Street Sax Musician


“I’ve got two extra tickets!”

Oh how we love that phrase.  Nothing activates our dopamine like someone having two extra tickets to an event we desperately want to see.

The thing is,  I didn’t desperately want to see this event.  In fact I had never heard of this person.  Is he a singer? or a magician? or a poet? or a psychic? or a self-help guru? or an evangelist? or a fund-raising politician?

My first reply was “Yes, I will take the tickets.”  My second response was “Who is Sturgill Simpson?” I guess that is why they call it dope-amine.

It wasn’t until after I accepted the invite, that I asked my wife. She was in the throes of PMS…Post Mental Shutdown, since it was after 10:00 at night. She did not put up a fight.

As we neared the destination of the concert, I reminded her that the tickets cost $40.00 each.  She did not recall that conversation from the previous night.  She then put up a fight.

We found our seats in the balcony, behind what I could only describe as a bigg’un. This guy was wearing a local motorcycle group’s shirt that had to be made by a local quilting circle.  If a Vietnamese child would have made this shirt, she would have taken it home to be the new roof of her house.

Bigg’un was waving a fifth of bourbon for all to see.  Amazingly, the liquid was reduced  down to a few tablespoons.  It didn’t take long to know where the rest of the missing libation was residing.  He turned out to be entertaining, just part of the ticket price.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sturgill Simpson and his band.  I tried to describe his music that night to a friend.  It was as if the tour buses of Dwight Yoakum, Tower of Power, and Southside Johnny collided at a New Orleans intersection.  There was a mixup and these musicians staggered onto a bus and kept touring.

I took this photo of a street musician in Boston near Faneuil Hall.  I love to listen to good street musicians.  They add so much to the essence and spirit of the city.

I like the fact that the musician’s face is hidden, that it could be any street musician.  Also since I did not get permission to use this, my attorney was happy that the musician can’t be recognized.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.





Robbie Wells

Steven Spielberg, yes THAT Steven Spielberg, told him to let his fingers dance across the strings. Now Spielberg may know how to make movies, but I feel the only good advice he could have given my cousin, Robbie Wells, was “start playing now.”

You see, Robbie has been letting his fingers dance across the strings since he was a young lad. He started dancing his fingers across the guitar as a preteen, probably from the influence of his older brothers whom he always admired.

He is the first kid I remember playing with, I was about three. I remember being very sad when his family moved out of West Liberty to Morehead, Ky. and being excited when they would come back to town for a visit. Eventually his family moved to Delray Beach, FLorida and then on to Lynchburg, Virginia where Robbie still lives today.

I took this picture of Robbie at the Sorghum Festival in West Liberty, KY. He was playing with his brothers and one of his sons, a real treat for those within earshot.

I always admired Robbie and his brothers, and now their sons who also are accomplished musicians. These relatives of mine have entertained countless peoples in central Virginia and eastern Kentucky for many years.

Genes are a funny thing. Robbie’s ancestors on the Wells side were all musicians and he inherited their ability to make music on anything with strings. For the most part all were self-taught, the gene just kicks in and they start playing. This is similar to my baldness. One day this gene kicked in and without any lessons, I was able to accomplish total baldness…genes are a funny thing.

Robbie is in the new Spielberg movie, “Lincoln”. He is in a scene playing the fiddle. Though he is on the screen for only a matter of seconds, I think this is a testament to his career as a musician. A lot of the movie was shot in central Virginia. Robbie has a reputation for the music he plays in this region and they were looking for musicians to be in the movie. I am very proud of him and I thought it was so cool when I saw him on the screen last week. The movie was sold out and for the first time in my life, I had to sit in the front row. I felt like I was in the movie.

I am envious of musicians, movie stars, and TV stars for they have a record of their life here on earth for future generations not only as a validation that they existed but also to provide joy and entertainment long after they are gone.

So far, it has been my policy, for this blog, not to mention people in my life by name. This is to protect the innocent or the embarrassed or the disassociated. I did get approval from Robbie for this blog and I have a Facebook record of his acceptance. I did not get Steven Spielberg’s approval…I paid $20 to see the movie.

However to those other family members, friends, and acquaintances, if you are cast in a Steven Spielberg movie, I will one-up that accomplishment and mention you in these esteemed ramblings.

If you like this photograph, you can see more here.