Friday, August 31, 2007

The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep (mp3) (pdf)

Here's a waltz I wrote in 2002 and recorded in 2003 on a Korg D1600 machine. Both the electric guitar (my old Hagstrom) and my Rigel mandolin were recorded direct. You might have noticed I'm a big fan of wooden instruments recorded by microphones but, as time goes by, this particular electric recording continues to sound better to me. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Graveyard Owl

Graveyard Owl (mp3) (pdf)

Early in August we visited Ocracoke Island for the first time. I hope there will be many more visits to come. There are a number of small family cemeteries on the island and we heard more than one owl hooting as we walked from one end of the village to the other.

The tune itself was mostly written on a fine old Gibson oval hole mandolin in Carrboro, NC the night before we drove to Swan Quarter to catch the ferry to Ocracoke. Recorded here in Decorah on a very warm night last week.

I lifted this graveyard photo from Philip Howard's excellent Ocracoke Island Journal blog. We stopped at his Village Craftsmen shop during our visit and came away with a first rate CD by the island's house band, Molasses Creek.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Open Church / Dunn Meadow

Open Church (mp3) (pdf)
Dunn Meadow (mp3) (pdf)

A busy summer so far. Here are a couple of older tunes titled for places real and imaginary.

On a recent trip back from a visit to the old homestead we stopped for a couple of hours at one of my favorite places, New Harmony, Indiana. A place full of history and spirit, I always find it inspiring.

I rarely wake from a dream with a tune in my head but Open Church was an exception. It even had its title in the dream. Later I remembered the Roofless Church in New Harmony. It's a slightly quirky waltz because the first strain has only six measures.

Dunn Meadow on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington is where I spent many happy hours in the 1970s. I heard a lot of great music there in the meadow and even more in the IU Memorial Union that sits next to it. Amazing local musicians like Mark Bingham, Caroline Peyton, Bill Schwartz and Bob Lucas played frequently. I heard the original New Grass Revival in 1972 in the Union and I'm pretty sure I heard Ali Akbar Khan in the same room a few years later. Woody Shaw played a great concert there sometime in the 80s as well.

I hesitated to call this tune Dunn Meadow because I was sure someone must have already written a really great tune with this title. I confess I didn't write the tune while actually sitting near the tiny creek known as the Jordan River. Instead I was in a motel room out on the bypass but this title came immediately to mind. To me it seems like a very English tune.
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