Robin Dale Ford in fireweed season
Robin Dale
Ford

Pat Fitzgerald, the hobo
Pat
Fitzgerald

Wild Nate laying down tracks
The Studio

10th Planet Records - It's out there!

The band DANG!
DANG!

Pat and Robin making music
Fitzgerald & Ford

Listening Helmet
Song O the Week

Who We Are

10th Planet is a two-fold operation run by Pat Fitzgerald and Robin Dale Ford that includes their own independent record label, 10th Planet Records, and recording studio, 10th Planet Recording, recording great Alaskan music in the Interior.

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Song O' the Week
Listen Here
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Who's In the Studio

A roundup of recent recording and mixing sessions at the Planet...   More...

Contact Us

world banjo illustration
10th Planet Records
P.O. Box 10114
Fairbanks, Alaska USA 99710

10planet@ mosquitonet.com

News from the 10th Planet

 

 

Lovely Flame Cover

 

And the most exciting News! We're proud to announce the debut of our new duo CD, Lovely Flame! Yes, after a couple years of hard work and promises, trying to pick up the "now where were we" pieces in between recording many fine CDs by other artists (for instance, the four wonderful ones below) we're happy as can be to make this offering to the music lovers and the music community of Fairbanks and Alaska. Six of Robin's songs, six of Pat's. What makes it "duo" though is the harmony throughout. We 're singin' it like we live it--together! We'd love for you to have your copy too. You can order it here (and get the beautiful cover by Robin and Fairbanks graphic artist Sue Sprinkle) and here (at CD baby for digital downloads.) If you order the CD and would like it autographed we'd be happy to fire up the "cursive" and do that to. We had a fantastic time opening for Leon Russell this past fall and will be playing in the coming months in your town to--if you live in Alaska. Come on out and say Hi and in the meantime, warm up with the 12 songs here! Happy Solstice to one and all!

 

More News !

EstherGoltonCD cover Stay Warm

Exciiting news from the always marvelous Esther Golton! Please read this glowing review of her latest CD Stay Warm published on the No Depression website. Now we know a lot of people don't know what No Depression is so here ya go: No Depression grew out of a website dedicated to the band Uncle Tupelo after their forays into acoustic music based on early American styles. It became a magazine that championed what is now called Americana music--everything from Gillian Welch to the Drive By Truckers to Sarah Jarosz. Pretty much anything you won't here on commercial radio stations. Mumford & Sons associated themselves with this genre before they broke into the mainstream. Like many print magazines they eventually morphed into a online entityonly but what an entity! So check out the review (read along while the CD plays) and check out the Americana Music Association. As with music in general today, there's a lot to be discovered. AND congratuate Esther & buy another CD!

 

NiiloKopenen at old Olnes Store

 

We also want to note the passing of one of Alaska's best friends, Niilo Koponen. He and his wife Joan were some of the first people Robin met when she arrived in Fairbanks. (Their saunas on Chena Ridge were legendary!) Niilo also waded into the fray as a state legislature and fought the good fight back when compromise was the method of legislating. Above is an early photo of him in front of the old Olnes store (Far left, plaid coat.) We loved him and he loved all of us and the place we live in.

 

Two more recent releases that we've had the pleasure of helping produce here at the Planet:

 

Cover of the Thneeds Frog Machine CD


The first is by our great friends the Thneeds. Named after a Dr. Seuss character, the music is as off center as the name. They created a CD here perhaps a decade ago and decided to regroup because, well, they had a backlog of new songs!@ The band has three songwriters who compliment each other well, Bill Schnabel, John Kohler & Steve Moore with Bill & John on the humorous side and Steve adding his powerpop flavors as well as stinging guitar work. Holding down the drums is Jim Vogt, well know in Fairbanks for everything from folk to jazz percussion. Check 'em out on Facebook or at their homepage. And buy this CD!!!!

 

Brennan Firth CD cover


Brennan Firth came to Alaska during this years Alaska Federation of Natives Converntion. He came with his Uncle James Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, Canada to play at the dances of the fiddler's convention and turned 16 the day after they ended. So while he was 15 he recorded this fine album of fiddle tunes wherein he played the fiddle then added the guitar. For those of you who like old time fiddle music (like us her at the Planet) this is great stuff from a future "great". It can be bought at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center in downtown Fairbanks and here. We hope to be dancing to Brennan's music at many dances through the years.

 

 

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Saturday, June 29th, 2013

 

Cover of Zingaro CD

 

Here's some of the exciting news we promised ya! We're happy and proud to announce the release of the debut CD from the incredible Zingaro. Called Zingaro Roots with a cover by George Gianacopolis (who also played acoustic bass) this CD has a down home funkiness and groove with the stellar vocals and original songs of Jessica Christiansenand Sami Akert. Along with their instrumental chops comes the instrumental talents of Ryan Edwards on a multitude of instruments. This album (and working with these folks) was nothing but a joy and we're sure you'll get that when you hear the CD. Again, go out an get two or three and pass them around! Stay tune, too--the great news ain't over yet!

 

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Tuesday, June 8th, 2013

Stay Warm cover of CD

 

We've got some action comin' at ya this summer, starting off with the debut of the new CD by the inimitable & lovely Esther Golton!!! It's called "Stay Warm" and it's a doozie! It was recorded in the Fall of 2011 and Spring of 2012 here at the Planet. In between the finish of it and the Spring 2013 debut Esther and her partner Jim packed up the "ranch" down in Talkeetna and took to the States in two cars with all their pared down belongings (quite the feat in itself.), settling for now in New Haven, Connecticut. But Esther hasn't cut ties to the Big State. In fact as we write this she's touring the state to release this CD gem with the fanfare it deserves. See her live, get a CD or 5 and keep tuned here for more exciting news!!!

 

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Old Zenith record player ad

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Hello, Spring! Well we might be jumping the gun a little but you have to understand: We live in Fairbanks, Alaska. We're Crazy. But February and March are possibly the best winter months here. The sun is coming back fast, (as buddy Will Putman's song goes,"Seven minutes more than yesterday."), the temperatures tend warmer so longer skiing and ski trips into the many BLM and state cabins is more possible, the long distance sled dog races happen (Yukon Quest-our race-and that other one, um, um, oh yeah...the Iditarod), the sprint races (North American Sled Dog Championship and that other one--uh, the Fur Rondy), and the White Mountain 100, a hundred mile ski, bike or run in the White Mountains north of Fairbanks. We don't run dogs or do the "100" but it reminds us of the "good crazies" that do and it helps mitigate the vibe of the other kind of crazies that live up here. Put the good crazy athletes together with what in Canada are known as the "colorful 5 percent" (they're ranks intermingle) and those are the people that make it worth living here. We bow in thanks.

 

And now to the photo above. Besides that recording frenzy going on, as usual, at the Planet (see Studio page), brother Kevin (check his podcast--all 45's all the time) contacted us recently about a 45 rpm vinyl record that he bid on and bought on Ebay recently. We're still investigating it's origins but it was put out in Fairbanks, Alaska (as it says on the label) in the late fifities or sixties. We're proud to post the "A" and "B" sides on the Song O' the Week page along with the label of the "A" side. It gives us a great feeling to know that we're a part of the tapestry of music that has flowed forth from the unique talents of Northern musicians for so long. Buy a local CD today, folks. They are, by their nature, limited editions and you'll help ensure that someday, far in the future, they will end up in the hands of a collector who will cherish them.

 

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Thursday, December 13th, 2012

 

Winter time, what more do you need to know? Well, to keep all our far-flung Planeteers informed, we can say a bit more. It's cold! Yes, but -30F cold. For too long ,too! It warmed up last week just long enough to dump a lot of snow on us then scooted back down to the nether regions so that we could take advantage of the snow. Some folks who live in the lower 49 have said they'd like to visit in the winter and at one time we'd have encouraged that. But not any more. Ya see there this thing called an inversion that under certain cold conditions traps all the smoke from furnaces into the Fairbanks bowl like a dense polluted soup. In the last few years a number of people who have the wrong idea of freedom have decided that they have a right to use giant wood "boilers" that sit outside and spew knoxious smoke into the air. The North Star Borough has offered to buy these monsters and trade them for more efficient stoves but these rugged individuals think that's just the government treading on their freedoms. In the meantime, there's many days when certain "at risk" people--elderly, children, people with respiratory problems, are warned not to go outside. At any rate, no, don't come to Fairbanks in the winter unless you want to experience one of the 2 or 3 most polluted cities in the U.S. We were going to post a photo of the mess but decided to post the photo below instead. It's of a simpler time. Certainly the air seems cleaner and 2nd Avenue is decked for the holidays. The box in the street reads: No Left Turn.

Fairbanks Alaska 2nd Avenue Christmas

 

Also we'd like to mention the passing of a dear friend and fellow musician, Mary Lou Flesher. Check the Song O' the Week page for more.

 

Mary Lou Flesher

 

 

And lastly, thanks for the amazing response to our CD sample & signup (below). It's still not too late to add your name and get a sneak preview of one of the songs. The finishing touches are done except for the final listen. Hold On, It's Comin'!!!

 

 

 

Hello Planeteers and Planeteers-to-be! Below is the (almost) finished cover of our (almost) finished new duo CD, "Lovely Flame." If you'd like be contacted when it's available CLICK HERE to sign up for our email list.You can also hear samples of several songs PLUS get a free download of a Robin Dale Ford song from the CD. Adventure awaits!

 

Lovely Flame CD cover

 

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Saturday, October 6th, 2012

We hope you all enjoyed the October 6 Mountain Stage show and all the fantastic talent with whom your humble hosts had the pleasure of mingling. And not only was the music great but the people themselves were wonderful and that includes the laid-back super professional crew & band! Much thanks goes to them for coming to the Big State and making it a reality!

 

 

 

Pat and Robin on Mountain Stage Oct 2012

 

 

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Monday, September 24th,2012

Howdy, all! It was definitely a "Drive-by Summer" (to quote a song of Pat's). Let's recap, shall we, and perhaps find out why these writings are so few and far between.

 

June was dedicated to the Glass Bead Game reunion. Here's a photo taken after the last show at the Golden Eagle in Ester, just about 50 feet from where the photo from '73 was taken. (The original Howling Dog Saloon stood where the parking lot of the Golden Eagle is now.) Left to Right: Bill Black, (not a regular band member back in the day but a frequent jammer so in 2012 an honorary Bead Gamer and all around good guy) Rif Rafson, Suse MacInnis, Donna Stewart, Pat hisself, Gary Westcott, Sam Levine, James Bartlettt, Phil Falkowski, Al Green.

band Glass Bead Game outside Golden Eagle Saloon Ester, Alaska

 

July was a trip to the Tombstone Mountains in Yukon Territory, Canada. Here's pix of trail to Grizzly Lake in the Tombstones.

Grizzly Lake Trail , Yukon

Robin on the Grizzly Lake Trail, Grizzly Lake in the distance.

Robin on Grizzly Lake Trail

A jewel in it's setting.

Gruizly Lake, Yukon

 

Also in July, our third year teaching at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Here's a photo of us performing at a picnic for one of the underwriters, Design Alaska. That's Mike Stevens, harmonica player extraordinaire, sitting in with us.

Pat and Robin and Mike Stevens

 

Augustfound us performing for the Alaska visit of Mountain Stage. We played on Saturday, a show that will be broadcast the first week of October natiionally.

Pat and Robin performing on Mountain Stage

 

September was our 23 year closing out the season in McCarthy. Here's a couple photos from our friend J.T. who spends his time between Manhattan and McCarthy and just happened to be in town.

Pat, drumming up a storm.

Pat playing drums in McCarthuy

Robin, bassing up a hurricane!

Robin playing bass in McCarthy

And besides all this we finished mixing two CD's and recorded two more...but ya gotta go to the Studio page to found out who! Also, don't forget to check out the Song O' the Week page, Pat's Blog and keep those cards and letter coming! (10planet@mosquitonet.com)

 

 

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Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Glass Bead Game band outside old Howling Dog Saloon photo 1

 

Glass Bead Game band outside old Howling Dog Saloon photo 2

 

Glass Bead Game Poster

Poster from the summer of 1973

 

Glass Bead Game performance at Wood Center multilevel lounge University of Alaska Fairbanks

Performance at the Wood Center Multilevel Lounge UAF winter '72-'73

 

Glass Bead Game newspaper photo and caption performance at Fairbanks Correctional Institution

 

Ah, Summer in Alaska! A time to kick back and rest, read a book and just stare at the trees---NOT! Naw, Summer up here is busier than any time of the year! You've got 3-5 months depending on weather gods (no thanks to climate-change deniers) to garden, recreate, play, teach, record...let's just leave it at that. We spent the last half of June and early July with the 2012 version of the band pictured above (circa 1973 outside the old Howling Dog Saloon in Ester, look for Pat). The Glass Bead Game rose again in reunion and revelry, doing it's long ago reputation proud (we blush) with 4 heavy days of rehearsal & 4 shows (plus a radio show) in 9 days! A great time was had by all, and by all accounts some mighty love was passed around too. Robin produced a very successful concert at the Blue Loon (similar to the one she produced for Gene Ryder's visit a few years past) and the GBD returned (almost) to the scene of the crime by playing a free night at the Golden Eagle in Ester, a drinking establishment and town hall perched on the hill just above the site of the old Howling Dog. The Loon gig was recorded and came out pretty good so there's hope that it'll be available somewhere soon. Thanks to all for coming out to the shows and special thanks to Brian Rogers for helping to make it all happen.

 

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Thursday June 14th, 2012

Where have we been? Well software got outdated, Spring came along & before you know it, it's June! That's the way it is in the beautiful Tanana Hills. You get distracted. Take the scene below. We think this moose might have been one of a set of young twins that were hanging around with their mom last summer (see farther below). She showed up recently and found our duck pond (if you look hard you might see the rubber ducky Robin threw in this depression caused by melting permafrost thus catching snowmelt & rain). Suddenlys he started slapping the water like she wanted some relief from the heat & danced around splashing and...well, playing! After a couple minutes she just layed down in it! As we said, it's easy to get distracted with stuff like this going on...

MooseInTrees

Moose In Pond 1

Moose In Pond 2

Moose In Pond 3

 

Wild Roses blooming, 24 hour light & moose frolicing. What more could we ask for? You can start checking back here again 'cause we've got lots of news to come !!!

 

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Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Singer with guitar

Today is the last day of the 38th Alaska Folk Festival and by the looks of the quotes in the line-up, it's dedicated to Juneau's own Buddy Tabor who passed away early this year. Here's a great photo of him and some tunes and further tribute on the Song O' the Week page.

 

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Monday, February 20, 2012

 

We read somewhere that expensive hotels in some cities are charging extra for a room without Wi-Fi, cable T.V. etc. Un-connectivity is at a premium outside but it's still easy to find in central Alaska. We sometimes joke, "People pay good money for this!" and now it's not a joke. We recently had a wonderful ski into the Colorado Creek cabin (6 miles) off Chena Hot Springs Road with our friends Leif & Claudi Thompson. In the first mile we skiied along the Yukon Quest trail (the real last great race) and came upon a group of folks who had snowmachined in some pallets for a fire and food and kids to set up camp & watch the racers go by. We went on though and as we did the weather got better and better, from about 5 below in the parking lot to over 30 above the next day and down to a reasonable 27 above the next night for a 2.5 mile ski up the mountain under a full moon and a float back down to our quiet, warm cabin. People pay good money for this!

 

Sign to Colorado Creek cabin

The turn in the trail.

Colorado Crieek cabin in daylight

The cabin in the daylight. (photo: Claudi Thompson)

Banjo rim and candles

Banjo by candlelight (photo: Claudi Thompson)

 

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Sunday January 1, 2012

 

Fairbanks Band 1917

Fairbanks Band 1917 Some Real Characters

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!-- especially all our fine musician and music-loving friends. Fairbanks is a music town and we're happy to me a part in it's rich tapestry of singers & players & bands. Here's to many more melodies in the year ahead.

 

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

 

Little cabin in snow

 

 

Winter in the Northland! So far in the Interior we've escape the worst of Global Weirding (as Robin calls it). But the winter is young and we already set records in November for cold and just had a warm spell with temperatures soaring above zero and messing with our nice ski snow to say nothing of the roads! But we've been hunkered down working on our duo CD so our new motto has become, "When weather won't let you do anything else--hit record!".

 

Oh, FYI besides having the name Trail Town (bestowed upon Fairbanks by Ms.Robin because of the miles and miles of ski, dogsled, & snowmachine trails that we all enjoy) and home for the World Ice Art Championships, the North American Sled Dog Championships & (every other year) the start of the Yukon Quest 1,000 mile sled dog race (the real "Last Great Race"), we now have the (dis)honor of being named in a tie as the 4th most polluted city in the U.S because of our winter air. We seemed to have gotten it under control in recent years but suddenly, with the price of oil going up, a bunch of folks decided not only to burn more wood but to get a hydronic wood boiler, a giant stove that sits outside your house, that you fill up with wood & pollutes the air like a cigar bar. Congratulations goes to all the "I-didn't-come-to-Alaska-to-be -told-what-to-do" people who not only make it bad for the rest of us but waste all those BTU's with an outdoor stove. It seems our Japanese visitors have it right--they come in at the airport, bypass the town and head right for Chena Hot Springs! Yowsa, what's cookin'? So a "you-gotta-drink-to-keep-from-crying" salute goes out to Not-so-Fairbanks & it's bold polluters. You've made our town your town.

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Monday, October 17th, 2011

Here we are the day after the first snow. The new shed is up , the poholes in the road are filled, the new wood shed is half built and the winter tires are on. Must be time to wrap up the summer & fall of this year in pictures.------

Brushkana Creek

Beautiful Brushkana Creek on the Denali Highway. We stayed here after leaving town at 10:30 pm on our way to Tangle Lakes.

Crossing over the Susitna River

Robin loves driving on our long distance treks. Here we're crossing over the Susitna River on the Denali Highway.

Stiles Creek Trail

Ol' Yeller, Robin's bike high on a ridge of the Stiles Creek trail on Chena Hot Springs Road.

Stile Creek Trail

Pat contemplating the hills and valleys of the 18 mile Stile Creek Trail.

Bessie&RobinFord

Robin and her mom, Bessie, in front of the Gulkana Glacier, Richardson Highway, on our way to McCarthy for our Labor Day party.

Robin Dale Ford on Bass McCarthy 2011

Robin in action at McCarthy Labor Day 2011. Our heavenly choir in the back: Trudy Heffernan, Ann McBeth, Carol Judkins.

Pat Fitzgerald playing drums, McCarthy 2011

Pat "dropping the hammer" McCarthy Labor Day 2011

 

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Friday, August 13th, 2011

Blueberries

BlackRapidsLodge

 

Cow Moose & Calves

As usual, a whirlwind July in Interior Alaska. That includes a trip to Tangle Lakes with our pals to berry pick,(See top photo) guitar (and banjo) pick & talk & laugh around endless campfires; a beautiful weekend playing music at the Lodge at Black Rapids (Middle photo) and sets at the Deltana Fair (2) with dobro extraordinaire Randy Pasley & at the Tanana Valley State Fair (1). The only time we stopped running it seemed is when the moose family (Bottom photo) dropped by for a visit several times. We always walk out on a porch and look around before we run between buildings so as not to surprise Mama and get chased. Hey, as Pat says in one of his songs, it's a "drive-by" summer--get it while you can!

 

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Old Dodge Truck

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Thursday, June 30th, 2011

We took a hot summer bike ride recently around the glorious haunts of the Ester area. I say haunts because besides the ghosts of many a miner from the Gold Rush days there are the ghosts of all the musicians that have filled the cabins with melodies and eventually,when the songs were right & the players got right, the bars in the area. We took a ride up the Parks Highway to the Old Nenana Highway, down the Old Nenana to Old Wood Road and back to Ester. The fabled Rhythm Romancers got together in a cabin on Old Wood and for that matter so did we. The pics above are of the old Dodge truck you see when first entering the fine village of Ester. Pat's dad Bill owned it at one time, using it to haul ice. When Pat was a kid it never ran but he and his siblings played in it's bed and got behind the wheel and made "Vroom!" sounds. Bill sold it to the owner of the Malemute who placed it where it rests for it's ambience. Nice end for an old truck , eh?

 

Check out the Song O' the Week page for a new tune on the "turntable", Pat & Robin's CD page where you can listen to past CDs in their entirety (and, please, if you enjoy the tunes, buying a CD will help us make more) , and Pat's Blog for a new tale of Old Fairbanks.

Truck Windshield

 

 

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Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Things Change

 

Solstice time! And we're proud to announce the release of Steve Brown & the Bailers' 2nd full length CD, "Things Change". Hot off the presses with a CD release party tomorrow night (6/17/11) at Ivory Jack's in the beautiful Goldstream Valley. As a special treat, Mariah Ver Hoef (herself a seasoned 10th Planet alumni) will be opening and, rumor has it, ending her set by doing a song with the band. Come on out, have a drink and a dance and buy a CD or three to take home!

As usual, check out the Song O' the Week page for new tuneage past and present, Pat & Robin's CD page where you can listen to past CDs in their entirety (and, please, if you enjoy the tunes, buying a CD will help us make more) , and Pat's Blog for stories of Fairbanks in the day! And, by the way, a mighty toast to Fairbanks where right now it's "All Day, All night"!

 

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Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Open Road

Ok, yes, you're right, it has been a long time since updating this site. But ya see, there were extenuating circumstances! (And not laziness or, worse, nothing happening.) Naw, it's an all too familiar tale: We've had computer problems, and right in the middle of finishing up two new CD's, one by Dave Stancliff's new band Alaska Sweetgrass and one by Fairbanks stalwarts Steve Brown & the Bailers. Rather than trying to take the computer brute to a fix'em dude or get a new one in midstream we decided not to turn the thing off until we've seen those projects safely to the pressing plant. Well, Mission Accomplished!!! But then we went on the road. (That's us in the photo above--wink, wink!) But now we're back, we're bad and we'll have more on the latest from the Planet soon. Just wanted to say Hello again and Happy Spring, one and all!!!

 

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Sunday, January 30th, 2011

R.I.P Captain Beefheart

Captain Beefheart

Sure, it sounds like a cliche but we lost an original. (If you doubt, check it out.) BUT he left his music, his art & a few words of wisdom:

Captain Beefheart's 10 Commandments for Guitarists
1. Listen to the birds
That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.
2. Your guitar is not really a guitar
Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you're good, you'll land a big one.
3. Practice in front of a bush
Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn't shake, eat another piece of bread.
4. Walk with the devil
Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the "devil box." And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're brining over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.
5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out
If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.
6. Never point your guitar at anyone
Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.
7. Always carry a church key
That's your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He's one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song "I Need a Hundred Dollars" is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty — making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he's doing it.
8. Don't wipe the sweat off your instrument
You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.
9. Keep your guitar in a dark place
When you're not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.
10. You gotta have a hood for your engine
Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can't escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.

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Bob Dylan holding sign,

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

And to further the message: In the words of the immortal knucklehead above, "He not busy being born is busy dying." Have a wonderful and creative New Year everyone!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Moon Santa

We here at the 10th Planet were delighted to see such a wonderous celestial event as the lunar eclipse happen at one of our favorite times of year in Alaska. (The next favorite? All the other days, of course!) It's the only time we can stand the full moon dimmed. Our favorite thing to do at the full moon is to ski under it. Though the weather has not been cooperating in that respect, a cold-weather-bundle-up-walk is just the thing to shake of any winter blues. Sure it's just second hand sunlight but it'll do just fine until the real thing comes along in greater measure--which it's doing every day now! Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas to all, especially our hard working musician friends and our hard loving music lovers!

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Car with pontoons for snow driving

Writing this as the rain falls outside, washing away much of the beautiful snow that we've barely had the chance to use ( in that ski-type way!) The above "snow car" is looking pretty reasonable right now. Ah, but we're snug at the Planet making musical sounds to send out to the various ethers that scatter them through space and time. Check out the studio page for more but let us send a special congratulations to Mariah Ver Hoef for the arrival of her latest CD, "Space Between Two Worlds". It's her third CD in the last 3 years. Only 16 and she's already got a "back catalog"! Also here's a toast to the folks at the newly minted KRFF (now that's musical call letters-K Riff!) on the granting of an open air license by the FCC. It'll be radio for the voices that aren't heard around Fairbanks and that includes the plethora of fine songwriters & musicians toiling away to make recordings that are rarely played on local radio. Join up, make a show, send 'em your disc. While they get their website online, contact us to contact them. Bye for now--gotta grab another log for the stove...

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Tuesday, November 2nd 2010

KevinFitzgerald,RobinDaleFord,PatFitzgerald at Gulkana Glacier

Above is a photo of Pat's brother Kevin, Robin & Pat in August standing in the rain after touching the Gulkana Glacier. (Who's not shown is the lovely & talented photographer, Toni Wells). Despite this moment of wilderness bliss, the reason for the pic is to mention the return of Kevin's alter ego (yes, a superhero term is appropriate) DJ Kave-In and his fabulous Wiggle Room show. He's been off the 'net for a while ferreting out more deep deep cuts from days gone by of the funkiest music in the universe but his triumphant return is here! What a show! You gotta hear the 5 year old phenom Lucky Peterson on vocals and Hammond B3 (see below). Unbelievable!!! Note: The "return" show put Kev in the "Movers & Shakers" category of the top 50 among the top 500 podcasts that got the most hits the day it appeared. Way ta go, Bro!

Also, as promised, a word about studio renovations: We're putting the finishing touches on a vocal isolation booth at the Planet that, as well as giving more area to the studio room itself, will allow for the usual great vocal tracks but also give us the isolation to record live bands without the drums and amps climbing all over the vocal/guitar tracks. More changes coming up, we'll keep ya informed!

Don't forget you can listen to the whole of the CDs over there on the right. If you like 'em, buy one. Helps us keep 'em coming. Browse 'round and keep the e-mails coming. You're cracking us up!

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Hammond B3 Organ & Leslie tone cabinet

Thursday, October 14th 2010

Okay, settling in for winter here at the Planet. Work has begun on our new renovations (more on that later). Just wanted to mention the Hammond B3 Organ and Leslie tone cabinet. Mostly because they're often the unsung heroes of rock & roll music (as well as jazz to tell ya the truth). And more over, mention the people who play this beast. Think of the sound of Good Lovin' by the Young Rascals (Felix Cavaliere), Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group (17 year old Steve Winwood singing and playing the B3), Soul Sacrifice by Santana (Greg Rolie), any song by Bruce Springsteen (Danny Federici) or the Allman Brothers (Greg Allman). That's the sound! And locally, until his untimely death earlier this year, Charlie Hardage kept that light lit. (Check out his work on Pat's Ghost Of A Chance.) So did virtuoso Barney McClure (who left to return to the Northwest this past summer.) Big mention here of Chris Alexander who both played live with us in the Flyers at one point but also figures big on Pat's new CD (out soon!) Don't forget Pat's brother-in-law Mike Thibodeau, who came to Alaska playing B3 in a Top 40 dance band.And then there's our favorite Hammond player of all, the inimitable Dave Wanderer (known to the rest of the world as Dave Pellicciaro) one of our oldest friends and former B3-ist for the P.F. Flyers. This is all to say our hats our off to the instrument and the players. Attention should be paid and, above all,the music should be enjoyed! Check out the On The Turntable for a sample of reggae B3 great, Jackie Mittoo.

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Friday, August 13th, 2010

Fairbanks Downtown 1950's

Downtown Fairbanks 1950's

August Days: Rain, sun, take 'em as they come. We're enjoying them to the last drop (pun). Had a good time playing at the Tanana Valley Fair, first time in a while. Now we're off to pick blueberries.--food of the gods (along with popcorn,sez Pat). Check out our CD page to the right there and click on" listen". You can now hear the entire songs from the 3 CD's pictured. And if you like what you hear, buy one and at the same time help toward production of the next ones. Browse around the site and keep the e-mails coming. We love 'em!

 

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Gold Panner

The "Code of the North" taken from a Dawson, YT newspaper during the Klondike, in honor of Golden Days...

Code OFfThe North

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

PHOTOS FROM ROBIN'S BIRTHDAY RAMBLE '10

Hoodoos

The Hoodoos from our camp near the Gulkana Glacier.

Gulkana tent and mountain

Wide shot of our cooking shelter near Gulkana Glacier.

Ogive Mountain

A close-up of Skull Peak near the Gulkana Glacier.

Firweed along the Richardson Highway

The fireweed was perfect along the Richardson Highway south of Isabel Pass.

Robin at Jumbo Mine Trail

Ad Summum! Robin high above Kennicott on the Jumbo Mine Trail.

Rusted cans on the Jumbo Mine Trail

Arty shot of the trash left by the Kennecott Copper Company when the mine closed in 1938. Ain't it ever thus?

Pat on Jumbo Mine Trail

Pat on the Jumbo trail with the Kennicott Glacier far below.

Cairns on the McCarthy Road

The Cairn "garden" on the McCarthy Road is alway a delight!

A great trip and a Happy Birthday for Robin!

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Pat & Robin with Moe Samuelson

 

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

The best time of year in Alaska! Good pal Grant Dermody (harmonica wizard) was visiting during Solstice and we all took part in the Midnight Sun Run & had a great campfire at the Planetation! Laid down some tracks for our own recordings too. The photo above is yours trulys with the famous Moe Samuelson, long time Yukon 800 racing boat owner ("Slo Moe's Kayak") and band leader. We met him last year after a noon concert downtown at the Golden Heart Plaza. This year we'll be there every Tuesday in July from noon to 1pm. Come on down, folks. You never know who you gonna meet!

 

telephone booth between Delta & Tok

Friday, June 11th, 2010

My, my it's been a while. But that's to be expected in the flurry that is Springtime in the Northland. First of all, above is a photo of an actual working phone booth at a pulloff between Delta and Tok. We present it at the news that most of the payphones in Alaska will soon be decommissioned. Wonder if this one will... Studio's been hopping. See the Studio page but two projects of note: Dave from Delta sent a cassette from the 1975 visit of John Denver to McCarthy. Recorded in the old McCarthy Lodge (now the dining room) the tape player was losing it's batteries so when played at normal speed all sounded like chipmunks. Pat got the proper speed from the key of the song "Calypso" that Denver sang. (It came out that same summer.) and cleaned up much hiss. Not bad for a 35 year old cassette. Also we're transferring interview tapes of conversations with one of Pat's dad Bill's best friends, Einar "Red" Anderson, an old timer of the highest order. Bill said Red knew the Interior like the back of his hand. Born in 1890, these tapes are an important insight into the old Alaska. Happy Summer--we're back & we're bad!!!

 

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

 

Tanana & Alaska Range

The Tanana River near Salch looking at the Alaska Range

 

Tanana River Bridge

Tanana River bridge south of Tok (now being replaced).

Haines Pass In Snow

Heading up into the Haines Pass

 

Birch Lake in Fog

Birch Lake snow and fog on the return trip.

 

Earth Day! And we love our spot on it so here's some pics of our glorious Spring road trip to the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau (4/5 thru 4/11). They speak for themselves but as for the festival well, not to be regionally biased or anything but Fairbanks was well represented. First off, the fest paid specially tribute to Doc South (see Song O' the Week page) for bringing old time music to Alaska, starting in Fairbanks in the 1970's. Then there was the fine sets by Hunt/Bayer, Ice Jam,Bac'untry Brothers, Mariah Ver Hoef, Slim Pickin', Will Putman, Sabe Flores, and yours truly on separate sets. Also the former Fairbanksans that we claim: Grant Dermody, Forrest Gibson, Scotty Meyer (when together, known as the Improbabillies.), Joe Page, Caitlan Warbelow & adopted son Tim Easton! Ya made us proud, one & all! It's on to Spring and be good to Mother Earth!

 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Louie, louie 45 rpm record

We here at the 10th planet are as concerned as anyone about the way our country is being led down the path of sin and degradation by a foreign-born marxist and his sycophants. But we're here to tell you it's nothing new. It's been going on behind our backs for a long, long time. Exhibit A below is a letter from FBI files concerning the danger that was known as "Louie, Louie". Read the fear in this parent's words and know how easily it can come to this. (What we won't print are the words that poor FBI hacks came up with when tasked to figure out what was sung on the above 45 rpm record.)

FBI Letter

However anyone who took the time to listen to the version by the author, Richard Berry, would have easily heard the lyrics in the Kingsmen's version. No filth but d'you suppose there might be hidden socialist messages?

A fine little girl she waits for me

I sail the ship across the sea

I sail that ship all alone

I never think I find me home

(You know the chorus...)

Three nights and days I sail the sea

I think of that girl constantly

On the ship I dream she's there

I smell the roses in her hair

(Sing it again!)

I see Jamaica moon above

It won't be long til I see my love

I'll take her in my arms and then

I'll swear to her I'll never leave again.

(Once more now...)

If you've read this far, you deserve to hear the story of the recording of the Kingsmen's record. Close you're eyes and listen while Little Steven (Van Zant, Bruce Springsteen's guitarist and fan of all things garage music) tells the tale in an episode of his fabulous show Little Steven's Underground Garage.

Here's The Story of Recording Louie Louie!!!!!!!

 

 

Tuesday, March 02, 2010



So what's with the little jolly guy above? Well, Pat says that when he was a kid this little guy, called a "billiken" was all over Alaska. Sold as good luck charms from some Alaska Native tradition, Alaskans and visitors ate 'em up. The craze was evidently as popular as the "tiki" craze in the 50's and thus the photo below. This place, the Billiken Lounge was on Third across from the Northward Building (the parking garage is there now). It later became the Pipeline Bar and then, when our pal Alex Clarke ran sound for a band named 34th Parallel, the Mexican Village. But where, oh, where are those big billikens today?! At any rate, and much to our surprise, the origin of the lil' fella is stranger that you could imagine. Read all about it here.



January 1st a true original passed away. Charlie Hardage was one wild piano player and story teller. Many was time we were regaled with stories about his youth in Oklahoma and that great Okie piano-player known simply as LEON (Russell). And we'll never forget the time he brought his B3 out to the Planet and played on a song of Pat's called "Ghost Of A Chance". We salute you brother Charlie!

Lastly it's that time of year again. The International Ice Carving Competition. Read the true story of it's origins on Pat's Blog from 3/11/2008 and thank your lucky stars for "old timer outrage".

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Monday, February 15, 2010



This weather's got us jumpin'! Makes us wanna pull out the Hawaiin duds and limbo 'round the room! Above is an actual photo of your truly(s) feeling all Spring-like and letting it show. Here's hopin' noone out there's mopin'. AND that the weather will stay respectfully below freezing until a more suitable time...like April. That way we can get all the Spring skiing in that we can stand AND limbo 'til we drop. Check out the studio page (the place is shaking with music!) And a recent bit' o' historical sound on the Song O' The Week page. Also keep an eye out on Pat's blog for part 2 of his firefighting story. It'll curl your toes!!!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

8th Of January party...Clockwise from bottom left: Laura Vines, Andy King, Pat, Robin, Richard Fineberg...[Photos: Jamie Smith-Thanks Pal!]

8th Of January party...Pat-- caterwauling in progress!


Robin decided to revive and old (timey) tradition by calling for an 8th of January party at the venerable Golden Eagle Saloon in Ester. "Eighth of January" is an old tune that became popular after the American victory against England in the last battle of the War of 1812. The battle was called the Battle of New Orleans and an Arkansas singer named Jimmy Driftwood put words to it and had a hit of that name in 1959! In short, in true old timey tradition, any excuse for a party...The week before that we attended the yearly concert by Clinton Fearon and band at the Loon. Despite the cold and being the day after New Year's Eve (that would be New Year's Day) the place was packed, Josh Bennett ran exceptional sound on the newly acquired P.A equipment, the place was non-smoking and we danced all night with a couple hundred people. Fitting way to usher in 2010...Check news on the Studio page--the joints jumping!...Music on the Song O' The Week page...New post on Pat's Blog...And congratulations to Susan Grace for the arrival of her beautiful new CD with help from a large cast of Fairbanks finest!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 10th Planet Winter Light Beckons One & All...

Sending out a hearty wish for good things in the coming year to all fellow Planeteers! May you be soothed and wooed by the strong medicine of music--especially the music that's next door, down the street & around the corner in this wonderful Tanana Valley!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Monday, December 07, 2009

A Placemat seen on some of the finest eatery tables in the "old days"

We're glad to be settled in for another Tanana Valley winter. It seems the musicians come out of the woodwork in the winter and start preparing next summers crop of recorded music to cast to the eagerly awaiting Alaskans. Cruise on over to the Studio page to see what's up and while you're there take a listen to all the great artist we have in the Interior. Then buy a CD or download at their websites. It helps them and it'll surely help whoever gets them as gifts.... All we need now to complete our cozy little winter is MORE SNOW!!! We're asking everyone who loves snow to stand up and do a little snow dance...or a wiggle...or a song! Whatever you can do is appreciated. And don't forget the Song O' The Week page for a bit of historic Fairbanks music, a bit of what we're listening to on the turntable and some favorite radio stations. Keep writing too. We love ya one and all!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Robin On N. Sylamore Creek, Arkansas

From a cliff above the White River, Arkansas

The Sidewinders (Fairbanks, 1970's)

It's been a heck of a fall. Two falls actually. The quick one here and a second in Arkansas where we went to play with our pal Dave Stancliff and a great band doing an Alaskan show. 3 or 4 days of music then off on our own floating around the Ozarks. Amazing area and we got in some great hikes...We're back now to winter and studio (see Studio page). BIG NEWS! Pete Bowers, erstwhile guitarist for Dang! finished his article on Alaska Old Timey music for the Old Time Herald.

I

In honor of that we're posting a handful of tunes on the "Song O' The Week" page by a band that features prominently in the article: Fairbanks own Sidewinders! (See Pat's blog of 1/28/08) The Sidewinders filled bars back then like a rock band. And of course the band included none other than Robin Dale Ford on bass and banjo. The songs we're presenting are from the only known studio recording of that band, recorded at KUAC by Gary Westcott. The tape was being thrown out at the station in one of their senseless purges and saved from that fate by our pal, Trudy Heffernan. Phew, close one! Enjoy and stay tuned...

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Friday, September 25, 2009

Packed Tight For The Dance In the McCarthy Lodge (Photo: Kristan Kelly

We Spent A Monday Afternoon on McCarthy Creek

Robin After A Walk To The Kennicott Glacier

Pat At The 10k Finish Line (Photo: Trudy Heffernan)

Oh, how people love round numbers! And we rose to the occasion at our 20th Labor Day extravaganza in McCarthy. For the uninitiated, McCarthy is a big slice of heaven on earth 60 miles past Chitina and we've been going there to close out the tourist season with a big dance and an acoustic singer/songwriter night on successive evenings. A while back a half marathon & 10k benefit race was instituted so you know the weekend was busy, especially for Pat who ran the 10k on Saturday and played drums all night at the dance! We brought a cavalcade of stars this year: Gene Ryder and Lorie Lawson from Virginia, Gary Westcott from Seattle, Esther Golton from Talkeetna plus the usual Fairbanks chuckleheads, Pat, Robin, Alex Clarke, Pete Bowers, Will Putman and Trudy Heffernan (with the addition of Ann McBeth and Mike Stackhouse on the songwriter night.) Alex & Ann's son Riley and Will & Trudy's daughter Molly sat in at the Rock and roll dance playing electric guitar and sax respectively. The following weekend we "brought it all back home" for a rollicking acoustic concert at the Loon followed by a r&r dance. What a rich 2 weeks!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Troubadour Gene Ryder

Who's this guy Gene Ryder anyway? Well, if you ask us here at the Planet we could gush for hours. In a nutshell though he's a fantastic songwriter encompassing the territory between Guy Clark and Ryan Adams but he long ago went off into his own unique realm that contains bits and pieces of the American song and the American landscape (including the American inner landscape). He was here in Fairbanks in the late 1970's/early 80's as not much more than a kid and has a bag of songs rising from each year since. He's a big influence on us and we're proud to be able to bring him to the music fans of Fairbanks. An added plus is that the beauty and wildness of Alaska has never left him and we may just be lucky enough to see him up here a little more often. After the concert September 12 we'll have a dance party. For 20 years we've taken a band to McCarthy to play the season-closing dance but never brought it back the town. Come on out to the Loon September 12th and say hi. In the meantime, head on over to "Song O' The Week" give a listen to Gene.

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gulkana Glacier and glaciologists' tram in the foreground

Rope Bridge over College Creek, Gulkana Glacier Trail

In between the building projects and revamping the studio (unhooking the mixing board,sending it off to be cleaned, fixed and reloaded with new software--sounds better that ever!) and dodging forest fires and ducking smoke, we found time to hit Tangle Lakes in the Isabel Pass area to sit around a campfire with friends and pick blueberries. After a couple days, as others headed back to town, we camped a night near the Gulkana Glacier and hiked the trail. Returning to town, we found the Gulkana in the news as one of three national glacier studied that are retreating at a rapid rate. We recommend seeing this one while you can. At present time you can walk right up to it and, as an added bonus, cross a "Indiana Jones"-style rope bridge on the way!

We want to wish Mariah Ver Hoef a rousing congratulations on the arrival of her 2nd CD, So Far Away. A beautiful recording, beautiful cover and a very inspired singer/songwriter. Check out a song on the Studio page jukebox and get this CD now! Also head on over to the "Song O' The Week" page for a big dose of our pal Gene Ryder and get ready for him and a cast of many in McCarthy on Labor Day Weekend and the Saturday after that at a special concert/dance at the Blue Loon Saloon!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Looking North from the Angel Rocks Trail

Looking South toward Atigun Pass, Brooks Range

Taking a break in Wiseman

Thanks to all for birthday greetings to Robin. Because her birthday is in the summer, near solstice, it's a good excuse to "get out in it." First of all was the hike from Angel Rocks to Chena Hot Springs (top photo above taken from the ridge looking north). Beautiful day and we got to the hot springs just in time for a short soak). Next up, after a day packing, was a 3 day trip to Mount Prindle. We got farther than last time but again weather turned us back from the summit. No tears though as we got to the second, more dramatic tors. (Alas, we brought everything but the camera.) Another day home then a trip up the Dalton Highway to Wiseman with our musical pals for the 4th of July. (See middle photo above for a little flavor: The Bowers dog Andra enjoying music her way). Afterwards, we drove through the very dramatic Atigun Pass to Pump Station 4 to visit one of several camps where Robin worked during the building of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The bottom photo is looking back to the Brooks Range from north of the pass.

In the studio we had another enjoyable visit from Ken Waldman and in a quick afternoon recorded his 10th project of the decade--stay tuned for release date...After a stifling day in the studio we went for a swim at Chena Lakes with Ken and his partner Rosalyn. Get that swim in while the getting is good!...After the great birthday trips, we're deep into building work around the Planetation, including finishing a new roof and retrofitting the walls on our office building. Be sure to check out "In The Studio" for a full roundup and keep an eye on the "Song O' the Week" page. And always, always, WRITE! We love hearin' from you!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Photo: Midnight Sun from Pinnell Mtn. Trail, Eagle Summit

What an amazing time of year! At 2 in the morning, when the air is cooler, the sound of birds singing reverberates through the woods at the "Planetation". The wild roses have come and (mostly) gone and now it's on to fireweed time...Congratulations are in store for Steve Brown & The Bailers on the arrival of their fine new CD, "How Things Start"... And though we mentioned it on the Studio page recently, we'll say another congrats to O Tallulah for their new self-titled CD. Lots of hard work went into both...We're saying that every leaf on every tree around the 10th Planet is dedicated to the brave people of Tehran. Our comfort only makes them more remarkable...We were sitting in the sun this morning planning the big changes coming to the studio. They've been in the planning stages for awhile but now are about to be implemented. More later but we will say that they include a vocal booth that will make live recording easier. Stay tuned...Wish Robin a Happy Birthday on June 28th. She just gets better and better...Look for some new postings on the Song O' The Week page to coincide with an article in the Old Time Herald magazine about Alaskan old-time music. (And read Pat's blog about his first introduction to that music from the legendary Sidewinders in the 1970's)...Keep the cards and letters coming folks. We love to hear from you...And by all means, Summer is what we wait for all year--get out in it and enjoy!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Saturday, May 23, 2009

We have been to the mountaintop! Meaning that lofty place of transcendence where only the most mystical music can take you. For those of you who missed the Fairbanks debut of The Subdudes: You'll be hearing about it. We'd heard them before. Even played a couple of their tunes back in our cover band days. But we weren't prepared for what we witnessed Friday night at the Pioneer Park Theatre. And as good as the songwriting, harmony, musicianship and funky grooves were, the encore was sublime. They unplugged and came out into the audience, stood in the aisle and did two more songs (one in each aisle) that evoked the Persuasions and all manner of New Orleans soul. Get a CD here. And by all means let's make Fairbanks their second home, huh?

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Leaves sprouted some time ago then seemed to say, "Whoa, what's going on here. This ain't spring weather." And they've been in a holding pattern ever since. As have we all. Some are saying, "How'd you like summer?" in reference to the few very warm days a couple weeks ago but we're not buying it. We demand some warm sunny days. As Alaskans it's our right for making through another winter. Uh, pretty please?!!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ah, Spring! That time between winter and the green of summer--or between snow and trash pickup. And we're caught between exhilaration and the horror of the unsightly mess on the roadsides. Ever the optimist though, Robin has found a way to see through the clutter to an intriguing form of the art. You see, toss out a piece of cardboard on the snow (and people do) and as the sun gets some heft to it in April, the snow melts all around but the cardboard (or appliance or shoe or...) shades the snow and voila! The Trash Tower! Robin named this one The Magilla. Happy motoring!

.: posted by Pat & Robin


Thursday, April 02, 2009

BIG BLOW! While Mt. Redoubt is erupting elsewhere in the state, thing are exploding around here with great tunes. (Check "In The Studio"). Besides that, we thought the thaw was on last week but we've got a reprieve for a short time: Sunny, warm (but not too warm) days and cool nights are making this the kind of weather we usually hope for in March. Time to be outside movin' and groovin' on the boards (skiis to you non-believers out there). Big changes planned for building this summer. Part of that will be the 10th Planet recording space. (More on that as we proceed but let's just say it's gonna be good!) And, says Pat, Opening Day ( baseball jargon) is right around the corner. In Fairbanks that means Spring!

.: posted by Pat & Robin

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