Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2014

Taking a short break . . . I'll be righttttttttt back!

Greetings to the handful of folks who read this little music and life blog of mine.  I hope you are all having a good day.

I will be taking a short break from blogging for a week or so.  I've got a medical test coming up followed by a little trip with my wife to take a needed break before the holidays come upon us full bore.  

I will be "right back" in a couple of weeks.   I appreciate you all.

God's grace, family, friends and fellow journeyers on the musical trail . . . still amaze me . . . ><>

Oldies but goodies . . .

On the 4th Mondays of the month, I sing at the Meadowood Assisted Living Center in Grapevine.  I begin back in the Memory Care section, and sing for about 30 minutes. Then I move up to the front of the building and sing for about 45 minutes to an hour, or up until lunch time.

Today, I wanted to do something different.  So, I sang as many of the old Cowboy and Folk songs that I have on my iPad. 

Now get this, I am singing songs like "Clementine", "Red River Valley," and "Ghost Riders in the Sky" . . . and one of the gentlemen there (who is probably in his 80's) says to me, "my dad used to love those songs."

The man is in his 80's, and he says that his dad loved the old folk songs. 

That puts things into a little perspective for me.  Good music is always good music.

After I sang "Do You Remember Sweet Betsy from Pike," another of the residents asked me what the song was about.  Well, one resource I had checked earlier said that…

Tyler Jackson on tenor banjo . . .

I went looking today on the internet for Tyler Jackson, our bass player here at the church several years ago.   I wanted to get his advice on who to take my tenor banjo to for some repairs and set-up.

Thanks to YouTube, I found a video of Tyler playing a tenor banjo that his company had for sale.

Enjoy.  Listening to Tyler play banjo is a treat.

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


A full circle return to the banjo . . .

My mom is visiting this week.  Yesterday afternoon, at her request, I took out the Gibson banjo to show her.  Then I got out my old Kasuga 4-string tenor banjo.
And the fun started!  I played and sang with that old banjo for over an hour.
I haven't played that tenor banjo in many years.  At one point back in the 1990's, it was about the only instrument I played.  That was before I got my first good guitar (a Martin D-16gte).  I wanted to improve my guitar playing, so I shelved that banjo for a while.
A long while.  I think I have used it once in the last 10 years, and that was for a children's message during one of our worship services.  People still talk about that day.
Gosh, the strings on that old banjo need changing awful bad.  I went online, and new strings are only about $3.00 a set!!
It could use new tuners and a new head as well.   That will be a little more expensive.
Despite needing strings, it was a blast to play it again, and rip into it good.  I tune my tenor…

More thoughts on when a hero or mentor dies . . .

I shared in an earlier blog about the recent deaths of some of my music heroes,  and the recent death of my long-time music mentor.

I asked the question, "what next?"

Many years are spent by many people as they learn the music craft by watching, listening (and often copying) other singers and musicians.

If you know anything about Gordon Lightfoot, and how he strums the rhythm for most songs, and you hear my main rhythm style, you will probably notice a similarity.  I did not know this until someone pointed it out to me recently. They were right.

In my recent banjo playing, I find that I have been trying to play claw hammer style like Pete Seeger.

When I play native american flute, I find that I listen to N. Carlos Nakai, and try to play like he does.

I don't really have a favorite harmonica player . . . but I do like to listen to folks who play the old folk style harmonica.

It has been said that imitation is the best form of flattery.   I would agree with this.

Now, bac…

What a way to start the week . . .

I don't know about you, but the end of the week, for me, is Sunday. 

My entire work week is focused on getting ready for Sunday worship and Sunday meetings and classes.

Sunday is the "end" of a week of effort and planning.  Sunday is culmination of six or more days of focus.

Therefore . . . Monday, out of necessity,  has been the first day of my week for very, very long time.

As I have written before, on most Monday mornings, I have the opportunity to sing at different retirement and assisted living residences in my immediate area. 
And, I also now sing on the third Wednesday mornings of the month as well.

Singing is a great way to start the week.  It's the best way for me personally.  Singing on Monday helps me shake off the fatigue from the previous days work at the church.  Singing on Monday also helps me focus on what lies ahead in the upcoming week.  I guess one could say that singing on Mondays is my time for a mental, physical and spiritual workout.  It tak…

17 years ago today . . .

Seventeen years ago today, John Denver died in a plane crash in Monterrey Bay in California.  I was in my home in Waco, Texas when I heard the news.  A sad day for me and for many who grew up in the 1970's singing Country Roads, Sunshine, and Rocky Mountain High.

I am old enough to believe that there very few guarantees in life.  In the grand scheme of things, despite the advice of others, we aren't really in control of much in life.

I believe that everyday is to be appropriately received and celebrated as a gift from God. What we can control in lives are our reactions and our responses to what we experience and all that happens to us.  Come to think of it . . . a lot of great songs were written with this in mind.

Pslam 100 asks us to make a joyful noise wherever we are, and especially when we come before the Lord in worship.  Our lives should be a song.  Why?  Well, I believe that there is music in all of us. 

Sing the music inside of you now!  Sing the music inside of you t…

When hero's and mentor's die . . . what next?

This has been one of those years.  If I was any kind of songwriter, I would have written a lot of songs this year.  It's been a year of personal growth.  It has also been a year of personal loss.

My very first music hero, Pete Seeger, passed away in January.  I first became a fan of his music back in my teenage years, when folk music was all that we pretty much sang in our youth group down in McAllen at the St. Mark United Methodist Church.  We sang the same songs at district church camp in Weslaco, or at Mount Wesley, our annual conference church camp in Kerrville.  How I remember those grand music circles composed of guitar, banjo and harmonica players, with everyone singing. And this was back in the days when we did not have good mics or sound systems.  Sometimes we gathered together in assembly or fellowship halls.  Sometimes we would gather and sing around a campfire at church camp or at the beach.  Often we sang in people's living rooms.  We sang outside in area parks.  …

Banjo picture

I wanted to post a picture of the Gibson long-neck banjo that I received from Riva Laughlin after Joe passed away.  It will be played!
God's Grace still amazes me ... even when I am missing a friend ... ><>