Harmonica Jam in Alexandria, Va!

As I posted the other day, we have the rare privilege to hang out with and learn from a cool old dude. Area harmonica guru Jack Hopkins is hosting a weekly harmonica lesson and jam.

The weekly shindig is held every Tuesday in the Fellowship Hall of Wesley Methodist Church, in Alexandria, Va. 8412 Richmond Avenue, Alexandria, VA at 7:30 pm. If you have any questions, call the founder, Jack Hopkins. at 703-491-0534.

This is one of those once in a lifetime deals, folks. Jack has a lifetime of knowledge to share. If you miss it then shame on you.

I am in a lot of pain today, but will try to make it,

The New New Banjo is Almost Here!

We got pictures from way far away showing us that my banjo is nearly finished!

The photos tell the tale pretty well. A banjo that is a blend of traditional and modern thinking. I love his little touches like replacing the Somerset three dot pattern with stars and bound my plain fretboard with a beautiful multicolored pattern that keeps everything Spartan, but classes up the instrument at the same time.

I can’t wait to start making music with it. There will be a time of adjustment as I get used to the bigger pot and find the right gauge of strings. – but it will be a lot of fun because, don’t get me wrong here, but this instrument looks like it has a purpose.

I can’t wait to journey with this five-string katana.

You can catch up on the story with these links:

For more information on the various banjos I have played over the last 515+ YouTube videos, check our Banjos I Have Known.

Last, but not least, to learn about the signatures on the head of my Somerset S1P banjo,just repeat to yourself that it’s just a show . . .

Late Last Night


I was pretty tired after we got home from Holi yesterday. So when we got home I took a nap.

A little while later I woke up screaming.

The diabetic neuropathy that has plagued me lately had gone off the charts. The usual question is to rate your pain on a scale from one to ten. I said thirty-three.

Fair Oaks Hospital is a place to be when you are in trouble. They got the pain under control and got me stuff to take at home today until I can see my regular doctors on Monday.

It’s frustrating. It sometimes seems like everything is working against me. My laptop just bit the dust, I’m trying to set up a ride to Crisfield to get my car (which has been stuck there since October because of my health!) but then I step back and problems don’t matter. I have my Amy. I have my music. When the pain gets bad the two come together and she sings to me as she holds my hand.

Life, even the painful parts, is pretty sweet.

Holi Happiness

Holi DC proved to be an amazing, life affirming and family bonding experience. ISKCON of DC did an amazing job of putting together an event that was not only fun and affordable, but also cultivated an air of kindness. That may seem kind of silly to say if you did not attend, but keep in mind that this event consisted primarily of complete strangers tossing handfuls of colored powder on each other.

You haven’t lived until someone has walked up to you, gently plastered your mug with a handful of bright orange powder while sweetly saying, “Happy Holi!”

At first I worried about my Nikon being damaged by the cornstarch-based colored powders, but in the end my desire to capture what was happening made me realize that my camera was just a tool. If it breaks at least it will die doing its job. I managed to get over 300 pictures while still taking part in the event, so it looks like the bandanna handkerchief I tied over the frame may have done its job. Time will tell.

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful event. The food was inexpensive and fabulous. The music was good. Best of all. as I have already said, people were kind. Amy and I will be back next year and we hope to see you there!

Lunch with Big John

What a treat.  Lunch with Big John  at Cracker Barrel.

(note to Cracker Barrel : I should be doing workshops in your fine stores. Have your people call my Dear Old Dad. We’ll do lunch)

Anyway, it was a blessing to see the man who has become not just my friend, but a part of the Costello family.

John is still camera shy but his faithful dog Rip isn’t,  so here he is’

Good boy,  Rip!