Brother Trucker

Big Jeff, Bowling, Apes and Cafes

 

Home from Lake View, Iowa about a minute ago. Played Friday and Saturday with Mike Fitzpatrick. After getting chased off the Stone Pier by the rain... Ended up at Laney's Tavern a few blocks away. No Jameson. This was a (most likely) good thing. Lots of PBR... again... a good thing. A few familiar faces from Pomeroy, Iowa were in the house. Including - none other than - the Govenor of Pomeroy, Iowa - Byron Stuart of Byron's *duh.

Made some new friends as well. Something about Northwest Iowa... they're music listeners. Nothing much better in my book. When a (tavern!) audience gives in to a sound or a word and we all share in the intention of the moment. We hope to see some of our new friends at a show soon.

After spending the morning working on some new BT songs in our very cool and clean hotel suite (thanks Tom B!). Mike and I still had a good part of the day NOT to spend in a bar before our gig at The Trappers Inn. So what are two Davenport, Iowa West-Enders to do? We Bowled. Badly. Very Badly. We found an 8 lane beauty in Sac City, Iowa. The only thing new about this place were our shoes. Mike and I managed to bowl two of our personal best games ever. Thanks to Black Beauty and Don our respective rental balls. A couple games and coffees later... we still had 4 hours to knock out. Such is the reason Mike and I attended our first movie in a theater together in about 20 years. Rise of The Planet of the Apes.

We made our second visit since lunch at Deb's Corner Cafe... where they sell an assortment of pies. I mention this not because we in fact had pie but... even as I attempt to relate this.... I'm overcome with bile and the sensation of my tounge going numb... but I believe I correctly read on a wet/dry board FILLED with various pies... a Sour Cream and Rasin Pie. At least that's what I believe I read. Thanks again to Tom Bolan - his lovely wife Kara and all the nice people in Lake View, Iowa.

This blog update ends on personal sad note to the guys in BT. Many years ago, back in the very early days of Brother Trucker, our first drummer and dear friend John Conlan introduced us to his best buddy Big Jeff Adams. Some folks called him Meat. He was a big dude for sure. He had a pierced septum and the look of a big bad ass bull that could crush you if he wanted. I remember his voice as I type this - a honey sweet, Iowa twang - kinda nasal. What I remember most was his kindness. My brother Gino mentioned the first time he met Big Jeff - he made a comment about the intricate hemp necklace he was wearing. The next gig he saw Jeff at - he was met with a trade mark Big Hug and his own necklace wove by Jeff.

As cliche as it sounds ... We we're just talking about Jeff. It was a passing remark that referenced him - I think it was something Lyle Hogue said... whatever it was - started a sharing of stories about him - his Big Hugs, His kind nature, the fact he worked hard his whole life. Keep a kind thought and or prayer in your heart for Jeff's family.

Thanks For Reading.

Red Beans and Ricefully Yours.

Andy/Brother Trucker

*duh - if you don't know about Byron's ya should!

Brother Trucker / July 2011

 

July kicked off with our 2nd appearance at the 80/35 Festival. Mother Nature was in full sweaty-arm embrace. It felt like Summer. Something I'm bound to repeat in this blog - the full force of Iowa's July heat index beats the ever-living-shit out of electric and acoustic instruments alike. Despite the conditions I have to say that something "happened" while we logged Brother Trucker songs (old and new)  through the full brunt of weather that's optimum for growing 12 ft corn stalks.

I've only heard of the term runner's high... that zen-like state of euphoria a persons body achieves from breaking though the peak of maximum physical exertion. One could rightly assume for a member of Brother Trucker - athletically speaking - this could be achieved by say,  returning a grocery cart. Why do Scandanavians melt their muscles in saunas? I get this now. There is something seriously soothing about locking in with Jim and Lyle's pocket when the gears shift and Mike and Matt take things farther. It creates it's own breeze.

Brother Trucker returned to our roots this past weekend. Rock Island, Illinois. Rozz-Toxx - a 'NNerestin' venue (as Neil Young would say). -- Art comes first - Mike would tell you that the house coffee is actually first (some of the best he's ever tasted). I thought the room had the perfect vibe to catch a young Bob Dylan with just his acoustic and harmonica in say 1966. - Any place that serves Boetje's Mustard is gourmet however. "Boetje's! Cuz We Love It!*

Sugar Grove Winery in Newton closed the month. Very nicely. I was doing my "Diana Ross/Cher thing" (as Lyle Kevin Hogue has added to the BT vocabulary...) changing my sweat-soaked shirt for next set.... (a - ya,  that stuff above about the zen heat and yadda-yadda- is all BS. -- something about Jameson and Garlic says to mosquitoes "Come and Get IT!") --  So - I'm soggying off to get a shirt and this young fella comes up to me and says "Hey - it's real nice to hear some storytelling in music these days"...  He went on to elaborate about his thoughts on the music scene in general.

Ever since Mike and I started performing songs in front of audiences I've always looked for "that one guy got what we do tonight"... Mike and I have found our friends (cause "fans" seems like a silly word) of Brother Trucker "one person" at a time... I'm really looking forward to seeing this kid at future shows... and no bullshit - if you - the person reading this - is that "one person" - who got what we do on any giving night... we love you... and thanks.

See ya next Month Friends.

Big Love - your buddies in BT.

PS Thank You To the West High Falcons Class of '86 and of course the Fleming-Wiegand Chateau and Fried Chicken Emporium.

 

*by Gino Fleming

Thank You Springton!

 

Brother Trucker made it through the other side. Valley Junction Farmers Market - 111 degree heat index... brutal. I don't think I've ever played music for that long (3 sets)  in that kind of heat. I felt pretty good about our general effort  - that is, until I saw Dennis and Nancy... who to my recollection - NEVER miss a BT show... cutting a rug - like they do - full tilt.

80/35 was swealtering for some - but honestly - we were all so cooked from the Thursday before - it didn't effect the band a bit.  The short version of our particiapation in the 2011 80/35 fest is full of gratitude for being invited. I'd venture to say Des Moines/Central Iowa music as a scene is energized and self-aware. I'm excited and hopeful for the future. Congrats to those who put their skin in the game.

Summer is half way through - hope it's going great for you. Hope to see you at show soon!

Best - andy

 

The H was O.

 

Brother Trucker has been invited to play all 3 Rendesvous on the River... The first was rained out...The second was rained in (indoor location) -- and the 3rd was beautiful... Provided you weren't facing the setting sun for 4 hours... we were... Some Brother Trucker observations... Lyle Kevin Hogues comment regarding my multiple T-shirt changes... "hold up, we have to wait for Cher"... Mike Fitzpatrick beat the heat... going Zollo...barefoot...jeans rolled up - said it worked. -- Lyle Kevin Hogue comment two regarding my red bandanna and shades... "Hey Willie - make sure you're drinking that gatorade". There is something very satisfying about letting it all out for 4 hours in the blazing heat.... I think we got to that marathon runners high.

Night 2 - The All Iowa Wine Fest... dark skies and rain the whole way to Adel... the lone spot of blue sky hoverd directly above the fest - and continued to spread out from there for the remainder of the day/night. Just about a perfect Iowa Night... excellent crowd... food & wine. (a bar with Jameson across the street from the fest - I knew where to look for bass players and keyboardist on breaks). Iowa Wine growers are artist in their own right. They've allowed music (Iowa Music) to be part of their equation and it's very appreciated.

Came home from Adel to read on the web that Clarence Clemmons died due to complications from a massive stroke. My first double-record purchase - when I was 13 (I think) - was The River. The sound of The Big Man's Sax was the sound of The Party... on Meeting Across the River (from Born To Run) his horn was the embodiment of cinimatic scope of John Houston. There will never be another Clarence Clemmons. Thanks for all that music.

This week - Brother Trucker has a very special Friday Night in store... Perry, Iowa. - Opening for one of my favorite Iowa songwriters and friend - David Zollo ( & the Body Electric)...Perry on the Plaza...immediately following - BroTro will be loading into the *inFamous Rockin' Horse Tavern. We haven't played the Tavern in a few years - but I can honestly say ... the mere mention of the Rockin' Horse brings a smile to our collective Trucker Faces.

Here's hoping your summer is off to a great start... 80/35 fest is just around the corner!

Keep on Rockin'...

Anj, BT.

Brother Trucker - June Showers

 

BT - with our buddy Matt Jesson back from his Iceland vacation on keys. Played at the Jasper Winery on Thursday Night. - We were able to play until around 8 pm. before the saucer sized raindrops began. Most of the gear made it in doors before the rain went side ways. Special thanks to Jenni Rae Snodgrass, Bryan & Pat, Sallie - and everyone who grabbed a cord or case. THANK YOU!! And BIG THANKS to Cathy and Kelly - (hope I got that right) - the two very nice Ladies who towled off our soaked gear as we brought it inside! Some of the very nicest people I've met in my life have been at Brother Trucker shows. fact.

Adel's Penoach Winery had us a little gun-shy about the outdoor setup under the dark clouds... I think it spooked some of the crowd. But not a drop. It felt good to get the full night of music in-  with the Full Trucker in effect. We're outside next week Friday and Saturday.

Surprises/observations randomly noticed blog style.

A. First ever Magic Bus by The Who played right before the rain-as  extended introduction of the song Billy.

B. 3rd gig I've ran the battery on my mini-van down.

3. I proudly drive a mini-van.

D. Brother Trucker has a summer internship program.

E. My throat is still somewhere between Bonnie Tyler and Rod Stewart with a dash of Nick Nolte.

F. Jim Viner slips a hint of cowbell in the song St. Jude and it ='s people dancing.

G. No matter the venue - the mention of Rob Borsilino's name evokes applause.

H. Brother Trucker (minus Matt) was "interviewed" for 80/35... my guess is that due to our overall inchohearence in answers and extreem lack of fashion - it'll never be webcast. Just a hunch.

J. Oldest Bt song played at the last two shows Pleasure & Pain... Most recently written song performed "I Thought I Knew Ya"

K. Children love dancing to live music - adults are at their most innocent when dancing. albeit drunk.

L.  Bo Diddely and Slim Harpo via the Rolling Stones in a cornfield is my happy sound.

M. Jim Viner observed a nick-name with a military rank and alcoholic beverage "Col. Jager" has a certain ring .

Yers always, Andy 

67 years ago today...

 

Men like Mike Fitzpatrick's Father In-law - Sam O'Brien charged the beaches of Normandy and changed the course of World War 2 - and the world for that matter. I can't imagine the fear they must have felt. How a human could summon the kind of courage it would take to survive that kind of horror. I only know that - today - 67 years ago... a man from Oskaloosa, Ia and thankfully, men like him - were there for all of us when it mattered. Mr. O'brien passed away last October.

Samuel was born on July 11, 1920 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, the son of Maxwell A. and Virginia (Slade) O'Brien. Samuel served as a Regiment Liaison Officer during World War II in the 320th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division of the US Army and was awarded a Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honor. Samuel participated in the following Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland , Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), and Central Europe, among the cities that his unit helped liberate were: St. Lo, Mortain, Chataudun, Le Mans, Troyes, Nancy, as well as the Gremecey Forest.

Thank You Mr. O'Brien.

From a Scream to A Whisper... or...no wait..

 

It's usually March when this happens. For those in attendance Weds and last Saturday Night.... I honestly don't normally croak like a bullfrog when trying to hit the note/key of C - but niether show last week would be evidence to the contrary. I'm at a whisper currently and most likely will be until our shows next week.  I'm very open to any suggestions on home throat cures... with the unfortunate hitch of being alergic to Tea.

I've done the Dave Zollo cure for years... honey, baking soda and salt in equal parts - gargled warm. The Mike Fitzpatrick cure of Jameson should only be used for bad moods and celebrations. If I can manage to keep my big mouth shut for the next few days ... well, anyways... any arm chair E,N and Throat doc's out there with a suggestion for you're old pard anj... will be greatly appreciated and attempted. Jennie Rae Snodgrass's throat blessings/vibes worked wonders at El bait.

Highlights from the past two shows for me - The hometown applause for Lyle Kevin Houge in Ankeny. Mike Fitzpatrick's guitar solo on the newish song Night Of My Life and Jim Viner's Live version of Badlands arrangement on the song Downtown... most of all - my two daughters (and beautiful wife) dancing on stage (minus the beautiful wife) with Brother Trucker on Saturday Night... Sophia and Bella.

Life is Good. Live Is Better. Thanks for your support - always. Anj

Smokin' In Valley Junction - The Astronaut Setlist

 

It didn't rain!! However my clothes are still saturated from last night as this is typed... Mike Fitzpatrick composed most of this setlist... he dubbed it The Astronaut Set -  due to it's length and lack of Porto-John breaks for the band. --   The close of the night (looking back now) is very Stones Heavy... with our own Charlie Watts on the kit it's never a bad thing... especially when your strumming shoulder isn't as mindful of things like The Pocket - God Bless Ya Jimmy Viner.  We we're without our very talented Brother Trucker Matt Jesson on Keys this night - he's in Iceland with his lovely Cassie. -- We're a little more in touch with our Crazy Horse Love...  we'll be a four peice at El Bait this Weds. Night... Hope you can make it down. (200 SW 2nd Des Moines)

Faithfully Reported - Andy Fleming/Brother Trucker 5/30/2011

set 1

Downtown
Voices
Pleasure & Pain
Burning
Mind Your Own Business  - (Hank Williams Sr)
Who Called The Cops?
Crackin Up - (Bo Diddly)
Rent is due
Bobby (Happy Memorial Day)
St. Jude (With Love for Rob Borselino)
Too Loose
Happy
Wild Things - (Gurf Morlix)
Wounded Dog - (Bo Ramsey)
New Day/Old Town
Bump In the Road
Joy - (Lucinda Williams)
Bonita
Well Enough Alone (aka Panama)
Sometimes Your Best
Pretty Girls Always Get Me Down
Friday Night Fight 
Folsom Prison Blues / I've Got Stripes - (Johnny Cash)
Break – 20 Minutes
Valley Junction – Set 2
Move It On Over - (Hank Williams Sr)
Bar fight
Hipshake - (Slim Harpo)
Parnell - (Dave Zollo)
Night Of My Life
Forever For Now
Flat Horizon/Play It All Night Long (*Warren Zevon)
Something Big
Bought and Sold
Harold’s Barber & Beauty
Let It Bleed (Rolling Stones)
The Penderbecks
Billy
Who Do Ya Love? (Bo Diddly)
Bertha (The Grateful Dead)
Live With Me (The Rolling Stones)
I Thought I Knew You
Dead Flowers (The Rolling Stones)
Home Cookin'
They Took Off
All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan)

BrotherTrucker 5/16/11

 

Welcome to the Brother Trucker Blog.

My name is Andy and I'll be blah-blah-blah-ing at you for the next several run on sentences. The Quick N Dirty version of the events that led to BT as we are today. Two life long buddies (Mike & Me)... dug the Beatles and the Stones... played as an acoustic duo... Met bassist and fellow music Freak - Lyle Kevin Hogue... recorded several (3) albums for Trailer Records...after our 4th self-released...(The Flyover)...added keyboardist/vocals Matt Jesson and landed Ace Drummer, Jim Viner. Quick N Dirty.

We've been releasing our recorded efforts since 2000. We first used the name Brother Trucker as an acoustic duo at a bar in  our hometown -Davenport, Iowa (The Washington Union Tap) in 1990. We played our first open Mic at Java Joes in Des Moines under the name TLC (Taste Like Chicken)...1994.

We've always been bad at naming bands.

Tim Flanagan and Tom Brinkleson - (Flanagans Lounge and Hamilton's Executive Lounge) were the first two establishments to give Brother Trucker a "stage" to thicken our skin and hone our craft... did I mention Jameson's Irish Whiskey? Brother Trucker carved out a loyal local following at these two venues... Julio's and Club 308 completed our circut in the 1990's of - waaay overplaying our zipcode.

I think I have managed to change tenses - at least 3 times in this first ever blog attempt. With the number of educators in the extended Brother Trucker Family... I'm going to call this a ramble before He starts talking about himself in 3rd person like he's known to do.

Thanks for reading. More to come.

Yer ol Buddy Anj.

andy fleming/brother trucker

 

 

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