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.
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“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.
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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)”
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)”
While preparing for my Carousel Lounge Show tomorrow (August 26, 2017) I needed to cut many songs from my set-list, and well, I don’t want to cut anymore, so I have decided to cut my banter. Here you will find my extensively crafted and artistic rendering of well-told stories to accompany my song performances. Perhaps if you are in the audience, you can follow along and consider this banter augmentation for your reality. In fact, I plan on casting my 7:00 set on my Instagram, so if you’re at home or wherever you can watch me and follow along.
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When I was working through my First Song First Side First Album: Who Did It Best? I remembered how much I love My Aim Is True by Elvis Costello. 30 some odd years since my original obsession with the album and I still know every lyric and every guitar lick by heart. So it seems like a natural choice for a Listen Along.
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Now I love the Blues and Blues Guitar – I just posted 9 Texas Blues Guitarists, and What You Can Learn From Them – but there is a lot more to love about Texas guitar than just the blues (and there’s more blues in Texas than I covered in that post). We’ve got shredders playing country and shredders playing rock and shredders playing old-timey – Austin even had a legit classical guitar society.
Continue reading “Texas Guitar: It’s Not Just Blues, You Know? Pt 2 Rock and Progressive”
If you play guitar, it’s probable that you’re seeking the one true chord, The Greatest Guitar Chord of All Time, using musical laws that have been in place since before the American Revolution.
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Shelfies. I thought maybe I’d take this Friday to talk about something besides music, and as I looked around me I realized I have an awful lot of books. Around New Years Day I decided that rather than selfies, I would take shelfies – pictures of my bookshelves – this year. So we’ll take a look at a few of those #shelfies and see what we can learn about the real me. But first, just listen to that bass playing.
Continue reading “Shelfies: Reading The Real Zirque Bois d’Arc”