January 13th, 2007

Benefit Success & On To Japan

Joey Burns writes:

ariel benefit show

After having enjoyed the holiday vacation we all returned to Tucson for a memorial concert and benefit on January 6, 2007 for the family of mariachi musician, Ariel Cramer. I just wanted to say a special thank you to everyone that helped out in making it a truly special evening. The Cramer family were all very taken back by the number of people that came out to support the relatives and children of Ariel. Thanks to the Rialto Theatre staff and crew, Steven Eye of Solar Culture, Billions Booking and all of the musicians who donated their time and energy to making such a beautiful night of music and sentiment. This was truly a great way to start the year.

calexico and iron wineSoon we will climb back into our suitcases for a tour of Japan with our friends Sam and Sarah Beam from the group, Iron and Wine. They will be opening as a duo on the whole tour and gradually will be flanked by members of Calexico performing songs from the EP “In The Reins”. As on tours before in North America and Europe, I am sure there will be a lot of improvising together and coming up with interesting new original and cover songs. Last year Paul Niehaus and myself recorded with Sam at his home studio to contribute to the new Iron and Wine album due to come out later this year.

Touring Japan is always an exciting time. Everything is organized well, the shows are early, crowds are attentive, and after every night there is always a big dinner held where we meet a lot of the local artists and personalities. Last time we played Japan we met cartoonist, Ashura Benimaru, one of the creators of Pokemon who showed us his studio full of books, toys and tons of vintage guitars. We also stopped by the Flat 4 Volkswagen shop and showroom. What an amazing collection of old vintage bugs. beetles and parts. They’re celebrating their 30th year anniversary. Check it out.

The last few times we’ve been to Japan we’ve managed to schedule a day off in Kyoto to visit the countries’ most famous temples and shrines. So this time around I made sure to ask that we return again to Kyoto since for me those experiences there, in what was the
spiritual center, always make a huge impact upon returning home. It was in these minimalist styled gardens and temples where the presence of absence made me feel a connection to living in the Sonoran Desert back home in Arizona. That and reading works by writer Haruki Murakami have been a constant source of