Saturday, March 31, 2018

Out of the Blue (Hawaii)

(NOTE: Scroll down to “Calendar” for McMusical updates.)

These days, when the old land line rings, seems like the chances of winding up talking to a robot are about 50/50. As I reach for the receiver my brain is automatically asking, “Human? Or Robocall? Human? Or Robocall?” Perhaps not paradoxically, it makes it that much more pleasant to hear a familiar voice, especially one you haven’t heard for a while.

So it was recently when the voice of none other than the elusive Wes Turner (we often refer to him simply as “Big”) gently boomed “Howzit goin’ Pard?” A feather could’ve knocked me down.

It was a March mid-afternoon in my neck of the woods of Wisconsin, but Big Wes was just finishing breakfast. ‘Musicians are all late-risers,’ might be the conclusion one would understandably jump to here, but the more precise explanation was that the Big One was calling from halfway around the world. One of the Hawaiian islands, to be as precise as Wes was willing.

Big Wes has never been one for excessive detail. I asked what he was doing out there. He said, “I like the weather.” (Hard to steer wrong by stating the obvious.) We chatted. Along with all the persistent but good-natured, I learned that the irrepressible Mr. Turner has been passing his time by diving. Not in the ocean, but deep into his slack-key guitar repertoire. No surprise. We never knew him to be without a slide somewhere on his person and a pocketful of fingerpicks. “I hope you’re going to record some of that,” I said. All he’d say was, “Ya never know.”

We shot a fair amount of breeze. I brought him up to speed on the latest exploits of The Trio (see below). While we talked I could almost feel the warm waft of ocean air from his end of the line. And I definitely heard some plunking and strumming. “You got an uke there, Wes?” (We pronounce it “ook,” like the natives.) “Hell, everybody’s got one. This little honey never leaves my side.” I imagined the little instrument almost obscured by that big pair of hands, but the sound was gentle and soothing. “World’s best blood pressure medication,” he said. Then, before I knew it, he was signing off. “Hey Pard, you keep it above ground. I’ll check in with you down the road.”

Not far down the road, I hope. With Wes, you just never know. Meantime, I’ll keep picking up the phone and hoping for a live, human voice.

McMusical Calendar

Friday, April 13
Lucky you! (Get it?) Big Wes Turner’sTrio is back and boppin’ the Blues, appropriately at The Blu Room at Breezer’s Pub in Dubuque, I-o-way. 8 to midnight

Monday, April 16
Faux Fawn, regardless of whether or not there's a musical subgenre into which they neatly fit, songwriter Paul Otteson's surprising ensemble will be folking it up in support of headliner Kiernan McMullin, and local hero Brandon Beebe at the High Noon Saloon. Show starts at 8 pm

Wednesday, April 25
The Sparks Band (Rich, Mark, Tom) indulges in shameless 60s nostalgia at Me&Julio down dere on Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg. 6 to 9 pm

Saturday, April 28
Big Wes Turner’s Trio plays some blues and samples some brews (“Best in Wisconsin,” says Big Wes) at Tyranena Brewing. 7 to 10 pm

P.S. Big Wes Turner’s Newsletter has added an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon...
FOR FREE!!! Just ask us.

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