Hot Tuna, Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen (photo above) perform with a well-honed and solid power, always in the groove from their years of experience and mutual inspiration. Much comes from their subtle sense of feeling, the nuances that make their playing continually dynamic whether as an acoustic duo or a vibrant electric band, adding drummer, Justin Guip. They are heading west for the winter.
While art will always be a progressive process and reflect the changes of the people in our evolving world, some things are best kept preserved. Music is the perfect example of this. Progressive Rock, Jazz Fusion, Post Punk, New Wave, an echo of the culture and climate that influenced these musicians.
From their days playing together as teenagers, through their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, Jefferson Airplane, to their current acoustic and electric blues, no one has more consistently led American music for the last 50 years than Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, the founders and core members of Hot Tuna.
I had the privilege of attending my favorite festival of the year for the fifth year in a row, and I am here to tell you about the best place on Earth. I would travel across several oceans to get to this festival. It is one that if you haven’t experienced, it should be placed on your bucket list. I’d like to start this tale of Dark Star Jubilee, held at Legend Valley, in Thornville Ohio, each Memorial Day weekend, with some words from the band, written in each schedule passed out:
I first saw Jorma play an acoustic solo show in 1980 at the Palace Theatre in Albany, New York. I remember shooting a bunch of photos of him playing that night, and I tried to find my film negatives before seeing him Friday night at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California. I wasn’t able to find my old pics, but I’m glad I couldn’t. Because to really experience the wonder that is Jorma (instant recognition from just his first name speaks to his sing
The rain started early Saturday morning, just after the Umphrey‘s McGee set closed up shop. That dope encore was legit. The intermittent downpours left over 5 inches of rain in their wake on the fields of Oakridge. Personally, my tent was soaked. The air mattress was now officially a floatation device in the wonderfully glassy sea that previously was the tent floor.
There is a place filled with nothing but greatness, where virtuous vibes fly like the swallows of Capistrano, and magical music frees the spirit to glide up her own personal stairway to heaven. There is a place where heady humans come to swim together in a sea of awesomeness with kindness in their hearts and love in their souls.
Hot Tuna, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, tours this June and July bringing eclectic acoustic soul driving music to the USA. Hot Tuna's music has a certain intrigue, regardless of the note, which stems from a heartfelt, in-the-moment expression. It's a slice of Americana, part old-time blues, part psychedelic rock and roll. (www.HotTuna.com)
May 14 Dear Jerry, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD, Jorma
So many years after the disbandment of Grateful Dead that in turn relocated tens of thousands of devoted tour followers to various other acts and bigger life purposes, folks still crave that familiar feeling that kept them on tour. It didn’t only come from the music that Garcia and the gang connected with so many people through, but the sense of community and thriving weirdness that expanded continuously over decades of different intersections.