Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blues Method For Mountain Dulcimer 101: It is finished.

"Blues Method For Mountain Dulcimer 101"

Download a ten-page excerpt, with ten mp3 tracks, here!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love, love, love....all you need.

The wonders of Orlando in mid-winter; toasty warm sunshine and freezing breezes. Ironically, it's the coldest set I've ever had and judging from the responses of other artists on the bill, the feeling was mutual.

Still, it was a great time at the 10th Annual Orlando Folk Festival, hearing great music, checking out the art, catching up with old friends and making new ones; ain't that what it's all about?

Saturday had a full slate of acts, so this was the second day featuring Highway 19, Flat Mountain Band (with Russ Gaspard and Carter Everett), Magda Hiller, Dish and Laurel Lee and the Escapees.

It got me to thinking about how little I perform in central Florida any more. Besides the monthly show at McWell's, I'm pretty much doing private parties and weddings when I'm home with the other shows taking place on the road somewhere. Not that I'm complaining, since seeing so much of North America last year was the highlight of a lifetime. Still, there's something to be said about getting home after every gig, so I'm starting to look at doing more shows here in the state. This was a nice taste of what is was like starting off in the local Orlando scene circa 1998. Everybody supporting everybody else, cool relaxed vibe, great music and passion and humor. I do suppose those days continue to exist inside all of us!

What Is Going On?

Just a general query, I'm sure. So, I'm about two-thirds through with the blues method book for mountain dulcimer - it's an intro method with an advanced method to follow probably in the late fall. Target completion and publishing is late-winter at which point I'll go into production on two books commissioned by Folkcraft: a beginner's method book and a chromatic method book. Needless to say, I'm recording in between the breaks of book copy and still drilling away at "Dive!", which gets weirder and weirder with each new bit of carving.

Next, and last, show in Orlando for a month will be March 1st at McWell's at 6 pm in the front room. This will be the first show with the new addition to the gear pile, the Handsonic 10. I've been lusting after one of these things for awhile now and am happy to have finally added one to the set-up. It's not a drum machine, rather it's a drum trigger with pads and a bank of killer sounds so I can set up a beat and layer it with the looper pedal, quickly providing any kind of backup percussion I need for a song. From standard drum sets to exotic hand drums and special effects, it's much more groovy for creating rhythms because you're actually playing on a rubber drum head like a conga or djembe shape. Much more organic and dynamic than trying to knock out beats on an iPad.

So, in between the cracks of everything else going on, I'm rehearsing with the Handsonic and experimenting with ways to implement it. It's quite incredible and more than a lot of fun, not to mention a good workout!

Shortly after the McWell's show - I'll be hitting the road for a couple of weeks. Looking forward to seeing the beginnings of spring across the country, as I'm sure are many of you as well. I know it's all relative but, cold to you is cold.


We don't need the retail industry to tell us how cool love is, and any day of the year I'd wish you love. So how about bold strokes of splashy, dauby love for this week? All the better to hang on a wall proudly and admire with appreciation for those colors and the soulful sentiments that go along with them. It's all you need. Love!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Where Did The Month Go?

Had a brilliant time down in Key West; relaxing as it should be with some great friends making great music. Of course, Robert Force was there, bringing with him that walkabout spirit of discovery and wizened wonder. With him was Scott Snyder, a fan-turned-friend of Force's with a dynamic style all his own on mountain dulcimer and a number of other instruments as well. An encyclopedia of tunes and their origins, Scott and Robert were the entertainment for those who weren't actually playing in the jam and had no interest in listening to hyperactive fiddle tunes. Gary Zimmerman, who gigs seven nights a week there in Key West, had his fiddle on-hand and jammed with both groups; first the traditional jam on the deck and then sitting in with the pop music set, which also included lots of original tunes and folk songs.

There was a nice gathering of folks who came to take private lessons and jam, enough to fill the backyard at Casa Cabanas with the presence of those sharing music and really good Cuban food. Much like the Kindred Gathering, the legendary traveling celebration of anarchy and music in the Pacific Northwest, it's been said that this approach to an annual Key West Dulcimer Gathering is probably the best. Based on the good time had by all this year, I think they're right!

Again With The Extremes

So sooner had I gotten back from tropical climes and island breezes, it was time to hop a plane and head to Ft. Collins for the Colorado Dulcimer Festival. Steve Eulberg and Bonnie Carol put this event together with the help of volunteers and it was an awful lot of fun, especially with the absolutely radical amount of snow that dumped over the weekend. The workshops, concerts and food were awesome, but there was just an extra little layer (or five) of magic that came with the snows. That and I met some of the most interesting people on this trip, from the airport to the classrooms - it was a wonderful experience!

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend a blast!

Booking March

I'll be performing at the Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival in Palestine, Texas on the weekend of March 29th. Looking for pubs, clubs, festivals, library and school shows, house concerts and workshops starting March 16th and working our way from Florida. If you are interested in filling or suggesting scheduled dates along the route, please drop me a line!~

Next Shows: Orlando Folk Festival and McWell's

The Orlando Folk Festival is February 10 - 12 at the Mennello Museum of American Art (900 E. Princeton Street, Orlando) and I'll be performing on Sunday morning. That's the only February show in central Florida, so I hope to see you out if you can make it. The only central Florida show in March will be at McWell's (4757 S. Orange Ave., Orlando) on March 1st and then I'm gone for Texas by way of who knows what?

If you see some empty dates around my calendar and would like to arrange a workshop or concert, school program or presentation, please drop me a line!

Thanks for your continued support; sho na bish and blessings to you!