December is the month of music for Miles Maxwell

The month of December started just yesterday but I’ve already seen enough to know that it will be a music-heavy month.

I’m planning a gig or two at the moment and did a little rehearsal last night. Spent some time reviewing old songs I used to know (Tom Petty, John Prine, etc.) but also learning a few new (to me) songs. I tackled “Just What I Needed” by The Cars and “Surf Rider” by the Lively Ones.

Excited to keep learning new tunes. Hoping to notch these before the end of the month.

The Faces Stay With Me

Thin Lizzy boys are back in town

Led Zeppelin The Ocean

Van Morrison Domino

Thin Lizzy jailbreak

Cream White Room

Steppenwolf Magic Carpet Ride

The Hives Hate To Say I Told You So

Blur Song 2

REM What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?

Mission to Burma Academy Fight Song

Photo of the Day: Paddock Lake WI at Sunset

Paddock Lake, WI

The sunset throws long shadows on the lawn.

Here’s a shot of the house some guy friends and I rented last month in Paddock Lake, WI. You can see from my rather long shadow on the left that the sun is setting behind me. From the boat ramp, you could also reasonably guess that there is a body of water directly behind me. The steep-roofed house to the left was abandoned but still fascinating.

Photo of the Day: Skyward Shot with Balcony

3rd floor balcony

Exposed for the sky, flashlight for the foreground

Wanted to share this shot I surreptitiously snapped as I was walking home from work. (and yes, I’ve noticed that my transition from home to work and work to home is a time of introspection for me).

On the surface, it’s a shot of a 3rd floor balcony and an exterior staircase from the ground.  The streaks by the power lines and through the middle of the roof are trails from airplanes on their way to O’Hare International. Time of day was around 6pm.

Ever since I took a photography class with my pops this summer, I’ve been focused on shooting in manual mode, exposing for the sky and either manually dodge or use a dialed-down flashlight to illuminate the foreground. I did the latter in this case (as can be seen in the shadows of the iron railing bars).

The vignetted top corners are either my lens hood or a crop from my sensor, I’m not sure which.

Photo of the Day: Gas Station Mascot or Andy the Messenger Robot?

A robot frozen in pose with a tank on its head

A robot frozen in pose with a tank on its head

Ran into this guy on my walk to work last Friday. He’s stationed out in front of an auto shop across the street from Paddy Mac’s Public House. That puts him on Pulaski between Berteau and Irving Park.

He’s got an interesting expression, I think. Like he was about to meet his demise before he was frozen in time. Also, for those in the know with regards to The Dark Tower, I must admit I imagined him to be a twinner for Andy the robot (many other functions).

Chuck-Mangione-Feels-So-Good

Learning Chuck Mangione’s “Feel So Good” on guitar

I got a little free time on Saturday morning and decided I wanted to spend some of it playing guitar. Lately, I’ve spent my guitar playing time alternating in genre between fingerstyle acoustic (a la John Fahey) and singer-songwriter stuff like Richard Thompson and Jim Croce. On this day though, I felt like learning something I could play with my Les Paul and eventually with a band. I suppose it kind of started as a joke, but I decided I wanted to learn, Chuck Mangione’s “Feels so Good.”


Chuck Mangione .Feels So Good [Show Tv] by capitainfunkk

And here’s the tab I’m using to learn to play it.

http://tp.ultimate-guitar.com/c/chuck_mangione/feels_so_good_solo_tab_online.html

I got through the melody lead sheet a few times to the point where I wasn’t making mistakes but it wasn’t exactly effortless either. The tabs for the rhythm part were actually pretty annoying to the point where I just went looking for the actual lead sheet to read the chord changes that way. I figured, I could interpret the chord voicings quicker that way anyway.

I’m not quite there but I think I’ll be ready within a week. I’m looking forward to a jam session with my bass playing brother-in-law, who I think could really slay that disco beat.

Photo of the Day: Wrap Around Porch in Chicago Neighborhood at Dusk

The covered wraparound porch is a classic plantation style accent

The covered wrap around porch is a classic plantation style accent

Grabbed this shot on a walk late Friday afternoon in a North side Chicago neighborhood. I was walking west, looking for houses with attractive features as Heather and I put together a “wish list” for purchasing our own single family home.

I’ve said it a couple times but I really do like the wrap around porch on this one. The shade for the 1st floor rooms would be a welcome break from the undisturbed sunlight  we have in our condo, where the western exposure can be beautiful but intense.

Photo of the Day: On the Way to Work

Another photo to ponder.

The crowd of pedestrians wait to cross the road at Irving Park, on the way to work

The crowd of pedestrians wait to cross the road at Irving Park, on the way to work

This photo is facing south on Keystone Avenue, looking at oncoming east and westbound traffic on Irving Park Road in Chicago.., IL.

It was at the end of the walk I do to the train every work day that I don’t ride my bike. These folks are waiting for the streetlight to change so they can cross the street, most likely to get on the Irving Park Blue Line el train.

Rehearsal for Reunion

And now… for the moment no one’s been waiting for…

My cousin and good friend Don Shea and I got together tonight to rehearse some old songs. We’ve been in a few bands together but tonight we rehearsed the real crusty oldies from a band we started back in 2002 called the Pubic Hares.

As you can imagine, the subject matter was a bit blue and, being an acoustic rock duo in the early 2000s, we showcased a strong Tenacious D influence. Still, we had a vibe all our own and played shows and parties for the better part of 3 years. It only faded because we got a little tired of the infantile humor and we both joined a far more serious and somber band, Righteous Truth Pail (but that’s a blog for another day!).

Anyway, I don’t feel the need to give a full recap to the rehearsal but, suffice it to say, we sound eerily similar to the way we did then. For some, that might be really horrible news. In any event, we had some fun and may trot out the old setlist for an upcoming get together, along with a few new ones that not many people have heard. I’m particularly excited to hear what people think of my post-fatherhood song, “All Out.”

Photo of the Day: Upended Tree Shows Roots, Morton Grove, IL

Here’s today’s shot.

roots of the treet

Interesting to think about the way the elements eroded the roots of the tree.

I took today’s photo in Morton Grove, IL, behind the shopping center where the old Chernin’s Shoes was.  It was an autumn day (see the leaves!) and I was there to take photos for my friends Gary and Lancy getting engaged.

I saw this upended tree and thought the spectacle of the exposed roots was worth a shot. Didn’t do anything special for settings. Just point and shoot with my Sony a700.

I’m certainly no nature expert so I’m not sure if this tree’s roots separating the soil was the result of natural erosion or if the stream is a man made thing but it was a thing to behold.