1.  April 22, 2019 

5 Cool Things 

…with Hadden Sayers 

Hi Everybody: 

As you may know I’ve been going DEEP on the House Concerts for over a year now and I’ve really enjoyed myself.  I was surprised to discover that I would love the intimate concert experience.  Performing in the intimate setting of a home doesn’t have the “rock n roll” vibe of the festival stage but the deeper human connection is really special. 

I also enjoy the opportunity for conversation with my hosts and guests alike.  I often find myself engrossed in morning coffee conversations with my hosts that last for hours on topics ranging from guitar to bird watching to vintage motorcycle collecting to...dentistry (and everything in between). 

In that spirit I’ve decided to throw out a “5 cool things” email whenever I think of 5 cool things to chat about. 

Here goes: 

1.  Finding Tex Mex when you’re not in Texas:  Go to Chuy’s.  www.chuys.com  This isn’t my favorite Tex-Mex place in Texas but their chain locations taste VERY MUCH like the original Austin, TX location.  

     They’re growing like crazy and we even have one in Columbus, OH.   If you don’t have a Chuy’s near you I’ve discoved an interesting phenomenon that rarely occurs even in Texas.   Most “mom and pop” Mexican restaurants up north have a homemade “Salsa Picante” in the back that you can only get if you ask for it.   This salsa is often WAY HOTTER than most salsas you’ll ever encounter in a restaurant setting.  Mix it with the ketchup –like stuff they bring with the chips and you’ll be good to go. 

2.  Favorite book I’m reading (for the second time): “Awareness” by Anthony DeMello.  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/awareness-anthony-de-mello/1002245488#/   Powerful wisdom that I’ve connected with and a good read no matter what your beliefs. 

3. Favorite summertime Beer:  Bell’s Oberon Ale 

https://www.bellsbeer.com/beer/seasonal/bells-oberon-ale 

I discovered this beer while playing a summer tour with the Ruthie Foster Band supporting guitarist extraordinaire Derek Trucks back in 2010.  This beer was provided backstage on our Michigan stops and I fell in love.  If you’re a beer lover give it a try.  It’s a wheat beer but doesn’t have the sweetness of a wheat.  Its light but full of flavor. 

4. Favorite Musical Rediscovery:  Vince Guaraldi Trio:” Jazz Impressions”  He’s most famous for composing the amazing “Peanuts” soundtrack.  He was a fantastic pianist and his trio could swing with the best.  The track “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” from this album was the song that got him the Peanuts gig.  Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAh4gYZdDUg 

5. Favorite guitar gear discovery:  Virgil Arlo Pickups www.virgilarlopickups.com 

Virgil Arlo makes 3 different sets of pickups  in a small shop in Southern California:  A “PAF”-type humbucker set, A vintage Stratocaster set and a vintage Telecaster set.  They’re amazing.  Here’s a clip of me playing my Arlo-loaded Les Paul https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN_MVe0fqH0 

2.  May 15, 2019. 

5 Cool Things 

…with Hadden Sayers 

1.  Favorite "new" band:  Vulfpeck: I put "new" in quotes because they've been on my radar for years now.  This Michigan band continues to push the boundaries of what it means to be a band,  All the while cranking out the coolest "retro vibe" music possible.  My hat is off to the boys from Michigan.  Here's the album that got me hooked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJIFJ-L-Lw8 

2.  Netflix series I've discovered:  Schitt's Creek.   This series features the comedic acting and writing talents of Mr. Eugene Levy of "American Pie" fame.  This Canadian actor is a "Second City" alum.  He and his son Dan created Schitt's Creek which is kind of a modern take on "Green Acres".  I laugh out loud at every single episode.  I also think it must be the coolest thing in the world to create something like this with your son.  The show also features (excellent) actress Catherine O'Hara (Home Alone).   give it a shot.  The episodes are 20 minutes long (nothing to lose).  Here's episode #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVa6FLhR-Sg 

3. Favorite Fast Food Fried Chicken: Bojangle's.  this chain is mainly located in the Southeastern U.S. The attention to quality is far above the average fast food chain. Popeye's can't hang either.  Try the Cajun Chicken Biscuit.  You won't forget it.  I'm trying to eat healthier these days but I can't pass this up on a special occasion. 

4. Strategy I'm practicing for getting rid of superfluous possessions: The Minimalism game.  The object is to let go of one item on the first day of the month, 2 items on the second, 3 on the third etc.  Find a friend and see how far you can go.  (Start small, it gets hard pretty fast).  If you're serious you can place a wager on who can last the longest.  This has caused me to realize how much stuff I have and don't need and how hard (psychologically) it is to get rid of it.  Here's a link for more info: https://www.theminimalists.com/game/ 

5. Critical Guitar Minutia: (guitar nerd alert)  It's amazing to me that we guitarists will spend so much money on Guitars and amps but we don't like to shell out for cables. On the flipside I've found that you can also get crazy expensive in this regard as well.  I've found that Whirlwind Leader cables are a great sounding/performing cable at a reasonable price.  Full disclosure: I don't have any endorsement deal with them but I wish I did.  My pedalboard has George L solderless cables because the lengths can be easily customized...however they can become undependable if you don't have them properly tightened. If any guitarists out there have another setup that ROCKS I'd like to hear about it.  It's also worthwhile to note that Whirlwind is owned by Michael Laiacona who started his career at MXR effects (Dyna Comp, Distortion + etc.) and that Whirlwind now manufactures exact schematic duplicates of the early MXR effects.  

There you go.  Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great week. 

3. July 22, 2019 

5 Cool Things 

…with Hadden Sayers 

1.  Podcast that I'm patiently waiting for the next season:  Cocaine and Rhinestones:  Tyler Mahan Coe (son of David Alan Coe) has created a fascinating "rest of the story"-style podcast about the history of country music that is HIGHLY entertaining.  He does a fantastic job and I'm hoping that he hasn't called it quits.  The episodes run the gamut from hilarious to highly disturbing. (Coe does a good job of warning the listener before any truly disturbing parts.  Check it out at www.cocaineandrhinestones.com 

2. Rental car discount trick I discovered:  I recently rented a car in Little Rock but had to return it in Kansas City (large surcharge).  I used the priceline app (consistently best deal I've found. Hit me up if you know a cheaper place).  Here's the hack:  I accidentally chose a pickup location 20 minutes away from the airport.  When I went in to make a new reservation picking up AT the airport I discovered the total price went up by $280.  An Uber to the other location was $22.00.  I'm willing to uber to a different location to save almost 300 bucks.   

3. YouTube Clip I never get tired of: James Brown Dance Lesson.  This is the coolest.  The Godfather of Soul had some MOVES.  https://www.youtube.com/watch? 

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdz88MBWomo  

4. Coolest bar in Michigan:  My band recently made a run to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to perform a couple of shows.  After our performance in Calumet at the Calumet theater had a post-gig beer at the legendary Shute's Bar.   This is a saloon worth checking out.  It has a beautiful antique bar with a Tiffany Glass canopy overhead.  The bar and canopy are actually owned by the city and leased back so that they can be properly insured.  All this coolness and a Bells draft is still only $4.  Can't beat that.  This place has no website (more cool factor) but here's a link to more details: https://www.michigan.org/property/shute-s-bar 

5. Skill I'm trying to master:   Awareness.  I mentioned in an earlier "5 things" that I enjoyed the book "Awareness" by Anthony DeMello.  I have since been introduced to Eckhart Tolle and his awareness teachings.  Both of these teachers are describing the same thing.  It's a hard practice sometimes but I've certainly achieved some moments of peaceful bliss.   eckharttolle.com 

4. Sept. 26, 2019 

5 Cool Things 

…with Hadden Sayers 

1. “New” band I LOVE:  The Brothers Landreth.  These Canadian brothers have been on my radar for a couple of years.  I love their arrangements and harmonies.  The musicianship and songwriting is stellar and Joey Landreth is an amazing singer (also equally amazing on guitar). 

 Here’s the live clip that got me hooked:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WRrq9yWsKQ 

2. Quote I’m admiring:  “Find what you love..and let it kill you”…Charles Bukowski. 

 I’ve met too many jaded and bitter people in this life who have denied themselves the the soul-nourishing things they love….in the name of convention. Never let this be YOU. 

3. Television series I finally got around to watching.  “Fleabag”.  This British series on Amazon starring comedian Phoebe Waller-Bridge is irreverent and funny as hell. It won the 2019 Emmy for outstanding comedy series and Phoebe Waller-Bridge won the 2019 Emmy for best actress.  I binge watched both seasons.  Andrew Scott is amazing as an unlikely priest.  “FYI: This is not a show to watch with kids in the room.” https://www.amazon.com/Fleabag-Season-1/dp/B01J4SSP6E 

4. Coolest recent house concert experience: I recently played a “60th Birthday Party” House concert.  The host was an absolute pleasure to work with.  I had come from a funeral and he was very understanding that I showed up later than planned. 

He had gifts for his guests with one of my song titles silkscreened on them….He had me play my song: “These are the Good Old Days” and he hugged every one of his friends with tears in his eyes while I played.  I could barely keep a dry eye myself J.  I could comment on almost EVERY ONE of my house concerts when it comes to cool experiences.  All the hosts have been top-shelf amazing. THAT is why I’m gonna keep on doing them. 

5. Top guitar question I get:  What kind of acoustic guitar do you play? 

1954 Gibson LG-2.  I was lucky enough to be in NYC during the Grammys  in the early 2000s.  I was invited to a songwriter event at the bottom line where the great John Hiatt was performing.  He played his songs on a Gibson LG-2.  I got home and told my drummer (Matt Johnson) about this guitar that I’d fallen in love with.  The next day Matt asked me if I’d seen the Gibson LG-2 in the Houston Chronicle classifieds.  He got me the number (yes…no CraigsList)  I called the guy and he agreed to meet me at my gig that night at Yaga’s on the Strand in Galveston.  He pulled it out of the case and I knew it was mine.  It is my main acoustic axe.  Period.  (Shout out to Kraig Phillips in Columbus, OH for making it play like butter) 

SO..... 

Head over to haddensayers.com for merchandise, downloads or any other info...  Also you can email me at haddensayers@yahoo.com.  If you'd like to host me in your home head over to www.haddeninthehouse.com.   

5.  Nov. 12, 2019 

5 Cool Things 

…with Hadden Sayers 

Hope you enjoy this episode of "5 Cool Things".... 

5 Cool Things 

…with Hadden Sayers 

1.  Frequent guitar question:   How often do you break strings? 

I rarely break a string.  I change them frequently and use GHS Strings.  (Good enough for SRV…good enough for me).  If I do break one I have a spare guitar at the ready.  Here’s a killer video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn1pk8Lpelc of SRV breaking a string on Austin City Limits and Rene Martinez on point with a fresh strat.   But NOTHING tops this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn1pk8Lpelc of BB King breaking a string and REPLACING IT HIMSELF while he does an epic version of How Blue Can you Get? At the same time!!   I’ve also seen Jeff Beck live… purposely break every string on his strat during a jam with Stevie Ray.  I couldn’t find a video of it..  

-2. Favorite road-musician life hack:  The great David Hidalgo not only co-founded Los Lobos.  He’s also a truly phenomenal multi-instrumentalist AND he knows all the tricks of living life on the road.  Check out this video of him showing us how to cook tacos in your hotel room WITHOUT A STOVE.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c54PF9NlOzA  

3. Quote I’m enjoying: We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down. Kurt Vonnegut. 

I love Kurt Vonnegut.  He was wise and hip at the same time.  This quote reminds me that its time to jump off another cliff before I get too old and scared to do it again…..(more on that later.) 

4. -Book I’m currently re-reading.  Mogambo Snuffbox by Kurt Vonnegut.  This is a collection of his early short stories.  I especially LOVE the forward which includes his famous “Creative writing 101” rules.  These rules can be applied (or broken) to/by any writing…Songs, love letters, wedding speeches…  Here it is: https://screencraft.org/2014/08/17/8-creative-writing-tips-kurt-vonnegut/ 

5. Coolest "new" Musical Discovery:  The Civil Wars.  This "Southern Gothic Duo" blows me away with their brand of insanely tight (like Everly Brothers tight) two part harmony.  They have a perfect blend of "stylized approach with undeniable skill".    I know, I know they broke up like 5 years ago.  I remember when they came out..( just their name) but recently heard this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=441mR2zsQbg   

6.  December 17, 2019 

5 Cool Things  

…with Hadden Sayers 

1.     Classic song I’ve had on “repeat”.  “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin. 

I’ve been a huge fan of Led Zeppelin since my friend Chris Kolo enlightened me as a 15 year-old.  This song from their 1979 album “In through the Out Door” has so many qualities and details that keep me coming back.  The thing that jumps out first is the absolute CRUSHING groove from John Bonham…easily illustrating his amazing natural ability and his technical skill simultaneously… This is the groove that was created at least, in part, by Bernard Purdie and that propelled Jeff Porcaro to create the drum part for Toto’s “Rosanna”. 

The song is also filled great performances by everyone else in the band.  John Paul Jones’ bass part and brilliant piano overdubs,  Jimmy Page’s intricate acoustic parts and INCREDIBLE Guitar Solo (featuring the MXR Blue Box) Here's and example of the blue box. 

Here’s a link to Bonham’s isolated drums..(complete with his cussing,  breathing and grunting in the background.) 

Here's Jeff Porcaro's isolated drums for Rosanna..for a fun comparison. 

2.     Healthy activity I’ve been partaking in:  Sauna.   A friend of mine has raved for years about the health benefits of the sauna and I was curious exactly how that works.   It turns out my gym has one so I thought why not?  1000 years of Finnish tradition couldn’t be completely wrong …The Sauna has quickly become part of my daily workout routine.  It turns out there are some genuine scientific facts that suggest that the physical “stress” of the heat on your body is a positive form of stress that causes your cells to become more resilient.  Who knew?  Dr. Rhonda Patrick has a lot of info on Sauna use here:  https://www.foundmyfitness.com/topics/sauna 

3.      Gift Idea for the Guitarist that has everything:  A Glen Kronkhite Guitar bag.  I travel on airplanes constantly.  I haven’t used a hard shell case for my electrics in decades.  My guitar is safe in a gig bag made by Glenn Cronkhite. 

These bags aren’t cheap.  They’re handmade, high quality items.  Kronkhite started out making cases in the San Francisco area.  His cases were called “Reunion Blues” at the time.  A musician himself, he became frustrated when case making frequently was outsourced to China.  When the Reunion Blues business was sold and cases outsourced to China, Cronkhite got to keep his patterns and best craftsmen and continues to make incredibly rugged, beautiful cases.  I’m addicted.  I’d rather not say how many I have…..  check ‘em out.  https://glenncronkhite.com/product-category/guitar-bags 

4.   Book I just finished.  The Inevitable:  Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that will Shape our Future. By Kevin Kelly 

The title suggests that Kevin Kelly knows the future and what it looks like.  Well he HAS been around…and that’s one of my favorite things about this book.  He isn’t afraid to go into detail about what he got wrong when trying to predict the future trends 30 years ago.  Kelly gained notoriety when he created the blog post “1000 True Fans”.  That blog post has inspired many independent musicians and artists like myself.  This book had my imagination in high gear about what the future could look like,  It also has dragged me into the present…because frankly I was not exhibiting 2020 thinking.  J  It’s a worthwhile read or audiobook while driving cross-country. here's the link 

  

5.  Quote I’m admiring:  We have two lives and the second begins when we realize we only have one. – Confucious.    

I think my second life began somewhere between the birth of my first and second child.  That experience was pure joy.   Then I lost 3 of my oldest and dearest friends in the span of 15 months. That was difficult.   

 I’m planning on living my second life richly…cultivating the little ones in my care…. and in tribute to those who aren’t with us any more. 

Thanks for reading.  Please reply with corrections, comments or complaints :) 

Jan. 28, 2020 

5 Cool Things  

…with Hadden Sayers 

1. Guitar Gadget: 

Peterson “Stroboclip” tuner with “sweetened tunings”.  This gadget has really made a difference for me especially when it comes to my acoustic guitar.  Here’s the idea: If you had a very precise tuner, you could “sweeten” the tuning of an instrument…make the G string an almost imperceptible amount flat..or the A string slightly sharp.  This tiny change would cause the instrument to play more “In tune” across the entire fretboard. So chords played in the upper registers wouldn’t sound “wonky”.  Peterson tuners are that precise and the sweetened tunings  are truly an improvement.  Who knew?…By the way I don’t get any money from Peterson. They just happen to have an amazing product.  Get one here: 

2. Music I’m listening to: 

Duke Ellington:  “Anatomy of a Murder”.  This is the soundtrack from the 1959 film of the same name.  This soundtrack slays me.   Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s work was genius.  This score won the 1959 grammy awards for best Performance by a dance band, Best Musical Composition first recorded/released in 1959 and Best Soundtrack Album.  Incidentally it is also considered to be the first major Hollywood soundtrack composed by African Americans.  It is widely heralded for avoiding cultural stereotypes and rejecting the “strict adherence to visuals” that was common prior to its release. 

Check out “Flirtibird” from the album featuring Johnny Hodges on alto saxophone: 

3. Intriguing dictionary website: 

Eunoia.  I’m fascinated by these words that have found their way into the lexicons of different societies but not been adapted with an English equivalent.  Let this website suck you in for a few minutes.   https://eunoia.world/ 

4. Quote: 

“there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” From “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen. This quote reminds me that people’s eccentricities are usually their most unique gift..and to celebrate these imperfections. 

5. Restaurant discovery: 

Superica.  My sister Dori and her family recently re-located from Dallas to Charlotte, NC.  While its hard for a Texan to leave their home state..it CAN be done…especially when you’re going to a beautiful city like Charlotte (or Columbus).  It’s also very welcoming to have a restaurant like Superica close by.  This Tex Mex treasure is from the mind of Houstonian Ford Fry.  A chef/restaurateur who knows Tex Mex and is bringing it closer to everyone.  Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte and Houston for starters.  I was pleasantly surprised by both the atmosphere and the food.  Check it out if you get the chance! 

Hope you enjoyed this episode of 5 cool things. 

Hit me up by replying to this email if you have something to add to the mix! 

Thank you for tuning in and please share this email if you feel like it adds a little value to your day. 

Until next time!

Feb. 7, 2020

1. Airline of choice for musicians (or anyone else who books a lot of flights and has to make consistent changes to their reservations) 

Southwest Airlines. I’ve been a fan of SWA for years but in the past two I’ve grown to rely on Southwest Airlines more than I care to admit.   I often make a reservation for house concerts only to change it MULTIPLE times as I add more dates to the run.   There’s never a change fee and its gotten to the point now that I basically PLAN on making multiple changes so I just book the flight when I get the idea to go somewhere.   Add to that the fact that they don’t have any additional charges for carry-ons and 2 free bags and that adds up to me bringing my guitar, amp, PA, merchandise and clothing for no additional charge.  Thats a win.  I’ve used them so much I’ve gotten to A-List preferred status and that makes everything even easier.  Now lest you think any airline is perfect…. I agree that not having an assigned seat can be a drag if you’re not getting on the plane in the first group..but even that can be dealt with with an early bird check-in.   Most recently I was able to add a companion pass to my account which means someone can fly FREE with me for a year.  I did that using points for signing up for a southwest airlines credit card.  Heres a link for how to quickly earn companion pass https://thepointsguy.com/guide/earn-southwest-companion-pass-new-year/.  Here’s a link to sign up for the Southwest Visa card:  https://www.referyourchasecard.com/257f/C2MURI78K7?CELL=6Y81&SPID=G3JN 

2. Latest song I’ve had on infinite repeat: 

Robert Palmer: “Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley”.  This tune, from the album of the same name is pure perfection. It was written by New Orleans treasure Alan Toussaint (!).   Palmer’s singing is amazing and the band is none other than  New Orleans’ favorite sons The Funky Meters:  Art Neville: Keyboards,  Leo Nocentelli: guitar, George Porter Jr.:Bass, Simon Phillips filling in form Zigaboo Modeliste on drums and doing an excellent job.  Incidentally Simon Phillips also ended up filling the drum chair in Toto after Jeff Porcaro passed away.. (nod to an earlier “5 cool Things”) The album is produced by Lowell George of Little Feat fame and features his fantastic slide guitar playing as well as the Harmonica work of Steve York.  As you can see the pedigree is deep on this track.  The bottom line is it grooves so hard I can’t stop coming back.  Also: the original recorded version by Lee Dorsey is super hip as well.  Be on the lookout for a cover of that earlier version by me at a house concert near you! 

Hear Robert Palmers version for yourself here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skqARFhEHxg&list=RDFWuBeZlyn70&index=4            Other notable tracks from the album are So Much Fun (with Zigaboo on drums) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWuBeZlyn70&list=RDFWuBeZlyn70&start_radio=1&t=0.            Also “Get Outside” (with Bernard Purdie on drums) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHo1AEeeLfA 

Here’s the Lee Dorsey original “Sneakin Sally Through the Alley” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67mjKw8gn98 

3. Language learning app I’m using to take my Spanish speaking skills to the next level: 

DuoLIngo 

This app utilizes the latest methods for learning and retaining a new language (including endangered languages like Navajo and Hawaiian).  For FREE.  Its easy, automated and I feel like I’m getting the last laugh on my high school Spanish teacher who said I’d never get it! (Disclaimer:  I was a class clown and deserved harsher words than she ever gave me).  I was planning on creating my own digital flash cards and following the advice of Benny Lewis and Tim Ferriss then  A friend pointed DuoLIngo out and I realized I wasn’t keeping up! 

Read about Benny Lewis and Tim Ferriss’ language methods here: https://tim.blog/2014/03/21/how-to-learn-a-foreign-language-2/. 

Check out DuoLIngo Here!   https://www.duolingo.com 

4. Quote: 

“If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.”- Mark Twain 

This pretty much sums up all the books I’ve read on how to be efficient in the modern age.  The idea is to tackle the toughest jobs first and at the beginning of the day.  Thanks Mark Twain for your timeless wisdom. One thing about this quote:  If you’re a procrastinator like me the “big thing first” might cause you to do nothing… so at least get started with a tiny step…eat a leg. 

Full disclosure:  I’m a very disorganized ADHD kind of dude.  I have 2 kids under the age of 5 so that puts me even further behind (but I wouldn’t trade it :).  I’m constantly seeking tips and tricks for being more productive.  Reply if you have any good tips! 

5. How to get free audiobooks on your phone: 

Overdrive 

You can probably imagine with all the traveling I do that I have more time to read that most people.   I got WAY in to podcasts on my phone and still listen to tons of them.  I started to get excited when podcast hosts and guests started suggesting books.  I wanted to read them all…but that gets expensive.  Enter overdrive.  It relies on the library system to loan you digital versions of ebooks and audiobooks.  I use my local library card and have a profile on the Overdrive app.  90% of the books I want are available through this method for free.  I’m a happy audiobook listener.  So if you see me on a Southwest Airlines flight with my headphones on…you know what I’m up to….     www.overdrive.com 

Hope you enjoyed this episode of 5 cool things. 

Hit me up by replying to this email if you have something to add to the mix! 

Thank you for tuning in and please share this email if you feel like it adds a little value to your day. 

Until next time! 

Hadden 

www.haddeninthehouse.com