Friday, December 27, 2013

Oh what the heck . . . it's my blog . . . another Smother's Brothers clip . . .

Too funny.

Enjoy.

God's grace, and great entertainers, still amazes me . . . ><>

Hello Josh Garrels . . .

Well, Merry Christmas to me . . . I do so love discovering young artists that I have not been aware of before . . .

Yesterday, I was catching up on some of the music articles through the NPR app on my iPad, and saw an article about Josh Garrels (www.joshgarrels.com).

Josh is a Christian music artist . . . but not part of (by his own choice) the contemporary Christian music industry.  If I have read things right, he has self-produced most if not all of his CD's and has even participated in a documentary film of his most recent tour.

I watched several videos of him performing on YouTube.   In a way, he reminds me of Keith Green.

I like what I am hearing . . . and will be reading and listening more.

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all . . .

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Smothers Brothers . . . Poor Wandering One / Dueling Banjos

Sorry . . . just one more Smothers Brothers video .  .  .  entertainers today could learn a lot from these guys.

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

Saving Mr. Banks . . .

My wife and I were able to have a bit of free time yesterday, and went to see "Saving Mr. Banks". 

This is an outstanding movie, and you do not have to be a Mary Poppins fan to make any connections. 

Emma Thompson should at least receive an Academy Award nomination.  She was the heart of the movie.  In the film, she portrays P. L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins book series.  Tom Hanks plays a very interesting older Walt Disney.   Great supporting cast.

The movie just works, and is suitable for the entire family.

If you have had a relationship with a parent or relative, in which they failed to live up to being on the pedestal you placed them on . . . and you blame yourself as a result  . . . go see this movie.

"Let's go fly a kite . . . and send it soaring!"

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

Friday, December 20, 2013

Acousticletter.com

If you are either considering the purchase of a higher-end price acoustic guitar, or wanting to compare several together for sound and playability . . . well, you have a problem.

Many music stores can't afford to carry more than a couple $3,000 guitars due to overhead limitations.

Alas, do not fear . . .  you can always check out the reviews and demos that Tony Polecastro does through www.acousticletter.com.

I subscribe to the site and receive all the updates to their YouTube channel.   I'm not buying right now, and won't be for a while now that I have my Martin J-40.  However, you learn a lot by watching the videos, and Tony is great at explaining the tonal qualities of the different woods and guitar shapes.

God's graces till amazes me . . . ><>

Another Smother's Brothers clip . . .

Just too funny . . .

Dick and Tom Smothers singing "Boil that Cabbage Down."

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

AirTurn BT-105 review . . .


Well, it finally arrived . . . and I am pretty happy about it.

I am not a full-time singer/musician, as much as I wish I could be.

I do get to sing several times most every week, and always enjoy doing so.  I'm the "Plan C" program/music guy" for a lot of local groups.  My schedule is flexible to a point, and I'm not interested in the money.  That by itself will get you a few invites.

Several years ago I made the intentional effort to being memorizing as many songs as I could.  Only thing . . . memorizing songs is easy when you sing a lot.  I sing in public, but 3-4 hours a week is my usual average. 

That's not really a lot of time to sing songs regularly enough to remember them well.  Let's say my ability to recall things and my age seem more and more tied together.
I got an iPad for Father's Day a few years back.  I hadn't used it that much, until my wife, a Project Director for a local engineering firm, challenged me to get more tech savvy.   So, I've been using my iPad for a lot of stuff.  I discovered a stylus I can write on the iPad with, and the I started putting all my songs that I make song-lists from (over 450 songs) into my iPad with an app called "My Lyric Book."  

Hey, no more carrying a couple of 3 ring binders with me to jam sessions, rehearsals or gigs!

Awesome!

Works great, except when I have to swipe the screen to move the page up or change the song.  It takes two hands to play a guitar.  You have to stop playing . . . or hit a long single chord . . . and then hit the forward arrow button or swipe the screen, and then start playing again.

Not easy . . . but I was managing.  I'd like to give myself some multi-tasking credit here and there. 
Then I heard from a pastor friend about blue-tooth foot pedals for use with iPads and other tablets.

Seriously . . . such a thing exists?  Before that, I had to ask, "What's Blue-tooth?"

OK . . . I admit my techno learning has happened in a slow curve.

And learn I did . . . Yep, they are Blue-Tooth pedals out there for use with iPads.  I check them out.  I got to see one being used, and try it out.  As a result,  I recently placed an order for an AirTurn BT-105  (www.airturn.com) which you see in the picture above.

Connect it by blue-tooth with your iPad . . . and step on the right pedal . . . the song sheet on your iPad moves up.  Step on the left pedal . . . and the sheet backs up.  Once the song is done, step on the right pedal, and the next song comes up. 

Mercy!  I'm like a kid in a candy store.  "Beam me up, Scotty!"

The entire unit, pedals and all, is only 4" by 6 1/2" in size.   Fits in my back pack with my iPad. 

Folks . . . if you like using an iPad . . . and you keep your music in it . . . you might want to consider a blue-tooth foot pedal.  Hands free operation of the iPad  . . . mean hands free to play more music on your instrument.

I know I am behind the times a bit . . . but this thing is pretty neat.  Combine this with some of the neat gadgets I've purchased from IK Multimedia, and my iPad has become many things music wise for me.
 
Awesome!  But I've already said that.

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

RIP - Mr. Ray Price

Just read that Ray Price passed away today.

The man had a voice . . . a classic voice.

A sad day.

However, I am grateful for his music.  I always enjoyed listening to him.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Truly entertained . . .

I have always enjoyed good entertainment.

And in the process, I appreciate not being shocked.

I watch entertainment to be entertained.

In other words . . . to have good time.

What do I call good entertainment?

Watch the video below.

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The weather did us in . . .

Well, we were ready for our Christmas house concert last night . . .

I mean, we were really ready!

However, a freak Texas ice storm this past Thursday night and Friday, and temperatures in the 20's for 4 straight days, left the area with 2-3 inches of ice and most major freeways closed or pretty messed up until this afternoon.

We got word late Friday that the event was cancelled.

A good decision.  I'm 56, and one of the youngest guys in the band.  Most wouldn't have made it.

It was a paying good too . . .  they were going to feed us.  Yeah . . . that's right. If we get fed, it's considered a paying gig.

And the food at this gig would have been mighty fine, indeed.  Shame.

Still pretty bad this morning.  I was told that the parking lot at the Downtown Campus was a skating rink.  We only had 45 in worship at one service at 11 AM, and my wife and I didn't make it.  I live 7 miles from the church, and with two bad knees, I don't slip and slide as athletically as I used to.

The weather also caused the cancellation of our 77th Annual Christmas Candlelighting Service this evening.  80+ participants . . . roads are just too bad in various parts of the community.  I hope we can reschedule this service to later this week.  More info to come about this soon.

Liz and I did get out this afternoon, after scraping the ice off the driveway.  Manageable, but you had to drive carefully.  Tomorrow should be pretty navigable driving wise, so I'm sure the gig at Dancing River is still a go.

Texas weather . . . wait 5 minutes and it will change.

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


Thought you might like to see the band . . .

Some of the good folks who make up the 1st Church String Band . . .

Front Row:  Brother Harvey Guthrey

Back Row (l-r):  Brother Charles Weems, Brother Ned Conner, Me, Brother Russ Logan, Brother Stu Spencer, and Brother Bill Haines (pianist)

Not shown: Sister Mari McAdoo (who ordered us into position for this picture) and Brothers Jeff Murphy and Gary Ingram.

I've been making music with some of these guys for going on 8+ years.  A joy!

God's grace . . . and the folks in the 1st Church String Band . . . still amazes me . . . ><>

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one . . .

When my oldest daughter and her husband (I love'em both!!!) moved out of my home (after an extended stay) . . . my wife blessed me (as she has done so many more times than I have ever deserved) with giving me my old music room back.

In my house, Bruce Springsteen is not the boss . . . my sweet wife is . . . and I am a happier man for it!!!!!!

My music room is the smaller of the two front bedrooms of our little home.  It's my spot.  I have a couple of guitars hanging on the walls, my late grandmother's piano, a lot of my music books, and a very comfortable chair.  It is where I try to spend a least half of every Friday (my usual day off) either playing guitar, listening to music, reading and praying.

It's also a very neat place for an old man to dream.

Yep, its even in the Bible . . . old me dream dreams . . .

My sweet wife (the one who always seems to be blessing me more than I have ever deserved) bought me a poster for my music room, one of John Lennon playing an electric guitar.  Below his picture are the words:

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one . . .

Yeah . . . what he said . . .

My dream . . . is to one day, in some form or fashion, open a folk music coffeehouse venue of some sorts . . . some where . . . some how.

It might be in storefront . . . or at one of our church campus locations . . . or in New Mexico or in Arkansas.

It might happen tomorrow . . . or become my life mission when I retire (provided I get to retire) along with singing to children in hospitals and for senior adults.

Thought I'd go ahead and announce it to the world today (that being the 2-3 of you who read my blog.)

Seems to feel good to my idea off my chest . . . and out in the open. 

One day . . . one day. 

I'm a dreamer, but not the only one.  Maybe another dreamer will help me pull it off one day.

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