Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Did a good long walk today. I'm feeling it, but hopefully it will be worth it. I didn't hear the State of the Union address, but I'm sure I will hear about it tomorrow.

The cool thing is that I'll be working on walking daily and also getting some more music in as I can. I've started working on the diatonic ("button") accordion. That will be challenging but good. I'll also start working on some Esteban Jordan songs.


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Monday, January 24, 2011


Recuperating well. I have instructions for some anti-inflammation assistance to help me get back up and going.

Tomorrow I'll do a nice long walk and hopefully I'll do OK. I created a workout for when I'm ready... I know, I keep saying that. But the new bed has helped as much as anything else.

Tonight is down time to rest up and do some practicing. I have a gig this Saturday and it will be the piano accordion, the keyboard and a button accordion I picked up last year!



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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Nothing worse than saying "we are cool without practicing for this week" then getting a message to add extra rehearsals. I am sick but adding rehearsals while I need to catch up to other things don't help either. Especially since the rehearsals don't add much. Oh well...



Saturday, January 15, 2011


Down sick. Will have to rest up and get some house cleaning done this weekend. In the meantime enjoyed playing this Esteban Jordan song at a friends retirement party. The video isn't us, but we covered this song fairly well.



Saturday, January 08, 2011

Political Assassination Attempt?

It may be too soon for some to declare the shooting today as an assassination attempt. It seems apparent that even if the shooter had some mental issues that there was a political angle. Politics have become divisive and the only option is to vote and organize to counter the irrational attitudes and actions now. This seems clearly more than just someone going after a public figure. The corporate sponsored misinformation that is put out everyday is a part of this.

We need to return to reasonable yet passionate discourse in order to move our society forward. Violence is not conducive to democracy. My heart goes to those who were thinking they were going to have an opportunity to talk to their elected official and were hurt or murdered in that process.



Monday, January 03, 2011

Tómate Esta Botella Con Migo...

Nada me han enseñado los años.
Siempre caigo en los mismos errores.
Otra vez a tocar con extraños.
Y a cantarle a los mismos dolores...

OK, words changed a little bit from Jose Alfredo's version. I've been thinking about what to do between now and my 45th... 46th birthdays. (Long story for another time.) I know that I will be working a lot on politics for the next round of elections. I already quit one band and told the other that I would likely take a short to long break after graduation from the MPH program.

So I started talking with musician friends about what I would like to do with music in my life. So below will be a quick overview of that and some of my musical history and links for anyone who wants to hear what I'm talking about. Part of my difficulties so far is that most people I have been playing with do not take the time to listen to much accordion music so it gets difficult to try and express what I'm trying to get people to do. The other is that often the accordion is a funky add on for people and they could be happy with me playing keyboards instead.

In the most basic sense, I want to play urban Chicano Acordeón. For me the fundamental example of that is Esteban "Steve" Jordan. Of course I don't play button accordion, but the urban nature of the music is what grabs me. This has been an issue since I was raised by very rural grandparents, I've picked berries, and living in New Mexico also doesn't embrace urbanism completely - and for some good reasons. Growing up I also listened to Jimi Hendrix, Suicidal Tendencies, The Beatles, Jimmy Reed, Oldies, Santana, El Chicano, War, even The Doors, Prince, and George Clinton, Tierra and other amazing groups who played music in English.

(Huh, listening to El Chicano just reminded me how we used to get into the deep music beyond what's on the radio these days...) Sounds like I was a musical sponge, there are lots of groups I can keep thinking of that I've tried to at least learn one of their songs...

Then there was the earlier stuff. The Chicano Mexicano stuff that was on at home all of the time. My uncles owned a bar and my Abuelita was the cook. So I remember hanging out at the bar. I first played pool standing on a chair at about 4 years old. There were almost always some Relampagos del Norte going on. Ruben Vela, Tony de La Rosa, Los Gavilanes, Los Dos Gilbertos, Los Alegres de Teran and Conjunto Bernal were also normal at the house.

And of course there are groups who I still learn about and try to learn from like Albert Zamora and El Tri. My favorites are Los Garcia and Esteban Jordan. Esteban is who influences my concept of what can be done on the Acordeón and why I feel comfortable playing on rock, blues, R & B, even country and other styles. It's why I can go to jam night. Sometimes people trip out on the instrument, but I usually do fine. I didn't grow up listening to Louisiana music but I have listened to some of those masters as well, but I'm not much interested in being that type of player. I doubt that many people go to New Orleans and ask if they play conjunto, but people ask me if I play cajun... I don't. I can add a little touch of it, but I can't say I play it as it should be played.

So all of that to say that I would like to take some traditional songs and make them relate to an urban Chicano reality. Take an oldie like El Ultimo Trago, and shuffle it with accordion. To do that, and to do English songs with a Chicano feel. And also take very traditional songs and push the urban part of the ranchera. Pushing Volver, Volver as a cumbia. Maybe some straight Chicano Jazz or blurring the line between cumbia and salsa, or between polkas and jazz. That's my goal. And if I can do it at a Route 66 Roadhouse that would be even better!

I don't know if I can live up to all of that while I work, support my family and go to grad school. But if I don't try to rush it, I can have fun trying!

Maybe a song every couple of weeks if my musical friends can put up with it!!!

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Saturday, January 01, 2011


Had a great night last night. Apparently broke into something deep. Felt very sick and then was listening to Chavela do Paloma Negra, then ended up following it to her version of El Ultimo Trago. Made me tear up, thinking of those who have already gone, and people and things I still need to let go of... Then found this, its a little less "heavy" but still can get eye water. Que Viva La Raza and have a Chingon New Year!

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