1. Another Summer Weekend with Black Coffee

    This weekend Black Coffee has another run of shows, which wouldn’t be complete without the hot sun, a trip to Western PA, and a new venue – sandwiches and water too of course!

    with Jim DeVoss at Black Coffee’s 2011 People’s Choice Festival Performance

    This will be my third year at People’s Choice (my second year and show with Black Coffee), and I’ll be continuing the thirst-quenching tradition of drinking a fresh squeezed lemonade before the show. I picked up some new pedal gear last week which I’m hoping to try out Friday night in Clarion, but I may not have time to organize it before the weekend.

    Saturday’s show at Club Cafe will be shared with Ricardo Iamuuri and our friends Aristotle Jones & The Like Minds, whom we met at the HMAC for the Millenium Music Conference this year.  We split the bill with them in Morgantown a few months back and look forward to hanging with these fellas again.

    Fri 7/13 @ Peoples Choice Festival (Boalsburg, PA)
    Fri 7/13 @ Toby Hill Bar & Grill (Clarion, PA)
    Sat 7/14 @ Club Cafe (Pittsburgh, PA)
    Sun 7/15 @ Lions Square (Connellsville, PA)

    Details for these shows and more can be found at the Black Coffee website.

    This post is part of the thread: Black Coffee – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

  2. Squier Telecaster Thoughts, 6 Months Later

    It’s been half a year now since I made the purchase on a Squier Classic Vibe Tele.  With my Comanche being my primary road guitar, the Tele with it’s seemingly forever clean strings (by comparison) has been my choice guitar for rehearsals. As so, I’ve spent enough time playing it that I have good feel on how it compares to my G&L Comanche.

    Subtle differences:

    • The first time I gigged with the Tele was with Black Coffee. I immediately noticed that a Tele’s volume knob is a bit out of reach of my little finger for volume fade-ins and fade-outs. Obviously, this isn’t a manufacturing flaw, but it’s a quirk to acclimate to.
    • The neck on my Tele is incredibly similar to the Comanche, but a fast guitar lick in 5th position (Earth Wind & Fire’s “Got To Get You Into My Life”) reveals that the neck is wider up there and the strings are spaced slightly farther apart than what my fingers favor. (It was a bit embarrassing to find this one out during a Hounds rehearsal!)

    Things I’d change:

    • I have yet to add a string retainer to keep the high E string from popping out on string rakes, but it’s still a problem. I’ve adjusted to it by playing this guitar differently. Holding back on the guitar is not cool, so this is still something I need to add!
    • Finally, there is the lacquered neck.  It just doesn’t feel right. My fingers feel like they catch on the lacquer. I’m hesitant to use any fretboard conditioner on the lacquer for fear of a chemical reaction causing damage to it. Yeah, I know – it’s a cheap guitar and I should sand it off. I’ve considered it, but my other guitars have me sold on rosewood fretboards. I’d like to get a new neck that has a rosewood fretboard with a string retainer pre-installed on the headstock.

    Pick-ups, pick-ups, pick-ups. I’ve been playing my Tele through my Barker and my Ampeg Reverberocket. Though, it’s seen more time on the Reverberocket (a helluva versatile amp, I must say! And sadly, as a result, the J12T hasn’t seen much play time lately). At this time, replacing the pick-ups is low on my list of gear priorities. In fact, I’m pretty damn happy with how the stock pick-ups sound! Though, perhaps I am not a *true* gear head? I find that I use the pick-up switch and volume knobs far more often than on the Comanche. With the Telecaster, I spend more time tweaking the tone at the guitar.  With the Comanche, I find myself tone-tweaking at the amp.

    With all of that said, and no regrets, this guitar was everything I hoped it would be!

    This post is part of the thread: Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

  3. Time for a 4 Day Run with Black Coffee

    Black Coffee at the Harrisburg Jazz & Multicultural Festival (2011)

    Today the Coffee crew begins a 4 day run! We’ll be putting on the miles this weekend, as the shows will takes to Pittsburgh, Morgantown, Harrisburg, and back to Chalk Hill (near Somerset, PA) for our second trip to the Christian Klay Winery (where’s the BBQ?!). Not suprisingly, the gigs over the last 14 months have already put 40,000 miles on the Jeep. Before I know it, she’ll need new tires again!

    While all of this weekend’s shows are sure to be blast, I’m very much excited for us to hit the Jazz & Multicultural Festival in Harrisburg again this year, as it’s always good catching up with friends near my old stomping grounds. Joining us on bass for this show will be long time friend David Pfister (whom joined me in our old acoustic project, the Jackdaw Boys).

    Here’s the low down:

    Thurs 6/28 @ The Smiling Moose (Pittsburgh, PA)
    Fri 6/29 @ Morgantown Brewing Company (Morgantown, WV)
    Sat 6/30 @ Harrisburg Jazz & Multicultural Festival (Harrisburg, PA)
    Sun 7/1 @ Christian W. Klay Winery (Chalk Hill, PA)

    This post is part of the thread: Black Coffee – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

  4. Flyers for Upcoming "Big Hitters" with Black Coffee

    Black Coffee has some great shows coming up! To name a just a few of the big hitters, we’re going to be at Arts Alive Fest in Morgantown (Sunday June 10th), People’s Natural Gas Park (Saturday June 16th), and FarmJammaLamma (Saturday, July 7th!). There are going to be some great bands on these bills too, so we’re very excited.

    The Arts Alive Fest line-up includes Keller Williams, Zack Deputy, and Larry Keel & Natural Bridge! Plus our friends Aristotle Jones & The Like Minds (whom we recently performed with at The Cue, in Morgantown), will also be there.

    Last year we had the opportunity to perform at Johnstown’s famous Flood City Music Festival. This year, we’ve been invited to perform at the opening of People’s Natural Gas Park, with other previous FMCF performers Tab Benoit, Eilen Jewell, and Los Straitjackets!

    And finally, we head back to Camp Kevin for our first FarmJammaLamma performance on Saturday July 7th. To name a few, we’ll be performing with friends Mysterytrain as well as Chris Vipond & The Stanley Street Band.

    This post is part of the thread: Black Coffee – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

  5. A Year Later

    'Showtime' (Club Cafe)

    It’s hard to believe that Black Coffee has been cranking for only a year.  To celebrate, we played our anniversary show last night at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh.  I like hanging with the band and friends after the show, but an occasional late night drive home is always nice to reflect.

    It was a pleasure to share the evening with Aabaraki, a band that’s been in my funk/soul rotation for a few months now, who dubs their style as reduction-stutterfunk.  Earlier in the year, a few of us went to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band in New York and winded up catching these fellas at Rockwood Music Hall.  Definitely check them out.

    'Doors at 7' (Altar Bar)

    We also had the opportunity to talk with the sound engineer, Denny, who – as it turns out – used to run sound regularly for Queen Bee and the Blue Hornet Band.  He has been running sound for years, and it was great to have him behind the knobs last night.

    Pittsburgh shows are always special to us.  There are some nice venues down there, great people, and folks just seem to genuinely enjoy seeing live music.  As usual, there were a ton of familiar faces, but it was especially good catch up with the Touch Faster crew and our friends Joe and Monica.  Joe was always among the performers at the Phryst open mic nights we’d hit when we were starting out as a trio.  (Great times, but I don’t miss carrying my Barker through the crowd on our way out.  Though, my Ampeg would fare well in that environment…)

    'Hanging with The Lube' (Flood City Music Festival)

    So we shall see what the year brings.  We’ve played over 65 shows in the last year including a pile of festivals, shared the stage with Lubriphonic and Bettye LaVette in Pittsburgh (not to mention a pile of touring acts at Johnstown’s Flood City Music Festival), met some really great folks along the way, and to say the least:  we are chomping at the bit to hit it hard again this time around.  We have a pile of new tunes in the works, and are truly branching out regionally with shows on the calendar in WV, PA, and NY and others in the works in MD and VA.

    That’s all for now. Be on the lookout for our friend Jay’s recording of last night’s show.  And if you’d like, sign up for our email list in the meantime.