A note from John Parish


Greetings from the treacherous road. Or to be more specific, Malin Head. I’m still processing the gig in Bangor the other night, which, in short, was a delight. Many a new alliances were formed. Good friends and evil companions. Which brings me to my next point. This weeks raggle sees a new member join the boneyard squad as our special guest writer. Please give a warm Scranton welcome to John Parish, a man who needs no introduction. So let me first introduce Howe Gelb, who will then no doubt introduce John Parish. Got it? Good. Over to you Howe…


Ok. Where do we start ..

The middle. The middle always seems

to insist we start there whereas beginnings often shy away from the lime light and endings are usually embarrassed that that’s all there is.

Mark is at the wheel as I peck this and as I read him what I’ve got, I mention that I’m beginning the next article.

Mark corrects me “ You’re middling the next article “. He’s not wrong. But he’s not alright either.  Who is ?

Talula is in the back seat and weighs in:

“ I feel like your articles are always headache inducing. “

… and then adds “ you just missed the exit you wanted. “

She’s not wrong either.

We all just left John Parish back in Bangor. We 4 had become our biggest band line up yet on this non-tour tour of noncompliant music. I could only tell you all what it isn’t.

There’s no known descriptives for whatever it is. This is not a joke or snide acerb. It’s best to avoid  convenient categorical wrap ups like ‘Americana’ or ‘metaphorical musings’ when trying to determine what kind of music you’re listening to. Even when pressed while crossing international borders I tend to utilize aspects of the interrogation of uniformed officials as to what kind of music I play. My blurting confession is always “ I don’t know “. Their eyes often reflect the befuddlement of an admitted genre-less sonic gypsy even though it could mean detainment.

But forget about all that for now. I just wanted to introduce you to my old friend John Parish and his current jot. (I tend to get side tracked.) John and I met by mail ions ago after he heard some genre-less music I made and offered to get involved somehow at some point in the unforeseeable. Back then before there was the invention of email, it would take me months to actually tackle the pile of envelopes that would collect requesting my attention.

When I opened his I was smitten. Loved his sentiment. A brother from another mother land. And so we did form a future of participation. And yes I would often drive him to the border of perplexity with the way I work in the studio. But that was the second most impressive thing about John. He didn’t let it throw him. He remained calm and cool and incredibly organized. His sheer brilliance and understanding was as much of a comfort as it was a foil as I allowed the duende imp in my songs to have their way upending the impending session.

John not only handled it all like an English gent ( with Scottish bloodline ) but offered an astonishing talent for remembering and reproducing random scattered tatters of offhanded licks and ideas that would punctuate the studio time without prejudice or reprimand. In fact, they would often cock his eyebrow on high which signaled maybe I was on to something I would have instead tossed aside. But like I said. That was only his second most endearing quality.

His first was his smile. A

Radiance. A relief. An antidote. In my non-reality reality he has surely been knighted.

Ladies and gents .. I present to you Sir John Parish :


Although now that I think about it it may be ‘Metaphorical Musings’ after all.


It is until it isn’t


Goat tongue

deck of caro la cabra cards

playing bi plane

paying by caro la cabra card

reminded me of being in Milan trying to learn the Italian tongue twister ‘sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa’ the night before they banned smoking indoors.

Italy seemed an odd outrider to take that step. Everybody smoked, nobody took much notice of the law. All my Italian friends told me nobody is going to go outside to smoke. It was a cold Milanese January. We laughed at the absurdity.

When we showed up to the bar the following night everybody was outside smoking. There wasn’t a single lit cigarette inside. It wasn’t like there were smoking police on patrol, or bar staff encouraging compliance of the new law. I don’t even remember a no smoking sign. It was simply a case of it was until wasn’t. An idea that has had it’s time. Such as , the Tory party is the party of economic competence. Or indeed, competence. It was until it wasn’t

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