29
Apr

Sing

 

{there is a video below you can listen to while you read #NoAutoPlay}

I don't care what you believe in or whom, but there is a thing that happens on Sundays that is pretty special and it should happen more. Every Sunday people from all walks of life gather together and sing. Old people, young people, enlightened people, deluded people, rich people, poor people, happy people, sad people, all kinds of people, people that don't know each other, they all get together in a room and sing songs. Forget for a moment the topic of the songs. Forget religion and politics and economics and problems of the day. 
They gather, they sing. People smile, people are encouraged, people are inspired and people are healed just a little and the rest of the week is bearable.
Sundays.
If, on every other day of the week, people sang together more... that would be cool.

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25
Apr

My first job

I have some spotty memories of my very early youth. It was a long time ago.

I can remember a few special moments from when I was very young. I remember a moment on my dad’s shoulders. Young enough to be in diapers, probably, I sat on his shoulders as he walked through the burned-out shell of his restaurant. It was the first time I heard him cry.

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15
Mar

Old

It happens to everybody, I know. I just don't like it when it happens to me in such a silly way.

We're a musical family and we are insanely supportive of each other. My son is a rock star in the Bay area and he has a show and release party this weekend. Lots of new songs and a whole other set waiting on mastering for their release. Our musical family includes close friends who also write, perform and release new music. This is a special show for some of them as well. Supporting bands are releasing CDs or planning exciting things we will be a part of.

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12
Mar

The Magic House

You know what I do? I’m such an idiot. You know what I do? I forget how good I have it. I bellyache when things don’t go my way. I bitch when the coffee gets cold. I whine about my double-vision and having to look like a friggin pirate now, but you know what? I should seriously STFU.

It hit me the other night in the rain. The Magic House does it again. The sound of the rain on the roof, the reflections in the lake, the cool winter smell of the wind off the mountain. It healed me. Looking at it with one eye didn’t make it any less beautiful. Getting older, it seems, let me take a few things for granted. I got complacent. I let little things get me down, stupid things.

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12
Feb

I Nearly Died Twice Once.

As many of you know, I have had some medical issues recently; double vision all of a sudden to be specific. Both eyes work OK, just not at the same time. I have been alternating an eye patch to do stuff. One eye sees better far and one better close up. I have three pairs of glasses for prescriptions including a computer use range. I also have a pair of glasses that completely blurs one eye so I can sort of just wear those and not look like a pirate all the time.  The optometrist was concerned that I might have had a stroke and advised I see an MD. I did and though he is not convinced I had a stroke he wants me to see an ophthalmologist and get an MRI. Well, this could be interesting.
I got the call today and have appointments for the ophthalmologist and an MRI. However, because I was a steel worker I have to have x-rays first. Apparently they don’t want to be liable if the machine pulls a shard of metal through my brain or something. I have worked with a lot of metal over the years and it isn’t entirely unlikely that there are metal bits floating around in me.

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17
Jun

The 10th Annual "What would you say to your Dad today?" FARK Father's Day thread. This thread is older than your nine-year-old

Click here for the lyrics

WOW for the last ten years we've been posting this thread on Fark.com. What an amazing thing.
It has been called "cathartic" by many. It has become "a thing." Get it off your chest. Say the things you would have, could have, should have said... if only you could. (Clickable links to past years below.)

Here's this year's FARK Father's Day thread.
Click the link below to join in the conversation.

The 10th Annual "What would you say to your Dad today?" FARK Father's Day thread. This thread is older than your nine-year-old


Link To Last Year's Thread as part of CSB (cool story bro)
The 9th Annual "What would you say to your dad today?" Fark Father's Day thread. Bonus: New dads, what will you tell your child today?

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23
Feb

Today I saw one of the most romantic things I have ever seen.

We live on the lakeshore. My back yard is a roughly 3,000-acre natural freshwater lake. Sounds great, right? It is mostly, then there is the California drought which essentially added 100 yards of stuff to mow and a really long walk uphill from the shore. We actually love it. Living a watershed lifestyle is awesome, aongside a natural habitat for an astounding variety of wildlife. We have Great Blue Herons with 6-foot wing spans that stand 5 feet tall that have been here longer than us and some we have watched grow from hatchlings. We get these Snowy White Egrets that are so white they shine. They're always so clean and white even when the lake is a little green.

Something to listen to while you read. (new window)

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19
Jan

Look what popped up in my Google news feed.

Something to listen to while you read. (new window)

Look what popped up in my Google news feed.
(Stassi's such a bitch!)

OK, this is silly, I know, but it made me smile. I was checking the weather on my Nexus 6, a Google phone. On my phone if I swipe left from my home screen I get a news feed based on my interests. I am, obviously, interested in 12-string guitars, music stuff and guitarists in particular and I get a lot of stuff like that in my feed.

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16
Jan

How to record a 12-string guitar. Check out this DanG Rig.

I get this question a lot so I thought this time I would make a post about it so I can explain why I do what I do when I amplify or record my twelve-string guitar.

When I record, I prefer to use a Blumlein Pair. The mics that do that best are kind of expensive. With "affordable" mics - really, any high-quality mics that can go down to 30hz - I find this system works well. Place one up close in the sweet spot and one up high about 45 degrees to the front, stage right. I functionally use the same EQ and Comp/Lim as below but add it in post; recording raw is better. I might flavor the sound in my headphones temporarily to help me sing. then perfect it in post.

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24
Dec

How to fingerpick a 12-string guitar

I want to talk about right hand finger-picking technique for a minute. I watch a lot of videos online and I see a common problem that is holding a bunch of you back. Please let me fix that with a thing I learned from my early years of Flamenco guitar lessons.

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3
Dec

Songs from The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns (part one)

We were on our way home from a really fun wine tour when we decided to take a detour. We've been on the lookout for a good location to play some music and shoot video. We decided to go to the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns in Death Valley. It was kind of on the way home, we had been there before and the sound in the kilns was awesome. The last time we visited was years and years ago with my youngest; camping out in our old 61 Suburban. It was an awesome trip, but by the time we got to the kilns it was winter and snowy and cold. It was Wakitu's first snowball fight evar and we decided then we'd be back.

Songs from The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns (part one)

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19
Sep

Top Ten Videos of the Week



7
Sep

Get in the JAG!

Well we are off on our adventure (cue the wildwildwest theme), and having a trip. We did a silly thing followed by many silly things. We bought an '05 x-type Jaguar, put some stuff in it and pointed it north. Altitoodles as we say around here. We visited with friends and family, we played some music, they spelled my name wrong, we did some sightseeing and driving around in the beauty that is Washington state. It rained a little and that was awesome for the most part.

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30
Aug

Why I play the twelve string guitar

The other day, in a Facebook thread in a huge guitar group, a guitar player asked, "Why do you play the 12-string?" He said he just didn't "get it." Granted, he was young, a mostly electric guy with a few cheap acoustic guitars. So this guy, we'll call him Dick, probably never played a well-made 12-string, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
 
He got me thinking though. Why do I play the 12-string? I'll tell you why, but it isn't an easy answer. The easy answer, obviously, is because I really love that sound. It is the orchestra of guitars. Strum it, pick it, open tune it, drop D tune it, slide on it, chicken-pick it, I don't care what you do on it I just prefer, technically, the fuller, more melodic complement of notes and their octaves.
 

I haven't always played the 12-string. I started, as most do, on a sort of toy nylon-string guitar and my first real guitar was also a nylon-string "classical" guitar. Well, technically a "flamenco" guitar, a slightly different shape, made in Spain. I was 4. It was beautiful. I played that for a long time. I've had lots of guitars since then. Nylon string, steel string, electric solid bodies, hollow body, cheap, expensive, stolen, Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Alvarez, Larrivee, from hock shops, trades and boutique music stores - guitars, I've had a few.

(there is a video at the bottom you can listen to while you read the post if you like. NoAutoplay!)

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18
Jun

The 9th Annual "What would you say to your Dad today?" FARK Father's Day thread. Bonus: New Dads what will you tell your child today?

Click here for the lyrics

We've been posting this on Fark.com for nine years now. The comments are an amazing study in fatherhood. It has been called "cathartic" by many. It has become "a thing." Get it off your chest. Say the things you would have, could have, should have said... if only you could. (Clickable links to past years below.)

Here's this year's FARK Father's Day thread.
Click the link below to join in the conversation.

The 9th Annual "What would you say to your Dad today?" FARK Father's Day thread.
Bonus: New Dads what will you tell your child today?


Link To Last Years Thread
Our eighth year: What would you say to your Dad today if you could?
Fathers, what would you say to your child?

Read more »



8
May

On the topic of Moms

I lost my Mom this year.
Today is hard.
There are, and have been, some amazing women in my life.

Can we take a moment to acknowledge the alt.moms.
Step Moms and Granny Moms and Auntie Moms and Daddy Moms.

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26
Mar

My face is wet.

There are only two things I do well with my eyes closed: play guitar and type. I can't reach my guitar. Sorry.

There is a thing that men, Dads in particular, do.  It's really stupid and self-destructive.  It's a tough lesson and you have to learn it the hard way.  We can't fix everything. There I said it. We can't fix everything.

The reason they call the hard times in your life “the hard times in your life” is because they aren't easy …and that's OK. It is OK to not get everything done; it is OK to forget a detail in the midst of a crisis. It is not OK to put your feelings on hold and just press on like you don't feel it. It messes with your head. It screws up your body as it screams for you to rest. You aren't helping if you make yourself sick, angry, frustrated or impotent.

However, this isn't what we do. What we do is push harder, putting on "the face," ignoring pain and exhaustion and pressing on, trying to fix things we can't fix with tools that are dull from lack of sleep.

If, in conjunction with your emotional impotence, you happen to have health issues, this is a recipe for disaster in your relationships as your frustration mounts and you begin to feel helpless about things that you cannot control.

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11
Oct

Alisa B

 

There is a special thing that happens now on the internet as we are more and more open to making friends with people nowhere near us, friends of friends or folks that find your video on youtube and hook up on SocNets. It isn’t just Facebook, but this happened to us there.
Through a case of mistaken identity we became friends with a lovely lady singer who happens to be friends with some of our other friends. She laughed with us when we found out she wasn’t who we thought she was but right then we became internet friends, connected through laughter, music and our musical friends.

We shared, as we all do, our limited view of each other’s lives, highs and lows, shows and pics of friends and gigs and food. She had a voice like an angel and we loved seeing her stage energy. It showed even in the still pics. You could just tell she was a joy to work with and that she took it very seriously. Studied it, listened to everything, found her voice, nurtured it and was continuing to grow while delighting audiences wherever she went. Her smile alone was enough to know her, so genuine and wide.

Quietly her posts became less frequent and soon came the post about the state of her health. Diagnosed, under treatment, hair falling out, she valiantly carried on. Smiling pics, lots of scarves, she returned for a bit, even gigged a bit if I’m not mistaken. With endless support from hundreds of friends, fans and family she stayed positive and we all hoped against hope… and then she was gone.

We knew her only there, so there is where we heard the news. There on my feed with the gun nuts, cat pics, silly memes and gig pics, a note from a family member that she was being made comfortable and soon another that she was gone. The anguish of her loved ones through those hours transmitted by the silence in between. As it is the way it goes, I saw both posts at the same time when I checked in to Facebook that evening and yet I could feel the hours as they passed in a blink.

I cried.

I read her friends’ love and pain on her wall now and cried again… and again.

I heard her music, and I cried again.

It’s true you know, those things you hear about the “5 Stages of Grief.”

I’ll admit to mine… 1. Oh no?! Not her!  2. Why did I let myself get so invested in a stranger?  3. If only I had arranged a gig close enough so our paths would have crossed, we’d have sung together and hugged. 4. How our lives are changed by this odd relationship.  She probably had no idea how much we liked her.  We ran out of time.  5. I have nothing to offer the family, no good stories to relate how much we loved her.  A prayer and maybe this article will offer us closure.

My wife and I were touched by her exuberance, her joie de la vie, her voice and her courage. She inspires me to be a better student of music and singer of songs.  Not really knowing her at all, I’d describe her as free and easy. Is that too cliche? That’s how she made me feel. I embrace this part of social networking as I must with my IRL meatspace friends. We are friends, it doesn’t matter if I’ve never laid eyes on you or touched your hand or hugged your neck. It doesn’t matter. I have to mourn their loss as if I “actually knew them.” What matters to me now , more than ever, is that I let you know how I feel… before one of us is gone.  

I love you, my internet friends, each and every one of you.  Late at night I stalk your walls and feeds and keep up with what you’re doing. I see the pics of your kids and the smiles on your faces and I read about your pain, and pray with you for loved ones. I listen to all your stuff eventually and I try and keep up but it’s just too much. Don’t let me forget you; stay in touch and keep us posted and we’ll  try and do the same.

Humans. We’re  a connected internet family now, a community. As we begin to act like it more, as it becomes more real, we suffer the loss of faraway friends as if they were right here. One moment talking under my fingers, on my screen, and then poof, you’re gone.

Goodnight Alisa B., sweet angel.  Join the choir, my internet friend; I’ll be able to hear you from there.

” width="480″ height="360″ frameborder="0″ allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">



20
Jun

What would you say to your Dad today if you could, or Fathers, what would you say to your child?

Click here for the lyrics

We’ve been posting this on Fark.com for eight years now. The comments are an amazing study in fatherhood. It has been called “cathartic” by many. It has become “a thing.” Get it off your chest. Say the things you would have, could have, should have said… if only you could. (Clickable links to past years below.)

Here’s this year’s FARK Father’s Day thread.
Click the link below to join in the conversation!
Our eighth year: What would you say to your Dad today if you could?
Fathers, what would you say to your child?

 

Read more »



14
May

The King is dead. Long live the King.

By Dan Grigor

I grew up on the guitar. Got my first one, a toy, at 4 years old and my first real one a year later. It was a thing of beauty. My dad bought it for me. It was handmade in Spain and it came with free flamenco guitar lessons in the Bronx. That became our visitation outing. My Dad would come by and pick me up in the Cadillac and we’d ride downtown… walk up the creaky wooden stairs and learn music… some of my fondest memories. Thus began my addiction, obsession and passion for the guitar.

There are few guitar players who have been more influential in my life than B.B. King.

Click through for more!

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