Tuesday, October 8, 2013

We're Moving!

We're Moving!After many years with a blogger/blogspot-hosted site, we here at Valet Confidential are moving things over to our own domain, ValetConfidential.net.  All the existing content has been moved over there and we hope this kicks us in the ass and gets us to write more often than we have been the last several years (but no promises).

Soon we'll try to make things here auto-redirect you to the new site, too.  But just in case that doesn't work, be sure to change your bookmarks to ValetConfidential.net (yes ".net" not ".com" - apparently there was a failed TV pilot for a show called Valet Confidential or something like that)

It may take a day or two for the site registration to kick in, but it should be there soon enough. See you there!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We are Having a Party - and You are Invited!

Friday, May 3 - market it on your calendars. Better yet, head on over to WHAT.org and buy your tickets in advance, because Travis and Shook present the Steve Shook CD Release Party is coming to town. A town, anyway. A town called Wellfleet, MA, to be specific.

That's right, the great Steve Shook (Homer & the Dont's, Travis & Shook, Incredible Casuals) has come out of retirement to record a CD. A really good CD, if you ask me (and you're reading this blog post, so in a way you are asking me). It's called "Dignify" and if you don't have a copy yet, you should head on over to CDBaby for the physical CD or Steve's download site and buy it.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

In celebration of Steve's CD, he and his old musical partner, Chandler Travis, are hosting a CD release party at Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theater's Julie Harris Stage (straight up on Route 6). The show will feature sets by Kimon Kirk (who produced Steve's album), The Chandler Travis Philharmonic, of course Steve himself, plus a Travis & Shook reunion.

Of course, they'll have Steve's CD for sale at the party, but you'll already have your copy ... ain't that right?

Tickets for sale from WHAT here.
Facebook event page here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Somehow I've become a record company exec

I'm the Associate Producer and Artist Wrangler for the second annual Record about Records for Record Store Day to be produced by the ever-embiggening staff over at Bubbles in the Think Tank.  This year's edition is "Eponymously Entitled" and we just started taking advance orders for the record over at love.bubblesinthethinktank.com

That's right ... "record" ... real vinyl ... 7 inches of it, in fact.  Last year we made a purple record, "The Petite 7 Inch Record."  This year we did something completely different.  We made a clear record.

The color is different, the artwork is different, the artists are different - but the love for records is the same.

This year we managed to get brand-spankin' new tracks about records from guitar legend Deke Dickerson; Cape Cod supergroup The Catbirds (featuring Rikki Bates & Chandler Travis from the Casuals, Steve Wood from the Freeze and the Greenheads, and young upstart Dinty Child from the Funky White Honkies and Session Americana); Boston-based, mostly instrumental group The Weisstronauts; members of Chicago-based group The Chuckleheads coming together in the form of SEMIchuck; a collaboration between long-time Boston-area musicians Mr Curt and Bird Mancini; and "the Sasquatch of American Music" himself, Pete LaBonne.

We also somehow convinced Japanese artist and musician Yutaka Suzuki (of the band Movin' Jelly) to create our cover image, a cartoon version of Belinda & January Fairy having a dance party in their basement.  Not only that, but we bagged the one & only Cal Schenkel (Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart), to create our label art, a very Calvinesque collage.

But wait! There's more!  We also have bonus download tracks from Chicago-area's Chris Ligon and Boston-area's Twink, the Toy Piano Band that come along with the record download you get when you buy the record.  Geez, can it get ANY better?

YES!  It can!  We're throwing a party!  On that most special of holidays, Record Store Day Eve (Friday, April 19, 8pm), join us at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA (3496 Washington St) for our record release party, featuring artists from both "The Petite 7 Inch Record" and "Eponymously Entitled," The Catbirds, Mr Curt and Bird Mancini, The Weisstronauts, and Western Mass favorite Ray Mason (whose track on "The Petite 7 Inch Record," "Liner Notes" is the song that got the idea in Belinda's head that she had to make that record).  Oh, and you get a copy of the record with your $15 admission to the record release party.  The hits just keep on a-comin'!

So, to summarize:

  • You can buy the record at love.bubblesinthethinktank.com; we plan to ship in time to get it into your hands by Record Store Day 2013 (Saturday, April 20)
  • We're throwing a record release party at The Midway in JP on Record Store Day Eve (Friday, April 19).  Things start around 8pm, the admission is $15, and you get a copy of the record with your admission.
Really ... get this record ... I can't tell you how proud I am to have worked on it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Killer Twitter App for Android

Where is it?  That's what I want to know.  Lots of decent apps out there, and some do several things well and others do other things well, but nothing I've found does them all, at least not all that I want them to do.

Here's what I want my Android Twitter app to be able to do:

  • Easily post to multiple twitter accounts.
  • Schedule future posts
  • Display feeds from Twitter lists and setup optional notifications for them.
  • Setup notifications and polling time for search terms

Facebook interaction would be nice, too - not a deal-killer, but if it exists, I want:

  • Post to facebook as myself and as my pages
  • Schedule future facebook posts
  • Display facebook personal feed and page feeds (and setup optional notifications for each)

I don't play with Google Plus enough right now, but if it ever hits critical mass, I would expect to want the same interaction as with Facebook.

Now, that doesn't really sound like all that much, does it?

But as far as I can tell, only TweetDeck (now owned by Twitter) includes notifications of search terms, but it doesn't allow scheduling of future posts in its Android version (only desktop & web interface) and you can't display Facebook page feeds.  Also, Twitter just announced early last month that they will be discontinuing support of TweetDeck come the beginning of May 2013.  Foo-EEE!

HootSuite and TweetCaster allow you to schedule future posts, but while they both allow you to save your favorite searches, they will not optionally poll those searches in the background and notify you when there are new search results.

Please, someone - is there any Twitter app for Android that will do everything I want?  If it's good, I'll even pay (though a one-time fee, not a monthly or yearly subscription).

Sunday, December 30, 2012

THAT doesn't taste like wild hickory nuts ...,

... at least, I don't think so.  To be honest, I'm not sure I know what wild hickory nuts taste like.  All I know for sure is that I think my granola tastes pretty damn good, and it seems as if a few others agree.

This year for Christmas I made several batches of granola and gave them out to various friends (If you didn't get a jar, don't be shy - I can make more!).  It has gotten some good reviews from folks, as well as a couple of requests for the recipe.

I can't take credit for the recipe - I believe it comes from the good people at Cooks Illustrated -  but I do take a few liberties with the original recipe depending on what I have around.

And with that, here's the recipe ...


  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) raw almonds , chopped coarse
  • 2 cups raisins or other dried fruit, chopped

Original Notes:

  • Chopping the almonds by hand is the first choice for superior texture and crunch. If you prefer not to hand chop, substitute an equal quantity of slivered or sliced almonds. (A food processor does a lousy job of chopping whole nuts evenly.)
  • Use a single type of your favorite dried fruit or a combination.
  • Do not use quick oats.

My Notes:

  • Got sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (or other seeds you think might taste good)?  Throw some in!  I don't measure, but I guess I usually toss in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of seeds total.
  • In my opinion almonds seem to be the tastiest to use, but if you've got raw walnuts or pecans, it's worth giving them a try to see what you think.
  • I found that the maple syrup/brown sugar/vanilla/salt/oil mixture didn't really coat the oat/nut/seed all that well, so I upped the quantities of the liquid mixture by about another 1/2 (so 1/2 cup each of maple syrup & brown sugar, 3/4 cup of oil, 6 teaspoons of vanilla - I didn't bother increasing the salt).  I'd suggest starting with the original recipe but feel free to experiment.


  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.
  3. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet into thin, even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking.
  4. Remove granola from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  5. Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit.
  6. (Granola can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)
So there you have it - happy eating!

I gotta ask, though - please let me give it out again next year for Christmas, OK?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Singing with Ray Mason

Just weeks after getting a chance to sing with the fabulous Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby at a house party concert in Woods Hole (they asked me to sing some harmony vocals on "Goin' Back" to close the evening's entertainment), I got to sing with another great songwriter & performer, Ray Mason.  My friend Belinda of Bubbles in the Think Tank captured us on video:

If you get a chance to see any of these fabulous performers in concert or buy their albums ... DO IT!

Oh, and please invite me along.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm on a brand-new CD! And we're having a Release Party this week!

The Chandler Travis Three-O, a four-person spinoff of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic (I'm sure most of you know that I'm a member of both), have produced our debut CD, "This is What Bears Look Like Underwater", and we are having a release party this Friday (October 12) at Club Passim in Harvard Square (47 Palmer St).  The show starts at 8pm, and it's just us - no opening act.

The show is even available as a live HD video stream for those of you who:
  • live too far from Cambridge to make it
  • aren't crazy enough to drive from the far-flung Isle of Langerhans to get to the show
  • are afraid of Cambridge
You can buy tickets in advance from Club Passim ($15 or $13 if you're a Passim member)
You can even buy your live stream "ticket" from Concert Window ($3 and yes, the band gets a portion of that!)

Of course, we'll have the CD available for sale at the show (we're even doing a deal with Club Passim that if you become a member of Passim that night you get a free copy of the CD as a thank you gift for your membership).   If you want to listen to the album ahead of time or can't make it to the show and want to order it online, check out this preview:

Sure hope to see you there!