My Present to You for 2018

Ok, a couple of years ago I asked everyone to stop giving me presents for Christmas and birthdays. Seriously, if I want something, I pretty much buy it if I can afford it…and if I can’t afford it, then it is surely more than anyone should spend for me on a present. Instead, give money to a charity of your choice while thinking of me. In exchange, my gift to you is similarly a donation to charity. The first year (2016), I selected the North Texas Food Bank. 2017 found my donation (and those from many of my friends and family) going to the American Cancer Society.

I’ve decided that my gift to you this year is…that I’m still here. Wait, what! Just kidding. I just donated a square, a circle, a triangle, and a dodecahedron amount to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (https://www.rmhc.org/) North Texas chapter. The RMHC provides housing and support for families who have children going through serious medical situations so that the family can be near the facility providing for their medical care.

Nearly 20 years ago I went to a B’nai B’rith charity dinner where the keynote related a story that I’ve heard several times, since, but still find worth repeating.

A man is walking along the shore where a freak tide has washed tens of thousands of starfish up onto the beach where they will all surely perish. As he walked along, he would stoop down and pick up one starfish after the other and throw them far out into the water. Someone watching this walked up to him and said, “Why are you bothering? There are so many, the few you are throwing back into the water won’t make any difference.” The man reached down, picked up another starfish and threw it out into the depths. “To that one, I made a difference.”

So, toss a few coins in a bucket this weekend while thinking of me, and make a difference.

Guitar Gathering 2018 — Blues Counsel plus Phil Keaggy

Thursday night we were treated to a 2-hour concert by Blues Counsel (the first 45 minutes or so), Phil Keaggy (for another 25 minutes) and then the combined group (for yet another 45 minutes or so). Some fantastic musicianship. And what a great theme for a Sunday morning release…Faith Music.

Phil was, as usual, ethereally phenomenal. He illustrates a new twist (pun intended) on string bending in his song “Salvation Army Band.” Watch for it around the 1:11:45 mark.

And, Blues Counsel are certainly not shirkers in the talent and performance arena. From rocking guitar solos to a rather unusual jungle treat by their percussionist.

Just a couple of sessions to go, then GG 2018, the video editing sessions, will be behind me. Next up after that, I have a good friend who is a great guitar player. We’re planning to get one or more of his originals on video in a month or so (after my last chemo round).

Guitar Gathering 2018 — The Thursday Sessions

Ok, editing down the videos is taking me a bit longer than anticipated. But, I have now completed all of Thursday’s sessions. So, just a few left to go.

Thursday Morning started with another workout with Steve. But, unlike Wednesday’s workout, which strained our hands and muscles, Thursday’s workout was an exercise in stretching our minds. Steve has a great series of Fretboard Workouts available in the Mighty Oak Music store. Covering scales, agility, speed, and jazz chords, these make a great resource for inspiration in practicing methods.

Next up, Joe Robinson, who gave us such a great performance Wednesday night, walked us through many of his techniques for practicing, learning, songwriting, and performing. As I mentioned before, he has a new course at Truefire.com on fingerstyle techniques (Fingerstyle Synergy: Bass and Melody) worth checking out.

Our afternoon was filled with the music and accumulated wisdom of Musicians Hall of Famer and veteran session musician Will McFarlane. Will is funny, talented, and brings a wealth of practical experience to his master class. Although it is titled “Blues Guitar” this is actually a wide ranging master class that applies to blues, rock, country, and more. Note that this video is uploading as I publish this, so it could be a few hours before it is actually available to view.

So, that was Thursday Day. Hopefully, I’ll have time today or tomorrow to edit down the Thursday Night performance by the Blues Counsel f. Phil Keaggy and then start to work on the Friday sessions. Have a great weekend!

Corey Congilio Blues Rhythm Part 2

If you went to one of the other breakout sessions, you missed Corey’s excellent followup to the general session presentation. Here it is.

Time Jumpers Yodel

Ranger Doug gave a great Yodeling performance with the Time Jumpers at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville last week. The band had a lot of fun busting the accordionists chops during the song.

Jack Pearson Interview / Master Class

From jackpearson.com:

He was a member of The Allman Brothers Band from 1997-1999 and has worked with music legends from the world of jazz, rock, blues and country including The Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman, Vince Gill, Jimmy Buffett, Tommy Emmanuel, Keb Mo’, Delbert McClinton, Earl Scruggs, Chris LeDoux, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Mac McAnally, Amy Grant, Groove Holmes, Mike Snider, Faith Hill, Ronnie Milsap, Jimmy Hall, Gov’t Mule, Buddy DeFranco, T. Graham Brown, Shelby Lynne, Jimmy Raney, Lee Ann Womack, Vassar Clements, Bonnie Bramlett, Mundell Lowe, The Jordanaires, Jim Horn, Lee Roy Parnell, Kirk Whalum, Martina McBride, Taj Mahal, Trace Adkins, Dr John, Sam Moore, Eric Church, John Hiatt, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and the list goes on and on.

Here is his interview/master class session at Guitar Gathering 2017.