Shades of Jorma

Jorma Kaukonen & Barry Mitterhoff
The Watercolor Café 
Larchmont, New York 
March 20, 2009

On Saturday, March 20th, guitar legend Jorma Kaukonen stopped by a little town called Larchmont, located in lower Westchester County just 20 miles out of NYC. The venue was a small restaurant, the Watercolor Café, and there were no tickets issued for this show; your name was put on a list and you were seated at one of the few tables inside. This small eatery can fit maybe 100 people, and that’s really stretching it. Though not known as being a regular stop on most artists’ tour this was Jorma’s second time playing there and last new years Richie Havens delighted the crowd with classic 60’s era folk music to usher in 2008. Kaukonen played two shows with a great mix of Hot Tuna as well as solo material. Playing with him on mandolin was his good friend Barry Mitterhoff, a very talented musician who turned that mandolin into a powerhouse instrument, no easy feat.

During the early show, Jorma played hits such as “Candy Man,” “Hesitation Blues,” “99 Year Blues” and “I Know You Rider,” all crowd favorites from his early days with Hot Tuna. Off of his new album, River Of Time, he played “Operator,” a classic Grateful Dead tune from American Beauty. A nice 15 song set really warmed Jorma up for the late night show which probably started around 10:45 p.m.

The late show set featured more of his solo material, especially tracks from his new record, a great combination of songs that really doesn’t have a bad track on it; the crowd really responded well to the new stuff. When Jorma broke into a song named “More Than My Old Guitar” he couldn’t stop smiling while singing with Barry. It is a great tune with a little bit of humor in it as the chorus goes “I love my guitar, like Jesus loves the poor, but I love you even more.”

One of the best things about the show was that Kaukonen and Mitterhoff would talk to each other and the audience in between songs, and as the night moved along and Jorma’s beer began to empty, he rolled up his sleeves, revealing his tattoos, and told a short story about the next song he was going to sing named “Izze’s Lullaby,” a song for his young daughter. He told the crowd he hoped she was asleep by now and you could tell by his voice that he really missed her and thought about her all the time while on the road. He ended the show with another new song called “Full Go Round” and received a standing ovation that made this small little café in Larchmont sound like a concert hall.

When the show was over, Jorma bolted for his tour bus and headed to Pittsburgh for his next show. Although he didn’t play as many classic songs as everyone would have liked, his new material was outstanding, and the small crowd in the intimate venue responded in kind.