Ned Luberecki and Stephen Mougin are a pair of busy bluegrass boys. Both serve as sidemen and band members with different outfits (Chris Jones and Sam Bush respectively), and have “regular jobs” in the biz as well. Ned is an on-air host on Sirius-XM’s Bluegrass Junction, and Stephen operates a studio, Dark Shadow Recording. When they have some free time, they tour as a duo, Nedski & Mojo.
They have agreed to chronicle their current N&M tour for the readers of Bluegrass Today. Day 4 takes them to Beantown.
Day 5 begins somewhere around 5:30 in the morning. I’m not really sure because it was all kind of fuzzy. Doug and Linda cooked us a fantastic NJ breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, coffee and pork roll. We discovered that they even had an ice cream cake made for us the night before and somehow forgot to put it out. Naturally, we had to try a piece for breakfast (well, we wouldn’t want to be rude…).
Somehow I forgot about the full contact motor sport that occurs on the highways of the Northeast. My inner-New Englander came out as I remembered how to drive in this region. Opting for a slightly out-of-the way, more-northern route from NJ to Boston proved to be a wise move. Five dreamy hours later (for Ned at least), we landed at the front door of the Berklee School of Music. Professor Dave Hollender was to meet us at a public parking lot across the street and we arrived a hair before he did. Evidently that is some unspeakable crime. At least that’s what the lot attendant seemed to think. He made us park on the street until Dave showed up. Yikes.
We loaded the gear into the recital/lecture hall and set it all up (because we like the excersise), then sent Nedski to park the car for the 3 hours of our stay. He came back a while later grinning because he paid $18 for a lot with a nice attendant instead of $17 for the colorful gentleman we met earlier. You get points for NICE, folks!
I drifted into the Berklee Book Store to see if they still had some stock of the Dark Shadow Recording harmony CD’s (they had a few left) and was really tickled to see my product in that store. They have been selling the albums for a while, but I am humbled to think that these students are learning bluegrass harmony from my project!
A little Thai for lunch and we were ready to roll!
The seminar was a two hour combination of concert and question/answer. Noted bluegrass songwriter and Berklee professor Mark Simos joined the crowd and we had a nice moment to chat. It occurred to us that we (Nedski and Mojo) actually played our first note of music together in a Mark Simos/Jon Weisberger demo session a few years ago. Neat!
The Berklee students were full of interesting questions, from performance technique to playing adjustments for the duo show and how we rehearse. They were also interested in finding out more about the Fishman amplification we use to perform (yes… Nedski & Mojo plug in!) It was an honor for us to spend some time there and meet some fine young bluegrass pickers!
From there we headed to Brookline for our Front Porch Concert (actually held indoors). After a delicious dinner of take-out tapas, we set up our rig and on with the show. Since we’ve been recording the shows, the set-up takes us a little longer than usual, but we’re encouraged by the results. Also, folks seem to enjoy knowing that they might be part of our next recording when they’re singing along.
The house concert was a blast as always! Denise and Pierre are wonderful hosts and their house is well suited for concerts like this!
Today’s “pose” photo is from the session at Berklee School of Music. These folks attended our session and get extra credit from professors Nedski & Mojo for helping us load gear into our tour bus. (Can you call a rented Nissan Altima a tour bus?)
Early call again tomorrow as we’re teaching workshops (Nedski/Banjo, Mojo/Harmony) at the Boston Bluegrass Union’s Jam’n Weekend in Concord in the morning and another show (in Orange, MA) tomorrow night.