Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas Afternoon

Christmas Afternoon (mp3) (pdf)

Back on January 8 of this year I posted a recording and music for a new tune "Waltz for the New Year, 2017" and I noted that "with a new year comes new resolve." That phrase was a signal to myself that I had been thinking of trying to compose and record a new piece of music every week in 2017. I didn't mention that thought to anyone else for a long time but here I am today posting tune number fifty-two.

The great majority of the tunes I have posted this year were written in the early part of each week and recorded toward the end of the week. As the year wore on I sometimes worked a little ahead of that schedule. Today's tune was mostly written last Monday, Christmas Day. I tinkered a little with it and recorded it on Thursday.

My plan, at this point, is to not try and write and record a new tune every week in 2018. Instead, as I enter the 12th year of this blog, I'll return to the less structured approach of recording and posting music when I feel like it.

I've been very pleased, honored even, by the number of people who have listened to, liked, shared, and commented on these tunes in the last year. Especially since I started linking to them using Facebook. Thanks to all of you for including some of this music in your busy lives.

On January 8th I mentioned that the temperature had dipped to -4 degrees (Fahrenheit) the night before and we were expecting a high of 17 above during the afternoon. Last night I believe we were down to around -10 and it was still -8 when I took the dog out this morning. Right now (3:00 p.m.) we have climbed to 1 degree above zero but it is a beautiful, sunny day with a fresh dusting of snow. In a world of relentless change some things are more reliable than others.

I hope that your 2018 will be one of the best years ever.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Snow Train

Snow Train (mp3) (pdf)

It's Christmas Eve here in lovely Decorah. We even had a light dusting of snow this morning to brighten things up a little.

Today's tune (no. 51 this year) was partially written while watching a fun video of a Norwegian train slowly climbing into the snow covered mountains outside of Bergen. I hope you enjoy the music.

If you are in the Decorah area I will be playing solo mandolin at Java John's from 7 to 9 on Dec. 26 (Boxing Day). Stop in for something warm to drink if that sounds like a good way to relax after the holiday fun. I'll certainly play today's tune at some point, along with a number of other recent tunes from this blog.

Enjoy your holiday!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Advent Star

The Advent Star (mp3) (pdf)

Yesterday here in Decorah I was privileged to once again take part in the annual community holiday concert known, for the last few years, as Burning Bright. This is always a wonderful event and most years Erik Sessions and I are called to contribute an instrumental tune to the mix of choral and small group performances. Usually we write something new for the event.

Today's tune, The Advent Star, was written for this year's concert and Erik and I performed it at both the 4:00 and 7:00 shows. We also played it at the indoor farmers market yesterday morning. We had a great time playing the tune and the Burning Bright audiences were generous with their applause.

The recording presented here, however, is just me playing guitar and mandolin, recorded on Friday last week.

I have to admit that when I chose the title (which has personal significance) I was unaware that Advent Stars are a thing. I knew nothing about the connection with the Moravian Church or J.S. Bach's Thomaskirche in Leipzig or modern holiday decorating practices. I just like the title.

In any event, I hope you enjoy the tune.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

River Mist Tree Line

River Mist Tree Line (mp3) (pdf)
Deer Track, December 4, 2017 (mp3) (pdf)

We have a twofer today. First a "regular" tune, a jig in Gm, and then a short, new member of my Deer Tracks collection.

I couldn't produce any photos of a misty river but the photo above is the Upper Iowa River near our home after the mist has burned off.

I hope you enjoy the tunes.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Waltz for the Squires

Waltz for the Squires (mp3) (pdf)

Last week's tune provoked some entertaining comments from old friends back in southern Indiana. One remark brought back fond memories of the first band I was ever invited to join, Sir James and the Squires.

I'm pretty sure that it was the fall of 1965, my freshman year in high school, when I became a Squire. I played bass guitar (an old Supro with a Magnatone amp), badly, but I was quick to learn. Soon I could help rather than hinder the group as we played the then standard repertoire: "Pipeline", "You Can't Sit Down", "Last Kiss", "House of the Rising Sun", "We Gotta Get Out of this Place", "Wooly Bully", and many hits by the Kingsmen. These were great times and full of the joy of making loud noises in praise of life. I've tried to keep that attitude and it was nice to be reminded of it last week.

So, this week's tune, while musically pretty unrelated to the Squires' world, is dedicated to that memory and my first bandmates.

This entry in number 48 for 2017, forty-eight consecutive weeks with a new tune. No one is more surprised than me. I've got something I'm working on for next week too. We'll see how the rest of the year goes.
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