"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."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Closing in on 10,000 hits to this webpage . . .

Friends,

Looks like we are soon approaching 10,000 hits from people who have checked out this little blog/journey of mine.

Seems there are a lot of people who still belive in music.

From my heart . . . thank you! I appreciate you all.

If we continue to make our individual "joyful noises" . . . it will continue to make a collective difference in the lives of the people around us.

God's grace, and the power of music still contiue to amaze me . . . ><>

I don't really have that much time left . . .

It hit me this morning . . . like it does many morning when I get out of bed, hoping my knees are going to work . . . hoping the tendenitis in my right heel will not be as bad as it usually is . . . hoping I can walk without screaming . . . hoping that the older ladies around our church will quit offering to help me cross the street . . .

It hit me . . . that I'm 54 years old.

In the grand scheme of things . . . I probably don't have much time left . . . at least not compared to the time I have lived so far.

That thought, for me at least . . . is motivating!!

It got me to thinking a bit . . . re-evaluating if you will . . . why I sing and play guitar. I mean beyond the "I like to" or "it makes me feel good" comments. I mean, I spent a night watching and listening to Noel Paul Stookey for crying out loud. It is obvious why he continues to sing and play at age 73. He has his reasons . . . the causes he believes in. He wants people to love, care for and respect each other. He really still, after all these years . . . longs for a world of peace.

I figured out this morning . . . that I want to help change the world, the little bit that I can, in the same way. I sing and play guitar / tenor banjo / baritone uke to help make the world a little better place.

I sing and play to help people who are different sing together . . . talk together . . . come to the table together.

I sing and play so children can take a mental and emotional break from the stress of a hospital stay.

I sing and play so that senior adults can have a break from the soul and life sucking monotony of living in a nursing home.

I sing and play . . . so people might have some peace.

I sing and play . . . hoping to help make people smile.

The song "Stand By Me" from the "Playing for Change" website, is one of the songs we sing in children's hospitals and in nursing homes. I love the video below. I hope you enjoy it.

God's grace still amazes me, as does the power of music . . . ><>



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Noel Paul Stookey is alive and oh, so well . . .

The Noel Paul Stookey benefit concert for Hugworks last night at Poor David's Pub in Dallas, was a great experience. Awesome is a very weak descriptive world. Double awesome. Triple awesome.

I had a blast.

Although not sold out as hoped, it was a comfortably full house, and Noel's performance was classic. He is a consumate singer, musician and showman, and at 73, he brings a lot of natural depth, maturity and integrity to what he does. Clear vocals. seasoned guitar playing, and the richness of one of the best song writing minds out there. You more than got your moneys worth. And all the proceeds went to Hugworks. Seems to be a win-win to me.

It struck me as a very intellectual concert. I'm glad I went.

A great night, listening to, and with the audience, singing along with one of my all-time music heroes.

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


Monday, August 15, 2011

Los Lobos . . . This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore

Just one of those meloncholy evenings . . . and found myself wanting to here some blues. Ahhh, that means it's time for Los Lobos!

Enjoy!

God's grace and good music still amaze me . . . ><>

Noel Paul Stookey concert . . . August 20th in Dallas

A reminder . . . the Noel Paul Stookey Dallas area concert benefitting Hugworks is this Saturday evening, August 20th.

Dallas Concert
When: Saturday, August 20, 2011
Where: Poor David's Pub
1313 South Lamar Street
Dallas, TX 75215

Time: VIP Reception 5:30 pm - 7 pm
Concert - 8 pm
VIP Tickets include: (limited quantity!)

Private reception with Noel Paul Stookey prior to the show
Autographed CD by Noel Paul Stookey
Prime Seating for the concert
Visit Poor David's Pub for both VIP ($75 each) and regular tickets ($35-$40 each)


Hope to see you there. Hugworks staff and volunteers will have nametags on, so please feel free to talk to any one of us about what Hugworks is all about.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Singing solo at Children's Medical in Dallas . . .

Today, from 10 AM - 12 noon, I had the opportunity to sing and play guitar solo in several of the clinics at various locations within the Children's Medical Center in Dallas. My partner was unable to be there today due to a health issue, and . . . well . . . I was there, so what the heck . . . I went in and sang.

First . . . for the record . . . I DID NOT GET LOST! Not even once. I made it to each location, sang 5-6 songs, and then headed to the next stop. Children's Medical Center is a HUGE place with elevators, different levels, sky bridges . . . but today I made it around without help.

Truthfully . . . I had a blast! Nothing helps song memorization, both words and chords, more than the good stress of performing!

The response seemed to be positive. I have now concluded that every person in the world knows "Wheels on the Bus." "Old McDonald" got great participation from the kids. "I Believe in Music" got polite applause from the adults.

However, we don't do this for applause. These were children and their parents who were waiting to see a doctor. Some of the kids would have procedures. Others would have exams. All would not have much of a vote as to what would happen to them.

Theraputic Music Entertainment provides a needed and necessary distraction from the stress of being a child or adult in a hospital. You know as a TME performer that you have succesfully done what you were supposed to do . . . when both children and adults wave when you walk by, and say, "thank you!"

I think I am a very good distraction . . . for the record!

God's grace still amazes me . . . it blows me away sometimes . . . ><>

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Noel Paul Stookey - Texas Concerts to benefit Hugworks

Noel Paul Stookey In Concert to Benefit Hugworks
Houston - August 19, 2011
Dallas - August 20, 2011

We are excited to announce that on Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th, Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary fame, will be performing in two locations in Texas - Houston and Dallas.

Both concerts are in benefit of Hugworks, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide songs of healing and hope for children with special needs in hospitals, medical camps, schools and at The Hugworks Center.

Join us for a wonderful evening of music with Noel Paul Stookey!

Houston Concert
When: Friday, August 19, 2011
Where: McGonigel's Mucky Duck
2423 Norfolk
Houston, TX 77098

Time: VIP Reception 6 pm - 7 pm
Concert - 8 pm
VIP Tickets include: (limited quantity!)

Private reception with Noel Paul Stookey prior to the show
Autographed CD by Noel Paul Stookey
Prime Seating for the concert
Email hugworks@hugworks.org for VIP tickets ($150 each)

Visit McGonigal's Mucky Duck for regular tickets ($55-$60 each)


Dallas Concert
When: Saturday, August 20, 2011
Where: Poor David's Pub
1313 South Lamar Street
Dallas, TX 75215

Time: VIP Reception 5:30 pm - 7 pm
Concert - 8 pm
VIP Tickets include: (limited quantity!)

Private reception with Noel Paul Stookey prior to the show
Autographed CD by Noel Paul Stookey
Prime Seating for the concert
Visit Poor David's Pub for both VIP ($75 each) and regular tickets ($35-$40 each)

Remodel at Grapevine Used Guitar is completed ...

It took us longer than I thought . . . but the remodel at the Grapevine Guitar Works store in Grapevine is pretty much completed. New paint on the walls, new displays, and more guitars and basses than Sean has ever had in stock before.

All the paint you see on the walls . . . was put there by my little Wooster roller or brush. Biggest painting job I have ever taken on.

Accessories are at the front as you come in. He also is carrying Korg keyboards, and Shure mics, besides guitar cables and other needed stuff.

Bill is redoing the guitar tech area. I'm taking him my Martin EM-18 for some needed work on the pickups.

Jordan is out front and is usually the first voice you hear if you come up or call.

It is a great looking store, and a real surprise when you walk up to the 2nd floor at the Grapevine Antique Mall and find a full service guitar store.

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Marty will soon be retired . . .

I've never owned a nice enough guitar to ever feel like I needed to retire it at some point.

That is, until now.

"Marty", my Martin DC-16gte, the first nice guitar I ever owned, will be retired to my home study in the next month or so. Song writing and playing at home will be it's new assignment. It has earned some special TLC. It has served me very well these past 7+ years.

I am looking for a Guild F50R, or a good Guild dreadnaught for future 6 string use. Possibly an Eastman. I have really taken to Guilds this past year. They are very tough, very durable, and sound very good if you find the right guitar. Whatever I get, it has to stand up to campground and fireside use, hospital use, and travel in cramped quarters. In other words, it has to be tough. For an acoustic, it has to be a log.

Marty is tough . . . but Martin's as a rule are all pretty light weight. And it has some nicks and scratches that give it character . . . but it's a 16, with a satin finish. I worry that it will not handle hard use like an 18 or 28 with gloss finish mahogany or rosewood.

I will probably never find a guitar that sounds as sweet as Marty. Oh, it has that Martin depth which Martin is so famous for. But not that sweet balance of lows, mids and highs that you get with the higher dollar Guilds.

In my humble opinion, of course.

Welcome home Marty. I plan to have you around for a long while, safe where you belong.

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

Singing at Children's Medical Center in Dallas tomorrow . . .

I will be joining Larry Dykstra, fellow Hugworks volunteer and TME Trainer, at Children's Medical Center in Dallas tomorrow. We will sing in various clinics in the Pavillion Building and then sing in patient rooms after lunch.

Yep, that's right . . . Jim Newton and Paul G. Hill will not be there . . . just Larry and I.

Larry was the first TME apprentice to go through the Hugworks TME program, and helps train new apprentices, in addition to editing the training program materials. He has some great stuff in the works, including some support research through a possible partnership with a local university.

And, he isn't a half-bad singer and guitarist.

I am looking forward to singing with Larry tomorrow, and in the future. I hope we can become "Team #2" at Hugworks, perhaps over time . . . with the blessing of Jim, Paul, and the Hugworks Board. We need more teams out there, bringing the healing power of music to children in hospitals.

I will also be singing with Larry on August 11th and the 18th at Children's.

Hopefully, I do my solo (final test) in late August or in early September.

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