Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Franklin Indiana

The WannaBeatles finished our summer with a long weekend, consisting of three gigs, four destinations, five days of travel, and plenty of connections to old and new friends.

The dates were August 27 through Aug. 31, with shows booked on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
in Indiana, Maryland and Virginia.

The blog will be divided into three sections, or four, depending on how many fun photos can fit into one blog.

Two of the three shows were return visits, to Bethesda, Maryland and Clifton Forge, Virginia.

Bethesda is very near Washington, D.C., and this year's visit there coincided, as it did in 2014, with WannaBeatle Nathan's daughter Eliza moving into her dorm room at American University, and it made sense, since she was flying back to school from Nashville, for certain items of hers to be delivered to her room by way of the WannaBeatle Mobile Equipment Caravan, consisting of our rented Tundra pickup and a U-Haul Trailer. 

Nathan comes from good New England stock, which makes him a devoted dad, a practical planner, and an efficient packer. Our story begins with his finding the ideal location for Eliza's luggage in the WannaBeatle trailer, laudry baskets and hair-dryers among the drums and guitar amps.
Nathan staging Eliza's overflow possessions in the driveway
The trailer with Eliza's stuff in back, so we could access the musicial gear easily at our first stop.

We were leaving on the morning of our show that evening at the historic Artcraft Theater in Franklin, Indiana.

There are many towns in the U.S. named Franklin. We had never heard of Franklin, Indiana. But as we found out, it's right up I-65, below Indianapolis. And you pass Franklin, Kentucky on the way. Since Franklin, Tennessee is just below Nashville, we discovered that three different Franklins lie within about four hours of each other along one stretch of interstate highway.

Oh, the things you learn about this wonderful country as you travel.
Here's WannaBeatle Dennis, pictured in his mobile office in the rear cabin of the Tundra, administering business on the way to our first gig.

It was a beautiful day, and Franklin Indiana is a lovely town. Playing at their restored Artcraft Theater took us to the heart of the town, geographically, culturally, architecturally, and socially. 

We saw our poster at the theater, mounted in a curved glass frame, like the movie posters from nearly a century ago.
We saw our name on the marquis, advertising our show.
We were greeted around the corner by one of the sound crew.
What this turned out to be is a restored house on the same property as the theater, which has been remodelled to  connect directly to the stage of the theater. 
Here's a view of the passage way through the house, past the hospitality table, directly into the rear of the theater.
Another fifty feet takes you to the stage, all lit up, ready to go.
And here's WannaBeatle Dennis conferring with our sound crew.

Here is a view of the porch of that lovely house, 
where we ate dinner.
And a view out the back of the house, to where our truck and trailer were parked across the street.
There were two dressing rooms in the house. 
Dennis and Nathan got ready in one.
And David and Bloggin' Bryan occupied the other.

Our friendly hosts, in honor of our appearance, had made special British themed pastries, which were also delicious: cream scones and jam tea cakes.

Here is Nathan dressed for the show, leaving the house with the approval of our hosts.
Posed on the sidewalk before the show.
And then around the corner, in front of the theater.
And once again, under the marquis.

In the Bloggin' Bryan tradition, the show itself is undocumented, and you will have to imagine the 90 minutes of fun-filled entertainment onstage, with an audience wild with excitement. It's all in a day's work.

And then, some photos from after the show.
Fans at the merch table, as WannaBeatles sign autographs.
More Artcraft volunteers helping out at our WannaBoutique.
Bloggin' Bryan meets a distant cousin, a member of the  Cummins clan from nearby Columbus, Indiana, 
home of Cummins Diesel
One more view of our generous hosts, tireless volunteers with Historic Franklin, which has spent years working on the restoration of the Artcraft Theater. 

Our schedule required leaving Franklin that night after the show. The crew and volunteers all helped us load gear into the trailer, and they insisted we stock up on food for the trip, so we had plates of barbecue, bags of scones, and plenty of soft drinks to power us up through the night, as we drove east toward Ohio.

We felt very loved by the generous and friendly folks of Franklin, Indiana. It seems like a wonderful place to live.

Stay tuned for the next day's adventure, including a special promotional video we staged in a hotel lobby, as part of the creative financing of our tour.

Bloggin' Bryan 30Sept15

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Danny at Puckett's

The recent blog about The WannaBeatles playing the Bedford County Fair was the first part of a two part series featuring a visit to Nashville by our friend Danny Jiminez from Miami. 

Danny has been a lifelong friend of WannaBeatle David, and their friendship continues through music and their ongoing conversation about Danny moving (or not, or when?) to Nashville.

The rest of the WannaBeatles met Danny in February when we went to south Florida to play three concerts with the South Florida Symphony.

Here's how Danny showed up in our dressing room, with a Rickenbacker bass which, as he explained, was "a limited edition, factory built Rickenbacker model that replicates virtually every detail of Paul McCartney's 4001S bass as used during the Wings period through today." 

So Danny has an affinity for the Beatles, and for musical instruments. We didn't yet know exactly how good he was as a guitarist (and bassist) and singer.

And on Saturday, August 1, we found out, when he joined us onstage to perform with us at Puckett's in Columbia.

The sign at Puckett's advertising our show Aug. 1

We gave him two songs - "Yesterday" and "I Saw Here Standing There" - both iconic, and each one requiring a very different approach to both playing and singing.

The Guitar on "Yesterday"

It takes a real Beatles geek (or maybe we should say  devoted afficianodo) to know that McCartney played an acoustic guitar tuned down a whole step on the original recording of "Yesterday."

When we do the song, we use an acoustic guitar in normal tuning. It's not that we don't want to do the song the way it was done originally. We don't have room onstage to keep two acoustic guitars available, and we don't have time during the show to retune the acoustic guitar we use. 

What that means is that we do "Yesterday," in the key of F, has to be played in F. 

With the guitar tuned down a whole step, the way McCartney did it, the guitar can be played in G, but sounds like it's in F. Anyone who plays even the most rudimentary guitar knows that a G chord has a certain sound. And that's part of what makes "Yesterday" unique. 

And that's the authenticity that Danny brought to our show that night.

He brought a separate acoustic guitar, tuned down a whole step, so that he could play the guitar with the original voicing, while singing. It was quite a contribution to the evening.

Danny doing "Yesterday" (and playing a G chord)

It was another great Saturday night, this one made unforgettable by Danny doing two great Beatles songs, handling both the lead vocal and major instrumental parts while we backed him up. After "Yesterday," he switched to bass, playing that running line from "I Saw Her Standing There" while singing lead.

Also that night, we were joined by our energetic intern Melanie, who provided these photos.

Melanie at the merch table

Here are some other shots from that night.
WannaBeatle Bryan on cornet during "Magical Mystery Tour"

Dennis and David
Dennis & Nathan
Dennis smiling among bandmates

And we had a great time hanging out with fans.
Danny, Dennis and David charming a mother and daughter

Thanks to Puckett's, our intern Melanie, and our great new friend Danny for bringing so much to the evening.

Bloggin' Bryan 26sep15

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Bloggin' Bryan just noticed, in the middle of reporting a weekend at the end of July, that we accidentally left out a gig from earlier that month. We will now insert our show at Cheekwood to restore chronological continuity. Thanks for your understanding.

Cheekwood is a Nashville institution, a large elegant estate nestled beside the Belle Meade Country Club, which has been converted into a public art gallery, an event center, a restaurant, and acres of land filled with various art exhibitions. The WannaBeatles have played at Cheekwood before, but never on the lawn, so we were happy to be part of their summer series, which was free to the public.

Cheekwood makes an artistic statement as soon as you enter. 

This is a three dimensional sculpture 
that plays with perspective, 
appearing two dimensional to a driver moving past it

There is interesting sculpture all over the grounds

Reclining figures embracing trees
 And a lovely creek running alongside the lawn

View of stage from creek
Setting up in the afternoon

 Our sound man at the board
 Our yellow submarine

 Setting up on a warm afternoon
 Assembling the gear
 Sound crew at stage

The crowd assembled on the lawn, with picnic blankets and lawn chairs. Food was available at a gourmet taco food truck, and ice cream at a Ben and Jerry's tent. 

We enjoyed playing. There were lots of kids blowing bubbles and dancing on the lawn.

We even had fans posting videos from the show on Facebook.

Here's a shot of what that looked like.

It was a an enjoyable summer evening of music. Thanks to our sound crew, our friend Lucy who helped us out at the merch table, and to Cheekwood for adding us to their community program.

Bloggin Bryan 24sept2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bedford County Fair

In a relatively sparse summer schedule, The WannaBeatles had weekend pair of dates that ended July and started August.

The weekend coincided with a visit from a lifelong friend of WannaBeatle David's, Danny Jiminez. We had met Danny when we played down in Florida in February. (see blog 20march2015, "Florida and lots of pictures" for a good photo of Danny with a bass he had customized to match one McCartney used, along with several fine photos Danny took.)

Danny is a fine musician with a special interest in Beatles music, and also a fine photographer. And so, this blog includes some of the photos he took at the  Bedford County Fair, and the next blog will report on Danny's performance onstage with The WannaBeatles.

Friday July 31 was a warm day. We were dressed accordingly for the trip down to Shelbyville.

Dennis checking mic
Nathan loading in keyboard
David setting up drums
BC warming up on acoustic
David imitating the 93.9 Duck on poster
Wanna Beatle Bryan and his wife Holly bought a Prius at the beginning of July. The Bedford County Fair became the occasion for installing its first WannaBeatles bumper sticker.
Our friend Lucy and Dennis set up merch table
Our local sound man Zeb setting up sound
Our pop up banner beside the stage
David's friend Danny taking another photograph
Nathan and Lucy
David at drums with shades
Nathan on his Hofner at sound check

Danny caught some good shots of us during our show.
The boys onstage
Dennis onstage
Nathan with bass slung over shoulder
Boys rocking' on "You Can't Do That"
BC on sax for "Lady Madonna"
View from the stage
Nathan and Bryan
The Boys rocking' together

Thanks to Zeb and his crew for running sound, and thanks to our friends Lucy and Danny for helping make our trip to Shelbyville so enjoyable.

Bloggin' Bryan 17Sep2015