One of the joys of writing Reverb — as opposed to a column about, say, politics — is the opportunity to focus on what's right about the local music scene.
But sometimes things go wrong, and tragically so.
Last week's untimely passing of blues hero John-Alex Mason dealt a devastating blow to fans, musicians and our community at large. You can read about it here., where you'll also find reflections from folks he influenced and inspired.
Unfortunately, there's more. While contacting musicians for their reactions late last week, I also learned that Jake Loggins has decided to hang up his guitar.
After a dozen years on the local scene, the 20-something bluesman had established himself as a nonstop presence in local clubs. This summer, he finally released a debut album, Have a Nice Day, which featured not only Loggins' extraordinary guitar playing and singing, but also a collection of excellent original songs from an artist who'd been largely known for his skillful blues-rock covers. To top it off, Jake scored more votes than any of the other 60-plus artists on this year's Indy Music Awards ballot.
So what's up?
"I have a child on the way," Jake told me, "and a beautiful soon-to-be wife, and a daughter. And I would rather focus on those blessings at this point in my life."
To that end, the musician has taken a full-time day job and insists he's retiring from public performance, although he may still be serenading his young family. "They will be getting personal concerts from my couch from time to time."
Here's hoping this will turn out to be just a hiatus for Jake. While he may be burnt out on the bar circuit at this point, he's too talented not to keep writing, playing and recording.
Shifting gears as we look ahead to the weekend, it's time to start making your Halloween weekend plans. While El Toro de la Muerte is taking a break from its annual Cars/Cure/Whatever tribute show, Dragontown Dan is stepping into the breach.
Billing himself as the "World's Best-Built Alice Cooper Imposter" — and who are we to doubt? — he'll be taking the Zodiac stage this Saturday with the promise of a "live band, devilish dancers and Halloween madness." You can preview his act at dragontowndan.com, where you'll also find the video for his original song "Scarecrow Lover," featuring devilish dancing by Gezelle Za Belle and a demented scarecrow playing a keytar. Something for everybody, really.
Over at Marmalade, look for a Noche de los Muertos celebration by Moonhoney on Friday. The gypsy-tango-cabaret duo will be joined onstage by Sarah Hope from Edith Makes a Paper Chain, Crystal Bliss Lardy and Uncle Wilber composer Bob Tudor — plus 11 fire dancers, two bellydancers and one hoopdancer.
Meanwhile, Head Full of Zombies is playing farewell shows this Friday and Saturday at the Ritz, following more than two decades in the trenches. Happily, I hear that a few of the Zombies are planning a new project that'll be an ongoing tribute to one particularly iconic '80s band. And while it's too early to announce what band that is, those with an uncontrollable urge to know can always ask them between sets.
One last show before we go: Headhum will be playing its own pre-hiatus show as frontman Andy Tanner gets ready to head out of town for a bit. Catch the band at S.P.Q.R. Saturday night, with the Flumps and We Are Not a Glum Lot opening.