The Tale of the Data Lords!


Salutations In Faster Upload Speeds!

Friends, it’s good to see you and I’m reporting from a gray, cozy morning here at the SpragueLand Office of Propaganda. After the recent rad fun Alison Krauss livestream show we made another attempt with a night of music from the Danny Green Trio. The band was in high form, prepped and ready and then we launched into the dangerous realm of overloaded Cox bandwidth complete with unacceptable buffering issues, finally throwing in the towel two songs in.

I can’t tell you how bummed I’ve been after putting so much into the idea of live streaming. It’s been my main focus and now, at the very core of it all, internet upload speeds are super compromised and threatening our complete livestream platform of sharing music.

I’ve been in the loop with Cox Communication (the only option here in Encinitas) and the basic truth is that the bandwidth is stretched too thin. Everyone is Zooming, working and schooling from home and there’s too much internet traffic to sustain reliable upload speeds for a music/video livestream. They said there are plans in June to modify the “node” that handles our internet and things may see an improvement then. I’m hoping for that.

Another option, which seems crazy, is connecting Steve’s cellphone to the video switcher and then actually uploading the livestream data with his cellular connection. Wicked! On a 20 minute test that we ran yesterday it worked with very few errors.

In what world would cellphone connectivity be more reliable than a wired internet connection? Hey Cox Data Lords, are you hearing this?

So the plan is more test runs and then hopefully we’ll restart the shows in early May. I’ll keep you in the loop.

In addition to running PingPlotter and trying to get to the bottom of data flowing through the internet, I’ve been arranging and rehearsing Stevie Wonder’s music for a show that’s filming this week and later airing on YouTube. In the Key of Life — The Music of Stevie Wonder features Camarada with Rebecca Jade singing up a storm, Beth Ross Buckley on flute, Bridget Dolkas on violin, Danny Green playing piano, Gunnar Biggs bassing it, Duncan on the drums, and me slinging the guitar. We’re having a ton of fun and here are the details if you want to attend the actual filming (at the Conrad in La Jolla) or watching the show on YouTube.


My good friend and soulful vocalist Lisa Hightower has a livestream show that she’s put together with the creative kids at Teri — Campus of Life. She does fantastic music therapy with people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and for this show she has the whole posse in the loop singing, acting, and dancing. Click on the poster for more details.

You’ve heard fantastic vocalist Allison Adams Tucker sing in our Jobim Brazil livestream and coming up she’s part of the 10th Annual International Jazz Day world wide celebration.

Starting in 2012, UNESCO with legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock designated April 30th as the International Jazz Day (IJD) in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe, promoting peace, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change. 
I’m joining Allison for a song as she broadcasts live from San Diego, California with performances by 15 jazz artists in 10 cities (and 6 time zones) around the world. 
Thanks friends for tuning in and always yours in the upload, love, Peter

Strum Factor 11!


Greetings Friends!

Hope you all are fairing well. Here’s a tale that leads into this week’s livestream concert.

There are many sonic textures one can explore on the guitar and one of my favorites is the Strum Factor 11. Strumming they call it —sheens of tonality glistening in the air, adding both rhythm and tonality at the same time. It’s like Duncan’s ride cymbal teaming up with the San Diego Symphony’s string section and then piping it through an iPhone speaker with no low end. Heaven in sound! Cowboy’s love it (in fact they sometimes call them cowboy chords), Metheny’s a master at it (listen to First Circle), and it’s part of my lexicon from way back in my junior high school surf guitar era.

For this episode of Live(ish) From SpragueLand we’ll explore how the the strum factor meets up with jazz. Wait, aren’t jazz musos supposed to despise country and bluegrass music? But then there’s Miles Davis being way into Willie Nelson and Charlie Parker digging on Hank Williams. Bird said “listen to the stories, man. These cats really know how to tell a story.” 

My first glimpse into that story was back in the early 2000’s when me and the band we’re playing Sunday nights at the Coyote Grill in Oceanside. We continued to notice these two young kids checking us out and eventually we talked during a break. I came to find out that it was Sean and Sara Watkins who were already exploding in the music world of bluegrass and Americana. Their band is Nickel Creek and in their twenties had already lassoed a couple of Grammy wins. They too loved jazz.

We became friends and they told me about Alison Krauss producing their CD project in Nashville. I had heard of her but never “heard” her and when I finally did, I was knocked out. What a sound, what a vibe! Masterfully composed songs and (back to how this scribe started out) fully embracing The Strum—the strum of acoustic guitars, mando, dobro, and the percussive side of the violin. A train ride through the back hills of Tennessee…

We teamed up with Sara and Sean and explored how bluegrass mixed with jazz. We played some concerts and I think we learned a lot from each other. Today they have wonderful careers of their own and both live in LA.

So that brings us to now and for this show we’re thrilled to live in the world of Alison Krauss’ gorgeous songs of heartbreak. I’ve peppered in a few of my originals that’ll abide by the law of the Strum plus we’ll take a humorous jaunt along infidelity lane with Gus Kahn’s “Makin’ Whoopee.” 

It ought to be a wonderful night of music and we’d love you to jump on in…

Link for concert

The band includes some of the best with Pam Pendrell on vocals (she sang with us on the Joni Mitchell episode); Tripp Sprague on sax, flute, harmonica, and piano; Andy Powers (guru of Taylor Guitars) on guitar, mando, and dobro; Mack Leighton on bass; Duncan Moore on drums; and me on guitar.

Price of admission? Actually the concert is free but we will have a “virtual tip jar” complete with PayPal, Zelle and Venmo info for you to donate whatever you feel good about. Also, old reliable snail mailing checks works too. You folks have been super generous with this and it makes us happy.

(It’ll show up as Satyam Music, that’s my music company)
Venmo: @PeterSprague
Zelle: Peter Sprague
mail checks via snail mail to: Peter Sprague
311 East Glaucus St.
Encinitas, CA 92024

A few notes:
You don’t have to watch the show live. The same YouTube link will bring up the recording for you to view anytime.

If you do watch it live (and we recommend this), you can participate in the live chat during the concert as long as you have a YouTube account.  

Click here to watch a vid, leading you through the easy process of creating a YouTube account. Maybe do this before the concert begins.

If you do have an account and you’re logged in, you can type something fun into the chat box and that’s how we create modern day jazz community in this era of the pandemic. Maybe start with something simple like “Hi, this is Lisa from Wyoming” or “Hi, I’m Reggie from Portland.” By doing this we’ve got an app that will magically take your name and location and drop a pin on a spinning globe. During the show we’ll visit all of the listeners and say hi and marvel at your exotic places of residence.  No worries about privacy…How many Lisa’s are in the entire state of Wyoming? Or “Reggie’s in Portland, Maine?

That’s it and we’ll see you in the strum!

best, Peter

Tuning Up the Jangle For Next Week!

Greetings Friends!

Here’s a head’s up for a show next week. We’re tuning up the jangle on the guitars and learning some Alison Krauss songs. Currently having fun and hope you can join in. The whole backstory will be included in next week’s gig email…

until then, straight ahead and strive for tone, best, Peter