage that evening. We played til about 4 am and then went back to the hotel for a few hours of needed sleep!
The next day we performed on another stage at 1 pm and this was a dusty dance party in the sun. The hour-long set went by too fast and afterwards I talked to some cool folks from all over the country including the bay area. We then performed a short set in support of our friends at Conscious Alliance; a non-profit that helps supply food to people who need it and we once went to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in North Dakota to donate food. This set was in a shady tent and we sat down which gave the music a nice informal feel. This set was followed immediately with an Everyone Orchestra set conducted by the great Matt Butler. I included some new pictures from the stage of this performance. It was so fun making music with some guys from moe, Umphrey's McGee, Sierra Leone Refugee All-stars, and more! Matt does a great job of creating moments for each musician to shine and support.
I love festival season and this weekend we are headed to the great state of Arkansas and the Wakarusa Festival. It used to be in Kansas but now it's high in the Ozark Mountains where bugs exist that you can't believe are real! This festival is HUGE and the lineup covers a great deal of genres. I'm excited to see my friends in the Emmitt-Nershi band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Del McCoury, New Monsoon, Railroad Earth....the list goes on! I feel so fortunate to play at these festivals and am as much a fan as anyone else buying a ticket. I hope to see some new music as well that I may never have heard before!
Next week it's off to Vegas-Flagstaff-Green River Utah....yep, Summer is here!
Love to all!
Whew! It's been a whirlwind of activity these past few weeks....
Recent touring has seen Hot Buttered Rum all over the West and taken us to the great states of Georgia and Florida.
A two-week tour with the Chicago band, Cornmeal, started in Denver. It was the biggest show of the whole tour on night one! We love our
Colorado crew and the evening set the tone for the whole tour. Everywhere we stopped there were people there to welcome us with open arms.
We stopped at Mystic Hot Springs in Southern Utah and played an intimate show after an epic soak on a red rock hillside.
Two nights in Salt Lake City showed us that the live music scene is strong in that community. We were hosted by a kind couple who served an
amazing dinner to some weary musicians and pumped up locals, ready to throw down!
Portland proved once again that Hot Buttered Rum and Cornmeal are bands whose music is appreciated and respected. I love that city and
I had some amazing Lebanese food with my wife and the woman who married us! Love you Annie!!
Bellingham was maybe the sleeper show of the run. A raging Sunday night with a bunch of crazy caped Canadians who made it feel like a
weekend blowout! Our friend runs an ice cream shop called Mallards, truly great ice cream, and she brought 6 pints down to the venue. Nothing like
a post-show ice cream orgy!!
Other tour highlights include free dumplings after the Bend show, another early-week dance party! A sold-out Arcata show that got the California leg of the tour going...
A memorable show at the Great American Music Hall that made me proud to be from the Bay Area. The music fans here are so passionate and help push us to new musical
boundaries. The tour closed in Lake Tahoe and we had our best show there to date! It was a snowy drive home but the Sierras were looking beautiful...
A few days later...
We flew to Atlanta! The Spirit of Suwannee Springfest was the next stop. This is a phenomenal festival and the lineup had some of our best friends! Emmitt-Nershi band, Greensky Bluegrass, Larry Keel, Elephant Revival, and more...We played two sets and the fine folks in the Southeast sopped us up! Really good reception to our vibe and I felt so lucky to be able to play music for so many first-timers. We drove back to Atlanta and played a show at a club called Olde Smith's Bar. It went well and we teamed up with Elephant Revival and The Old Cavalry for a rockin' triple-bill. Hope we can get back to the area soon!
I'm writing you now from my apartment in the East Bay and am getting ready for a couple local events.
This Saturday, Hot Buttered Rum is playing in Felton, near Santa Cruz, at a club called Don Quixote's. Another great band is joining us called The Brothers Comatose. We teamed up with them before and enjoyed their sound immensely! hotbutteredrum.net for info.
Then next Friday, Kinky Buddha will be joined by the Sleeping Giants in San Francisco with special guest Nat Keefe at the Brick and Mortar. This is a benefit for the Belize Barrier Reef. aaronredner.com for more info.
No rest for us though...a two-week run through the Northeast and the Midwest in April is on the horizon....Whew!!
Love to all!
It's an exciting month for Hot Buttered Rum as we find ourselves in the studio to record our fourth studio album! I'm loving the songs we've chosen and we are cruising along. We are guided by our producer, Steve Berlin, who is a highly-esteemed musician/producer and who is helping keep everything on track and sounding great! Our engineer is named Eric and therefore, Erik Yates from HBR is now called "Yates" to avoid any confusion!
Such an interesting process, making a recording like this...Rare in life to analyze yourself so thoroughly and it is a great lesson in humility and acceptance of your own strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is playing and singing their hearts out and I'm sure you'll be satisfied with the result!
We had an excellent show in Sacramento earlier this month with a fun band called The Brothers Comatose. Check 'em out! It was perfect timing to play a show right before going into the studio as it has given the project more of a "live sound" than some of our other Cd's.
We will be playing a private gig for a great organization called Bread and Roses coming up on the 29th at the New Bridge Foundation in Berkeley. Love to play for people needing musical inspiration and joy in their lives! We are also gearing up for a show at an Eco-Farm conference in Carmel as well as a fun-packed weekend in February (10-11) in Guerneville and Grass Valley, two hidden California gems that we hope you can come to! We'll be playing some new material and updated tunes that will be such a blast to perform!
Love to all of you and here's to a year of health and happiness!
Happy New Year everyone! Such an exciting time to be alive! Hot Buttered Rum had a great New Year's Eve show with our brothers in New Monsoon, I just got back from an amazing honeymoon, the band is about to record our best album ever, and the world begins hurtling towards a huge Mayan-fueled exhale this December. It's such an interesting time before you go into the studio to record a significant project. You want to sound spontaneous and fresh when faced with the microphone but you also want to do the prep work to feel like you're going into it with your best stuff! We're going to be produced by the great Steve Berlin who has worked with many of our heroes! The next couple weeks are going to be spent deciding what ends up on the album. We are lucky enough to have a plethora of songs and it's a great process to refine our sound. There's a bunch of touring on the horizon including a show in Sacramento on 1/14 at Harlows, a tour through Idaho and Montana, Wintergrass in Seattle, and a huge tour with Cornmeal all over the West!
If you'd like to hear some brand-new-out-of-the-oven songs, come on down to the Iron Springs Brewery in Fairfax this Saturday! I'll be joined by Erik and Nat for a singer-in-the-round style show. I hope your year is full of inspiration and joy!
Thanks a million to all the amazing people who came to the shows these past couple of weeks!! We had the best of times with our dear brothers in Greensky Bluegrass. We've played together here and there through the years so the familiarity helped forge a further bond that I'm sure will bear musical fruit in the near future.....
Every show had it's highlights and I really enjoyed splitting the 2 bands up into 2 new mixed bands. Music is always a place for strangers to become friends and this was no exception. I loved playing at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland and the Showbox in Seattle where we had our biggest shows ever! Such an honor to play in venues where I've seen my heroes hold court.
Now I'm home for the Thanksgiving holiday and intend to rest and write songs. Two of my favorite pasttimes!
Wanted to also let you know about a cool show Kinky Buddha is playing at the Hopmonk Tavern on Saturday, November 26th. We will be opening for
John Kimock's new project that will include Eric Levy and Bobby Vega! Show starts at 9 pm.
Sorry if I've been a bit out of touch but it's been a busy month...I had the honor of marrying Alexa last Sunday and it was a magical day indeed! Such joy!
I am the luckiest man in the world and together we move forward...
It really is something special to be surrounded by family and friends from each aspect of your life who come together for the sole purpose of union. I love and cherish my new extended family as they have so graciously accepted me into their mix.
After the wedding weekend, we spent a couple days soaking in hot springs which was a nice way to start out. Hot Buttered Rum had a gig outside of Chico in a beautiful setting on Friday. We got to play 2 sets which is always great in a festival setting under the trees and the moonlight and high up in the mountains. The next day, Alexa and I found an amazing farmers market in Chico where we stocked up on veggies and fresh Alaskan salmon before driving up to a friend's cabin in Lake Tahoe. I'll tell ya...Autumn in Lake Tahoe on a gorgeous day is hard to beat! There were very few people as well which made it even more enjoyable! Our place was right across from the Log Cabin breakfast joint in King's Beach; which is one of my favorites! We went for a spectacular hike up through Sugar Bowl and Mt. Judah. The pics were fun from way up there!
We did truly find Autumn; which is what we were looking for....
Here's to love and inspiration!
I'm finally home after a short trip to the Midwest. It has been quite a summer of festivals and club dates. This past tour was our only visit to the Midwest this year so it was great to visit some old friends and enjoy some of that Midwest hospitality.
A couple of real standout moments of the past month....Nedfest! Such a great time in Nederland, CO where they throw quite the yearly party. I remember reading about this festival when I first started playing with Hot Buttered Rum and thinking to myself that someday I hoped to be there. It's a great combination of smalltown community-vibe mixed with a very high level of musicianship. Other bands there included Cornmeal, Leftover Salmon, ALO, a bunch of the String Cheese guys, Jeff Austin, Split Lip Rayfield, and more! We had a great set and Billy Nershi sat in with us on a couple of tunes. I got to sit in with Cornmeal and jam with my soul-sistah, Allie Kral. David Grisman was there as well and it's always an honor to be on the same bill as that legend....
Next highlight...STRAWBERRY! If you have never been to the Strawberry music festival in the Yosemite area, you're missing out! It happens twice a year and we played the Labor Day incarnation. It was wonderful to see some musical friends there such as Nathan Moore and Tim and Nicki Bluhm. The festival has one main stage and we headlined the Thursday night, an honor I will never forget. I remember going to this festival as a fan and thinking how amazing it must be to play a night time set there. We played very well and had the audience on their feet at the end. Really hoping we get asked back to this institution and that we can stay a little longer next time. We went to the Monte Rio Festival on the Russian River where we played a well-received set for the grateful hippies there. I got to talk to another hero on this day, Melvin Seals. He's one of my favorite musicians on the scene and it still trips me out that he recognizes me when we see each other!
In the middle of the set, the band suddenly shifted keys and I had NO idea what was going on! Nat started to talk and let me in on the joke....it was the beginning of my bachelor party! Some of my best friends in the world were secretly called in and after the show we went back to our hotel. The next day we played a round of golf, and floated the Russian River! It was a blast and my manager, Barney Kilpatrick was in town as well which made it extra special as he lives in Atlanta and we rarely see him.
While we were on the river, he cooked up an authentic New Orleans feast that was totally delicious!! The next day was my only day at home before heading out to the Midwest for tour where we learned the lesson that HBR isn't quite as popular as the Green Bay Packers yet : )
I'm a huge football fan and it was fun to watch the opening game of the season that had the Pack hanging on to beat the Saints in a game that reminded me why I love the game.
Now I'm home and spending time preparing for my upcoming wedding....lotsa details but so excited to officially unite with my beloved. Tomorrow I'm going to look for my outfit! Very exciting indeed! Hope the love is flowing for you too wherever you may be......
p.s. Kinky Buddha will be playing a show at the Ashkenaz in Berkeley on September 29th. We are part of a triple bill with Tippy Canoe and Audiafauna. Show starts at 8:30 and we go last. ashkenaz.com
It's been a great month! I celebrated my 40th birthday with some friends at the SF Giants game and an amazing dinner with my parents and Alexa. I'm a big believer in the "birthday week" mentality and made sure every day had a special activity or conversation.
We also had an amazing time at the All Good Festival in West Virginia! HBR opened the mainstage and were welcomed by a huge crowd of enthusiastic young people! Backstage was a great place to hang out where musician/heroes were walking around everywhere!
I posted some pics for you if you want to check it out....
This past weekend was a California adventure that took us from Oakland to Groveland to Lake Tahoe. Some of my favorite places and each show went great! It's an exciting time in Hot Buttered Rum world! Next weekend it's on to Caspar, just north of Mendocino....yep....summer touring rules!!
Another show I'm looking forward to is at the Starry Plough on August 11th. Kinky Buddha will be joined by Kate Gaffney and Eli Jebediah from Poor Man's Whiskey who has started a new band called Huckle. Show starts at 9 and is 6-10 $ on a sliding scale.
Hope you're taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine!
Wow, it's so beautiful outside! I'm someone who can find beauty in the rainiest day but there's something about gliding around in flip flops that
is unrivalled! I spent the July 4th weekend camping on the Sonoma Coast with Alexa, my soon-to-be-wife, and it was delicious being next to
nature's air-conditioner, the Pacific Ocean. I slept so well with the sound of the waves calming my ears and days were spent hiking in forests and
doing yoga amongst rock formations above the ocean. California is truly an amazing place.
Now I'm back home and ready for a week of rehearsals and shows. Tomorrow, July 6th, Kinky Buddha is performing at the Iron Springs Brewery in Fairfax
and I'm unveiling some new songs that I'm excited about! It's been a fertile time for songwriting and some of Hot Buttered Rum's new tunes will get their Bay Area
debut at the Marin JCC this Saturday, July 9th. Great show for the whole family for sure with an early start time!
The following weekend we are travelling to West Virginia for the All Good Festival, a fan-favorite, followed by a festival in Iowa called Camp Euphoria which I'm
sure will be a serious throwdown!
Hope you're all staying cool out there and embracing sun screen! : )