Hot Tuna

Hot Tuna

Hot Tuna

From their days playing together as teenagers to their current acoustic and electric blues, probably no one has more consistently led American music for the last fifty years than Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, the founders and continuing core members of Hot Tuna. The pair began playing together while growing up in the Washington D.C. area, where Jack’s father was a dentist and Jorma’s father a State Department official.

In the mid 1960s, Jorma was asked to audition for a new band that was forming in San Francisco. Though an acoustic player at heart, he grew interested in the band’s electronic gear and decided to join. Soon thereafter he summoned Jack, who now played the bass, from Washington D.C. Jack’s experience as a lead guitarist led to a style of bas playing that took the instrument far beyond its traditional role. The unique sound of The Jefferson Airplane was created. Jorma contributed the band’s name, drawn from a nickname a friend had for the blues-playing Jorma. Along with the other members of The Jefferson Airplane, Jorma and Jack are 1996 inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Kaukonen-Casady duo created much of The Jefferson Airplane’s signature sound, and Jorma’s lead and fingerstyle guitar playing characterizes some of the band’s most memorable tracks. Jorma and Jack would jam whenever they could and would sometimes perform sets within sets at Airplane concerts. A record deal was made and Hot Tuna was born. Jorma left Jefferson Airplane after the band’s most productive five years, and Hot Tuna became a full-time job. Over the next three and a half decades Hot Tuna would perform thousands of concerts and release more than two dozen records.

Jorma’s solo recordings began with 1974’s Quah and continuing through Grammy┬«-nominated Blue Country Heart in 2002 and Stars In My Crown in 2007, and River of Time in 2009. Jack released his first solo CD, Dream Factor, on Eagle Records in 2003. In addition to touring and recording, both Jorma and Jack teach. In 1998, Jorma and his wife Vanessa opened Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp in the beautiful rolling Appalachia foothills of southeastern Ohio. It has hosted thousands of musicians for weekends of master classes and performances offered by Jorma, Jack, and other instructors who are leaders in their musical fields.

Hot Tuna is excited to be joined again by guitarist G.E. Smith. A master of the guitar, G.E. has played with David Bowie, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Lou Reed, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, and just about every luminary in the rock and roll industry; he has toured with Bob Dylan and most recently Roger Waters on his Wall tour.

Dangermuffin (Acoustic)

Dangermuffin (Acoustic)

Dangermuffin is a rare blend, a refreshing group that performs roots music, and jam-band oriented blues with wit and personality.

The band is Dangermuffin, a power-house trio led by accomplished songwriter/frontman Dan Lotti, who delivers a sonorous punch of strong, articulate vocals spelling out the makeup of each of the 10 melodies.

Each song is fitting and substantial, wetting the musical appetite, winning over listeners with its notorious jam-band flavors. The trio’s togetherness is strong, their embellishments and instrumentation cohesive and compelling. Dynamic in its scope, the record touches on musical genres and textures on all cylinders, including a little reggae and groove-laden guitar pop.

Guitarist Mike Sivilli packs grace and fluid technique with artsy solos on “Lost Again” and punchy rhythm statements on “Banjo Love.” As Sivilli soars through the frets with spunk and emotion, percussionist Jim Donnelly completes this trio’s great talents with riveting drums.

“Free Man” makes a sharp statement, engaging listeners with Lotti’s brilliant lyrics, the message of freedom and inspiration washed all over the record like a watercolor painting of eye-catching design.

This is a record filled with energy, passion and fun. Lotti’s keen sense of songwriting is executed with a poetic approach; his crafty songwriting is appealing and catchy, and the words are so easy to remember, they seem to float off your tongue.

Beermuda expresses many shades of mood, both happy and somber, and its instrumental textures are beautiful. Each member of the trio compliments each other with grace and style, delivering talent, creating a diamond in the rough. The foundation and lyrics of each song, all written by Lotti, helps to make the album quite eclectic, aiding in the group’s tremendous chemistry. (Self-released)

Shawn M. Haney