You sure this is how Richie Havens got famous? Part VII: Hangin’ with heavyweights


Nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. What have I got myself into? At MJ Kroll’s School of the Wise II showcase out in Chanhassen. I’m on the bill with MJ Kroll hosting and doing a brief opening set, and short sets by Jeffrey James Sutherland and Tony Ortiz. Scared half out of my skin, I repeatedly remind myself Jazzy J wouldn’t’ve recommended me to MJ Kroll if he wasn’t sure I had something worthwhile going on. Still, this is scary.

Well, I get through it. Without embarrassing myself. Put the right notes in the right places, talk trash in between numbers, and trust the rest to fate. Even got applause. And learned more than a little bit from watching Sutherland and Ortiz. Put this one in the win column. And you can go online and check the whole evening out at

In my finite wisdom, I spent the night dashing in and out of the cold to grab a smoke and shoot the shit with Jazzy J. Without my coat. Caught myself a nice head cold as result. And have booked into the recording studio with Stan Kipper and Chico Perez of New Primitives next week. We’re all three supposed to be in there singing. Great. Well, there’s already a duet with Alicia Wiley in the can. And getting airplay. Plus on bass is Yohannes Tona on pretty much the whole thing. And Jeff “Boday” Christensen on guitar. Bottom line, if I sound like a broken foghorn in heat, we’ll just call it a reference vocal, while Stan and Chico cut keeper tracks. I can go back later and do a final. You can make that kind of decision when you’re footing the freight.

So, at the crib, I’m settin’ back, diggin’ on Vanessa Williams singing “Dreamin’,” polishing off a hot toddy. And looking forward to fixing another. Over my head though I may be, running with these big dogs, wouldn’t trade it on a bet. Not for anything less than Pam Grier’s home phone number.

Meanwhile, shameless plug: singer-songwriter Dwight Hobbes featuring guitarist Mark Dorshak at Corner Coffee, 514 No. 3rd Street in the Warehouse District in Minneapolis, Jan. 7th at 8 p.m.