Don’t Hate the Ice Bucket

I sing at funerals. It’s something I do as part of my church choir. Most recently, it was for a man who’d lived a long, contented life. An average guy. He enjoyed his retirement, told corny jokes, and irritated the hell out of his employees--he skimped on the air conditioning at his independent business and duct-taped the thermostat … Continue reading Don’t Hate the Ice Bucket

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George Coleman at Dizzy’s on a Weeknight

George Coleman took the stage at 10. Elderly, tottering to the bandstand. He should have had a cane. Black elastic-waist athletic pants, eyes a little vague. He struggled to step up, so inept, so clearly weak in the legs that he seemed in real danger of falling. I was at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola with my … Continue reading George Coleman at Dizzy’s on a Weeknight

Intimate Music: Dos guitarras flamencas en stereo

Flamenco is a form of folk music and dance. Far more than just rapid-fire guitar playing with handclaps, Flamenco has influences from Hindu and Arabic music. Flamenco singing tends to stretch out the vowels. The rhythms are extremely complex. All of this can seem chaotic and grating to the untrained ear. But the small amount … Continue reading Intimate Music: Dos guitarras flamencas en stereo

Gaga for Gaga

It was the jarring comparison that was made rather off-handedly between the squirm-worthy Cyrus and Her High Fabulousness, Gaga. I can't overstress that the comparison is ludicrous at best. It's just downright insulting to Gaga at worst. She might disagree with me. After all, there is that Oscar Wilde thing about not being talked about at all. Considering the vast marketing machine that is all things Gaga, I suspect she would probably be amused rather than insulted.

Everything Old is New Again

The evening was hot, even stifling. The three of us had been recording our first studio album for the past half-year, but those months of mandolin and microphones, and vocals and cables had come to a close. We were done recording, and it was time to see what we had accomplished. Roger Noguerol, our drummer … Continue reading Everything Old is New Again

Editor, Audio Tech

I edit books--it's what I do as a professional. But I also am a musician on the side, and, a few times a year, get a job as an audio tech. I'm a professional at these things as well. A career counselor once told me this is called a composite career. A few times a … Continue reading Editor, Audio Tech

Decisions, Shapes

I remember learning the alphabet only in the vaguest way. It's safer to say that, when I learned how to spell, I had a memory of learning the alphabet. Stringing words into sentences wasn't all that tough: I just mimicked how people talked. In later years, English teachers drilled us all in proper grammar. As … Continue reading Decisions, Shapes

Musical Words

Concertina The monkey's squeezebox is played by pressing keys on either side while squeezing the bellows, moving air past the reeds. This reed-based musical instrument's name demands one take it in hand and operate it, not in the solitude of a parlor as with a small guitar, but in front of an appreciative crowd. Best … Continue reading Musical Words

The Search for Meaning

I’m sitting on the patio of a recently opened indie café called, non-ironically, Hipster Coffee, in one of the few quiet parts of Busan. It’s sixty-eight degrees tonight with just few gnats flitting about. My latte sits next to my MacBook Pro (hipster, eh?), and I’ve got these awesome little noise canceling ear buds playing … Continue reading The Search for Meaning

Melancholy Harmony

I always saw Simon and Garfunkel's albums as boomy, echoing voices from the past, their clear harmonies telling me stories of the inevitable loneliness and alienation I'd soon experience as a young man. I would sit on the floor of my room and listen to the cassette tape of "The Concert in Central Park" over … Continue reading Melancholy Harmony