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A Mid-Afternoon Pick Me Up and My First Stick Song Circa 2004

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Stanley Jordan’s song, Treasures, introduced me to the tapping technique. But, when I discovered the Chapman Stick in a guitar magazine, I was hooked. I carried and read the brochure for two years before my father surprised me with my first Chapman Stick. Just under ten years from when I received my first Stick, I wrote this song. I’d been trying to play both the guitar and the Chapman Stick, but for me, the Stick won out.

This is the first song I ever wrote on the Stick. Written 2004. While exploring poly rhythms on the Stick, I found a two-handed rhythmic pattern that had pleasing note overlap and timbre. It lacked, however, some pulsating base notes that I couldn’t perform because both my hands were engaged in playing the pattern. The idea of using echo repeats just sort of hit me by dialing in the appropriate tempo on my delay pedal, I was able to use the repeats as a pulse to play against, therefore the pattern doubled itself and the low notes were repeated in steady quarter notes giving me the rhythmic drive I was looking for, and a kaleidoscope effect on the rest of the notes. The song was built on the echoes themselves and took on an entirely different  direction from the original idea. This song was written on my Purple Heart 10-String #1819.

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Independence Day in New England

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We spent yesterday’s holiday driving and walking around the Cape Ann area on the north shore of Boston. The towns of Ipswich, Essex, Rockport, Newburyport, Salem, Gloucester and so on are the quintessential New England. These are the towns often seen in film and television or what we envision when we think of New England. But, traveling on the fourth of July, through towns that were incorporated or settled in the 1600s, gives us a deeper sense of history.

Lisa loves to read and wants to know everything about everything. By doing this, we get living history lessons as we stand on the same cobblestones as those who conspired for independence. Interestingly, it was in Salem, Massachusetts, most well known for the Salem Witch Trials, that we saw a sign for The London Coffee House. The sign was dated 1698 and said it was the “meeting place of patriots before the American Revolution”. Wow.

We hope everyone had a safe and happy fourth of July weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Road Tour – Lessons Learned as the Road Turns

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Ten weeks in and we’re learning on the fly. Between gig weekends we’re on the road. This is the time we review our choices of venues; the whys and wherefores of the people who attend and the “real estate” shows. For those in the know – we’re not the only ones who follow the festival circuit full-time – “real estate” shows are those in which the promoters are often more interested in a booth fee (and yes, I do a pay a booth fee) than in creating an optimum environment for the artist. With only pictures to go on and attendee numbers, we made our schedule. So far, Georgia, Maine, and Michigan are stand-outs for shows that were good. We’re ready for the next Maine event to be held the second weekend of September. The management/promoters have been easy to reach and helpful, the visitor numbers were close to the mark, the fees were understandable, and sales were significant. We’ve also had our carnivals and in the most unlikely of places. Imagine classical dinner music at your local State Fair and you’ll get the idea.

But, it’s those stand-out shows who remind us why we chose this lifestyle. For every person who wants to cut a deal on a CD or two, there are three more who want to buy a set. For the 1,000s who ask if I’m on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, etc, there are those that will take my card and download from my website. For every 10 be-backs, there are a few that really do want to come back and when they forget, if they’ve picked up my business card, will often email me for multiple CDs. For every person too busy talking with their friends, on the phone, or walking by listening to canned music; there’s the couple who dances, the child who smiles, and the awe from even the most seasoned musicians.

Thanks to my hero (my father), who surprised me with my first Chapman Stick so many years ago, I’m living my dream. And with the attitude of gratitude, my new wife and I are headed to Scotland for a wedding I’m playing.

Open Road Tour – St. Simons Island, GA to Plymouth, MI to Clarksville, VA

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It’s been a long couple of days driving and I’ve had time to reflect on the first few gigs of my eastern seaboard tour. St. Simons Island, Georgia’s Sunshine Art and Craft Festival was a great beginning. Lisa and I met such great people both vendors and guests. It was such a delight to have repeat customers – within the weekend! – and the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with our neighbors was invaluable.

Though we’ve been in Plymouth, Michigan a few days now, I’ve been thinking about how we got here; no, I’m not going wax philosophical. Not yet, anyway. Maybe in the next post. Seriously, though, we drove from Georgia to Michigan through the Blue Ridge Mountains and being from mountain country, I felt right at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love Georgia, especially Savannah and now, of course, the Golden Isles.

Seeing the mountains rise up before me and following their curves, it was all I could do not to pull over to the side of the road and bask in their majesty. One of our traditions when traveling, okay, Lisa’s tradition, is to randomly choose a location and stay for the night. To qualify for the tradition, the choice is completely random and she usually decides while I’m pumping gas, is the location cannot be a major city or large town. Usually, it’s a blip on the map. But, somehow, these random stops are the coolest! For this second leg of the tour, we stopped in Hillsville, Virginia. Lisa was making reservations on the phone while looking at the Super 8 we would be booked in for the night. The freedom to just – decide – is freedom indeed.

Because we break up our trip this way, we come to our ultimate destination at a respectable hour. Minus the 2am arrival for the St. Simons Sunshine Festival – see Lisa’s blog, Fool’s Journey Café, for the details on that adventure. With Della (our 1-year old Shih-Tzu) in tow, we pulled into TownePlace Suites, thanks to a great rate through Art in the Park’s deals for artists. We’re a bit spoiled now for hotels, so thankfully we’ll be in our RV soon.

We made it through the Blue Ridge Mountains into Virginia via Beckley, West Virginia loaded down with equipment, luggage, and random baggage for the little things. We saw some amazing things such as Tamarack, an indoor artisan market and Lover’s Leap scenic view about an hour outside of Danville, VA. Yesterday, we took a quick trip to North Carolina for a battery amp and power supply. We’ve finally got our no electricity available set up put together and have already scoped out our location at LakeFest in Clarksville, VA. Every location we’ve been in to date has been beautiful and it looks as though Clarksville will be no exception.

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The Countdown Begins!

In less than nine days, Lisa and I head off in our Buick Lucerne “Lucy” for St. Simons Island, Georgia – our first stop on my U.S. tour with a pre-planned Scotland gig in the middle of it all.

So, here’s the list and if you live in, will be in, our just want to visit one of these places, we hope you’ll stop by and say “Hi!”

We’ll spend Fourth of July weekend in St. Simons Island, Georgia at their Sunshine Festival Arts and Crafts Show. Next, with less than five days to get there, we’ll head up to Plymouth, Michigan for Art in the Park July 10-12. For one day only, we’ll head to Clarksville, Virginia for Lakefest on July 18th and then up east, almost to Canada, we’ll spend the last weekend in July in Spencerport, New York at their Canal Days. As full as July is, we’ll look forward to our little breather before Scotland. However, make no mistake, we didn’t slouch in August and will be in Northeast Harbor, Maine for the Northeast Acadian Harborfest August 1st and 2nd. A hike in the Acadian National Park? We’re in! We’ll round out the summer in Milford, Michigan and will be making Milford Memories of our own at the Milford Memories Art Festival. Eastern seaboard – here we come!

In the Fall, when we return from Scotland, we’ll be back on the east coast for a week or two before we don our costumes for eight weekends of renaissance faire fun at the Texas Renaissance Festival in South Texas!

You can find all our dates on the website under “Upcoming Events.” Hope to see you there!

Welcome!

Thanks for visiting my site. No Words Required got its name not only because music can speak to people regardless of language, but it also has the ability to bring everyone together. Take a look around, learn about the Stick and my music; where I’m going and where I’ve been, come by for a visit at one of my upcoming gigs, and above all – let the music speak to you.