Saloon singing days, with Jon Campbell and Everett Brown

Sun, 07/06/2014 - 1:25pm

Back in the guitar picking and saloon singing days, I ran with Jon Campbell and Everett Brown. We played many gigs, recorded lots of music and raised some hell. Everett and Jon are to this day, both very accomplished and talented multi- instrumentalists and song writers. (My job with the guitar, was to hold down the rhythm shots for these guys.) Between Jon and Everett, they play: guitar, tin whistle, flute, mandolin, bouzouki, piano, concertina, accordion and fiddle. Campbell plays the Irish, Uilleann Bagpipes—a very complex instrument, which mashes together powerful melodies and drones. Campbell made his own set of pipes. Additionally, he's made guitars, mandolins and bouzoukis. He's a talented guy.

Campbell played the pipes in a recording session in '89 on St. Patrick's Day, over at Stable Sounds in Newport. We were laying down the final track of a rock and roll thing I scribbled. The engineer gave Jon the signal to go, and he nailed it in one shot. Jon had trouble tuning the pipes, because he'd just done an outdoor gig for the Mayor of Newport, and the reeds were cold. Nevertheless, he pulled off what we needed in that one take. It was the most memorable piece of musical expertise I've ever seen. I can still see the look on the engineer's face as Campbell was peeling and bending the notes off the chanter—the guy was pretty astounded as he twisted the dials on the console and recorded the final notes. After the take, Campbell looked up at us and kind of shrugged. He had no idea what he'd just pulled off.

These days, Jon and Everett still do gigs. Campbell makes art in his studio, and Everett plays with his band "Barnacle." Everett also played with "The Wickford Express," and sits in with the "Irish Ceilidhe Club." He also charters his Pearson 424, Ketch rigged sailboat. I recently saw Everett coming off the ferry in Point Judith. He'd been out on the island visiting his daughter Persephone and her family for Father's Day. He also shared some, ahem, controversial information regarding the "Narragansett Rune Stone." Keep an eye out for more about this on going story.

Happy day after the 4th. and the 5th. I'm going sailing!