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Hi! I just noticed I haven’t talked about my new band Halcon Cara yet, so here is the start of the skinny.
Tommy from Woodgrain had written and recorded some songs and made some videos while he was convalescing for a few weeks, and they were pretty cool. He and Virginia Meza (from Kay Odyssey, Jackie Ono, and the Unhung Heroes) were jamming it out and invited me, and I immediately said yes. So far we’re all instrumental, and it’s a super fun band. We have an EP, Aeon of Horus, we recorded with Chico at Estuary on Spotify (as well as the LP of Tommy’s original tunes). Here is our first band video for the tune Currents. Enjoy!
While I was writing and recording The Fall Will Probably Kill You, I experimented with the Orkney Tuning and, although none of those sketches got turned into tracks for the album, I enjoyed it a lot.
Orkney Tuning is very strange – it is familiar in some respects, yet very different from expectation in many others. You can get into a little groove thinking you have it all under control, but then one little misstep, and you are suddenly way outside of the lines. It is lovely and brutal.
Continue reading “Orkney Tuning Improvisation | Video”
“Gilyaks #2” is track on the Zirque Bois d’Arc album, Songs About Russia. Several years ago I spent a few weeks noticing videos from Russia and thinking, almost every time, how different it must be.
Continue reading “Songs About Russia: Gilyaks #2 Video”
Walter Becker has passed away at 67. That’s sad – it seems young these days. He played his share of rock-n-roll and made some bad decisions along the way, but his friends stuck with him. By the time Steely Dan started touring again my infatuation with their seven masterpiece albums had mostly been diverted into other pursuits. On Saturday evening, though, I saw some folks on my Instagram posting photos of Fagen playing at ACL Live, and I thought to myself, “I should make an effort to see those guys.”
But by Sunday morning it was already too late.
Continue reading “Walter Becker, Steely Dan’s Guitar-Side”
Here it is, just in time for labor day! The fabled fourth album, Mission to Mars, from The Fence Sitters, is now available worldwide! You can stream it wherever you like, or even better buy a physical or downloaded copy of Mission to Mars at CD Baby.
Continue reading “Listen Along: Mission To Mars By The Fence Sitters”
Yesterday I started talking about the mandolin, and I’m going to finish up today with a discussion of more modern mandolin players.
“Lesson” 7 – Grisman, Pt 2
Into outer space. This album – The David Grisman Quintet’s first record – is so damn good, and a huge innovation in acoustic music.
Continue reading “Modern Mandolin: Beyond Bluegrass With Grisman, Thile and More”
A few years ago a friend of mine asked for some mandolin lessons. Only problems were, she didn’t have a mandolin and she lived in a different city. Still, I have some peculiar notions about what it means to learn an instrument and I thought there was a lot of information to go through that would be helpful before she even picked up an instrument. So here is part one of two of the first set of email “lessons” that I put together. It turns out to be a pretty good history/overview of the instrument if I do say so myself. Enjoy!
Continue reading “Learning The Mandolin: History – The Bluegrass Era (pt. 1)”
Hey – the day has arrived! The Fence Cutters album, Horses and Asses, downloads and physical CDs are for sale through CD Baby.
Continue reading “Listen Along: Horses and Asses by The Fence Cutters”
I hate “the best.” It rankles me when people say it – always has. Superlatives (and even extreme comparatives – like “genius”) always make me pause. Only genuine experts in a subject should be able to reach that level of judgment, and even then it will be skewed by the data available, or their upbringing, or their path of study. And then the Dunning Kruger effect suggests that the more of an expert you are in a field, the more you realize that your answer is not absolute. Now we find ourselves in an era where bloviating about the “best wall” and the “best steaks” has empowered a racist administration who are rapidly turning the clock back to 1789.
Continue reading “6 Great Albums You May Not Have Listened To (But Probably Should)”