What’s the definition of a “middle aged rock-n-roller”? That’s somebody who “plays a vintage guitar that they bought brand new.” Behold, my 1966 Gibson J-50.
For a while, a couple of years back, I passed out a business card that said:
Writer, Photographer, Musician – Artist…*
…and when you follow the asterisk to the bottom, there’s a note that says:
*…and I’m going to keep telling that lie until it comes true.
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Of the three media that precede “Artist,” “music” is probably the one I have been doing the longest – and the one I have the least to show for (well, other than all the money in the bank that’s kept me alive the last 16 years…). I’ve been playing guitar since Lyndon Johnson was President (1966, to be precise), but have never really pursued music professionally.
I did take a year in the early 1990’s to attend a ‘vocational’ music school in Los Angeles. I actually spent the first half of 1992 at the Grove School of Music, but that enterprise went under while I was there. The State of California then arranged through its tuition guarantee program for me to spend the rest of the year at Musician’s Institute, at the Guitar Institute of Technology more precisely. That’s where I learned all the argumentative and demolished chords and scales, and was eventually awarded a Certificate of some sort.
My mother always thought I was going to go to M.I.T. You can imagine her disappointment when I wound up graduating instead from the G.I.T.
After G.I.T., I stayed in Los Angeles for another year. After the Northridge Earthquake in January `1994, I’d had enough of LA and moved to Nashville to see if there was anything I could do in the music business.
It turned out what I could do in the music biz was start Nashville’s first serious Internet music business. I’ve written about that some here and here. I probably need to finish the story, but you can get some sense of how all that ended up here.
Anyway, music continues to be an important factor in my life, even if I’m no longer active or professionally engaged. I continue to play guitar on occasion, though not publicly, and have worked on a few projects in the past couple of years:
The 1861 Project
From late 2010 until 2015, I was the Executive Producer of The 1861 Project: “A collection of new, original songs that tell the stories of the real people who fought and lived through America’s Civil War. The project was primarily the brainchild of singer/songwriter and producer Thomm Jutz, with whom I was fortunate to become good friends during the course of the project.
I also shot all the photography that was used for the album cover art for the three CDs Thomm produced, which is how I got involved in Civil War Reenactments. I attended several events over the course of the project, and have assembled all that work here.
Three CDs were released on the CohesionArts label. Only Volume 1: From Farmers to Foot Soldiers and Volume 3: Franklin are still available in physical CD form, which can be purchased at CDBaby.
All three CDs, including Volume 2: From the Famine to The Front are available as downloads from either CDBaby or iTunes.
All three CDs are also available for streaming via Apple Music or Spotify. Here, have a listen:
This is the project that answers two questions: 1) Who doesn’t love The Beatles and 2) Who doesn’t love to sing along to Beatles songs? This project hasn’t gotten a lot of traction (which is to day, I haven’t pursued it at any great depth, but my interest in learning to play/sing certain tunes from the Beatles catalog has led me to come up with a some what novel charting format.
Because so much music is now being displayed on networked screens like iPads and iPhones, this format lends itself perfectly to displaying an entire song on a single page/screen:
It helps if you know the song a little, but once you do this is an incredibly easy way to follow the tune while playing it with / for a room full of friends.
I’ve assembled about a dozen charts like this, you can find them at BeatlesNights.com
The Music From “1969”
I mention elsewhere that I am presently (as of spring, 2016) working on a memoir based on journals I kept in 1969 and 70. As I work on that project, I’ve been building a Spotify playlist of music from that period, which keeps me tuned in when I’m writing about it. Here’s that playlist:
Musings on The Celestial Jukebox
Since I was involved very early on in the “digital music revolution” and the migration of music to the Internet, I have given the subject more than a casual amount of thought. Over the years I gathered those musings on a blog called “The Celestial Jukebox (dot-org, since the dot-com was taken). That separate site is no longer a stand alone, but everything I posted to that site can be found among the posts now hosted here at CohesionArts. Follow this link.