Thumbs Up: A little more on that wonderful collection of music, “I’m the Lucky One,”  recorded by local musician Bert Johnson:

If you’ve been around the area and like music, you know about Johnson, his days with Jerry Garcia, and playing with different bands... and his love of art and sound. 

“My goal was to cover a large range of types of music,” he said of the album. It might be partly that love of a variety of genres that makes him shy away from playing in public much.

“I don’t care much to perform in front of people,” he said. “I’ve done it ... I’ve played for a few and for thousands. I don’t mind it once in a while, but mostly I just want to record.” And on this one he recorded Bill Monroe tunes, Kristofferson, traditional Celtic-influenced tunes; Tom Paxton, Bob Cheevers, Gordon Lightfoot, and more.

And he’s about half done with another album’s worth of songs.

A few notes on my favorite tracks:

– “I Got the Mississippi Blues.” I like it for the depth of sound. Johnson said he plays three guitar parts, including one acoustic tuned down for a throaty bass. Me? I listen to this track and can envision a paddlewheel moving over the river, out of the morning mist.

– “The One I Love.” Maybe it’s a tad sappy, but that’s what we like. And simple. And it’s the song that you’re listening to in your head – in a pleasant way – and humming and singing out loud later that day.

– “I’m the Lucky One.” The title track has a very well done duo of guitar and mandolin. 

Johnson said he loves to be creative and is just having fun putting collections together. As long as he keeps on including his own work, we’re the lucky ones.

(Again, drive out to the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors today and nab a CD for $15 ... proceeds used to help support the very deserving museum. Johnson said he’d be out there ... maybe he’ll sign your copy.)


Thumbs Down/Up/Down/Up: Well ... we had a fire at my house last week. We got home just as the place was getting smoky and smelly. Called 911.

The upside? I’ve covered, as a reporter/photographer/editor lots of scary situations ... but we haven’t been personally involved in much over the course of several decades. Just a few things and far between. What’s to be happy about is the emergency services system and the people who make it work ... at least the ones around here.

The 911 dispatcher was great. The firefighters were great. The neighbors were great.

Those Yuba City firefighters... wow. They were there in a minute (OK, the station is just on the other side of the block, but still...). And here’s the deal: You would expect tough, business-minded, hustling types of firefighters. And they were. But you don’t expect them to be sympathetic and helpful and caring ... and they were. They were putting a fire out ... it wasn’t a huge one, by the way, since they were there so fast ... but still, they were actually careful not to trample my garden down, they took pictures off the inside walls and tucked them in a safe place, they covered up the vinyl collection, they gave us waters and Gatorade and helped us get in touch with our insurer’s claims department ... just ... thanks.

Down side... one of the restoration guys says he’s not sure they can save the 40-year-old Sony receiver that powered the stereo system and could blow your speakers to hell if you weren’t careful. We’ll see.

Up side: The tons of other stuff that makes up our home appears to be OK... just needs some cleaning and de-smelling. And we’re OK. And the dopy dogs we keep are OK ... just need some cleaning and de-smelling.


Ugh ...  The dad jokes you love (because who couldn’t use a laugh at this point?):

– Where do math teachers go on vacation? Times Square.

– Where do bees go for vacation? Stingapore.

– Where do sheep go on vacation? The baaaaaahamas.

– Where do eggs go on vacation? New Yolk City.

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