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Genre: Acoustic / Blues / Folk
Location Spokane, Washington, Un
Profile Views: 155682
Last Login: 4/7/2013
Member Since 9/29/2006
Record Label unsigned
Type of Label Unsigned
THE DAY ELECTRICITY CAME TO ARKANSAS © Dennis Karl Joern
Paper Size: 14.5"x22"
Image Size: 13.5"x20.5"
Paper: Fabriano CMF Etching
Act XXXVI: Scene xcii... Absolute Power
We Jorgensterns lived in our own world for many decades, here at this crossroads where never but a breeze dare cross. And not a neighbor within earshot. Scraping by on whatever we could find for food and clothes and rent and the occasional kamikazee bird that flies into the window. Then one day from over the hill came the towers. The power company had decided that it was time for all of us along this road in our valley to be hooked up and plugged in. This meant buying things. Wires and light bulbs. Lamps and doorbells. Phonygraphs and toasters. Hot water heaters and electrified blankets. Oh, but they want money for it. And the Company of Power and Light owns fifty-one percent of the general store. They do take payments if you beg and grovel.
This is why I am happy for all those years of dumpster diving for my coveted modern science magazines. Now that I have re-routed Kensington Creek and built a waterwheel to generate my own electrified power. I hope they don’t come looking. That’s why there’s trip wires and bear traps. After all, a fellow can’t be too careful these days. We can’t use the lights at night because when the Goon Squad flies over they’d be able to see the lights through the holey roof. We can’t listen to the hi-fi within earshot of the road on any still night. And now we got these giant towers of power right there in front of the house. Can’t even see the tops of them without a telescoping device. That’s where we grow our crawling vines. Vines that are being altered by the currents, growing bigger than any others in these parts. And the kids are bigger. Our garden is thriving and taking over the county. The well has become perpetual. We can see in the dark. Because we glow in the dark. People pay money to come and see us glow in the dark. My son has three eyes and a moon and star on his head, and is the biggest linebacker on the high school footballer team. My daughter has become a mathematical phenomenon and doesn’t talk back. My wife of ninety years is expecting three sets of triplets. The fish have legs and nostrils and bark at passing dragoonflies. The dauggs only bark at republicrats. The republicrats only bark at the Postman. The cowtle have pasteurized milk and some shoot out butter already cubed. The neighbors talk to us and think we’re interesting. We talk to them because they’ve become interesting. Those in the hills have turned from throwbacks to throwups. We get invited to parties and perform our knee slapping tunes at the local dances for food and spare change.
The revenuers won’t come within two miles of our little valley.
Life couldn’t be better.
Progress IS all that it’s cracked up to be.
Ma bought me my first record album while we lived (for three and a half years) in Frankfurt, Germany, From the age of five to eight and a half. Pa was in the US Army intelligence. The album was “Johnny Horton Makes History”. We marched around the couch re-enacting the Battle of New Orleans with our wooden guns and swords singing with great enthusiasm for weeks! I still have that album.
There was a dinner club on base called The Topper Club where we were taken to hear cowboy bands touring from the states. I was too young to recall anyone specific other than Tommy Cash and his band. I would present my slip of paper and they played my requests. What else? Johnny Horton of course!
We also listened to a radio station out of Belgium that played the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and the rest from the beginning of the era. It was on late so brother Dave and I would listen under the covers. We got whooped with the belt pretty good a few times…
MY FIRST GUITAR
My first guitar came at about the age of 11 in Kansas City, Mo. We actually lived on 12th Street. But not Vine… When The Beatles came out with “Paperback Writer” I had to have one. It helped a lot that Sir Paul was a lefty. My brain couldn’t make a right-handed guitar work. So I changed the strings around the left way. The guitar was a nameless dark red sunburst cheesecutter that cost all of $15. Pa paid half and I paid half. Brother Dave and I would go down the street to the local church where the pastor taught guitar in the evenings. Fifteen budding rock stars strumming “We were sinking deep in sin” until our fingers bled. “Gloria” and “Wild Thing” seemed so much easier but we couldn’t play those in church. Not that devil stuff! We moved back to Spokane and that poor guitar fell apart. A victim of humidity changes I suspect… I also was one of only five from Manchester Elementary School chosen to sing in the Kansas City All-City Chorus.
I went without a guitar for a year until I bought a Decca hollow body electric with f holes for $36 at Valu-Mart. Now I found after flipping it around that the knobs were on the top, right where my left elbow went. Of course by this time Jimi was playing that upside down Strat. I must be ok I thought, just work around it…
Video: All The Way To Helsinki
Dennis K. Joern- Guitar and Vocal (on the swing as a youngin' in our military housing playground in Frankfurt, Germany)
Dave W. Joern- Guitar
THE LEGEND OF NEAR BLIND "SLIDIN' LEFTY" WILLIE McTAVISH
One day on the 14th of October, 1899, somewhere was born Willie McTavish. They say his mother, one Willameina DeFoe, was a hobo, dressing like a man, riding the rails. They also say that she was implicated in a string of serial killings of her fellow hobos but this report proved to be unfounded.
They settled in Kansas City, Missouri during the early 1910s on the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine when Willie was about nine. This was when his eyesight began to dwindle. Glasses it was. And thick ones at that. He liked collecting bugs. Bugs of all kinds. He’d catch them and drive a pin through them which held them to the cooling board, complete with a neatly written expose of the species. He derived great pleasure escaping into the world provided by the microscope his uncle Ted said he bought from East High School. His mother worried about Willie she did.
He picked up a guitar at the age of eleven from the owner of Krebs Rx, a man named Walter Krebs. Willie used his bike to make deliveries for extra money. But Walter Krebs was a man who would gladly give away a worthless guitar than pay the boy with cash. A lot of people traded possessions for food in those days and the guitar fit in this category. Money was tight when there wasn’t any.
Willie hit the road early, school wasn’t for him. His mother had gone bad and although he couldn’t see his hearing was just fine. He could hardly see two feet in front of him by now. If you got close enough he’d know who you were, but he couldn’t see the blackboard so off he went at fourteen. He borrowed his entire college fund of twelve dollars from the Mason jar and bought a bus ticket to Atlanta.
It’s said that then having run plum out of funds, he followed in his mothers footsteps and hopped trains from near to far. Eating fried worms out of rusty tin cans and drinking muddy water from a hollow bowl. All the while playing that guitar he nicknamed Talulah. From time to time he crossed paths with other pickers, more the further he meandered into the south, picking up licks from the likes of Little Slim Joe Joseph, Slidin’ Pansie Packernacky, Whiteboy Jeff Peabody, and Keemo Barker, who blew a harp like a train runnin’ a man down. Here Willie began accompanying some of these gentlemen to the local clubs and taverns. He learned volumes about life on these excursions. If the owners let them play they might make enough thrown money to get a hot meal and a bottle. The show was worth it from memories of the time. Bigman Charles Ahearn could make that guitar of his wail ’til the tears fell, some say, and another round went round, on the house.
In one of the towns the barhoppers told a tale, a tale of a place where a man could come to the crossroads, and for a price life would be apple pie a la mode from then on out. They had had enough spirits and decided this crossroads place sounded like a plan. The three of them, Willie, Slidin’ Pansie and another friend, Stutterin’ Stan Dixon proceeded out of town, left on Lakehurst Drive, one and a half miles take a right and go ’til you see the Johnson and Brown crossroad. They waited and jumped at every owl hoot or dog bark until Slidin’ Pansie and Stuttering Stan could take it no more. Stuttering Stan swore in the four hour police report that he had seen a vision of the bad place where the sky ain’t blue and you fry forever. He stayed in the drunk tank for two solid years. Willie stayed alone and wrote three classic songs as he sat watching the heavens revolve around him. No one lives to tell the tale of what happened that night. He did come back totally discombobulated and took to playing in the left hand position however. Rare if ever.
Willie soon began to pass most of his contemporaries with his talents. It was spring when a man from an independent New Yorkian recording company was traversing the territory and asked Willie after hearing him play if he wanted to lay down some tracks, and no, he didn’t want to lay down on no tracks! He’d seen what happens when the train comes.
So that’s why there are no recordings in existence of Near Blind Willie. No one knows what happened to him. He may have taken a job in the Edsel factory in the fifties, or died as a prisoner of war at the nuking of Hiroshima. He may have written his song, ’The Disappearance of Pierre Depardou’ from an actual meeting in Spain. Rumors persist of his exploits, and four photos. Some still live who knew him, interviews have been given and books written.
Now if you should see an antique old black man wandering aimlessly with a resonator strapped over his shoulder and a small glass sliding bottle sticking out of his vest pocket you might want to ask him to play a tune. He might just give a bar or two of "If Sad am Blue"! You never can tell...
SFCC Student Show- Eastern Washington State University- 1978- Cheney, WA
One Person Show- The Galleria/Riverfront Park 1978- Spokane, WA
Designer Show- SFCC Fine Arts Gallery 1978- Spokane, WA
Carnegie Art Center Show 1978- Walla Walla, WA
J. Harken/Meyers Gallery- Spokane, WA
The Snowgoose Gallery- Spokane, WA
Two Person Show- Daults Paint Palette- 1978- Spokane, WA
Ruth Mayer Gallery- Laguna Beach, CA
Second Street Gallery- Santa Monica, CA
One Person Show- 1, 2, 3, Arts- 1985- Spokane, WA
Best Black & White Of Show- Westercon '90- Seattle, WA
Quicksilver Fantasies- 1990-1992- Post Falls, ID
Cheney Cowles Museum Sampler- 1993- Spokane, WA
Cheney Cowles Museum- Works From the Heart- 1993- Spokane, WA
Colburns Gallery- Spokane, WA
Cheney Cowles Museum Sampler- 1994- Spokane, WA
Cheney Cowles Museum- Works From the Heart- 1994- Spokane, WA
Cheney Cowles Museum- Works From the Heart- 1996- Spokane, WA
Ra-Tels- 1997- Spokane, WA
Pend Oreille Artists Regional Show- 1999- Metaline Falls, WA
CREATE Art Auction 2000- Newport, WA
Museum of Arts and Culture- Works From the Heart- 2001- Spokane, WA
Panida Theater, three artist collaboration: May 2001- Sandpoint, ID
Allen James Teague, solo piano concert
Photography by Dave Joern
And my Pen and ink drawings and paintings
Museum of Arts and Culture- Works From the Heart- 2002- Spokane, WA
Museum of Arts and Culture- Works From the Heart- 2004- Spokane, WA
Museum of Arts and Culture- Works From the Heart- 2005- Spokane, WA
Museum of Arts and Culture- Works From the Heart- 2006- Spokane, WA
My drawing, The Sidewalk Cafe was used by Richard Elliot for his debut album titled Trolltown. Including such gems as Until You Come Back To Me, Ducks From Mars, Stankfoot, and Trolltown. Album design by Brian Ayuso. Intima Records CDE-73233.
Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pen advertisement that ran in various major art publications.
2005- PBS episode of Northwest Profiles featuring my drawings, and soundtrack excerpts of a solo piano composition by Allen James Teague of "The Light and the Dark" and "Blues for Afghanistan" by Mad Mama Moon
Original Works included in Private Collections:
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Laguna Beach, Atwater, Mill Valley, Midpines, Venice,
Yosemite, Santa Monica, CA
Seattle, Spokane, Newport, WA
Galveston, Houston, TX
St. Vincent, Redwood Falls, Babbitt, MN
Kansas City, MO
New Orleans, LA
New York, NY...
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*** Dawn -lyrics and vocal on "I'm Not Your Sidedish"
Co-vocals on "Sandals" and "The Wandering Cowboy"
(the highs and the lows - the voices from way down in the wilds of the Everglades)
*** Dave W. Joern -guitars, bass on "Farmers Garden",
"So Tired", "I'm Not An Animal", and "Pack It Up and Go"
*** Lars Ole Hafsmo ...many places in Norway- horn, harmonica and backing vocal on "Maria"
*** D. E. Murphy ...somewhere in New Jersey (no photo available) -slide guitar on "Moonshine Shadow Blues".
D.E. Murphy uses D.R. strings!
*** Allen James Teague -piano, keyboards and engineering/mixing
Chet Montbriand on the farm outside of Duluth, Minnesota- late 1930's
The song "The Wandering Cowboy" was written by my father Wayne Arthur "Red" Joern in 1939 for his friend Chet Montbriand and his band to perform at the local barn dances back home in Duluth and other area towns in Minnesota. My father was working as a dental assistant during the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state at the time. Although I never heard the song played, I hope I've done it justice.
For my adventurous friends, you may check out excerpts from the entire "Blues and Ballads" CD at the Band Website link above.
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