A letter from Dirk

Howdy from Ferrara, Italy!

I just finished a bunch of gigs and now I’ve got none ’til the World Cup madness is over here. Guess I’ll work on new songs, hang out with friends, eat well and give thanks for the cool life I’ve stumbled into.

In Naples I played the ‘Archivio del Rock’. I’ve written about that place before. It’s the one where you enter the building through a deserted bar and the only place to go is down the stairs. You wind up in a little room with nothing in it but a giant painting from the 17th century I’d guess, and you wonder, “what the…?” ‘til the painting moves itself into a wall and there’s the club behind it! It’s a wild place. My buddy Neapolitan artist Lino Blandizzi showed up at the gig and we sang ‘Siamo Lontani’, it’s a duet we sang on his latest album ‘Il mundo sul filo’ (‘The world on a tightrope’) I was told at sound check that I’d be joined by 3 musicians for a couple songs too!? Oh yeah? I’ve played Naples so many times over the years that nothin’ much surprises me there anymore. Anyway, the musicians turned out to be great players and all good guys and instead of playing a couple songs, we played a bunch. Italy, a long time ago, taught me how not to worry. I’m thankful for that and for myriad other lessons I learned here.

In Vignola at another club they had my name in bold letters projected across the curtains. When it was show time, a pre-recorded speech about my illustrious career commenced replete with cinematic music, and projected photos of album covers – and- as the music swelled to a dramatic crescendo, a countdown, “3-2-1- whaaaaaaaa!”, the curtains open and there I was! Me, solo with my guitar, looking exactly like myself I bet and…. Nobody had told me anything about what was going to happen other than to signal when I was ready. I think I was supposed to blaze into a scorcher after the curtains opened but after they opened I just stood there dumbfounded and eventually everyone, including me, started laughing and I talked about how impressive that introduction was. There was nothing I could to follow it! Ya’ never know what you’re gonna get here.

As so often is the case in Italy, you order whatever you want at these gigs and you drink whatever you want. There’s no drink tickets or 30% off the lunch menu crap. Not usually anyway. Despite their dire financial troubles, Italians are still managing to maintain their kind and civilized way of life. Waiters here WAIT and never interrupt your conversations! The good ol’ U.S. has much to learn from Europe.

The ‘Acoustic Guitar Meeting’ in Sarzanna was absolutely marvelous, my friends! It was very cool to play with The Bluesmen again. The annual festival is an acoustic affair but we played electric, as always, with the only acoustic instrument being my Gibson J-45. I was a bit concerned we’d be rejected by the audience but based on the crowd reaction and all the CDs we sold we were a big hit. This festival is full of luthiers from all around the world and reps from all kinds of guitar companies and sound system companies, that all have booths during the day. I was invited to stay an extra day and I did. It was marvelous. I ran into my old buddy lead guitarist Paolo Bonfonti there who I toured with 20 years ago (it’s great when great players are also great people!) and I met some real interesting and fun new folks, some of whom I expect will be my friends forever. Tim Obrien’s show was heart tugging that Friday night and I trained home to Ferrara feeling full-up spiritually speaking.

Played the Imola Music Festival Saturday night… and that was somethin’. That town has music going everywhere during that thing. Friday, I played ‘Il Giardino’ in Verona and that’s a cool little club I always love to play.

One other thing I’ll do during this gigless period is save as much old bread as I can and feed the fish in the castle moat. You start with little pieces and the little fish come. Then, throwing in bigger pieces the little ones can’t fit in their mouths, the bigger fish appear. You keep getting more and bigger fish congregating in the water below until the giant siluro gets interested and shows up. He reminds me of the sea monsters they used to draw around the edges of maps back when they thought the world was flat. I know a siluro that’s gotta be 7 feet long. They have the body of an eel and the head of a monster catfish. Seeing his mouth open is incredible. It’s like the hole in the front end of a great white shark only with tiny teeth. They are probably harmless but I wouldn’t throw any kids in there for sure. They reveal themselves in giant, slithery, momentary flashes so they’re pretty hard to get tired of. You never get a real good
look at ‘em.

I’ll be here all summer pretty much. I sure hope they book more gigs. They say they’re gonna, but it’s even tougher here in Italy than in the states, I think. Like in the states, the gigs are fewer and they pay less too. Almost everybody’s in austerity mode. I wonder how those guys that ruined the world economy sleep? My guess is, like Hitler and Napoleon and the Robber Barrons probably did, they sleep just fine.
Anyway… I’m not starvin’ yet and I hope you aren’t either!

Best good luck wherever you are my friends and

Hallelujah Anyway!




Summer 2014


Please contact rootsmusic@aol.it for details about any of these concerts

27 Giugno
Dirk Hamilton Solo Concert
Club 859
Via Eridano 859, Bologna

1 Luglio
CASTELLO LERICI (4 km from Sarzana on the sea)
Dirk Hamilton Solo Concert

16 Luglio
Dirk Hamilton and the Bluesmen

18 Luglio
Il Parco Berrini di Ternate
(west of Varese)
Details: woodinstock.org

2 Agosto
Dirk Hamilton and the Bluesmen





For more information: dirkhamilton.com

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