Friday, July 10, 2009

Of Returns and Powwows and Planes and Things

I hit the ground running upon returning to Orlando; logging the video from Townsend, Tennessee and reflecting on the great time up there. Between the workshops and concert at The Pickin' Porch, sightseeing around Cade's Cove and attending my first powwow, there was a lot to absorb. That video will be coming in a little while.

We head off to NAMM show next week, so I'm working hard on some other video projects along with kicking off some of the musical productions I've been looking forward to starting. "Dulcimerica: Volume 2" and "Mountain Dulcimer In The Band: Book Three" are in that list, along with DVDs from Kentucky Music Week 2008 and 2009.

Annie arrived home on the same day, it's been good to have her back. They folks at Folkcraft did a fantastic job restoring her to showroom shape and I wasted no time doing some writing this week. One tune came leaping out yesterday and is basically dulcimer, drums and a basic structure with no lyrics or other parts.

The other song, brand new today, is actually a long time coming. Many people suggested I write a tune about Annie getting busted up by Northwest Airlines this summer, in the same vein as "Thank You Republic Airlines" by Tom Paxton. Well, after hearing and seeing "United Breaks Guitars" by Dave Carroll, I decided to go for it. There's nothing terribly unique about musicians having their gear ruined by airlines, but Dave's YouTube success and subsequent media attention is all very good news for traveling artists. Perhaps the airlines, attempting to deflect some of this unwanted attention, will actually do something about its baggage handling policies.

Dave's got a great voice and band, not to mention a deft touch with a tune - so I made every effort to steer my tune in a different direction. I took me of a rock tack, though the chorus is more Sons of the Pioneers than Son House. Here are the words - I'm working on the arrangement right now and will have a demo up sometime this weekend. It's a pretty fun little tune - many of you have asked for it, and if nothing else, maybe Northwest will hear it and decide to pay for the repairs to my dulcimer.

In the light of two well-known songs of this nature floating around out there, I took the approach of acknowledging them and making this sort of a call to arms for all musicians, as well as telling my own story. Not many dulcimer-got-broke tunes out there, I 'spect.

Only A Northwest Song
music and lyrics by Bing Futch
Copyright © 2009 J.O.B. Entertainment Inc.

you may have heard the song about the guy from Nova Scotia
how United Airlines broke his guitar
Tom Paxton hit that barrier with Republic as a carrier
and he wrote a tune to serve as a memoir

my heart goes out to both these gents in their respective incidents
and with these words I'm joining the protest
for I had just one expenditure in the shape of a mountain dulcimer
and that instrument got splintered by Northwest


Where the baggage handlers roam


You'll be taking pieces home


You've killed many guitars, for sure

add to that: one mangled mountain dulcimer

"gate check that piece"
"no," I said - "it fits right in the overhead
as easy as a cord fits in a plug"
but in Motor City, my connection had the bins all sliced into little sections
the whole plane looked just like a Volkswagen bug

I've had my share of heart-thumpers, flying these puddle-jumpers
my dulcimer in the belly of the beast
the case was strong, I said a prayer as we lifted up into the air
with Ft. Wayne as my next stop in the east


The two girls on the ground crew seemed afraid
And watched me from afar, grabbing the last bag on the cart
If I had looked inside, they would have paid
three hours later, I saw the mess
and shouted "curses to you, Northwest!"

So, listen up, American, Delta, Frontier , Air Tran
Continental, PSA , Jet Blue
US Airways, Allegiant Air, Southwest, Compass, Martinaire
Virgin Atlantic, yeah I'm talkin' to you

and all you other commercial flights, your passengers have all got rights
to baggage that is never treated wrong
and if you slip, then so will we, along comes Dave or Tom or ME
to tell the world that you suck, in a song

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