Archive for May, 2017


As the title says, I am testing Martin’s new titanium core, nickel wound strings. They arrived a week ago this past Monday. I agreed to test them with no hesitation. But having used bronze wound, or phosphor bronze on my acoustics for the last forty years, I was wondering what these new strings would do to/for my sound.

When I had them changed and tuned, I played through a couple of songs. The sound was really bright. I was sitting down and I couldn’t tell if my perception was altered simply because they were silver strings and I was used to bronze.

So I went to play the Monday night open mic at Poor David’s Pub – hosted by Mr. Troll – to try them out live through a sound system. I don’t look at the strings much while I’m on stage, so I could concentrate on the sound. I could get the opinion of the musicians in the audience too.

The first thing they said was the first thing that had struck me – they’re really bright. What I began to notice then and throughout the next few days was that what was different from the  bronze wound was what I liked about the strings. Another thing – I’m used to my Martin being consistently in tune, except due to atmospheric changes. But these strings have hardly gone out of tune at all.

I’m playing out tonight, tomorrow night, and twice on Sunday in different environments. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll let you know.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Madalyn White, Grace Kuch, Grace Ritter

I worked the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Dallas International Guitar Festival (I still call it the Dallas Guitar Show – as it was for years – or, as above, the Dallas Guitar Festival). Naturally, there were hundreds of really nice guitars. There were some of the usual vendors, but some of the ones I was used to seeing weren’t there this year. Then there were the new, or non-yearly, vendors.  And of course the music on multiple stages. Suffice it to say, there were a lot of things to see and music to hear.

I was sitting at the DSA booth, talking with whoever was with me at the time, and watching people walk by. A good number of them came by the booth, but more just passed by. Since a lot of them weren’t songwriters, that made sense.

A group of younger girls and a guy walked by. I thought one of the girls looked familiar. As showcase director for the DSA, I try to promote younger talent, DSA or otherwise. But I just figured I was imagining things. They passed by at least once, maybe twice, when the girl I thought looked familiar walked intently toward me. She walked up and held out her phone.

“Is that you?” It was my website with my blog on the home page.

“Yes.”

She said okay while still fiddling with her phone. She pulled up  this post.

“You wrote this about me a few months ago. I just wanted to say thank you. I really appreciate it.”

I always try to promote other musicians and songwriter. It was nice to hear someone say “thank you.”

The guy that was with them said that they were playing on the Young Guns stage. Jimmy Wallace and the staff of the Guitar Festival take entries from bands with members under the age of 20 for a chance to play the stage. I made a note of it.

G2 Band

The young girl was Madalyn White. The band was the G2 Band. I managed to get over to the stage soon after the start of their set. The lead guitarist and the drummer are Grace Kuch and Grace Ritter, I think respectively but I’m not sure. Madalyn played rythmn guitar. I didn’t have a chance to get the names of the rest of the band – keyboard player, bassist, saxophone player, and second vocalist.

At one point Madalyn said they were in a jazz band at school. They played mostly blues. But after Madalyn made that announcement, the saxophone player, bassist, and drummer played a very interesting piece with saxophone as lead instrument. A nice break from the constant blues through the weekend.

When G2 played the blues, their inexperience and naivete worked in their favor. It was refreshing – in contrast to the constant flow of standard blues licks mixed with doesn’t this sound like Hendrix licks or I can play Stevie licks, not to mention the I don’t know what I’m freaking doing licks throughout the weekend. I’m not referring to the bands on the stages.

I think that given another environment, with different audience expectations, G2 could relax and play music that comes more naturally to them. Not that they didn’t hold their own on the Young Guns stage. But they didn’t break loose either. I would have liked to hear a couple of jazz tunes. However, I was probably in the minority with that thought.

Check out Madalyn White when she plays solo and the G2 Band if you get the chance. You would be pleasantly entertained.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

I had my cell phone in my hand while I was reaching for the charger cord to plug it in. I was thinking about what I had just read on the computer.

“Moron,” I said. My phone came to life.

“Moron, a stupid person.”

That is just wrong. I get it, but it’s just wrong. I didn’t live for just over sixty years to be told what a freaking moron is by my phone.  And I don’t know that some information sucking program isn’t shooting out into the internet ether the fact that, basically, “this idiot just asked what a moron was.”

And while I’m at it, I don’t want my car driving for me, either. I’ve spent over forty years perfecting my parallel parking. I”m doing just fine, thank you. I know when I need to stop – I can handle that quite well by myself.

Here’s what it comes to. The morons (and yes, I know what that means) have more time to spend on their cell phone, because, hey, the car will stop for me. But that doesn’t matter when they are going twenty miles an hour – in a thirty-five mph zone – in the middle lane getting the final instructions for the party in two hours.

Then they speed up at the end of the conversation – without looking. Almost running into the car in front of her because he just slowed down to answer the phone. Which would have caused a pile-up except some of us were paying attention. Unfortunately, not all of us who were paying attention reacted correctly. Which caused a number of hearts to stop. Fortunately, they started again.

I understand – the idea is to make the vehicles safer. I get that. But at the same time it gives people more leeway to think: Hey, I’ve seen the commercials and the salesman told me. I don’t have to watch that close because the car will stop for me. Which is only partly true. From what I’ve seen, if you’re going excessively fast, it may stop for you, but it might snap your neck.

And the sensors had better be working in fine order. The fact that check engine lights come on for no reason does not instill the driver with confidence. If you are going too fast, can the car stop you before hitting the vehicle in front of you? Or behind you, in the case of parallel parking? I wonder.

Having said all that, here is my main point. There is an inordinate amount of people who cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. Much less drive and talk on the phone – or anything else – at the same time.

Why would we give them more time to be stupid? What good does my car that can brake for me do when the idiot on the phone jams on the brakes? Or rear end’s me? Talk about sensory overload!!

Peace be with you.

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