|Rolly Brown Comes to Town|
When his CD, "Steve Mann: Alive and Pickin' " had been out for a few months in 2005, Steve received an excited email from Rolly Brown in Pennsylvania. After exchanging a few emails with Steve and Janet at Bella Roma Music, Rolly called and spoke to Steve in person, just to make sure Steve really was still around and doing well and wanted to play music. We finally decided that if he could wait till January 2006, when a "Steve Mann and Friends" concert was planned for Spuds Pizza Parlour, Rolly was welcome to come out and play in the concert as well as jam on guitars with Steve for a week. Only a few snapshots were taken during this time, but they do capture some good moments.
|IS THAT HARRY POTTER?
Alas, Rolly's arrival at our front door was not photographed. (Rolly Brown stepped calmly off the airport shuttle and brought in his two guitars and a suitcase, and promptly became a welcome part of the confusion at Bella Roma.) Here he is checking his own email in our studio. The strangely draped object in the background is the Teac 40-4 reel to reel recorder where Steve's tapes were played through the the Mackie mixer into Protools and transformed into a CD.
Rolly helped us organize a concert at Spud's after a week of playing guitar with Steve. We just couldn't resist taking a snapshot of his red metal guitar case before the gig. We took Jean White's sound system, some headphones, amps, microphones, stands, CDs,"Mann Made Music" T shirts and mugs to sell, a keyboard, and lots of chocolate.
Steve was one happy camper at this gig. He played solo, played with Rolly, and with Rolly and Will Scarlett, with Janet and with Jean White--everybody who had come over in the last week managed to get a spot.I think Dale Miller joined in the finale as ewell.
But what gets people lined up to buy his"alive and Pickin'"CD, is the solo Steve.Mann performing on stage.
The many days and evenings of playing together were wonderful. and there were a few attempts to record informally, but the best stuff was listening to Steve tap into his old energy and style when playing with Rolly. It didn't always last for long, but Rolly assures us he heard the real music in there,the stuff that goes beyond just notes and technique.
Will Scarlett wails on harmonica as Steve and Rolly back him up on guitar. They must have been playing a blues but we're not sure which one.
Rolly can be reached at: www.RollyBrown.com, by the way. He's teaching at a guitar camp this summer.
Sometimes she does get to sit down. This gig was a bit hectic, since we had to bring our own sound system and there was a different microphone set up for every act, plus a keyboard and acoustic and electric guitars and vocals.
Someone has to make sure Steve can be found when it's his turn to play.
|ROLLY GETS HIS WISH
Alone at last, if on stage, Rolly gets to play with Steve. On this evening, Steve didn't have to watch the hands of the other players, as he usually does, because they were all doing songs HE KNEW. It was a great time for Steve. Rolly and he had worked out several tunes during the week, so Rolly knew what was coming next.( As much as this is possible with Steve Mann, who has been known to improvise...)
With her beautiful voice, bluesy and also versitile in ballads and childrens' songs, Jean White was a welcome addition to the show. She is also good at introducing songs and telling anecdotes, which livened up the show. Jean is great at singing harmony as well. and plays a bunch of chords up the neck, which she claims she learned from Dale Miller.
|DALE MILLER AND JEAN WHITE
Just to prove Jean wasn't kidding, Dale and she did some serious blues and some sentimental torch songs that had us all swooning.
Now we know who owns that beautiful guitar with the interesting wood in the above photo of Steve solo on stage.
You can email Dale for details from his web site at DaleMiller.com.
|WILL AND DALE
Finally Will Scarlett, who loves to play blues with a guitarist, got to play a little with Dale himself.
Dale's solo rendition of "You don't Know Me" had us all reaching for our hankies, and the finale with Janet's rollicking "I Can't Find Your Party" gave one and all a chance to do a real rock and roll solo.
Thanks to all who came, bought us out of CDs, clapped and shouted, and sang along on the choruses. Most of all thanks to Rolly for reminding us of why Steve has so many fans.
As Steve says, (and we quote this as the highest praise from the Mann):
ROLLY BROWN--he's pretty good!