Calling All Hep (and Actual) Cats

Direct from the voices in my head to the pixels on your screen – it’s the J Ryan Trio July Newsletter – a hot mess of incoherence.

Caroline’s Jazz Club

401 S 2nd Street


Thursday July 19

8:30pm – midnight

A birthday party featuring a solid evening of heavy hitting jazz, blues and maybe even a little rock-n-roll. Hey – you’re only as old as you feel, which puts me at about 86. But I act like a third grader so it all averages out…

Arte´ Wine and Painting Studio

1442 Underwood Avenue, Wauwatosa, WI 53213


Friday July 20

7pm – 10pm

An evening for both the multi-taskers and the relaxers. The frenetic will appreciate listening to a not-too-shabby band while ALSO blending paint-on-canvass while ALSO enjoying great cocktails. The laid back and cool-as-cucumber set will dig a drink on the best patio in the city while enjoying the sounds of summer. Arte´ is the place where personalities of all types meet, greet, paint, groove and relax – join us Friday for a set to remember.

And Arte´ is for painters of any skill level – consider the image below showcasing a piece hand-crafted by yours truly entitled “attempted piano” – clearly an outsider artist with medication not properly titrated. Compare this to the lovely rendition of Theophile Steinlen’s iconic poster advertising Le Chat Noir. This copy is acrylic-on-canvass by our vivacious and lovely web-master / stage manager / sometimes diva – the one and only Heather.

We’ve always considered black cats to be good luck – harbingers of good musical times when found popping out of drum cases, sleeping in keyboard cases or dropping whiskers into martinis during many a rehearsal. A Claritin with a whiskey chaser is the standard prep for our vocalists.

The cats in our musical extended family are not limited to the feline variety. My special thanks this month to the hard hitting and steady groovin Luke from the Milwaukee Blues Rock Collective for joining us on our Caroline’s set. In addition to the J Ryan Trio facebook page ( be sure to check out the blues alley cats of the Milwaukee Blues Rock Collective at milwaukeebluesrockcollective/. They’ll be at the State Fair in early August where animals of all varieties can be observed.

A reminder to check all drum cases before the gig.

credit: The Onion

Nothing Funny About That

June’s in full swing – and so are we. Pop on by as you know we’d love to see you

Caroline’s Jazz Club

401 S 2nd Street


Thursday June 21

8:30pm – 11:30pm

I cannot recommend this place highly enough. Owners Paul (as in the Paul Spencer Band) and Caroline (as in the Caroline) are national treasures and the staff is the best you’ll find. It’s comfy, casual, classy and cocktail delicious. Stop in to hear the J Ryan Trio’ s musical jambalaya on Thursday and have a truly remarkable experience supporting a truly remarkable venue. For a peek behind the scenes, I don’t have video of the JRT at Carolines (yet) but I do have a clip of ole Ryan messin’ round with Paul’s crew – click here

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St

(but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)


Saturday June 30

9pm – 1am

Summerfest schmummerfest – hit the fest and then stop by after dark to cool off at the hottest place in town. See you there.

American Legion Post 449

3245 N 124th St, Brookfield, WI 53005


Friday July 6

6:30pm – 10pm

With our long standing support for the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative, what better and more appropriate place to lay down a set of old school dance-able tunes than at the largest American Legion post in this great state of Wisconsin – the mighty 449. For all those asking us to play a set out here in the western suburbs Friday July 6 is your chance to hear us good in the neighborhood – stop on out – it’s a friendly rockin time.

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum’s Renaissance Garden

Café Sopra Mare

2220 N. Terrace Avenue


Sunday July 8

10:30am – 12:30pm (as in: the morning)

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum hosts the original trio – Mike, Andy and little-ole-me – laying down instrumental morning jazz in the best Tuscan courtyard garden this side of Florence. Make it a summer morning of art and sound. Interestingly Mike, Andy and I convened the first ever live JRT session at the fabulous Tusa Italian restaurant on April 28, 2012. Vocalists were shorter back then.

And now for today’s top news – because I don’t always have to try to be funny (looks notwithstanding) or witty (I’m halfway there).

A very good young friend of the trio continues her battle with cancer – recently undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers – and thank you thank you to all those that attended the fundraiser held at the fabulous Annie’s Fountain City Cafe in sunny Fond du Lac last Friday. We were humbled to see over $1500 raised for the family. Medical bills are no joke – ain’t nothing funny about that.

Another good friend and mentor to the trio was banged up pretty seriously in an accident this last week – prayers to him as well – the Milwaukee music scene will not be at full strength until he recovers. He is one cool cat with several canines at home helping him feel better fast. Blunt force trauma – ain’t nothing funny about that.

On the happier side of the ledger, we’ve been enjoying a ‘musician exchange program’ with the good folks of the Milwaukee Blues Rock Collective. It’s like foreign exchange students but without the language barrier – because everyone speaks ‘music’. As in “hey man kick it up a half step on the ride out chorus” and “yeah that wah pedal gonna do what it do, baby” and other incomprehensible nonsense. Feel free to check out the MBRC at their facebook page. These cats are no-joke.

I also noted that our online videos are old enough to be featured on MeTV. So please do satiate your curiosity and show some love to the youtube links below – all filmed at Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy with my lovely Heather lending a ‘Blair Witch’ vibe to the camera work.

When Loves Comes to Town (BB King)

What I Say (Ray Charles)

Central Piano Time

Proud to present you with the May 2018 J Ryan Trio Newsletter below – we bring fake news to a high art.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St, Milwaukee (but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)


Saturday April 28

9pm – 1am

We have some good folks stopping out for this Bugsy’s date – c’mon down and join us – you’ll have no shortage of friends there.

Caroline’s Jazz Club

401 S 2nd Street


Thursday May 3

8:30pm – 11:30pm

Ever dream of starring in a classic film? Walk-on role in Madmen sound like fun? (it should – ’cause it’s awesome). Be classic cool and star on the set of Carolines Jazz Club with sound track provided by the J Ryan Trio – jazz, blues, cookin and cooled out numbers of all varieties. Want to update your profile picture? – bring a camera and snap a selfie. Do support this gem of a local venue.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St, Milwaukee (but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)


Saturday May 12

9pm – 1am

We’ll have a bevy (it’s a word) of new songs for you on May 12 – it’s new music May and it’s pretty… pretty… pretty good.

And now for pontifications…

Of the four dimensions, time for me is the trickiest. I’m OK with length, width and height (although I wish I were taller) – but it’s that temporal dimension that so often grinds my gears. Clocks all run the same, but the days are long and the years are short – so I’ve been told. An hour spent at the doctors office or in the dentist chair – that’s a long hour, man. Hours spent in the middle seat flying coach? Looong hours – more-so now that they got all strict and teetotaler on the free drinks policy.

Ah – but doing something you love? It’s a portal to a realm where time drops away and the hours fly by. So what do you love to do that nixes the clock? Hunting, hiking, skyping, facebook liking, motor-biking, shop-at-the-mall credit card swiping… …or the zoo… feed the animals… even though the sign says no, the irony of tossing animal crackers shaped like the animals to which they are being fed is simply irresistible. Whatever doth floateth your boat is all good (well, now keep it classy). For me it’s time at that piano. Those keys are a portal to a time-further-out where the only time is tempo. And it’s pretty good. So Salvadore Dali up your timepiece and do that thing you love to do plenty often – or share our time-out and join the JRT whilst out-and-about.

Also- a sincere thank you to our friend Jim. Jim comes to us from the Milwaukee Blues Rock Collective – watch for these cats around town. Jim’s wu-tang grip on the bass guitar, coupled with his cool as menthol personality, genuine goodness of spirit and riff-a-lific dance moves pegged the fun-o-meter at the recent Stein and Dine event.

Now – get your calendars updated with all the above lovingly provided info and we’ll see you for music and laughs as we all support some great charities.

J Ryan Trio

facebook / reverbnation / website / youtube / no-fly list


February. Feb-RU-ary. I find myself saying it Feb-U-ary, what’s with this ‘ru’? I dunno. Oh – and happy Chinese New Year – now entering the year of the Dog… that seems about right.

No worries, we’ll keep doing what we do – and in so doing extend you a sincere and heartfelt invitation to join us at any of the following upcoming J Ryan Trio outings – you know we’d love to see you.

The Bay Restaurant in Whitefish Bay

342 E Silver Spring Dr, Whitefish Bay


Friday Feb 23

8pm – 11pm

A relaxed venue in the heart of charming Whitefish Bay, the menu features tasty dishes, the bar features a fine selection, and the J Ryan Trio feature an eclectic mix of jazz and cookin numbers. Sounds like a right-fine combination.

Milwaukee Bucks

Bradley Center – East Atrium

Sunday March 4

5:30pm until tip-off at 7pm

Bucks vs Philadelphia 76’ers. Last season at Bradley Center – check out the Deer in action as we wind down the end of an era.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy
218 N Water St, Milwaukee (but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)


Friday March 23

9pm – 1am

Bugsy’s – voted best Speakeasy in Wisconsin. We are making a Friday appearance on this one – seems like a fine way to cap the week.

Our busy schedule is also available on our website at As I am sure you can relate, I find myself often running full tilt just to keep up. Thus when things break, wear out or otherwise malfunction I find it overwhelming to chisel out time needed to engineer a fix. To the rescue I deploy a clever technique I have dubbed: “Fix-ished”.

“Fix-ished”: not fixed properly, but mostly almost good enough. A real time-saver when needing repair with time simply not available, or when time could be better spent watching Blues Brothers on TBS because, I mean – really who knows when they’ll re-run that film.

Now don’t get carried away: “Fix-ished” is not for everything. Things like… mmmmm, aircraft maintenance, dental work, veterinary science – these would be good candidates for doing the job, you know, completely legit. The following examples, however, I feel were low-hanging fruit ripe for the plucking.

With snow to shovel and holes in my glove – what to do? Almost too obvious, this slathering of duct tape is for the beginner ‘fix-ished’ aficionado. More advanced learners will graduate to caulk, bailing wire and eventually JB Weld.

A musical entry – this keyboard pedal suffered a broken housing due to, um… unbridled enthusiasm during a Stevie Wonder song. The giant washer and Herman Munster looking bolt have held this hot mess together for several years now.

Aaaah – an automotive entry. My beloved ride is 20 years young – far too tender an age to consider recycling into soup cans. Concerned that crafty thieves might steel groceries from the trunk through the holes in the fenders (and having lost a case of Dr Pepper through the same rusty egress) a meticulously crafted patch-panel was unceremoniously caulked and screwed to the vehicle. Both classy AND functional? Yes you can have it all once embracing the “Fix-ished” lifestyle.

Picture Pages

It is now week 3 of 2018 and I have yet through my own gross negligence or imbecilic machinations to screw things up irreparably – a new record. Woo and hoo. Actually, the year is off to a fine start blessed by music shared amongst our JRT family.

And no family is complete without a photo album – ostensibly a repository of cherished memories, also a clearing house for embarrassing pics yielding hilarity and occasional opportunity for blackmail. Thus check out our choicest JRT family Polaroids appended to the tail end of this newsletter.

Also – we are absolutely stoked to add to our charity partnerships Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. The supercharged heroes of FAEW channel food donated by individuals and institutions and deliver it with devastating efficiency to a plethora of Milwaukee and Eastern Wisconsin food banks. Innovation sets them apart – driving meaningful and much needed positive impact in our Wisconsin communities. Click this link for more info and get on board for the February PB&J drive.

Please do hang out with the little ‘ole JRT at any of the following upcoming events:

Throwback Prom

fundraiser for the American Red Cross

Badger State Brewing Co.

Sunny Green Bay Wisconsin

Saturday Jan 27

Road trip – if you will be in the Green Bay area on Jan 27, please do click the link above for more info and to purchase tickets – it’s a great cause and in addition to a party featuring drinks and dress of the prohibition era 1920’s, is also a rare opportunity to mix democratic and monarchical rule as the prom King and Queen are selected via voted ballot. We will feature bicameral music from the Brubeck album “Jazz Goes to Electoral College”.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St, Milwaukee

(but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)


Saturday Feb 3

9pm – 1am

We’ll play a cookin set as Bugsy’s is the overlap of old-school classy and new-school cool. If you can’t have a good time there, as a board certified funk-sician, I recommend you be checked for acute anti-fun-a-dosis.

The Bay Restaurant in Whitefish Bay

342 E Silver Spring Dr, Whitefish Bay


Friday Feb 23

8pm – 11pm

The Bay is your place for casual dining with attention to detail. Great ambiance, tasty food and a full bar all in the heart of walkable Whitefish Bay. We’ll add an eclectic mix of whatever you feel like hearing, from Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra to the Temptations and Michael Jackson.

Excerpts from the JRT family album:

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin – a great cause to add to our charity mission – completely impressed with what they do and how they do it.

It was 5° below that day – I wore the puffy coat. I think it’s gortex.

Alissa and Mike at Shank Hall – JRT opening for the sweet rockin sounds of Jasmine Cain.

Now what is Alissa thinking in this picture? Clearly it’s some sort of (justifiable and well deserved) disdain for the piano man, sure that’s a given. But is it annoyance, disbelief maybe tinged with pity? We’ll never know, that’s the fun of it.

Every time we play equipment is moved from vehicular stowage to full setup and back again. Some join a gym and honestly I just don’t get it. If you’d like to be in great shape and save $50 a month, call me and let’s talk about being a roadie. We’ll make sure you work the abs, glutes and Rolands.

We witnessed on Dec 23 the end of an era – last solo public appearance for the venerable and fabulous Mr. Joe Hite. He will in 2018 pilot the Joe Hite Orchestra through the heady airspace of weddings and corporate events – depriving us proletariat of slack-jawed stupefied amazement of his work on mic and keys. He is as stellar an individual as he is a musician.

And this is a picture of some cats… because no photo album is complete without beloved family pets. You know I will include for you, dear reader, whatever shameless schlock I think will keep you from hitting ‘unsubscribe’. Just look at those faces… I mean, c’mon.

I’d Like To Solve The Puzzle

Turkey sandwiches. Turkey soup. Turkey on chopped salad. Turkey jerky. Cajun re-fried turkey. Turkey in NATO but not the EU. Got some jive turkey. Turkey multi-tiered sales srategy – oh, no wait – that’s TURNkey ponzi scheme. So yeah – this piano man has some Thanksgiving leftovers in play. But hoping y’all will shake a tail-feather and pop on out to gobble up some old school sounds with us in this here December:

Caroline’s Jazz Club

401 S 2nd Street


Friday Dec 8

8:30pm – midnight

In this age of copies and fakes, Caroline’s is the real deal – the genuine article for the classic and classy jazz club experience. We’ll play far more than jazz as this Milwaukee gem shines bright for the (Billy) Holidays.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St. Milwaukee

(but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)


Saturday Dec 9

9pm – 1am

Playing with good friends for good friends at Bugsy’s is EXACTLY what I wanted for Christmas.

Von Maur

20111 Lord Street in Brookfield

(Bluemound just east of Barker)


Saturday Dec 16

11am – 2pm

We are happy to help you square away your Christmas shopping by lending some music as you enjoy the impeccable service offered at Von Maur at the Corners in Brookfield. Or if you prefer, stop in after we are done and hang out with me as I enjoy the sounds of the Lou C Trio who will be handling the 2pm to 6pm stint. Don’t forget to buy me something nice – I’ve been good all year. Well most of today at least.

Central Standard Distillery


613 S 2nd St. Milwaukee, WI 53204


Dec 31

9pm – 1am

Kick off the new year right – in a distillery! Let’s chat about new year’s resolutions while enjoying a classic and classy New Year’s party experience. Give them a call for reservations and know that this shindig benefits the Veterans’ Chamber of Commerce right here in old Mill-Town.

JRT – sinatra crossword puzzle

Hey who likes puzzles? Yeah me neither. But we got ’em anyway and actually the attached is bar none the coolest crossword puzzle I have in my tender 42 years yet seen. And.. AND for anyone who scans and returns to me a correctly completed (or mostly completed) puzzle you’ll win a drink (on me) to be enjoyed with the fabulous members of the JRT at any of our upcoming outings. Or kick back, relax and wait for me to post the answer key in our next newsletter – and then buy your own drink…

Special thanks to our friend Anne for sharing the deliciously vintage 1978 Sinatra promo / fan magazine in which the puzzle originally appeared.

Blessings to each and every one of you and my sincerest wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

A Modern Stone-Age Fa-mi-ly

Before Black Friday solicitations blow up your spam folder, wanted to shamelessly plug our upcoming holiday JRT dates AND sincerely wish you all a Thanksgiving spent in the warm embrace of friends, family and a tryptophan induced mini-coma. Thanksgiving – time to shine for that crazy uncle that you see maybe twice a year. Proud to say: I AM that uncle..

Great Lakes Distillery

616 W Virginia St, Milwaukee, WI 53204


Friday Nov 17

7pm to 10pm

Wine-Barrel-Kinnickinnic Whiskey release and special tasting party. It’s not everyday that a new whiskey is born. Join the party and be the fist to sample this bouncing baby bourbon.

Caroline’s Jazz Club

401 S 2nd Street


Friday Dec 8

8:30pm – midnight

Walk in the door at Carolines – grab a seat. There – you just notched +10 points on the coolness scale. Order a Manhattan? +20 points. Wearing something classy? Another +20 to you good sir or madam. Admit that you know the JRT? minus 5, but hey that’s still a net +45.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St, Milwaukee

(but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)


Saturday Nov 18

9pm – 1am

The place to see and be seen. Stop in and say hello – we love catching up with friends old and new at Bugsy’s.

Speaking of new friends… check out our ‘who’s who in the zoo page’ at sometimes-trio to meet our newest low-note-wrangler Mr. Dave Ciepluch.

Dave Ciepluch is a stand-up guy, which is in part why he seems so tall. His strong faith and goodness provide a compass ensuring focus on our true North – charitable service through great music. His skill and acumen on the bass provide the delectable and right-as-rain funky grooves we love so much. His wisdom and experience provide ripping good tales – and lots of ‘em. Salty yarns from his encyclopedic knowledge old school rock, blues and soul.

Dave’s solid sound likely stems from a proud lineage of musical giants – reaching perhaps even back to prehistoric times…

Ancient Dave: unfrozen caveman bassist: Dave say fire good, but fire hot – no touch fire. But old school soul and blues hot too – Dave want touch soul and blues, but Dave need tool. Og in next cave invent wheel, but wheel no make music go, and Og is jerk, never share mastodon meat… stupid Og. So Dave invent new tool – call it bass. Bass make low note go. Go low note, go. Dave bass so cool – he money. Caveman Dave next want invent friend for bass – call it kick drum. But sabertooth eat Caveman Dave, kick drum need wait.

In fact, so highly respected is Dave among his peers that when proclaiming his allegiance to the JRT, friends and family doubted the veracity of his claim – finding it incredulous their upstanding and respectable musician would associate with such wanktankerous odd-balls. But associate he does, and blessed are we to have him plying the deep frequencies. Oh, and we like his hats.

Click Bait

Time for your October / early November JRT update – now in spearmint flavor:

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St, Milwaukee (but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)

414 221 6565

Saturday October 21

9pm – 1am

If you have an aversion or objection to classy fun, then Bugsy’s is not for you. If, however, you dig a uniquely cool Saturday night then please accept my personal invite to stop in, say hello and enjoy an eclectic mix of everything from speak-easy jazz to hard-cookin old-school blues and piano-rock.

Beer Garden at Whitnall Park

8831 North Root River Parkway, Franklin, WI 53132

Sunday October 22

3pm to 6pm


Only 56 shopping days separates this Octoberfest beer garden from Christmas – with a little luck we’ll have picturesque and placid late autumn weather in which to enjoy music by the pint.

Milwaukee Bucks – East Atrium Bradley Center

Bucks vs Charlotte Hornets

Monday October 23

5:30pm to tip-off at 7pm

It’s the final season for the Bradley Center. I’ve got such fond memories of the place – make some of your own in preparation for next season’s debut of the brand-new arena.

Shank Hall – opening for Jasmine Cain

1434 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Thursday Nov 9

Doors open 7pm, JRT at 8pm, Jasmine Cain at 9pm

Tickets start at $15

The drop dead fabulous Jasmine Cain will be bringing her Harley-ready hard kickin’ sound to Milwaukee after an 11 date tour in Florida and the Carolinas. Catch the JRT as we warm up the room for this award winning Nashville artist. We are honored to celebrate Veterans Day with such great folks.

Reminds me of when we opened for that AC-DC cover band (yup, that happened).

But wait, there’s more: joining us on Nov 9 will be Milwaukee’s top-dog on the keys: the often imitated never duplicated Mr. Joe Hite. It is nothing short of a bucket-list item for me to share key-mashing duties with the stellar Joe Hite – you know, formerly of the Boogiemen, currently of Uprising and soon to be launching the Joe Hite Orchestra.

Now I cannot possibly be expected to provide the above level of excitement in every newsletter. Thus future write-ups will rely on fake-news and click-bait. Like any skill, writing fake-news-click-bait must be practiced – let’s try a few headlines to get warmed up:

JRT to Offer Free Child Care During Shows

New Musical Note Discovered: K# Found Corrupting Youth

Musical Chairs – Chairy from PeeWee’s Playhouse to Replace Ryan on Vocals

JRT Switching to Extended Mayan Calendar
– Next Gig Octember 35’th of Toyotathon

…well – you get the idea

The Ditty Bag

Let’s work those spam filters with a second JRT newsletter for September. Much hubbub to bub about – check out the details below, or hop over to / find us on Facebook / or even ReverbNation.

Caroline’s Jazz Club

I’ll say it again:

Caroline’s Jazz Club

401 S 2nd Street

414 221 9444

Thursday Sept 14

8:30pm – midnight

The J Ryan Trio would love to see you at a jazz club named by Downbeat Magazine in 2016 as one of the world’s best. Published since 1934, Downbeat is the publication of record for all things jazz. To share the experience and vibe of the real Caroline’s with our close friends (that’s you) would be a highlight and privilege. Please do join us on Thursday.

Street Eats festival

Catalano Square – Third Ward (south end of Buffalo Street)

Friday Sept 15

4pm – 8pm

Bring along the dogs and the kids for the best food-truck dinner in town. It’s a great scene.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St, Milwaukee

(but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)

414 221 6565

Saturday Sept 16

9pm – 1am

(Re)birth of the cool. It’s bugsy’s and it truly is a night-time Milwaukee gem. I love hanging out there, but I love-love laying down some cookin music there. JRT party tables are the ones next to the stage – tell ’em Heather sent you.

The Ditty Bag – a 1960 reprint of a 1947 paperback. Being a fan of anything vintage and mid-century modern, I was stoked to geek out over this bizarre tome lent to me by our friend Kristin. Page upon page of music lead sheets covering the most eclectic and unheard-of songs ever written.

This book has unseated my previous vintage favorite: The New Hotdog Cookbook. First published in 1968 by folks presumably juiced-in with the Hormel or Oscar Mayer crowd, this pulp-non-fiction features an entire chapter on ‘hot dog casseroles’. Yeah – that happened… AND in an almost totally unrelated development, ryan is not allowed to serve food at rehearsals anymore.

But back to The Ditty Bag. Let’s review some choice song selections from this American classic:

Page 24: “Twankydillo” – The title’s meaning is never revealed, but is repeated 5 times in each of 3 choruses. I think the UN has ruled singing this song a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Page 88: “Nice Girls Don’t Chase the Boys”
I’m guessing this song fell out of rotation once replaced with “Mean Girls Swipe Left”…or something along those lines.

Page 99 – my personal favorite: “When Your Potato’s Done”
What I assumed was a clever euphemism for something cheeky is merely a heart-felt ballad to the cooking and subsequent consumption of America’s favorite tuber. The swingin ride-out chorus concludes:

When my potato’s done I shall eat it
Frizzled or charred, soft or hard
When my potato’s done I shall eat it
If it’s good or not!

Why bother making it rhyme… or make any sense. And they put it in Ab – the poato-est of keys.

But The Ditty Bag also sports an ‘advice for band leaders’ section. Number 10 in the ‘summary of pointers’ indicates I’ve clearly been doing things all wrong:

page 184 – “In general, aim at singing with spirit that does not degenerate into raucousness, and with expression that does not degenerate into ultra-soulfulness”.

Well – here’s to our new setlist and spirit of non-degeneracy…

Two By Two

Looking for something fun to do this weekend that doesn’t involve netflix binging? Stop out on Friday and / or Saturday and hang out with us!

Arté Wine and Paint

1442 Underwood Ave, Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Friday Sept 8

7pm to 10pm

Summer has been extended – but only briefly: it’s on the patio at Arté Wine and Paint in Wauwatosa this Friday. Try their signature Moscow Mule still served in the proper copper cup. Oh – and the JRT will be there for some funk and soul and blues and rock and / or roll.

Silver Spring House

6655 N Green Bay Ave, Milwaukee WI 53209

(between Silver Spring and Good Hope on Green Bay Ave)

Saturday Sept 9

8:30pm to 11:30pm

Two words that sum up a proper Wisconsin Saturday nite: Supper. Club. Brandy old Fashioned and the JRT – it’s the perfect combination. Actually the title of ‘perfect combo’ has been occupied by ‘chocolate and peanut butter’ for as long as Reese’s has had a marketing department. But Brandy old Fashioned + JRT at least makes the top 10. Try both at Silver Spring house.

Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it (M Twain / C Dudley). I knew we were in trouble when I saw our drummer Andy shuttling animals onto a boat two by two. Where did he get a boat anyway? And where did he find a petting zoo? It was the Bender Park Beer Garden – the close-out beer garden of the summer. Despite forecasts that morning of ‘party sunny’ the sky opened up and… well… how high’s the water, Johnny? ‘Five feet high and rising’ (J Cash). We soldiered on through calls of ‘batten down the hatches’ and ‘Spanish galleon off the port bow’, but finally, wisely, decided that water, lightening, an aluminum canopy and electric keyboards don’t mix. My 61 key Roland B3 organ got watered – maybe it grows to a full 88 like a Chia pet if I keep at it.

But I defy you to find a heartier crew than the JRT. Salty dogs of the sea: neither rain, nor (almost) snow nor heat nor gloom of night will keep us from our appointed songs. Nor some dude yelling ‘Free Bird’, requests for ‘Dr Dre’ (kid you not), opening for an AC/DC cover band (yeah, that happened) or even my car pinky getting jacked with a crow bar (‘fraid so). Nope – we love the music, the laughs and the charity mission too much to be deterred. But we can’t do it without you – your support and friendship is simply where it’s at. So find us around town, say hi on facebook and check out the new reverb nation site. Or simply wish us no specific harm – we don’t ask much.

Next newsletter is coming at you in less than a week – stuff’s happening fast and your spam filter needs a workout.