The Upful LIFE Podcast
060: JOEL CUMMINS [co-founder/keyboards - Umphrey’s McGee, author]

060: JOEL CUMMINS [co-founder/keyboards - Umphrey’s McGee, author]

September 19, 2022

Checking in from the Asking For A Friend Tour, Umphrey's McGee keyboardist/co-founder JOEL CUMMINS saddles up for an insightful chat. I was lucky to run right into Joel at Sacred Rose outside of Chicago at the end of August, where UM headlined with two sets on Saturday night. Turns out the multi-faceted artist was keen to come on this show! I'm a bit less familiar with this band's catalog than many of the guests who bless up these podwaves, yet I've always been friendly with Joel over the past decade or so. I have a tremendous respect for what he - and his brothers in Umphrey's McGee - have worked so diligently (and independently) to build over the course of twenty-five years.

  • 2:45    - The Upful Update
  • 7:00    - Introducing JOEL CUMMINS of Umphrey's McGee
  • 14:00 - Interview- JOEL CUMMINS

I was stoked to link up with Cummins right after Sacred Rose, and chop it up on the backstory on his band's new album and the latest on the tour behind it. We get into Umphrey's McGee road-dawg trends and preferences, the advantages to routing weekend runs, keeping an improv band fresh and focused onstage, getting along off of it. We hear about the music business book that Joel authored a couple of years ago, plus some wisdom and perspective on the back end of the pandemic experience.

Cummins touches on his passion for the iconic Fender Rhodes electric piano. Nods to Keith Jarrett, Donny Hathaway, his love for Claude Debussy and classical music, as well as Metallica's 1988 prog-metal masterpiece ...And Justice For All. I was sure to sneak in a smidge of Steely Dan debate before our time ran out. Big thanks to Joel Cummins!

 

Vibe Junkie JAMZ

"So Much" Umphrey's McGee - Asking For a Friend

 

"Tonberry" lespecial Live from Rick's House June 2022

 

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

059: POLYRHYTHMICS : [Ben Bloom - guitar, Jason Gray - bass]

059: POLYRHYTHMICS : [Ben Bloom - guitar, Jason Gray - bass]

August 19, 2022

Welcome BEN BLOOM and JASON GRAY of POLYRHYTHMICS! This wide-ranging conversation took place on the Sunday of Suwannee Rising, after the band dropped a pair of scorching sets on SOSMP. With the fest raging in the distance, the three of us snuck off to have a lengthy discussion on the band's journey, inspirations, intention, mission, future and more. 

  • 3:25 SACRED ROSE & BROOKLYN COMES ALIVE 
  • 8:30  The Upful Update w/ B.Getz
  • 13:25  Introducing POLYRHYTHMICS 
  • 18:45  INTERVIEW w/ Ben & Jason of Polyrhythmics 

A hard-driving modern afro-psycho-beat squadron, Polyrhythmics feature the heart-thumping bass lines of Jason Gray, and the colorful, intricate phrasings of Ben Bloom’s guitar. A true “democratic” collaborative, Polyrhythmics includes three horn players, guitar, bass, drums, percussion and keys. Meditative hypnosis and elements of surprise make up a sonic foundation for their mystical, genre-blurring brand of sound art. The collective continues to mature into a muscular live unit, known for painting vivid instrumental imagery using complex rhythms, impressive dynamics, and a searing level of precision.

Ben Bloom and I go back almost 25 years, to the fertile embryonic jam scene of the Northeast, and 1.0 Phish adventures too. So we were well acquainted before this chat. Bloom began playing guitar at 9, attended college at Boston University. By high school, he knew music would be his life’s work. Later, Bloom moved to Seattle, honed his skills with bands in local clubs, before co-founding Polyrhythmics in 2009.

Ben connected with Jason Gray, a Californian who had moved away from music while doing a stint on submarines in the Navy, eventually landing in Seattle. Gray found his way through to the city's musical bosom and into one of it's hottest bands. In addition to holding down the low end with Polyrhythmics, Gray operates Blue Mallard Studios, where he produces and engineers.

www.Polyrhythmics.com

 
Vibe Junkie JAMZ !

"Stakes is High" - yasiin bey (fka Mos Def) w/ Robert Glasper Experiment 

Live at Vaulx Jazz - 2019

"Chelada" - POLYRHYTHMICS 

KEXP Live 2019

 

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

058: NATE EDGAR [bass, The Nth Power, ex-John Brown’s Body]

058: NATE EDGAR [bass, The Nth Power, ex-John Brown’s Body]

July 14, 2022

Welcome virtuosic bassist NATE EDGAR of THE NTH POWER to Ep.058! Nate is a helluva player, and he takes us inside his process, influences, mindset, and intentions as a bassist, band member, brother, and low-end medicine man. Heaping slabs of musicology with a healthy serving of humanity. Nate Dawg doesn't do very many interviews - certainly not lengthy, super-personal purges - so this ep is a real treat, and an emotional sledgehammer. A gentleman, scholar, subsonic sorcerer, and servant of the song,  Buckle up fam, we're goin IN! Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Nate Edgar.

  • 3:00 - new sponsor! THE LEGION OF BLOOM
  • 5:00 - Upful Update
  • 10:00 - Introducing NATE EDGAR
  • 16:00 - Interview - NATE DAWG

We hop in the wayback machine to discuss Nate's roots in New Hampshire, from nascent backpack rap steez to a teenager runnin' away on Dead tour, playing in newgrass bands or working as a garbage man. Boston/Wally's/NE jam scene back in the day, learning tuba to get into college, and other random historical minutiae. In a touching, insightful segment, Nate takes us through his experience working with pioneering American reggae band John Brown's Body, and expounds on the legacy of his dear friend, JBB bassist, the late Scott Palmer. 

Naturally, we dig DEEP on all things The Nth Power, past, present and future. Ruminations on his bandmates as family, the core trio perservering through adversity, the inherent spirituality in their music. Plus reflections on collaborating with Weedie Braimah, Nigel Hall, Rob Marscher, and the friendship, mentorship, kindness and unbelievable talent of the late, great Kofi Burbridge. We unpack Nth's unparalleled tribute mojo: from Earth, Wind & Power to Bob Marley to Steely Dan, High Sierra's Gospel According to Nth, and a little teaser for Cool Cool Cool just around the bend at Brooklyn Comes Alive. 

MY MAN NATE. Came thru and came CORRECT! The Nth Power really does LOVE us.

Vibe Junkie JAM

"Terrapin Station" - The Nth Power Ball

Suwannee Rising 4.9.22

 

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

057: RON JOHNSON on the Bass [Samantha Fish, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Anders Osborne, ex-KDTU]

057: RON JOHNSON on the Bass [Samantha Fish, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Anders Osborne, ex-KDTU]

May 31, 2022

RON JOHNSON on the bass. Ron Johnson on the BASS! Currently holding down the low-end with red-hot guitar phenom Samantha Fish. Ron worked extensively with Gregg Allman at the end of his life, developing a profound friendship in Gregg’s final act. Ron toured hard with Warren Haynes Band, has collaborated with Anders Osborne. Chris Cain, Nigel Hall, and dozens of others. Ron was the longtime sturdy anchor for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, during what I firmly believe to be their mightiest era, 2000-2006. 

  • 3:15 - PSA from your humble narrator
  • 4:20 - Derrick Freeman & Smoker's World "HoTel" + BG catches Covid during Jazz Fest
  • 10:00 - Introducing RON JOHNSON on the Bass!
  • 19:00 - RON JOHNSON INTERVIEW  (85 mins)

A few weeks back, Ron was traveling through NorCal, and we finally connected for a proper chat, all about his musical journey and more. It was long overdue, & nothing short of an absolute joy! Ron grew up in SoCal, came of age in NorCal, I met him 20 years ago when he was living in Brooklyn. Now he's got about a decade in NOLA. We had a LOT of ground to cover!

Please welcome to Ep.057 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast* the very first musician to pull back the curtain for yours truly, my first friend in the game.  Fantastic bass player, gem of a human, open book. Ron Johnson LIVE & DIREKT from the Vibe Junkie Studios -aka- my back deck in Oakland.

 

Vibe Junkie JAMZ

KDTU - "New Tune" - Late Night Bonnaroo, June 2002

GREGG ALLMAN - "Whipping Post" - Wanee Festival April 2016

NIGEL HALL BAND- "God Bless the Absentee" (Paul Simon) Sullivan Hall, NYC 1/27/13

 

 

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

056: SKERIK [saxophonist: Garage a Trois, Bastard Jazz, Emerald Quintet, Critters Buggin, DRKWAV, Syncopated Taint Septet, Bandalabra, Lorbo, Dead Kenny G’s, Omaha Diner, MORE!]

056: SKERIK [saxophonist: Garage a Trois, Bastard Jazz, Emerald Quintet, Critters Buggin, DRKWAV, Syncopated Taint Septet, Bandalabra, Lorbo, Dead Kenny G’s, Omaha Diner, MORE!]

April 27, 2022

Please welcome SKERIK, Seattle's inimitable master of saxophone skronk, to Episode 056 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast. Brilliant on both tenor and baritone saxophone,  most often mixing in electronics, effects, and loops, Skerik is nothing short of a pioneer in saxophonics.

  • 3:15 - Introducing Skerik
  • 9:30 - Skerik interview

Co-founder of Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois, Tuatara, DRKWAV, and Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet. He is also an original member of both Les Claypool’s Fancy Band and Fearless Flying Frog Brigade. Skerik has worked extensively with Stanton Moore (drummer-Galactic) and Charlie Hunter (8-string guitar) across numerous collabs, including Bastard Jazz, Emerald Quintet, plus Omaha Diner, Coalition of the Willing. His list of projects and peers is far too long for a podcast synopsis! Skerik is a son of Seattle through and through, even briefly working with grunge super-band Mad Season. We touch on a number of these topics in this wide-ranging conversation

 

Vibe Junkie JAM

30 mins of Col. Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade

LIVE from Tipitina's Uptown in New Orleans, during Jazz Fest late night May 2002

 

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

055: The Return of WEEDIE BRAIMAH (djembefola, Hands of Time, Nth Power, Trombone Shorty, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah)

055: The Return of WEEDIE BRAIMAH (djembefola, Hands of Time, Nth Power, Trombone Shorty, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah)

March 26, 2022

Welcome back the great Weedie Braimah to Ep.055!  An educational, inspirational, international deep dive with a man who is sworn to the drum. Topics include: recent trip to the continent, Ghanaian heritage, reflections on 'East St. Africa', the concept, players, intention and evolution of his band 'The Hands of Time', their GRAMMY-nominated self-titled album on Stretch/Ropeadope, his parents/ancestral lineage as a drummer and teacher, Idris Muhammad, the intergenerational connection between Baba Olatunji/Grateful Dead in the 1980's and what Weedie & Co are doing today, and more! Ruminations on his collabs with The Nth Power, Trombone Shorty, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Oteil Burbridge and others. This is a profound conversation that stretches nearly two hours, and I really had to run the whole thing in full because not a Weedie word is to be missed. Proud of this one, fam. Buckle up !

 

Vibe Junkie JAM

"Walk on Water" - The Nth Power, AURA Studios 2014

 

BUY Weedie Braimah & the Hands of Time debut album HERE

 

Special thanks to our friends at LOVE THAT BABY.

Peep the fire threadz!

 

The Music Cellar x Music Right 

fundraiser for children's music education!

DONATE HERE! 

 

check out Return of Goree - Youssou N'Dour (w/Idris Muhummad)

bio from Bandcamp

Weedie Braimah is a djembefola—a master of the djembe, a West African drum with a hollow wood body and an animal skin stretched and fastened over the top, the origins of which date back to the 12th Century. Braimah, who was born in Ghana and raised in East St. Louis, is the product of a family whose musical history goes back centuries. His father, Oscar Sulley Braimah, was a master drummer and composer whose Uhuru Dance Band made remarkable records that bridged the gap between jazz and traditional African music. Braimah’s mother, Ann Morris was a gifted jazz drummer, and his great-uncle Idris Muhammad played with everyone from Grant Green and Horace Silver to Pharoah Sanders and Roberta Flack, while also leading his own ensembles. Braimah has been making music with The Nth Power, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave, 

Braimah’s latest album The Hands Of Time puts the interconnectedness of African diasporic music into practice. Featuring a variety of collaborators from around the world,  he & his eclectic band infuse jazz with hip-hop and funk, while the sound of the djembe and the spirit of West Africa gives these modern styles a timeless pulse.

 

 

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

054: The Return of ERIC KRASNO [Soulive, The Assembly] + The Music Cellar fundraiser w/ Jonny G [lespecial]

054: The Return of ERIC KRASNO [Soulive, The Assembly] + The Music Cellar fundraiser w/ Jonny G [lespecial]

February 23, 2022

Welcome back the great Eric Krasno! The Soulive guitarist, Lettuce co-founder, The Assembly bandleader, and producer extraordinaire. Kraz has been a very busy bee of late, forming a new band, releasing solo LP Always, plus marriage, fatherhood, a new crib and studio in LA, and hosting the popular Plus One podcast. Kraz's Fall 2019 appearance on the Upful LIFE pod was quite well-received, so with all the exciting developments in his life and career, it feels like the perfect time to get up to speed with all things Eric Krasno.

Stick around at the end for The Music Cellar x Music Right campaign, an effort to raise funds for youth music education. DONATE HERE! 

  • 3:30  what's poppin & a special shoutout 
  • 14:00 - Welcome Back KRAZ!
  • 21:30 - ERIC KRASNO interview
  • 2:03:00 - The Music Cellar X Music Right w/ Jonny G of lespecial

* thumbnail photo: Aaron Bradley for Suwannee Hulaween

During the past couple of years, Krasno's life and career began to evolve in major ways. Kraz credits his young family as the revelation and motivation behind this latest collection of songs. A cross-country move after 2 decades defining Brooklyn. Soon thereafter, a swiftly-prolific musical partnership between Kraz and Bay Area-based producer/multi-instrumentalist Otis McDonald, then creating Eric Krasno & The Assembly.

Always finds Eric Krasno at a peaceful, introspective place in life and his career. What began as some innocuous demos of a Dylan cover blossomed into a full-fledged coalescing of musical souls. The duo subsequently put together Eric Krasno & the Assembly, that includes Upful LIFE pod alumnus Wil Blades. We hear a bit about Kraz's forthcoming new D'Angelico signature model guitar, his fondness for Hawaii, what's next for Soulive, plus the nuts and bolts of going on tour in pandemic times.

The Music Cellar x Music Right fundraiser for children's music education!

DONATE HERE! 

The Music Cellar is a space in central Millerton, NY dedicated to music education, operated by Jonny G of lespecial (ep.040). We offer private lessons on many different instruments, including guitar, bass, drums, and piano, as well as group lessons and “toddler jam” for younger children. In addition to lessons, we also offer recording sessions, rehearsal space, equipment rental, sound reinforcement services, and even podcast recording.

Music Right is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization supporting music education initiatives. Scott Sacks shares their mission: collaborate with a growing network of incredible educators, musicians, business, individuals and community leaders to help shine a spot light on the incredible efforts of our partner programs of music education.

VIBE JUNKIE JAM

SCARY POCKETS ft. Vidya Vox, Eric Krasno & Otis McDonald

"telepatía" (Kali Uchis funk cover) 

 

Episode 054 bumper music provided by ECHT!

EMAIL the SHOWB.Getz@UpfulLIFE.com

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

053: THE CHAMBERS PROJECT (Psychedelic Art & Culture w/ Brian Chambers, Jacaeber Kastor, A Path Untold)

053: THE CHAMBERS PROJECT (Psychedelic Art & Culture w/ Brian Chambers, Jacaeber Kastor, A Path Untold)

January 29, 2022

Episode 053 welcomes The Chambers Project for a wide-ranging discussion on psychedelic art, through both a historical and contemporary lens. The conversation welcomes a pair of pioneers from this particular space - Brian Chambers and Jacaeber Kastor - both of whom I met during the magnificent grand-opening of the avant-garde One Step Further show at The Chambers Project gallery in Grass Valley, CA. Later in the episode, electronic producer A Path Untold joins the fold for a bit about the musical branch of this ambitious endeavor.

  • 10:00 - introducing The Chambers Project
  • 18:00 - conversation w/ Brian Chambers & Jacaeber Kastor
  • 89:00 - Brian Chambers & A Path Untold talk The Chambers Project record label

The Chambers Project began with the intention of making contemporary psychedelic art accessible in Nevada County, CA. Since opening doors in 2018, they've presented the community with a spectrum of abstract, cutting-edge, surreal fine art. The Chambers Project focuses on the psychedelic aesthetic, with roots running deep in this field since first discovering the work of Ralph Steadman and Rick Griffin in 1995. A dozen years later, Chambers connected with MARS-1 & Oliver Vernon, and his vision began to take shape. The mission is to curate impactful shows that honor the Godfathers of the psychedelic art scene, as well as showcasing local and international artists. To create immersive environments that are meant to bring viewers into the psychedelic state that - from an early age- inspired their tastes in this art.

 

Vibe Junkie JAMZ

 

"Heart Matters" - A Path Untold 

(available 2/11/22)

&

"Heart of Gold" Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

(Neil Young cover, dedicated to the late Joey Pye) 

 

Episode 053 bumper music provided by ECHT!

https://echt.bandcamp.com/

 

EMAIL the SHOWB.Getz@UpfulLIFE.com

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

052: SHAWN SETARO (hip-hop journalist w Complex/ The Cipher/ Tekashi 69 book/ Pop Smoke pod) + RIP Greg Tate

052: SHAWN SETARO (hip-hop journalist w Complex/ The Cipher/ Tekashi 69 book/ Pop Smoke pod) + RIP Greg Tate

December 23, 2021

It’s an honor and a privilege to welcome accomplished journalist, author, and rap podcast OG SHAWN SETARO, a reporter at Complex, to Episode 052. Setaro has a brand new book on the shelves this week, about the sordid saga of Tekashi 6ix9ine. He's the writer and reporter on the podcasts 'Infamous' (about Tekashi), 'Complex Subject: Pop Smoke'. He’s written about music and culture for Forbes, The Atlantic, Vibe, The Source, GQ, Esquire, The Sondheim Review, and more. Setaro was Editor-in-Chief for Rap Genius, and hosted the iconic rap pod The Cipher, an encyclopedic hip-hop program featuring deep dive interviews with 250 legendary figures in the culture.  The Cipher was among the biggest influences and inspirations for The Upful LIFE Podcast, and in this interview, you will see the parallels and find out just why I revere “Same Ol’ Shawn” the way I do.

  • 8:00 - RIP GREG TATE. (tributes from Questlove & Jay Smooth)
  • 18:30 - Introducing SHAWN SETARO & a lil' about the Tekashi 6ix9ine story
  • 30:00 - Interview - SHAWN SETARO

Setaro is the author of the fantastic new book Complex Presents Dummy Boy: Tekashi 6ix9ine and the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, his first. We discuss this extremely shocking tale, his process reporting the story, and unpack the project at large. In tracing Tekashi 6ix9ine's life - from Bushwick to the heights of the rap scene - Setaro illuminates the story of the young rapper who forged an alliance with a notorious street gang to bolster his image and boost his internet clout. More than a biography, Dummy Boy is an American crime story, a critical examination of internet trolling in the Trump era, and an exploration of the long-running connection between rap, gangs, and police in New York City.

In this conversation we touch Shawn's career journey into journalism and podcasting, plus the violent/criminal nature of drill rap culture, how it finds its way into the mainstream music culture. Shawn Setaro is a man of many talents in the musical sphere; in addition to his journalistic accomplishments, he’s is also a Berklee-educated bassist and guitarist who has recorded and performed with The Dresden Dolls, Amanda Palmer, the Lordz of Brooklyn, Alina Simone, and others

BUY HIS BOOK! Complex Presents Dummy Boy: Tekashi 6ix9ine and the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods

LISTEN to THE CIPHER podcast w/"Same Ol' Shawn" HERE!

 

Vibe Junkie JAMZ

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" - Black Uhuru,

live in Germany 1981 [RIP Robbie Shakespeare]

 

"Water" - The Roots,

live at North Sea Jazz Fest 2003 [RIP Leonard 'Hub' Hubbard']

 

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

 

051: NEAL FRANCIS (singer-songwriter-keys) / + Salute to the Spirit of Suwannee w/ SCOTT T

051: NEAL FRANCIS (singer-songwriter-keys) / + Salute to the Spirit of Suwannee w/ SCOTT T

November 24, 2021

Welcome white-hot singer/songwriter/keyboardist NEAL FRANCIS to Episode 051! Neal is straight outta Chicago’s buzz-bin, an artist riding a meteoric rise to the heart of the zeitgeist, thanks to his monumental 2019 debut solo LP Changes. On November 5th, Neal dropped his stunning sophomore record In Plain Sight on ATO Records, and has been touring hard in the run up to the release, including a raucous late-night performance at Suwannee Hulaween. In addition to an hour with Francis, Episode 051 includes a special Suwannee Hulaween tribute, and a recording of a profound talk courtesy of SOSMP philosopher-poet SCOTT T, which took place in the Oasis Tent at Hula 2021. 

  • 04:00 -   Give Thanks: Suwannee Hulaween/SOSMP  
  • 10:15 -   Neal Francis intro 
  • 17:15 -  “Praeludium 2 in C-Minor” (J.S.Bach) by Neal Francis
  • 19:00  -  Neal Francis interview
  • 1:24:00 - Scott T @ SOSMP intro
  • 1:31:15 - Scott T - Spirit of Suwannee talk from Oasis Tent, Hula 2021 

Just a couple of days before Hulaween, I had a chance to catch up with Neal in between tour stops in Charleston, SC. This was my first time meeting or speaking with him, and he’s been doing a bunch of press for his new album; during the early part of the interview I was even a little nervous. But eventually, we connect in potent fashion, discussing his early days with Chi-town’s nascent funk band The Heard, Francis’ spiral into alcoholism, bottoming out, regrouping, rebirth, and the revolution/revelation that was debut album Changes. From there we get into his latest LP, collaborators like Sergio Rios (Orgone), David Shaw (The Revivalists), Chris Gelbuda, Derek Trucks, and a peek inside the church where Francis conceived and recorded In Plain Sight,  as well as his muses and creative process. A very insightful conversation with nothing short of a shooting star. 

After Neal & I wrap up, we have a little more about Suwannee Hulaween 2021, including a recording from an inspiring, informative talk courtesy of Florida-based poet/musician Scott T. The topic du jour was (basically) the history, mystery, and mysticism of The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. This illuminating and insightful TED-talk type situation took place on Friday 10/29 at Hulaween inside the Oasis Tent, which a sort of burgeoning educational tentacle of the Hula festival experience. I share some personal Hula reflections while introducing this talk. 

LISTEN TO NEAL FRANCIS In Plain Sight record release concert from 11.5.21 at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago

Vibe Junkie JAM 

"People Everywhere > Gypsy Woman (Crystal Waters)"

Khruangbin

encore, live at Suwannee Hulaween 2021

 

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Theme Song: "Mazel Tov"- CALVIN VALENTINE

 

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