Heart Center

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Sep 05, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Monday, August 6, 2007

(Big Rapids, MI, Monday, August 6, 2007)- Early Monday afternoon Celia and I pick up our rent-a-car and head north and west for Big Rapids, home of Ferris State University and the Erlewine compound where we'll be staying as guests of Michael Erlewine and his family until Thursday. It's great to be on the road again with my daughter and we're looking forward to a great time in Big Rapids.

Erlewine is a devout Tibetan Buddhist and has named his current installation the Heart Center Library where I will be performing with Michael on harmonica, his daughter Daisy Mae on piano, Seth on guitar and his friends in the rhythm section. (This is where I must remind myself again to write down everyone's name on the spot so I can fill them in at times like this.)

Seth and Daisy Mae have a terrific duo act and they start off the evening with some of their very moving music and songs. The Library is full of people of all ages, mostly mature though, and the band has studied my recordings so they are able to back me up to perfection. The concert is presented by a new Big Rapids arts collective called Tribe Life Productions which also operates the fine new recording studio Erlewine has installed in the basement under the direction of an enterprising young man called Ryan Williams.

The local daily newspaper, the Pioneer, has responded to my presence in this small town in a big way, starting with a pre-concert story on Sunday in the same issue that features Daisy Mae on the front page of the arts section, followed by an interview with me in the Tuesday paper and a rave review of the proceedings. On Wednesday Ryan takes me by the newspaper's offices to pick up some copies and we have a great time talking with the publisher and the editor as well as the writer, all of whom could well be described as fans.

We also visit the premises of Galloup Guitars, a brilliant place where guitars are manufactured by hand, also restored and repaired, and there is a school in the back where some 72 new luthiers are trained by Brian Galloup each year to be able to construct four different guitars by hand in order to pass the course. Brian was trained by Michael's brother, the great luthier Dan Erlewine, and he has taken the enterprise to a whole new level.

Michael has returned to his work in astrology and has been preparing a series of 16 e-books in which his vast knowledge of the subject has been collated and made available for students of astrology at justabout every level of expertise. (See http://www.astrologysoftware.com.) He's also returned to his first love, the blues harmonica, in my honor, has prepared well for our presentation and sounds as good as he did when he was the leader of the Prime Movers Blues Band in Ann Arbor in the mid-'60s and featured his brother Dan on guitar, a young James "Iggy" Osterburg on drums and the great Robert ("Blue" Gene Tyranny) Sheff on keys. Iggy's days with Erlewine and the Prime Movers are chronicled at some length in the Paul Trynka biography, Iggy: Open Up & Bleed.

Celia and I enjoy our days off in Big Rapids and the incredible hospitality of the Erlewines and of Ryan Williams, who promises to set up a screening of TWENTY TO LIFE at Ferris State University in October when I'll be in Michigan again.

While I'm at the compound Ryan also produces and engineers a Big Rapids edition of the John Sinclair Radio Show at Heart Center Studios, but as of this writing he still refuses to let go of it, much to my chagrin. This reminds me once again of the necessity of taking the masters home with me rather than waiting for them to be sent.

For my next trip to Big Rapids to screen my movie, Erlewine also promises to convene a special edition of the Big Rapids Blues Scholars featuring his brother Dan on guitar for the first time in 30 years, his brother Tom on bass and Daisy Mae returning on piano, plus Seth our by now well-established rhythm section. And that's something to look forward to!

-Cabiria Cafe

September 17, 2007
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