Jorma Kaukonen Deserves His Legendary Status
The crowd was buzzing with excitement as Jorma and Barry Mitterhoff took the stage for the show, but quickly became silent as the first notes wafted from their guitars.
Joking with Bill Hurley, the esteemed producer and director of the Session, Jorma settled into the show so easily that it felt as if we were sitting in his living room and he was noodling around for us. One thing, though, was that there was no noodling – every note they played, every lyric they sang, was perfect. There were no do-overs (not that we mind do-overs because we get to enjoy the song a second time).
Jorma is touring to support the release of his latest album, Ain’t In No Hurry. One of the songs they played, ‘In My Dreams’, is haunting. During the interview portion of the evening, Jorma told us he awoke one morning with the lyric “I never seem to age in my dreams” in his head, and the song poured from him. He said he is not a prolific songwriter and that songwriting does not come easily to him, but one would never know that based on that song as well as others he has written.
I have seen Jorma perform – as long ago as the 1972 Jefferson Airplane concert in Central Park and as recently as a Hot Tuna acoustic tour – so I knew I would be hearing and seeing some spectacular finger-style guitar playing. I had never seen Barry perform, however, unless he toured with Hot Tuna and was blown away by how good he is on the guitar and especially on the mandolin.
Other songs they performed were stunning versions of ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out’ and ‘Brother Can You Spare A Dime’, both on the new album; a song derived from a Woody Guthrie work with new music by Jorma and Larry Campbell; ‘Come Back Baby’, a Lightnin’ Hopkins tune; and a song by Leroy Carr, who I first heard about within the past six months and have since heard his music performed several times.
The acts at the Sessions generally perform seven or eight songs; after the contracted number, Jorma asked if they could play some more. As far as we were concerned, they could play all night!
We usually take a short break between the music and interview portions of the show, but Jorma and Barry wanted to launch right into it. Jorma kept his guitar in his lap and at times during the interview noodled a bit. Incredible…
One member of the audience asked if Jorma has any good stories about the legendary Airplane house in San Francisco. This is not necessarily an exact quote, but he said, “I don’t mean to name drop, but one of our housemates had a pet python. One day Janis [Joplin] and Grace [Slick] were playing pool and had to stop when the python got into the pool table and peeked its head up through one of the pockets!” Name drop all you want, Jorma!
Had there been time, I would have asked him if he met Jack Kerouac back in the day; I would not be surprised if they hung out and had a good old time, Jack being his frenetic self and Jorma being laid back (at least that’s how I imagine he is, based on his demeanor at this show).
This was an evening of epic proportions, and I cannot wait to see the documentary that is produced.
Jorma and Barry, thank you for gracing our stage and letting us into your lives. Everyone will be talking about this event for years to come.
Posted on March 15, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged acoustic blues, Barry Mitterhoff, boston, concert review, Extended Play Sessions, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane, Jorma Kaukonen, music. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.