Last night David Gans, longtime host of the popular nationally-syndicated radio show The Grateful Dead Hour (which has recently gone even bigger-time on satellite radio), played Mike’s Music Exchange in Eldorado, just outside of Santa Fe. Mike’s is a small but very posh and professional-sounding venue with a front-room guitar store and mini-recording studio. The proprietors are still working on getting folks to make the drive out there and opening the adjacent restaurant and bar to concert-goers but, as far as the sound and feel of the room go, Mike’s is definitely impressive and welcoming.
As a drummer in San Francisco, I collaborated with Gans repeatedly from 2005 to 2008, beginning with a 2005 tour up the coast of California in a pick-up band called Guilty Pleasures with Gans and members of The Dead, Zen Tricksters and Phil Lesh & Friends. So, when the Oakland-based singer-songwriter and loop-station guitarist asked me to bring some hand percussion to Mike’s Music Exchange last night, I grabbed some rare drums from the Santa Fe blacksmith Tom Joyce (a collector of strange world instruments) and jumped on the musical opportunity. Thus, after Gans ran through a set of his pleasing, Northern California-centric folk songs, we riffed on stretched-out versions of “Norwegian Wood,” the older-than-old sailor song “Jack-A-Roe” (which dates back to the 1700’s) and David’s original rocker “River and Drown.”
After the gig, I was told that Mike’s has an ongoing first-Tuesday Open Mic Night that’s becoming something of a hit with singer-songwriters in the Santa Fe area. If you’re there for the June edition, make sure to say hello.