sunny weather, solid food, and The Cost of Musicianship

In the week since my last blog entry the weather really made a turnaround, baby Svea entered a new culinary phase, and I had some keyboard-related events. Here's the rundown:

Thank the Lord, I jumped on the multiple chances to get the heck out of the house this past week and enjoy our early Spring warmth. I put lots of miles on the double-stroller, wheeling Paavo and Svea everywhere. Some highlights included:
1) downtown Minneapolis Heritage Trail: featuring the dazzling Stone Arch Bridge, old St. Anthony Main Street, the newer Hennepin Ave Bridge, and the Western bank of the Mississippi River. Glorious. I walked it twice.
2) Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun: the proximity to these water bodies is a huge plus for my quality of life, and this week we hiked around Calhoun on a record-shattering warm day. Here's a shot of Paavo at the beach with the ice receding behind him. 60 minutes to circle it.
3) my house to 50th & France: this is the Times Square of Edina, and I can walk there in 25 minutes. Slighty annoying is the one block passage on busy, loud, and stinky France Avenue that allows the crossing of Minnehaha Creek.
4) my house to 50th & Xerxes: another big intersection with coffeehouses, UPS Store, etc. This takes 27 minutes, and the difficulty of the trip is a bit less.
My daughter Svea became a solid-food eater last night with her first bowl of rice cereal. She wasn't overly shocked or delighted or disgusted by the experience. Just munched it down and continued with a normal evening. Today the ramifications were revealed as I changed her diaper. It's wonderful to see Svea getting more mature, but it's certainly more convenient to just feed her milk all day. Now I'm gonna have to once again put on the Chef's hat and whip up an ever increasing variety of baby food for my sweet little girl.

Last Sunday Michael Morris resumed his musical weekly residency at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis, and I was pleased to be in the band. I'll be guesting the next two Sunday evenings (Palm Sunday and Easter) as well.
Here's a shot of Michael with band members Joanna James (violin...just back from playing SXSW in Austin, TX), and Haakon Nelson (mandolin). In the foreground you can see the cabinet of my 1968 Wurlitzer electric piano. I played mainly keyboards for the show, and chose to haul out the Wurly to a club gig for the first time in many many years. I think the last time I dragged the old monster out to a gig was in Chicago playing with Beki Hemingway back in 2000 or something like that. So here's the "cost" question I'm struggling with:

Is it worth it to haul a heavy, awkward, fragile, valuable, and moody Wurly to play at a club gig for only a few songs?

Of course, it sounds totally cool when you plug it in...there's nothing like the real thing when playing in a live-band situation. But the hassle of it all is pretty huge. I'm just so worried about dropping it, knocking it out of tune, etc., that next time I might just bring the fakey synth keyboard instead. If I had a van to haul it in, and I was playing big long shows, and I was confident in how the thing was running through the PA, then maybe I'd take her on the road, BUT, in this situation I think it might be best to keep the Wurlitzer safe, warm, and at home in the studio.

Finally, here's a "cost" issue that really worked out slick for the Rundman family. Our church sent out an email offering a free piano to the first person to claim it, and YAYHOO I was the first to respond! My friend Lloyd came over with his zippy little truck this week and we loaded up that piano and drove it home. The two of us were able to lift and wrestle it into my living room, and BOOM, we've got a family piano. This is the second piano I've scored in the past two months, but this baby was FREE. However, it had been sitting in a Child Care classroom for about 30 years or so and it's pretty banged up. The key-cover knobs were ripped off, and the prop-up music stand on the top of the instrument was snapped off. I went to Home Depot and spent $8 on a couple new knobs and a piece of scrap wood for a music stand, plus a couple new hinges, and got everything looking as good as new. I also pulled off all the panels on the instrument cabinet and cleaned out 30+ years of dust bunnies, filth, grunge, and other residuals. Since the piano sat in a kids' classroom, I found a crayon, a Hot Wheels car, four pennies, assorted paperclips, and other junk inside. The Child Care folks had used the piano mainly as an art-drying area so the entire exterior of the instrument was caked with Elmers glue, glitter, marker streaks, paint drops, and general filth. I took a straight-edge razor blade and scraped the thing clean, and used a cotton swab to scrub around every single key. Now it's squeaky-clean and ready to rock. Dawn broke out her Chopin Waltz sheet music and took it for a spin, and man, it's awesome to have an acoustic piano in our living room. Thanks ECLC for the free piano! This will probably be the instrument that Paavo and Svea will learn on!


Bridget Delaney said…
Haha, that piano sounds like the one in St. Paul's fellowship hall! All in it's out of tune glory with the letters of the notes taped on one octave of the keys and wood and such chipping. . .

I went to see Michael and George in concert in Houston on Friday and then on Saturday caught Crooked Still in Lake Charles on Saturday. You should check out Crooked Still -

I've got three of the songs they performed on YouTube.

Stein Auf!

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