Saturday, May 29, 2010

Remembrance redux

Just found this one by Radney Foster. I wish we were related. I have always liked him.
It's not Old Timey but the message is timeless. Great song.

Memorial Day in the United States of America

What a mess we are in! I well remember the sixties and how tumultuous those times were. I clearly remember the Cuban Missle crisis, Kennedy's assassination, ML Kings murder, Vietnam, the Chicago riots during the Democratic Convention and on and on.

Our leaders had pushed us to the brink and we suffered for it. Some of it was purgative and ultimately good for us. Much of it was not.

Now, today, we are in a very deep dark hole and much of it caused by our incompetent and dishonest leaders. My friends, I am going to be honest with you by saying I am scared to death these days.

Many of us are.

I am not so scared as to forget the reason for this day. Or reasons.
One of them is to remember our fallen Soldiers and Sailors and Airmen who paid the price. A lot of them should never have had to do this for us. Several of the wars we have been in have been huge misadventures that really did not require our participation.

A couple of them were pretty much unavoidable and had to be won.

In any case, our men and women of the Armed Forces stepped up and did their duty for us. I thank them for what they did. Both the dead and the living. I thank them all no matter what war it was. They did not get to choose. They just went.

So this weekend, lets remember them and our wonderful (still) country, the United States of America.

June Apple flatpicked

I posted this because June Apple seems to just pick me up and bring me cheer. Certain songs do that. Blue Sky by the Allman Brothers is always there for me in emergencies when I need a musical Prozac. June Apple is a couple notches down in prescription strength but it works for me on most days when melancholia's shadow passes over me.

These two fellows do a superb job of playing this flatpicked. I first heard June Apple from a CD done by a fiddler named Simeon Magby who is an Arkansas Fiddler. This is a no label CD bought at the local music shop across the street from the courthouse at Mountain View Ar.

Of note is the lady playing clawhammer banjo backup who just nails it and just cemented June Apple into my psyche as medicine for my soul by being so joyful. Her lead on that tune was magnificent! I wish I knew her name!

Simeon btw also does a wonderful job. I recommend the CD.

I don't know the names of the pickers here. I would gladly credit them if I did.
Enjoy this.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Beavers Bend Folk Festival

I did not know about this one and will have to find a way to get there someday. Check it.

TB Blues by the Lansfords

Ramblers Blues done by the Lansfords

Another good one.

The Lansfords doing "The Cuckoo"

They are right at the top of my short list. Enjoy this.
They are based out of Galena Mo in extreme SW Mo.

Contra dance in Neosho Mo

Baled Green and Wired Tight is the band.

Old Time Festival in West Plains Mo

This is a commercial for the upcoming Old Time Festival held at West Plains Mo. Check this out for yourself. I can't wait to go myself sometime. I have no financial interest in this event (legal disclaimer as required by law)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Doc Watson Bio out

There is a new and I believe, first, biography out on Doc Watson. I have not read or seen it yet but look forward to doing so later this year. I have been hoping for this and I hope it's a truly honest portrayal. I prefer honest biographies and not puff pieces.

The name of the book is, "Blind but now I see". The author is Kent Gustavson. It's a paperback and cost's just under $15.

I really appreciated the bio on Bill Monroe "Can't you hear me callin" that was a "True" story on the real Bill Monroe.

I hope this one at least tries to do the same. Not that I expect much dark material about Doc but he is human.

I have no dog in this hunt and will not benefit if you buy it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jam in June

My jam will resume on it's regular day and time in June.

My arm is still a little sore after playing a bit but I think I need to do exactly that to as a form of therapy. Otherwise, I am looking forward to resuming it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Old Timey folks north of us in Nebraska

As part of my interest in Missouri Valley Fiddling and looking into the great fiddler, Bob Walters of Tekamah Ne. I discovered "new" groups of people who also love and play "Old Timey" music and they are not so far away.

In Avoca Nebraska, a small town in the southeast part of the state, a pair of musicians live and work teaching and playing. They like us are a reflection of the unique ethnic culture of the area.

Greenblatt and Seay live in a village size town and perform concerts and teach music. They teach a number of instruments and publish instructional books as well. They teach Swedish, Hungarian, Russian and Irish tunes that reflect the ethnic background of that area.

I have not met or heard them play. From the website, they are pretty similar to the folks at Lawrence Ks.

Check them out at

There are a number of folks that live in NE KS that might find an interest in a neighbor across the line and not that far north who puts on concerts and helps in the local fiddle contests.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Norman Blakes's Guitars

I have always been fascinated by Norman Blake and certainly his use of 12 fretter Martin Dreadnaughts had a lot to do with my own choice of a Martin D-18 VS.

Here are some of Norman Blakes guitars. They may not be the actual guitar but the actual model. I will try to ID as to each one.

On the right is a Gibson Nick Lucas Special. A twelve fret guitar

On the left is a Martin D-18H. This is his actual guitar. Or was. I think he sold it.

In his early years, he used a Martin D-18 (1934) and this is the guitar he used on Whiskey Before Breakfast and other early albums. To add a note of caution, used a number of guitar over the years including a D-28 fairly early.

This post is not trying to exhaustively list every guitar he used as it is impossible to do so.

Interstingly, Norman trades guitars often and seems not to keep any for a real long time. Apparently, this is how he helps pay the bills. Who would not love to have a guitar owned and played by Norman Blake!!!???

Bat Masterson used to do something similar. He would buy an old beat up peacemaker Colt (In NY city of all places where he lived and worked as a sports writer for the last half of his life) and sell it to an adoring fan who now posessed Bat Masterson's gun!!! Uh Huh.

Today, the rage seem's to be cutaway's with at least 14 frets. Norman Blake is pointing us toward the great tone and sound of 12 fretters. I agree with Norman. To play Old Time or Bluegrass or Country or Folk, a 12 fretter is more than up to the job and really, who needs to play up the neck in these genre's anyway. Norman certainly does not.

If your a guitar player, take a look at 12 fretters and be prepared to rethink your ideas about what you really need on a guitar.

I hope to post more Norman Blake guitar pictures as I go.

In recent years, Martin Guitars have developed two Norman Blake 12 fretter models with Norman Blakes design guidance. These really are awesome guitars. The first was a 000-28 slothead and sounded fantastic. The next one is a 000-18 and it too is just awesome. If I were to buy a new really upscale guitar, it would be one of these.

One more bit of information on 12 fret guitars.

Originally, acoustic guitars were all 12 fret. Until the twenties. It was the banjo craze that caused Martin to develop the 14 fret guitar for banjo players who wanted more.

12 fret guitars have a different sound that 14 fretters. Fuller and deeper. I definitely prefer it. Most people have no idea about any of this because the 14 fret configuration has become standard these days. With blues and rock predominating, it seems many people feel the need to play up the neck with cutaway's to facilitate that. Even Doc Watson has a cutaway and has for years.

Not Norman Blake. You never see him with a cutaway and usually he plays a 12 fret guitar. Of course, he plays 14 fretters and owns some as he has a collection of vintage guitars to impress even the most jaded.

That's the other thing about Norman Blake. His guitars are all vintage models from the 20's and 30's generally. I think he sells the Martins that Martin gives him when they come out with a new Blake model. He does actually say nice things about these guitars.

I should also mention that the Luthier, John Arnold has built at least one and maybe two guitars for Blake that he really liked.

I had heard that Norman Blake and Nancy, had semi retired from touring but from looking at their schedule, it appears they un-semi-retired. They are very busy these days.

Finally, I should mention that he played a Martin 00-40 and figures prominently in several of his recordings. I understand he no longer owns that guitar. As I said, he trades guitars. You too can own a Blake...but I expect you would pay a premium for that.

The beauty of an Instrument

I am a gearhead. I like gadgets and tools and instruments and guns and on and on and on. When I see a new guitar I am drawn like a mosquito to fresh blood. I can't help it. If that guitar has a sunburst, especially a Gibson style sunburst, I am filled with lust and yearn to pull that box close to me. Sick, isn't it?!
My first guitar was a late fifties Gibson hollow body electric. Foolishly, I sold it in the late sixties. Stupid, stupid, stupid! It has a sunburst to die for. Total eye candy.

I love the spartan simplicity and elegance of Martins too. It speaks authenticity and tone. Old Gibsons are like that too. Especially if they are beat up played over relics. I saw one in the old Mountain Music Shoppe that sounded awesome and it had a broken bridge! Jim Curley wanted $3000 for it and that wasn't happening with me.

I stopped hanging out at the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum because having gas and being broke and soon to get very broke, made no sense. Lusting for a new guitar or that banjo I want to get, or that fiddle is just an exercise in futility now.

I am grateful I have my Martin. It continues to satisfy and delight. I am a Martin man. (I would entertain an affair with an old Gibson Southern Jumbo)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mandolin luthier Dave Harvey Interview

I found this interesting clip on Dave Harvey who has won at Winfield on Mandolin and builds them. He works for Gibson. Check out his playing.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stringband Rendezvous picture

I only got a couple pictures before my dang batteries died. Poor planning.

This is Alferd Packer Memorial Stringband

Must be seen and heard to be believed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Doc Watson

I was able to see Doc in 06 or 07 here at JOCO. He was in better shape than this video. Since that time he had an operation for cancer and is reported to be doing well but he is in his eighties and you know the time is short for this flatpicking legend.

You can see he is not playing well here. Time is marching on and Doc's day is pretty much behind him now.

Have you always wondered if he really was as nice as his stage persona? From what I have heard, I think he is. I do think he is human and has his moments like all of us.

We should steel ourselves for the day when Doc is no longer with us.

Black Mountain Rag by Doc Watson

Jeff, (don't know his last name) played this at Stringband Rendezvous and made it look easy. Here is Doc doing it in 91.

BTW Jeff, I thought you did a particularly fine job of it on your relatively new Collings guitar.

Dan Crary, KC native and Flatpickin fool

Here is Dan Crary playing in Great Bend Ks

KC Ukesters

They used to meet at Mountain Music and now they meet at St Pius X which is about three blocks from my house in Mission.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Norman Blake coming to Kansas and Arkansas, Mo

Good God! Norman Blake is doing some serious touring and will be in the following towns.
1. Mountain View Ar. 6/7/10
2. 8/27/10 Great Bend Ks
3. 8/28/10 Garden City Ks
4. 10/16-17/10 El Dorado Ks
5. 10/20/10 Steele Mo.

Please go to this website to see the particulars. We need to get him here!

Nancy (Short) Blake is from Independence Mo. I know he comes here on occasion.

Instruments seen at Stringband Rendezvous

Being a Martin guy I thought it was interesting to see only one Martin there and it was not even mine. I left mine at home and I am glad I did given the weather. Still.
One Martin. The other "good" guitars seen were one Huss and Dalton and one Collings. Oh, and one Mossman.

The rest were, one Guild, and several unknowns of modest linage. I suspected one to be a Taylor but I could not see well enough but that Taylor jangle was in evidence but the bridge was not Taylor sooooo...

It was fun to see Scott McLewins fiddle with that decoration on the back as can be see on his avatar.

Lauralyn Bodle's (Alferd Packer) fiddle was made of sycamore and very pretty and sounded good.

Steve Goeke's 100 yr old banjo (Alferd Packer) was really really neat. The inlayed design on the peghead was very very cool and the intricate designs of fine detailing were superb.

Jamie Logan's Cajun accordian which looked very similar to an alpine accordian was very interesting.

Someone with Roscommon played pipes of some type I could only hear and not see. Very nice.

This is not an exhaustive list as several got by me without finding out what they were.

I observed yet again just how "quiet" the guitar is in relation to other instruments. We all know this. Without amplification it would be at a serious disadvantage. I saw no pickups on any guitars as I like normally but now I wonder if we would all be better off (players and audience) if they were used in these events where electronic amplification is used.

I did see a pickup on Mr. Goeke's banjo.

Banjo's. No obnoxious loud banjos! I like that!

I am an admitted "gear head". I have no intention of seeking recovery any time soon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My First Stringband Rendezvous weekend

Well, I am back and after a nap ready to report on my first Stringband Rendezvous.
Friday night I was the MC and stage manager which really was not much or hard but lots of fun. It enabled me to interact with the bands which was the best part of my duties.

There were five bands of differing genres of music types.
The first was Alferd Packer Memorial String Band. This was the first time I had gotten to see them live and I was NOT disappointed. They have been around a long time and have it honed to a fine point and are delightful. They are the "Old Time" fun band. You are not allowed to take things seriously with them.

Cowtown Cajun was the next band it it was the hottest band for virtuouso players. I had never heard of Jamie Logan before but now I know him to be a monster multi instrumental player. He appeared to be channeling some long gone cajun fiddler when he was on the fiddle. Like a man possessed. While not an expert on fiddling but one who loves to hear it, I was impressed with his bowing technique and how natural and effortless his playing was. He clearly has cajun music in his soul.
It was great to see Madeline who I met at a jam last year, in the band. The guitar player was a very good flat-picker playing a Huss and Dalton dreadnaught and he played lead breaks that were very impressive. Sherman Galloway. He reminded me of Dickey Betts a bit on his style. It was very subtle but nice.

Dennis Foley is fronting the band Axel and the Equators. This is a more blues, jazz and whatall group with lots of energy and drive. I really enjoyed them.

Roscommon was the closing act and played Irish music VERY well. I should have stayed at the stage to take it in better but my tent was very close anyway and I heard it all. This is a very good Irish music group.

Robin Roberts and Billie Preston came up from south central Kansas to play for us. Classic folkies. Nice people and a nice mellow sound. Some good song writing. There was a song about going to Winfield that was exceptionally nice. The song, Mild Depression was pretty good too. These are a pair that would be great around the campfire as many have discovered at Winfield. Nice spirit!

The jam scene was lively after hours. While I did not join any, a couple kept it up for a long time and some really good playing was heard.

The weather. Yes it was a little bit cool Friday night. Started raining around 8 am and intensifyed as the day progressed, to the point that the afternoon session of bands did not go on and I left. I don't know if the evening session went on or not.

This was a low turnout this year. I am sure the weather had everything to do with that. What is Stringband Rendezvous like? Think Winfield but much smaller. Garry Bury puts this on. He is involved with Winfield and the Radio broadcast they have during the festival. A very nice guy who is doing a good thing here. I hope this low turn out does not hurt the chance of another Stringband Rendezvous!

The facilities were top notch. The bath house was very close in and very clean and nice. The campground was very pleasant and clean and shady. The kids present had a blast running around the place and many campfires keep the mood cheery.

I got to meet a couple of the B Town band members and they are real nice folks. I was looking forward to hearing them play darn it!

I have a couple pictures to post here but the camera batteries gave out so I don't have many. I will put them up later.


Jamie Logan is opening a new music store right next to KC Strings in Merriam Ks! He will carry guitars, mandolins, banjos. There is a luthier too! I will post about this as I get more info. I am VERY excited about this! This will help fill the HUGE hole left when Mountain Music Shoppe failed in late 08.

Next year, clear your calendars for Stringband Rendezvous. We really need to support this event. If you live in the Midwest and have the time, come meet some new people and enjoy a real nice family friendly event with acoustic music of varying types.
You folks in Nebraska and Iowa and Missouri need to plan on coming on over and of course, bring your instruments.

In closing, I saw and heard lots of accordions of various types. This was a VERY good thing. I love accordions!

As is so true for this region, this was far from being a "pure" Old Time event. At this time, there just is not enough of us to support a "pure" event of any size. However, clearly there are a lot of folks who love fiddle tunes and I think in time something can be done to bring us together better. Maybe a picnic jam?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stringband Rendezvous this weekend

Tomorrow afternoon I head for Lawrence and Clinton Lake and Stringband Rendezvous.
Rain may be in the picture saturday but friday should be glorious.

I am ready to get away. I will be there friday afternoon and evening and Saturday. I will not stay for the evening.

I hope I will get to meet you there. If you read this blog, please introduce yourself and say hello.

I am looking forward to hearing some good playing and enjoying the company of like minded (if only as to music perhaps not much else) folks.

I will try to take some pictures and post about this later.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gid Tanner and the Skillett Lickers

Because I focus on the Ozarks and Missouri valley and Kansas and such, I don't go out of my way to talk about those folks back east. Lots and lots of other folks do that much better than I.

I have been listening to Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers tonight and am moved to say that if ever there was a stringband better than them I just don't know who it would be. They are just the cat's pajama's! The Bee's Knee's, and any other appellation you can contrive.

I want you all to know, this former yankee boy from Illinois loves me some Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers. They are my favorite Stringband period.

I won't carry on much more than this but I want you to know where I stand on this issue!

Annnnnnd.....Riley Puckett is the king of back up rhythm guitar players!

Mountain View Arkansas, Mecca of Old Timey Music

Did I say Mecca? I will probably stop using that term after this but the meaning is clear. It refers to someplace that a devotee simply must visit at least once. Mountain View is that kind of place. You must get there at least once in your life and preferably much more.

I have only been able to get there once so far. It was an "off" day with nothing much going on and I could not stay the night. We toured the city as best we could and ate lunch before making the important journey to Timbo where Jimmy Driftwood lived and now resides in spirit. I was able to find my way to his headstone fairly quickly as it is in a graveyard right off the highway.

You will not soon find any other small town that is set up for jams like this town is. In the area of and around the courthouse there are multitude of folding chairs and tables where locals and visitors hold spontaneous and scheduled jams. At times this can mean large numbers of people on a scale to boggle the mind and at others, just a handful. They used to have a stage set up permanently at the Courthouse for concerts but I think that is gone now.

Jimmy Driftwood set up his own hall for concerts and it still operates as a place for concerts for Old Timey music.

There is a competing hall across town that does the same but I am not certain it is still open.

Then there is the Ozark Folk Center. This is the facility Jimmy Driftwood helped bring. It has a gift shop and scheduled events and concerts but you will have to check in advance and not assume you can go there on any particular evening and find a concert.

There are at least two music stores in town. One has a luthier.

There is a really large Bed and Breakfast and it looks like a nice one.

The town is a classic Ozark small town. Slow moving and very pleasant. There are plenty of motels available and cabins are available at the Ozark Folk Center.

This is the REAL ozarks. Just beautiful. The hills are big and steep and the hollows deep. A sight seeing drive along ridgetops is just delightful. The down side is slow drivers on long stretches of winding road that passing is not possible.

If you have not gone yet, the drive it well worth it. There is no place like it. At least in the midwest.

I just wish I had gone when Jimmy Driftwood was still alive and had the pleasure of meeting him.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Allow me a little musing before I retire for the night.

It has always amazed me to find myself at various splits in the road and finding myself traveling down a road to somewhere I never even dreamed about let alone planned to go to.

I have read and heard all about the "Intentional Life" and "Being Intentional". For many years I thought that way. So called experts tell you (themselves control freaks of the highest order) that this is the way to be successful.

There is a lot of truth to that but the flip side of that coin is the serendipitous random discovery of unknown jewels that you did not have a clue about but found anyway.

I went through a painful divorce and during that period I had this dream that I was standing on the banks of a river in full powerful flow. The road I was to travel continued at the other side to unknown new vistas. It was overcast and scary but you knew you had no choice but to continue.

Then, a few years later, driving down the street in Shawnee I saw a little store. It was called Mountain Music Shoppe. I found myself stopping and finding a new place of wonder to explore. Taking that turn in the road changed my life.

A few years after that at the new store, I discovered Ozark Traditional Fiddling music and that changed me forever too.

Previous to that I discovered how much I liked John Hartford and just how dynamic and creative and real he was. I had not really "got" him. I never paid any attention to him. I saw him on Hee Haw and just could not understand who that nut was, what with the bowler hat! I sure get him now and could not imagine a life without his music from all of his phases.

Starting this blog caused me to explore around a bit and lo and behold I keep finding new things in this music to enrapture me. I have had the pleasure of meeting some nice folks too.

The really good thing is that the roads I have been traveling have been good roads. Bluegrass, Flatpicking guitar music, Old Time, Ozark fiddling, Missouri Fiddling, Arkansas Old Time music. It's all been good. So I think I am on the right track.

Discovering new songs can send you down a new or different road that changes your life. Have you noticed that too?

I hope you find the good roads like I did.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Great Old Time music website with free tunes
Roots of American Fiddle Music website

This is a nice site I don't think I had known about before. 150 tunes free for download. Good ones at that. With the economy being like it is, free is where it's at for me.

They also have several compilation albums for sale that look pretty good and my hope is some folks here will patronize this fine website. Thank God for folks who try to do things like this to keep the music alive. I have included this link on my link list in case your lose this or forget it.

My IPod is already full. Time to cull the chafe and bring in the good fruit. Go get you some good tunes too! Really, I don't talk that way. I do know english.

Winter's Bone the Movie

Daniel Woodrell, my favorite Ozark novelist, wrote an very interesting and gripping novel titled "Winter's Bone" which has been made into a movie and will be released in June. If you have a chance read this book and certainly see the movie.

The trailer is pretty interesting and the reviews are very good.

The book did a superb job of painting a very accurate picture of real life in the poor part of the Ozarks and how folks in certain areas really are.

It's about a teenage girl trying to hold the family together at the family home which has been put up as collateral for a bail bond by the Dad who is a Meth dealer.

However, the reason I am telling you about the movie is the music. I am told they have some good music on the sound track and these musicians who played for this movie are being featured at the Old Time Music Ozark Heritage Festival in West Plains Mo.

If I could, I would sure go to that one. Kim and Jim Lansford remarked how much they liked that Festival. They have played there several times but I don't think they are there this year.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stringband Rendezvous Update again

I will be the MC and stage manager friday night at Stringband Rendezvous. So if your there, you can see who I am friday night on stage.

I am sure you will do well to bring bug spray.

I am really looking forward to this event. I hope to see you local folks out there.
If you can't camp, come out and bring your lawn chairs and cold drinks and snacks and enjoy the good music and fine fellowship.

Bring your instruments too. Whiskey Before Breakfast Jam is having a special session there and I know there will be several impromptu jams happening.

I will take some pictures and post them here. I have been told videos will be taken and I assume they will be seen on YouTube? (not sure about that)

After a lot of rain and storms this week all should be well by friday. It will be a tad cool at night so bring covers up to the task. It will be a low of around 50 friday night and 52 on saturday night. The high will be around 70.
This is is jacket or sweater weather.

My arm is still pretty sore but I can play but not for very long. Hopefully I will be healed up enough by then to go for longer.

At least we don't have to worry about heat on our instruments.

The campgrounds are bound to be a tad wet. Mud where there is not grass I would guess.

I will bring a couple fishing poles and try for some catfish. You can't do music 24 hrs. If I am lucky I will fry fish.

Wolf Collection of Ozark Folk Songs

Lyon College in Batesville Arkansas has an online collection of Ozark folk songs. I have been perusing this for years. I suspected few of you knew about this so I am bringing this up.

The first love, of this blog, is Old Time Ozark music. I have discussed the obvious kinds of Ozark music in the past but have not said much if anything about less obvious material.

You don't hear a lot of the really old ballads sung anymore. They have largely become academic curiousities hauled out for the odd demonstration. No longer can you find the elderly lady from the deep backwoods who knows these songs and will sing them for you. They are not there anymore.

This material is kept alive by the efforts of enthusiasts who appreciate it and academicians who do it as part of their work.

At this website maintained by Lyon College, you can find folk songs and mp-3's of the material performed.
This is a fantastic resource for you to use. Go by and check it out and I am sure you will find some intersting new tunes and songs to learn.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Arkansas folk song catchers film clip

I wish I could get more of this clip I found on Youtube.

Most of these old folks are long gone now. The WW2 generation is dropping like flys around us. They had contact with a world we never knew. My first father in law farmed with Mules when he was growing up in west tennessee. Now he is long gone.

Shaped Note singing

I only got to experience this once while I lived in Southern Missouri. Not many folks knew how to do it. My good friend Elmer Shudy took me along with him to a small church in the backwoods of Douglas County Mo.

I enjoyed it but did not realize how special it was. I just knew it was an artifact from the past that still lived by the hands and voices of real people who grew up doing it and still liked doing it. Needless to say, they were all elderly for the most part.

Here is a good professional example first. From the Movie Cold Mountain.

As you can see, it's not all perfect but it's real. This clip is about Appalachian shaped note singing.

Have you felt the tug yet? What kind of tug you ask? There are a couple ways to answer that but if you feel it you won't have to ask for clarification.

Time to grab your hymnal and head to the river my friends.

Down to the River to Pray

Come with my my Brothers and Sisters, lets go down to the River and pray and study about the good old way and who shall wear the starry crown Oh Lord show me the way!

First from a croatian. It moves me.

Down home still beats uptown in my opinion.

And again, I love the sittin round the table singing. It lifts my heart in these hard times.

Gratuitious John Hartford posts and videos

Friday, May 7, 2010

I will be busy (NO JAM SATURDAY)

I might get slow here. I will be pretty busy this weekend with activities at the Lodge and I then will have to work sunday to finish another project. Then, next weekend, Stringband Rendezvous will have me camping out and jamming and listening at Clinton Lake just outside of Lawrence ks. Just before that we are having a yard sale.

So I have a lot to do.

Stringband Rendezvous will be a great time I am sure. I have never gone but I can't imagine it being less than a hoot.

Tomorrow night it is time for the jam again. I am considering canceling this months jam as some have already said they can't make it. If I do I will announce later tonight. I have had an injury with my right arm and have not been able to play and I am not sure I can play for the jam for very long.

Well how is this for streams of consciousness blogging?!

The more I consider it, the more I suspect I should cancel this one. My arm is a wreck and several won't be there. Soooooo. I therefore cancel the jam this month.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chaos in the world today

This is not a musical topic but returns to my concerns voiced in two previous blogs about how you should prepare for coming disasters. Today, for a time panic hit the markets and Wall St. went down almost 1000 points before recovering to "only" 350 points down.

My friends, this was not out of the blue but many of us have anticipated this kind of thing. The whole world is teetering on the edge of financial abyss. No matter what your politics are now, the reality is pretty grim and you should rethink what you should do to prepare for new realities.

No way can I not comment on what is happening now. No way. The world is going to change for you and for me no matter where you are, which country you live in or anything else. There is no escape from this. Government and financial powers that be are frantically working to avoid the coming consequences of too much debt. (by everyone, government, personal and business.

Todd Harrison of Minyanville has said it best and simply. We have to go through it to get past it. You cannot escape, Karma, reaping and sowing, consequences however you wish to name it.

You and me have at least this one thing in common. Old Timey music. Still, I would not be your friend if I did not pause to give you counsel on the affairs of today which are most grave. Forgive this nearly old man who feels the need to give you warning of approaching danger. We have never seen such a dangerous chaotic time in my lifetime that we are in now.

To close, I wish to offer you hope. We can all get through this. We really can. I don't mean in a pollyanna way. I mean we can dig deep and grit our teeth and can endure this and come out on the other side. It is not the end of the world. Unless some jackass politician makes some damn fool decision to start a war......

And finally my friends. Join me in prayer for us all. I believe in a loving heavenly Father who cares for his children. I believe there is a loving God watching over us who has the final say in all this we call destiny.

To close, I would urge you to see that material posessions and money are not the things that bring you the richest rewards and satisfaction in life. Your family and friends and the wider community is what should matter most to you. Draw nigh to your family and bring them close to your heart. While you can. A day is coming when you will no longer be able to embrace them and will stand before our Father in Heaven.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is what I will bring to Stringband Rendezvous

This is my festival, takin out to outdoor stuff guitar. Recording King 227. I have had it a couple years now. It's OK. Somedays it's not bad at all. For a rosewood guitar it has the tone but it's a tad too treble. I wish it was more Martin like. Recording King has had some quality control problems. I had two previous RK's which I returned and finally ended up with this one which is fine. The bridge lifted off the other two and had bad neck sets.

This one is set up good. It had a small ding on the neck but I put up with it. Yes it was new. After two returns, I was ready for a guitar that worked.

They are worth looking at but I still have reservations about them. Want a good guitar? Save your money and get a Martin. Now that's a good guitar.

Lester Flatt

While I was sitting here I had this impulsive notion to say, I am a big fan of Lester Flatt. I love his singing. I love his guitar playing. I miss him.
I met people in the sixties and early seventies in the ozarks that reminded me a great deal of Lester.

I would rather listen to Lester sing than Bill Monroe. Bill Monroe's best band was when Lester and Earl were in.

Say what you will about appearing on Beverly Hillbillies. I think it was brilliant for them to be seen there. It was done with respect. They were shown to be respectable good people and not dim witted hillbillies. They were men from the south. Not buffoons.

Look at the Dillards and the Whites, appearing on the Andy Griffith Show. In those cases the sterotypes were more on the goofy dimwit side but still the music was indisputably good and real.

The world got a peek at something really good. and REAL.

Lester was real. Real good.

Scott Tichenor and Bill Crahan

I have spoken of these fellows before. Two of the better musicians in the region. Masters of their instruments.
And I did take lessons from Bill Crahan but don't blame him for how bad I play. Both are great guys. I have not shown them here but once but I will put several more of these as there are some regular readers that will enjoy this.

You might already know that Scott is who runs the Mandolin Cafe website.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stringband Rendezvous reminder

Don't forget Stringband Rendezvous coming in less than two weeks. This is a great chance to meet some other musicians and hears some bands and play in some jams and otherwise chill out.

This is not the place to come and "party" but is a family friendly private party. In other words, don't plan on getting snawkered there and running about acting a fool.

Personally, the jamming and listening and meeting sounds like fun enough for me. I get to camp out friday night too.

Suggestions. Bring bug juice. Deet and such.

If you live in the KC and Lawrence area or eastern kansas and western missouri, come on out and join the fun and music. You don't have to camp out. Stay as long as you wish. Or less.

Will I see you there? It will be the weekend after my next jam. Whiskey Before Breakfast Jam will have a session there. Again. Lots of interesting people will be there. Ya'll Come! Hear?!

Public Service Message update

I know. You probably thought I was just being a crazy old coot when I posted the original Public Service posting on April 27th.
What has happened since then? The Oil platform explosion and developing oil leak in the gulf of Mexico is poised to be a disaster for the gulf fisheries and otherwise environmental horror.
A terror attack attempt at NY City.
Now, Marc Faber is warning about the likely chance of China crashing economically within the next year. Europe is tettering under it's debt and the Euro is in doubt.

My friends. Get ready.

The culture that gave us Old Time music and all those fiddle tunes is the same cultural memory that can help us in times like this. They have been there done that.

My friends. Get ready. It could soon be time that you will have to learn to boil those strings to get more use out of them.

Too many people live in a dream world of denial. IT CAN HAPPEN HERE!

"What do you mean it can happen here you old nut?"

Just about anything bad. Stop living in denial. Prepare. Decide to survive. Be ready for even harder times. If you think we are in recovery....well...think again.

Public Service Message update

Monday, May 3, 2010

Leo Posch Guitar Builder

Leo Posch is one of this area's most renown Luthiers. While there are other really excellent luthiers and even other guitar builders in the Kansas City region, Leo Posch is in my opinion, the Creme De La Creme.
Now this is bold talk for an old bald guy but you can find my opinion backed up by the good people who frequent the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, a few of whom own or have played Leo's guitars. These folks will tell you that these are really special guitars that have that vintage tone as if they were 80 years old already. They are basically close copies of the venerable Martin's of the thirties and forties. He does inject his own ideas and thinking along with a few from the old Gibson's he worked on.

He has been building for a few years now and from what I see he is just getting better and better and he started out really really good.

I first heard about Leo several years ago when I wanted to get a good set up on my Martin D-16 GT. Not that I could play worth a damn but after he worked his magic on that guitar, it was much easier to play and sounded darn good.

When you meet Leo in his shop which is under his house, you feel immediately that it'
s like you met an old friend. He is one of the nicest and most pleasant fellows you can meet. Clearly a gentle man with great patience. He had me play so he could see what he really needed to do with it. He really cares about what he does and you get his full attention. This is not true everywhere else. Believe me.

His website is a great place to go and see what he can do. He builds beautiful instruments. Many folks like to have him do sunbursts on the top finish and he does a fantastic job.

Go here to see Leo's website.

Be sure to check out GuitarBench magazine's interview of Leo here...

Compared to some other custom builders, Leo is fairly reasonable. However, reasonable is between 3-4 thousand dollars. This is still a lot of money for me being broke all the time. My playing is probably never going to be worthy of such a good guitar. I am already living above my raising with my Martin!

Seriously, if you have never heard of Leo and are looking for a great guitar that has a special killer sound and tone, Leo is where you should go first.

By the way. Leo plays banjo for the Midday Ramblers bluegrass band based in Lawrence Ks. They are one of my favorite local bands.

Blog notice: I have no connection or business interest or have recieved any consideration or payment from Leo Posch. This is purely a review by a customer blogger who thinks Leo is the best.

This is Leo on the banjo. This is a fun band.

Picture credits, Top picture from the rest from Leo's website.

A final comment;
This is one of the reasons the Kansas City region, which includes Lawrence Kansas is one of the best places to be when it comes to acoustic music like bluegrass and Old Timey. You can get a best quality custom built instrument that is world class and find other musicians who are likewise world class. What with Winfield's Walnut Valley Festival not too far away, and an awful lot of formerly rural folk who love this kind of music, you have the mix that makes a special place.
Sadly, the closing of Mountain Music Shoppe still leaves a huge hole. At least we have Mass St Music in Lawrence and Bentleys in Parkville.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

History of the Banjo

Nice article on the history of the banjo

Found here

And the banjo in the ozarks

Stringband Rendezvous update

Here is the list of bands and people playing at Stringband Rendezvous in a couple weeks. May 14,15,16 at Clinton Lake near Lawrence Ks.

2010 Schedule
Friday May 14th Evening Performances

* 7:00 — The Alferd Packer Memorial String Band
* 8:00 — Cowtown Cajuns
* 9:00 — Axel and the Equators
* 10:00 — Robin Roberts & Billie Preston
* 11:00 — TBD

Saturday May 15st Afternoon & Evening Performances

* MC: Axel Foley
o Noon — TBD
o 1:00 — Electric Prairie
o 2:00 — B-Town String Band
o 3:00 — Ampersand
* MC:Sean Mulkey & Scott McClewin
o 4:00 — Blue Root
o 5:00 — The Frayed Nots
o 6:00 — Kaw Mountain
o 7:00 — Mojo National
* MC: Jamey Logan
o 8:00 — The Stranger Creek String Band
o 9:00 — The Prarie Acre
o 10:00 — Highwater String Band
o 11:00 — TBD

I am going to be a volunteer and it looks like I will be there Friday and Saturday.
That's about all my attention span is good for these days. This is a good time to catch all those bands you wanted to see/hear but could not. For one trip you get a good selection.

Kaw Mountain band is a new group formed out of folks who play at Roland Manbecks and Greg McCarthy's jam.
Check them out at this site

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lester Flatt guitar playing

This is a good example of Lester Flatt's guitar playing. Really give this a listen and then think of recent Bluegrass recordings and how very differant the guitar is on them from what Lester is doing here.

And just for fun, check out Earl Scruggs on guitar while Lester Flatt is singing. Earl can play pretty good guitar huh?! Not many folks know he is such a good guitar player.

This serendipitously leads me into the next blog topic. Religious faith in Old Time and Bluegrass. This could be interesting.