Hunting Down the Pretty Notes!

Solid Friends!

Paul Simon’s on the box.

Not totally sure about a lot of things but this I know for sure:

“I don’t want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard”

Thanks to him we welcome this hilarious zen truth. 

He sure has a way with words and music. A true craftsman with his meticulous method of working lyrics until they are just right is in stark contrast with how they’re doing it now in pop music composing as illustrated in this cool book I’m reading:

The Song Machine: Inside the Hit FactoryI never knew about how it’s done in current times and it’s a real ear opener. “Topliners” unite with beat makers and producers to churn out “smashes” with the hope of taking over the world. More power to ‘em! 

Me? I like learning about it but still, fill the air with Coltrane and Joao Gilberto and I’m cool.

I love this world with so many options in how to make it spin!

The holiday season has been a hoot with mega surf, great music, almost infinite food options (just discovered a delicious place in Encinitas called CAVA), family parties, chilly evening walks, catching up on “This Is Us” episodes, and of course, the Christmas Eve concert.

The concert —it was a hoot folks! Our biggest version of it ever with around 20 musos, tons of spirited people in the audience, ridiculously warm Cali weather, friends and foes all coexisting pleasantly (actually I didn’t see any foes) —a really great time.

We had the sun warping into the guitars, challenging the tuning at every turn and enthusiastic fans charging the stage and accidentally stepping on cables. All in good fun! 

We forged through and at the end we delivered a spirited Metheny inspired rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ “ that pulled all of the elements together nicely. 

Here are some videos from the concert:

also check out:
The First Noel
The Christmas Song
Don’t Stop Believin’
Love For Sale
The Ex-Mass Marketing Blues

If you’re looking at my performance schedule and wondering why there’s a big gap in it, that’s because I’m embarking on a composing mode and leaving some space to hunt down the pretty notes. As I mentioned a few months back, I was awarded the Chamber Music America “New Jazz Works” grant and this is what I’m about to lean into. The big piece will be for guitar, cello, violin, and percussion and I’ve got some starter ideas to get me going. What a life, getting paid to be creative!

I’m heading to NYC in 2 weeks to attend the CMA Convention. It turns out the Doris Duke Foundation folks want to meet all of the 2018 grant winners. All good by me and I’ll bring my guitar and surfboard ‘cuz I know it’s warm out there this time of the year. Hah! Hang ten!

For live music this week, on Friday afternoon, if the weather holds, I’ll play some solo guitar at Flower Hill Promenade. It’s a fun little hit for me and make it out if you can.

Paid meditation!
photo by Rachel Fawn

On Friday night, for sure, we’ll be at Ki’s Restaurant in Cardiff with Lisa Hightower on vocals, Tripp on sax and flute, and me on the guitar. We’ve got a few new tunes to add to the cool blendo of jazz and samba. See you there!

Ki’s with Tripp, Lisa, and Peter

There it is folks — onwards and upwards!

best, Peter 

Christmas Eve Concert 2018

Hi Beautiful People!

I’m just now looking at the weather forecast for Monday and I’m thrilled — 70 degrees and sunny! Perfecto for our annual FREE Christmas eve concert in Del Mar.   

It’s a long lasting tradition of ours to present this show which is a mix of great music, super cool friends, family, and new acquaintances. Together we rally in the lofty life of California Christmas with no snow but tons of good vibes.

Here’s the lineup for the concert:
Peter Sprague
Fred Benedetti
Duncan Moore
Gunnar Biggs
Danny Green
Peter Sprague
Leonard Patton
Rebecca Jade
Allison Adams Tucker
Lizzi Trumbore
Nina Francis
Tripp Sprague
Beth Ross Buckley
Bridget Dolkas
Johnny Minchin
Flora Pethick
Kate Sprague
The Benedetti’s
David Spitzfaden
John Leftwich

For some history on the event, click here to read a story by Nancy Fisher about the early days when we first played our Christmas concert. This article is from last year’s Del Mar Sandpiper Newspaper.

You can bring the whole gang, bring the relatives, meet strangers that are friendly and meet musicians that are strange. This is how we do Christmas in Cali! See you there!

That’s a lot of people and if you look by the base of the tree you’ll see us.

The last few Christmas’ have been scorching hot. That’s me trying to keep the sun off of my face. This year I might be bundling up instead.

Kate Sprague playing the guitar and singing.
photo by Kevin Kinnear

Gunnar on the stick bass.
photo by Kevin Kinnear

Fred Benedetti going from classical guitar to the Strat!
photo by Kevin Kinnear

Tripp, Leonard, and Fred jammin’ the yultied!

The Bliss of Ten Thousand Blankets!

Hi Friends!

Big ocean this morning and I’m still thawing out as I write you. Super exciting and if that doesn’t wake you out of the bliss world of ten thousand blankets keeping you cozy and warm, hallelujah!

Some quick little H2O dervishes!

Some cool Germany guitar festival pics just surfaced along with a vid of the whole crew playing “Manha de Carnival.”

That’s Aliéksey Vianna on the left and me on the right. From the Germany gig. Aliéksey is from Brazil originally but now lives in Switzerland. What a player!

The last jam lineup with Aliéksey, PS, Adam, and Antonio.

Here’s the last jam video with all of the players.

Our concert last weekend with Camarada at the full on retro cool Automotive Car Museum was stellar! Great turnout, the sound was on and the music was a joy to play. 

Camarada with Beth, Gunnar, Bridget, Duncan, Savannah, and me. This is when we played “A Life That’s Good” and we meant every word of it! photo by Chuck Philyaw

In place for this week, on Friday I first start out with solo guitar music at Flower Hill Promenade at 12:30pm. Get my hands and skills all warmed up for an evening hit at Solterra Winery that night at 6pm. It’s a super fun gig with Tripp in the loop with me and we play in the room with all of the big wine barrels. Believe it or not, they make the sound (with all that wood) all that much better. This place has stellar food and it’s a known fact that as you enter the town of Leucadia, there’s less rules and restrictions and this promotes relaxation. Glide with us into the bliss of bohemia!

Coat and ties with Tripp and Peter.
photo by Beth Ross-Buckley

On Sunday we’re stoked to play a show at Dizzy’s in San Diego and the concert begins at 7pm. It’s led by Allison Adams Tucker on vocals with Leonard Patton, Tripp, Sean Hicke on bass, and me on the guitar. We’re presenting our jazz view on holiday music and also to be included is my slightly off kilter take on the commercialization of Christmas. It’s called “Ex Mass Marketing Blues” and I think it’ll make you laugh.

There it is folks and thanks for following along. Hope to see you soon out in the chilly evenings of December.

best, Peter