Sunday, March 23, 2014

Deer Track, June 17, 2013

Deer Track, June 17, 2013 (mp3) (pdf)

Last summer I was writing a new Deer Tracks piece nearly every day. Last weekend I took some time and collected all of the Deer Tracks pieces that either didn't make onto the the official Deer Tracks CD or haven't yet been featured in So Many Tunes. There are about fifteen of those.

This one was written on June 17, 2013, although I changed at least one note later in the summer.

For anyone keeping score I can say that today's recording, and pretty much everything since "Snow Crow Shadow" in mid-January, was recorded using my recently acquired Lafferty LA-5 mandolin. I'm really enjoying playing this fine mandolin. You can read more about this in a thread at the Mandolin Cafe started by Orrin Star after he had a chance to play my Lafferty a few weeks ago.

The weather is saying we might get a little spring snowfall tomorrow but it was plenty warm when I wrote today's tune. Spring will come eventually.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Rockville Blues

Rockville Blues (mp3) (pdf)

Contratopia was out East last weekend, the photo above is from the Saturday night dance in Shepherdstown, WV (courtesy Ted Hodapp, with Pat O'Loughlin's camera). The DC area received a modest snowfall on Monday, prompting the shutdown of the federal government and the DCA airport.

Amtrak, however, was running just fine and I was settled into my cozy roomette and heading west a little after 4:00 in the afternoon. Rolling out of Union Station I pulled out my mandolin and today's tune popped right out. It was pretty much finished by the time we stopped at Rockville.

I've learned recently that Amtrak is offering some free rides to writers on long haul trains. This is a great idea. I (and I'm sure many, many other folks) have been writing on trains for years. I love the peacefulness of the ride and the ever-fascinating display of people and places going by my window. I particularly enjoy the community seating at meals. For an introvert this is a great way to meet new and interesting people within a clearly defined set of expectations.

A number of tunes that have appeared in this blog were written while riding on an Amtrak train, usually on the Capitol Limited. Check the alphabetical list for "Cumberland Mission", "The Night Train Waltz", "Rollin' Through the Gap", and "Shenandoah Bound" for examples, but there are many more tunes in my notebooks from various train rides that haven't made it to this blog yet.

So, maybe I'll apply for a ride as part of the Residency program and see if the Amtrak folks consider the composition of tunes to be a valid form of writing. They would have to be careful though. There are many instruments that would tend to disrupt the peace and quiet of the train. The mandolin has the advantage of being nearly silent when played with the fingers.

In any event, I hope you enjoy this relaxing little number from room no. 2 of car 2901.

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