Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dulcimerica 158 - "Dulcimer Blues Pt. 2"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Catching Up With Myself (and the rest of the world)

Dulcimers On The Green in Central City, Kentucky was the very next stop after a rowdy night of "The Pub Thang" in Orlando. I whisked up Interstate 75 and stopped overnight in Signal Mountain, Tennessee at the home of Dan Landrum, editor of Dulcimer Players News. We then set out in the afternoon of the next day and got into Central City with enough time to have some Mexican food at El Bracero and get checked into our rooms.

This first-year festival was quite a joy - great music and jams, lots to see and do. But what made this different was the entire teaching staff was given a key to the city during an opening night welcome party. Here, Mayor Jerry Mitchell is pictured presenting me with the first key. It's never happened before and who knows if it will happen again? All I know is, it was pretty darn cool.

(pictured above l-r, Stephen Seifert, me and Dan Landrum) After Saturday workshops, we had a break for dinner and then the concert at the Merle Travis Music Center.

All in all it was a lovely time - Dan and I headed back to Tennessee right after the concert and then I switched horses in Signal Mountain and continued on home to Orlando where I was greeted by my lovely wife, Jae. We then headed out to meet our dear friends from McWell's over at Epcot and proceeded to zip around, having fun as you do.

Finally, a week later, we met those very same friends on board the Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas to help celebrate Andy Weller's birthday (it had been a surprise cruise in the making for a number of months - hard to keep this secret!) We set sail for Nassau in the Bahamas and disappeared off the radar for the weekend. It was my first cruise and I'm still sort of in denial that we're back in Orlando, getting back to the grind of things.

Knowing that I was going to be caught up in the cruise afterglow this week, I took the liberty of already shooting the second installment of "Dulcimerica" dealing with blues on the mountain dulcimer - it will be posted on YouTube tomorrow morning as well as at Thanks for all of the kind words - glad you enjoyed part one!

It's a busy week here - lots to do. Hope you have a great one - watch this space for more soon!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Gear and Stuff

It's been over a week since I checked in but there's a good reason for that. First off, "The Pub Thang" went over well at McWell's - thanks to all who came out to support the night. My last post mentioned heading over to Guitar Center and there's a photo above of what was acquired.

The DigiTech Vocalist Live 4 is a dandy piece of equipment that allows me to layer harmonies into live performances and recording. From one voice to four-part harmony, it's programmable and has instrument effects as well. Jae hates it. I think it rocks the bells.

My friend Kaleo uses one. He said, "they're awesome - but brudda, you gotta be on-key." Since all of the harmony is modeled from your original vocal, it's only as good as you can make it (which is only half true since there is pitch-correction built into the unit - I have it switched to "off".) Harmonies are more effective on sustained notes and I have a habit of clipping my phrases, so right off the bat, the machine was in my face as I practiced tunes that have always wanted some extra voices during the solo show. Took awhile to get the hang of it, but I gotta say it's pretty freakin' sweet and I didn't overuse it at Wednesday's show. Honest.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Can't Think Of Anything To Say: I Think It's Nice

It was about six and a half hours up to Covington, Georgia and six and a half hours coming back; not counting the horrendous traffic on I-75 just south of Perry, Georgia. Never been a trip this quick. At least driving. I set out in Buster about 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning and rolled into the Atlanta area 'round about 1:30 p.m., after lunch at Margarita's.

"Hoosonanny", as the house concert series is called, was great fun. Everyone had a great time and Bill and Teri's hospitality was tremendous - looking forward to returning sometime for more visits, music and jams. Concerts In Your Home made it possible for artist and venue to connect in this case, so thanks to Fran Snyder for creating this avenue (wow, now that's an amalgam of "artist" and "venue", i'n't? How about "artvenue"?)

I hung out, jammed and talked with folks until 2 a.m. - then hit the sheets for four hours, got up, drove back to Orlando (with more traffic; on a Sunday? Really?), caught an hour-long nap and then went with Jae to celebrate a birthday with our fabulous friends from McWell's. And speaking of which, that brings me to this:

The Pub Thang

It's a long story about how "The Pub Thang" came to be, and if you're really and truly interested, ask me to tell you about it one day.

We'll be at McWell's Restaurant & Bar this Wednesday, April 14th from 7 pm to 10 or 11 pm - depending on how many table dancers we get. Special guest will be Roger Zimish.

What exactly is "The Pub Thang"? Besides a really stupid title for something that's essentially title-proof? It's the show I've been cultivating at Dicey Reilly's Irish Pub for over two years (back when it was still O'Doherty's.) It's a blend of traditional Celtic and Americana music, originals and a wide variety of popular music styles, including rowdy drinking songs. It's not unusual (to be loved by anyone) to have Prince and the Gorillaz bouncing up against Tom Petty, Garth Brooks and selections from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." All performed on Appalachian mountain dulcimer and Native American flute. Then, I get Roger Zimish to sit in. Roger may do a set by himself, all of the mesmerizing acoustic guitar work that he does on his originals, then firing it up with Stevie Ray Vaughn and screaming Texas blues. Together, the music takes on a shape-shifting quality as Roger and I trade off "arrangements", usually improvised on the spot. Trancy good stuff; primal heart-beat kind of groove. And Pink Floyd.

In any case - we're doing it once a month now at McWell's - second Wednesday of each month through summer (with an extra show on May 5th for Cinco de Mayo). 7 to 11 pm. No cover - great food - drink specials - fifty cent wings! Come celebrate making it halfway through the week. Raise your spirits with us and cruise on through to the weekend with levity!

Dulcimers On The Green

The day after "The Pub Thang", I make my amends to the universe by driving up to Central City, Kentucky to teach and perform at Dulcimers On The Green. Other performer/instructors are Stephen Seifert, Maureen Sellers, Rick Thum and Dan Landrum. Awww yeah, nothin' but a party up here in this joint!

Gotta run - meeting Roger at Guitar Center in South Orlando. See you soon.



Thursday, April 08, 2010

Dulcimerica 156 - "Froze In The Poconos"

It's been a busy couple of weeks; visiting, preparing for spring, attempting to chill out. Will be back with more posts as we get into the swing of things.