Monday, February 27, 2006

One For The Money, Two For The Show...

We're in our second night of back-to-back rehearsals before the show tomorrow evening and I'm finally letting myself get a little excited, a little pumped. Charles Stansell is going to be playing mouth harp with us and he's wanting to do a Delta-style version of "Gold Trails Hotel", which I think could get really out-of-control, so we're going to do it. I don't know what he has in mind, but anything goes. I just hope it warms up. It's not even 6 pm and I'm shivering in the studio at the front of our house. Given that we're going on at 10:30 p.m. on a school night after everyone's been boozing it up, please don't let it be cold too. Talk about a buzz killer.

Tonight's final run-through is going to play like the real thing, so it's natural to be a little keyed up. Performing, as opposed to rehearsing, is like letting ALL of the angels and the demons come to play in the same sandbox at the same time. Quite fun.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Schedules and schematics

We've got a week of rehearsals leading into the show next Tuesday. Playing as a trio again has been a blast from the past, since that's the original configuration of not only Mohave, but The El Reys as well. It takes a lot of mojo'in to make it work as a three-piece and Mark and Rob have delivered the goods in what would be an insane consideration for anybody; learning 90 minutes of material in a little over a month. That's psycho, but it's happenin' anyway.

I just finished working up a demo of "April Fools" that I plan to use in selling the song as well as teaching it to others. It used to be where I'd slap together a demo in a few hours using hastily programmed drum beats and a thin layer of production, letting everyone fill in the blanks later. Now, it's important to get the details right from the get-go, as a number of different musicians will be performing the tunes. Though the bulk of the show will be a traditional trio arrangement, there will be some special guests sitting in on a few tunes, adding to the party mood that we're gonna bring with us!

I've got a couple of new Irish fiddle tunes committed to memory and I've been practicing them every night, along with some other newer tunes that have found their way into my sheet music book. I ain't doin' so hot with the music theory studying, but I'm still getting adjusted to a new schedule that's killer, but super-odd for this nocturnal guy. I also got Joline back from the shop where she recieved much love and care from our man Patrick. She's been totally refretted and he even managed to fix the buzzing brace that's been sounding on some of her notes. She literally hasn't sounded quite this good in a long time, at least tuning-wise. As the frets wear down, the distances between points on the fretboard changes, making your notes sound not quite the way they should. But as Patrick was noticing when I brought her in, her sound is twenty times better than when she was new in 1994, just by nature of all the music (and other things) she's absorbed over the past twelve years, her voice has gotten quite exquisite.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Excitement in the air... well as a cold that's quite bracing, especially for ol' tropical Florida. Long underwear sounds really good this week.

I was asked to write some tips on recording dulcimers for Mac owners over at Everything Dulcimer, and it's been posted here at the Dulcitunes links page.

Tomorrow night is the Dulcimer Central jam over at the Lippy's and I'm fully intending on making this one after missing the last few. Tonight, I plan on downloading a good amount of tablature to beef up my song book, a couple of numbers have been suggested by the members, so I'm on a hunt for those. Apparently, a couple can be found here at Tull Glazener's site.

I've been working on a demo for "April Fools" this week, recording drum, bass and dulcimer parts and adding a nifty banjo loop that I edited a bit in Garageband 3, which I picked up not too long ago. That's pretty much why I've been missing in action from the blog - been buried in the glorious playground of music recording!

That and dreaming of my future Dulcitar. I've been e-mailing about specs with the creator of the instrument, Doug MacCormack, and since each one is custom-made, I'm looking into the details. The big question is: do I want to go all chromatic or go with a slightly modified traditional set-up? (Meaning, in my mind, a 6+ and 3+ fret addition. Okay, maybe a 1+ too. Oh hell, maybe I'll just go chromatic...) I'm thinking that leaping into a chromatic mode will enable me to start writing in some of the other styles and keys I've been unable to deal with through traditional tuning. But then again, a standard fret set-up would be fine, given that I'll have to learn a whole different way of holding the dulcimer, playing it basically upside-down due to the configuration of strings. Unless I had it so that I could string it the opposite way. So many choices!

I still want to get a new acoustic, but the budget is saying "give me a break!" - so I put Joline into the shop to have Patrick re-fret her and also to see about fixing that busted support that keeps buzzing around. She's a perfectly fine dulcimer - been around the block a few times (okay, been around the country a few times) - so I'll hold off on getting a new acoustic for the meantime.

Gonna lay some vocals down now - we're set to rehearse this week on Wednesday and Friday - the show's getting close!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's Been A Hard Day's Night

And I've been SO working like a dog. All the better to pick one of these puppies up.

Between working on some new material and the past three weeks of rehearsals, it's been quite a rush - but I'm excited to say that Mohave is sounding solid and ready for the show later this month at Wall Street Plaza. We'll no doubt have some guest performers to help sweeten the deal on various instruments, but it's been refreshing and quite a lot of fun to return to the band's original configuration as a three-piece. With Mark on drums and Rob on bass, this arrangement works out powerfully and some of the songs are getting a slight reworking thanks to their skills.

There'll be more to report - but right now, vocation calls....