Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Introducing the Calico Stray


My new blog Dave's Basement Tracks is reviewing the inaugural release of The Calico Stray. tomorrow March 10th. While I can't add much more to the story, this type of story truly brings me back to this blogs mission of a variety show with new and continual entertainment.  I'm pretty sure that with my upcoming retirement, I just might find stories that fit better over here, and some that fit both places.  

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

The next evolution

As retirement nears, officially April 29th, I KNOW I'm going to find more time to listen to music and write.  My routine of writing each morning on a word will start back up and likely the creative juices will be flowing again.  If you are reading this post, you are in the infamous The Zemmy Show.  A blog I created to be a variety show like say the infamous Johnny Cash show or the Prairie Home Companion.

The Zemmy Show ran for over 800 posts, with many twists and turns now Dave's Basement Tracks (that originally started as a radio show) is coming to the internet as a streamable blog of Bandcamp embedded links and YouTube videos.  Each post will have a theme or make a good hour radio show; yet of course you are in control as you read and click on the links that interest you.  Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

For Jess.

I have a friend, Jess, who is a much better blogger and writer than I, but heck she READS for a hobby.  Feel free to follow her blog, but this post she shared on Facebook and got my music juices flowing again.  Mixtape is right up my alley, and because my tastes never completely align with anyone's here's some phenomenal women songs she should add to her mix tape for 2016.  (most were not released in 2016 but Jess this is the first year you likely heard them)

First up has to be Natalie Gelman.  I met her first at the Root Note after she had asked to play my house concert and I didn't have an open spot.  Fast forward three years, and I made her 11th best fan list, and I've hosted her now.

If you have never heard of Sarah Jarosz, don't panic but she would be one artist I would love to get to the fest if we could afford it.  The good news is that she seems to a favorite of Chris Thile and she's been on Prairie Home Companion more now. Her cover of Dylan is the best with the Transatlantic Sessions but they have seemed to have deleted that from YouTube.

Norah Rendell wins awards for her Celtic singing skills and here's one from our house concert that I put behind a Christmas tour.  She and her husband played the night before.

Kelley McRae is an outstanding sensitive songwriter, but she can rock it a little when her hubby Matt gets cooking on that guitar.  Kelly has played both my house concert and the Great River Folk Fest.

Barbara Jean has to make my list.  Such a low key talent, she just slowly takes your heart away especially if you look into those beautiful eyes; but I wouldn't have booked her just because she's beautiful. She writes great songs, and here she is with her new group Dusty Heart.

HALFWAY through my ten songs.

If you scroll through this blog you will find I've been blogging a long long time, and met some of my favorite artists on MySpace before it died.  Here's an upbeat one from one of the smartest woman I know (her day job is at MIT)

A dear MySpace friend who isn't touring at all anymore but her stuff should be out there to buy, Allison Sattinger.  Back in 2009 she played my house concert, and I did this video to her song just for fun.

Scroll through the blog and again you will find Kendel Carson is one of my favorites.  This is a duet but it was one of the first time I heard her sing.  Being from Canada, she just doesn't get much publicity in the states but she is awesome.  She's toured with Chip Taylor and has sung with my hero John Prine.

Oh my two left.. I'm going to leave off friends and favorites, but this one came to mind since you were looking for up beat. Jill Barber and her brother up in Canada are another great reason to move up north.

Ok I have to end on one you might have heard of, Jillian Rae.  She's another talented soul that has played my house concert.  Truly I get blessed by any honest hug from anyone I host, even if they are male.  If you haven't seen this video, it was one that got me hooked on Jillian.

Ok like Spinal Tap, we need to take this to ELEVEN with Lindsay Lou

Again I was lucky enough to book this eclectic string band who is lead by Lindsay who grew up loving the wildly passionate Claudia Schmidt, this song is so much like something she would do:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tax incentive

Here's an idea for President Elect Trump, free of charge.

Being an accountant & marketer employed with a company who manufactures in the US and employs 600+ people; I both enjoy and do want to see America work more again.  So drop the Corporate Tax reduction idea and be strategic with their reduction in tax relief.  Let's take every $1 they spend on US wages for someone $100,000 or less count as $2 of tax reduction.  This will allow companies to invest in PEOPLE, who will then spend money and pay for taxes.  I would put one more caveat on it, I would make the incentive it only available for their employees that are eligible for Health Insurance.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Natalie Gelman at The Madeira Film Festival

My last House concert artist, Natalie Gelman, quickly departed for a European tour after the weekend in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.  After a few days in London she headed to Portugal and the  Madeira Film Festival.  She is is such a rock star.

Here's a link to a review of the festival written by Ari Ratner and I pulled out the two paragraphs written on Natalie:

The festival not only featured great films, but tremendous artists in other media as well. American singer Natalie Gelman did a series of acoustic performances throughout the festival. Both sunny and soulful, Gelman sang a series of original songs, many of which are sure to become classics. She also sang a medley of covers such as a version of "One Fine Day" that was more tragic and moving than earlier versions by the Chiffons, Carole King, or Natalie Merchant. Her original song "Some People" ought to generate its own slew of covers. It is a classic in the making, capturing the essence of America and the globe's current "Gilded Age", with its chorus that "some people are so poor...all they have is money". 
Gelman herself was touched by the festival, saying, "this is a film festival to go to if you want to be inspired. I have been to some of the largest film festivals like Sundance and Tribeca and I've been to quite a few small town film festivals - the Madeira Film Festival has the best of both worlds. Loads of talent like those larger festivals with the community and camaraderie of something you would find in a small town. "

Of course I loved the review because I had noted the same new song and have already covered it on YouTube, here's a blog post on it.

More photos of Natalie in that stunning blue dress from Astars Women's clothing.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

800th post

I noticed today that I was at 799 for number of posts, so why not celebrate this by looking back:

At 700 was the announcement of Mary Mack getting voice over on a Fox show... alas it's been cancelled but Mary was awesome.

At 600 was my discovery that my music tastes are sinking into my Son's tastes.... Sooner or later you will find that you are a lot like your parents.

At 500 was a music discovery... Mountain Man.  A very haunting vocal video.

At 400 was a cover of a Blondie song by Amy Speace... I love great new ways of hearing songs, hell I never heard the before I heard Amy's cover.

At 300 and now back in Oct 2009, was my love for the Belleville Outfit.  I find it so weird that I would find myself drifting away from their music only to find myself sitting at the Pump House in 2013 listening to a fiddle player someone recommended.  It was Phoebe Hunt from the Belleville Outfit.  Quickly I remembered why I loved their music.

At 200 and as luck would have the draw, a video of me doing Ian Robb's Old Rose and Crown and playing the piano.  Videos have gotten better and I find this song belongs better on a accordion.

At 100 fitting is Ashlee Rose who I met on MySpace... rocking out an Aretha Franklin song.

Well that was fun... I know I should post more often... now off to work outside on a beautiful spring Sunday.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

London on my mind...

This week a friend Natalie Gelman got to London to start her European tour and posted these pics:

Then Kelley McRae who will play our House Concert series in September posted her walking in a tunnel in London under the river Thames.

London on my mind I picked up the guitar and googled the words to Leaving London by Tom Paxton... it's actually funny to read because he had to go American Express to try to get a letter from home, no text or internet for Tom.

Then I moved to another song I know from Ralph McTell that I learned from playing of Fred Holstein I did have to google the words again, but the music was like riding a bike.

Have you seen the old man 
In the closed-down market 
Kicking up the paper, 
with his worn out shoes? 
In his eyes you see no pride 
Hand held loosely at his side
Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news 

So how can you tell me you're lonely, 
And say for you that the sun don't shine? 
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London 
I'll show you something to make you change your mind 

Have you seen the old girl 
Who walks the streets of London 
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags? 
She's no time for talking, 
She just keeps right on walking 
Carrying her home in two carrier bags. 


In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven, 
Same old man is sitting there on his own 
Looking at the world 
Over the rim of his tea-cup, 
Each tea last an hour 
Then he wanders home alone 


And have you seen the old man 
Outside the seaman's mission 
Memory fading with 
The medal ribbons that he wears. 
In our winter city, 
The rain cries a little pity 
For one more forgotten hero 
And a world that doesn't care 


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Some People

A great song that I'm covering and you won't find anywhere yet... hoping Natalie Gelman puts out her own video. I'm looking forward to the CD she'll release with it.  Natalie co-wrote the song with Charlie Midnight.

So a funny thing happened while I was practicing this at church waiting for the Sunday School kids to come back up... some one moved from the back of church to a pew behind me to hear it.. so I got to the where it goes "you got a roof over your head..." and poof forgot the next line. Obvious to me later, "you got a book you haven't read"... I haven't read a book in about 15 years... ha

The song really does talk to the right kind of passion good Christians should have, so it's appropriate I was playing it in church... truly many get mixed up by what it means to walk in faith of God, Allah, or Jesus at times.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Where I Live - Bill Staines lyrics

Back in the 80's I learned the melody and would murder a few of the verses, so I thought I should take the time to learn the song.  It has always been a favorite; except that our river is 5 miles away, it reminds me a lot of our house.

Where I live there is a river, and it freezes with the cold
All except some open water ‘neath the bridge
And the ducks that gather there, black and red they fill the air
Wingin’ in across the pines along the ridge

And in the early morning sun silver mare breaks on the run
Across the fields and out along the little streams
Movin’ like the winter wind beyond the fence and back again
She loves the time she’s smooth as anything I’ve seen

There’s a field of winter rye that smells sweet when it is high
Whispers to you so you almost cannot hear
Shining like a satin sea beneath the moon when it is spring
It falls beneath the cutters blade, a little year.                    

There’s a tree that stands out back, waiting for the falling axe
To split its rings and show it’s secrets deep inside.
Year’s of drought and little growth, Year’s of good it’s seen them both
And Now it’s there and waiting only for the fire

There’s a truck that’s broken down, that I used to take to town
Until the axel went and I left it there to die, I’ll get it fixed I used to say
That was back before the day, things got busy and I never had the time.

Where I live there is a road, that seen me come and seen me go
Taken me so far I thought I lost my way, Back to where my life is slow
Back to everything I know, back again to where that river slips away.

Where I live there is a road, that seen me come and seen me go
Taken me so far I thought I lost my way, Where I live there is my heart

It won’t be long before I start, back again to where that river slips away  
It won’t be long before I start, back again to where that river slips away

Written by Bill Staines © Mineral River Records 1982

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Love's been good to me - lyrics and chords

When I went to look for the chords and the lyrics of this song, first they put in more than you need and second most put in a verse about a Denver girl and leave out the Houston verse.  Frankly I've never heard Rod sing the Denver version, so here are the words and chords in the video above:

A                    Bm   E                        A
I have been a rover I have walked alone
                               Bm         E                   A       F#m
Hiked a hundred highways never found a home
                          C#m  D                         Dm
Still in all I'm happy the reason is you see
A                Bm       D         Dm   A                E         A
Once in a while along the way love's been good to me

                     Bm        E           Bm           E          A   F#m
There was a girl in Portland before the winter chill
                                 C#m    D                     E
We used to go out courtin' along October Hill
                   A                      F#m            D                    Dm
She could laugh away the dark clouds cry away the snow
A                 Bm   D      Dm   A          E       A
Seems like only yesterday down the road I go


                     Bm        E          Bm                    E          A   F#m
There was a girl in Houston out where the hot winds blow
                           C#m    D                     E
Why I had to leave her God Almighty knows
                   A                      F#m       D                    Dm
She could take the long hot summer cool it with a sigh
A                     Bm      D      Dm                A          E             A
Words have no more wisdom when it's time to say goodbye

written by Rod McKuen release on a Frank Sinatra LP "A Man Alone" (c) 1969 Almo Music

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

So what is alone..

Truly in a crowd of people I can be so alone and so content

Maybe it was the fact that Rod taught me to talk to myself

Today I'm with Suzanne as she takes me down to the river

I'm in a calm space while the worlds stresses out.

I do want to travel with the sun through seasons

And in the silence I want to reach out with my mind and

Embrace the body of a lover who will escape at dawn.

Then the streetlights will be dimming with the sunrise

And I'll walk along side the river by myself, alone and yet not.

Dave Schipper (c) 2015 Rose Riversongs

Thursday, January 29, 2015

RIP Rod McKuen

Letting Go

Letting go is hard, so I refuse

Instead I hold on, and choose

To keep in a pocket all day

The chance I’ll have time to replay

A memory that is so near

That sharing it I would fear

To upset the people around

And others it would astound.

So I will not let go for a while

The memory picture of your smile

The sound of your voice

Yes it’s a personal choice.

By Dave Schipper © 2014 Rose Riversongs

Monday, January 26, 2015


My favorite playlist lately to bring me out of any funk... a crazy mix of Christian and way not Christian music..... Ha I definitely resemble a Saint and Sinner..

I'm unelectable...

We are back on the cliff overlooking another race of hugely paid for politicians bantering about how their side has all the answers... to that I say "Phhhhhtttt"

In most cases the answers are compromise and finding solutions that work within our government and bylaws.  Here is my platform that will never get me elected...

I am unelectable:

1)   I’d raise income tax rates gradually back to 25% of Pre-Reagan days.  Let’s not get crazy, but the wealthy have been living in luxury on the rates that have dropped dramatically.  I would reduce their taxes in other places, because taxes are best when they are targeted to influence behavior.  What is a child credit or a donation credit to your church if not influencing behavior?
2)   I’d TRIPLE the corporate tax deduction on the bottom 80% of their workers pay.  In other words giving them an enormous tax credit on wages for all non-executive salaries and wages. Hire more people in the US please.  If you import, think of a domestic model fast.  Funded only if we do number 1).
3)   I’d bring up Minimum wage gradually to $12.50 / hr. but only if 2) was enacted. 
4)   For every $15.00 of Welfare, I would impose a requirement of an hour of work at either a government, non-profit, or God willing a church.  Reported monthly, if they don’t comply the Welfare is deferred until the put the time in an accredited.  Physical handicaps deferments would need to be approved by Goodwill.  If they can’t find a spot for them, I’ll be amazed.  If they can’t find a job, governments should start cleaning up streets and building new parks like they did during the New Deal era.  
5)   I would sanction government sponsored daycare facilities or a credit that they have to pay with more hours at a rate of $7.50. Hey it’s a tough life being a single parent so we should help, but it’s no excuse.  Guess what... one of the jobs available for #4 is #5, but they need training.
6)   Dump Obamacare, and adopt Medicare for anyone but rate based on need.  For all the Conservative banter on this, their 401k are loving every minute of it if they have Insurance companies in their mix; and the Accountants are making a killing on it trying to describe it.  Simpler and Medicare is a program that actually works.
7)   Put in the pipeline, we need a disaster to make any decent policies and we haven’t had a good oil spill that we haven’t been able to clean up. 
8)   Modernize a few good nuclear plants, or better yet build on one of our missile silos that we’re neglecting, cheapest energy and least amount of carbon issues. 
9)   Legalize marijuana; we need the tax revenue; and we could free up a lot of prison costs.  Imprison any one shooting some one else; let’s keep this place safe.  You want to own an Uzi, fine just don’t shoot someone with it.
10)                   Allow Cities and States to charge a rate up to 25% of property tax allotments to non-profit organizations for services rendered.  Yes this might be a hardship to some, but it needs to be voted on locally.  There are many exploiting this loophole and no one wants to talk about it because it’s in Southern states that could affect their electability.

That’s enough… pretty sure I alienated enough sacred cows not to get me elected, but boy this would change America for the good.

For those of you who ran into this blog thinking that this was a music blog... think of this as satire.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rolling thru the library...

Feel free to guess the artists on the Playlist I made for driving four hours over the holidays... this one gets you about half way there...
  1. 1  Yellow
  2. 2  The Lion
  3. 3  Hard Way Home
  4. 4  Dance the Blues Away
  5. 5  Cannonball
  6. 6  Rocky Boat
  7. 7  Paint My Life
  8. 8  Comeback Kid (That's My Dog)
  9. 9  Double Wide Trailer
  10. 10  Here and Heaven
  11. 11  Born In the Country
  12. 12  Rag and Bone
  13. 13  Till I'm Too Old To Die Young
  14. 14  Freckles
  15. 15  Flowered Dresses
  16. 16  Lay Down Your Weary Tune
  17. 17  Crossing The Water
  18. 18  Follow the Heron Home
  19. 19  Phantoms
  20. 20  When I look into your eyes
  21. 21  sail on white moon
  22. 22  Fall Down With You
  23. 23  Tree By The River
  24. 24  Furr
  25. 25  Achin' All the Time (Live)
  26. 26  Most the While
  27. 27  Old Man
  28. 28  Man In The Long Black Coat
  29. 29  The Storms Are on the Ocean - Aoi...
  30. 30  Home To Me (is Anywhere You Are)
    31 Soul
    32  Ain't No Reason
    33  Fields of Illinois
    34  Seeds
    35  Raise Hell
    36  Ring Them Bells
    37  Share the Well
    38  (ours Is A) Simple Faith
    39  how can i keep from singing
    40  My Sweet And Shiny Eyes

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Six month hiatus

Have to really say I'm sorry... I have a lot to say about the great music I encountered in 2014, the Great River Folk Fest that I became chair of, and my love for hosting live music.  So much to do though... wish me luck to find time, tell me that you read it and it might inspire me more.

The Lucky Dog by Dave Schipper

Ah the second CD… at least from the purposes of organized and ready for hand out.  The first one Gypsy Soul by Dave Zeman I dedicated a whole blog for and spent a couple years keeping it on iTunes.  This one was started as a gift to a fine young friend leaving the place I work, but it also is kind of a point in time for me and what I've been doing the last few years.  Many of the songs became the vocal tracks off my videos, but some I did putz with a little before they got into the folder of choice.  Oh the folder of choice.... it still didn't get originals like Grace or an improved Blonde Attitude, nor covers I love to do like Way over in a Minor Key or Ring Them Bells... still many of hours of work and so little quiet time at home or maybe it's just focus.

Here are the liner notes:

1) This cd has to be given away because I truly don't own the copyrights to many of the songs, including my favorite and the first on the CD, Lady Mary Eyes.  I song in which I took a beautiful song written by Janis Ian for Mary Black, and changed it to a song for Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey.  The instrumentation is two simple guitars, a bass and a harmonica, but it's the words I love.  Janis wrote beautifully but my twists and the number of times I've sang them have put her version completely out of my head.  I have loved Mary for a while... Ha.

2) Take the Dance slides in at number two. My original that my band mate Lynn has pushed me to play in every gig.  Funny I've simplified the first verse and know that I sing it better than in the recording, but I still thought it was worthy.  Now if Ashley helped inspire the CD and now the first two songs about women with dark eyes and fair complexion, she's probably worried if the cd is just for her.  Well I'm a sucker for dark eyes, and wove everything I loved into the song.  I had written a blog post about the journey of writing this song funny how it started way back in 2012. The video is in the blog post.  Ashley, keep going and don't worry the songs change from being all about brown eyed girls, though you might understand that I tend to be a little romantic gypsy by the end.

3) Julia was on my first release, but I still love this song and it was really written for another loving soul that left my place of employment so I thought it really fit. I've already written about this song here, and I've kept in touch with Angie has she has ventured around the US.  She considers me a loving crazy Uncle Dave.

4) Picks up the beat with Done with Bonaparte, a cover of an old Mark Knopfler tune that I just learned.  Oh my I love this guy's work, he can write interesting tunes about history too!  The song hasn't made it into our Lucky Dog set list yet... needs practice, and I not sure if Lynn has time to learn the lead part on the bouzouki, hope she does though.  Again this was the vocal track from this video:

5) Graceful and Grand is the only instrumental I put on the CD and it is one many times I slip into my instrumental breaks.  As a single guitar I've found the style of picking melodies and then back to chords, it works for some songs; though I still love Garageband and proverbially "playing with myself" and filling up the rest of the song.   The song has words dedicated to Lady Mary Crawley again, but she is too pretty for me to kill the song by singing with my gruff voice; here's a different blog post to explain.

6) Family Tree... another song from the 1st CD, but another song that frequently makes it into Lucky Dog set lists since it gives a choice of what instrument to play it on Banjo or Guitar.  I'll let you read more on the old liner notes, but now that I know Jessie at Ecker's orchards I'm going to share it with her when the Spittler family re-union shows up their placard.  Lynn, Sue and Lori always loved my reference to petticoats.

7) One more Cup of Coffee, what's a music CD from me without at least one Dylan cover.  Inspired to learn this after buying Calexico's cover with Roger McGuinn singing lead; mine pales but still it's all about the inspiration. I still go back to listen to it and then my next time I cover the song it changes ever so slightly.

8) Another Like You a love story about a Right Wing lady and Left Wing guy.. Lucky Dog had a night messing around with recording live at home, this one had to get on the CD.  Lynn and I do this live when no kids are around.  Again here's the inspiration from the talented Hayes Carll and Bonnie Whitmore.

9) Most of the While, a cover of Natalie Gelman's beautiful song about being on the road as a musician. While I never have been a road warrior, I have travelled for work and have hosted numerous artists... this song really works and spoke to me to cover it.  I blogged about it here, and she even responded. We hosted Natalie recently when she played at the Elmaro Vineyard and look forward to her playing a house concert at our place in 2015.  Here's her much better video and original.

10) Where you heart is, written for our church's mission statement a long time ago.  I sometimes forget that it was one we used to sing many times with Tim and Paula on lead for ACTS.  Here's a real old blog post from a site I ran for church with the lyrics.

11) Gypsy Soul... This song has always been a favorite and I named the first cd after it.  It never gets played in Lucky Dog; maybe someday... of course I'll have to put up with Lori asking me who I wrote it for; dang if I knew.  Here's what I wrote about it back in 2008.

12) Jolene... another cut from our Lucky Dog recording night, a song filled with such texture from a great writer, Ray Lamontage.  I learned it from a recording of Hope Waits first on a EP of her second CD which she hasn't released yet.  I do love Hope, who is now married to David Carducci and is expecting her first child.  She has graced this blog numerous of times.

13) Ghost of St. Augustine, fitting for the 13th spot an ghostly song....  My most researched original written after a fantastic ghost tour.  Best just to enjoy this old blog post.

14) West Shore... not sure how I ever made this song sound like this... it's got to be written and produced with all the great tools I had back in 2007.  Never made it on the first CD, and the whole premise with the chorus is double meaning of "Ride a Lie" an opinion about casual sex.  Something I have no experience with thus was written as an observer, not always the best place to write from but in this case the safe place.

15) To Make you feel my love, ah the second Dylan piece.  Had to learn this to back up Katie Johnson for a wedding, and when I recorded her to help her practice at home... later I couldn't help to add my voice.  Haven't played the song in ages, but anyone want to sing like Katie, and I'll never pass up a chance to play guitar for them.

16) Opposite Destiny.  Ah another one of my co-writes from the original CD, but it's one of my favorite internet stories with a woman who I've never met and recently fought a battle with cancer.  Read more here.

17) Talkin at the Texaco... the results of loving a great song and having a quiet house for the night... many tracks added to this one, even had the hat from late step dad on...

18) Hard wired... ha just a silly original.  Wow wrote it back in 2005 and still putzing with it.

19)  Eight is Midnight with Rose River and a co-write with my band mate Tim Kolek.  It was Shelly's flute addition that has kept this a mainstay in every 2nd or 3rd set of Rose River.   Read more at:

20) Wreck of the old 97, what's a cd that has covers without one from my youth and love of Johnny Cash.  I was surprised I had a pretty decent recording of the song.

Hey if you got this far... thanks... I'll try to have some copies of this to give out at future gigs.