So, as usual these days for Roland/rehearsal recordings, I’ve been a total slacker as far as getting them together and making them presentable. This time, the victim was the joint Honey White-Neuro Farm jam session we had right after Christmas in Santa Barbara. It mostly involved Bill and I backing up Brian (vocals, guitar) and Rebekah (vocals, violin), acting as their rhythm section and playing whatever they needed us to.

That amounted to many more Neuro Farm songs than Honey White songs, but who’s counting? Especially considering that we 1) were minus Bryn and I had a slight cold (and therefore in no position to sing), and 2) it was fun to basically invent rhythm parts on the spot for all the Neuro songs.

On top of that, Brian taught us to play another Neil Young song. We sort of turned “On the Beach” into a combination of Honey White’s “Sweet Oblivion” (i.e. a long, twelve-bar-ish jam) and the sounds from side 2 of Camper Van Beethoven’s classic 1989 album “Key Lime Pie” (stark, violin-fronted folk-rock). We also took a jammy stab at Phantogram’s “When I’m Small” and several Honey White songs—but of the latter only “One Last Hallelujah” came anywhere near close to presentable.

The overall vibe was mellow, surreal, and slightly dark—though never cold—with occasional bright bursts of light and color. In a very general sense, that describes Brian’s music to me, both in Honey White and what he makes with Rebekah in the Neuro Farm. We played about thirty songs over two days, but my picks are all from the second day (Dec. 27).
Setlist: Dreams – DC Dead – Violin Jam 1 – On The Beach – Invisible – One Thousand Years – Perfect Blue – Happy – Bubble – One Last Hallelujah – When I’m Small – All I Have – Violin Jam 2

Quick note about the “violin jams” – I didn’t know if they had titles, so I didn’t give them any, but to me the first one sounds very Camper Van Beethoven, and the second a dead ringer for “Desire”-era Dylan, like “One More Cup of Coffee.” Very cool.

This was the second year in a row that we reconvened, in some form, to make music at the gallery after Christmas. Sounds like a holiday tradition to me. It was great to see Brian again and meet Rebekah for the first time. They make a great musical team and cute couple and we wish them all the best. Billy and Marika were their usual honorable and generous selves, too.

And then there was cruising through Santa Barbara for lunch with Brian at the wheel, blasting Rammstein all over upper State Street. You’ve never experienced S.B. until you’ve done the German Metal version of it. Yikes.