Monthly Archives: September 2016

Andy Fairweather Low – U.S. Tour!

Andy Fairweather Low and the Low Riders!

 

This was the first U.S. tour for Andy Fairweather Low under his own name.  The tour had four dates in the U.S., starting with the BB King Blues Club in New York City, Daryl’s House in Pawling, NY, the Vinegar Hill Music Theatre in Arundel, ME and ending with Havana in New Hope, PA.

I couldn’t have been more excited when I looked at my cell phone in May and saw on the Bands in Town app that Andy had announced a U.S. tour.  I was amazed when I saw that he was playing in Maine, less than an hour from where I live.  The last time I saw Andy play was at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  The day after the Maine show was announced, I bought 2 front row tickets.  I had no idea how great the night would be.

Andy’s band, the Low Riders, are phenomenal.  Here’s the lineup:

Dave Bronze – Basses and Vocals

Paul Beavis – Drums

Nick Pentelow – Saxes and Clarinet

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Take a look at his Martin – patched up with duct tape…  It’s perfect.

The music was top notch and they sounded great.  They played (among others): Life Ain’t No Competition, Baby What You Want Me To Do, When Things Go Wrong (one of my favorites), Lightnin’s Boogie, Wide Eyed & Legless, Petite Fleur, Route 66 (with the exact solo that Keith Richards played), Gin House Blues, Tequilla, Hymn 4 My Soul (my personal favorite), a fantastic version of Rocky Raccoon (the first time he had an audience clap along to it) and finally ending with (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice.

 

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Have you ever seen a Strat with just one pickup?  Andy made it himself…

The Green Room

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My good friend, Bruce Addison and I were very fortunate to be able to meet with Andy and the band after the show.  Andy was very generous with his time and we started off talking about what makes a great gig – a lot of it has to do with the crowd.  Sometimes the smaller gigs are better than the bigger ones, and on that night, the crowd was fantastic.  He’s looking forward to coming back next year.

We spoke very briefly about the show he played in London at the Royal Albert Hall the day that BB King died.  He said, “It was a sad old day, but, the good thing is, certainly about music, is, it lives on.  I’m a big fan of George Harrison and he’s as much with me now as if I saw him yesterday.”  Pretty inspirational words.  He was very thankful that Eric asked him to open up for the shows in NY and at the Royal Albert Hall for his Birthday Celebration.  He also talked about playing on Eric’s new album “I Still Do” and touring with him in Japan.  His work with Eric has allowed him to play with some of the best musicians in the world, one of which is Steve Gadd (Eric’s drummer).  They’re in a band together called The Gaddabouts.

I asked him about his song “Hymn 4 my Soul”, which he told me took years to write.  He liked the song, but didn’t know if anyone else would.  As it turns out, not only did Joe Cocker sing it, he named his album and tour after it.  He mentioned that at this time in his career, he doesn’t have to write new music, but he wants towhich is how he likes it.  He said he was really proud of the work he’s doing right now and hopes to have enough for a new album soon.

Sitting with him and talking about music was an amazing experience for me.  He’s a class act.

 

The moment he told me what Spider Jiving meant….

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The Vinegar Hill Music Theatre in Arundel, ME is a beautiful place to hear music.  I highly recommend taking a look at their schedule and going to an event.  You will not be dissapointed.

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Below is a photo of the band at the event that I found on the AFL Facebook page.

A special thanks goes out to George Dvorsky (third from the left below) who took the time to make me feel welcome and introduced me to Andy and the band.  I can’t wait to go back.

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I had the pleasure of seeing AFL open for Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 5/15/15.

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Here are the CD’s that were for sale at the show.  I recommend all of them.  If you can, pick up a copy of “Live From The New Theatre, Cardiff” as it’a  Limited Edition CD & DVD Disc Set.

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Matt Becker

Live from Matt’s House

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Fishin’ with Bruce, Jim and TKelt!

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Another weekend at Maynard’s in Maine, fishing the East Outlet off of Moosehead Lake in Rockwood, ME.  Just two quick days of fishing with Bruce, Jim and Travis.  The fishing was a little slow, but we had a blast.  The brook trout were hitting orange and light brown caddis flies on the surface and I caught a nice salmon this morning on a smelt streamer.

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Travis and I fishing the East Outlet this morning, just upriver from the Beach Pool.

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We ate well this weekend, even though it was a short trip.  The cooking seemed to be interruped by either fishing or weather (I don’t grill in the pouring rain).  Last night we had a pork tenderloin with mango chutney, scalloped potatoes and corn on the cob with sriracha butter.  This morning for breakfast, we had fresh trout, bacon, home fries and scrambled eggs with peppers, tomatoes and cheddar cheese.

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We had a bit of a rainstorm after breakfast…

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…which gave us time to laugh and tell stories on the front porch.

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After we finished fishing, we had some time to shoot the breeze on the picnic table by the dam.  One of the funniest stories of the weekend was Travis telling his Rocky Moutain Oyster story!

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Staghorn mushrooms!  Foraged by a fellow fly fisherman on the East Outlet.  I’ve never seen them before, but they certainly smelled and looked good!

The first day of fall is coming up soon, which means the water will be cooler and the fish will be biting!

Matt Becker

Live from Matt’s House

 

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September 12, 2016 · 3:23 am

Grilled Romaine Salad with Cherries, Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts!

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I stumbled upon this recipe on Laurie McNamera’s website Simply Scratch which I found to be filled with great ideas and recipes that can all be made from scratch.  I highly recommend checking it out.

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Lightly grilled lettuce “wedges” topped with summers finest fruits: cherries and tomatoes, along with crumbled Greek feta, toasted pine nuts and my favorite balsamic dressing!

YIELD: 4-8 depending

PREP TIME: 15 to 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 30 to 45 seconds

TOTAL TIME: about 15 to 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

4 gem lettuce heads, halved lengthwise

olive oil

1 cup fresh cherry halves

1 cup fresh sun gold tomatoes

3 tablespoons fresh Greek feta cheese

2-3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

2-3 tablespoons pepitas

house balsamic vinaigrette

fresh cracked black pepper

house balsamic vinaigrette

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan to medium medium-low. Brush the cut side of the lettuce with olive oil and grill for 30 to 45 seconds. Lettuce should have grill marks but still remain to be firm and retain it’s shape.

Arrange the lettuce, grill marks side facing up, and top with the cherry and tomato halves, feta, pine nuts and pepitas.

Drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle with cracked black pepper.Grilled-Romaine4

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What to cook in the “R” months…

Well, they’re here.  The “R” months…. September, October, November and December.  Some think of cold, bad weather, short days and football.  I think of chili cook off’s, crock pots, clam chowder, french onion soup and beef stew!

Each year, right in our back yard is the Prescott Park Arts Festival Chili Cook-Off (Sunday, October 9th).  What better way to kick off the “R” months than with a Chili Cook-Off!

Here are four recipes for the next four months….

Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef (I used 80-20)Chili

1 large onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 large jalapeno peppers, minced (remove the seeds and veins for less heat…leave them for more heat)

1/4 cup chili powder

3 tablespoons ground cumin

3 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper

2 tablespoon crushed red pepper

6 ounce jar of chopped sweet peppers and juice

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 – 28 ounce can tomato sauce

1 – 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (I use Muir Glen Organic)

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef until no longer pink and transfer to the slow cooker using a slotted spoon. Drain off all but two tablespoons of fat and add the onions to the pan. Cook the onions over med-high heat until they begin to soften. Add the peppers to the onions and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and jalapeno peppers, cooking for one minute longer. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker with the beef.

Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, sweet peppers and juice to the beef mixture and stir to combine. Add the brown sugar, tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes stirring thoroughly to be sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook in the slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.

Serve with your favorite chili toppings, we love greek yogurt, sour cream, shredded cheddar, green onions, and pickled jalapenos…just to name a few.

 

Crab Chowder with Corn and CeleryMaineClassics

Down East delicious
Recipes from their new cookbook, Maine Classics.

By Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier

6 ears of corn

2 quarts heavy cream

1 stick unsalted butter

1½ cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

Salt

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped

fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons chopped

fresh chervil

6 tablespoons chopped chives

3 tablespoons lemon juice

16 ounces crab meat, picked over

¼ cup chopped tomato, for garnish

Cut the kernels off the corncobs and set aside. Pour the cream into a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Place the cobs into the cream and simmer until reduced by one-fourth, about 30 minutes. Remove the cobs and add the corn kernels. Cook for 4 minutes.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add to the corn and cream, and cook for 1 minute. Add the thyme, tarragon, chervil, and 2 tablespoons of the chives, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons salt.

Place half the crab meat in the chowder and divide the remaining crab among 6 bowls. Divide the chowder among the bowls, pouring it over the crab with a ladle. Garnish with the remaining chives and the chopped tomato and serve.

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Julia Child’s French Onion Soup

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place heavy bottom stock pot or dutch over over medium-low heat.
  2. Add 1 Tbs cooking oil, 2Tbs butter to pot.
  3. Add sliced onions and stir until they are evenly coated with the oil.
  4. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until they are very tender and translucent.
  5. To brown or caramelize the onions turn heat under pot to medium or medium high heat.
  6. Add 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt and continue to cook uncovered, stirring frequently until the onions have browned and reduced significantly.
  7. Once caramelized, reduce heat to medium-low and add 3 Tbs flour to the onions.
  8. Brown the flour for about 2-3 minutes trying not to scorch it. (If the flour does not form a thick paste, you can add a bit more butter here).
  9. Stir in about 1 cup of warm stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up all of the cooked-on bits.
  10. Add the rest of the stock, wine, sage, and bay leaf to the soup.
  11. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  12. To make the “croutes” (toasted bread), heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  13. Drizzle each side of the bread slices with a bit of olive oil and place on baking sheet.
  14. Cook the croutes for 15 minutes in oven on each side (30 minutes total).
  15. Check the soup for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
  16. Remove the bay leaf (if you can find it).
  17. Transfer to a casserole dish.
  18. At this point you can add the 2-3 Tbs cognac and grate the 1/2 raw onion into the soup.
  19. Add a few ounces of the swiss cheese directly into the soup and stir.
  20. Place the toasted bread in a single layer on top of the soup.
  21. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese in a thick layer on top of the bread making sure to cover the edges of the toast to prevent burning.
  22. Drizzle with a little oil or melted butter.
  23. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
  24. Turn on broiler and brown cheese well.
  25. Let cool for a few minutes.
  26. Bon Apetit!

 

Hearty Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. boneless beef chuck
  • 4 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon, choppedBeefStew
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/4 lbs. red-skinned potatoes

Directions:

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Cut the beef into 1 1/2-inch cubes and set aside. In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside. Pour the fat into a heatproof bowl. Return 2 Tbs. of the fat to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. In batches to avoid crowding, add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the beef to a plate.

Add another 2 Tbs. of the fat to the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and let it melt. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well. Gradually stir in the stock, and then stir in the tomato paste, the 1 Tbs. parsley and the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Return the beef to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover, place in the oven, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Cut the unpeeled potatoes into 1-inch cubes, add them to the pot, stir, re-cover and continue cooking until both the meat and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes more. Season the stew with salt and pepper. Serve at once, garnished with parsley and the reserved bacon. Serves 6.

Variation: Substitute 1 1/2 cups hearty red wine, such as Syrah or Zinfandel, for an equal amount of the beef stock. If you like, sauté 1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered, in 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes, and add them to the stew with the potatoes.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009)

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Stevie Ray Vaughan – Pride and Joy (acoustic)

“Well you heard about love givin sight to the blind…”  Yes, that’s the first line of Pride and Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughan.  For all you kids out there that don’t know what life was like before the internet, us old folks had to sing the wrong lyrics for years until we could look them up online…

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Jimmie Vaughan inducts little brother into the RRHOF

If you’re a fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan, watch this and you’ll be a huge fan of Jimmie Vaughan as well…  A touching tribute to his little brother. What a class act.

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Jam at Matt’s House!

This was the best Live from Matt’s House that we’ve ever put on!  We had 8 fantastic musicians come and jam with us.  The best part about the evening was getting old friends and new friends together.  I haven’t seen Steve Canty in at least a year and I haven’t hung out with Jon McCormack since college.  Both are amazing musicians and have been playing around the Seacoast for years.  Jon McCormack was in a band called Fly Spinach Fly when we were in college.  Click on the link and you can see them win the 1995 Seacoast Music Award for Best Alternative Artist!  Jon’s most recent work has been with Order of Thieves; Camarojuana; Shango; and he’s currently working on a solo “Jon McCormack” album.  Jon was also in the documentary In Danger of Being Discovered, which is about the music scene on the Seacoast in the 90’s.  He is also a collector of classic cars and below is a photo of him in his ’67 Ford Mustang Fastback.

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At the top of this post is our 11 minute version of You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones!  There were great solos by Mike Lewis, Bill Benoit and Jon McCormack – all on lead guitar, and two solos from Mike White on the trumpet!

The musicians who joined us were Bill Benoit, Mike Lewis, Mark Coder, Terry Elesmore, Steve Canty, Jon McCormack, Mike White, and myself, Matt Becker.

Here is a partial list of the songs that we played:

Rolling Stones  

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Sympathy for the Devil

Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’

Grateful Dead

Franklin’s Tower

The Who

Squeeze Box

Tom Petty

Running Down A Dream

Classics IV

Spooky

Lynard Skynard

Call Me The Breeze

Allman Brothers

Southbound

Bill Benoit

Bill sang 4 original songs at the end of the evening, including “A Kiss”, all with a 1958 Gibson acoustic

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From left to right:

Terry Elesmore, Mark Coder, Jon McCormack, Bill Benoit and Steve White!

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Me on the 12 String…

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Jon McCormack on Bass and Bill Benoit on Guitar!

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Mike White on the Trumpet!

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It wouldn’t be a Live from Matt’s House without food.  There was plenty of it.  We had lasagna for the main course and lot’s of appetizers to go around, including smoked salmon on cucumber with cream cheese, homemade salsa (thanks to Raphael’s garden) and a ton of chips and dip (thanks to Mark Coder).  Thanks also goes out to Kim McStowe, who managed to swipe a Potato Puff Casserole from a Baby Shower!

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Terry Elesmore on guitar and singing Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones.  Terry was in a band called Bad Habit in the 80’s who toured the country and once opened for Nazareth.

Live from Matt’s House

Matthew Becker

Portsmouth, NH

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