2017 was busy. Here are some highlights:
In April I traveled to San Juan Puerto Rico to perform my album, Truth Serum, at InterAmerican University. I was joined by some of Puerto Rico’s finest musicians: Egui Sierra - bass, Raul Maldonado - drums, Angel David Mattos - keyboards and Ricardo Pons - sax. It was a fantastic band. The island is one of my favorite places on the planet. The food was unbelievable, scenery superb and the company was outstanding. The students at my improvisation clinic at the college were so engaged and attentive. Egui, Raul and I did a jazz trio gig in Old Town in a magical spot under the stars.
I was invited to track guitar for Kimberly Michaels’ new album and then play the album release party with an all-star Minneapolis band.
May was full of tracking at home in my studio, weekend corporate shows, my regular gospel gig at the Shiloh Baptist Church and finishing teaching the school year at McNally Smith College of Music.
In June Matt Wakeling from GUITARSPEAK invited me to be interviewed on his podcast from Sidney, Australia. You can listen to the interview here: http://earpeeler.com/2017/03/11/guitar-speak-podcast-episode-40-joe-elliott-on-a-30-plus-year-career-in-la-and-a-brilliant-new-album/
I was able to connect Matt with some old pals like Scott Henderson, Keith Wyatt, Bret Garsed, TJ Helmerich and Greg Koch for more interviews. I finished tracking for various projects and continued weekend corporate shows and my gospel gig.
June also featured a show with the classic rock review band, Abracadabra, featuring members of the incredible Peterson family — Billy, Patty, Ricky and Paul. What a gas to play all the classic rock hits with these veterans of The Steve Miller Band, John Mayer, Bonnie Raitt, The Time, Peter Frampton, Kenny Loggins, Stevie Nicks and David Sanborn.
July was busy with the Broadway show, "Motown the Musical" at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. The traveling band from New York was great. They added nine local musicians including me on guitar, Kenni Holeman on tenor, five more horns and two percussionists. The shows were packed and high energy
Late in July my old college band, The South Park Line, reunited for a show in downtown Billings, Montana, my home town.
While back home I reunited with the builder of my custom Strat, Ted Kellison. We agreed on a new project and I’ll soon have a brand new custom Kellison Tele in the family. Can’t wait for this one.
August started off with a bang playing with Greg Koch, Bernie Williams (New York Yankees) and Gil Parris at the 5th annual Lowertown Guitar Festival. My college, McNally Smith sponsors this event with the city of St. Paul.
A fun show followed with Minneapolis’s own Jesse Larson, recent finalist on THE VOICE.
Shiloh Baptist Church’s 50th anniversary concert was capped off with gospel recording star, Ricky Dillard. There’s no way to describe this performer.
It’s back in the studio with Ricky Peterson and our Peter Pants Productions work this fall along with a new school year at McNally Smith College of Music.
Joe has a new album ... TRUTH SERUM
About Truth Serum
Truth Serum is a collection of compositions I wrote with no preconceived goal of satisfying or conforming to any particular genre label or template. I just wrote what came to me at the moment. I arranged and performed them with my L.A. band, primarily at the legendary Baked Potato in Los Angeles. I wrote expandable solo sections into each tune so the music could flex depending on the mood and atmosphere on a given night.
I’m tremendously grateful for the great musicians who performed these songs with me. Some invested countless hours of rehearsal into the original shaping of the arrangements. Tim McIntyre, Andre Berry and Steve Weingart were the ‘original’ LA band who performed most of these songs with me many times at the Baked Potato. These guys were invested in the project and helped shape the direction of the songs.
But many others contributed with great musical performances on their respective tracks: Ricky Peterson, Ernest Tibbs, Marc Rio, Richie Gajata Garcia, Tony Axtell, Sean Turner, Christian Klikovits, Shai Hyo, Scott Agster, Steve Jennings, Pete Whitman and Adam Rossmiller were all fantastic.
TJ Helmerich was a tremendous help in so many ways. It started with his superb tracking of most of the basic tracks. He next supplied me with his magic Marshall amp and worked with me to dial in the voice you hear (guitar sound) on most tracks. And finally, the first mixes came from TJ.
Christopher Blood was the wise, skilled and patient final mix engineer. We spent hours and hours together in Studio A working over each tune. Saved me.
Tony Axtell took great pains to master this album and also plays bass on three tracks. The extraordinary care he gave is greatly appreciated.
And through the final stages of completion Ricky Peterson offered much needed advice, good judgment, encouragement and drinks.
How do you name an instrumental song? I get a ‘first impression’ or image and it usually sticks.
Kaloogeedah… I must say a bit about the song title. Kaloogeedah [kuh-loo-gee-dah] is an Elliott family word created by my sister, Mary, and my brother, Dan, before I was born. Family legend says that as toddlers they would play along the curb in front of our house in Washington, Indiana. Kaloogeedah is the name they gave to the sludge and goopy debris found in the gutter. The name became part of the family vocabulary and was used to describe anything from gutter-goop to clutter. It’s still in use today.