Jack Cutter's Blog

Saturday June 11, 2016
Due to an increase in the presence of unstable mentally ill in the downtown BART stations,  I have sadly decided to forego further playing for the morning commute hours at Montgomery Street.  It has been wonderful to get to know many of the commuters in the early morning hours from BART and MUNI and I will dearly miss seeing them .  The risk of loss or damage to expensive equipment and the possibility of violent interaction has forced me to this decision.

I will be trying a new venue at BART with a partner who was a bandmate in my former group "Ronin".  She is a fabulous vocalist and talented on keyboard.  For this gig, she will be getting her bass chops honed and I will be working on lead and harmony vocals as well.  A new direction.  We will be trying some Saturdays at 16th and Mission BART to see how it goes.  According to a good friend, who is a veteran busker, vocals are much appreciated in busking and hopefully this will take the place of Montgomery Street BART.

Wednesday February 10, 2016
Catching up from last Summer

Kevin and Catherine were wed on August 8, 2015. Hearty Congrtatulations.

In September I attended a 4 day workshop with one of the top guitarists living today. Tommy Emmanuel has an unbelievable guitar style and technique based on masters such as Chet Atkins who was his mentor. One of the results of that 4 day immersion in master level guitar picking has been spending more time woodsheding and letting things like newsletters, management and websites slip just a bit.

So here is a photo of Jack and the maestro himself.

The end of an era with Retreaux. I had to make the decision to part with the band with whom I worked for the past few years. You can only do so many things at once and the solo acoustic guitar has become more and more front and center. Jerry, Bonnie and Jack (absent drummer Rich) played our last gig at the Orinda Farmer's Market on Saturday October 3, 2015. Many good notes and bad jokes were shared.

Annnd. . . what do you know? A real record deal. Yes now out in true stereo VINYL, "Serpent Strut" and "Gift Of Our Fathers" produced by Layne Fox whose production name goes under "40 Thieves". Vocals on Serpent Strut were crafted by UK vocal artist David Harks. The 10" single is released on UK label Claremont56. It may be available for a short time in the Bay Area. Gotta look into that. You can hear the tracks at Soundcloud.
Here is a Facebook blurb form Claremont56 with the album jacket artwork

On this side of the Atlantic, Jack's third CD was released in December 2015. "In The Realm Of The Hungry Ghost" is now here. It will be up on CD baby shortly as download and physical CD. Of course you can hit me up at gigs or shoot an email. I have lots of copies ready to go. Samples are up on Soundcloud. You have to scroll down a bit. Sample tracks will also be on CD Baby when that gets posted.

That is all for now.

Friday July 10, 2015
On Saturday June 20, Jerry Cahill shot video for new DVD and YouTube. Some old tunes and some new for next CD release. We will be having a 2nd shoot in August to finish up the Green Screen shoot. There will be another live shoot coming up as well John Campbell of Blind Eye Productions. That will also be in August. Check the calendar. If you are reading this, you are invited. (Up to 40 people that is)

On July 2, I played the featured set at Sacred Grounds in San Francisco. There will be video of that coming up whenever I get time to do some editing.

A sign-o-da-times. Up until June, there were newstands in BART stations manned by real humans. Sadly they are now relics of a bygone era as many pass by lost in earbuds and text messages.

Nuff said for now.

Monday June 08, 2015
Going back to March, Tom and Jovanni were maried on April 25 at the Pulgas Water temple. They had a guitarist for the beautiful outdoor ceremony. Photos should follow soon.

May 23, Emily and Luke were wed in the Shakespere Garden in Golden Gate Park. I learned an arrangement for "Somwhere Over The Rainbow" for the procession. They also had a beautiful clear day for the occasion. Also more photos to follow.

There is a very interesting monthly internet 'radio' show that features some seriously excellent indie artists. It is hosted Chicago college student Brett Stewart and harkens back the days of free form radion in the 60's-70's. The show covers genres that span epic soundtrackish to hip hop to gospel to -yes- humble guitar pickers ... and much more. Serioulsy, if you have an interest in music check it out. This is the stuff the labels wish they could find on their own. They all are amazingly listenable. Check it out at http://thejukebox.podbean.com/e/episode-3-may-2015/

Nuff said for now.

Monday March 30, 2015
Criminey - last entry in Spetember? Seems like yesterday. Anyway without recapping the last 7 months, let's just highlight the last 2 week.

Started using a new AER amp which is a giant step up from the Roland which put out 20 watts using AA batteries. Nice and light but quite enough volume or clear tone. The new one puts out 60 watts, is heavy from the lead acid batteries and is clear and loud. I can finally work the far end of Embarcadero and be able to be heard over the muni trains which are pretty loud at the end of the station. It seems that the majority of the commuters exit at the end. Tips much better last week. Might even get this thing paid off.

Speaking of Embarcedero one gentleman made a fabulous 30 foot jumpshot with a wad of 3 one dollar bills straight into the guitar case the other side of the BART gate. Serious points earned for that shot.

And thank you to Pablo who took this photo at the Montgomery Street station on Thursday March 19.

You can find more of Pablo's images on Instagram PabloStreetMusic (at http://www.lookergram.com/pablostreetmusic).

Well time to post the next email.

Monday Spetember 01, 2014
The day job if in the past now and I am playing 4 to 6 times a week. ...and loving it having added Embarcadero BART on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Look near the Peet's inside the station during morning commute 6 to 10:30 AM.

Of course I am still way behind in setting up performance gigs (like with stages and full set performances) but you can only do 5 things at once. People have made great suggestions for venues and I WILL follow up....promise! It has been hectic with a new schedule, setting up the studio and keeping the projects going. Occasionally when time allows, it is still great to work out some new material and get a "CD/download" release out by end of year. I hope focus more on that in the coming months.

Kevin and Emily sent a photo from the wedding in June. It was an amazing day overlooking the ocean.

The project with yoga teacher Kelli Gayle has proceeded along with editing and overdubs. Sample tracks should be up soon and we should have pre-release demo CDs available at the Danville Yoga event on Saturday Sept 13.

The website is going to get a re-grooving with major work from a web developer in the SF Financial District who passes by BART Montogomery upon occasion and liked the humble guitar pickin. Becca at Bite-the-dust will be working with him to keep the graphic design going and maintain the site as it grows.

Retreaux has made a couple of it's first public performances one "Battle of the Bands" (yes they still have such things) and a set at the Alameda Farmer's Market last Saturday. Expect to hear more from us as time goes on. The demo is done and sounds pretty daggone good. 4 part harmonies and all.

Friday June 13, 2014 (as in Friday the 13th)
I recently Played 2 Yoga events in Danville - one on May 30 with Kelli Gayle and the other with Prabhu Nam Kaur on June 6. Both were wonderful experiences - and very different from my usual playing of composed pieces or blues oriented riffing. The music was floating and improvised over a drone with Kelli. With Prabhu Nam, the music was improvised over chord patterns in an ensemble with yoga adepts and teachers playing various instruments including classical guitar, harmonium, viola, clarinet, flute and percussion. Prabhu Nam is an amazing vocalist performing chants and songs in the Kundulini yoga tradition. Both evenings left me refreshed and moved on many levels.

On another front. "Retreaux", a group that I am part of with 3 other musicians, is close to finishing tracks for our upcoming demo. We do classic country/pop/rock-ish acoustic material with some pretty decent 3 and 4 part harmonies. It is up to me now to finish my guitar tracks and then mix. We look forward to gigging locally most likely starting in the Fall. It is a treat to work with such accomplished players and excellent vocalists.

Other than that, I am keeping up a fierce schedule with work, music, moving and family and looking forward to focused push with music starting in July.

Wednesday May 14, 2014
So I gave notice at the "day job" this week. Last day will be July 1. It will be a big change to go serously full time at music. It certainly flys in the face of the wisdom of "don't quit your day job" but there is too much that I want to do with music. Even 7 days a week would not be enough.

There was a little bit of strangeness at BART last week. It seems that a group of hearing impared were complaining about a guitar player using an amplifier. Huhh???? ... go figure.

The other bit of wierdness was a torn half of dollar bill showed up on Thursday then the other half on Friday. Sort of a clever way of making installment donations....

Sunday May 04, 2014 - Photo from Yoga Kirtan on April 18 ... a splended time was had by all

Other than that and keeping going at BART, I have been moving which is always a demanding process. Looking forward to working up new material that has been on hold for a month.

Wednesday April 16, 2014 - Well since the last entry there has been a some things out of the ordinary. The gig at the Treasure Island Flea Market on March 29 was notable for having one of Northern California's few heavy rains. The manager, Chelsea, worked through the confusion and had me set up inside. The high ceilings and hard walls made for fabulous natural reverb. The vendors had some fascinating wares and made some nice remarks about the guitar player that day. One of the tips is shown here.

On another front, a new project has started with Kelli Gayle who teaches yoga around East Bay. I am privileged to play guitar with her for chant and healing classes sometimes with some other players on guitar, tabla etc.

The acoustic band project proceeds slowly with rehearsals interrupted by my gigs, various illnesses and holidays. But we do make some progress with some pretty cool 4 part harmonies. Look for "Acoustic Retreaux" coming sometime this Summer(?)

Friday March 21, 2014 - It seems that the cold hung on until yesterday so today was the first time back at BART in 2 weeks. The morning passes quickly... 6AM - 10:30AM just zoomed on by. Still working up the new tunes. It was great chatting for awhile with Audry and Mary who were undoubtely late for work. Best wishes to the Harley guy from Texas who twisted his knee and came through with a crutch. Heal well dude! Well band rehearsal is tonight so onward into the weekend. No gigs for this weekend so just might start on taxes.

Friday March 14, 2014 - Well a bit of catch up is overdue since last Summer. I really do intend to keep this space current for 2014. Let's see how that works out.

2013 Saw the completion of the 2nd CD "Beyond Byzantium" in November. Apart from some timing issues, it is pretty OK. Also the website was redone thanks to Becca at "Bite The Dust" Both of these were rather ponderous tasks given a full time job and playing 2 - 3 days a week.

On to some fun highlights from last year...

On Halloween of 2013, there was a strange Cyborg commandeering my spot at BART. The NERVE!! It stole a bunch of my material as well. Back to your home planet usurper!!!

By coincidnece on that Halloween day, after 30 (or was it 35) years, Yolanda, who would pass by regularly in the morning at BART Montgomery for work, retired. It was a fond farewell and she was kind enough to take a parting photo with the guitar player at the 2nd Street stairs a week earlier.

Then on the next day, a totally different and wonderful person left this critter in the guitar case. There is no way that it will get spent. It now sits on the right hand speaker on the desk at home.

The next large project for 2014 is getting off the mark and pushing for gigs with actual stages, chairs, and full set or two and maybe even lights. Wow - what a concept.

Well for recent events, yesterday and today, I was out with a cold. I did spend some time working up a tune that was started back in 1979. The working title is "Sea Serpent's Lament". Also started working on Merle Travis' "Cannonball Rag" which is a serious finger twister-buster. So back to work...

Wednesday July 10, 2013 - As you can tell, I do not keep up well with interwebbing. Facebook is even worse. Perhaps I will try to just keep some short notes going on a more regular basis.

Last week was a fun little open mic at Sacred Grounds. I hope to be posting video of that at some point. Need to get the complete video file of the whole evening from Mr. Natural to edit. Performance at Center Stage on Saturday night had its' ups and downs. Most of the down was one pesky string going constantly out of tune.

The BART strike gave me some time to get a couple of new demo tracks recorded and posted. Recording is a great way to hear the fumbles that I normally ignore. I think that it may be time to get back to that and stop blathering here.

Back to BART tomorrow. San Rafael comes up this Saturday.

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Friday September 28,2012 - Did hear back from the GuitarFest Live competition. I was one of 10 selected to compete. A special thanks to Nancy Mueller at Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center who worked intensely to put this together. The competition was Sunday September 16. San Jose guitarist Chris Surma won and deservedly so. Yours truly made some impression and had rather nice time of it. There was fairly large audience many of whom individually made some wonderful comments. But win? Uhh no. However Rosalie from KFOG's Acoustic Sunrise/set was one of the judges so if a lot of people call/email/twit/face...etc in, demanding to hear Jack Cutter tracks on KFOG, she will at least know who I am. Heck I don't know if anyone reads this except me anyway but I guess it is useful to reflect on some of these moments.

Last week was a fun time in Cupertino at TomatoBash, a mini-festival of heirloom tomato growers. It was part of Cupertino's Fall Festival.

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Yesterday (September 27) I played a 45 minute feature at the Sacred Grounds (in SF) open mic. Major kudos to Mr. Natural (yes THE Mr Natural whom R Crumb used as his inspiration for his Mr Natural in his comics). Natch went out of his way to fill the place with an incredible audience of listeners and other performers. It is the mark of a great evening when people that I don't know come out to listen. It was a truly wonderful experience.

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Thursday August 30, 2012 - Heard nothing from guitar competionon.

Have been working a solo version of the Chantay's Pipeline . There is a totally cool original version on YouTube. Note the horn player in Lawrence Welk's band twiddling his thumbs at 2:11. Well anyway my humble version is almost there. Played it today at BART using the more complicated 2nd verse for the fist time. Managed to pull it off 2 times out of 3.

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Thursday August 16, 2012 - BART in morning...some really gracious passersby make this a great place to play. The tips allow me come back and the comments and conversations make me glad to be there.

Brian Gore who is a former teacher of mine, has a new CD out. It is well worth checking out.

Entered an acoustic guitar competition at the suggestion of some wonderful person who gave me the clipping from the newspaper. We will see how that goes.

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Friday August 10, 2012 - BART in morning - forgot to pay for parking at Daly City. Luckily no ticket (hooray!)
I have booked a 45 minute set at Sacred Grounds Thursday September 27 - 7PM to 7:45PM. !!! IN SAN FRANCISCO !!! The thugs from ASCAP/BMI terrorized the place, like they have all over the Bay Area, so I can only play originals. Sorry no Embryonic Journey...or Stairway To Heaven.

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Thursday August 9, 2012 - BART in the morning. Sam would like a guitarist for a memorial Saturday. Sam - where is the mp3???? No email yet. A bit more wonderful comments from passersby than usual. Got email from Mr Natural himself. I may be playing a set at the Sacred Grounds come September. Watch the calendar.
   ---Sam was not able to make the memorial work. Sympathy due on the passing of his mother. ...Jack

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Wednesday August 08, 2012 - OK the blog that I set up with Wordpress was a joke. The only response was spam hustles for "driving more users to my page" Yeah right. So from here on it will just be a journal. Today spent the morning getting this version of the blog started. Next step put out the monthly mailer. nuff said for now.

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