Posts Tagged ‘mandolin’

Quilt detail - Sue Stevens

Detail of a quilt made by Sue Stevens

My cousin Megan reminded me that my aunt made me a dulcimer for Christmas one year. She was a huge influence on where my music has taken me. She encouraged my mother to give or she gave me a banjo and my first mandolin, as well as making the aforementioned dulcimer. The dulcimer was wicked out of tune all the time and couldn’t be put right but it was an awesome gift anyway. Sally was a big supporter of bluegrass, of which I do not play, but the instrumentation has sunk in and I love those acoustic american folk instruments. The mandolin has stuck with me. My mom and aunt where both quilters and crafty people of all types. I think that is where I get my creative side. Thanks mom. Thanks Aunt Sally. I dedicate “Sew What” to you two.

Here is “Sew What”, one of the songs from Simple Songs. I’m not sure the mandolin part is going to make the final cut but check out the rhythm section. It is a 1955 Singer Featherweight sewing machine. Rock On!

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J100This is a little side project I started. Seven simple songs. I tried to keep everything very simple: the arrangements, the chord progressions, my playing. I also played some instruments that are new to me. This is sort of imposed simplicity, kind of like talking in an unfamiliar language. I am entranced with ukulele tunings. I play ukulele on a few songs and the tiple on one song. The tiple is a crazy ten stringed instrument. You tune a tiple like a ukulele but the tiple has double and triple courses. These double and triple courses are tuned in octaves. It is fun to play but my instrument is kind of funky intonation wise. I really liked this added element of simplicity and funkyness.

These are a couple early drafts of songs.

I still think I will add some bass on some of the tracks and have it mixed by someone who knows what he or she is doing. I hope you enjoy.

The cover art is a paper cut by Jose´Chardiet.


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I am fortunate that my church has an adventurous music director.  We have heard everything from Bach to Miles Davis to Steve Reich as part or our Sunday service. I recently read an article about how much church choirs are a part of the ministry. I am happy that our music director is adventurous enough to include me as a participant in creating this place of worship.

I recently played for the Sunday services. We played three of my original tunes: “Praise”, “You and Me”, and “Cool Morning, Early.” Thanks to Mark Zarrillo for playing percussion and Christopher Reba for playing bass. I played mandolin with some electronic delays.

Cool Morning, Early was a new piece. I am trying to get a more integrated improvisational thing Lake with early morning mistgoing. This piece works well on this level. It featured Chris playing some very nice melodic acoustic bass and Mark holding it all together with his mysterious pile of percussion. We got lots of requests for recordings and that is something that is in the works, for now we have two traditional jazz and swing recordings available on the “What We Do and What We Have Done” page.  The “Works In Progress” page has some examples of this recent musical train of thought. Thanks for all the great comments and feedback for our worship contributions.


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