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Author Topic: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy  (Read 1705 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Just got back.
First of all Paul who is 68 played for a solid THREE HOURS STRAIGHT! You try it sometime. I used to do it regularly in my teens and twenties but now?....I don't know.
Do you have any idea how many fucking songs that is? I wrote down most of them in a fit of amateur journalistic enthusiasm.


Pony Blues-Patton
Stockin' Feet Blues - BLJ
Arrangement for me (?) _ Bo Carter
Writin' Paper Blues -BWMc
Lost my mind in a wild romance-Percy Mayfield
Statesboro Blues-BWMc
Come on in my kitchen - RJ
From Four until Late - RJ
Risin' River Blues - Barbecue Bob
Jivin' Woman Blues(?) - Scrapper Blackwell
I'm Goin' Away- Libba Cotton
Love my Stuff- Charlie Patton
Stones in my Passway-RJ
When You Got a Good Friend-RJ
Don't sell it don't give it away - Oscar Woods
Dyin' Crap Shooter's Blues- BWMc
Piano
Careless Love-?
The Rocket Ship- Ray Charles
Fallin' Through My Heart- Paul Geremia -hitherto PG
Geremia's Railroad-PG
One More Last Time-PG
Farewell Sweet Rag - PG


And as I said I didn't get them all. There were a couple of more Pattons in there and a story about how Howlin' Wolf showed Paul how to get at playing Patton correctly.


Unfortunately, once again there were only 14 people in the audience two of whom were loud obnoxious refugees from a biker bar drunks who fortunately were Paul's biggest fans, knew his oeuvre really well but were a total drag for everybody.


I don't know how else to put this..I mean every time you see a comment posted on a blues video someone opines "Thanks for keeping the music alive" and I always interpret that to mean "better you than me, don't expect me to give any serious attention to that old shit."


Folks if you don't start showing up at performances in the company of several friends, this thing is fucking OVER!


How was Paul's playing? Depending on the song as good or better than Ry Cooder's or Ari Eisenger's or Ernie Hawkins or Frankie's or mine or yours or anybody's.
And frankly his range of material is greater than all of the above leave Cooder. Is he the most charming performer? No, but he's no longer surly, in fact I thought he exhibited saintlike patience and professionalism in the face of drunks I might have had to kill if they were in my audience. So what's the deal? Can't we do something together in a concerted manner to get out a descent sized audience when someone of this caliber performs?
Euro Weenies you all know people stateside, can't you rouse them into attending? Likewise Ameri-Weenies I have friends in London I can try to mobilize.


Before I end i wanted to mention that while I have been down on the whole singer-songwriter genre for quite a while now (most of it is intolerable to me), Paul's original songs were really moving , musically interesting, uninfected by cleverness or cuteness and really straight shooting, straight from the heart light years better than most of what passes as good songwriting.


I've been playing with thumb and index finger for so long that I forget the advantages of three finger playing, but Paul gets an absolutely awesome steady rolling cadence going with his right hand that I haven't heard anyone else equal.
 
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Offline Adam Franklin

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 02:08:25 AM »
14................

Truly disheartening. In the UK, it would probably be less.

I once saw a really good and well known singer, picker, writer, play to 3 people at a UK festival. Still put on a great show mind. Probably why many fewer US acts come here now.

It's just hard getting people out. The music/entertainment business has changed a lot in the last few years, the way people view music as entertainment has changed along with it.

Looking forward, Adam.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 06:23:15 AM »
And sadly, the Jalopy is a beacon for this music (OK, said beacon is in a location that's as easy to find and get to as Elvis's current hideout), and still only 14 people for one of the best players out there. I know Paul would have similar stories to tell from other gigs.

Thanks for the review, M. O'Muck.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 07:10:33 AM »
I had a serious heart to heart with one of the owners of Jalopy on how to arrange transportation from the NYU (Village) area and the LES (east Village) to put asses in the seats. If anyone reading this knows a bus or limo company in the NYC area that would freelance, so to speak with individual fares as payment let me know. As i told her "Right now there is a small bus operator paying to have their bus sit in a lot that would welcome the chance to ferry people from downtown manhattan to Redhook and back for a few bucks over gas costs." I'll be workin' on it. Jalopy really is a unique place, that deserves to survive being the only venue in the NYC area that continues the now long tradition of this city's preeminence in the folk -Blues-Old Time revival movement,.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline CF

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 08:11:02 AM »
Wow that is ridiculous! . . . and I'm always noticing the low turnout for these shows in the videos & etc.
It's such a lesson for a guy like me who lives in butt-fuck nowhere to think that in NYC a player like Paul only draws 14 people!!!!
It's funny, I live in a province/state of about 150, 000 souls. In the past I've moved to urban centers with hopes of getting
more work as a musician only to find that I did better back home. I put on house concerts somewhat irregularly, usually me & a local friend & we routinely draw 60-80 souls paying $10 to get in. There are friends & family members in the audience, sure, but there's a lot of strangers too. Makes me realize how lucky I am.
I think I'll keep plugging away in my little corner of the globe  :(
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Offline Stuart

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 08:12:47 AM »
Thanks for the report, Mr. O'. It's a damn shame that Paul, as one of the best--if not the best--in the profession today, didn't have a bigger, better and more appreciative audience to perform to. You have addressed accessibility (I'm not familiar with the area, but I'm sure that location was one factor for the small crowd), but another factor is awareness. As Adam points out, things have changed over the years, but with today's level of market saturation, awareness and getting the word out is more important than ever. Perhaps arranging a couple of spots on the campus and/or alternative radio stations in the week leading up to, as well as on the day of the gig would improve attendance. It would take someone with experience who knew what they were doing to run interference and to pre-plan from a distance to make it happen, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility. I know that it happens in the Seattle area all the time. Obviously, you're not going to get 100% coverage and not everyone who hears about it will attend, but if people aren't aware of the gig, how to get there, and the quality of the artist and his or her music, they certainly won't attend. Just a few thoughts...
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 09:05:17 AM by Stuart »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 11:50:22 AM »
Wow that is ridiculous! . . . and I'm always noticing the low turnout for these shows in the videos & etc.
It's such a lesson for a guy like me who lives in butt-fuck nowhere to think that in NYC a player like Paul only draws 14 people!!!!
It's funny, I live in a province/state of about 150, 000 souls. In the past I've moved to urban centers with hopes of getting
more work as a musician only to find that I did better back home. I put on house concerts somewhat irregularly, usually me & a local friend & we routinely draw 60-80 souls paying $10 to get in. There are friends & family members in the audience, sure, but there's a lot of strangers too. Makes me realize how lucky I am.
I think I'll keep plugging away in my little corner of the globe  :(

There is a lot of wisdom in mining the home crowd Mike. Actually the only people I know surviving on their art are those who've adopted that strategy. Maybe all art like all politics is local. Seeing the tired looking Paul bundle behind the wheel of his modest sedan at midnight heading back up to Rhode island with how much money after gas? was a sobering reminder of just how slim the pickings are in this field.
I don't know if he played for a guarantee. I hope so for his sake and hope not for Jalopy's.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 11:56:22 AM »
Thanks for the report, Mr. O'. It's a damn shame that Paul, as one of the best--if not the best--in the profession today, didn't have a bigger, better and more appreciative audience to perform to. You have addressed accessibility (I'm not familiar with the area, but I'm sure that location was one factor for the small crowd), but another factor is awareness. As Adam points out, things have changed over the years, but with today's level of market saturation, awareness and getting the word out is more important than ever. Perhaps arranging a couple of spots on the campus and/or alternative radio stations in the week leading up to, as well as on the day of the gig would improve attendance. It would take someone with experience who knew what they were doing to run interference and to pre-plan from a distance to make it happen, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility. I know that it happens in the Seattle area all the time. Obviously, you're not going to get 100% coverage and not everyone who hears about it will attend, but if people aren't aware of the gig, how to get there, and the quality of the artist and his or her music, they certainly won't attend. Just a few thoughts...

Very good points Stuart and much along the lines I've been thinking about. I don't know if Jalopy actively does much PR but I intend to speak to them about getting an intern in a college PR program to help make sure events get on college stations.

Another thought, as I pointed out in my review of Geoff Muldaur's Jalopy show, the younger Blues generation people who make the place their home were notably absent, the ungrateful little fuckers! The one member of their club that was there was given stern instructions to beat the shit out of the rest and make sure they show up next time.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline lindy

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 12:04:57 PM »

Putting asses in chairs is yeoman's work, a great thing that you can do for an artist of Paul's stature.

But there's something equally good: cash, or it's first cousin, checks.

Folks like us can put a lot of time and energy into getting people out of their easy chairs, away from their laptops, and into places like the Jalopy, with uneven results at best.

Or, we can put a little bit of energy into writing a check for whatever amount and sending it to Paul as a way of saying "Thanks," even if you're living on the other side of the country. You can ask for a copy of his new CD and say "keep the change," or order multiple copies and pass them out to friends.

During my time in New Orleans I could always put extra money in the tip jar as a way of showing appreciation for a band or solo performer. Many times I heard the words, "I'd like y'all to meet my good friend Philip, Philip DeJar." Besides asking the Jalopy owner to start a transportation system, you can also ask her to invite Philip to her joint. If the cover is $10, then an extra $20 seems about right.

L

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 12:41:03 PM »
There is something wrong here. Is this Jalopy in the middle of nowhere? A dump? Very expensive?

Here in Calgary (pop. 1,000,000) (hotbeds of sanity) we have an acoustic bluesman (Tim Williams) who plays every Tues. at a local small club. Every Tues. for now going on  four years. And he gets 20 to 40 people every week. Every week! That a talent like Paul can't get 20 folks for a one off is wrong. Something else is in play here. Has this Jalopy heard of promotion. Is all of NYC into hippity-hop?

Alex

Offline CF

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 01:22:09 PM »
Stuart's point is dead-on about advertising your gigs as much as you can. Online AND print presences are really essential (older audience still reads the newspaper, younger and older both have Facebookvision) & even things like using the right picture & tone in the gig spiel/description yadda yadda. It's actually not that much work & the payoff is SOMETIMES there.

Strange the younger crowd aren't showing up for these gigs, I wonder why that is. Probably my generation has a tendency to worship the 78 era players too much, to the detriment of those from the revival period who kept & keep the music alive?

EDIT: or are they gigging/working?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 01:36:17 PM by cheapfeet »
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2012, 02:11:31 PM »
There is something wrong here. Is this Jalopy in the middle of nowhere? A dump? Very expensive?

Here in Calgary (pop. 1,000,000) (hotbeds of sanity) we have an acoustic bluesman (Tim Williams) who plays every Tues. at a local small club. Every Tues. for now going on  four years. And he gets 20 to 40 people every week. Every week! That a talent like Paul can't get 20 folks for a one off is wrong. Something else is in play here. Has this Jalopy heard of promotion. Is all of NYC into hippity-hop?

Alex

Middle of nowhere is pretty much the problem I'm afraid. A very long hike from the nearest subway through some forbidding streets.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline CF

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2012, 02:33:30 PM »
What's that old Real Estate mantra . . . location, location, location.

House concerts are a way to go. There's a touring route for folk musicians in Canada called Home Routes or something & it's basically a series of private homes across this great big country that host shows. It's quality controlled I think, you don't get booked if you can't play, but several of my friends have done it & they make money. You just go from home to home, host usually feeds & keeps the musicians. Paul should be able to not travel very far along the east coast have a good amount of work, damn I don't get this business!
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2012, 04:22:05 PM »
Strange the younger crowd aren't showing up for these gigs, I wonder why that is. Probably my generation has a tendency to worship the 78 era players too much, to the detriment of those from the revival period who kept & keep the music alive?

I respectfully don't think that this is the case. The young people exposed to this music in my experiance  become instant fans IF The performing artist is an engaging personality. The one I'm thinking of goes out of his way to humorize between songs, often to point out the double entendre elements beforehand and to sketch out the artists. And no bowderization! He does a lot of  covers of 20'-30's blues folks, and I don't see that in and of itself turning off the younguns. I've actually seen 20-somethings get up to dance spontaniously (both times to Aberdeen Mississippi Blues). Too cool!

Alex

Offline eric

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2012, 06:52:51 PM »
Maybe New Yorkers are jaded?  A couple of years ago, I drove to Fallon, Nevada, an hour east from my home in Reno, to see Rory Block.  Fallon's main industry is growing alfalfa, has a population of 7,300, and the nearest town in the other direction is 110 miles to the east with a population of 192.  There were 300 people there: cowboys, farmers, other locals, a few folks from Reno.  Rory killed 'em.  Told Son House stories. Brought a local kid up to sing a duet, had a q&a with the audience, and people were lined up to buy her CD.  Go figure.
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2012, 07:09:05 PM »
Maybe New Yorkers are jaded?  A couple of years ago, I drove to Fallon, Nevada, an hour east from my home in Reno, to see Rory Block.  Fallon's main industry is growing alfalfa, has a population of 7,300, and the nearest town in the other direction is 110 miles to the east with a population of 192.  There were 300 people there: cowboys, farmers, other locals, a few folks from Reno.  Rory killed 'em.  Told Son House stories. Brought a local kid up to sing a duet, had a q&a with the audience, and people were lined up to buy her CD.  Go figure.

One doesn't have to figure...alfalfa says it all ;)
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline eric

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2012, 07:33:53 PM »
Well, O'Muck, you probably have something there.   As a rule, quality entertainment is hard to come by in Fallon... :-\  Here in Reno, we get the B Team baby boomer acts at the casinos.  The era of lounge singers is pretty much over, and the local old timers tell Sammy Davis stories.  We pine for the days when the mob ran the show, it was a lot more fun.  Now, the corporate owners want a revenue stream from everything, so no more free drinks and cheap breakfasts.  Every once in while we get some interesting players at the clubs here or at Lake Tahoe but rarely any players like Rory or Paul.  The Jalopy Theatre sounds like my kind of place.  It's a shame they can't get a bigger draw.
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Offline Rivers

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2012, 08:18:14 PM »
O'Muck, sad but true. I blame society. American Idle, etc. I see it every day at work, can't believe what otherwise intelligent people find to be important musically and culturally in general.

I just have learned to shut up or confess to musical geekdom, "oh, I'm into old blues, jazz and hillbilly music", usually draws a total blank.

I have no idea what to do about it either but am glad you are fired up. I used to be apathetic but now I really can't be bothered, as the old joke goes.

I'm looking forward to Port Townsend, where one can recapture a perspective that lasts for at least a year.

Making a living at playing it though, man, I can't imagine ever being good enough to cut through the prevailing crap. So I don't even try, music is a passionate hobby and always will be, for me, in this lifetime. That was a conscious decision, made long ago, based on my acknowledged limitations in the vocal department, not to mention lack of desire for lugging gear around and the other joys and pains of playing out for strangers in strange places.

For everyone else trying to make a go of it, make sure there's good publicity, an audience and easy parking.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2012, 09:04:45 PM »
Parking's pretty good around the Jalopy, as I recall. You just have to find the place.  :P Thankfully I've had guides when I've gone.

It should be said that the Jalopy is a pretty special place, lest anyone think Paul Geremia got screwed by some lazy bar owners who don't give a rat's ass (and I know that was not the intended impression at all, but it seems there are folks here who have never heard of the place). It's a little place in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood that's run by great people. There's a small theatre stage at the back where the performances take place, with maybe 8 or 10 rows of pews for seating, last time I was there, then a front section selling good beer, coffee and assorted musical instruments of varying quality and vintage, many of them the sort of oddball stringed things that would catch the eye of musicians frequently this forum. They have roots music events of some kind going on almost every evening, and they also run a music school that has featured workshops from some deep musicians - John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers has taught and showed his films, Jerron Paxton's done week-long lessons there, Pat Conte has done several guitar, banjo and fiddle workshops, as well as events where he spins 78s and discusses them for a mix of young hipsters and old geezers, the Little Brothers have done a workshop there as well, and many others. They have started presenting music at other venues, like the Natural History Museum gigs that O'Muck has mentioned previously, and they are some of the folks behind the Brooklyn Folk Festival. They've started a record label and now they've opened a pub next to the theatre. How's the pub, btw?

Anyway, a great place worth seeking out.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 07:07:33 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Cleoma

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2012, 07:53:40 AM »
The Jalopy is a real jewel, but it definitely is hard to find!  The first time I played there, we drove around for about an hour trying to find it (no GPS, and that's the ONLY time I ever wished I had one!) and just arrived in time to get onstage.  But once there, it was heaven.  Paul Geremia - one of the greats to those in the know - but I think that people who are 1) young 2) good-looking 3) offspring of famous people 4) former rock stars 5) have some kind of hokey "persona" -- those folks have some kind of a "hook" that can be used to reel in an audience.  With Paul, it's all about the music, and such deep music.  Maybe he needs to be rediscovered by some young hip blues person, but unfortunately he's not black.  He has certainly been an inspiration to me and to so many others and I hope somehow, someday, he'll get the recognition his music deserves.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2012, 11:19:35 AM »
If I can find the Jalopy, anybody can! Although, funnily enough, not the NY taxi driver who dropped me a block away...I second the motion that it's a wonderful place and I honestly can't understand why it isn't mobbed every night. The night I was there, the majority of people were on stage, and there were few in the audience.

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2012, 01:35:42 PM »
Hey Mr. OMuck -

Agreed -- it's a shame Paul doesn't have 'em hanging from the rafters.  That said I REALLY appreciate your description of his music.  Right on -- he is a real treasure. Anybody w/ the chance should see him live (and many times).  I'm sure I've seen him well over 100 times (in every possible venue including my back porch) and it's never less than a revelation.  But it's true he's not there to "entertain" (at least in the sense that the folk/songwriter/coffeeehouse crowd seems to expect).  Seems like Paul honed his craft when you pulled into a town and had a multi-day stay at a club & over those days you developed your crowd, let the show itself develop & change -- create some connections, etc.  The fans he develops seem to be lifers (I sure am). 

I'm glad he played the Jalopy -- I suspect he enjoyed it & will be back so there'll be more chances.....

--Peter

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2012, 12:56:08 PM »
have some kind of hokey "persona"
Suzy,
I love your phrase "hokey "persona"".  It so perfectly describes a quality that is often considered to be part of a performer's special appeal, but which I almost always view skeptically.  It's a great and useful coinage.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eagle rockin daddy

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2012, 08:59:27 AM »
Paul is simply the best. I saw him a few weeks ago here in Vermont, Just incredible. 

He looked pretty svelte, BTW.

Mike

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Re: Obese Journeyman Bluesman as Superhero: Paul Geremia at Jalopy
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2012, 04:18:59 PM »
It's criminal people won't pay him the time of day.  Snap, entertainment is about "being at" events and "seeing" celebraties, I caught Paul up in Maine a few years back.  He was a little long at the bar over break, so most of the house split. There were 3 or 4 of us left. he came up, grabbed his 12-string and proceeded to play a killer set, re-tuning as he went (std, drop D, G6 spanish vestapol) without changing guitars. Bix, Leadbelly, McTell, his own stuff. Whew.
Red House should record a set of him on piano blues. He kills there as well.  Ok, they'd loose money, but how bout one for the arts? Rambler

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