"But music was his life, it was not his livelihood, and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole." - Harry Chapin - chorus of "Mr. Tanner."

Friday, April 30, 2010

1st Church String Band . . . May 1st

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 1st, several of my 1st Church String Band brothers will join me for a concert at the Parkwook Healthcare Center in Bedford at 2 PM. We will be singing in the main gathering room in the Alzheimer's Treatment area in the back (south) of the complex.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Monday, April 26, 2010

In memory of Mr. Floyd Dakil

I recently shared that I got meet one of my musical heroes, Mr. Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. That was a great day. I had goosebumps on my arms.

I heard yesterday that another of my heroes and friends . . . a mighty fine man and a great guitar player, Mr. Floyd Dakil, died over the weekend. And I had to admit that I had to sit down after hearing the news. And I had to wipe a tear or two away as well.

That's life . . . with ups and downs . . . goosebumps and tears . . .

Floyd was the best electric guitar player I ever got to hear, and see play. He had a long professional music career, with both ups and downs, all beginning in Dallas, TX years ago with his hit record, "Dance, Franny, Dance." Other records and gigs followed over the years. He had come back home to the D-FW area several years ago.

He sat in with us several times at our community jam sessions on Thursday evenings at the Grapevine Antique Mall. He also played lead guitar for our 1st Church String Band at a couple of our concerts.

He was a fixture at the Grapevine Antique Mall here in Grapevine, where he taught guitar lessons. He was one of the best guitar teachers. He gave me a couple of lessons . . . and a ton of encouragement.

At our jam sessions or rehearsals, he would sometimes stop us to offer a word of how to do something a little different, or to help adjust our tempo. I have to admit, that our best sound, both vocally and instrumentally, came after Floyd took time to work with us. I hope, now, that we all thanked him enough.

He will be missed by family and friends, and by the guys in our 1st Church String Band.

I will miss him very much.

In the midst of sorrow and grief, God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting to meet Noel Paul Stookey . . .

It was a distinct and honored pleasure to get to meet and spend a few minutes this past Thursday with Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.

P. P. and M., are one of my favorite groups, and Noel especially has been one of my favorite singers, guitarists and song writers ever since I first picked up a guitar back when I was about 15 years old. He is a very gracious and generous man. He spoke about how all of us have the ability to change our lives as well as the world. All we have to do is "spend less time thinking about it, and spend more time doing it." He is a man who believes that one person can make an enormous difference.

I have to admit, I had goosebumps on my arms while he was talking.

This was a special gathering hosted by the Board of Directors of Hugworks, which was founded by my friend and fellow UMC clergyman Jim Newton. This is the group which I have started my therpautic music performance intership with. Noel has been involved with this ministry, , since 1985.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

12 string guitar update . . .

Employees at the Customer Service Department at the Martin factory in Nazareth, PA helped me find it.

I went to see it in Corpus Christi, TX.

I played it for an hour. with a smile on my face, and my loved one sitting by my side.

I bought it with a smile on my face.

I brought it home, with a smile on my face.

I named it in honor of the Gulf Coast of Texas that I love so much.

And now "Christi" is calling me to come play it.

Ah . . . the journeys a musician takes during their lifetime.

And there is a smile on my face!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I found it ....

After several months of searching, and a couple of phone calls to the customer service department at the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA, I have finally found a music store in Texas that has a Martin J12-16 twelve string guitar.  

It's only 350+ miles away.

Do I really want to drive that far to look at a guitar???

Decisions, decisions. 

Can anyone say "road trip?"

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Monday, April 12, 2010

Now the CD is "officially" finished . . .

It is finally finished.

Hallelujah! Pass the jam and biscuits please!!!!

Copies of the CD will be available after worship beginning on April 25, but you can order one now through the FUMC-Grapevine website, or come by the church and pick up one from Katherine Hunter or myself.

We are asking for a minimum donation of $10 for each CD. 100 % of the proceeds go toward support of the Kenya Kids Can Project in the Rift Valley in Kenya, and to Hugworks.org.
Thank you to all who provided various means of support for this project.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Monday, April 5, 2010

A prayer finally answered . . .

5 years ago, because of a grant I received, along with the generosity of two good friends,  I acquired a Martin DC-16GTE guitar from Heart of Texas Music in Temple, TX.  It was the first really good guitar I had ever owned in my life to that point.  

My guitar playing began to improve dramatically as a result . . . the Martin was set up correctly, it was fun to play, and had that awesome Martin sound I have come to love so much.

I began longing to improve as a player . . . and took the matter to God in prayer.

My prayer centered on someone, I imagined it was someone older, coming to see me and saying, "I understand you play guitar."

"Yes, sir . . . at least I try to play the guitar."

"OK, show me what you got."

With that, I would take out my Martin, and then play and sing some songs.  When finished, I imagined my new friend saying, "I play guitar also, let me give your Martin a whirl."

With that, he would take my guitar, and play so well that it would blow me away.

Then, my prayer was that I would hear my new friend say these words, "Boy, you finally ready to learn how to play and sing?"

"Yes sir!"

I think my prayer may have finally been answered.

This past Friday, Good Friday as a matter of fact, I submitted my application to enter the apprentice/intern theraputic music performance certification program through Hugworks.org.

Friend and fellow UMC pastor, Jim Newton, is the founder and president of Celebration Shop/Hugworks, a ministry which provides theraputic music performance to children in hospitals all over the county, as well as music therapy at their ministry office in Hurst.  

The program will take me about 6 months to a year to complete.  It requires a vocal and instrumental audition and learning 20-30 songs. It includes instrumental and vocal coaching by Jim and his partner Paul Hill, along with peer group participation, and singing under supervision as several area hospitals.

I think I am getting ready to learn a lot about singing, and about playing the guitar.

And . . . I know I am ready.

Thank you God, for answered prayer.  

God's grace still amazes me . . .  ><>