February 7, 2023
Letter from Socorro New Mexico
Hey all…some of you already know this; I moved to Socorro NM August 9th. Big change at 70. I was gonna write a detailed account of all that happened, maybe another time. I will say this; I love it here. 10,000 people, the home of New Mexico Tech, a highly regarded University, and the Very Large Array radio observatory is 50 miles west, one of the most important astronomical sites in the world. Simply; after 49 years in Colorado, and a very good musical career, I was not digging living in Denver anymore. The high prices, the “gentrification,” the incredible amount of development, the noise; just not happening for me. I was not playing out much anymore, which was fine by me, but was feeling closed in, nothing to look forward to, no future. I had been thinking of moving for at least a year, and the Socorro connection came together really fast. I still feel sorta stunned; I am 500 miles away from Denver, in a great 1 bedroom casa that I pay $750 a month for. My electric bill this month was $14, as was my car insurance. There is no traffic, but yeah, still some goobers in loud cars, but way different than the drag racing all over Denver. This city seems to have stopped developing about 1950, ha. Trying to describe how it’s laid out is difficult; there appears to be no logical reason the streets go the way they do, some only going a few blocks before they disappear. Lotsa abandoned buildings and vacant lots; it seems that when a house is empty, it stays that way for years. Streets turn into dirt roads. Private property signs on many houses, that’s fine by me. People seem to keep to themselves a lot down here, and again, okie by me. I live on the SW side of town; closer to the college, up north, it looks a little more normal, but still pretty haphazard. It’s a hoot.
What I did not expect was the great music scene I’ve found here. I am semi retired, not trying to get much of anything going; but it turns out many folks here love music, and play, study, and really appreciate good music. I got in a very good blues band, Blue Monday, and we’re at Socorrofest this Saturday (poster attached). Starting to play with some other people as well, and picking up some students. I also have a few Denver folks who are staying on with Skype. There’s a great club, The Capitol, and there’s music there all the time. The Farmer’s Market on Sat is also a fun gig, a social scene, and a lot of great organic food. Of course, the New Mexican landscape is breathtaking; I wanted to live in the desert since I read “Journey To Ixtlan” in 1973…here I am. Been on a couple of walkies, many more to come. It is the boonies out here. Yes, the college is perhaps the centerpiece of Socorro, and it’s not uncommon to find PhD’s playing in the local bands, and taking lessons. I have been into astronomy since I was 5, so having the VLA so close is great. Turns out the singer and bassist in Blue Monday both worked there for years. It’s pretty ez to have some great conversations. Yup, I’ve been told there’s some meth issues, and overdoses, as well as some rather poor folks. It is a city after all. Socorro was founded in 1580 by the Spanish, who had come up from the south, and were helped by the local Indian tribe here. Only St Augustine is older. The Trinity nuclear bomb site is a bit east, and Roswell is not far either. Oh yeah, the harmonica player in the band, Bobby Olguin, won a chili cheeseburger cook off with celebrity chef Bobby Flay in 2017; how can you beat that, ha? The physicists from Trinity, such as Oppenheimer, used to come to San Antonio, just 8 miles south, to eat back in the day, at the Owl Cafe, also known for it’s burgers. A lotta history in the area.
I am very glad I moved. Went to Albuq today for weasel food and to hang with Rahim. I was reminded how much I dislike big cities once again. I do not miss Denver in the slightest. I was fortunate; I was renting, had no real attachments in Denver (cept for my daughter, but we’re always close), and was lucky to get connected here with Francie, who rented me the casa, and is also a fine musician herself. What is to come, I do not yet know. I feel Socorro is a very unique place, some sort of special energy here. I am starting to really feel retired; no pressure to do much of anything, which is not the easiest feeling for me to feel…but I love it. I feel really accepted here for who I am; the people I’m meeting are a real good bunch. I’ve been told you tend to love it here or hate it; I’m in the first category. I like the funkiness, the strange layout. When I stand in my yard, seeing 3 times as many stars as I did in Denver, as well as the dust of the Milky Way; hard to beat. Looking forward to the future for the first time in years; also a great feeling. More updates to come…all bestest…Hstick (Oh yeah, all the groups at Socorrofest are from here, cept for Lee Rocker)
The Cane Shakers with Neil Haverstick – Live on KGNU Tuesday June 21, 7-8 pm
Hey all…gonna be on Kabaret once again Tuesday, June 21, from 7-8 Denver time, with the Cane Shakers, our blues trio with John Starrett on bass and Marc Johnson on drums.
We are going for the low down blues, from the Delta to Albert Collins, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf and more. These fellers are my most favorite cats to play with; we met over 40 years ago, and have had many musical adventures since.
Dan Wilging, aka Big Daddy, will be hosting, and with George and the crew in the control room, I expect a great show all around. KGNU is at 1390 AM and 88.5 FM in the Denver/Boulder area, and you can stream all over the world at www.kgnu.org.
We really are looking forward to this, hope you’ll be listening…Hstick
Appearing at the Lilypad Oct. 9th in Cambridge, MA
Featured Artists: A Double Billing:
First Set: Boston’s Umbrella Pine (duet): Magdalena Abrego and Allison Burik
Featured Guest: Denver’s Neil Haverstick, Microtonal Master Guitarist, (solo)
When: 10/9/21 Sat, 8:00PM
Where: Lilypad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA
The Creative Music Series Presents
A special contemporary evening of Experimental & New Music with lternative tunings (microtonal) & guitar-sax improvisations – adventurous unique and stellar
From Denver, Colorado
Composer, Author and Custom Guitars of alternative tunings: 19, 31, 34, 36-tone, including fretless, beyond western music’s 12-tone way.
Boston’s Umbrella Pine
Magdalena Abrego and Allison Burik
Exploring possibilities within improvisation and composition with a unique instrumentation including guitar, saxophone, clarinet, vocals and electronics
Join Neil & The Cane Shakers at Zio Romolo’s Friday, July 30
Hey all…one more time…the Cane Shakers are at Zio Romolo this Friday, July 30, from 8-11. John Starrett on bass, Marc Johnson on drums…my all time favorite folks to play with. We’ll be doing blues, country, jazz, calypso…no telling what else. Really nice club, good food and drink, great ambience.
The club is at 32nd and Zuni, next to Tony P’s.
We would love to have you there…all bestest…Hstick
Appearing at Attimo Winery Thursday, June 17
One more time…playing with John Starrett and Marc Johnson, my favorite musicians, at Attimo Winery on Thursday June 17, no cover, from 6-8.
We’ll be doing blues and jazz, love to have you come out…HHH
2246 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80205
Appearing at Zio Romolo’s May 21 & May 22
Hey all…this Friday/Saturday, May 21/22, I’ll be playing at this club with my old compadres John Starrett on bass and Marc Johnson on drums, from 9-12.
We’ve played many gigs together over the years, and they are my most favorite of musicians. We’re going under the name the Cane Shakers, and we even have our own personalized canes for the event, ha. We’ll be doing blues, jazz, country, and who knows what else. My first show in over a year, and greatly looking forward to it.
The club is at 32nd and Zuni, next to Tony P’s. We would love to have you there, and promise some high quality music.
There are more gigs on ze way as well…safe passage to all…Hstick
Appearing on KGNU’s Kabaret Dec. 8th at 7 p.m.
Hey all…I’m going to be on the KGNU Kabaret show this Tues, Dec 8th, from 7-8 PM Denver time, playing 5 of my compositions; one each in 12, 19, and 34 tone equal temperament, and two on electric 7 string fretless guitar. This is usually a live show, but this time we recorded it in advance, and I am indebted to several people for their help and expertise. First, Richard Townshend did the filming/audio at his casa. A very comfortable environment for me to play in; then figure in the great pizza he made for us before we got to work, and it was a perfect evening. Dan Wilging (aka Big Daddy) from KGNU, was on hand for between song chats. Dan and I have done many shows together over the years, and he’s the best DJ/interviewer I’ve ever worked with. He asks perceptive questions that allow me to dig in and explain just what I’m doing with the various microtonal tunings, which can help folks with the unusual tonalities they’re hearing. Then, KGNU’s George Figgs, engineer extraordinare, did the editing from Richard’s videos to get the show on the air. Can’t imagine anyone I’d rather have at the controls. I had 4 songs from various Kabaret shows on my latest CD, “Radio Waves,” the quality is unmatched.
And yes…we filmed the pieces for a possible future DVD, but we’re just using the audio for the show. I’ve also included a link to KGNU’s Facebook page: https://fb.me/e/1FG4pqoX4 I’d be delighted if you shared this with FB friends. This is my first show since last January at Swallow Hill, and I practiced aplenty. I’m amazed that I can find new ideas in pieces I’ve been playing for years. Music is a never ending story; always new mountains to climb. Hope you can tune in, and wishing all the bestest for 2021…HHH
Listen at 88.5FM Boulder/1390AM Denver/98.7FM Fort Collins/93.7FM Nederland and online at kgnu.org and afterfm.com.
Neil Haverstick at Swallow Hill January 25
Hey all…greatly looking forward to ringing in the New Year at my January 25th Swallow Hill show in the Tuft Theatre. I have a new CD, “Radio Waves,” and I’ll be playing music from that, as well as some other goodies I’m working on. I plan on playing 12, 19, and 36 tone guitars, fretless guitar and banjo, as well as Oud. Maybe I’ll bring some others as well. I’d love to see a bunch of you there, I promise a rather interesting and unique evening of modern music. Thnx for all the support over the years…till soon…Hstick
Join Us Nov. 19 for Harpin’ at the Bucket
Really looking forward to this show. I’ve known Paul for many moons now, but this will be our first gig together. Paul’s a virtuoso harmonicat, and he can go a down lot of different avenues. Nic and Ronnie are top blues players; between the 3 of them, they’ll cover a whole lot of territory. I’m honored to be a part of this. Expecting guest artists and jamming as well…hope to see you at the Bucket.
Tues Nov. 19, 2019
The Rusty Bucket
3355 S Wadsworth Blvd