Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 2010-4 (Deer Track February 2009)

(Palisades Park, Decorah, Feb. 26, 2010)

Deer Track, February, 2009 (mp3) (pdf)

This has got to be one of my favorite Deer Tracks ever. It's a little harder for me to play than most of them and I've recorded it several times trying to get a version that is good enough to share. Some have been slower, some faster. They all have little mistakes.

I even played this piece during a short lunch hour performance at the Classical Mandolin Society of America's annual convention in Dayton last October. I remember I stopped in the middle to back up and play one of the higher passages better. (You can do that kind of thing at the CMSA lunch performances, everyone is very forgiving there.) That performance will probably eventually appear on the "members only" section of the CMSA website someday. It's a great resource for many hours of live mandolin performance.

On a separate note, my friends in Louisville's Keltricity have recorded a studio version of their jig set that includes my tunes "Books and Ladders" and "Why Ted Flies". You can hear it on their MySpace site. Or you can go hear them live at several Kentucky and Indiana venues in the coming months.

Next weekend, weather permitting, I'll be playing several dances with my buddies in Contratopia out in the DC area (Glenside, PA on Thurs., Glen Echo Park, MD on Friday and Sunday, Shepherdstown, WV on Sat. night). I'll have the great pleasure of hearing, and playing, many of my tunes for large groups of excellent dancers. I'll also have some Contratopia Tunebooks and copies of my 31 Waltzes collection, if you are in the market.

Please stop and say hello if you are at one of the dances.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 2010-3 (Deep Pockets)

Deep Pockets (mp3) (pdf)

I'm dipping pretty far back in the old tunebag for this week's entry. The copyright notice says 1999 but I'm thinking that this tune was around for a few years before that. It's a fresh recording though, from yesterday morning. Just two mandolin tracks, inspired partly by the beautiful playing on David Surrette's recent CD, The Green Mandolin.

Contratopia has played "Deep Pockets" a few times over the years but it really doesn't seem to work that well as a faster tune. For a while we included it as a third tune in our half-speed "Cement Donkey" set, but then it was too slow. You can play it at any speed you choose.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

February 2010-2 (Something about a Queen)

Something about a Queen (mp3) (pdf)

I was back home in Clarksville, Ind. for a week last June visiting family and friends, including my old buddies in the Louisville Mandolin Orchestra. One night during the visit I watched a great documentary on Neil Young, titled "Don't Be Denied." Shortly after that I found myself playing this week's tune and I decided to use a Neil Young lyric reference for a title. (I also have a quirky Neil Young type waltz that Erik and I have played a few times that I call "Everybody Wins, Everybody Loses.")

I considered making a big multi-track production of this piece but opted instead for a simpler take. Kind of an "On the Beach" approach rather than a "Broken Arrow" version.

Speaking of Louisville, a couple of my old music friends, Joe Burch and Henry Austin, are in a fine band called Keltricity. Here's a live YouTube video of the group playing a set of tunes that begins with my jig "Books and Ladders", followed by my "Why Ted Flies" and the amazing Pete Sutherland's tune "Old Man Winter":

A little closer to home, here's a video from last Sunday's recital by the violin students of Erik Sessions. Every year I have the great pleasure of accompanying several of Erik's students while they play fiddle tunes in addition to their classical pieces. Sometimes a student will choose to work on one of my tunes. This year a group of Erik's high school students formed a band and performed a set of waltzes that begins with a version of my "Aubrey and Andrew's Wedding", followed by the "Ashokan Farewell" and "Goodnight Irene." I think this version of "Aubrey and Andrew's" sounds great with the cool fiddle parts.

Left to right the guys are Sam Beard, Parker Beard, Axel Snow, Lucas Blekeberg, Gabe Smith and Michael Eastwood.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

February 2010-1 (Old Books in Motion)

Old Books in Motion (mp3) (pdf)

Here's a recent waltz that reminds me of another tune I can't quite put my finger on. If you recognize it as really being someone else's tune please let me know. I used a capo at the 2nd fret on the guitar.
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