Friday, December 30, 2005

Demo, Demo, Audition, Audition

And that's pretty much all I'm doin'. Eating, sleeping and working enter the picture on occasion, but they are quite bashful about staying long.

As I complete some of these, they're going up on the MacJams site. The demoing of older songs that Mohave's played are for the purpose of auditions as I arrange some of the tunes differently. "The Irish In Me" is one that I'm working on now, along with "Neon Tiki", both of which I hope to have finished next week. This weekend, I'm passing off a disc to a local drummer that I've jammed with before. In a few days, it'll be five months before the South America show, so time is not only flying, it's booked a round-trip in coach!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Yeah, Too Much Eggnog

It's my birthday. Actually, it ended about an hour ago, but I'm hanging on. Eggnog. Rum. Yum. You get the point.

I just uploaded a version of "Ventura" to - after going to Kobe near Universal with some friends, I've been working on it all day, part of my drive to get a bunch of songs demo'd for whatever purpose may suit.

Went to see Rob Thomas last Monday in Tampa. I'm not a huge fan, but I appreciate his music in a big way, especially "This Is How A Heart Breaks". We hung out after the show and, like a freakin' groupie, I got him to sign "Dee" - so, now I've got three Grammy winners signatures on her. Sweet.

Music is the only thing that can save me. I was talking to my step-grandmother about this today. A great quote: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

Jesus said that.

I've got some issues to deal with through my music. God gave me the gift, and as I can use it to cure myself, I can also present it to so that others can identify. Music that gives as it cures. Whatever the hell it takes - because I want to make music, but I've got to exorcise these demons.

My mom's death. My father's death. My grandfather's death. My aunt's death. My cousin's death. The death of the bond with my family. The death of my innocence.

I've got a lot of mourning to do.

And celebrating! To balance things out - there's so much to celebrate. The big jam we had last weekend, celebrating my birthday along with that of Rob from Cadillac Recipe and my attorney, Steve Belle - it was a massive love-in, of food, music and good times. It was beautiful, thank you Jae, and it also served as this catalyst for getting some new musical things done. The pipes are percolating.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My First Dulcimer Jam

I just got in from the dulcimer jam at The Lippy's; what a blast! Of course, it took me almost two years to attend after I first met David and Kim at the Central Florida Fair, where they performed with a couple of other dulcimer groups. They were very welcoming, as were the other members, and the first thing I noticed was how nice everyone's dulcimers were! I love my Joline, but she's seen better days - and her frets are so worn down that it takes some effort to nail the upper register. Nevertheless, she sang beautifully.

Soup and bread was served at 6:30 pm - a sort of roasted tomato bisque - and a lady named Erline brought pumpkin bread which was all kinds of delicious. Then everyone took a seat in their cheerfully decorated living room and we began to play. Of course, I didn't have any of the music that the circle called out, so I was given copies to read, and it was just about all sight reading for me, since the tunes were not familiar to me. Talk about a crash-course! Each member chose a song that they wanted to play, after we had gone through three Christmas tunes: "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", "Upon The Housetop" and "Joy To The World."

There was "Black Mountain Rag", "Southwind", "Farther Along", "The Boatman", "Edelweiss", "Chickens Crowin' At Midnight", an unusual piece called "Lame Tame Crane" that we played in a round, "John Stinson's #2", "River" (which had some hauntingly beautiful changes), a couple of tunes from Stephen Seifert's "Join The Jam" book ("Johnson Boys" and "Sugar Hill"), "South Callaway Waltz", a super-fun piece called "Nutfactory Shuffle" (don't you love some of these titles?), "Rocky Top" and we ended with "Amazing Grace."

When it was my turn to call a tune, I luckily had memorized "Whiskey Before Waltzing", and so we played that. When it came around again, I de-tuned to D-A-A (we'd been in D-A-D, pretty standard for most dulcimer folk) and called "Cripple Creek" - which was a different version than most of them played, which seems to be the case across the board; there are many different versions of tunes due to some of them being passed down by listening rather than notation. It was good to know how the group normally plays it, so I have a clue when jamming it with others.

David asked me to play an original, so I played my "Amazing Grace", which has been posted over at Dulcitunes.

It was a terrific time, and a total rush, since I had never heard 80% of the material and was sight reading as we went along. The sound of a room full of dulcimers is one of the sweetest things you'll ever hear. I'm looking forward to the next jam, which is on the 20th. This time, I hope to come armed with pages of tablature!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Practice, Practice

I've been nose-deep into dulcimer tablature, working through tunes and memorizing them. My goal is to have an hour-long set of instrumental music in memory by summer, so pretty much any spare moment I've got is spent plucking away. There are worse ways to pass the time!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Photo/Two Reviews

The Orlando Sentinel reviewed Cyndi Lauper's show today and Connections Magazine hit the streets with a review of clear blue trickling:

Mohave is a folky/jazzy band that reminds me of being on Bourbon Street. They have a really catchy sound and a steady rhythm throughout all their songs. There aren't too many bands like Mohave that are from Orlando. I love their use of horns and keyboards, and the first harmonica solo by Automatic John is excellent. The vocals of Bunky Garrabrant and Bing Futch are strong and potent, like they teach singing lessons for their daytime jobs. I was impressed with each song's different sound techniques and the synergy of the whole band. Definitely a CD worth picking up.- Kayla Anderson

Thanks Kayla! That sure puts a spring in one's step!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Well, I managed to pull it together and go to the show, which was phenomenal. She and her band put on an incredible show, during which the dulcimer took front and center stage on many tunes, including "All Through The Night", "Time After Time", "Above The Clouds" and "True Colors." Cyndi bopped, danced, rolled around on the stage, stood atop the grand piano, climbed speaker columns and sang like I've never heard her sing before - what an amazing voice she has! Her band was tight, and she seemed to keep them on their toes, changing up arrangements and guiding them through stops, starts and dynamics. Besides drums and bass guitar, there was a fiddle player and a guitarist (both of whom also played dulcimer at times) and a keyboardist/pianist. Opening act was Jill Sobule ("I Kissed A Girl"), who performed with only her guitar and captivated the audience. She joined Cyndi on-stage for a few songs, during which she proclaimed "Dulcimer is hot!" Cyndi also introduced the dulcimer to the crowd by saying "by the way, this is a dulcimer. I'm not supposed to talk much about that because people get confused. Are you confused?" She closed the show with "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", and as she said her final goodbyes and thank-yous, I ran outside to the truck, grabbed "Dee", the dulcimer that Willie Nelson and band signed a few years back, and then waited by the backstage exit along with some other die-hard fans for two and a half hours.

I'm happy to say that I had the chance to have Jill sign "Dee" (she strummed the strings as she signed) as well as Cyndi, who looked worn out at 1 am - and seemed torn between socializing and retreating to her tour bus, so she compromised and signed from within the bus, with her manager handing my dulcimer to her. Mission accomplished!

During the show, Cyndi passed out wristbands for the Matthew Shepard Foundation that were stamped with the words "Erase Hate." Showing her heart as a peace-loving person who believes we can still change the world we live in. If only more artists would use their music and their celebrity to convey such a beautiful message - we might get to that goal a whole lot quicker. It was a beautiful night - and a blessing to be able to attend the show.