At 77 and with a Hall of Fame tenure with Jefferson Airplane, critical success with Hot Tuna and an acclaimed solo career to his credit – not to mention an Ohio-based, home concert hall and guitar camp in Fur Peace Ranch – Jorma Kaukonen has nothing left to prove and no reason to hit the road except for the love of the music.
So when he goes out on solo-acoustic tours, he just does his old-timey blues thing and occasionally releases full-show digital LPs to document his activities – no editing, packaging or marketing necessary. The latest – 2018-10-03 YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, Bay Shore, NY – finds Kaukonen dedicating “Another Man Done a Full Go Round” and “Good Shepherd” to the recently deceased Marty Balin, missing Jack Casady, his Hot Tuna bandmate who was home in California, and joking that if he were David Crosby a roadie would bring him a tuned guitar and he wouldn’t have to futz with it.
This is the contemporary Kaukonen at his best, happy to be playing, (“it’s my pleasure,” he says often in this set) playing with precision, singing with low-key passion and delivering traditional and original blues and spiritual numbers as if 2018 New York was 1928 Mississippi. “I Know You Rider,” “Barbecue King,” “Ain’t in No Hurry,” “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” and “Genesis” all make appearances and leave listeners wishing Kaukonen a long career ahead, even though he’s earned the right to walk away.