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Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold.
They’d rather give you a song than diamonds or gold.

This was the weekend I was supposed to be spending with friends in Indianapolis. Mega Bus has halted all trips to Indy and I couldn’t have been happier. 4 hrs each way on a bus was no longer appealing to me and I was more than happy to stay in Chicago, be productive and go out to see Jeff Givens new band who he was excited for me to hear.

I spent 4 hours working on itemizing my expenses for my CPA to prepare my taxes. It ws exhausting and I had all done except for my Amazon purchases. By 630 I was ready to head out and meet Amy at the Montrose Saloon before going to eat at El Chile.

The restaurant wasn’t busy at all and it was nice. I had a margarita and a shot and Amy had a Modello and we both ordered the 3 tacos dinner. I feel the need to confess that as much as I really like the authenticity of El Chile, the margarita may have been the worst I’ve ever had. There’s not much in that part of town so it was nice and quiet outside was we walked.

After we ate it was time to head back to the Saloon. I had already paid our cover while was there waiting on Amy. So we walked in and Jeff saw me and came across the room and we exchanged hugs and I knocked his cowboy hat off. It was kinda funny. I introduced him to Amy and later we found ourselves out back on the patio because we were warm and Jeff came out to smoke. This is when things started to get interesting. As we were conversing Donnie Vies name came up and then Amy mentioned a friend/co worker who was briefly involved with Dannie and as it turns out Jeff knows her VERY well. They got a pic and sent it to her friend and Amy got the reply she was expecting. Too fucking cool.

Born in Tennessee and raised in Chicago, The Cowboy is a music veteran of over 30 years and has played in many bands, from Chicago to Boston to London. Working with Jay Bennett from Wilco was one of his many highlights. Back in 2001, Jeff went all-in; he left his day gig and everything else to fully embrace this musical journey. Tramping around America, like a prince of skid row, he began writing songs that defined his life. Settling back in Chicago, Jeff reconnected with producer, collaborator and fellow hell-raiser, Jason (Mistah Bocka) Botka, to finish, write and record this honest, badass music. From the easy rooms of Skye Bleu Studios, Jeff’s first album, “Bourbon Cowboy” was born.

Just after 9 PM Jeff’s band came onto the tiny stage. It was a 6 piece outfit the keyboard player sat at the side of the stage on the floor while performing. It was an impressive and energetic set and loads of fun. I’d only seen Jeff play once and it was just he and his guitar during a Pete Berwick show some years back at Live Wire Lounge. Each member of the band held their own but it was the female rhythm guitarist / background vocalist Paulette Bertrand who impressed me. At one point in the show Jeff walked off stage and Paulette did a chilling rendition of my favorite Beatles song “Oh Darlin'” and she NAILED it.

After the show we didn’t hang around long before getting an Uber over to Carols which wasn’t far away at all. We would be about to enter Carols on the most unfun time I’d ever been there. Not my company by any means but it was the band that was boring and lame. Amy had never been to Carols and it wasn’t what she expected and not what I wanted for her to see. lucky for us we grabbed a comfortable booth and enjoyed talking and taking shots at the band between us. Before we left at 1230 AM the singer said he was going to do a sang for those with broken hearts and I said I have a broken butt and we left and went outside to get rides home. I had a very very good time with Amy and hope to do it again. I know she’ll be going to see Jeff Givens at Carols next month and she’ll be sitting in with me on the podcast where we’ll have Jeff on as gust Sunday April 9th.

photo by Amy Abramite

photo by Amy Abramite
photo by Amy Abramite

The most unfun band I’ve ever seen at Carols. All covers.

On Sunday I did a podcast with SOLO – X a favor to my good friend Mark and the executive producer. I would be doing the show solo myself with no co host but somehow we made it work.

Solo-X is an avant-gadre electro-industrial force that blurs the line between art, music, poetry, destruction & transformation. Beginning in 2011 deep in the seedy underbelly of New Orleans to finding it’s home in the grime filled streets of Los Angeles in 2016. In 2019 They went into the studio to capture the essence of the music, finally exploding back on the scene with their long anticipated first studio album , ‘Twitch’. This 13 track opus, produced & mastered by the Goth / Industrial legend Gopal Metro, is a sonic journey of epic proportions played on & off the dance floor by DJ’s worldwide. From the unpredictable & violent tone of ’39 Spines’ to the hypnotic groove of ‘Creepytime’ & the absolute ferocity of the vocals in ‘I’m Alive’, Solo-X has succeeded in establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Followed by the absolutely electrifying & explosive live performances that leave the audience enthralled & captivated from start to finish. Hypnotizing lights, thick fog bursts and Solo’s relentless vocal assault & absolutely gripping command of the stage brings the audience to exactly where he was when he wrote such poetic & painful lyrics. .Playing everywhere from Portland, OR to New Orleans, LA in the U.S. to as far as Bangkok, Thailand in 2019 & Mendoza, Argentina in 2023. Landing back in New Orleans in 2023, Solo-X has grown into the juggernaut that it is today.

Glenn Stefano
Your talent, and eye to see such thing never ceases to amaze me!

Two images that friends sent to me that made me laugh all week. I spoke about Lori Lightfoot perhaps for the very last time on the PodCast. At least I hope I never have a reason to bring her up on the show ever again.