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Doctor Mongo: News

On the road again aka Big Road Blues - January 7, 2016

Jan. 7, 2016: Well, I'm either retired or unemployed, so I'm off to Florida and the Alafia River Rendezvous hosted by the Florida Frontiersmen near Homestead, Florida. I drove from Thermopolis to Colorado Springs on clear, dry roads and I'm headed into New Mexico today. I will be playing at Maddog's Cantina in Fort Davis, Texas on Saturday, January 9th. Fort Davis is not in the Middle of Nowhere but you can see it from there! I will try to provide updates on my trip and any gigs that pop up. Check the Calendar!

Winter 2008 Tour - February 13, 2008

February 13th: Well, we are truly big stars now! We had to cancel the gigs in Nashville due to illness. Harry came down with the bug that laid Shirley low in Memphis and he can't sing or blow harmonica and he sure doesn't feel like playing guitar. We are in Montrose, Colorado and will be back in Vernal, Utah today.

Harry was too sick to go out on the town in Nashville on Friday, February 8th, but I went to see the Travis Mann band (our hosts' son is the front man) down on Lower Broadway. This is the best Country band I have heard in years, they have sold 40,000 copies of their first CD and have another one that will be out soon. They play old time C & W, along the lines of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams with a Rockabilly drive. They play with confidence and swagger and are just plain fun! There was a fine cowboy band across the street at Robert's Bar and we finished the night there.

Harry and I drove to Washington, Missouri to play at Otis Campbell's, a bar down on front street next to the railroad tracks and the Missouri River. We were well received by our audience who were mostly friends of our host, Wheelock Crosby Brown of Fort Charrette. The set went well but Harry woke up feeling worse and on Monday we decided to get him back to Utah, as he thought he would not be able to play at Most Wanted Pizza in Nashville on the 15th and 16th. So, DON'T LOOK FOR US IN NASHVILLE THIS WEEKEND! WE WON'T BE THERE!!

This trip had its highs and lows but we will carry on and try to leverage our experiences into more and better gigs. Watch that Calendar!

Winter 2008 Tour - February 8, 2008

February 8th: We got my truck from the Dodge dealer in Gainesville and it is running fine again. We have stopped to visit with Zach and Donna Mann in Nashville on our way back to Missouri to play in Washington. We will be back in Nashville on Monday, Feb. 11th to see if we can make our week even more exciting. Stay tuned!

Winter 2008 Tour - February 4, 2008

February 4th: Well, we didn't win but we think we were a close second to the guys who won our venue. We attended the Finals at the Orpheum Theatre and went back to the hotel to drown our sorrows in moonshine and beer - Wait 'til next year!

The semifinal competition took place over two days, Thursday and Friday. The finals were held on Saturday night. There were ten acts at each venue, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo. A panel of four judges determined the scores of the contestants and the panels changed from night to night. Five judges determined the eventual winners, Lionel Young (First) and Ben Prestage (Second). Two judges at the Blues Hall took the time to personally praise our performances after they scored us.

We made friends with Memphis Annie and will play at her hotel, the Mentone Inn, the next time we are in Alabama.

We got our CD's into XM Radio Bluesville DJ Bill Wax's hands with the help of our Venue Coordinator, Liz Lottman and made many other contacts that will help us get into bigger and better gigs down the line, including more festivals.

We have to go back to Gainesville, Florida to get my truck (blown transfer case - $ouch!$). Then we will play in St. Louis and Nashville before we go back to the Rocky Mountains. I'll update the Calendar shortly.

Winter 2008 Tour - February 1, 2008

February 1st: We are checked in to the Benchmark Hotel two blocks off Beale Street in downtown Memphis. We played our first session in front of the judges at the W. C. Handy Blues Hall. It is a wonderfully decreipit old shotgun bar on Beale Street next door to the Rum Boogie Cafe. The Blues Hall has autographed guitars from Willie Dixon and Furry Lewis on the walls and is dripping with Blues Patina. We played a strong set that started with "Engineer Man" and progressed to "Drinking to Forget", "Way Down South", "Gone But Not Forgotten", "Go On Back Home", "Love is What You Make It" and "River Trader Blues". We got a good response from the crowd and one judge and the Venue Coordinator praised our efforts. We then went to Silky O'Sullivan's and ate oysters. We'll see how things go tonight. The winners of the semi-finals will be announced tonight and we will all go to the Orpheum Theatre to watch or participate in the Finals. The library here is closed on Saturday, so I won't be able to put results on the website until next week. It is all very exciting and we can't wait to get back up on stage and give it our best.

Winter 2008 Tour - January 30, 2008

January 30th: We're in Tupelo, Mississippi this morning and abour to head into Memphis for the International Blues Challenge. I'll try to keep sending updates on the event as it unfolds but I don't know about e-mail access yet. The Alafia Rendezvous was Big Fun and we ate lots of crab and shrimp. Harry has a new song, "Your Shrimp is Funky" and we taught the 'Skinners there how to do the Funky Shrimp Dance. We have a whole lot of things hanging fire right now and I will get the dates and places on the calendar just as soon as I can confirm the gigs. Keep checking this site for updates!

Winter 2008 Tour - January 18, 2008

January 18th: We are in Live Oak, Florida on our way to Tampa Bay. We will be at the Alafia Rendezvous tomorrow after stopping at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa to confirm a gig for February 12th. We will return to St. Louis on February 3rd, go back to Florida, and then travel to Nashville, Tennessee where Zack and Donna Mann have a new pizza parlor where we can get in some playing time. Watch this space and the gig calendar for specific information. There is more to come!

Winter 2008 Tour - January 8, 2008

January 8th: I am in Vernal, Utah with Harry and we will be leaving this week for St. Louis, Florida and Memphis. I will try to keep a log of the trip on the website. For those of you looking for the HALLECK BRENDEN CD, I will try to have it available by the end of March, 2008. Watch this space for more news!

Eastern Excursion - October 15, 2007

We have acheived focus! Harry and I just returned from the EPR held at Muddy Run State Park near Lancaster, PA. We had a great time there as guests of our hostess and Booshway Cheryl "Bubbles" Gallagher and got to spend time with many old friends.

Following the EPR, we went to Baltimore, MD to play with "Baltimore Red" Jones. We wound up at a recording studio and laid down tracks for 10 songs that will appear on future CD projects - yes, we're working on our next release - stay tuned!

From Baltimore, we travelled to St. Louis where we stayed at Fort Charette with Wheelock Crosby Brown. Crosby has created an astounding 18th Century retreat on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River about 25 miles southwest of St. Louis. We played at parties on Oct. 6th at Fort Charette and at the Woodcutter's Ball on October 7th. We stayed over an extra day to play/audition at BB's, the #1 Blues & Jazz club in downtown St. Louis. We opened for the Terry Evans Band and had a successful performance - we were invited back to play for money on our next tour. We should be going to Florida in January, so look for us in St. Louis in January and February, 2008.

Heber City Doin's - November 20, 2006

We made a splash in the Great Northwest and moved on to Idaho Falls for Hallowe'en. Patrice had her first trick-or-treater ever and we enjoyed the event. The next day, Harry and I went out trolling for gigs and we now have two places to play in Idaho Falls in the future. Watch the calendar for announcements!

We moved on to Salt Lake City and Pat's Barbecue. Pat's has great food and a great sounding room - one of the best we have ever played in. Thanks to BadBrad Wheeler for setting this up and giving us an interview on KRCL-FM 91.1. We're looking forward to some more music & ribs at Pat's BBQ.

Dean Oliver met us on Nov. 8th in Heber City and we got the tent set up. On the 9th, we did a radio interview and performance on KTMP-AM 940 on Cary Hobbs' show. We played our way from the Zermatt Jam Session to the Open Mic Stage, to the Chuckwagon Stage, to the Main Stage in the auditorium by Sunday afternoon. We have an autographed picture on the "Wall of Fame" at KTMP and we may be on the regular program next year. Getting exposed to a different audience worked well and we hope to be back at Heber City!

Sleepless Near Seattle - October 19, 2006

We made it back to John Day, Oregon, played at the Outpost and took off for the Okanogan Family Faire (Barter Faire) near Tonasket, Washington. It was a grueling weekend with little sleep and much fun. We played on the main stage, at Winer's tasting tent, at campfires and along the trail. The drum circle and other performers on the main stage played until near sunrise, so sleep was at a premium. We met an old friend from Rendezvous at the Barter Faire, Little Bear from Hope, Idaho and we "hope" to be playing at his tavern and pizzeria up there some time next spring or early summer.

We have moved on to the Seattle-Tacoma area and are playing at jam sessions at some of the local clubs. We are impressing the locals favorably and we should have gigs here next year that we can coordinate with the Pacific Primitive Rendezvous scheduled for Bear Valley in Oregon next June. We're catching up on our sleep at Randi's - she's the keyboard player and singer who got us set up at the Turtle Shell in Portland and she is getting us into all the right clubs and introducing us to all the right people.

It's overcast and raining but you knew that.

Northwest Passage - October 3, 2006

Well, we're going back to Oregon and Washington. The Mountain Harvest Festival in Paonia, CO was a success - we had a large, enthusiastic and dancing audience at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts where we opened the evening's festivities. Same environment at La Cabana in Montrose on the 29th for Regina Sowell's fund raiser! The Delta Blues Festival was held on a beautiful warm fall day. We got to meet Maria Muldaur's road manager, Kimberly, who turned out to be an old friend of Harry's from Nevada City, CA! We didn't get to hear Maria sing because we had to go to Montrose, CO for an evening performance at their harvest festival.

We're on our way back to Oregon (see calendar) and will get to spend some time doing promotion and performance in Seattle and Portland, among other venues. Then, it's back to the Rocky Mountains for an experimental run at a Cowboy Poetry show in Heber City, Utah, featuring a performance by Michael Martin Murphy. I hope to be able to report more developments based on this contact later - stay tuned to this web site!

On a Mission - September 19, 2006

I got back to Paonia on 9/13 and we drove down to Los Alamos, NM on 9/14. On Friday, 9/15, Harry & I did an interview and played live at radio station KRSN 1490AM - they liked us so much that they have started playing our music on their station! Carey Gradzynski, our bassist and host arranged for us to be in the Los Alamos High School homecoming parade. We cruised and played live in a retired black & white cop car with big outdoor speakers on the roof and kids passing out flyers for our show ("...one night only, live blues..."). We played to very receptive audiences both nights and we will be going back to the Los Alamos/Jemez Springs/Santa Fe area to play in the near future. Lauri Hakola videotaped our performances both nights, so a DVD and video clips should be available soon if I can figure out how to get them on the web site. There will be pictures from this trip also as soon as they come in by e-mail. Northern New Mexico is new territory for me and I'm here to tell you that it is beautiful country with very fine people who treated us wonderfully while we were down there. It was all too brief and we can't wait to get back and play some more music! Special thanks are in order to Louis Polito who played drums with us and performed in an outstanding and very professional manner, as you would expect from someone weith 30 years of stage and studio experience. We hope we can play with him again in the future.

Yikes!! Time Flies! - September 7, 2006

It's been over a month since the last update - we've been out where the internet is hard to get to. Joseph had a Blues Festival going during our gig at the Hydrant. There were great crowds, especially Saturday night. We went on to La Barge and camped out under the stars on Moose Island in the Green River, rushed to Paonia for Sun Fest and then to Fort Bridger (more stars). We picked up gigs in Los Alamos where we will be playing for fund raisers to preserve the cabin in which Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer invented the atom bomb during WWII. How cool is that? We'll be playing with Cary Gradzynski on bass and a drummer to be named later. I'll tell you about the parade later.

Fish, or cut bait - August 8, 2006

Well, the Rogue River salmon thing didn't quite work out as planned. The fish are not running right now, so we just went for a walk-in trip to the upper Rogue River between Muir Creek and Union Creek. the fish did not cooperate but it was a beautiful trip and we finished on the Williamson River where I got a couple of rises and Harry caught one small rainbow. We will try again for Brook trout on Jackson Creek tomorrow, then it is back to Mount Vernon on Thursday and Joseph, Oregon on Friday. It turnbs out that our gig at The Hydrant coincides with the Jopseph Blues Festival, featuring Coco Montoya! Maybe we'll have celebrities at our Friday performance and afterhours revelers on Saturday. It will be a good weekend, even if we don't catch any more fish!

The Wedding Goes On! - August 1, 2006

Winer & Luc are married but the celebration continues. We had a bachelor party after the wedding at Lehman Hot Springs near Ukiah, Oregon that transmogrified into a trip to the White Horse Casino near Pendleton, Oregon on Monday, July 31st. We had frost on our sleeping bags at Lehman Hot Springs that morning! We had a beautiful and enormous breakfast at Dixie's Diner in Mount Vernon this morning (thanks, Jensen!) after an impromptu concert at Luc & Winer's ranch last night. Harry is napping and I'm trying to catch up on internet business before more festivities break out.

We're going to play the Outpost in John Day on Saturday, hit the Acoustic Blues Jam in Klamabama on Monday, fish the Rogue River for salmon for a couple of days and then head for the Hydrant in Joseph, Oregon.

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