This album serves several functions, one of which is a tribute to my fallen friend, Shaun Rolly. And so, in harking back to the old albums at the very beginning of my journey which he loved so much (my one voice of enthusiasm for awhile there), there must be a guitar solo or two on the Carnival. Two, as it turns out.
I was going to get my dear, long time Jeff Miller to do them, since he is not only the finest guitar player i have ever personally known, but also one of the dearest friends i’ve ever had, and apparently that list is getting shorter. I had it all planned out and was just waiting for it to get far along enough in the process to hit him up, when fate intervened.
I was hanging out in the city Niš (birthplace of the Emperor Constantine, fyi) with my little 2 year old, buying him his promised ice cream, and this guy was playing guitar on the street. And playing it really REALLY well. So well that i as stuck around to check him out, for a minute i was sure he was faking it. You know, pretend playing along to complete prerecorded music. (I’ve seen this before. If you’re backpacking around Europe this summer and you see those Native flute players…. it’s all fake.) So i started really looking and listening hard and… damn, the boy was really rocking that shit live. I sat down and listened for a spell while my little one “ate” his ice cream. (And by “ate” i mean more like smooshed it into his face repeatedly, with whatever actually got into his mouth making it into his happy tummy.)
I myself have busked for a living. I played a digital piano on the street and sang along with it for a couple years in the warm weather months and made pretty good money doing it. It was indeed my actual only means of living. There was no other job. So i am always a big fan of street performers and feel a certain comradery.
And then it occurred to me…. i need a guitarist. Aaaaand here one is. A very, VERY good one. If he’s willing to play on the street he’d likely be willing to be hired to play a solo or two for the likes of me. And i feel it crucial to support local talent. Absolutely crucial.
Thus it came to pass.
Ivan Vukadinović plays two utterly phenomenal solos, one of which is on one of my favorite songs i’ve ever written. The Big Tent Show clocks in at a whopping 12:26, and i swear to you, it cannot be a single, second shorter. You’ll see. I promise. Every album has a favorite song and this is the one for me. As far as i’m concerned it’s the centerpiece of the album and i cannot seem to tire of listening to it.
In any case, it is an honor to be his stepping stone on the way to rock god stardom.
Here are some videos featuring out nimble fingered friend. Ladies and gentlemen, Ivan Vukadinović:
For those of who speak Serbian (like, all…. 1 of you. Hi AnaMarija Abramovic. But hey, who knows?) Here’s a nice little interview:
And one last bit of music to play us out: