Miracle Hot Springs…..Here we come….

I’m really looking forward to starting off the New Year right….. and what better way to do just that then a trip to California. I’ll be heading that way early next week. I’m spending a few days with family around San Diego before heading over to Desert Hot Springs, California where the Fur Peace Ranch (FPR) will be conducting two weeks of workshops at the wonderful and beautiful Miracle Springs Resort and Spa. This Fur Peace Ranch on the Road adventure will be a return trip to the Miracle Springs. We held workshops at this very special place in February of 08 and it worked out so well we just had to do it
again.

We have a nice workshop schedule for the two weeks we are there….. the first session ..January 12 – 16….has Roy Book Binder teaching along with Jorma, who will be joined by his TA extraordinaire…..Marjorie Thompson. For the second week of workshops, January 19 – 23, Jorma will be joined by GE Smith, who will be teaching his first ACOUSTIC class for FPR. As of this writing there are still a few open spots in these classes. While Jorma’s class is FULL for the first session, Roy has recently had a couple of cancellations……. so he has room for two more students to sign up for his workshop. For the second week of workshops, both Jorma and GE have two spaces open in their classes as well. I know this posting doesn’t allow alot of time for planning, but sometimes things do work out on the fly, so……. if you have found yourself with some extra vacation time or in need of a retreat from the cold and dreary winter weather this might be just what the bushdoctor ordered. Details on these classes can be found on the FPR Special Events page.

I just want to say a few things about what a great time we had at the Miracle Springs Resort (MSR) on our last adventure. First off, MSR is in a fantastic location. Nestled in the foothills, not far from the Joshua Tree National Park, the MSR overlooks scenic Palm Springs and the California desert’s Coachella Valley. The Resort is surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains which offer a wonderful view……you can gaze across the desert floor and let it carry you to the top of the mountains snow -covered peaks.

While you enjoy the spectacular view you can soak your cares away in one of the eight natural hot mineral pools on the Resorts grounds. Of course, you won’t want to skip class and you won’t have to ….. these mineral pools as well as the big swimming pool are open 24 hours. Last year I really enjoyed a late night soak beneath the star filled skies before heading back to the room for a good night’s sleep. The mineral pools are cool…and I don’t mean in temperature….the Resort sits on top of a aquifer that is 300 feet deep and the water rises up at a steamy 140 degrees…. it is cooled and pumped into the eight pools and spas at the hotel. Take a virtual tour.

The hotel is very nice and was a perfect fit to what we like to provide for our students venturing to the FPR in Ohio. Each student is checked into their own spacious guest room with private patio and panoramic view. The hotel is meticulously maintained and the grounds offer a nicely landscaped courtyard for relaxing. The Grand Ballroom at the hotel is where workshops are held and where we also eat our meals three times a day. Now as anyone knows who has been to the FPR before…….food, and good quality food is an important part of our camp experience. You will find that same regard for great food here at the Resort as well. The MSR’s staff is also very friendly and accommodating. So….. you see why I am so stoked about our FPR on the Road Workshops. I’m looking forward to seeing some of our Fur Peace Repeat Offenders and meeting some new folks. One thing for sure – you’re going to have an experience of a lifetime and a great time. The workshops will give you the opportunity to study with some real masters ….. and the Miracle Springs Resort will give you a perfect vacation spot to relax and rejuvenate.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A POSITIVE NEW YEAR

As we find another year drawing to a close (Oh, Jah…..it just flew by) and the Holiday Season passing on, but hopefully not the spirit, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!!! I had a wonderful Christmas and hope ALL celebrating this special Holiday did as well. I got to spend Christmas day with my Mom and Dad and that is about the greatest present I could ask for. My brother Pete came over for the day to my folks house and as I told him…..it must be a sign that we are all getting older….we didn’t exchange and open gifts until after 1:00 in the afternoon. When we were kids we’d be waking up by daylight to get into things. My sister, in particular, was known to get up at the break of dawn and head for the Christmas tree and the gifts that waited underneath it, being sure to make plenty of noise along the way to make sure everyone else was stirring. I also got to light Menorah candles on the third and sixth night of Hanukkah with very dear friends celebrating that special occasion…..the third night was also the day of Jorma’s 68th birthday……so we had a lot to celebrate and give thanks for.

We were all here at the Ranch working today and we had our annual FPR Potluck dinner. I believe every employee of the Fur Peace was there, along with family members. It was certainly a feast with friends!!! As a bonus feature…..we also celebrated Queen Deb’s birthday, it was a very fun filled evening with lots of good eating and laughter.

I’m always giving thanks because when you get to live such a good life as I have been blessed with…..you must give thanks…every minute of every day……So as I look and reflect on 2008 I think it has been a very good year. It has been a good year for the FPR, it has been a good year for me and for most people I know. Some of my close friends have had hardships and obstacles to deal with in this year and they are coming through…..they are warriors…… and they can see that there is light up ahead. So today I send out a very strong wish for everyone to have a POSITIVE NEW YEAR!!! Bless up my sisters and brothers …….keep it steady…..may the coming year be filled with many blessings for you.

WE GOT SILLY WITH CATHY FINK AND MARCY MARXER

Well, we sure had a good time at our FAMILY SHOW at the Fur Peace Station on Saturday afternoon. Never has the Fur Peace Station had so many young, young folks in attendance. There were a lot of babies…..age 1 and under….. and a lot of young people 2 to 10 years old. Now Cathy and Marcy have that ability to bring out the kid in us all….so just like me….. there were a lot of adults that were just having a great time as well.

Cathy and Marcy are two time Grammy winners. After seeing their show, it is easy to see why they have been bestowed such an honor. They have it all going on…..they play real well, in fact exceptionally….they are very funny and witty….. and they were at ease and very good at getting the audience to participate. I sat in the back of the hall with our soundman, Ethan, and from the lofty perch of the soundboard you can really see the room and the audience and let me tell you…..EVERYONE was having a good time. The good feeling just took over.

Thank You Cathy and Marcy!

BIG UP TO THE KAUKONEN’S

While many of us know and think of December 7th as a day of infamy…….there are still reasons to celebrate this day. I’m sending a BIG UP to the Kaukonen’s tomorrow as they celebrate their 20th Wedding Anniversary!

As many of you may know, Jorma and I have been friends for a long time now. I can remember talking to Jorma way back then and him being really excited to tell me about the news…….he had met a fine woman down in Florida and he was going to get married. He was really happy and fired up about the whole turn of events. In 1988 I took a trip down to Florida to visit with my folks, who were snowbirds from Ohio, escaping the cold Ohio winter for a nice vacation in the sunshine state. While there, I took a weekend trip down to Key West to visit with Jorma and meet Vanessa for my first time. The plane out of the Sarasota Airport was a small prop plane and it was just a short trip down to the tip of the USA. As the plane descended into the Key West Airport I looked out my window to see Jorma waiting out front sitting on the Harley.

I can still remember how cool it was to hop on the back of the bike and cut through the hot Florida afternoon in route to his place. Vanessa and I got along great right from the get go. I think I might have endeared myself to her when I quickly scooped up Marlo’s (JK’s dog) rejection of the shrimp linguini he had grabbed off of a left over plate.

I still remember how well the two of them jived……. they had the chemistry, baby! Now here we are 20 years later and Vanessa and Jorma are celebrating this milestone and the joys of being happily married. Massive Respect for that!!! I would certainly say that Jorma met his soulmate and muse down there in Florida and Vanessa met the man of her dreams. So……I want to Hail Jorma and Vanessa and wish them many, many more happy days together. May your blessings continue forever!!!

Be a Star, Shine Your Light

Sure does feel like the holiday season around the Ranch. The boys are on the road, the boss is away and Queen Deb is “Decking the Halls’. Santa’s Little Helpers are busy at the North Pole… making sure your glad tidings of joy arrive in time for your holiday celebration…peace on earth. If you haven’t heard, the Company Store is having a Holiday Sale with some great incentives to get your favorite people some Fur Peace gear.

Another thing you might want to get your friends and family is a copy of the December/January 09 of Relix Magazine which has a fabulous article about the long lasting and inspiring relationship between Jorma and Jack. There are some great quotes and comments in the article. One of my favorites is about the fantastic Warren Haynes weekend.

“That weekend with Warren Haynes,” he (Jack) continues, “was as much of a musical milestone as there’s ever been for me. And Warren said the same thing: “this weekend is what I got into music for.”

WOW. Those are some powerful statements from some musical giants. It was a once in a lifetime show….Definitely a magical musical moment for everyone in the audience. If you want to hear the Warren Haynes show you can tune into WOUB Radio (our local public radio station) and listen to the download. Many Thanks to Rusty Smith, the FPR Concert Series producer and engineer for all his great work throughout the year.

Before I get out of here…. I need all you good people to send out some positive vibrations to my brotha’ and fellow Rasta, Kevin Morgan. Brother Morgan is the kindest of souls. He is an intregal part of the happenings here at the ranch and his influence can be seen on everything from the concert posters, t-shirts and the web site.  I need all of you stars to shine your light on Kevin while he recovers from a recent health issue. Your light will help him get through these rough waters and hopefully on to a sandy beach in Jamaica. Bless Up.

One Season Ends, Another Begins

We’ve pretty much wrapped up the 08 season here at the Fur Peace. We have one concert still left on our schedule….. it was a late addition to this year’s lineup…… and a truly wonderful addition it is. On Saturday, December 13th at 3:00 in the afternoon the Fur Peace Ranch is very proud to welcome to the Fur Peace stage….. Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. I had heard of these two ladies before, but I must admit I really didn’t know much about them. Now having had a chance to listen to their CD and read their bio notes….. I have come to the conclusion that Cathy and Marcy are giants in the land of music they inhabit. They have had 10 Grammy nominations and have won two Grammys for BEST MUSICAL ALBUM FOR CHILDREN. Aside from their committment to fine quality musicianship, they add entertainment that is age appropriate, theatrics, challenging ideas and sing along fun. So….. don’t miss this one. You can purchase tickets for this Special Holiday Show through the FPR Store.

While speaking of concerts I would like to THANK all of the great folks who have passed through our gates this past year to see the great shows we have been hosting in the Fur Peace Station. We have had a banner season! In fact, we had so much great music coming from the Fur Peace stage…. we sold out 14 of the 15 shows scheduled. So…… again…… THANKS for your support.

We had such a killer concert season, that it would really be hard for me to pick out a favorite night. We started the concert season with what could have been the highlight of the season….. Jorma and Roger McGuinn performing in the acoustic perfection of the Fur Peace Station. But it just kept getting better and better. During the next month I may revisit some of the moments in between that night and our Season Finale, which featured Electric Hot Tuna with special guest GE Smith….. now that was a night.

Now….. even though it has taken me a couple of paragraphs to get here…… I want to tell you about the Fur Peace’s 09 concert schedule. Well…… what can I say…… it’s another great looking lineup and I’m already jazzed about some of the artists that will be making their first trip to the Fur Peace. Tickets are now on sale. You can view the 09 schedule on our web site and also order tickets as well. We are once again offering a SEASON TICKET which gets you entry into all of the shows. Added bonus is that you get to pick your seat for the year and that the tickets are transferable in the event you can’t make the show or just want to be kind to a friend or member of the family……. heck, you can even transfer them to a stranger……just let us know. Well, Kelly has just brought me a stack of ticket orders that came in today….. and even though it seems like a long time away……you know it won’t be too long before we’ll be welcoming Tim Reynolds to the Fur Peace to teach and perform for our Season Opener. Tim is doing a rare solo show for the Saturday night concert.

Well, it is getting cold, cold, cold, here in Meigs County and even though Queen Deb promised me that Indian Summer was just around the corner I’m starting to think about the Fur Peace Ranch on the Road Workshops in Desert Hot Springs, California in early January 09 and that is a warming thought. Miracle Hot Springs is a beautiful spot that hosts these two weeks of workshops and I will be talking
about that soon. Stay warm, keep cool……..