Sunday, March 25, 2018

No Show Snow


No Show Snow (mp3) (pdf)

The photo above tells the tale. Going to sleep on Friday evening we were under a Winter Storm Warning and we expected to see anywhere from 3 to 10 inches of fresh snow, depending on the wind and temperature changes.

Saturday morning showed us no snow. Fifty miles to the west, Osage, Iowa received up to 16 inches. New Hampton, just 35 miles southwest of here saw 11 inches. Here we didn't see even a flurry.

I have been the owner of a beautiful Flatiron Octave Mandolin (or octave mandola, if you prefer) since around 1981. I believe I am the original owner. In recent years, however, I have played it less and less, primarily due to the long scale length of the instrument and the toll it takes on my aging hands. When I do play it (heard on several tunes from this blog last year) I have been using a capo to shorten the scale length but I haven't been pleased with the results.

I read about the new MDO-305 Octave Mandolins now being produced by Eastman Guitars for a modest price and decided to give one a try. They are shorter scale (21") instruments. I received mine a couple of weeks ago and, so far, I have enjoyed it quite a bit.

Today's tune was written yesterday on the new octave mandolin and recorded using it along with a fine old Gibson mandolin. I imagined that the snow had fallen and I was finished with the shoveling, looking out my window at the fresh powder.

Even though I sound disappointed about the No Show Snow, I am perfectly fine with waiting until next winter to see any more.

I've enjoyed taking a couple of months off from feeding this blog but rest assured that I've been writing tunes all along. I hope you enjoy today's piece.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Grandview Ridge


Grandview Ridge (mp3) (pdf)

This first post of a new year presents one of the oldest tunes that I can remember writing. After 10-15 years of writing songs I figured out sometime in the mid-70s that I really enjoyed just writing music more.

I first recorded an early version of this tune on a TEAC A-1340 reel to reel tape deck that I then mixed down to a cassette. I'm estimating that this was sometime around 1979-1980. I remember going to the bank to take out a loan to buy the TEAC, it was my first chance to record sound-on-sound outside of a recording studio. I recently came across a digitized version of a cassette that included this tune a couple of weeks ago.

I may have written the music during one of the summers that I spent at the old CYO Camp Christina in southeastern Brown County, Indiana. The camp was just off of Grandview Ridge road. I have great memories of the two summers I lived there, sometimes helping out with the chores and sometimes washing dishes in Nashville at Rudy's Country Kitchen.

I know that there is a lead sheet somewhere that I used for that original recording but after an hour or so of searching I figured it would be easier to just transcribe my own playing from the shaky cassette evidence. I made a few small changes and re-recorded it here yesterday.

I found the photo above thanks to my old Clarksville friend Tim Buckman. Apparently my dear Mother spotted him wrestling with the unusual snowfall and came out on our front porch to capture it on film. This was decades ago of course. I had never seen this picture until Tim posted it on FB and I'm very grateful for this glimpse of winter in southern Indiana.

This was our family home on the corner of Carter Ave. and Fairbanks in Clarksville. If I didn't write today's tune in Brown County I may well have written it in the upstairs of this house. It was all a long time ago.
 
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