- California Coast Music Camp student concert recording with me on lead vocal and ukulele, Tim Connell on mandolin, Jamie Knapp on bass, Paul Elliot on fiddle, and Sylvia Herold on rhythm guitar. This was with about 15 minutes of rehearsal... Really fun band!
Here In California (Kate Wolf cover) I have grown to love the music of the late Kate Wolf. I learned this song and after taking a finger style blues class from Steve Baughman, incorporated some of the style into this lovely tune
I have been writing and composing my own material for a while, and recently learning to score and create tablature. I really love lyrics, and started by toying with new words to familiar songs and poems. I can't say I favor a particular musical style or genre, but insteads important to put down however something comes to me. It tends range topically from the silly to the sublime, and a hopeful goal of songs that are both simple and profound. Here's a few samples that I've included some story and lyrics with chords. These were simply recorded without great mixing or editing.
When Blue Bells Bloom Beside Bull Run
My wife and I happened to stop byManassas battlefield at dusk one day in May. An empty field sloped down towards an old stone bridge which crossed a lazy creek named Bull Run. We walked over the bridge into the woods on the far side and were astounded by an endless carpet of bluebells under the still bare trees. It took me a year, but I created a Civil War love song called "When Bluebells Bloom Beside Bull Run". Here's a video of me doing it at California Coast Music Camp:
You Will Always Be Right Here
At the end of 2008 this song was inspired by a simple invitation to sing a song at a service for Compassionate Friends. It's a support group for parents who have lost children, and they didn't want a happy upbeat song. I have lost loved ones in my life, but not my own children, and somehow this magically came through in a single day. It's called "You Will Always Be Right Here".
I started 2008 with a new song, "Every Time You Pass This Way" inspired by my opening at a house concert for Bill Staines. Over the years I've met many real life troubadors like Bill and have marveled how some maintain home relationships inspite of their itinerant life. This song is written from the perspective of the spouse who's happy to remain behind and still pursue art and personal fulfillment. Might ultimately be suitable for a duet.
The idea for the first song in my late life venture into songwriting came from an episode of "ER" where a doctor dying of brain cancer is asked by his teenage daughter "What am I supposed to do?" The simple response became the title "Just Be Gen'rous".
I was noodling on the guitar playing an E (D position) capo'd up 2 frets, but only barring the 5 high strings and leaving the low E string open, and came up with a nice little waltz melody. Realizing that real longterm relationships are based on persistence more than perfection, this became a 20th anniversary song: "I'd Do It all Over With You".
A few years ago, I recorded "She's Not The Only One", and wanting to play it at a California Coast Music Camp. I e-mailed an MP3 copy to teacher Keith Little (mandolin) and to camper friend Holly Thuman (bass) and asked them to sing and play with me at the student concert. This was our first practice, with a little one inch mic laying on a table between us.We had so much fun harmonizing we even "barbershopped" the ending.
After attending an open mic in Marin and seeing a guy play a great guitar rag, I thought I'd like to try to compose one of my own. I found a weird blues note move on my guitar with a Scott Joplin feel and it inspired this tune about my love of open mics and jam sessions. It became the "Pickin' Shoe Rag"
I had a phrase which came to mind "There is a well which feeds a fountain..." and as I began to write "The Fountain", it transformed into a flowing circular song about love and happiness returning through the outpouring of sorrow. I played it for a "water" ceremony at a local Unitarian church and some were moved to tears.
I had the privilege of playing several times at a local RSI church which encouraged local musicians and only requested that I play positive upbeat music. After playing there several times and using most of my secular and irreverent material, I figured I owed them a hymn. It's based on the notion of spiritual self reliance and is called "All That Is Asked For"