Charlie Starr giving me a look

© John Gellman

This is why I love sound checks. Certainly couldn’t ask Charlie to turn around and face me during a show. I shot this last week at Asheville Brewing Company before Blackberry Smoke’s afternoon acoustic set benefiting Shepherd’s Men veterans group.

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Smoke ‘n phones

© John Gellman

This was the view from the back of the stage after Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr asked the sold out Asheville crowd to light their phones. The band played a great set at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in downtown Asheville Friday night.

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Random rock shots – Toy Caldwell

© John Gellman

I saw a shot that made me think of Toy Caldwell, and I remembered that I had prepared this image for inclusion in one of Michael Buffalo Smith’s books, but I had never posted it here. So now I am. This was in October 1975 in San Diego. The Marshall Tucker Band opened for the Allman Brothers Band on this day, and on the next day, Dickey Betts walked onto the MTB stage in Santa Monica and jammed with Toy.

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Noble Kava Bar open mic – I’m baack

© John Gellman

After two rounds of foot surgery, I am finally healthy enough to be out and around town again. It was great to see so many friends last night at Caleb Beissert’s Noble Kava Bar open mic in West Asheville. Teso McDonald and Daniel Noel are shown above doing their thing at the kava bar. This is the first new picture I have posted in over three months, which proves, when I was down, I was out of commission. That’s all behind me now, and I look forward to seeing everyone on the streets and in the nooks and crannies of Asheville. In case anyone is wondering, that’s the flag of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. I can only guess there is some significance to its display, but I am clueless what it might be.

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Glitch

© John Gellman

A local gallery recently asked for submissions and hung an exhibition of digital glitches; photographs where something went haywire in the digital capture or processing. (I think the show opened last week and is still up.) I thought that’s a cool idea, but nothing like that EVER happens to me. A couple days ago my friend Drayton Aldridge asked me to shoot his band, Drayton & the Dreamboats, performing at a local club, so I did. Everything went as expected until I looked at the pics. And there it was. A glitch on one image of their drummer, Mike Oliver. And I thought, “Damn, I missed it by that much.”

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Mei Li Trapasso is an amazing chef

© John Gellman

I was fortunate to be invited to dinner at Mei Li Trapasso’s home in Greenville, South Carolina last Saturday. Mei is friend of a friend, and we met to discuss her forthcoming cookbook. Turns out she may need some pictures. The Beijing native, who teaches Chinese cuisine at Furman University, prepared a totally awesome five course dinner and served it outside on her beautiful back deck. The double cooked pork belly with sweet peppers was just too beautiful not to photograph. I placed it carefully on top of a pot of yellow flowers that bordered the deck and got a few shots. It tasted every bit as good as it looked, and this was just one of five equally visually appealing and delicious dishes that Mei prepared. I should add that this food was not “styled” for photography in any way. It is exactly as Mei served it, just before we ate it. I have never shot food before, so I’m quite pleased with the result. (And I could get used to eating my subjects.) Gotta credit Sparrow Pants for design inspiration on this shot.

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Busker of the day – Yoshi

© John Gellman

Yoshi is a spiritual being who studies metaphysics when he’s not busking. He also produces music on computers, eats when he’s hungry, and sleeps when he’s sleepy. We’ve been talking about doing a photo shoot for some time, and I’m happy he finally made it to my Flatiron Studio.

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Guitars galore – the first annual Freeborn Jam

© John Gellman

It’s been a while since I have shot The Outlaws, so I was delighted to be a part of their first annual Freeborn Jam in Nashville last weekend. BlackHawk was there too, but all these shots are from The Outlaws set. A couple guests sat in. Ed King played on three songs, including his very own Sweet Home Alabama. It was certainly a treat to hear Ed play one of the most iconic guitar leads in rock ‘n roll history (which he wrote). And let me tell you, after all these years, he’s still got his chops. He sounded great, and so did the band. While we’re on that subject, for decades I’ve heard fans long to hear The Outlaws with three lead guitarists. Well, Saturday was the night. Billy Crain sat in for the entire set, and there they were, The Outlaws live on stage with three lead guitars. Except when Ed King walked on, and then there were four. What a night. I was truly honored to be there to hear it. Above is a shot of Chris Anderson I captured with a telephoto lens from the side of the stage. He was having such a great time, when he caught my eye he gave me an exuberant look and shout. Scroll down for more pics.

 

© John Gellman

Henry Paul was feeling the heat of a special night.

© John Gellman

Ed King and Steve Grisham made up half of the four lead guitar army.

© John Gellman

Billy Crain and Chris Anderson made up the other half.
And yes, that’s the very same Les Paul you will find at the top of each page on this blog.

© John Gellman

Ed brought his 1959 Strat, the very same guitar he was playing when I took his picture with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974.

© John Gellman

Billy brought Tommy Crain’s gold top Les Paul.

© John Gellman

Monte Yoho and Dave Robbins were rock solid, as usual.

© John Gellman

Randy Threet and Henry Paul IV surround Billy Crain to give me a special welcome back between songs.
Yes, this was actually during the show.

 

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