Musicians love long running engagements.  In a business not known for its job security, to have ongoing gigs, especially at places where you enjoy performing, are a real gift.

Jim Hudak spent four days recording piano, guitar, and vocals at the wonderful Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA.  The recordings took place in June, 2015, and resulted in the recording of 47 songs, mostly original compositions....

We know we've been away far too long.  But here we are again, chomping at the bit to catch up with some informational writing and updates...

Health...the most important gift of all.  It's worth virtually any cost to find it, sustain it, and keep it, for as long as humanly possible....

Pianist Jim Hudak will have a segment of his recording of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" performed on WFUV-FM 90.7 in New York City on Sunday, August 17th.  Christine Lavin, hosting the Sunday Breakfast radio show, has put together a tribute to the song's composer, Jimmy Webb, and her show will be archived at WFUV.org for two weeks following the initial broadcast...

Jesse Winchester, songwriter extraodinaire, passed last week...A short tribute to one of the "little guys" in the music business who was actually a giant in my book..

Hello Friends and Music Lovers:

Over the past few months I've had the pleasure of taking part in a couple fun recording sessions.....Now they need to be edited and mixed to see just what we managed to lay down, musically....

On Saturday, January 25th, Jim Hudak will venture to beautiful Sausalito, CA, to do some recording in "Studio P."

Jim Hudak Books Return Holiday Engagement At Vic Stewart's.  Read on for more information...

For the ninth time in his event filled life, Jim Hudak has enrolled into a new college or university...

Musician Jim Hudak may be moving closer to realizing a long fermenting idea:  To hook up with a versatile pedal steel guitar player.  Steve Epstein, a talented steel player based in the San Francisco Bay Area, was recently referred to Jim by drummer Ron Potts.  While Steve and Jim have yet to meet or play music together, there's a sense of promise regarding the possibility of their developing a music based friendship.

"I've talked with Steve by phone a few times and sent him some samples of my music," said Hudak earlier this week.  "I must say he shares a similar vision to my own regarding the possibility of blending steel guitar with piano.  Most of us think of pedal steel as an instrument used in country music, which of course it is.  But I've always felt that it could be used in other ways, too.  You always hear about piano and violin or piano and cello...Why not piano and pedal steel?"

In his 1987 release of an album titled "The Hudaks - Connected," recorded with his brother Don, Jim Hudak enlisted the services of legendary pedal steel player JayDee Maness on Jim's original song titled "Shirttails of the Crowd."  It turned out beautifully, and though long out of print, "Shirttails" remains one of Jim's favorite recordings of his own songs.  "JayDee has such a lovely, delicate touch," Jim says. "It was a real honor for my brother and I to have him participate in the making of our album. We hope to rerelease that record sometime soon, and it would be nice to let a new group of music lovers in on what I feel was a pretty darn good recording."

Jim and Steve Epstein hope to meet up soon, and "start experimenting," Jim says. "We're looking for a couple more pieces to round out our band, and Ron Potts seems like the perfect drummer for what we hope to accomplish.  Good things take time, but we hope we're on to something here."

Stay tuned for developments and updates on what may be an interesting new direction for Jim Hudak and his music.

Jim Hudak received the Zone Music Reporter award for Best Holiday Album of 2012 in a special awards show held in New Orleans, LA last Saturday night, May 11th...

Jim Hudak's Embracing Winter has been nominated for Best Holiday CD of 2012...

Two weeks ago at the Valley View Lodge in Walnut Creek, I had a chance to do a show consisting entirely of country music.

In June of 2008 I needed some promotional pictures. I also needed some administrative help with my record label and website.

Frank Dorritie, a Professor of Recording Arts who I studied under at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California, recommended Ananda Walker, a young, multifaceted student he was teaching at the time.

When I contacted Ananda, she went right to work.  We scheduled a photo shoot session for the Walnut Creek, CA area and spent several hours shooting on a hot June afternoon.  She got some nice shots, in a number of different locations and settings.

A few months ago my website was updated - changed over quite extensively by webmaster Brian Kelly.  We ended up using a bunch of pictures that Ananda took on that June afternoon.  I've been tardy in crediting her for her help and her talent.  As it stands now, roughly 75% of the photographs currently displayed on this website were taken by Ananda Walker.  Some pretty darn nice work I must say.

Ananda has a bunch of artistic related skills and interests. Truly multi-dimensional. She's a musician, composer, writer, minister, teacher, and more.  To learn more about her, check out her website at www.anandatheta.com.   Thanks again for your contributions to my website, Ananda.

 

For the 11th consecutive year, Jim Hudak will provide piano music for special 'holiday lunches" at the legendary Vic Stewart's Steakhouse.  Located in downtown Walnut Creek, CA, "Vic's" is one of the Bay Area's most beloved and enduring restaurants.  They only open for lunch in December, catering to office Christmas luncheons and to shoppers from the Broadway Plaza Mall across the street.

"Vic's is a special place that's dear to my heart, " Hudak said recently.  "The atmosphere, the loyal following and the fact that they continue to offer piano music are all big plusses in my book."

Playing a wide array of Christmas Carols old and new, Hudak also digs deep into his vast repertoire to keep things musically interesting.  "I love Christmas songs as much as anyone," he says.  "But we all like some musical variety mixed in, and I'm happy to oblige. I'll be playing songs from every genre."

Peforming every Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM until 2 PM until Decembe 24th, Jim Hudak will also have copies of his new Embracing Winter Christmas CD available.  Vic's is located at 850 South Broadway in Walnut Creek, and you can make your reservations by calling 925-943-5666.  See you there!

 

After a lengthy absence, Jim Hudak's home recording studio is humming again with activity.  With Engineer extraordinaire Jon Lesher at the helm, Jim has been working on several original compostions, recording updated versions of some of his classics.  He's also unveiling some new original material for eventual public consumption.

Since early childhood, I was proud to be writing my own songs.  For one thing, I figured, listeners couldn't really compare them with anything else.  It was easier in some ways to play a song no one had ever heard of than it was to try to play a respectable version of a song they'd heard over and over on the radio. 

Over President's Day Weekend in Grants Pass, OR, Jim Hudak and his childhood musical mates (aka: The Spunkies) gathered at Jollity Farm Studios for "Winterburn," hosted by Rick Parkinson. This musical and friendship get-together featured a new band member, Bruce Chisholm, on guitar and drums.

Whenever I hear someone complain about the collapse of the music business, I cringe. Sure, any number of highly paid record company executives have found their worlds turned upside down recently. I never like hearing about someone losing their job or being out of work. But the system that fed some pretty fat cats for many years has indeed collapsed, as well it should have. That system wasn’t fair from the outset, at least not to the artists. More than a few were flat out taken advantage of, which created a system of haves and have-nots. It was time for a major change.

Cities And Their Sports Teams Finally it’s here. The much anticipated football playoff game between the Saints and the 49ers will start in less than three hours. The game will be played in classic Northern California January weather: Sunny, cloudless skies with temperatures near 60. Sports fans watching from back east will once again see a sun-drenched field and camera shots of boats on San Francisco Bay.

Though we must protect our sources, let it be known that secret talks are taking place for a possible performance by Jim Hudak with The Shillz on New Year's Eve. The East Bay band, recently "discoverd" by Hudak and written about on this website in his 11/22/11 News entry, will be performing at the Wild Vine in Danville on December 31st, bringing in the new year.

For a landmark 10th successive year, Jim Hudak will perform at Vic Stewart’s Restaurant in Walnut Creek, CA throughout December. The legendary steakhouse, located in what was a train depot building in the early 1900’s, welcomes back the versatile musician for its “Christmas Luncheon” schedule from December 5th until Christmas.

Last Saturday night in Danville at The Wild Vine, I had the pleasure of hearing a band new to my ears, called The Shillz. Though they usually perform as a quartet, they were a trio on this night, playing without their bass player. But all three musicians contributed their talents in a way that maximized their three-person lineup. What I saw featured Camden Wheeler on lead vocals and tambourine, Dave Carter on guitar and vocals, and Holly (last name?) on drums and percussion.

As I return from my first ever period of "extended time off" for health reasons, I feel a sense of exuberence. The old cliche that we don't know what we have till it's gone certainly applies when it comes to health. Never have I appreciated the complexity and the self-curing capabilities of my own body like I do now. Happily, in conjunction with a solid team of professionals in the medical field, my health and strength are returning.

July 28, 2011 Ted Hudak – 1928 – 2011 Ted Hudak was a man of greatness. His story represents that of the old school adage “Pull yourself up by the boot straps and become a success.” He did that, in many ways. Born the youngest of seven children to a poor family in rural Minnesota, Ted came West in the late 1940’s, with little money but a lot of quiet determination. Working his way through a series of odd jobs and a stint in the military, he married Rita Schultz in 1951 and bore two sons: Jim, in 1952, and Don in 1956. Through hard work and genuine goodness, he achieved true prosperity. Building a 40-year career as an accomplished hardware salesman, Ted traveled throughout Western Oregon and Washington, developing a large territory of hardware stores.

As fortune had it, I was able to attend the opening night of the first tour in 44 years by Buffalo Springfield. The recently renovated Fox Theatre in Oakland, CA provided the ideal setting for this one of a kind band. One was reminded of the timelessness of outstanding songwriting and uniquely great musical arrangements. Neil Young, Steve Stills, and Richie Furay are the surviving members of the original Springfield, formed in Los Angeles in 1967.

Brainstorm Records, Jim Hudak's independent label, reports that sales of digital downloads continue to outperform CD's in annual revenues. This is part of a nationwide movement that shows consumers are more apt to download songs or albums to their iPods and music playback devices than they are to buy CD's. "There's nothing surprising about this news," Hudak commented recently. "Our little record label is no different than most other labels in that music lovers aren't as apt to purchase the physical product as they are to load up their iPods with digital music.

Hi Everyone! After an absence, we're back. With some exciting news, no less. For the past four months, my nearly 14-year ongoing engagement at Round Hill Country Club has taken on a new dimension. At the end of 2010, the management there offered me the opportunity for a special and ongoing Thursday night engagement that was too good to pass up. I wanted to give it a chance to prosper, as it was an experiment that we weren't sure would work. But I feel good enough about it now to mention it here on my website.

For the ninth successive year, Vic Stewart's Restaurant in Walnut Creek, CA has booked pianist Jim Hudak for the holiday season. Jim will perform Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM until 2 PM through December 24th. An institution in Walnut Creek, Vic's began operation in 1993 and is famous for its steaks and seafood.

Two new Christmas recordings by Jim Hudak are featured on the Sugo Music CD titled "Christmas Piano." The disc features piano recordings from four internationally acclaimed pianists including Jim Hudak. Jim's contributions to the record include the songs "Winter Wonderland" and "Do You Hear What I Hear."

On a 90-degree Sunday afternoon at the foot of Mount Diablo, The Clayton Club Saloon played host to a gathering of local musical talent unprecedented in this town of 11,000. The vibe was upbeat, positive, and energetic, and the musical spirit of camaraderie strong and true. Everyone involved seemed determined to make this thing work, and work it did. While I spearheaded the concept, without the help of lots of willing hands, it wouldn’t have happened. Thanks have been and are hereby extended again to all who helped, and talk is already underway to make the second annual MATM even bigger and better than the first one.

September 17, 2010 Clayton, CA Having a recording studio in one's home is anything but unusual nowadays. Seems like virtually every musician has some sort of digital recording setup that allows them to make good sounding recordings at home. That said, it takes talented people to know and navigate their way through the complex world of recording. Proper microphones and their best placement for any given recording session, room acoustics, and a healthy dose of knowledge of recording equipment and electronics only begin to describe the skills required to be a good recording engineer.

Acting upon an idea he's nurtured for several years, Jim Hudak is spearheading a day of music at the foot of Mount Diablo in Clayton, CA. On Sunday, October 10th, 2010, The Clayton Club Saloon will host the musical event, which will likely feature at least four bands, and possibly more. The bands will all include some of the many talented musicians in the Clayton area. It's been Jim Hudak's brainchild to organize a musical event of this type for more than five years.

It sounds trite. We read and hear it so often, that health is the most important thing in life. But when you experience some serious health related issues first hand, suddenly the importance of good health hits home. Without getting too deep into this, let's just say that the past few months have included numerous health related challenges for me. My situation looks much better than it did a month or two ago, and for that I'm grateful. A special thanks to family and friends who have provided such heart warming support.

While he's been in the music business for 35 years, Jim Hudak agrees that many of the old rules no longer apply. Music business veterans everywhere are scrambling to figure it out. "Part of it is the economy, overall," said Hudak recently. "Everyone's talking about reinventing themselves, and many are out of work. That applies to all industries, not just the music business." In spite of the challenges, it's also a time for opportunity, with avenues available that didn't exist even 10 years ago. Says Hudak,"It's great to be selling digital downloads of my music to people in Italy or Korea or anywhere else.

Jim Hudak, who's rendered over 3,000 performances as a solo piano instrumentalist over the past 15 years, is taking singing lessons. A reach? A departure? Not necessarily. "Actually, I've studied voice from several teachers in the past," Hudak confides. "But it's been awhile. With upcoming recordings planned that will include vocals, I wanted to get a fresh perspective and give myself a chance to sing as well as I possibly can." Richard Jennings, whose Richard Jennings Voice Studio is located in Berkeley, CA, is providing the vocal instruction for Hudak's singing renaissance.

After years of fielding requests, it appears that a Jim Hudak "Christmas Album" may finally become a reality this year. Jim has begun preparations in earnest for a CD of Christmas songs he describes as "traditional with some twists." "Lots of artists record Christmas records," he said recently. "I'd like to do my own, featuring some original songs, a few traditional carols, and some surprise choices of holiday music that really moves me." In other words, a collection of songs with wide appeal while still being unique.

Whether writing music, books, or stories for magazines or newspapers, the importance of finding your own voice and following your instincts cannot be overemphasized. Every famous musician, songwriter, columnist or novelist was once an unknown. Somehow, finally - often after lots of practice and rejection, they crafted their own style or sound that's just a little bit different than anyone else's. And after awhile, they became accepted to the degree that what once might have sounded or seemed strange is now "mainstream." Copy bands can be great. Imitators have their own talent, to be sure. But it's the innovators, artists with something different to say or to play, that stand out in the long run. So, if it sounds good to you, even if for now, it's only you that it sounds good to, stick with it. Hone it, craft it, make it your own. Chances are someone else will like it, too. Then someone else, and someone else again. That's the way audiences and followings are built. Don't be afraid to be yourself. It's better than pretending to be someone or something you're not. This concludes today's word of wisdom to artists and musicians everywhere. Thanks for checking in. Jim Hudak
In so many of life's situations, we find ourselves in less than ideal circumstances. For a musician it might be attempting to perform a song (or several songs) that they've never played publicly before. For an athlete, it could be getting unexpectedly called in to a game to take the place of an injured player. In business, perhaps it's having to make a sales presentation without being as familiar with your product as you'd prefer to be. Yet, we work our way through those difficult situations. If we're good improvisers, we might even be successful most of the time - in spite of the difficulties and apprehension that we feel. Several years ago, I heard an interview with Steve Young, former star quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. He was talking about his playing career, (Young retired after the 2000 season) and how in spite of both his own and his team's great success, many of the plays he called or ran found him having to "wing it" for one reason or another. Broken down plays and assignments, unexpected defensive alignments, and just the human error factor can make the most perfectly designed play on paper end up taking an unexpected turn. It's then when one's natural ability and instincts have to kick in, and Young was as good at making that happen as any athlete I can remember. It was during that same interview that I remember Young mentioning that he and Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice used to joke about just having to "fake it till you make it." Meaning that you give it your best shot, every play and every game, despite your own shortcomings and the inevitable presence of circumstances beyond your control. Young went on to say that if you're truly prepared - rehearsed and as ready as possible for any possible thing that might happen to disrupt your plans, that you'll get through it. Indeed, sometimes just being able to fake it till you make it is quite enough. Recently, I had the chance to meet a couple of my longtime musical heroes, George Winston and Tom Rush. (See my 1/15/10 News entry on a concert by Tom Rush). I thought both of their performances were outstanding. Yet, meeting them after each of their concerts, I was surprised to hear them both downplaying their evening's musical presentation. Winston's remark was particularly revealing. When I told him how great his show was, he seemed genuinely surprised. "Oh, it was pretty ragged," he said. "It's always that way." Rush was similarly self-deprecating as he assessed his own performance, even though the crowd and I thought it was excellent. I put their responses into roughly the same category as Steve Young's "fake it till you make it" philosophy. I mean, here are three veteran performers who rate at or near the top of their professions as a quarterback, pianist, and singer-guitarist. Yet, each one readily recognizes the inherent flaws that go with their every performance. It's simply an inevitable fact of life that we humans make mistakes. We all have shortcomings and things we wish we could do better. But that "preparation factor" cannot be overestimated. If we're as well drilled and disciplined as possible, through repetition and performance in a wide range of environments and situations, chances are that even a less than perfect performance will still be "good." In fact to many, the performance will appear to be very good or even great. So the rest of us can take solace in the fact that even those who are the best in their given profession often feel less than thrilled about their performance. It's up to all of us to mine the gifts and talents we've been given, and if we do our very best, that will usually be more than good enough. Yes, "fake it till you make it" seems to make more sense the more I think about it. If it's good enough for Steve Young, it's good enough for me. JH
One never knows what to expect when catching up with one of the musical idols of their youth - 35 years later. But seeing Tom Rush perform many of his classics at the Bankhead Theatre in Livermore, CA last Sunday night was more than satisfying. It was moving. Rush, a singer-songwriter-song interpreter extraordinaire, cut his teeth in the Cambridge Folk Music scene in Boston in the late 50's and early 60's. That makes him a bit "old" (hey, it's all relative, right?) by some people's standards. But he still played guitar and sang with youthful energy and skill, and had a crowd of about 500 fans in the palm of his hand. Two characteristics distinguish Rush right off the bat: his relatively low voice - a rich baritone - and his preference for playing guitar in several different tunings. Both of these factors contribute to his having a unique, full sound as he delivers his music. He played many of the songs he's best known for: Joni Mitchell's "Urge For Going" and "Circle Game," a tearjerking version of Murray McLaughlin's "Child Song," and my two favorites of his original songs, "Rockport Sunday" and "No Regrets." He treats the latter two songs as one long song, as they flow together very nicely. Rush also graced the crowd with solid versions of some other enduring songs, including "Ladies Love Outlaws" and "Drift Away." He performed a number of songs from his new album, "What I Know," and drew loud laughter when he announced it as his first studio album in 35 years. "I didn't want to rush into anything," he said. Though hampered by some congestion, his voice was surprisingly strong for a guy who has to be closer to 70 than 60. And his finger picking guitar stylings are still sounding just fine, thank you very much. Rush is warm, aware, and musical. He brings some of the old Folkie Intellect blended with razor sharp humor to his shows that keeps the audience attentive and relaxed all at once. I left the performance with the reaffirmation that some artists, in spite of graying hair and more than a few wrinkles, can still pull it off as they age. Tom Rush is certainly one of them. He was, in a word, outstanding.
For those of you visiting this website expecting "nothing but music" related information, you're in for a shock. For those of you who've known and followed me and my music for awhile, you probably won't be too surprised at this sports related News entry. After all, I've been known to write a column or two on sports here and there, and the urge to do so now has struck. Having been a San Francisco 49ers fan for many a year, it's been painful to watch the team struggle so mightily for the past seven or eight years. There have been some games in some of those seasons where I simply can't bear to watch my team lose so badly. Especially after their storied success in the 1980's and 1990's. Things finally began to improve in the middle of the 2008 season. Mike Nolan, the beleaguered coach of the team since 2005, was fired and replaced by Hall Of Fame Linebacker Mike Singletary. Singletary brings a Pentecostal type fire to the team. It hasn't always been well received here in the liberal thinking Bay Area. But I felt from the beginning that he was what the team needed. A strong disciplinarian who immediately gained the players' respect. Singletary's over the top style softened somewhat this season. Some tough losses and a realization of the team's limitations in talent made him less brash and more realistic. But with the team's finish this season at eight wins and eight losses, (their best record since 2002), things are starting to look up. In my view, Singletary's biggest weakness is as a game tactician and what they call an "X's and O's" guy. He tends to inspire and get the most out of his players, but the subtleties and nuances involved in the offensive side of the ball don't always come easily to him. But, he's proven to be flexible, allowing his assistant coaches to do their jobs and make changes in the offense when appropriate. After all, this was his first full year as a head coach, and at least a bit of a learning curve seems reasonable, even in the Win Now mentality of the average NFL fan. Coach Singletary deserves and will get at least one more year to further improve this team. He's done a good if not a great job, and I predict a playoff appearance for the Niners for the first time in nearly a decade next season. Across the Bay, the Oakland Raiders have improved, too, over last season. But just barely. Coach Tom Cable is fighting for his job after finishing the season at 5-11. Raider fans are staying away from the games in droves. Only one home game was televised locally this season because of a lack of sellouts. The reality is that for most games, the stadium is barely half-full. Al Davis, the 80-year old patriarch of the Raiders, has refused to seek any upper level management help in running his team for the past eight years. Raiders fans are frustrated - big time. Many fans donated some of their hard earned cash to pay for the erection of a billboard on Interstate 880, which runs next to the Oakland Coliseum, begging Davis to bring in a General Manager to help him run the franchise. So far, the billboard hasn't produced any results. Much of the disillusionment to fans and media about the Raiders in general has to do with their unique way of doing business. Davis tends to cloud himself and team personnel in secrecy, sending out a vibe that many compare to the Mafia in that regard. No one, including beat sportswriters who cover the team, seems to have any idea of what Al and the Raiders will do next. With one of the worst won-loss records in professional sports over the past eight years, it's fair to say that their shrouded in mystery approach hasn't paid dividends. Overpaid draft choices and free agents have haunted the Raiders for years. Most recently, JaMarcus Russell, an overweight and undermotivated quarterback, has been relentlessly booed off the field after too many horrific performances. Just when or how the Raiders will significantly improve their fortunes is anybody's guess. While Cable insists he's the right man to coach the team, the smart money seems to suggest that he will be let go within the next week. We'll see. Professional football, and pro sports in general, have become largely an activity centered around huge dollars and big business. This saddens me, as it detracts from the healthier aspects of sports: teamwork, camaraderie, overcoming adversity, and improving one's skills. But to one who's followed sports and in particular the San Francisco 49ers for so long (50 years and counting!), it's still a nice diversion to keep abreast of "my team" and of sports in general. Even for those of us lucky enough to be able to be musicians and artists for a living. Truth be told, many musicians are sports fans. There's artistry in athleticism, and as my father always told me, a healthy body equals a healthy mind. At least most of the time. This much I'll promise: the next "News" entry on this website will pertain more to music instead of sports. Happy New Year to all. Thanks for checking in. Jim Hudak Clayton, CA
For the seventh consecutive holiday season, the piano music of Jim Hudak will add a touch of elegance to Vic Stewart's Restaurant in Walnut Creek this month. Beginning on Tuesday, December 8th, Jim will bring his vast repertoire of piano music to Vic's during lunch hours on weekdays. "It's great to be coming back to Vic Stewart's," says Hudak. "The atmosphere of this renowned restaurant is particularly vibrant during the holidays. They have a loyal following, and I see many of the same customers drop in for lunch year after year. There are also a lot of businesses who treat their employees to a special Christmas luncheon here each year. It's just a fun place to play piano, especially in December." Jim will have his CD's available for purchase at all performances, and will be playing his newly recorded Christmas song, "Let's Trim The Christmas Tree," at least once during every lunchtime performance. He might even have a few CD's of the new song available to hand out to special customers at Vic's. Jim will perform Tuesdays through Fridays from 11:30 AM until 2 PM from December 8th until Christmas. Vic Stewart's is located across the street from the Broadway Plaza Shopping Mall at 850 South Broadway in downtown Walnut Creek. Reservations can be made by calling (925) 943-5666. See you there!
Lately, pianist Jim Hudak has been pondering new record release material. It's been over three years since his last CD release, "Bridging Textures," which was co-produced by Will Ackerman, and Jim is anxious to get some new material out there for public consumption. He explains further: "For all that my focus these days is on my original compositions, I've got this yearning to release a second CD of piano based instrumentals of Grateful Dead songs." Interesting. Early this year, Hudak attended a symphonic presentation of Grateful Dead music at the Lesher Center For The Arts in Walnut Creek, CA. While there, he had a chance encounter with Dennis McNally, longtime publicist of the Grateful Dead. (McNally is also the author of two books, one about the Dead and the other about "King of the Beats" Jack Kerouac). "I've read both of Dennis' books and felt an instant kinship with him even before meeting him, but especially after we did meet," said Hudak recently. "He offered to help publicize either a re-release of my 'Gratefully Yours' CD or a new release of mostly Grateful Dead songs. If I go ahead with this, I'd prefer the latter approach. I certainly know enough material for a second full album. Dennis has so much experience and so many wonderful friends and contacts within the greater Dead family. I have to take his willingness to work for me very seriously." Some of the songs under consideration for "GY Two" include "Wharf Rat," "Cumberland Blues,' "Black Peter," and "Weather Report Suite," among others. Hudak elaborates, "The Grateful Dead has so much wonderful music to draw from. It's really quite amazing when you fully explore the breadth and scope of their material. And I'm always looking for songs that you don't necessarily expect to hear on the piano." When performing his more than 200 dates a year, Hudak plays his piano versions of songs by the Grateful Dead "fairly often. I try to read the crowd," he says. "There's something about people who know and appreciate Grateful Dead music that sort of stands out. They kind of go nuts when you break into a couple Garcia or Weir songs at any given moment and it's fun for me and for them. But it wouldn't be appropriate to play Dead songs at just any occasion." Between a possible "Gratefully Yours Two," in addition to a release of his Christmas song ("Let's Trim The Christmas Tree,") which he's in the process of recording with an anticipated "Holiday Music" CD to follow, and a long awaited "all original Americana/New Edge Music" album, 2010 is shaping up to be a busy year for Jim Hudak. "There's a lot on my plate. Now I just have to do the work," he says. "Fortunately, I'm assembling a good team of talent to help me. This isn't something I'd prefer to take on alone." Check back soon for more details. And to one and all, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Think there are enough Christmas and Holiday songs already on the market? Composer Jim Hudak begs to differ. He's hoping that his particular Christmas song, titled "Let's Trim The Christmas Tree," can establish itself in the broad but selected list of songs played heavily in December. While hundreds of new Christmas songs are written and recorded every year, very few establish themselves as songs that challenge the traditional "hit list" of holiday songs and Christmas Carols. Comments Hudak, "When was the last time a new Christmas song made a national or worldwide splash? You'd probably have to go with 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,' from 1979. Yet, if you were to research the subject as I have a bit, you'd find all kinds of Christmas songs that have been recorded by both obscure and well known artists, songs that have gone pretty much nowhere." On the other hand, once a new Christmas song is recorded, it has the chance to gain traction and momentum with each passing year. "That's the thing," Hudak continues. "I went out and bought a bunch of Christmas CD's over the last few years, from different recording artists far and wide, adding them to our Christmas music collection. We look forward to hearing our favorite songs and albums each year. And many of these are songs that go far beyond the pale of 'Silent Night' and 'Jingle Bells.' There's something kind of special about music that's essentially off limits for roughly 11 months of the year." Hudak describes "Let's Trim The Christmas Tree" as a cross between "Jingle Bell Rock" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas," with an upbeat tempo mixed with a traditional message of holiday cheer. He recorded a rough version at Los Medanos College in Northern California in 2005, but wants to put together a more fully realized recording of the song as soon as practically possible. He hoped to have it ready for this year, but with all of his other projects, that's looking more and more unrealistic. Hopefully by the holiday season of 2010, a new Christmas song will be made available to the masses. "We'll probably release it on-line at first, to test market it," says Hudak, "though we'll have some CD's of the song available, too." "I hope to have a couple kids sing it," Hudak adds. "While I could sing the thing, I think it would be more appropriate and effective if children's voices were heard doing the song. My instinct is that it would work better that way." Stay tuned for the continued saga of "Let's Trim The Christmas Tree," with a hoped for release date sometime in 2010.
9/17/09 Jim Hudak Clayton, CA Mary Travers Passes At Age 72 From Leukemia For openers, we quote Robert Shelton, the New York Times music critic who wrote in the early 1960’s: “Sex appeal as a keystone for a folk-song group was the idea of the group’s manager, (Albert Grossman), who searched for months for 'the girl' until he decided on Miss Travers.” This, of course, was in reference to Peter, Paul, and Mary, the ultimate folk music trio. Then there was Peter Yarrow, also from PP&M, who said, “When you look at Mary, you’ve gotta’ think of sex.” Back in the day, as a pre-pubescent youth who loved music, I certainly did. (Think of sex when I saw pictures of Mary, that is). This is mentioned because in her post PP&M days, Mary turned hugely overweight, and to many, at least by her physical attributes, quite unattractive. But that didn’t deter her spirit, or her voice. She kept singing, and remained an activist till the end. Many, like me, never forgot her sex appeal. More importantly, we never forgot her and her trio’s music and influence. Mary Allin Travers passed away yesterday, and today we mourn – and remember. I just heard Derk Richardson, host of The Hear And Now radio show on KPFA in Berkeley, play a nice set of four or five songs that she sang “lead” on: “Too Much Of Nothing,” “The Song Is Love,” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” among them. One is instantly reminded of the power and clarity of Mary’s voice. Yet, as is often the case, she was best showcased when singing with others, especially in Peter, Paul, and Mary. She even sang with Mama Cass on some recordings. It’s impossible to measure the full impact of Peter Paul and Mary. Protest singers, folk singers, and musicians with beautiful three-part harmony and understated yet intricate two-guitar parts underlying their vocals, they were the leaders of the folk movement back in the day. Virtually everyone in my generation loved them, and looked to them for leadership and inspiration. I have at least four of their albums, in vinyl, though I also bought a couple of their “reel to reel” tape releases (imagine that!) that are part of my collection of their music. PP&M were their generation’s version of The Weavers. They sang about racism, political injustice and prejudice, and anything pertinent to social issues of their day. They even mixed in a love song or two. Paul Stookey’s “Wedding Song” still remains one of the most requested contemporary songs of all time for weddings, even in this “sophisticated” day and age. So with Mary’s passing, we all feel a little bit older. Indeed, lots of people important to baby boomers have left us recently: Patrick Swayze, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Paul Newman, and yes, on a whole different level, Michael Jackson, among many others. As the cliché goes, “We’re all reminded of our own mortality.” It’s true. Sad but true. We’re all getting older. And like Mary Travers, we all will die. I’m glad she made it as long as she did. She’s an icon who had a significant impact on a great many of us, and I’m fortunate to have been one of the beneficiaries of her talent and goodness. JH
Greetings Everyone: From August 7th through the 13th, I took a wonderful road trip through Northern California and Western Oregon. During that time I drove nearly 1500 miles and saw plenty of beautiful scenery. I also reconnected with family and friends, sharing laughs, stories, and lots of music. But on the last night of my travels, for a few dicey moments I thought my return home might get delayed. For the first time in my many years of driving, I was within a hundred feet of some serious forest fires. The location of these fires was Lewiston, CA, roughly a hundred miles south of the Oregon border. I'd opted to take Highway 3, a gorgeous side road away from the quicker, more heavily traveled Interstate 5 route I usually take between Portland and San Francisco. Even with the fires, I have no regrets that I took this longer, more scenic route. But by the time I got to Covington Mill, a tiny California town about 40 miles north of Lewiston, a local grocery store owner warned me to prepare for the worst. The air already was filled with thick smoke, and I was still a good distance away from the fires. He warned me that I may have to delay my return home a day or two due to possible road closures. It's one thing to watch fire fighters on the television news. It's quite another to be driving along and suddently seeing multiple patches of raging flames on the hillsides all around you. That, and dozens of fire trucks and emergency vehicles, with busloads of firemen being rushed in to deal with the fires, etched a memory into my mind that will likely last a lifetime. I had extended my trip as long as I possibly could, and was due back for a 4 PM piano performance the following day - Thursday, August 13th. But at the moment, I was still six hours from home. Not being one to cancel a gig for any reason, I was determined to make it back for this one. But numerous roadside signs were visible throughout my final night of driving that warned "Roads are subject to closure at any time." I quickly made it my goal just to get out of the region as quickly and safely as I could. Fortunately, I succeeded. I fought my way through numerous delays and one-lane controlled traffic to limp into Redding a little before midnight. After a good night's sleep, I had a mere three hour drive the next day, and made it to my performance with room to spare. There were plenty of highlights during my trip that were more welcome than the fires. Playing music with old friends Will Sullivan and Jim Schlauch, with whom I co-founded The Spunkies musical aggragation 28 years ago, was a treat. So was a fun musical session I had with Jim Nolan, an old friend from high school. I also spent time with my dear friends Steve and Paula Barsotti, some cousins and in-laws, and of course my wonderful parents, Ted and Rita Hudak. It's always fun returning to one's home and hometown, and in spite of the growth and changes, Portland remains an outstanding city in so many ways. There was also some music business conducted during my trip, with stops at several stores who carry or will be carrying my CD's for sale. It's fair to say that Portland and Oregon in general has some of the nicest, friendliest people anywhere on earth. They also have lots of great radio stations and music lovers. For me, there's nothing quite like a road trip. The daily routine of cleaning out the cooler and adding new ice and re-freezing ice packs quickly becomes a ritual. As is repositioning of clothes, hiking boots, and the array of musical instruments and equipment I always seem to carry with me on my roadtrips. That's one great advantage driving offers over flying: you can pack a lot more stuff and have many more choices as to what you eat and drink. But driving certainly takes longer than flying. And forest fires are a lot more dangerous when driving near or around them than they are when you can literally fly over them. But then, that bit of danger and suspense only added to the adventure of what I'll refer to as My Road Trip Of August '09. Till later, then. Thanks for checking in. Jim
It could be called a re-release, though in reality it's just a new marketing approach for a CD that first made its appearance in early 2006. "Bridging Textures," the first Jim Hudak CD featuring all original material, is about to be specially marketed and promoted at the retail store level. There are many approaches available for promoting music and recordings. It's important that the smaller, independent labels like Brainstorm Records, which is about to celebrate its 10-year anniversary of doing business, use their available advertising dollars carefully. In this case, the label has hired the services of veteran record promotion expert Bette Timm, from Sonoma, CA. Bette has been promoting records at the retail level for 25 years, and she would appear to be the perfect choice for maximizing retail driven sales of "Bridging Textures." "Bette will be calling on about 120 stores around the country, recommending 'Bridging Textures' as a CD that has great sales potential at the retail level," said Hudak, the president of Brainstorm Records. "We're pleased that she's agreed to work this record for us, as she's not known to get involved in the marketing of records that she doesn't believe in." The fact is, "Bridging Textures" has sold well, primarily through on-line sales and digital downloads. Jim has also sold a good number of copies at his many performances. But to break through nationally on the retail level would be a nice bonus, and he's hoping Bette can provide a shot in the arm for the album in terms of retail sales. "The CD has shown it has staying power," says Hudak. "Several of its songs continue to receive international airplay, and the fact that it features the talents of such well known experts in the instrumental music field as Will Ackerman, Michael Manring, and Tracy Silverman certainly hasn't hurt its reputation. Those guys add instant credibility to any record with which they become involved," Hudak acknowledges. Hopefully, the marketing expertise of Bette Timm will serve to enhance the stature of the "Bridging Textures" CD all the more.
Unlike most people, summer is my least favorite time of year. When temperatures get higher than 85 degrees or so, my brain seems to diffuse and I get lazy. Nonetheless, life goes on, even during the summer months. We continue to explore new performance venues and sales opportunities for our music. Talks are in the works with various booking agents, music attorneys, and artist management companies to help us with the business aspects of what we do and offer. One thing I might point to that's immediately available is a link from this website to a video of me on YouTube. In this video, I perform my tribute song to Los Angeles, and the song is called "City Of The Angels." The performance of this song took place at the Freight and Salvage Coffehouse in Berkeley, CA. "The Freight" is a small, intimate venue with a well tuned "room" and sound system that countless performers from around the world have played at for many years. It was a thrill to be on the same stage where so many of my favorite artists have performed. To watch this video, you can now click on the "Video" link on the Homepage of my website, and one more click will take you directly to the YouTube website where a final click will start the video. Of course, you still have the option of going directly to the YouTube.com website and searching under Jim Hudak and City Of The Angels to watch the video. Also, if you click on the "Photos" link on the Homepage of my website, you'll see some new pictures that were added to the site a few days ago by my administrative assistant, Ananda Walker. She took the photos, which were shot at a few different locations in nearby Walnut Creek, CA. Otherwise, the lazy, hazy days of summer continue. I've been rehearsing a number of songs I plan to record in the near future, and continuing my performances at an average of three or four per week. So even though I may not be a big hot weather fan, I'm doing my best to work through it till the cooler days of fall arrive. One more point about weather here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We actually have 17 "microclimates," meaning we have 17 different weather forecasts in the greater San Francisco area each day. It's hard for out of towners to comprehend this, but there are huge fluctuations in temperature and in annual rainfall within just a few miles of each other at various points in the Bay Area. For example, last weekend it was 107 degrees here in Clayton as I headed over to Berkeley, about 20 miles away. When I got there, it was only 67 degrees! That's a 40-degree drop, all because of the "seabreezes" and marine layer that hugs the California coastline and San Francisco Bay. It's especially pronounced this time of year. So at least when it gets too hot out here in the far East Bay region I have an option. It gives me a great excuse to head into San Francisco, Oakland, or Berkeley, where chances are very good that the temperatures will be much cooler. Thanks for dropping in to my website. We'll keep you posted. Yours in music, Jim Hudak
Ananda Walker, a talented, multi-faceted college student, has begun assisting Jim Hudak and Brainstorm Records with day to day operations. She will work on a part-time basis, handling everything from computer and website related tasks to scheduling engagements. "We are fortunate to find someone of Ananda's caliber to help run the many facets of our business," comments Hudak. "There's just so much for a small record label and music publishing company to try and keep up with. She's a bright young woman, and her versatility will be invaluable." Originally from Madison, WI, Ananda moved west in 2007, and is currently enrolled in the Recording Arts program at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, CA. Jim Hudak completed that same program of study four years ago, and he sought the help of department chair Frank Dorritie in finding someone to help run his music related businesses. "Frank Dorritie is one of my all time favorite teachers," says Hudak. "I learned so much from him about music and recording. I'd been talking with several possible candidates to help us with some administrative work, but hadn't yet found the right person. With Frank's help and recommendation of Ananda, it looks like she might prove to be an excellent choice." Ananda also works part-time at the Creative Listening Center in Walnut Creek, CA, where she assists in programs involving music and sound in a number of healing and health related applications. She also provides administrative and marketing assistance for the facility.
This week Jim Hudak announced that he and his independent Brainstorm Records label have signed a distribution agreement with New Leaf Distribution out of Atlanta, GA. New Leaf is widely recognized as the world leader in the record distribution marketplace for world, new age, and instrumental music, among other genres. "We're excited to land a distribution deal with a company of New Leaf's magnitude and stature," said Hudak in a prepared statement. "They will help to get our CD's further into the worldwide marketplace, and they have a huge number of retail accounts that they do business with. It's still important to get one's music into the brick and mortar stores, and New Leaf is certainly capable of doing that." In a related matter, Hudak and Brainstorm Records also announced the hiring of New Age/World Music expert Bette Timm, from Sonoma, CA, to promote his CD's into selected retail stores serviced by New Leaf. Timm has had great success in working records into specific stores in the retail record marketplace for over 25 years, and her assistance will be a valuable tool in the marketing of Hudak's instrumental music in the coming months.
"Wild Goose," a classic Jim Hudak-Dan Erikson original composition, has just been added to the Piano Channel playlist on the DMX Music Satellite Radio Station. This hauntingly beautiful song was the first of many originals that the renowned songwriting team penned together back in 1973. Comments Hudak: "Dan and I both have a special feeling for 'Wild Goose.' Partly because it's the first song we wrote together and partly because, even after all these years, it remains one of our best." This version of the song is a previously unreleased solo piano recording from a limited edition CD Hudak has made available, titled "Original Piano Solos." Since it's an instrumental version of the song, Erikson's lyrics don't get showcased, though he does get fully credited as the composition's co-writer. "I keep saying that one of these days, I'll be coming out with recordings of these songs that will include lyrics," Hudak maintains. "Since so much of my work over the past 12 years has involved the writing, recording, and performing of instrumental music, lots of people don't even realize that many of the songs I've written and recorded do indeed have lyrics. Dan Erikson, for example, has lots of great lyrics he's written in dozens of our songs, and I like to believe his day in the sun is coming soon. I've also co-written songs with lyricists including Mike Shuler, Gordon Re, Will Sullivan, Jim Schlauch and others that have yet to be presented as songs with words. Hopefully that will be changing in the not too distant future." For now, DMX, which regularly features over 25 of Hudak's recordings on its various instrumental music channels, offers a soaring, compelling rendition of "Wild Goose" for its millions of international subscribers. "DMX has been great for me and my music," says Hudak. "It was fun several years ago, when my wife and I were vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, to be walking through the lobby of our hotel one evening after dinner, when I heard the piped-in piano music and thought to myself, 'Wow, that piano player plays the same licks and riffs as I do. How about that.' Then I realized it was actually my recording of the song they were playing in this foreign country. Having that sort of worldwide presentation of your music gives you a nice feeling." Jim Hudak's CD's and MP3's can be purchased or downloaded through CD Baby at www.cdbaby.com. Or, click on the "Music CD's" link on this website for access to his currently available recordings.
Hello Everyone: As the above headline indicates, our independent Brainstorm Records label will be celebrating its 10th year of doing business later this year. It's an accomplishment we're proud of, and we're considering some ideas to help celebrate the occasion. At the very least, you can expect some new music to become available, perhaps exclusively online. We'll see how it plays out, and will let it be known just how our 10-year commemoration will take place. Perhaps it'll be an ongoing celebration involving several events to take place later this year. We'll see. We feel fortunate to have sold lots of CD's, and lately, more and more digital downloads of our music. Digital downloading has more or less brought back the "singles" element to the record business, with a few of our single song recordings, such as "Never Had A Bad Day" and "Come Saturday Morning," for example, showing outstanding sales as singles. Digital downloading also allows for an entire album to be purchased and downloaded, depending on the buyer's choice. It's no secret that the record business has changed drastically over the past 10 years. When we started our label in 1999, online music sales barely existed. Those who did offer music for sale online often offered it illegally. Laws have begun to catch up to technology in terms of protecting writers and copyright holders, in spite of piracy still running rampant in the record business. But now, our online sales of recorded music through digital downloads outnumber our CD sales roughly three to one. We're encouraged by the leveling of the international playing field that the Internet has brought to smaller labels like ours. Roughly 20% of our recorded music sales now come from foreign countries. Meanwhile, many record labels have gone out of business. Even the major labels are struggling to survive, desperately trying to adopt business models that work. The first record distributor we had 10 years ago, Lifedance Distribution out of Portland, Oregon, went out of business several years ago. They were great people, but they didn't adapt to the new music business. They never even put up a website. Progressive distribution companies that fill customer driven niches have survived and even thrived. We're happy for CD Baby, for example, who's handled our CD and digital distribution for the past few years, and the success they've enjoyed. They're savvy, fair, and easy to work with. Running a record label properly is a full-time job. Ideally it's a full-time job for a staff of several people. Since my performance schedule is so extensive and time consuming, it's difficult to run the label as we first envisioned it: as a full-service label open to artists with unique, creative, and saleable music. It's all we can do to keep up with the creation, recording, administration, marketing and promotion of my own work, let alone open the door to other recording artsts, as much as we'd like to. It's a struggle just carving out a few hours each week for composing, booking new engagements, and trying to keep up with the basic requirements of managing a music career. But at least we can truthfully say we've been successful, keeping our business as simple, functional, and effective as possible. Having said that, we're looking seriously at bringing in outside help to assist in the running and operation of Brainstorm Records. My main interest and skill set has always been the performing, composing, and recording of music. The administrative and marketing aspects are vitally important, too. But we're thinking that someone else can perhaps run the day to day operation of the label better than myself. Rest assured, Brainstorm Records isn't going anywhere. It's certainly served the purpose of providing a vehicle for me to make my recorded music available. It will continue to serve that purpose, as we have literally hundreds of songs we want to record, make available, and market over the coming years. But it seems clear that my talents are best utilized on the music/creative side of the business. So we've started interviewing potential canditates to help run the label and its operations. For those of you who've asked, my wife, Linda, who thought up the name "Brainstorm Records," helps whenever and however she can. But with her full-time job in the carpet and flooring industry, her available time to assist in the business of the record label is extremely limited. That's the update for now. For our growing list of fans, friends, and supporters, we thank you. It'll be fun to see how the next 10 years will see Brainstorm Records continue to grow and develop. As I said, we aren't going anywhere. For us, it's about putting out the best, most unique music we possibly can. Yes, our premise remains the same. First and foremost, it's all about the music. Best wishes to all, Jim
On Sunday, March 8th, Jim Hudak took a "trip to the fringe," as he describes it, performing with renowned poet-musician Tazuo Yamaguchi in Clayton, CA. Their performance was part of the final day of activities in conjunction with the Creekside Arts Celebration at the Clayton Library performance hall. Yamaguchi, a full-blooded Japanese who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, captured the audience with his unique poems about Hiroshima, philosophy, art, and life in general. But the excitement went up a notch when Hudak joined him and added keyboard sounds to Yagamuchi's lyrical phrasings. The two engaged in a call-response mode for nearly 15-minutes, with Yagamuchi expressing a verbal Haiku and Hudak "responding" with improvised musical acknowledgement in a most engaging fashion. The audience was held spellbound. Applause after each Haiku was warm and palpable. Hudak and Yamaguchi have already talked of collaborating and songwriting in the future. After the poetry, Hudak performed a 30-minute solo set on keyboard and guitar, which was also well received. He mixed some of his best known original songs ("Never Had A Bad Day") with some of his more rarely performed obscure musical masterpieces ("Highway Fever" and "Seasons," co-written with lyricist Dan Erikson) before closing the set on his Fender Telecaster guitar with "Wild About My Lovin'" and "Ring Of Fire." What followed next was more musical magic. Hudak was rejoined by Yamaguchi, the latter performing on percussion while adding some spot-on vocalizing, and several other musicians on assorted instruments. Especially noteworthy was an appearance by the bass player extraordinaire, Dennis Tuohino. Tuohino has performed several times at concerts with Hudak over the past five years, and provided the bass tracks on three of the songs from Hudak's latest CD, "Bridging Textures." He's a gifted musician who held down the bottom end of the "jam" group admirably. By the time the jam session fully kicked in, some unique and powerful music was being created by an ensemble consisting of piano, bass, percussion, saxophone, and vocals. A good time was had by all, and plans are already being made for the musical lineup for next year's Creekside Arts Celebration. The proceeds from the CAC go to help support Clayton's library. Artists from all over the region display their work, and the event is organized each year by Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen. She donates countless hours to the Clayton Library and to this event, and is to be commended for her superlative efforts on behalf of the library and of the many talented artists in the Clayton area.
Up until now, I’ve never written a eulogy. But I guess there’s always a first time. Sure, I’ve written letters of consolation to friends and relatives when someone close has died. But this is a public testimonial to a friend of mine for 40 years. His name is Ron Sarver, and he passed away in Portland, Oregon, the town where I grew up, about 10 days ago. One of the reasons I’m making this writing public is that Ron was a musician. That made him different than the vast majority of the students at Jesuit High School, which we both attended back in the late 1960’s. Ron went to Jesuit for two years. He left after our sophomore year, opting instead to go to Sunset High School, a public school. Getting a Catholic education wasn’t high on his priority list. But early on, at Jesuit, Ron was known as the guy who always had his hair a little too long. “Illegally”so, in fact. But because he played bass in a working band known as The Renegades, he was able to get away with it. Soon enough, given that his bangs hung too low in the front and his hair was too long and curly in back, Ron acquired the nickname “Haircut.” But the nickname was given to him affectionately. There was a group of us that enjoyed going to see him play at high school dances in the area on Friday and Saturday nights. It was fun to watch Ron bobbing his head and smiling from the stage as he rocked out with his band. Ron was a good musician. He was steadfast about playing bass with his fingers as opposed to with a pick. It gave him a rich tone, and helped him define a sort of rapid-fire playing style. He had studied cello as a child, and making the transition to bass was natural for him. He played lots of sweet little runs, while still holding down the bottom end in fine fashion. The Renegades in those days sported matching outfits with the big boots similar to what Paul Revere And The Raiders wore. What was impressive was that The Renegades worked a lot. Virtually every weekend they were performing somewhere. Often they’d play out of town and have to load and unload their music equipment in and out of their oversized van. To be performing out of town and staying in hotels when they were still teenagers made The Renegades grow up a little quicker than the rest of us. They always had girlfriends. There were lots of late nights, meals in diners, and life that was a bit on the edge. Musically, Ron preferred rock music with a groove and a dose of rock-jazz fusion. His favorite bands were The Sons Of Champlain, Steely Dan, and Tower Of Power. He also enjoyed Queen, Willie Nelson, and numerous other artists and musical styles. But he loved that rock-jazz-funk thing the best. Ron played in various bands through his 20’s. But by then he was settling in as a sound man and union stagehand. He worked the biggest shows to come through Portland, handling sound for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, and several symphony orchestras. He did the sound and helped set up the stage for virtually every major act in music into the 1990’s. He had good ears and he knew what he was doing. But when Ron hurt his back in the 90’s, he had to re-invent himself. He chose to pursue a new career in the printing industry. He said, pragmatically, that virtually everything around us contains print of some kind, and that there would always be available work in that business. That proved to be true in his case. A lifelong smoker, Ron became afflicted with lung cancer a year or so ago. His wife of his final six years, Jan Sarver, said that chemo treatments weren’t working too well. Unsuccesful treatments made it just a matter of time. He kept it quiet, though. When Ron died, very few of us even knew he had cancer. Keeping one’s ego in check is a challenge for many of us. For Ron, it came natural. He was a genuine person who didn’t have an over-inflated opinion about himself. Though brighter than most, he was cool about it. I could go on. Indeed, I’ve barely scratched the surface. Ron was a unique, talented individual with a great sense of humor, and as my Dad always said, a particularly good smile. Ron was one of my dearest, most loyal friends. Now he’s gone, and I miss him a lot already. So long, Ron. It was a pleasure knowing you.
Jim Hudak – Clayton, CA 02/08/09 Sure, some of the reworked pieces were barely recognizable to their original versions. And the audience was a hoot to watch file into their seats, with conservative symphony season ticket patrons mixed in with tie-dyed clad Deadheads. But that only added to the fun of an event that doesn’t happen along every day. The California Symphony rendered the West Coast premiere of “A Dead Symphony” in a two-night performance at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek in late January, and attending the January 27th concert was most enjoyable. Atlanta based composer Lee Johnson has reworked 10 songs from the Grateful Dead songbook for full orchestra, with arrangements mostly right on target, if occasionally a bit confusing. Credit the talented director of the orchestra, Barry Jekowsky, for setting the mood. He conducted the “Dead Music” portion of the performance in tie-dyed shirt and tuxedo tails, a nice touch. For many regular symphony goers, this music didn’t exactly connect, but the unique spirit of the evening left a good impression. No standing ovations, but plenty of sincere applause. Those more accustomed to traditional symphonic music still got their fill, too, with a stunningly fine performance of Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” to close the program. This was the perfect way to finish up an evening that touched on the abstract more than a few times during the “Dead Symphony” portion. After all, Stravinsky’s music was written specifically for the symphony orchestra, and all of its dynamics and subtleties were showcased to perfection. “Firebird” displays all of the wonderful aspects that make symphonic music so appealing. But back to the symphonically treated Dead music. It helped a lot if you knew the songs, though the downside of that could be that many of those “songs” never quite emerged as you know them. Still, to feel the power of so many fine musicians working with great precision on music that came mostly from the folk and rock music tradition was its own reward. The songs of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter were featured, with the only Bob Weir co-written song of the evening being a scurrying version of “Sugar Magnolia,” delivered entirely by the woodwinds section. One of the highlights was “St. Stephen,” a song that translated particularly well to the symphony. It powered along nicely, occasionally reminiscent of Gustav Holtz’ piece titled “Saturn,” from his masterpiece “The Planets.” A particularly sweet performance of “Mountains of the Moon” was lovely, as was “Stella Blue,” where enough of the clever changes and melody notes of the original version were left intact to make it feel warm and almost whimsical at times. “Dead Symphony” ends with “Funiculi Funicula,” a song the band used to render somewhat frequently and with some humor. On this night, it ended quite abruptly, sending us into Intermission mode not entirely sure of what we’d just witnessed, but happy all the same. It’s a good sign when the original composers’ music can be reworked by a great arranger, then performed by an excellent symphony orchestra that makes you feel thrilled to have attended. The Firebird Suite that followed the Intermission only served to reinforce the good vibes. After the concert, a four-man panel offered commentary and insights into “Dead Symphony.” About a hundred of the concert-goers stayed to enjoy the panel, which included Dennis McNally, long-time Grateful Dead publicist and author; David Gans, Grateful Dead historian, author, and host of radio shows “Dead To The World” and “The Grateful Dead Hour;” Barry Jekowsky, conductor-director of the California Symphony, and Lee Johnson, composer-arranger. It ended a memorable evening of outstanding music.
A couple weeks ago, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Will Sullivan, received his first royalty check from SESAC. It’s a small event in terms of other issues going on in the world, but one that contains both irony and significance. A note of congratulations, to both Mr. Sullivan and to SESAC, is in order here. Sullivan, also known as Zubito Huascar, received a check for airplay of a song he’s credited as co-writing with Jim Schlauch and myself, the founding members of The Spunkies. As has been reported on this website, Will, Jim and I formed this unique musical aggregation in 1981 after knowing each other since our high school years growing up in Portland, Oregon. We’ve written dozens of songs together by way of informal but creative gatherings. Over the years, we’ve invited selected friends to participate in some of our music creation sessions. To appreciate the full meaning of his first royalty check, one must look a little deeper. Will Sullivan has had limited formal musical training. Yet, his gift for writing lyrics and telling stories from a high plateau of consciousness, adding weight and meaning to the sound and feel of The Spunkies, cannot be overestimated. He is a one-of-a-kind artistic force. Just as importantly, after I arranged for him to be invited to SESAC as a writer affiliate, he took the time to fill out the paperwork. It sounds simple, taking 45 minutes or so to fill out the forms, mail them in and put oneself in position to get paid for their creative work. A one-time-only investment of time that paves the way for a new income stream. Sullivan did the work. As he frequently says, he “loves the business.” He’s constantly honing his craft and embedding himself into the mechanizations of the music business. It’s refreshing, given the amount of cynicism found among many in music. Sadly, lots of talented composers and songwriters allow laziness or lack of ambition to keep them from doing the work necessary to get in on the payment of royalties. It’s heartbreaking to hear artists complain about being victims of the “commerciality of the business” rather than becoming beneficiaries. The most common excuse is something along the lines of "I just care about my art. Art and business don't go together." Yeah? Well, we all have to eat. Performing rights organizations such as SESAC, ASCAP, and BMI provide a means for composers and lyricists hoping for a share of the musical pie. When I worked at SESAC in the 1990’s, they were the first company to devise a sophisticated system of tracking airplay on thousands of radio stations in the United States. By monitoring the performances of music written by their composers, lyricists, and music publisher affiliates, SESAC can compensate those who create music that adds to the culture of this great land. On this historic day, we inaugurated a new president who promises change and new determination. What better time to look at our own pile of work still to be done, and to get past the doubt and lethargy. Starting with ourselves, let us do the work necessary to take our lives and creativity to the next level. For the record, the song that’s garnered worldwide airplay that led to Will Sullivan’s first royalty check is titled "Steppes II," which can be heard regularly on XM Satellite Radio. The song is also available for download from many digital download sites including iTunes. It’s on my latest CD, titled "Bridging Textures," which is available via my website from CD Baby. Meanwhile, I'm happy for my old friend. May this royalty payment be the first of many more to come. I’m proud of him, and proud to be a SESAC affiliate. Jim Hudak – Clayton, CA
Hi Everyone: Lest it appear that I have ceased to exist, I wanted to add an entry into this, the "News" section of my website. After an extraordinarily busy November and December, we've sort of let the website slip, with no new news or information lately. Let's just say this: We've been reviewing some recordings from the archives, along with some more recent recordings we've made, and we like what we're hearing. Plans are gestating now, for any number of possible projects and directions we might be heading into. We're contacting different production, marketing, and administrative people, as well as numerous musicians, about their adding their talents to what we will be doing. It's exciting, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Accordingly, we'll end this update here, while thanking you for checking in. Please try us again soon, as we think you'll like what you will be seeing and hearing. Have a healthy and prosperous 2009. Let's celebrate all things that are real. Yours In Music, Jim Hudak
The Holiday Luncheons at Vic Stewarts Restaurant will once again feature Jim Hudak on piano this year. Reaching an agreement earlier this week, Hudak will return to the prestigious Walnut Creek landmark restaurant for the seventh successive year. He will provide piano music during an 18-day engagement starting December 1st and continuing through December 24th. "Vic's has become such a special place for me to play," said Hudak yesterday. "I love the spirit of the restaurant, and the fact that they're independently owned. They're not part of a big chain, and that makes them extra special. They do things their own way and have survived and thrived in spite of the financial challenges that businesses face these days." Indeed. In fact, owner John Herrington is taking it a step further. He's actually opening a second location in Brentwood, CA, which borders Antioch and Stockton, two of the hardest hit areas in the United States with home foreclosures and bank repossesions. "I'm sure that John didn't foresee the incredible real estate crash when he first envisioned opening a new restaurant in Brentwood," Hudak says. "After all, the Brentwood area was one of the fastest growing areas in California and beyond until about a year ago. But John is fiercely determined to see this thing through. And the fact is, the Brentwood area desperately needs a top notch restaurant like Vic Stewarts. My guess is that they will make it, in spite of the enormous challenges they will face." The Brentwood location is scheduled to open on December 4th. Hudak will perform at the Walnut Creek location from 11:30 AM till 2 PM Monday through Friday during the holiday season. Vic Stewarts is normally a dinner house only, but they open for lunch on weekdays during December until Christmas Day. Hudak offers his unique blend of holiday songs and a huge repertoire of piano music from every style and era. Vic Stewarts in Walnut Creek is a popular restaurant for local businesses who book holiday luncheon parties for their employees and clients. It's conveniently located adjacent to Nordstrom's and Macy's in the Broadway Plaza Shopping Mall, and provides weary shoppers a chance for a break from the crowded holiday shopping experience. It's located at 850 South Broadway and reservations can be made by calling (925) 943-5666.
By Jim Hudak “They just don’t make music like that anymore.” So goes the lament of most people who grew up with music and artists that they particularly enjoy or enjoyed. But that sentiment gets some validation when subsequent generations “discover” that music and embrace it as their own. It’s encouraging that in today’s more technologically oriented popular music scene, there are lots of young people delving into some of the artists who have endured the test of time. The Beatles, Stones, Tom Petty, The Who, Eric Clapton, and a host of other bands and solo artists continue to get airplay and attention from today’s youth. The purity of their music is real. For us “oldsters,” that’s encouraging. We probably feel like our parents did when some of us discovered the greatness of Big Band music from their generation. It’s fascinating to explore how the truly great talents in every musical genre continue to endure changing tastes. In jazz, there’s no denying the staying power of a Charlie Parker or Duke Ellington. Country singers and composers like Hank Williams have influenced over 50 years of music. Bob Dylan set the standard for singer-songwriters in the 60’s. Classical music is especially impressive, with the biggest names in that genre providing us with music from hundreds of years ago. The list goes on and on, with only the best holding our interest over time. Here, we give a short review to some of the music from two bands that enjoyed considerable success in the 60’s and 70’s, The Kinks and Little Feat. Both would be considered second tier acts compared to the biggest groups of the day. They were more apt to be found headlining shows in theatre sized venues than in football stadiums. But both bands have endured the changing tastes of time to earn their place in the hierarchy of the history of popular music. Let’s get down to their music. First, The Kinks. A young friend of mine recently gave me a disc of carefully chosen Kinks songs from 1967 to 1972. Featuring the lead vocals and songwriting skills of Ray Davies, this was a one of a kind band. Davies explores everything from politics and the social class system in England to loneliness, fallen stardom, and mental health issues. All with a wry sense of British wit. This music is priceless. Among my favorite Kinks songs are “Holiday,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Celluloid Heroes,” “20th Century Man,” and “Waterloo Sunset.” But when one takes the time to explore the extent of the Kinks catalog and body of work, plenty of other great songs and recordings are there to be found. Some of their earliest recordings sound similar to early Stones, Beatles, and early Who songs. The friendly competition between these young British bands is apparent. Little Feat takes the listener in a different direction. Less political and more soulful is their sound, with their vibe coming primarily from their musical groove rather than from social commentary. But in listening to two classic Little Feat albums recently, Dixie Chicken and Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, one is reminded that no one back in the early 70’s played music quite like Little Feat’s. The music sounds as fresh and full now as it did back then. Founded by Lowell George in the early 70’s, some of The Feat’s best known songs include “Dixie Chicken,” “Roll Um Easy,” and their medley of “Cold Cold Cold” and “Tripe Face Boogie.” Other personal favorites include “Easy To Slip” and “Willin,” along with “All That You Dream.” Little Feat combined Rock, Soul, Funk, and Blues into their own unique sound. Though Lowell George died young in 1979, the band has carried on and built upon their legion of followers young and old. It’s fair to say that the music of The Kinks and Little Feat will live on, just as it has for roughly 40 years. In the end, the cream always rises to the top, in music as well as in life itself.
Many years ago, in the early 1980's, I worked as a music licensing field representative for ASCAP. It was a dificult but great job, as I offered ASCAP's copyright clearance license to all types of businesses who offered music to their customers. An unusual job in a unique business. Very few people did what I did for a living. I became friends with a fellow ASCAP representative named Brent Steiner, who worked out of the Spokane, Washington area in his home office. He handled the northeast quadrant of Washingon state, while I covered most of the northwest section of the state out of my Seattle based home. Brent and I somehow discovered a mutual affinity for maps. Maps of all types interested both of us. It could be a map of a small city, or a state, or of a region, such as the western United States. We could spend hours looking at maps, analyzing and dissceting them. Brent was a generous guy, and one day in the mail I received from him an envelope full of vintage maps. Older maps, in mint condition, of several states. I still have them, nearly 30 years later. But what I remember most about Brent's kind gesture was something he'd handwritten on the outside of the envelope containing the maps: "Invest in Copyrights!" Those three words hit me, even before I opened the envelope to find the maps. There was somthing about his humorous advice that resonated with me. Recently, I happened upon a financial advice column from one of the many fianancial gurus out there. The columnist listed a few ways to accumulate wealth, which included some of the traditional methods of buying real estate and stocks. Of course these days, those may not be such good investments. Which makes the financial guru's next suggestion all the more interesting. He listed investing in Intellectual Property as a wise and safe investment. It made me think of my old friend Brent's advice to invest in copyrights. When you think about it, investing in intellectual property makes sense. Particularly if it's your own patent or copyright to begin with. Fees for obtaining patents and copyrights are relatively nominal. If you copyright or patent something that you yourself have invented or created, your "investment" is essentially in the sweat labor required to make or build your product. For the investor who wants to take investing in copyrights or intellectual property to the next level, there are always "products" available for sale or at least for license. Especially in today's high tech world. Patents and copyrights for video games, computer software, movies, books, songs, and other intellectual property are for sale, if you care to track them down. One of my favorite examples of this has to do with the copyright for the well known song "Happy Birthday," which was listed for sale in the Wall Street Journal several years ago. Roughly, the terms were a one million dollar purchase price for the copyright of the song, which had seven years left on the term of its copyright. The song generates roughly a million dollars a year in royalties (after all, we all hear that song played or sung publicly many times each year), which means that if you bought the song for a million dollars, seven years later your investment would have generated approximately seven million dollars. A 700% return on your investment over a seven year period. Not bad. The other attractive thing about investing in copyrights is that any payments or royalties they generate is for work that's already been completed. Once a song is composed or a book is written, that's it. Any income derived from future sales or uses is passive income, also known as residual income. Nothing quite like getting paid for work that's already been done. Of course, it's a competitive world out there. There's no guarantee that the intellectual property you own the rights to will generate any income whatsoever. That's the risk. But if you happen upon the chance to get your hands on the rights to a hit song or a hot selling book, investing in copyrights can be a good way to go.
Consistent with a career vision that began when he was 12 years old, Jim Hudak continues to generate royalty income from his recordings and compositions. With nearly 30 of his recordings receiving ongoing airplay on DMX, Sirius, and XM satellite radio stations, (among other sources), his royalty income has increased substantially over the past 10 years. Several of the most performed songs are Jim's own compositions. They generate a higher "per performance" royalty than his recordings of cover songs. But even the non-original songs add to the royalties stream due to fairly recent changes in copyright laws pertaining to digital transmission of recordings. "Between SESAC, my long time performing rights organization who monitors my original music airplay, and Sound Exchange, who monitors airplay for all of the songs I've recorded, there's a decent infusion of royalty income developing," says Hudak. Since I was a kid, I would read about songwriters who received royalty checks every quarter, and I said to myself 'that's what I want.' It's nice to have the childhood vision I've clung to all these years paying off. The three primary ingredients for what I wanted to be when I grew up haven't changed: a performing, recording, and composing artist. I feel so lucky to have managed to do that." To be sure, performing is still Hudak's bread and butter. Most weeks he performs at least four times, often as much as eight times or more. "It can be labor intensive," he says, "which makes the recording and composing income all the sweeeter. After all, that income comes from work that's been done and completed in the past, whereas performing requires ongoing committment and energy virtually every day." Part of Hudak's joy in earning a good living as a musician is to be able to act as a role model for young musicians. "Musicians take a bad rap a lot of times for choosing an occupation that is driven mainly by the heart. And while the desire, the drive, and the need to create should in fact be the primary motivating factors for an artist, I've always said you can do well financially with it,too, providing you're truly dedicated to your craft. It's fun to be approached by so many young people who gather hope and inspiration just by seeing someone who's managed to pull it off. I always tell them that if they have a reasonable amount of talent and a whole lot of ambition that they can make it work." Hudak's plans for recording a new batch of songs has been delayed. "Just too much other stuff going on right now," he says. But expect new music and recordings from him to emerge eventually. He suggests "it'll happen when it's meant to happen." When it does, the world's satellite radio stations, iTunes, and all the other music providers in today's rapidly evolving music industry will have additional music from Jim Hudak to sort through and hopefully make available to the masses. Stay tuned.
Jim Hudak, one of the most steadily working musicians to be found anywhere, has secured a new regular piano playing engagement. He has reached an agreement with Leslie Brown, proprieter of the popular San Franciscan Restaurant in Walnut Creek, CA, to perform every Monday night from 6-9 PM starting September 29th. "I've been looking to add one more regular weekly engagement to my performance schedule," comments Hudak. "I'm excited about working at The San Franciscan, which brings a touch of 'The City' out here to the suburbs in Walnut Creek. Leslie is an innovative restauranteur, who's to be commended for continuing to offer live piano music nightly." The San Franciscan is located in busy downtown Walnut Creek, at 1525 North Main Street. The phone number is (925) 934-4831. Reservations are suggested.
Hi Everybody: Yesterday my wife Linda and I returned from a three-day visit to Yosemite National Park. Jeff Hornacek, my brother-in- law, owns a home there with his wife, Melissa, and they're nice enough to share it with family members and friends quite often. Yosemite is such a beautiful place. We hiked and traveled extensively around the park and more than ever, I appreciate the vastness of this one of a kind place. The sheerness of the cliffs, huge sized boulders, and breathtaking scenery make Yosemite a wonderful place to visit. Thanks to Jeff, Melissa, and Matt Hornacek for making our Yosemite getaway such an enjoyable time. With our trip to Portland two weeks ago prior to this Yosemite trip, we think we'll be home bound for awhile now. Yet, you never know when the itch to travel will strike again. Jim
Aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, my spouse and my sibling brother all gathered in Western Oregon last weekend. The purpose was family reunions and special birthday celebrations, and it was fun to be part of it. In the small but growing city of Mt. Angel, Oregon, my mother's side of the family held the annual "Schultz Family Reunion" on Sunday, August 17th. It was good getting reacquainted with so many relatives from that side of the family. Schultzes, Etzels, Gaffkes, and their collective offspring made up the bulk of those attending this event, which included a birthday salute to my parents, Ted and Rita Hudak. They are both turning 80 years old over the next month and a half. My brother, Don, flew out from Iowa for the occasion which added a nice touch. Thanks to the reunion organizer, Sister Josephine Schultz, and to all who attended who made the day a memorable one. On Monday, August 18th, the eleven surviving Hudak family members from the Portland area gathered for a luncheon at Rose's Restaurant in Tanasbourne Square. It, too, was in honor of Ted and Rita's birthday, and produced a lot of laughs along with good meals and decadent desserts. The party moved to Mom and Dad's house after the luncheon, and for a couple hours there, it was like old times. Nothing like family gatherings to regain one's sense of balance and perspective. My wife, Linda, and I enjoyed a lovely dinner at our friends Steve and Paula Barsotti's house later that day, before hopping a plane back to the Bay Area Tuesday morning. It's always fun to see the Barsottis. Thanks to all who helped make the tribute to two very special people, my parents, a wonderful and special occasion. It was great to be back in Oregon again and to reconnect with so many relatives and friends. Now its back to work and back to the music. The events of the past few days should provide some fodder for renewed artistic inspiration. By the way, I watched the movie "Copying Beethoven" last night and found it, too, to be inspiring. Particularly for musicians and/or composers, I would recommend this movie. More later....Peace and love to all. Jim
One of the world's most misunderstood musical ensembles quietly celebrated their 27th anniversary on August 9th. The Spunkies, featuring Zubito Huascar on vocals, Fingers on piano and assorted other instruments, and Mr. E-B-G-D-F on guitar and keyboards, formed in a mobile home in Issaquah Washington on a 110-degree day on August 9th, 1981. They've gathered to play music hundreds of times since then, but with only one public performance to their credit, on May 24th, 1997. They performed that night in Nashville, TN, at Jim Hudak's wedding reception. These days, the band's charter members are going a variety of different directions. Indeed, the majority of the bandmates don't even know that August 9th is in fact the anniversary date of the formation of this unusual group. But the spirit of The Spunkies lives on. Offering a subliminal message that suggests that if one always gives 110% in all that they do, that things will eventually work out remains the essence of their philosophy. Expressed musically, the results range from chaotic to coherent. But this much is certain: there will never be another band like The Spunkies. Happy anniversary, guys. Rock on.
Hello Everyone: Busy times...That's a good thing, but it can be hard to keep up with everything. Just a quick note to say hello and quickly touch on a few items. First, thanks to all of you for your kind comments regarding my "City of The Angels" video on YouTube. So many people have never seen me perform live or heard me sing (though certainly a fair number of you have) that it's interesting to receive your wide and varied comments. One never quite sees themselves as others do, so it's fun to get the feedback from a good cross-section of observers. I notice we've had over 200 "plays" of the song. That won't set any YouTube records, but it does indicate that a good number of you are curious enough to have given the video a look. Watch for new videos featuring "Jim Hudak and Friends" to be added to both YouTube and onto this website in the near future. In fact, if you click on the "Video" link on the homepage of this site, you will find a short video describing an idea I have for a television show called "Music By The Bay." It shows some historic Jim Hudak footage along with interview clips that outline the TV show idea I've been kicking around for some time. Special thanks to Pat Mosca for some fine editing work in putting the video together. Referring back to the City Of The Angels, my recent trip to the Los Angeles Film Festival was very enjoyable. It was nice catching up with a few of my old friends and colleagues, including Stephen McDonough, Barry Knittel, and my good friend Lindsay Spiller, among others. I also met some great new people and composers, including Noah Perry from the East Bay Area and Vance and Tracy James Marino from San Diego. We had the privilege of attending a workshop featuring the great film composers Dave Grusin and David Newman, who we also chatted with briefly after the workshop. Back home in the Bay Area, I've been meeting with some local entertainment attorneys about doing some music and intellectual property rights consulting work, which I'm excited about. The aforementioned attorney, Lindsay Spiller, along with entertainment attorneys Robert Preskill, Ned Hearn, and John Coker have all been particularly helpful in getting me on track with some of my ideas. All this and a continued busy performance schedule has kept me hopping. I'll be seeing my brother, Don, along with my parents up in Portland, Oregon next week. It'll be the first time our family has been together in nearly 13 years, so it should be special. The occasion is the 80th birthday celebration for both Mom and Dad (they were born exactly two months apart in 1928), and we'll also be seeing members of both sides of the family at a couple different family reunions. Nothing like a return to one's roots to gain some good perspective on things. Besides all that's been happening that I've touched on, I also want to do some serious recording of lots of new material this fall. I'll be assembling my musician and engineering friends and associates for that purpose over the coming months. Thank you again for your interest and support. Best wishes to all of you for good health and prosperity. Yours in Music and Life, Jim
It was billed as the Guinness World Record Breaking Attempt, and it was successful. Led by legendary performer and Bay Area icon Country Joe McDonald, Jim Hudak joined 2,051 other guitar players last Tuesday night, July 1st, to set a new world record for the largest guitar ensemble ever gathered in one place at one time. Todos Plaza Park in downtown Concord, CA provided the setting as guitarists young and old joined Country Joe in the singing and playing of the Woody Guthrie classic, "This Land Is Your Land." The atmosphere was indescribable. Guitars and people of all shapes and sizes jammed the park, with all them Bay Area news media capturing video and sound of the historic gathering. City and County dignitaries and officials got a chance to wave and take a bow, many of who had guitars and performed right along with the rest of those in attendance. Every guitarist had to register and sign in to authenticate their presence in order to validate the new record. The chance to play with Country Joe, most famous for leading the "F-Cheer" at The Woodstock Festival in 1969, proved to be enough of a drawing card to attract the 2,000-plus guitar players. And with such electricity in the air, it was worth the effort to find a parking place in crowded downtown Concord. A good time was had by all, and the previous world's record of 1,800 guitars in ensemble has been eclipsed.
Continued airplay for over 25 of his recordings, ongoing regular performance engagements, and a slew of private parties have been highlights to a busy musical summer for pianist-composer Jim Hudak. Add the considerable time spent in his new home studio, and you quickly see how this is a musician with passion and dedication. "I'm slowly getting my compositions and recordings together and stored on my various computer hard drives," said Hudak recently. "To have good access to my songs and recordings and be able to send them out by e-mail at a moment's notice is the goal for any serious musician nowadays. It's a painstaking process, but I'm starting to get more comfortable with it." Utilizing a powerful ProTools system with his new Apple Computer set up, loaded with plug ins and recording options, Hudak is continually amazed at the possibilities. From orchestral music to simple live recording of piano, vocals, and guitar, he's joined the ranks of thousands of musicians who now record in the comfort of their own home studio. Film and soundtrack applications continue to be the focus of much of what Jim Hudak is working on these days. Music licensing, music publishing and co-publishing agreements, and more and more new compositions are filling his plate. "It's an ongoing process," he says. "And it's nice to see the fruits of one's labor start to accumulate. I expect a whole new bunch of my songs to be added to satellite radio music stations in the near future." As summer heats up, so do this musician's efforts to expand on his already successful career.
Last week, at the legendary Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, pianist Jim Hudak performed with vocalist Fred Pierce, the Tony Bennett Impersonator extraordinaire. In an unexpected series of events, Hudak, who had been booked at the Adobe Company's special party for clients, was teamed up with Pierce, the Reno based performer in the Fairmont's Penthouse Suite. The duo performed five Bennett-recorded songs together, opening with "Pennies From Heaven" and thrilling the crowd with "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" as their closing number. The Fairmont Hotel was the site where Bennett first performed his monster hit recording of "San Francisco" nearly 50 years ago. Performing the song at the Fairmont with Pierce was a memorable experience for Hudak. "The Adobe people decided that the significance of having a Tony Bennett impersonator as part of a party for some of their prized clients might be a nice touch," Hudak explains. "It turned out well for everyone, as Fred is a real pro. He helped me learn some of the songs he does from Bennett's repertoire on the fly, and I quickly realized that Fred comes from the old school of singers. By that I mean he's a musician first, like Bennett or Sinatra. They've all got a great sense of rhythm and timing, and they know how to swing. It was an honor to perform with such a fine talent." With recent performances with such noted musical artists as The Relyks, Blues Journey, and even an informal session earlier this month with his childhood musician friends, The Spunkies, Hudak's engagement with Pierce continued his recent trend of playing more often with other musicians. "The interaction factor cannot be overestimated when you're playing music," says Hudak. "You give and take with the other players, and always learn something new. As much as I enjoy the total freedom of performing as a soloist, there's still nothing like the spirit and camaradarie of getting together and playing music with other people." Last week's Fairmont Hotel performance was part of a busy performance stretch for Jim Hudak. He had 10 performances during a 10-day stretch in the middle part of May, including a Mother's Day engagement at Round Hill Country Club and two large private party events. He enjoys the frequent engagements, as it keeps his chops intact and his fingers limber. "Besides that, the extra cash is always welcome, too," chuckles Hudak.
Jim Hudak has joined the video revolution. Captured live while performing his original song "City of the Angels" in concert, a video of this performance can be seen on the popular YouTube website. The four and a half minute video provides a glimpse of the multifaceted talents of this great artist. Introducing the song with his inimitable brand of self-deprecating humor, Hudak renders a fine vocal performance of the piece along with stellar piano work. The song is a tribute to his beloved city of Los Angeles. "This song took me about seven years to write," said Hudak recently. "I would go to a special spot I'd found on a mountain top between the ocean side and the desert side of the city that would give me a 360-degree view of the greater Los Angeles area," he continues. "I would bring my guitar up there almost daily, and slowly add a phrase or line to the song bit by bit. I finally had it pretty well finished by the mid-90's, and recorded a studio version of the song with some great session players. I also have two different instrumental recordings of the song available on two of my CD's. But this is the first time I've ever had a video performance of myself singing the song, and I'm really happy with the way it turned out." To see this historic video, go to www.youtube.com and enter "Jim Hudak" in the search bar at the top of the screen. Then click on the title "City of the Angels," and the video will begin playing automatically. We welcome your e-mails and comments at jimmydak@pacbell.net. There is also a box available for your comments on the YouTube website. Watch for additional video footage of Jim Hudak in the near future, including video clips that you can view from this website. Yes, it's true - Jim Hudak has joined the video revolution. Halleluiah!
In his continuing quest to keep expanding his musical boundaries, Jim Hudak will perform with The Relyks in a weekend set this coming Friday and Saturday nights, April 11th and 12th. The performances will be at the Clayton Club Saloon in downtown Clayton, a bar that's survived for over a century. Indeed, the Clayton Club probably looks pretty much the same as it did 100 years ago. It once served as the watering hole for the coal miners who helped establish Clayton as a town in the 1800's. The Relyks are a high energy, four-piece band who play a wide assortment of classic rock, pop, and blues music. Their first ever performance as a band was at the Clayton Club about four years ago, and they've performed throughout the Bay Area since then. But the Clayton Club is where they call home. Comments Hudak: "You could call the club a dive, yet, I like the place. It has some character. For example, there are dozens of pairs of cowboy boots hanging from the ceiling. You don't see that every day." We've all wandered or stumbled into a bar like the Clayton Club at some time in our lives. Particularly on a Friday or a Saturday night when the air is dense and hot, the music is loud and right, and there's a hint of potential trouble in the air. Wall to wall people looking for a little release in their lives. "The club is small, and fills up quickly on nights when there's music," says Hudak. "There have been known to be fights there, though I've never witnessed any. As long as they don't throw beer bottles or shot glasses at us, I'll be happy." Primarily a cover band, The Relyks perform music by some of the great rock and blues artists from the 50's through the 90''s, including Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, and Chuck Berry, among others. Hudak adds touches of the high, rinky tink piano sounds that are so much a part of the rock and roll tradition. His keyboard also enables him to provide organ sounds that swirl around the bed of rhythm and blues provided by the rest of the band. "Between those upper register piano notes and bluesy chords along with the organ sounds, I feel I can add a little something to the band's already solid presentation," Hudak points out. "They're great guys to play and get along with, and The Relyks provide me a nice diversion from my typical solo piano performances at country clubs and restaurants. After all, there's certainly a rock and roll spirit in my soul, and The Relyks provide an opportunity for me to get reacquainted with that side of my musical interests." If you can find your way to The Clayton Club next weekend, you may want to consider an afternoon nap. Hudak will be joining the band at 11 PM both nights, performing till 1 AM. He has piano engagements earlier in the evening at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo both nights, and will miss the band's first two sets between 9 and 11 PM. For those who can make it to The Clayton Club Saloon, they'll be part of the continuing history of frolic and grit that's turned the club into a beloved relic in its own right. Come on down and join the fun.
Closing out the weekend long Creekside Arts Celebration in Clayton, CA, Jim Hudak joined a scaled down lineup of "Blues Journey" in an old fashioned jam session yesterday. Shortly after performing a solo set on piano, Jim joined the three-piece band for about an hour of blues and country music playing, much to the delight of a captivated audience. He provided the "rinky-tink" piano blues notes that soared above the band's guitar, harmonica, bass, and fiddle parts, and the four-piece unit looked and sounded like they'd been performing together for years. "These guys are good," he said afterward. "They were real easy to just fall in and play with." Jim's earlier solo set featured a rare look at him performing on piano while singing on several selections. He sang on "Children of the Sun," "Wild Goose," "Highway Fever," all songs co-written with his songwriting partner, Dan Erikson. He mixed in some instrumental selections from his five CD's, then closed the set with a vocalized version of the crowd pleasing "When We Get To Love," a song he hopes to record with a full ensemble of musicians in the near future. The Creekside Arts Celebration features artists of all disciplines from the Clayton area and beyond. It was well attended, and has outgrown the limited space confinements of the Clayton Library. Event founder Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen is exploring new options for future CAC presentations, including the possibility of having the event in the summer, when artists can display their work outdoors.
With the help of former classmate Jon Lesher, Jim Hudak has realized his dream and goal of setting up a solid, well equipped home recording studio. The equipment had been purchased last summer, but it took a few months to finish a major home remodeling project along with an extraordinarily busy holiday performance schedule to put the pieces together, coordinate the hardware, and plug in all the cables. Now it's about learning to use a boatload of new music and recording software. Lesher has been instrumental in getting Hudak wired up and connected. A 24-year-old recording engineer extraorinaire, Jon has lent his techno-savvy talents to Jim's enthusiasm and determination to get the equipment set up and working properly. It's no small task, yet Jon's made the process relatively simple. "I first noticed and met Jon during the two-year Recording Arts program we both took at Los Medanos College from 2003 to 2005," Hudak explains. "He was a quiet guy, and rarely took any notes in class, while I was feverishly writing down all that I could, trying to get a handle on the class material. Yet Jon always did well in the tests, and you could tell he had a good grasp of what the teachers were trying to get across. I went out of my way to introduce myself to him and let him know what my long range plans were." Those plans include the recording of hundreds of original compositions, the transfer of countless recordings of songs and live performances from analog tapes into the digital domain, and generally turning the studio into a "content factory" aimed at providing music for music publishers, films and soundtracks. "It's so much more cost effective to record in your own studio," Jim says. "For a typical album, roughly 75% of the cost goes into paying for studio rental, so this should really help reduce our overhead." To be sure, Hudak's studio isn't as fully equipped as any number of world class commercial studios. He recognizes that for some recordings of certain instruments, venturing into one of the more complete studio facilities will be necessary. But the vast majority of work will be able to be done without his needing to leave the comfort of his own home. "My learning curve is steep. I'm going to burying my head into a lot of books and manuels for the next several months. There's a lot I need to get good at, as far as getting to know my equipment and its capabilities," Hudak says. "But that's where having Jon here to help is so nice. He's grown up with this type of studio technology, as opposed to myself, who came up with reel to reel and cassette tape recording. The recording environment has changed an awful lot since then." Jim's studio is equipped with a powerful Apple MacPro computer system with built-in and external hard-drives for music and data storage, and a ProTools M Box 2 Pro Interface and M-Audio Monitors by Digidesign. An assortment of software packages have been installed, including ProTools 7.3.1. He also has a half-dozen high quality microphones, including the highly acclaimed AKG-414 for vocals, acoustic guitar and voiceover work. "It's definitely given me a new outlook on the configuration of my music, my career, and even my lifestyle," according to Hudak. "Now I really have to buckle down and put all this equipment to good use." Stay tuned. Some exciting new music is sure to follow.
Earlier this month I was privileged to provide the piano music as part of a celebration of life for Mr. Pierre Bouret. I make mention of this because it was an especially memorable event held in honor of a uniquely wonderful man. Pierre was a long time member of Round Hill Country Club, and one of my biggest fans. He always encouraged me to keep recording and performing. As soon as I would release a new CD, he'd immediately buy it, and tell me to "get the next one finished and I'll buy that one, too." A Stanford graduate, I'll always remember Mr. Bouret as having an incredibly quick wit and kind disposition. He never had a bad word for anybody, and he lived into his 90's by epitomizing the essence of love in his life. He treated everyone with sincere kindness. The many attendees and glowing testimonials given by dozens upon dozens of Pierre's friends and family served as an indication of what a beloved man he was. He maintained a sharp, photographic memory to the end, was well read, and a one of a kind character. He played up his French name and descent with dignity and joy. The world was made a little bit better by Pierre Bouret's life and presence. He will serve as an inspiration to me and to many others for as long as we live.
Hello Hudak Website Visitors: Those of you who've gotten to know me over the years are aware that music and sports are two of my main interests. Not my only interests, by any means, but just as I play the piano or guitar virtually every day of my life, so too do I read the sports pages almost daily. I grew up studying music and participating in sports, having been taught that in a special way music and sports work together hand in hand. So it was that this past weekend, I drove through narrow, winding, country roads an hour east of my Clayton, CA home to Stockton for an EAST COAST HOCKEY LEAGUE game between the Stockton Thunder and the Bakersfield Condors. (The capitilization above is no accident. How humorous it strikes me that two teams in the warm climate of the extreme western portion of the United States play in a league with "East Coast" in its name). My wife didn't want to accompany me on this adventure, which was probably just as well. Quirky things like finding a parking place and waiting in line for a half-hour to get tickets are not her cup of tea. Not to mention attending a blue collar sporting event in a blue collar town like Stockton. But that's exactly why I wanted to go. I wore my blue jeans and tennis shoes and joined nearly 6,000 fans inside the Stockton Arena. It's only two years old, and still smells new and clean. It bears mentioning that little old Stockton has one of the highest per game average attendance in the league. That's impressive considering they're up against many cities that are larger and have a more established "hockey tradition" than this city at the edge of the produce rich San Joaquin Valley. The game itself was almost secondary to me. It was the total experience I was looking for. And I found it. Watching mostly 18-20 year- olds beginning their careers in the competitive hockey treadmill is a thrill all its own. I spent some time down at ice level to better see the looks on the players' faces as they made the necessary split second decisions inherent to the fast moving game of hockey. I quickly picked out the natural goal scorers and their bigger "body guard" mates who will fight to protect the team's best players. (In hockey, these players are known as "goons"). It's the same formula that hockey has used since, well, the Ice Age, whereby the skill players and the more physically intimidating players all know their roles. The highlight of the game came when the hometown Thunder staved off a five-minute two-man disadvantage - the first time I've ever seen a team penalized quite so severely in a hockey game. It seems their players got unwisely over-aggressive and took too many foolish penalties. I'll admit it: when the two-man disadvantage finally came to an end, with Bakersfield scoring nary a goal during the heated action, tears came to my eyes as those of us in attendance rose as one in a standing ovation for the Thunder's penalty killers. It was a moment I'll always remember. Oh yes, the final score was Stockton 5, Bakersfield 2. These two teams, both struggling in the bottom half of the standings and playing in the East Coast Hockey League outpost called California, gave all of us at the game three hours of gritty, entertaining escape. And isn't that at least a good part of what watching sports is about? For that matter, that's what music is about, too. To help the listeners find their way to another "place," at least for awhile. Somehow, this morning's exercises and composition work at the piano seemed a little more enjoyable than usual. The fingers flowed a bit more freely, as did the ideas and combinations of notes dancing through my brain as I played. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but I'll maintain that my Sunday afternoon spent watching a minor league hockey game in the San Joaquin Valley might have had something to do with today's inspired music experience at the piano. You'd be hard pressed to convince me otherwise. Jim Hudak
To all who have made their way to this website or otherwise offered your support this year, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to you for a happy, healthy Holiday Season. Thank you all for your support, and please check back often in 2008. Some nice music related offerings are on the horizon. Jim Hudak
It's another busy December for pianist Jim Hudak. As usual, he'll render dozens of performances this month, giving as many as three performances in one day on several occasions. "For a musician, as it is for farmers and any number of occupations, it's all about making hay when the sun shines," says Hudak, who genuinely loves playing the piano. "I feel so fortunate to get so many job offers this time of year. It's an opportunity to stash some cash and to see all kinds of people at my performances. Some of them I've known for years, and some I'll be meeting for the first time. December has always been a good month for me, music wise." As much as he enjoys all the work and performing, he also looks forward to some time off in January and February to immerse himself into his new home studio. The new recording equipment has been put in place, but isn't wired up or connected yet. Jim is excited about really zeroing in on getting up and running with his studio. "I've got so many songs I want to record decent versions of and get them out there," he says. "I also want to digitize my many hundreds of recordings, old and new, that are on analog tapes. I'm really hoping that my home studio will serve as the thrust of a whole new era of recording and composition for me. I can't wait to get started." For now, the busy Christmas season beckons. Check out the Jim Hudak Calendar of Events on this website for more information about his upcoming concerts and performances.
Vic Stewart's Restaurant, one of the Bay Area's most beloved independent steakhouses, has reached an agreement with Jim Hudak for three weeks of lunchtime piano performances next month. Starting December 3rd, Hudak will perform between 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM Monday through Friday at the legendary East Bay restaurant. This will be the fifth December in a row that Hudak will weave holiday music into his own unique selection of songs on the piano at Vic Stewart's. The family owned restaurant operates as strictly a dinner house for 11 months a year, but opens for lunch on weekdays in December until Christmas. "Ostensibly, they hire me to play lots of Christmas songs and help create a festive atmosphere in the restaurant," Hudak said recently. "Which I'm happy to do, of course. But they also give me the freedom to work in my other songs, from originals to jazz and classical and yes, some rock and roll, blues, and even some country. You know, the crazy mix of stuff that I always play. But after all, it is the Christmas season, so the emphasis is on Christmas and Holiday music. It's a fun gig, and I'm delighted that they want me back again this year." Vic Stewart's is located in a building that was the original train station in Walnut Creek. It has special seating and dining available in a railroad car, and also features several private rooms for banquets and parties. The restaurant books hundreds of office Christmas luncheons each December, and also provides shoppers from nearby Broadway Plaza a nice break for lunch. Located at 850 South Broadway in Walnut Creek. Vic Stewart's phone number is (925) 943-5666. Reservations are highly recommended. Happy Holidays, and see you at Vic's!
Call it White Line Fever. Or a little bit of Jack Kerouac that's always been in my blood. But the bottom line is that I love driving and going on road trips. A unique opportunity for me to take a road trip presents itself later this month. My wife is having several out of town girl friends coming into the Bay Area for a few days, and I've officially been kicked out of the house. But it's just as well. I've been looking forward to a good solo driving trip for awhile now. My route will take me across the Sierra Mountains into Reno, then across the entire state of Nevada to Big Basin National Park. From there, I'll head back toward California, and make my first ever visit to Death Valley on the way home. With camera, guitar, digital recorder, and some unfinished songs to work on, this should be a wonderful journey in a beautiful part of the west. Highway 50 through California and Nevada is one of the most scenic routes anywhere. And for all the traveling I've done over the years, this will be my first visit to Death Valley. So I'm counting down the days till I leave, which will be two weeks from today. As Willie Nelson might say, I'll be ..."on the road again"...It should be fun. Jim Hudak
In my last entry, I spoke of our home remodeling project. We're now into our ninth week. Roughly two-thirds of the way through it. Happily, it's gone smoothly. The piano's been covered to protect it from all the construction dust and debris, as have been virtually all of my other music instruments and recording equipment. Our closets have been emptied, with clothes hanging on the living room furniture and stuffed into the guest room closet. This was done to allow for some reconstruction in the space formerly used as closets, and to give the builders time to complete new, walk-in closets for my wife Linda and I. Yes, things are a bit chaotic around here. Definitely not much music wafting about lately in our household. More like constant pounding and noise. But that's not all bad. It's been fun to follow the process and chronology of building related tasks as the contractors have worked on an addition to our home from the ground up. We've also added a new roof and filled in some "wasted space" between the garage and master bedroom. When it's all done, hopefully within the next month or so, we'll really have something nice. Something special. And I'm banking on the fact that the additional space will help me to reconfigure my music related equipment into a more ergonomic space for creativity and music making. I've learned a lot during this period of construction. While I'm chomping at the bit to get things back to normal, I'm glad that Linda and I have moved forward with our remodeling plans. Hopefully this down time away from my normal "life of music" will help me to refresh my spirit and appreciation of my music. After all, a change of pace can be a good thing. To all of you who've been buying digital downloads and CD's of my music, thank you. Your support is appreciated. Till later, then-- Jim Hudak
Hello All: With the dog days of summer upon us, thoughts of crisper weather and football and hockey creep into our mindsets. Don't they? For me, they do. But then I recognize that not everyone is a football and/or hockey fan. But for me, as some of you know, music and sports have always been two of my main motivators. Besides, the "crisper weather" aspect applies to all of us in the northern hemisphere, whether or not we're sports fans. I thought I'd take a moment to update any of you who've found your way to my website on some of what's going on for me lately. So, in no particular order, here are a few happenings: 1. We've been doing a major remodel on our house here in Clayton, CA. As I type, the pounding of hammers resonates through my ears, as it has for the past month. The noise can be disruptive, yes. But I always remember the words of one of my all-time favorite writers, Louis L'Amour, who said that "I could sit in the middle of Sunset Boulevard and write with my typewriter on my knees; temperamental I'm not." I've always loved that quote, and to some extent, Louis' words apply to me, too. 2. My home studio. The equipment has been purchased! A powerful new Apple Computer, a ProTools software system, a pair of near field monitor speakers, a high-end AKG microphone (to go with other mics I've purchased over the years) and various other miscellaneous pieces of recording equipment sit stacked in their boxes, ready for set up. First, though, I must continue to make room for the new studio equipment by continuing the long "clear out" and reorganization of existing furniture and equipment here in my office, which is where the studio will be set up. But seeing all those unopened boxes stacked up serves as inspiration. I can't wait to get this thing up and running. 3. My sore back. Just prior to the Greater Spunkies Family Reunion last month in Grants Pass, Oregon, I wrenched my back pretty good. It hasn't been the same since, and sitting at the piano for extended periods of time has been difficult. I'll be seeing a back specialist doctor this week, and we'll see if we can come up with a plan to get my back right again. I'll stop here for now. Those are three of the major events going on for me these days. My wife Linda just had a birthday, and we're continuing to work with the remodeling contractors each day to keep things moving and on schedule. Linda, with her construction oriented background, is particularly valuable to have around during this process. We hope to have the remodeling done by the end of October. We'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, best wishes to everyone. Be well! Jim Hudak
As promised, The Spunkies gathered in Southern Oregon over the weekend of July 14th and 15th. Billed as The Greater Spunkies Family Reunion, the event lived up to its expectations. A good time was had by all, and a fun-filled musical reunion of old mates proved to be uplifting. Hosted by Rick and Barbara Parkinson, who transformed their spacious tool and workshop building into a musical laboratory, The Spunkies suddenly had lots of room and a whole bunch of musical equipment at their disposal. In the end, the band showed it's not yet ready for prime time. But more than a few moments of inspired artistic brilliance and music related exhileration made the reunion special. Said Bland Chok (Jim Hudak) upon reviewing the recordings made over the weekend: "It's easy to get swept up in the joy of getting together with old friends and playing music. We've known each other for 40 years or so, and we don't get to play together too often anymore. In the excitement of seeing one another again, it's both expected and necessary to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to things like the sound sometimes being out of balance, some forgotten lyrics, and so on. Of course, those things become quite glaring when you review the recordings, and I'm afraid there's not a lot of salvageable recorded material that came out of that weekend. "But in the end, that stuff really becomes secondary, given the nature of this particular get together. The primary goal was for us to meet in a lovely place, play some music, and keep the spirit of The Spunkies intact. And we certainly managed to accomplish that. The Spunkies are alive and well, if not exactly a well-oiled machine at this stage." Indeed, having so much space and musical equipment available ended up being slightly daunting for the band. Originally formed as a trio, these Spunkies included as many as six musicians participating in some of the songs played over the weekend. The sound was big, and at times, loud. But it was all part of the fun and flow of the event. The biggest surprise of the weekend came with the addition of guitarist Mitch Gonzales, son of bassist/guitarist/vocalist Marc Gonzales (Rusty Waters). Mitch became the first offspring of any of The Spunkies to play with the band, and he proved to be a highly skilled musician. Besides guitar, Mitch also played bass and drums during the sessions, respectably providing youthful energy to an outfit of musicians roughly three times his age. Roy G. Biv and Zubito Huascar displayed their typical brillance on keyboards and vocals, respectively, with Huascar taking a lengthy turn on drums and percussion. "Zubito has a real opportunity here," says Chok. "He could become the Karen Carpenter of The Spunkies, what with his good looks, unique vocal style (albeit a vastly different delivery than Karen's) and his presence behind the drums. Karen, Levon Helm, and now Zubito Huascar are among the relatively few people in rock that have carved out their niche of being both a drummer and a lead vocalist. It's quite cool." Musical highlights included a torrid version of "Zubito's Calling," and the unveiling of a new song, "Routine Colonoscopy." Chok also dusted off a couple classics he's co-written with lyricist Dan Erikson: "Wheel Of Fortune" and "Sugar Momma." Though no date has been set for the next Spunkies reunion, the event at the newly dubbed Jollity Farm Studios, located on the banks of the Applegate River, rekindled the Spunkies' flame. The camaradarie and powerful musical explorations of a band that can go from rock to folk to jazz to blues (sometimes all within a single song) cannot be denied. Let's hope that the next Spunkies reunion happens sooner rather than later.
As co-founder of The Spunkies, an "art band and more," Jim Hudak always looks forward to their occasional reunions. An upcoming Spunkies gathering looks to be extra special. This coming July 14th and 15th, at a secret location in Southern Oregon, Jim will rejoin the Spunkies and a few members of their greater musical family for two days of playing, composing, and recording music. The setting will be a rural retreat along the beautiful Applegate River near Grants Pass. Guitarist-Pianist-Vocalist Hudak, (known in The Spunkies as Bland Chok), will be joined by fellow founding members Fingers (Jim Schlauch) on keyboards and vocals, and Zubito Huascar, (Will Sullivan) on vocals and percussion. The three long time friends co-invented "The Spunkies" band and brand on August 9, 1981, and all three contribute extensively to the band's original compositions. "We've made countless recordings over the years," Hudak said recently. "For 90% of our get togethers, I'd have a high quality reel to reel or cassette tape recorder running, capturing the music. That's especially important with this band, since the nature of what we do makes it impossible to play the songs the same way twice. The recordings have allowed us to capture and preserve music that's one of a kind, and would otherwise be lost as quickly as it gets created." Indeed, with deep and mostly positive lyrical messages spewed out by Huascar in stream of consciousness fashion, recordings were the only way The Spunkies could prove to people that they actually play music. Hudak is the only full-time professional musician in the band, and they've performed publicly as a group only once in 26 years, at his wedding reception in Nashville in 1997. "Since we so rarely perform, it would be hard to get anyone to believe that we actually write and play music," Hudak explains. "But the hundreds of recordings I've made of the band over the years authenticate what includes an impressive body of work. Not all of our stuff is great, and some of it is garbage. But when you put all of our best songs, lyrics, and musical highlights together, there's a lot of good material there. A treasure trove of absolutely inimitable music." In this era of digital recording and the Internet, suddenly a worldwide audience of 7.5 billion people could have access to Spunkies music. Though the Spunkies have been slow to convert their analog recordings into the digital domain, Hudak's recent completion of a two-year degree program in Recording Arts may be just the ticket for this unusual musical aggregation to gain new exposure. He just put together 30-minutes worth of digitized Spunkies music on CD, the first time the band's ever had their music preserved in that medium. Hudak hopes to have more of their recordings digitized and available on-line in the coming months and years. "The thing is, no one else does what we do. That's important in and of itself. We're proud of the fact that our lead singer and primary lyrical content creator, Zubito, can't carry a tune, yet he's got a presence and charismatic delivery that's oddly compelling. He's a bit like Jim Morrison, a poet and a shamanistic type of character. There's a lot to be learned from Zubito's imagery, philosophy and perspective." "Fingers, meanwhile, is a brilliantly talented musician," continues Hudak. "Just an outstanding pianist and a good singer and writer. Me, I just try to be the catalyst, the glue that more or less holds us together. The Spunkies have proven to be an enduring concept and experiment, and every time we get together, new creative output results. It's quite astonishing, really." Joining the original Spunkies this weekend will be Marc Gonzalez on bass, guitar, and vocals, and Rick Parkinson on vocals and percussion. Additional musical guests may be present as well. Check back soon for a report on a weekend bound to generate lots of excitement and musical energy. The Spunkies: a unique musical collective that cannot be denied.
Izzy's Steakhouse, the new restaurant and music venue located in San Ramon, CA, has quickly become a popular attraction. For Jim Hudak, who has performed as the pianist/entertainer there four times in the past two weeks, Izzy's is proving to be a most suitable venue. "This is really working out nicely," said Hudak over the weekend. "Sam DuVall, the owner, is an avid music fan, particularly in the areas of jazz and blues. Yet, he's open to all kinds of music, 'as long as it's good.' " Featuring a concert grand piano with a solid in-house sound system and stage monitor, Hudak sings the praises of Izzy's as a fun place to perform. "It's always nice when a restaurant is busy, which creates atmosphere. But to actually be able to hear yourself play (with the help of the built-in sound system), that's really an added bonus for this type of venue," Hudak says. "I can actually work a few songs with vocals into my act, and carry on with some banter to the audience. It makes my role more entertainment oriented rather than just providing background piano music." DuVall, who owns two other restaurants in the San Francisco area, is well known for opening the legendary Great American Music Hall in the city in 1972. He also hosted his own jazz radio show in the Bay Area for a lengthy time. "It's a fact of life that musicians will inevitably have some issues with restaurant and club owners," Hudak points out. "But with Sam, you've got a proprieter who knows and loves music, and who has abundant first hand experience in working with musicians. He treats them with respect and understanding. I hope to have a hand in helping him build his business here in the East Bay." Izzy's just may turn into a goldmine. There aren't a lot of high end restaurants in the greater San Ramon area, and the upscale population base there seems thrilled with a new place to frequent. While steaks are featured at Izzy's, there are several other items on the menu, including grilled salmon and other fish and seafood. And, of course, live music. Izzy's is located at 200 Montgomery Street in San Ramon. Their phone number is (925) 830-8620. Check the Calender Dates section of Jim Hudak's website to keep posted on his upcoming performances at Izzy's and elsewhere.
Fry's Electronics, the California based nationwide chain of electronics superstores, now stocks "Bridging Textures," the latest CD by Jim Hudak. As a result of Jim's recent affiliation with Burnside Distribution, his CD's are now available in hundreds of stores nationwide, as well as through CD Baby at www.cdbaby.com. Fry's offers a huge inventory of everything related to electronics, including computers and software, music recording and playback devices, and everything imagineable in the world of electronics. Recently they added CD's to their product line, and Jim is proud to be part of the Fry's Electronics empire.
Today, May 24, 2007, marks a special day in Jim Hudak's life. "First of all, it's our 10th wedding anniversary for my wife Linda and I," he says proudly. "Secondly, it's exactly 10 years ago today that The Spunkies, a band I co-founded with Zubito Huascar and Jimmy 'Fingers' Schlauch, gave our first and only public performance. It took place in Nashville, Tennessee, as part of my wedding reception festivities. Obviously, I'll never forget either of those two monumental events, which essentially took place in conjunction with each other as part of a very significant occasion." Joining The Spunkies for the historic May 24, 1997 performance was Marc Gonzales, a talented musician who's played and recorded with the band several times over the years. He sings, plays bass and guitar, and has been known to provide a rhythmic touch to the band's sound on numerous occasions. For the Nashville performance, he also provided some vocal instruction for Huascar, a unique musician who occasionally faces pitch and tonality challenges. "Marc helped Zubito turn in a solid performance on that magical night 10 years ago," Hudak notes. "It was a landmark performance for our band, which has its own charisma, in spite of our experimental and improvisational nature." Hudak celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary by taking his lovely wife on a tour of the Great Northwest. "We flew from Oakland to Seattle, then on to Port Angeles, Victoria and Vancouver, B.C.," relates Hudak. "It was fun to show Linda some of the places that have meant so much to me throughout my life. There's not much prettier country on earth than British Columbia and western Washington, and it was a blast showing her around that beautiful area." Having now returned safely to their Clayton, CA home, the Hudaks have several projects lined up around the house for this Memorial Day weekend. "Besides home related tasks, I continue to move forward with my plans to build a good, solid home studio," says Hudak. "It's a vital step for me to make to be able to professionally yet affordably record my music and my voice for all sorts of various applications." May 24, 1997 to May 24, 2007. Ten years in the life of Jim Hudak, an extraordinary and gifted artist.
Today, May 24, 2007, marks a special day in Jim Hudak's life. "First of all, it's our 10th wedding anniversary for my wife Linda and I," he says proudly. "Secondly, it's exactly 10 years ago today that The Spunkies, a band I co-founded with Zubito Huascar and Jimmy 'Fingers' Schlauch, gave our first and only public performance. It took place in Nashville, Tennessee, as part of my wedding reception festivities. Obviously, I'll never forget either of those two monumental events, which essentially took place in conjunction with each other as part of a very significant occasion." Joining The Spunkies for the historic May 24, 1997 performance was Marc Gonzales, a talented musician who's played and recorded with the band several times over the years. He sings, plays bass and guitar, and has been known to provide a rhythmic touch to the band's sound on numerous occasions. For the Nashville performance, he also provided some vocal instruction for Huascar, a unique musician who occasionally faces pitch and tonality challenges. "Marc helped Zubito turn in a solid performance on that magical night 10 years ago," Hudak notes. "It was a landmark performance for our band, which has its own charisma, in spite of our experimental and improvisational nature." Hudak celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary by taking his lovely wife to a trip to the Northwest. "We flew from Oakland to Seattle, then on to Port Angeles, Victoria and Vancouver, B.C.," relates Hudak. "It was fun to show Linda some of the places that have meant so much to me throughout my life. There's not much prettier country on earth than British Columbia and western Washington, and it was a blast showing her around that beautiful area." Having now returned safely to their Clayton, CA home, the Hudaks have several projects lined up around the house for this Memorial Day weekend. "Besides home related tasks, I continue to move forward with my plans to build a good, solid home studio," says Hudak. "It's a vital step for me to make to be able to professionally yet affordably record my music and my voice for all sorts of various applications." May 24, 1997 to May 24, 2007. Ten years in the life of Jim Hudak, an extraordinary and gifted artist.
Jim Hudak led the four-piece band, and Round Hill Country Club's first ever presentation of a dinner-concert was a tremendous success Saturday night. Performing before a capacity crowd of 100 members in an intimate room-setting, Hudak displayed his considerable talents on piano, guitar, and vocals, with lots of humorous and engaging banter mixed in to the delight of the crowd. "It was like a coming out homecoming concert for me," said Hudak after the show. "I could relate to the audience in quite a different way than in my usual fashion as the club's background pianist. It was also so much fun to have such a great ensemble of musicians who joined me for the concert." Indeed, most in the crowd had no idea that this was the first ever performance by this quartet. Performing with Hudak for their first time were Sue Draheim, on violin/fiddle, who thrilled the audience with some stunning solos and an electric violin, and Gary Minadeo, who brought a wide array of drums and percussion instruments to the show. He added just the right sound at the right moment throughout the evening, and continuously provided the steady beat that helps keep a band on track. Veteran bassist Dennis Tuohino, who has performed with Jim Hudak on numerous occasions in the past, once again brought his top-notch musicality to the event. Tuohino also added some impressive background vocals to several of the songs, as did Draheim. "Having the vocal harmonies from Sue and Dennis was a nice touch," Hudak said. "It really adds a lot when you've got some well placed vocal harmonies here and there." The evening began with Jim Hudak performing alone on piano, then one by one adding the musicians for a mostly instrumental based first set. Then, following intermission, he switched to an amplified Martin acoustic guitar, and the show took on a distinctive country-rock quality with lots of singing and swinging. The band displayed a solid chemistry between the performers, with lots of smiling, movement, and interactive playing throughout the evening. One of the many highlights was the band's rendering of the song "Steppes." Recorded on Jim Hudak's latest CD, 'Bridging Textures,' the piece was co-written by Hudak with Jim "Fingers" Schlauch and Zubito Huascar, who comprise the three founding members of the Northwest based eclectic band "The Spunkies." Saturday night, the song was given a Latin-Caribbean feel, and received a particularly raucous response from the crowd. "It was an indication that 'The Spunkies' music lives on," Hudak said. "We always had a certain sound that was our own, which has proven to be timelessly hypnotic in various applications." The entire event went well, with a typically fine meal served by head chef Jon Fink and excellent service and teamwork from all who had a hand in the event. "The evening was both artistically and commercially successful," Hudak commented. "It more than paid for itself, and I'm grateful to the club for giving this type of an event a chance to succeed. The feedback from the members has been overwhelmingly positive, such that I would guess there might be additional dinner-concerts at the club in the future." Hudak and the band members hope to use this concert as a springboard for other performance opportunities. "We got some pictures of the band, and some recordings, too. Hopefully we can put together a little promotional package now and get some more gigs. These are some really good players to perform with, and it's nice that they took to a good number of my original compostions with such committment and skill." If their first ever concert is any indication, this foursome should have no trouble securing additional engagements. With a sound that crosses numerous musical genres from jazz and classical to rock, pop, and country blues, it's a musical unit that offers something for everyone. It just could be that those lucky enough to have attended Saturday night's inaugural performance were witnessing something that will prove to be historic.
Jim Hudak, who performs more than 250 shows per year as a solo pianist, has made a conscious decision to move back to his musial roots. This suggests that the Americana music he grew up playing in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Nashville, will once again take on a bigger part in his performances and compositions. As a youth, when Jim first started playing guitar and piano in 1963, the Folk Music Boom/Hootenany Era was still going strong. In addition, his father had several bluegrass and country records around the house that Jim adored, music from the likes of Reno and Smiley, Ferlin Husky, and Chet Atkins, and the folk/country/bluegrass influences began to take hold. But then, so did the music of Elvis Presley, Tchaikovsky, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and soon thereafter, The Beatles and The Byrds. "The word eclectic only begins to describe my taste in music," says Hudak. "Some would say it's a weakness, but I think it's a good thing to study and embrace as many styles of music as possible. And I've certainly done that." Currently, with the musical lineup he's formed for his upcoming April 28th concert at Round Hill Country Club, the "country-rootsy" vibe has been prominent in the group's rehearsals. "With Sue creating these on the spot violin and fiddle melody lines and riffs that just blow me away, and Dennis doing his usual masterful job on bass, and now Gary bringing some incredible and varied rhythmic textures to the sound, it's been just wonderful," Hudak says. "Really, we're playing all kinds of different stuff, but that bluesy Americana-ish sort of sound is standing out, and it's lots of fun." Jim recently contacted Joe Goldmark, one of the most renowned pedal steel players on the West Coast, about working on some musical projects together. Goldmark was receptive, though he's yet to hear any of Jim Hudak's music. "I've long had this idea in my head of the pedal steel working in conjunction with both my piano instrumental playing and also filling its more traditional role with the country-rock sort of stuff I do. Joe is one of the players who, I believe, could do that, and I'll be anxious to see if he sees a fit between us musically," Jim said recently. For now, the Martin guitars are dusted off, the vocal mike is turned on, and Jim is having fun re-exploring some of his musical roots. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out over the coming months and years.
Jim Hudak has announced the finalization of the ensemble of musicians who will perform with him at a special dinner-concert performance at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo, CA on April 28th, 2007. Dennis Tuohino, who has performed and recorded with Jim Hudak on numerous occasions over the past four years, will once again join Jim on bass and some vocals. Sue Draheim, a highly talented and experienced violin-fiddle player, will also be performing with Jim that night. Sue's musical resume includes performances with countless legendary musicians, including John Renbourne, Jaqui McShee, and the greater Pentangle/Fairport Convention musical family, among many others. Look for her to add some vocal harmonies on a few songs, too. Finally, Gary Minadeo, a long time Bay Area resident, will perform on a wide array of percussion instruments for the Round Hill performance. He, too, has performed with many bands and musicians, and brings a wealth of talent and experience to the table. "Getting Dennis back again, and adding such superior players as Sue and Gary is awesome," commented Hudak. "We clicked nicely the first time we played together, and it's just fun getting together with this group of commited, talented musicians." It's possible that the quartet will book additional engagements in the future. But for now, they're working to make their first ever public performance together at Round Hill Country Club a memorable event. "It will be great to play for what feels like a homecoming concert for me," says Hudak. "I'll know virtually everyone in the audience, and I'm told that tickets are selling fast, so it's a show I'm really looking forward to. To get a chance to perform with such a talented group of players such as this is like icing on the cake."
Less than a month after it was announced, the concert that would have reunited 2/3 of the 70's trio The Midnight Ridge was postponed today. Scheduled for May 9th, a performance by Colleen O'Brien and Jim Hudak, along with Colleen's musical husband Chris Lee (vibes and percussion) was shelved - at least for now. Jim Hudak cites "logistical and timing issues" as the cause for the postponement of the concert. "Colleen and I were looking forward to playing music together again for the first time in 27 years," said Hudak. "But her trip to the Bay Area from Colorado has lots of stops along the way, and both of our schedules have gotten extremely tight. We're hoping that perhaps in the Spring of 2008 we can try again to do this. Ideally, we'd also like to perform in Portland, where we grew up, and where extended family members of the Greater Midnight Ridge reside. That way, it might even work out to have the third founding member, Marc Gonzales, who still lives in Portland, join us." Hudak also acknowledged that any reunion would best happen sooner than later, for practical reasons. "You hate to think about this, but the fact is we're not getting any younger, and getting the band and maybe even some of their musical offspring together for a grand event in Portland is something we'd like to do as soon as reasonably possible." For the legions of fans who followed the band in its heyday, and kept up with the various music related projects of the individual members of "The Ridge," that reunion, whenever it may be, can't come soon enough. "They had a unique sound, and could do three-part harmony as well as anyone," said Bill Rooster, who remembers hearing The Midnight Ridge in 1973. It was sort of like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but with the visual advantage of having a nice woman to look at (Colleen) along with their amazing musicality. I hope they do get together again soon. I'll go see them for sure."
It's been 27 years since the original members of the legendary band The Midnight Ridge have performed together. On Wednesday night, May 9th, 2007, two-thirds of the band reunites for a special "house concert" in the San Francisco Bay Area. The exact site is still to be determined, but the concert is definitely a "go." Collen O'Brien, vocalist and cellist-pianist-guitarist extraordinaire, will travel to San Francisco with her talented husband, Chris Lee, who plays vibes and percussion. Known as "Primal Mates," they have a number of dates booked in California, and on May 9th they'll perform with Jim Hudak. The plan is for Jim to open with a 40-minute set, followed by Collen and Chris for another 40-minute set, and then the three musicians performing together for a song or two to wrap up the evening. The occasion is special, and celebrates a lifetime of music performance for these three great musicians. Stay tuned for more information as the date approaches, and if in the Bay Area, try to attend. Jim and Colleen hope this reunion performance may lead to some others sometime in the future, and who knows? Pehaps the third founding member of The Midnight Ridge, Marc Gonzales, will one day join them to make for a full musical reunion of the three old friends. The Midnight Ridge performed in the Portland, Oregon area for about three years between 1972 and 1975, before disbanding to follow their individual musical and career pursuits. Their performances were typically sellouts, and warmly received by a fervent legion of fans and followers. It will be fun to have at least two-thirds of the trio together again.
Round Hill Country Club in Alamo, CA will sponsor a special dinner-concert on April 28, 2007, titled "An Evening With Jim Hudak." Beginning with a cocktail hour at 6 PM, dinner at 7, and the concert at 8:30, this will be the first event of its type for both Round Hill and for Jim Hudak. It has already created quite a buzz among club members and staff. The eveing will feature Jim Hudak showcasing his wide range of musical talents. In addition to the piano he plays regularly at the club, he will also play some guitar, do some singing, and perform considerably more of his original music than usual. Some guest musicians will also be part of the festivities. Jim is putting the finishing touches on selecting the band members for the performance. Bassist Dennis Tuohino, who has performed with Jim on numerous occasions over the past five years, will once again join Jim onstage. Jim is also talking with various percussionists and instrumentalists about joining the party and performing with him that night. Rendering his first performance at Round Hill Country Club shortly after moving back to California in 1998, Jim has become a fixture at Round Hill. He performs there every Friday night, every other Saturday night, and for all the major holiday events such as Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, and Easter. He's also rendered hundreds of private party performances at the club over the past nine years. "Round Hill has become something of a second home for me in the Bay Area," said Jim recently. I know and love so many of the club members and staff, and they've been so supportive of my music over the years. It will be fun to be able to deliver a different kind of show for them, and to once again work with other musicians, which I always enjoy." Though designated a "members only" event, anyone interested in attending can contact Jim Hudak or Ivan Vuskovic, the Food and Beverage Director at Round Hill for possible special admittance to the dinner-concert on April 28th. Tickets are $45 per person.
Bridging Textures has been recognized as one of the Top 100 recordings for the year 2006 by the presigious New Age Reporter magazine. The Top 100 recordings are based on radio and satellite music network airplay as listed on the NAR playlist charts. The fifth CD release by pianist/composer Jim Hudak on his Brainstorm Records label, Bridging Textures ranked as high as #18 on the charts in 2006, and continues to receive worldwide airplay a year after its release. "One great thing about instrumental music is that it has a chance to enjoy a long shelf life," commented Hudak upon being recognized in the Top 100. "To me, it's especially nice that this recognition comes as a result of my first album that featured all original music. I credit Will Ackerman, the Co-Producer, for encouraging me to take the leap forward with an all-original lineup of songs. He recognized that it was time for me to further establish myself as a composer." Jim also acknowedges the promotion and publicity efforts of Kathleen Monahan and Randall Davis in helping to spread the word about Bridging Textures. "This definitely wouldn't have happened without the hard work of Kathy and Randall," said Hudak. "There were, in fact, lots of people involved in the making and marketing of this record, and I would personally like to thank them all. Hopefully, it's a sign of continued good things to come." Jim Hudak is working on building a new and improved home studio that he hopes will help him in making lots more recordings for many years to come. "I feel like I've barely scratched the surface relative to what I've recorded so far," he says. "There's so much more music I want to record and make available, in numerous genres and styles. All I can do is keep moving forward to the best of my ability, and get this stuff recorded in whatever media and formats are suitable and available." He has hundreds more of yet to be recorded original compostions and would still like to record many other cover songs, as well. His knack for carefully choosing songs to record that aren't often heard as piano instrumental pieces has served him well. "I really enjoy going from Duke Ellington to The Rolling Stones to The Carpenters to Johnny Cash, for example, whether I'm performing or recording. I don't know too many pianists who would do that, but to me it's fun, and it keeps me from getting bored. That total eclectic approach has sort of become my trademark." Jim Hudak will soon be announcing two very special concerts in April and May, 2007. Stay tuned for further information.
There's nothing like writing a new song or two to get the blood pumping. I've been working on a couple new pieces that I'm excited about, and it feels good. One of the songs, with a working title of "My Old Friend," chronicles some issues that a dear and long time friend of mine has been having. It's fairly emotional, so I want to be sure I get the lyrics just right and don't make it too sappy or maudlin. But it's written from the heart, and often that makes for the best songs. The other piece, titled "Classical Waltz," is a song that's been pretty much written for awhile. Other than a few new tweaks here and there, I'm mostly working on getting more comfortable with playing it on the piano. I had hoped to include it on the Bridging Textures album, but when I sat down in Will Ackerman's studio to play it, I wasn't able to execute it properly and gave up on the idea of recording it for that project. It's feeling better now, and I've started to play it publicly now and then. Nothing like adding some new material to the repertoire. It's so important to keep the music as fresh and new as possible, though playing the old standards and standbys is fun, too.
Say what you will about L.A. I love the place! After spending several days there over Christmas, I have reaffirmed my desire to get there more often, both as a career related decision and for the pure enjoyment of spending more time there. With temperatures hovering near 80 degrees on Christmas day, we enjoyed walking through Beverly Hills (you've never seen Christmas lights and decorations like they have in B. Hills), hiked around the Hollywood Hills, and went to the Getty Museum. We even found time to take in a Los Angeles Kings hockey game (I once worked for the Kings and used to do a television show about hockey back in the 80's). It was all so much fun, as was getting together with several old friends, including fellow musicians Stephen McDonough and Jon Pucek. But in the end, it's the incredible breadth and scope of the entertainment industry that makes L.A. so attractive to me. There's a lot of creative engergy and talented individuals there, and other than New York, no other city has as much commerce and business relating to art and entertainment as Los Angeles. My hope is to set up some business opportunities there in the areas of film and soundtrack placement of my music. I will be contacting music publishers and "music supervisors" who specialize in that part of the music and entertainment business, looking to get some good results. It's always so impressive to go walking (or more likely, driving) around the area and seeing all the movie and television studios: 20th Century, Paramount, Fox, CBS, Warner Brothers, and so on. Lots of people earn their living there doing work pertaining to movies and music. It's exciting. Sure, Southern Calfornia has a lot of flash and its share of phoniness. But people who specialize in artficiality usually get weeded out in the long run. Ultimately, substance will win out over style 90% of the time. Now, it's a new year and time to get back to work. We'll get our new Calender link and updated performance schedule posted soon. We've been working on resolving some computer issues, and are close to having them fixed. To everyone: best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2007. Thanks for keeping in touch. Jim Hudak
To all of you who stop by this website, I want to wish you a very happy holiday season. I'd also like to thank you for a truly great year. The list of good things that happened for me musically and career-wise this year is substantial, and some exciting things are already on the horizon for 2007. Today I finish up the last of my 60 or so performances over the past month since Thanksgiving. I'm ready for a few days off. My wife, Linda, and I are headed to Los Angeles, the City of the Angels, for a few days, and I always look forward to spending some time in L.A. Between so much music, music business, the movie industry and entertainment in general, it's just a wonderful place. Lots of people don't care for Southern California, but if you know where to go and what to look for, it's unlike anywhere else on earth. Besides, who wouldn't welcome the 72-degree day that's forecast for tomorrow, Christmas Eve? It sounds good to me. Though the "Calender" link on my website hasn't been updated yet, we've already booked a great number of performances for January and February of 2007. We'll be posting those dates next week. Also, we've just signed off with Round Hill Country Club for a special Dinner-Concert performance there on Saturday night, April 28th. This will be similar to my performance last September at The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, where I had some guest musicians join me onstage. I'll once again be free to showcase different aspects of my music, including lots of original songs, some singing, and even some guitar playing. Stay tuned for more details. We are in discussions with Burnside Distribution in Portland, Oregon and New Leaf Distribution in Lithia Springs, Georgia for distribution deals. Both of these record distributors have been in business a long time and have proven track records. It should help us reach a broader audience both nationally and internationally in the retail marketplace. Once again, best wishes to all of you for a healthy holdiay season and a prosperous 2007. I love meeting and hearing from you whenever possible. Your appreciation of the music is what makes it all worthwhile. Till later, Jim Hudak
After nearly nine years of performing as the house pianist at Round Hill Country Club, Jim Hudak provided a new twist last weekend. On November 18, 2006, he performed a 20-minute set on his Martin D-18 guitar as a solo instrumentalist. He worked the short set in between his normal piano instrumental sets. The guitar debut was well-received, encouraging Jim to try it again sometime. "It was fun to do a change of pace," he says. "But in reality, it was a bit odd, too. Back in the day, when guitar was my primary instrument, I usually would sing, too, when I played it. In this setting, at Round Hill, singing wouldn't have been appropriate, as the room that night ("The Pub") was small and intimate. It's meant to be a fine dining experience, and I was afraid that singing would have been too much of an intrusion in that room. So I stuck with the background music approach on the guitar, and just played a few quieter instrumentals." Still, several members and guests in attendance that night informed management that the guitar was a welcome addition. They mentioned that they'd like to see Jim on guitar again. "Actually, what appears to be evolving here is the idea of my doing a bona fide concert at Round Hill sometime next spring. Sort of like what I did at The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley a couple months ago, where other musicians joined me and we put on a full-scale show. I enjoy that, as I'm able to showcase more of my own original music, as well as play some guitar and add some vocals. Tell a few jokes, even. The management team at Round Hill has been very encouraging and supportive of the idea. It would probably be a combination dinner and concert event, which would be great. It would allow me to showcase the other aspects of my music to the members at Round Hill, and I would enjoy that a lot." Meanwhile, will Jim be doing more guitar instrumental music at Round Hill anytime soon? "Very possibly," he says. "I'll kind of go with my instincts and try to bring the guitar back at the right time and place." Stay tuned for more information on that subject. It looks like some more interesting musical developments will be happening for Jim Hudak at Round Hill Country Club soon.
When Tamara and Bob Steiner Purchased the Clayton Pioneer Newspaper back in 2003, Jim Hudak saw an opportunity. "I've always loved to write, and Tamara expanded the newspaper significantly from what it had been," Jim says now. "I thought it might be a good time to approach her about doing a regular monthly column about music." Tamara was receptive. She and Jim agreed that for the Pioneer, which is published every two weeks, a column about music might work. As both an artist and a music businessman, Jim could offer unique perspectives on both sides of the world of music: "making" it and "selling" it. Now, more than three years later, his column is a regular feature in the Pioneer. Jim notes that the paper offers much more to its readers now than in the "pre-Steiner" era. "There are columnists covering subjects including gardening, computer technology, hiking and the outdoors, and much more," says Jim. "It's actually a paper you look forward to getting and reading every two weeks." Tamara and Jim agreed to a "once a month or so" column about music, which she aptly named "Music Notes." "Once a month is about all I can realistically handle," he says. "Besides, I really don't want to be a concert reviewer or go out to the clubs much. I do enough of that with my own performing." Instead, he's offered columns covering songwriting, building a home studio, the trend toward digital downloading of music, the importance of marketing and promotion, and other useful topics for both the musician and the lay person. The column that got the most feedback was one he wrote a little over a year ago, about the "Dueling Pianos From Hell" performance experience he had at a premiere Bay Area Hotel. "It was one of those 'memory of a lifetime' experiences, " he says now. "I got a call to play a dueling pianos gig with a guy I'd never met, and it ended up being one of those horrendous experiences where he just took over. He seemed to forget I was even there," Jim laughs. "But we made it through the evening, I got paid, and it made good fodder for a column." Though the Pioneer doesn't make archived editions of the newspaper available on its website, you can find Jim's columns on-line as they're published in the most recent edition of the newspaper. Go to www.claytonpioneer.com to check it out. In the not too distant future, Jim Hudak will post his columns here on his own website. Until then, his "Music Notes" column continues to give the local residents of Clayton something different to read and think about from the world of music. And it gives him an outlet for his love of the written word.
Appearances on television and radio, lots of good press and reviews, and steady performances at high-end venues. Jim Hudak has been enjoying a career-surge in everything involving his music. "I've said it before and I'll say it again, working with some top names in the music business can really be helpful," Jim says. "Not only do you have the benefit of their talent, but of their name recognition. Associating yourself with successful people makes it easier to get your music listened to." Indeed. The imposing line-up of musicians assembled for Jim's "Bridging Textures" CD continues to turn heads and generate airplay and attention. The names of Will Ackerman, Michael Manring, Tracy Silverman, Mary Fettig and Suzy Thompson are highly regarded in music circles throughout the world. They, combined with Jim's unique and interesting original music, have led to personal appearances on both radio and television, along with continued airplay and rave reviews. "It had reached a point where I needed to make a statement with my music," Jim says. "To Will Ackerman's credit, he said the only way he would work with me would be if the record we made together contained all original music. Thank goodness he had the foresight to suggest that. It was time for my original music to stand up on its own, and for me to develop my own persona musically." Every musician loves steady, ongoing performance opportunities. Jim's recent repeat engagements at upscale Bay Area venues such as Bing Crosby's, Vic Stewart's, and Blake's at Boundary Oaks, combined with his ongoing, nine-year run at Round Hill Country Club, has helped both financially and with the good exposure. "The other night, I was playing at my newest venue, which is Massimo's, a nice restaurant in Walnut Creek. A guy and his wife were dining there and they had just heard me a couple nights earlier at Bing Crosby's, and they also see me regularly at Round Hill Country Club, where they are members. He says to me, 'Why do you always get to play at the best places?' I laughed and told him I was just lucky. But he's right, I've been on a nice roll with my music and performances lately. I've been very fortunate." Moving to Northern California in 1997, Jim lucked out by immediately landing a presitigious though low paying job as a pianist at the Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek. "It only paid $11.75 an hour back then, which was disappointing," he says now. But I knew it would lead to other jobs, as it has. Many of them pay a great deal more than that, which of course makes it easier to be a musician for a living." The goal, of course, is to parlay this current level of venues into more concerts and listening oriented venues. It's tough to book the true concert halls. who tend to book artists with national and international drawing power. But Jim Hudak recognizes it's a step by step journey. "I still feel like this little guy out there, and I'm talking with booking agents and managers about getting to the next level. But for now, playing five to six times a week at well paying establishments, selling my CD's and getting royalty generating airplay isn't a bad situation at all. I've come a long ways, but I know I've got a long ways to go. I'm just enjoying the ride." Spoken like a true musician. One who's music has been on a good roll lately.
Between October 2nd and October 10th, 2006, Jim Hudak will appear on the television program "Conversations," hosted by Robin Fahr. It will air on CTV Channel 30, based in Pleasanton, CA, and will be shown 19 times during that first week in October. Robin interviews Jim during the first half of the half-hour program, and they discuss Jim's music, career, and his independent Brainstorm Records label. The interview is entertaining and informative, and a genuine chemistry is evident between Robin and Jim. To watch this program live on-line, go to the CTV Channel 30 website at www.tv30.org, and click on the "Live Webcast" link on the left side of the page. "Conversations" will be aired during the following times in the Pacific Daylight Time Zone: Monday - 10/2: 6 AM Tuesday - 10/3: 6 AM and 10 PM Wednesday - 10/4: 6 AM and 10 PM Thursday - 10/5: 6 AM and 10 PM Friday - 10/6: 6 AM and 7 PM Saturday - 10/7: 6 AM, 9 AM, 12 Noon, 2:30 PM, and 7 PM Sunday - 10/8: 6 AM, 9 AM, 12 Noon, 2:30 PM, and 7 PM. Enjoy the show! Send your comments and feedback to jimmydak@pacbell.net.
Tonight Jim Hudak begins a new weekly engagement at one of Walnut Creek's most enduring restaurants with piano music. Massimo Ristorante, located at 1604 Locust Street, will feature Jim on piano every Thursday from 6 to 9 PM. It's a wonderful listening venue, with the piano situated perfectly between the bar and the dining area. Jim will provide his usual eclectic mix of songs and looks forward to a long engagement at Massimo's. Come on in - for a beverage or for dinner.
Last Saturday, September 16th, I made one of my periodic pilgramages to a college football game. Every few years, I make my way to either Berkeley to catch a Cal Bears game or to Stanford Stadium to watch the Cardinal. Since I grew up in Oregon, I usually try to go to games that match either the Bears or the Cardinal against either Oregon or Oregon State. On this perfectly beautiful Saturday afternoon, however, I would have the chance to see the Portland State Vikings come to Memorial Stadium for their first ever football game against the California Golden Bears. Growing up in Portland and attending Portland State for a couple semesters, I was excited about going to this game. Some background here. I was raised with the idea that a healthy body makes a healthy mind. The point being that sports were encouraged in our family, and my Dad and I were playing catch with footballs and baseballs when I was only five or six years old. I loved sports, and early on saw the similarities between athleticism and playing music. Gracefulness, motion, fluidity, those were all common characteristics between the two disciplines. It goes even deeper than that. Team sports, such as football, require working together with others in a way similar to playing in a music ensemble. There's give and take, leadership as well as the ability to follow, and a certain type of camaraderie that develops when involved in an enterprising group effort. While I participated in virtually all sports at the grade school level, by the time I got to high school, I'd zeroed in on football. I played on some great teams, and state championships at Jesuit High School in Portland were quite common. The memories gleaned from those formative years remain long lasting and powerful. Accordingly, one of my rituals when I attend a college football game is to walk around the stadium. I like tuning in to the crowd, the students, and seeing the field from different vantage points. The spirit and energy before a game is similar to that prior to a concert or a theatrical performance. Anticipation fills the air. The other thing I always do before the game, to the greatest extent possible, is find my way to the tunnel where the players come out of their dressing rooms. Check the expressions on their faces, their shouts of excitement and impending battle, and I try to get a read on the overall state of the team prior to kickoff. The last time I had been to a Cal Bears game was October 13, 2001, when Joey Harrington and the Oregon Ducks annihilated the Bears, 48-7. It punctuated a horrible season for Cal, in which they won only one game and lost 10. It would be the final season for Tom Holmoe as their head coach. I remember then, that when the players came out of the dressing room, Coach Holmoe came out last, with the rest of the coaches, after the players. That's typical. Interestingly, last Saturday, head coach Jeff Tedford led the team out of the dressing room. Tedford has had tremendous success in turning around the Cal football program since taking over for Holmoe. I wonder if his leading the team out of the dressing room has anything to do with that. Watching the young men in their blue and gold uniforms and cleats swarm from the dressing room to the field is a special moment. They really are young; you can see the baby faces through the face masks, with many of these kids not even shaving yet. Yet, the media would have us believe that these are grown men, "warriors," fully capable of making perfectly executed plays and decisions on the gridiron battlefield and in life in general. In reality, some of these young guys look sort of lost. They're still growing up, after all. One of the players struck me as especially large. Huge thighs. Only about 5'10'' tall. In contrast, the player walking along side of him looked especially tiny. Skinny. I checked the program later and found out that "big thighs" was listed at 335 lbs., and "skinny" weighed in at a mere 177. Something else that struck me as the players came on to the field was the number of female "trainers" on the team. Unheard of in my day, there must have been a dozen young co-eds whose responsibilities to the team included everything between providing water for the players to taping up ankles. Certainly nothing wrong with it, just different than it was 35 years ago. Finally, the game begins. After an early interception that led to a Portland State field goal, Cal took charge. Heavily favored, they passed, ran, and kicked their way to an easy victory, 42-16, with all of the scoring coming in the first half. Over 60,000 fans attended this game, nearly double the 34,552 that half-filled Memorial Stadium back in 2001. There were more students in the Student Section, and more alumni where the alumni sit. More enthusiasm and pride in the team. Winning can do that for a school. I left at halftime. I had two music engagements that night. The first was a typical solo performance. The sports equivalent would be playing singles tennis or golf. An individual effort and performance. In the second engagement, I joined The Relyks for a couple sets at The Clayton Club Saloon. It was the first time I'd played with a rock band in quite some time, and The Relyks are good. During a couple of the songs, when we were cooking along especially well, I couldn't help but think of the similarities between playing on a football team and playing in a band. The little nods and winks and smiles between the players during an especially nice sounding passage. The tearing down of the stage and the equipment after the performance. Ah, that teamwork and camaradarie thing. It really can't be beat. Jim Hudak
During the first week of October, Jim Hudak will appear on the "Conversations" Television show on Channel 30 in Pleasanton, CA. He will be interviewed by show host Robin Fahr, who interviews Bay Area celebrities and newsmakers on her regularly scheduled program. She and Jim will discuss his music career as well as talk about his independent Brainstorm Records label and his Savvy Music Publishing company. The exact times for airing will be posted on this website in the near future. You will be able to view the program over the Internet.
On September 10th, 2006, Jim Hudak performed his first ever concert at the legendary Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA. The results were stunning. Opening with eight songs of mostly original music performed solo on piano, Jim delighted the crowd with a vocalized version of his song, "City Of The Angels." For many in the audience, this was the first time they'd ever heard the song's lyrics, and they reacted strongly. "It seemed as if the audience was especially receptive," Jim says. "I felt pretty good about the whole show, and about 'City Of The Angels' in particular." Indeed, many in the crowd had never heard Jim Hudak sing before. His voice was in good form, and he would do some additional singing later, in the evening's second set. Half way through the first set, Jim welcomed Dennis Tuohino and Annabelle Marie to the stage. They brought the added dimension of bass, violin, and percussion to the program, and suddenly the sound got bigger and richer. Jim surprised many by opening the second set with three songs performed solo on guitar, once again with vocals. His newly modified Martin D-18 sounded better than ever, and he clearly enjoyed himself onstage, bouncing and hopping around with the guitar. Annabelle and Dennis returned to the stage, and suddenly, beautiful two and three part harmony were part of the festivities.The crowd got into it, and the energy level continued to grow. The last part of the program found Jim return to the piano for some more instrumental music with Annabelle and Dennis. Annabelle played violin solos on two lovely songs from Jim's Bridging Textures CD, "Wild Goose" and "You Taught Me." The grace and beauty of Annabelle's persona and musicianship shone through big time on this evening. Dennis took an extended bass solo on the song "Steppes," another composition from the "Bridging Textures" CD. His playing anchored the sound throughout the evening, and his versatility added great depth to Jim Hudak's music. The two and a quarter hour concert ended with the Jim Hudak/Dan Erikson composition, "What Is It 'Bout A Woman," featuring the first ever public performance of the song with Jim playing the piano. Annabelle added percussion and background vocals, with Dennis chipping in syncopated harmonies, too, along with his solid bass playing. In the end, it was an evening to be remembered. It may have signaled the start of a new phase and era for Jim Hudak, his music, and his plethora of original compositions. Stay tuned!
With Jim Hudak's upcoming September 10th concert at The Freight and Salvage just over two weeks away, rehearsals continue at full-tilt. Jim took time out of his busy schedule this week to comment on the state of affairs regarding the practices and personalities of those involved in the upcoming performance. "It starts with the music, and we've got an exciting evening of music taking shape here. This type of show gives me the chance to do what I want to do, which is to present a wider scope and variety of music than I'm usually able to do in many of my performances." "Both Dennis Tuohino and Annabelle Marie are incredibly versatile, talented players. We've been having fun in our rehearsals just bouncing back and forth on different instruments. A few of the songs we'll do at The Freight will feature vocals, and Annabelle, with her ongoing experience in directing Voena (a large children's choir) has helped us come up with some nice harmonies. It's really been fun. "Dennis, meanwhile, is about as purely musical as anyone I've ever worked with. Like me, he absolutely adores music from multiple musical genres, but unlike most of us, he understands and applies the theory, harmony and essential characteristics of each genre seamlessly and effortlessly. He's just a joy to be around, and his innate love of music is a pleasure to behold." Jim Hudak's musical roots set the tone for his varied tastes in music. "As a kid, I was exposed to everything: classical, rock and roll, folk, boogie-woogie and bluegrass." He plans on showcasing some folk and country music at The Freight and Salvage concert. "The Freight has such a rich background in acoustic and folk music. Virtually every major (and sometimes not so major) acoustic music act has played there at one time or another. That, of course, includes lots of folk music from singer- songwriters. Back in the 60's and 70's I cut my musical teeth on artists such as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Peter Paul and Mary, and James Taylor. They all had acoustic guitars, they all wrote songs, and they all sang, too. I plan to honor the music tradition of the Freight and Salvage by offering some of that kind of music on the night of September 10th." Jim joked that due to the wide ranging variety of music to be performed, that he's been thinking of nicknaming the trio of himself, Dennis, and Annabelle "The Versatillos," but that's a very unofficial moniker at this point. "You try to walk that line where you enjoy playing music, and can get the chance to play another instrument now and then without sacrificing musical quality. With the three of us, we've got all kinds of rhythm instruments at our disposal, along with bass, guitar, piano, and the occasional vocals. Particularly with Dennis and Annabelle's talents, the quality of the musicianship is such that nothing is sacrificed in terms of the music presentation." For those concerned that the piano instrumentals that are so much a part of Jim Hudak's music might get lost in the shuffle, they are not to worry. "One of the main reasons we're doing this show is as a hometown showcase for music from my new "Bridging Textures" CD. "Almost all of the songs from that CD will be performed that night, as well as a few songs from my previous four CD releases. Piano instrumental music will still be the main thrust of the concert." Advance tickets can be obtained via mail order or by dropping by the box office at the Freight and Salvage at 1111 Addison Street in Berkeley. For more information, call The Freight at (510) 548-1761.
On Saturday, August 26th, Jim Hudak will perform live in conjunction with an interview on KALW, 91.7 FM in San Francisco, CA. You can listen live on-line at www.kalw.org from anywhere in the world. Kevin Vance, the San Francisco radio and media veteran and host of the long running "Patchwork Quilt" radio show, will be doing the interview. The show runs from 5:00 to 6:30 PM Pacific Time, and Jim expects to perform several songs live in the first part of the show. "A Patchwork Quilt" features a unique blend of "folk music and beyond," and is a beloved program that's a big part of San Francisco's music scene and culture. Don't miss this chance to hear Jim Hudak perform live on radio, and to tune into a wonderful, eclectic mix of music as presented by Kevin Vance.
On Wednesday night, August 6th, Jim Hudak made an unexpected but successful debut at one of the Bay Area's premier restaurants and music venues. Bing Crosby's, in Walnut Creek, CA, has been one of the area's busiest, best loved restaurants since it's opening two years ago, and Jim appeared there to a capacity crowd Wednesday night. Playing his typically unique blend of standards, showtunes and "unexpected" songs, Jim also received and played many requests from numerous audience members. He played even more "swing music" than usual, in conjunction with the Bing Crosby era and theme that are so much a part of the restaurant's presentation. Though scheduled to play until 9 PM, Jim performed an extra hour at the request of management, as the busy evening warranted the extra hour of piano music. The sound system and microphones built into the Yamaha C-3 piano made for an enjoyable playing experience for Jim. "The bass response of that piano is particularly good, and the pre-wired P.A. system actually allowed me to hear myself very well, which is unusual in a large, busy restaurant and bar environment, " he said. Jim hopes to return to Bing Crosby's some time in the near future. You'll find out first via this website.
Annabelle Marie, formerly known as Annabelle Cruz, will be joining Jim Hudak at his concert at The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA on Sunday, September 10th. She will provide violin, piano, and vocals at the performance. Dennis Tuohino, the talented bassist/percussionist has already signed on for the engagement, and Jim now has a strong three-piece musical unit in place for this historic event. Billed "An Evening With Jim Hudak," it provides an opportunity for Jim to showcase his original material, particularly songs from his new CD, "Bridging Textures." "Annabelle's incredible talent, experience and energy make her a wonderful addition to this show," commented Hudak. "It will be fun to play some music with her again." Annabelle is best known for her three year stint as a Lickette in the legendary band "Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks," with whom she still performs occasionally. But much of her time is involved with the internationally renowned children's choir, Voena, which she directs and tours extensively with around the world. Jim and Annabelle met in 2002, when he performed as Voena's pianist at their Christmas show in Oakland, California. The momentum for this important concert continues to build. Jim promises an array of twists and turns to the evening along with a special selection of material. A good crowd is expected, so order your tickets early by visiting The Freight's website at www.thefreight.org.
Dennis Tuohino, bass player and multi instrumentalist extraordinaire, will be joining Jim Hudak at Jim's upcoming concert at The Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley on September 10th. Dennis has performed live with Jim on several occasions, and also provided bass on three of the songs on Jim's new Bridging Textures CD. "Dennis is one of the finest musicians I know. He's versatile, conscientious, and extremely musical. The fact that he has wide and far reaching tastes and appreciation for multiple musical genres is a real plus, and it's always a pleasure to work with him." The Freight and Salvage is located at 1111 Addison Street in Berkeley, and can be reached at (510)-548-1761. Advance tickets for the Jim Hudak concert are available through the Freight's business phone line at (510)-548-7603.
While Jim Hudak's CD's are available from several sources, including www.cdbaby.com and at www.amazon.com, they are also available directly from his independent record label, Brainstorm Records. By ordering direct, you can save money by eliminating the "middle man," and Brainstorm Records offers quantity discounts as follows: One CD - $15 Two CD's - $27 Three CD's - $39 Four CD's - $49 Five CD's - $60 (Order 5 CD's and receive a free Brainstorm Records T-Shirt!) All prices include tax and shipping! To order direct, send check or credit card number to: Brainstorm Records P.O. Box 488 Clayton, CA 94517 Phone: (925) 683-1808 Please include your address, phone number, and e-mail address with your order.
Hello Everyone! Along with the arrival of summer, things are heating up around the Jim Hudak/Brainstorm Records front. Airplay continues spectacularly for the Bridging Textures CD, with roughly 100 radio stations worldwide continuing to play tracks from that record. Also, Anne Williams, the radio veteran who hosts the "Nightscapes" radio program from Boston, has been playing tracks from my first CD, "Cherish." Anne has a fine on-line weekly radio program you might want to check out at www.nightscapes.com. Meanwhile, we're mapping out our plans for the big Freight and Salvage concert on September 10th. We'll be talking more about that show in the coming weeks, and will make available opportunites for discounted prices on the tickets, too. This is a special event that we are hoping will attract a good crowd and members from the press and the media. We're looking into recording the performance and hopefully turning it into a video/DVD, too. It's very exciting to be playing at such a wonderful and famous venue. Thanks for your support. Stay tuned for more information. Jim Hudak
The legendary Freight and Salvage Coffehouse will be the site of a special concert performance by Jim Hudak on Sunday, September 10, 2006, at 8 PM. This famous venue, known as one of the best "listening rooms" in the San Francisco Bay Area, has been the home to the finest in acoustic music from around the world for nearly 40 years. Virtually every major acoustic act passing through the Bay Area has performed there at one time or another. The intimate setting combined with a particularly good sound system will allow Jim Hudak to present the full complement of his musical talents. Besides the acoustic grand piano, expect some guitar and even some vocals from this gifted artist. He will also sprinkle in his unique audience banter and humor throughout the show. There's a chance that some special guests will be joining Jim on stage that evening, so make your plans now to attend. More information on ticket availability will be posted soon on this website. The Freight and Salvage is located at 1111 Addison Street in Berkeley, CA. Their phone number is 510-548-1761, or log on to their website at www.thefreight.org.
On Friday, May 5th, on the beautiful Oregon Coast in the little town of Arch Cape, Jim Hudak brought a car jammed with keyboards, guitars, microphones, and a sound system. There, he reunited with his bandmates from the ubiquitous group, The Spunkies, for the Greater Spunkies Family Reunion. This by invitation only, two-day event brought together the founding members of The Spunkies: Bland Chok (Hudak), Zubito Huascar (Will Sullivan), and Fingers (Jim Schlauch) into a creative musical mode that reached fever pitch on Saturday night, May 6th. The band was augmented with performances by Rick Parkinson and Dan Erikson on vocals, and some of the crystalline moments of improvised playing and composing still resonate in the minds of those fortunate enough to attend the proceedings. Also known as "Men's Weekend," this annual gathering of longtime friends from Jesuit High School and Lewis and Clark College has been taking place for over 20 years, and gives the old mates a chance to reunite and reinvigorate their individual and collective spirits. Music has always played a key role in the assemblage of these tribal members, who get a chance to listen, laugh, lament, and reminisce together. Thanks to all who attended and helped make the weekend special. After the gang broke up on Sunday, Jim headed north up the Oregon Coast and crossed the mighty Columbia River into Washington. From there, he visited one of his cousins, Regina Miller, and her family, and continued on up to Seattle to see more friends and take care of some music business in the area. He also met with Kathleen Monahan, the radio promotion specialist who has done such a good job promoting the new "Bridging Textures" CD, and her partner Mike Carlson, another veteran of the radio promotion business. The Easy Street Record Store and Cafe in West Seattle was the perfect meeting place for these three music industry mainstays to chat over lunch. It was fun for Jim to return to his roots in Oregon and Washington. A night in Portland with his parents was also part of his travels, and there's nothing quite as green and beautiful as the Pacific Northwest in early May, especially if the weather is nice as it was most of the time. He also got a look at the fantastic new home of his friends the Parkinsons, recently retired and moved to Grants Pass, Oregon. Their house was finished early this year and exudes qualities of space and warmth in its rural, riverside setting. Now he's back home near San Francisco where a desk strewn with papers, notes, and "things to do" beckons Jim in his office. A busy Mother's Day weekend of piano playing is on tap, too. Stay tuned for more updates. Thank you for being part of Jim Hudak's life in music and adventure.
Positive reviews for Jim Hudak's music continue to accumulate. Capsulized summaries of reviews from various print media publications will be posted on this website within the next few days, so check back to see what the music intelligentsia is saying about Jim and his new "Bridging Textures" CD. Airplay continues strong as well, with Montana Public Radio and "Radio Mir," from the country of Belarus in Eastern Europe, being the latest radio stations to add tracks from the new CD to their playlists...Jim Hudak's interview with Richard Araujo of Voice of America on April 13th, 2006 went extremely well. Richard is a good interviewer who asked thoughtful questions, and the interview will be broadcast sometime in the next week or so. We will list interview times for different stations and regions as the information becomes available...Jim Hudak will be touring his native Pacific Northwest in early May, stopping at some radio stations and getting together with several musician friends while visiting Oregon and Washington. In particular, he will be doing some jamming with Jim Schlauch (aka: Fingers), Will Sullivan (aka:Zubito Huascar), and Dan Erikson, who all shared co-writing credits with Jim on a couple songs from the "Bridging Textures" CD. These are musical associates Jim has known since his high school and college days, so it will be fun for him to get back to his roots. Music sessions are planned at a beautiful oceanfront music room/studio on the gorgeous Oregon Coast... Special thanks to publicists Randall Davis, Jennifer Geronimo, and radio promotion stalwart Kathleen Monahan for their tremendous work in getting the word out to the masses about Jim Hudak and his music! With everyone pulling in the same direction, the momentum generated from the new record has become significant and ongoing...Very cool! Thanks for visiting our website. Check back soon for the latest news, information, and updates...
Hello Friends: On Thursday, April 13th, I'm scheduled to be interviewed by Richard Araujo of The Voice of America Radio Network's Latin Division. The Voice of America Radio Network began in 1942, and reaches 100 million people worldwide. I am told that they will be broadcasting the interview at various times in diferent time zones and regions of the world in the coming weeks and months. Check back for more information, which we'll make available here on this website as we learn more about broadcast times and locations. Meanwhile, I hope spring has sprung in your part of the world. Here in Northern California, record breaking rains continue to pelt the region. Landslides, flooding, and loss of homes and businesses have become far too commonplace in Greater San Francisco lately. We're looking forward to when the rain finally stops and things return to normal around here. This kind of rain reminds me more of my roots, growing up in Oregon and Washington, than it does California. On the other hand, I don't ever remember things being so green in this area so late in the year. There's always a bright side, right? Till later -- Take care of yourselves and each other. Jim Hudak
Hello Everyone: I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, from friends and fans to critics, radio programmers, and music writers, for the phenomonal response you've given to my new Bridging Textures CD. When I think back as to how long it took to prepare and make this record, and how discouraging the process can become at times, I see now it was all worth it. I was so lucky to have so many good people help in its making, from Will Ackerman to the musicians and engineers and Karen Bauermeister and Robert Altman handling the graphic design and photography, respectively. It's just fun to see the results of all these helping hands come to fruition. The listeners' and critics' response has been just tremendous, with the collective reviews and feedback having exceeded all expectations. There's so much more music I want to record and perform. There's simply not enough time in one's lifetime to get it all done. Yet, your support and response to my music certainly gives me a reason to keep it going and to keep on writing, recording, and performing. Thanks again to all of you. Drop us an e-mail...we love hearing from you. Best Wishes--- Jim Hudak
Bridging Textures, Jim Hudak's new CD on Brainstorm Records, has made its debut at #18 on the prestigious New Age Reporter Top 100 Playlist Charts for February, 2006. This tremendous honor places Jim Hudak in the company of many widely recognized musical artists. Thanks to all of the music writers, radio people, and fans of Jim Hudak's music.
Over 60 radio stations, including two in Europe and one in Toronto, Canada, have added Jim Hudak's Bridging Textures CD to their playlist over the past three weeks. We will list these stations on this website in the very near future. In addition, approximately 10 print media publications have committed to publishing stories or reviews about Jim Hudak and the Bridging Textures CD's over the next few weeks and months. It's all about connecting with you, the listeners. Jim Hudak and Brainstorm Records thank you for your support.
Hello Everyone: Much to the delight of we at Brainstorm Records, 40 radio stations have added my new CD release, Bridging Textures, to their playlist rotation over the past two weeks. Thanks to Kathleen Monahan of KDM Promotion in Seattle, for making the calls and doing the follow up work with the radio stations. Piano instrumental music is definitely niche market oriented, but she knows the stations most apt to play non-mainstream music formats. She's done a great job for us, and the feedback from the stations and listeners around the world has been staggering. Thanks to everybody for your wonderful support. To have others enjoy the music - that's what it's all about. Best To You All-- Jim Hudak
February 14, 2006 It's official. "Bridging Textures," the new CD from Jim Hudak is now available. Radio stations, satellite radio networks, and print media sources throughout the world will be receiving copies of the new disc this week. Check the January 29th, 2006 report for a complete rundown of the particulars of this amazing new record. Early reviews continue to pour in with nothing but praise for this groundbreaking collection of songs. Get your copy today at www.cdbaby.com.
The long awaited, already much talked about new CD from Jim Hudak, titled "Bridging Textures," is set for a Valentine's Day release. "Tapping into the magic, love, and power of Valentine's Day seemed to make February 14th a good release date," says Hudak, a San Francisco based pianist and composer. "Besides, that was a date that worked for the folks involved in the publicity and marketing campaign to launch the new CD. It just made sense all the way around." "Bridging Textures" is Jim Hudak's fifth CD on his independent Brainstorm Records label. It's already been hailed as a landmark recording, featuring all original music and the help of legends in its making. Will Ackerman, the fine guitarist, composer, and founder of Windham Hill Records in 1975, produces the record with some help from Hudak. "Will has worked with countless artists and lots of pianists, producing records by George Winston, Liz Story, and many others, " Hudak says. "Furthermore, I've always been so impressed with his 'story,' of taking a chance with a new, acoustic based instrumental music genre at the height of the Disco era, and making it work. What he's accomplished, artistically and as an entrepreneur, is most inspiring." Covering a wide range of piano driven instrumentals, sneak peak previews of the 14 tracks on "Bridging Textures" have generated effusive praise from critics and fans alike. It's been described as "Aaron Copeland-esque" by some and as 'cutting edge' by others. Still others like the softer, melodic songs on the album. "I've always loved a wide variety of music, and won't allow myself to get locked into any one sound or genre or groove. When it starts sounding too much the same from track to track, I get fairly easily bored. By bringing in a good variety of players and instruments, from bass to violin to percussion, plus saxophone, guitar, and squeezebox, we attained good variety in the album's overall sound and texture." Besides Ackerman, the talents of several other well known musical luminaires grace this unique recording. Michael Manring, the amazing fretless bass player, and Tracy Silverman, an astonishing violinist with a superb sound and style, each play on three tracks. Derrik Jordan, currently a Vermont based percussionist (who's also a composer, vocalist, and violinist) adds a nice selection of rhythmic embellishments to six of the tracks. Mary Fettig, a Bay Area based saxophonist/clarinetist who's recorded and toured with hundreds of well known artists, plays a sweet saxophone part on "Bittersweet Passion." Dennis Tuohino, a Bay Area resident and member of numerous bands, plays rock solid bass on three songs, and Hudak himself plays some excellent guitar on two tracks. "All of these people were wonderful to work with, and we also had the benefit of Corin Nelson, Will's longtime engineer friend whose talents are multidimensional," Hudak says. "We actually had four engineers altogether, and essenccially, we were all arrangers, producers, and music architects at some point. It was thrilling to be associated with all of these people." "Bridging Textures" is available at www.cdbaby.com, and each of its tracks will soon be accessible individually or collectively via numerous legal digital download websites. Check back regularly to www.jimhudak.com for more information and updates.

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