Monday, June 29, 2009

Dulcimerica 122 - "KMW: 'John B Sails'"

Recorded June 23rd, 2009 at Kentucky Music Week in Bardstown, Kentucky. Bing Futch joins Robert Force, Butch Ross and Guy George in two variations on "John B Sails."

Dulcimerica 121 - "Gebhard Woods Pt. 2"

A look around the Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival in Morris, Illinois including music by String Fever ("Margaritaville"), Cara, Annette and David Lindsey ("Flowers of Edinburgh") and Bing Futch ("Pancho and Lefty")

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dulcimerica 120 - "Gebhard Woods Pt. 1"

Here's the first of a series from Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival in Morris, Illinois. First up - I perform a medley of "Booth Shot Lincoln/Old Yellow Dog/Old Joe Clark" during my Saturday concert. Yes, it's a tad underlit, but applying the backlight filter would've gotten rid of all that wonderful scenery in the background.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Musician's Nightmare

After a wonderful weekend at the Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival, I hopped a plane for Detroit and caught a connecting flight to Ft. Wayne, Indiana where I'd be meeting up with Richard Ash, president of Folkcraft Instruments.

Richard arranged a concert at the Folkcraft H.Q. In Woodburn and it would be my first visit to the home office since buying my first Folkcraft dulcimer in 1994.

The puddle-jumper that I boarded in Detroit couldn't accommodate Annie, the Folkcraft double-neck dulcimer that was custom-built for me after signing the endorsement deal with the company. So, as I've done a couple of times before, she got gate-checked and I asked the baggage handler to be careful, since it was an acoustic instrument.

I believe he honored that. And I believe that something bad happened once the plane arrived at the gate in Ft. Wayne.

The two baggage handlers there both looked at me strangely as I picked up the soft purple instrument case. Something told me to look inside; but I didn't.

It wasn't until two hours later, after visiting with Richard and getting a brief tour of the facility, that I got checked in to my room and took her out for a look-see.

A musician's worst nightmare come true.

Right away, I knew the damage could've been much worse. That didn't stop the anger from welling up inside of me as the splintered and cracked wood registered within my brain. One side of the Galax back had been crushed, as if by a heavy impact. A crack ran along the side.

With a heavy heart, I posted some pictures to Twitter and slept on it. At least it had happened not far from her birthplace.

The concert is in a few hours and Steve Ash, her creator, has already replaced the back and worked some miracles of support. By the time I board the plane tomorrow, she will be like new. But, I'll tell you something; this has taught me a valuable lesson. So, the next time I need to gate-check my instrument, I will take a picture of the baggage handler and get their name. I'll also take a picture of Annie. Then, upon arrival, I will inspect her for damage and, upon finding any, will take another picture of her along with the baggage handler who unloaded her.

Kudos to Folkcraft for taking such great care of their artists!

Sent with Aloha! via Blackberry

UPDATE: I'm home now and Annie is still at Folkcraft undergoing some cosmetic refurbishment. She'll not be coming with me to Kentucky Music Week, but I'll have her back in time for my show at the Pickin' Porch in Townsend, Tennessee on July 4th. She'll be looking good as new (and she already sounds just as good as ever.) Thanks to Richard and Steve for all of the hard work they've put into her repair - I know those guys have tons of instruments to finish for Summer NAMM show in Nashville this coming July.

UPDATE PART DEUX: Annie is home, looking as new as the day I got her (which was only seven months ago.) Since this incident, a singer/songwriter by the name of Dave Carroll has taken the media by storm with his song and video "United Breaks Guitars." With so many people asking me to write a song about my horrendous experience with Northwest, I found a way to pay homage (and say thanks) to not only Dave, but the great Tom Paxton, whose "Thank You Republic Airlines" was the original "you crushed my instrument" tune. My track is called "Only A Northwest Song" and is viewable here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Key West Dulcimer Fest 2010


Registration for the Key West Dulcimer Fest is now open! Our pre-registered folks have reserved their place in line and are guaranteed a spot. Only 200 slots are available, so be sure to act quickly or you may miss out on the first tropical dulcimer festival in America!

Some information you'll want to know:

• Temperatures should be around the low 70's during all four warm and wonderful days.

• Link for the registration form is located to the left and you can print out as many copies as you need; one for each person attending. The form has info on instructor concert tickets for non-attendees and an area to order the official festival t-shirt.

• We have an accommodations coordinator; Sheri Cabanas. She's secured us fantastic festival rates at places within walking distance of Hurricane Hole Marina, where workshops, meals and concerts are taking place. If you're planning on camping, you'll want to call her straight away, as there are only so many slots available during high season. Give her a call at 305-294-6019.

• For the best experience, plan on arriving Wednesday afternoon/evening and staying through till Sunday afternoon. Thursday the 28th will be a laid-back day of informal jams, meet-n-greet, sightseeing and planned activities. Some of the instructors will be presenting masters classes on this day as well. Friday and Saturday, the 29th and 30th will be full curriculum days:

Breakfast - 7:30-8:45 a.m.
1st Period - 9-10 a.m.
2nd Period - 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Lunch - 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
3rd Period - 1-2 p.m.
4th Period - 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Dinner will be from 5-6:30 p.m. with the instructor concerts scheduled from 7-9 p.m.
Times may change slightly. Meals will be catered by Hurricane Hole Restaurant and will be available for a nominal price.

Sunday, the 31st, we'll have some more masters classes, gospel jam, informal jamming, sightseeing and winding down, leading up to a glorious sunset cruise upon a sailboat in the Gulf of Mexico at 6 p.m.

We'll have more details on some of these events and we've got a lot more planned. You'll not only have plenty of time to soak in the island atmosphere, see the sights and enjoy the warm weather; you'll also get a good solid stream of instruction and jamming for mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, autoharp, pennywhistle, steel drums, guitar and more!

Conveniently located at the Hurricane Hole Marina are charters for fishing, scuba-diving, para-sailing, kayaking, long-boarding, wave-runner rentals and more. The venue is located across the highway from the Key West Golf Club and Resort. Island AeroPlane Tours offer old-fashioned biplane rides high above Key West or, for those who wish to keep their feet close to earth, the Conch Train gives great tours of "Bone Island."

Be sure to bookmark, subscribe and otherwise stay connected with the official website at:

for pictures, video, links, updates and the latest info on the festival. We also have a YouTube page featuring performances by our staff of instructors:

and finally, we're on Twitter! Not only is it a great way to stay informed (updates can be sent right to your phone) but it is also a neat way to communicate with other festival-goers, and we'll be using the Twitter service in some fun and exciting ways once we're headed down to the island:

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at: - we've got a staff of people working on making this an extraordinary experience for everyone who attends!

Mahalo, and hope to see you on the beach in Key West!

Bing Futch
Key West Dulcimer Fest

Friday, June 05, 2009

Catching Up

Just got back from Key West and it was heavenly. Nice to escape all of the rain, sirens, minibikes, screaming neighbor children and howling dogs for awhile. Most of the time was spent sitting on patios, boat decks and in comfy chairs strumming my dulcimer and simply enjoying the music with no agenda.

Now, back home, there's plenty of agenda, including the continuing production of "Dive!", which resumed this week. The album is beginning to take a definite shape and theme, with the inclusion of a couple of tunes that I didn't think would end up here ("Artist", "Nine One One".)

A good portion of today was spent printing out lead sheets for "Drinking Out Loud", "Icarus" and "April Fools", all of which will go into rehearsal mode for inclusion in my live set. A new tune, "Big Fish, Little Pond", has been actually cooking for a few years and now's the perfect time to bring it out into the open.

Lots of stuff happening over the next few weeks, starting with a solo show tonight at the St. Cloud Hotel and Spa from 7-11 pm. Next week begins a four-state tour as I visit Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The temporary sunshine that gloriously warmed central Florida is now giving way to black clouds and distant rumbling - better put a cap on this post before the power gets knocked out by one of those many lightning bolts that have been hitting the ground, fence posts, telephone poles and power lines around here. Have a great weekend if I don't see you tonight in the Easy Street Lounge!