John’s Blog

29 Dec

Seamie O’Dowd

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This humble fellow from Slago in Northern Ireland left a lasting impression on me with his guitar and voice.

Thousands of years of Irish history in his playing and singing. One of the best anywhere, anytime.

Seamie O'Dowd at the Towne Crier Cafe,April 11, 2015. Credit: John Rocklin for Towne Crier

Seamie O’Dowd at the Towne Crier Cafe, Beacon, NY, April 11, 2015.

22 Dec

Dr. Ralph Stanley

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A true gentleman and amazing musician.  I was very fortunate to have been able to photograph him and The Clinch Mt. Boys.  I enjoyed a great conversation with him about BB King, Death & The Wayne County Fair among other topics.  The show was amazing but if the audience could have heard them warming up in the dressing room………….Priceless !!

Photograph Copyright, John Rocklin. All rights reserved.

Photograph Copyright, John Rocklin. All rights reserved.

20 Dec

Lazy Lester, (Leslie Johnson) @Blues 2000

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One of the best performances I ever witnessed was “Lazy Lester” at the Blues 2000 & Beyond Festival in Ellenville, New York.  I remember he closed his set with a Hank Williams tune that he played guitar on.  I saw him another time and he was great but thjat day in Ellenville was pure magic !!

Mr. Leslie Johnson, (Lazy Lester), Photograph Copyright, John Rocklin. All rights reserved.

Mr. Leslie Johnson, (Lazy Lester), Photograph Copyright, John Rocklin. All rights reserved.

18 Dec

Kim Wilson, One cool cat !!

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One night I brought Little Sammy Davis down to the Stanhope House to check out The Kim Wilson Blues Review.  Rusty Zinn was playing guitar and Gene Taylor was on the Keys.  Kim was the only harp player I ever saw who intimidated Sammy a little bit.  When they took a break though I kind of pushed the issue a little bit with Sam and introduced him to Kim and the boys.  They were extremely respectful of him and he got up and played with them.  A few years later Rusty recorded one of Sammy’s songs.  Many years later I was at The Chenango Blues Festival and the T-Birds were there.  Hanging out in the Barn I asked Gene Taylor if he remembered me bringing Sammy to the Stanhope House that night and he said no he didn’t…….. just then I felt a tapping on my shoulder and I turned around to a huge grin on Kim Wilson who said ” I Remember” !!!

Kim Wilson

Kim Wilson

17 Dec

Sean Carney, a real talent !!

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Glad to see my buddy Sean doing well in the world of the Blues !!

Sean Carney, Syracuse, NY 2008.

Sean Carney, Syracuse, NY 2008.

I first met Sean many, many years ago when I was an Off-Road Congressman for the American Motorcycle Association.  Every year I would spend a few days in Columbus Ohio & was lucky enough to have found Sean playing in a local tavern on my first trip.  We have been friends ever since and I had him play at my Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Festival in 2007.  I am glad to see him doing well as he deserves to for all the many years of dedication and hard work that he has devoted to his music.  I have been lucky enough to have worked with him as well as enjoyed his shows quite a few times.  This month he is the cover story of Blues Blast Magazine, look him up @  

16 Dec

Show Opening, Narrowsburg, NY, February 6

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I was very happy to Read this morning that I have been selected to be a part of a group showing at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance “About Face” Exhibit!!

BB King, Wilkes Barre, Pa. 3.19.06

BB King, Wilkes Barre, Pa. 3.19.06


WHAT: “About Face,” a group show

WHEN: February 6– March 26, 2016

Opening reception from 2 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 6, 2016

WHERE: Alliance Gallery, Delaware Arts Center, 37 Main St,

Narrowsburg, NY

COST: Free and open to the public

Alliance Gallery kicks off the 2016 gallery season with a group exhibition of artworks titled “About Face.” The exhibit opens on Saturday, February 6, with a reception from 2 – 4 p.m., and will be on view through March 26.

The title ’About Face’ is an exhibition about faces and their complicated expressions. “The face is the mask we present to the world. This focus on the face can draw the viewer into the subjects inner world where each expression reveals a whole array of possibilities about their personalities and emotions.” says gallery director Rocky Pinciotti who is curating the exhibition from artists who submitted work to the Alliance gallery program. “A theme typically surfaces as I look through the submissions and this year there were a number of unique works involving portraits. There are images of happiness, sadness, fear, pensiveness, mystery and intensity all through the artists focus with the personality of the face. Each artist has chosen to portray their subjects charisma, temperament, individuality and psyche in such a way that the gallery goer is pulled into the subjects world all through the vehicle of the face.

The exhibition includes an assortment of media including painting, photography, collage and woodcut prints. Artists in the exhibit include John Rocklin, Miguel Tio, Lisa LoCurto, Claire Lambe,Richard Seehausen, Scott A. Woolsey, Mark Ciocca, Akira Ohiso and Charles Maraia.

I am very excited to have my work recognized and accepted by this prestigious and important arts venue as well as humbly glad for my work to be able to be seen by many new eyes.

Hope You Can Make It !!

12 Dec

Larry Carlton, Towne Crier Cafe, 12-10-15

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I had the honor of being selected to photograph the amazing Larry Carlton @ The Towne Crier Cafe Thursday night.  See more photo’s on my Facebook page.

Larry Carlton,  12.10.15 @ The Towne Crier Cafe, Beacon New York, Credit: John Rocklin for Towne Crier. Photograph Copyright John Rocklin.

Larry Carlton, 12.10.15 @ The Towne Crier Cafe, Beacon New York, Credit: John Rocklin for Towne Crier. Photograph Copyright John Rocklin.

14 Nov

Event: Little Sammy Davis Birthday Bash 11.28.15

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Little Sammy Davis, Central Park, Honesdale Pennsylvania, June 2006.

Little Sammy Davis, Central Park, Honesdale Pennsylvania, June 2006.

If you are anywhere near Middletown, NY on Sammy’s Birthday, November 28th make plans to be at Brian’s Backyard BBQ, ( ) @ 3PM – until the cows come home.  Sammy was born November 28th, 1928 in Winona Mississippi. Sammy is a living part of blues history and is one of the greatest singers & harmonica players to come out of Mississippi or anywhere ever.  No brag just fact.  Sammy at one time had Earl Hooker, Ike Turner & Albert king in his band at the same time!!   Sam’s longtime friend and guitarist/bandleader, Fred “Midnight Slim) Scribner along with Brian’s Backyard BBQ put’s on this bash every year for Sammy.  Lot’s of special guests are sure to be there as well.

Sammy suffered a number of strokes a few years ago and is currently residing in a nursing home in Middletown but always attends his birthday at Brian’s as well as many great musical guests.  It will certainly be a Wang Dang Doodle !!  Now for a story……….

In June of 2006 I pulled off a big feat, my 1st ever chance to put on a music festival was an astounding success.  The 1st Annual Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music & Arts Festival was attended by over 3000 people and the line-up was killer. (2015 marks the 10th Annual H’dale R &R).

Sleepy LaBeef, Junior Watson, Sammy, Steve Guyger w/ Filthy Rich Mac Pherson & my Buddy Bill Hunt’s band “The Rocketmen”    Sammy’s regular band was not available and we were flying Junior in from California so  “The Rocketmen”  being so well versed in backing touring blues artist’s traveling through did their own set and then backed both Sammy & Junior expertly.  Everything was stupendous.

I have so many fond memories from that  week.  They would include being told by so many people within a space of a few minutes that Sleepy had arrived in town……you could not miss the almost 7′ tall fellow with the cowboy hat and deep booming voice in this small town……..Sitting on the porch for a few hours talking to Junior Watson about everything under the sun…….. Steve Guyger & Filthy Rich playing a late night set in The Limerick bar after hours and a friend coming up to me with tears streaming down his face proclaiming, “This is just the best thing ever !!”.    It was all very uplifting and especially so because of all the hard work that so many did to make it all happen.   The fond memories would also have to include bringing Sammy to the Open Mic that I hosted for so many years every Wednesday night at the Fireside just North of Honesdale.  It was on the way home from there that night though that stands out the most for some reason.  Sammy stayed at my house that night and as we drove past The Wagon Wheel bar on Route 652 we noticed the parking lot was full to the brim.  We decided to stop in and spread the word about the upcoming show.  Anywhere you went with Sammy, when you walked into a room he would immediately be the center of attention and this was no exception.  It turned out that it was Karaoke night and before long everyone was wanting Sammy to get up and try it.  Believe it or not they had some Muddy Waters and Sammy did a few tunes.  To hear Sammy with The Headhunters backing him up was something that I and everyone else in the joint probably never expected but it was amazing!!

The next day I took Sammy into town and we did a photo shoot in Central park for all the newspapers and such and Friday morning we got up at 3 in the morning and went on WNEP TV with Joe Snedeker to again promote the show.  After leaving the station we went to “Cracker Barrel” in Wilkes Barre for breakfast, (Sammy loved eating there).  The whole staff practically had seen us on television and one of them got Sammy to start playing and singing in the store part…….it was a delirious good time and  we topped it off by stopping by master guitar builder Peter Florance’s house to do some more photo’s as Peter had built a guitar for us to raffle off as a fundraiser.   Good times….great moogly woogly !!