Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh how the times have changed or maybe I'm not such a freak after all...



It's really silly but I fall in love with the most unlikely musical rogues. I cannot help myself and my musical tastes, it's as though I have been cursed to find joy where most simply don't even bother looking. When an Italian who lives in France plays a Hawaiian guitar on a totally made up song about Tahiti, "So singt man von der Liebe in Tahiti", for a German record label in the year 1938 I am all over it! I received my freshly minted CD from Grass Skirt Records in the UK of Gino Bordin recordings and they are very good. A mixed bag of music with the an optimism that is startling, I am hard pressed to define it all but I love it all the same. Gino Bordin's story is perhaps not as seemingly exotic as Django Reinhardt or as far travelled as Oscar Aleman but it is the story of a musician caught at an amazing crossroads of culture, desire and often dubious taste.
In other news I have been working on my latest piece of musical mayhem as well and have finished arranging Fanny Power by Turlough O'Carolan and I'm slowly doing Sidh Beag, Sidh Mór as well. I had originally thought that perhaps I had been the first to think of doing O'Carolan music on the steel guitar but I have uncovered a few other wackos who have also done it so I am trying to stay ahead of the game and arrange songs that I haven't heard others do yet,stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Get blasted from the border all the way back to shack...


It's radio time...Run for the border. The Radio Boys is a fantastic series that actually included plans for making crystal wireless sets in the stories, check it out: On The Mexican Border.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The revenge of the purple people eater...






Today I stooped to a new low in my pursuit of giving the middle finger to conformity. Perhaps I should revise the previous statement as I have finally enlisted help in my endeavors. My accomplice arrived via Canada Post and it's minions. It was rushed home and given the kiss of
life and it walks the Earth again. It is.

It's purple, has swirls in it and weighs almost nothing at all. It is truly the best gimmick a fat man can have and it's highly flammable. It comes from age of manufacturing where all the worlds problems would and could be solved by the plastic injection process. It's American made with good old fashioned Italian design. I feel a sudden inspiration for strumming and stammering all manner of ridiculous songs...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rivers redux and all that clever jazz...


Water is a recurring theme in all my music, my life and my well being. I am a great believer in the power of baptism both spiritual and secular. Water is a universal whether one has it or wants it because we all surely need it for our continued existence. Purification is a word used in the context of what we as humans will do to it in this day and age but for some it is the very thing that enables the sinful to wash our sins away and purify our very souls as part of a ritual older than the appearance of Jesus. Water, much maligned as a destructive force, abused by those who have too much of it and sold by those for whom greed knows no bounds. Water has a rhythm that is is not measure in bars or beats but it has the ebb and flow of a masterful time keeper. I recorded this recently as a response to another improvisation and again it's about a river...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wait, I think I hear something...


I often wonder about the power of creation and let me caution those who fear I may be riffing on a theme as it might relate to the spiritual that you may be correct. When I record my improvisations the ritual of getting ready is often mundane and without any real significance. All the things needed to record are done very quickly and then I sit down at my guitar and then sometimes subtle yet wonderful things happen.

I play a wonderful instrument I built for myself and it is truly a prized possession that has traveled some very dark days with me and has like so many of my creations it been a constant and steady companion to me. Friendships have failed, a marriage has ended and the very definition of who I am has changed but that guitar has not wavered in it's ability nor has it ever failed to make beautiful music.

I use finger picks I've carefully, obsessively, held on to through the years and a steel bar that is a perfect shape, weight and size. The bar is a reproduction of a steel that was supposedly favored by a genius steel guitarist named Sol Hoopii. I have many others and love them all but I have a first love and it's the one. The microphone used to record was a $5 find at a thrift store, the software used to record is a open source freeware that is without compare and the computer used to make all the elements come together was an incentive "gift" to sign with the wireless provider so you know it was cheap then and almost 4 years have gone by...

I am not a very talented person, I am like so many in this world who build brick shit houses over the span of years and one day finally decided it's time to christen the abode only to realize we forgot to dig a hole. My success seems to have been in perseverance and not knowing when to lay down and die when told by so many to do so. I love music because it's provided an escape and it seems to help with the sting of everyday life and it's repeated blows to the ego. Notice that I wrote that I am not a very talented person, I do however seem to posses a talent and that proposition is the crux of this post. My gift is thing that both amazes me and humiliates me in equal measure.

When I begin to play my slide guitar music it is not unlike the some less creative pursuits from my past where a metaphorical escape hatch opens up and all that matters is the beating of my heart and the seconds felt before breaching a surface into a cool breeze. It's longer than an orgasm and greater than the rush of getting high but it can't be bought or bartered and is a fickle and fleeting thing. I am struck dumb by the otherness of some of my music and I must admit to often being swept away in the power of creation and not always paying attention to remembering what I had done in the heat of the moment. Something happens to me and I feel as though I am moved beyond just my own motivations in those moments. It doesn't always happen and what's worse is the unbearable wait that comes between those moments of intention and realization...