Category: guitar


The Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase at Angela’s at the Crosswalk on August 19 began at 7:30 with host, Dan Roark. There was a good sized audience, considering the myriad of musical and culinary choices in the neighborhood. Dan played until 8:10 with a set that included his song, Hello Out There, for those with autism. As well as his pastry song, Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters, which he usually plays at Angela’s.

Loralee Pearman took the mic about 8:10. Loralee is a young

Loralee Pearman

woman – although she looks younger than she really is – with a sweet voice and music in her heart. During the week she teaches  music to young children. With teaching and planning  her upcoming wedding, Pearman doesn’t get to play many shows. She took this time to play some of her newer songs. There was too much going on to write down titles – when they were given. But one doesn’t need song titles to tell you that through her soft, youthful voice she weaves songs of love and life, intertwined with lessons learned.

Bill Hook

Bill Hook began playing about 8:45. He mixed his original songs with chosen cover songs. His choice of cover songs worked for the audience. His originals were varied subject-wise. But in them all dwelt insights. Such as the song he wrote for a friend in a bad relationship. Bill said he “played it for her and she still didn’t get it.”

Which ended another night of good music at the DSA third Saturday showcase. Mark your calendar for the next one on September 16th.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

This is the video I took of Jimena’s solo. I had my hands stretched above my head and the people in front of me. The blood began to run out of my arms and I almost got a crick in my neck watching the viewer, but I got the solo. The sound could be a little better, but I had as much control over the sound as I did the people screaming around me. When she started her solo, it was like the crowd came alive. See for yourself.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Corey Feldman and the Angels

Cyndy and I drove to Houston last Saturday, the 29th, to see Corey Feldman and the Angels at White Oak Music Hall. We had seen them in San Antonio at the first of the summer tour. Granted Feldman’s music is not what we usually listen to. With the exception of cover songs like Rock On. Then again, we weren’t there because we thought Corey Feldman had a lot of talent.

We were there to see the band – in particular, the 21 year old guitarist, Jimena Fosado. The other

The Angels

members are Margot Lane (keyboard, acoustic guitar, and violin), Jackie Von Rueden (bass), and Marisa Testa on drums. Courtney Feldman is DJ and vocalist – I use both terms very loosely. The girls are trying to prove wrong the perception that they are just pretty, sexy women dancing around behind Corey.

Jimena Fosado in her happy place

Marisa and Jackie provide a steady rhythm section. They both have decent voices for their solo songs, but it’s hard to distinguish when Courtney sings with them. Jackie played bass when Corey played drums. Which is a good thing because someone had to keep the beat. Margot played acoustic guitar on her solo song. She also played violin when not playing keyboard. She plays all three well.

The guitarist, however, simply kicks ass. Jimena Fosado is one of the best young guitarists I have

Jimena Fosado

heard in a while. I’m a little biased because her boyfriend is our oldest son, Conner. Fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for it, although you should. She has played with Steve Vai and if he says she’s good, you can take it to the bank, as it were. Check out her YouTube channel. I’ll be posting a video of her solo from Saturday soon on my YouTube channel after this post is published. If Jimena is still with the band when they play in Dallas in October, you should go see them just to see and hear her play.

The perception of the women would be better if the costumes weren’t so god awful. Corey goes through costume changes more than Stevie Nicks at the old Fleetwood Mac shows. Mostly just jackets and hoods, all of them ugly. The hoods didn’t make sense when he would just throw them off after a verse and chorus.

The sound man mercifully had Corey’s mic turned down – although he could probably hear his voice louder in the monitors.  And the bass was up, so you could hear the words some of the time, but you couldn’t hear the missed notes as well. Not hearing the words had nothing to do with the sound being adjusted. They just all ran together.

Myself, Jimena, and Cyndy

By the time the show ended a little after midnight, the crowd had dwindled down to a smattering of groups spaced around the room among the garbage on the floor. There had been about 200 when they started playing. Some of them were there for the opening acts and stayed for a while. We waited while Jimena changed clothes and came out to visit with us. The cloudiness of the picture of the three of us is due to the humidity, not the camera.

It was good to see Jimena again. We introduced her to Schlotzskys between the sound check and the show. Hopefully, we’ll see her in October.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

V-Picks

There came a time when I could no longer buy any more guitars. I certainly don’t need any more guitars. Which is what led to the moratorium on buying guitars. Well, that and Cyndy wouldn’t buy any justification I might come up with.

So when I worked the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Dallas and Arlington guitar shows, I started looking at accessories. I have an impressive capo collection (more later). I have picks of many sizes, shapes, thickness, material, etc.

For years I used Fender medium picks like everyone else. Then John Pearse picks with the off-center point that helped with the way I played. A few years ago, a lot of people started making picks out of just about anything you can imagine. I have one out of petrified wood and one of granite.

So I began to experiment with all different kinds of picks. They were cheaper so Cyndy didn’t mind. It had never occurred to me how the pick can change the sound. Like everyone else, I tried different strings, different gauges, and so forth. I was amazed at the different sounds I could get with the different picks.

Then Vinni Smith introduced me to his V-Picks picks. I use them exclusively now- except for finger picks, which he doesn’t make. I also use different picks for different songs. The picture below is my V-Pick leather wrist band with the picks I use. Check out the website and see the variety of shapes and styles. There is bound to be one that fits your sound or even enhances it. They are made with Vinni’s special acrylic blend. And they stick to your fingers with the heat of your fingers.

Last week, I got an email from Vinni with the picks on sale and a new pick. The Nashville pick is a return in his special acrylic blend to that same Fender pick except “on steroids.” I didn’t like using a heavy pick, but I love this pick. It rounds out my wristband onstage selection quite nicely.

Check out the website. They have sets you can order to try different ones. Tell Vinni I sent you.  Or catch me when I play and you’ll have a demonstration. I’d be glad to show them to you and let you try them.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

When I’m headed to a show, a few blocks away from home I reach back and pat my guitar case in the back floor. As long as I’ve got my guitar, everything will work out. Even if I’m missing a cord or other piece of equipment, I can still play the show as long as I have my guitar. But I’m usually not missing anything.

I had a friend who had to borrow my guitar at an open mic. He brought his guitar case – his guitar just wasn’t in it. Another friend left his guitar in the parking lot when he left for the evening.

Anyone that knows me knows I am a creature of habit. I’m not anal about it, but I do things the same way all the time. And I usually have good reasons for doing so. As the previous examples illustrate.

But (didn’t you see a but coming?), a couple of weeks ago, I was heading to an open mic. I loaded everything but my water bottle and my guitar, as usual. Something distracted me: a phone call, unexpected conversation, who knows.

I said good-bye to Cyndy and left for the restaurant. I was wrestling with the air conditioner for the first part of the trip. I got to the restaurant, got my backpack and my hat. As I opened the back door, it occurred to me that for the first time in over forty years, I had left without my guitar. And for the first time in quite some time, I hadn’t reached around and patted my guitar case. I won’t make that mistake again.

But I sure felt stupid. And I don’t like feeling stupid. What did you do that made you feel stupid?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Janelle Nichole

The Dallas Songwriters Association 3rd Saturday showcase on June 17 began at 7:30 with Janelle Nichole. Janelle is a young woman from Fredricksburg with a beautiful voice and a kind spirit. She entertained the diners with cover songs mixed with her nice original songs. She is currently working on funds for a cd. From the songs she played at Angela’s, the cd will be worth getting  – and putting the songs on your playlist when she’s on Spotify. It’s only a matter of when.

As host, Dan Roark went on after Janelle. I played a mixture of old and new songs, ending with my newest song, I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville. The title is the first line of the chorus. The second line is “seems like all the way to St. Paul.” The first night I played it live, among the people that commented on it was a couple who happend to be from St. Paul. Go figure.

Rob Case

Rob Case ended the showcase with songs from his Last Call in Texas cd. Bayou City, Song about Texas, Last Call in Texas,  and Are We Even Yet? were some of the highlights. He said there were a few he didn’t care for as much, so he wasn’t going to do those. Rob didn’t tell us what they were though.

It was an evening of songs and stories about life and events past for a good appreciative crowd. Make plans to go to Angela’s on the third Saturday to hear more good songwriters in the showcase. On July 15, John Mason and Cat McGee will be co-guest hosting. The opening songwriter will be announced soon.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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.

 

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