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Understanding makes the mind lazy.

Penelope Fitzgerald

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Saturday, April 4th, 2015

🦋 Hobo Nickel

Just putting the finishing touches on my first record! I will not be selling it online to begin with, but if you'd be interested in ordering a copy just drop me a line and I'm sure we can work something out.

Front and back covers:

posted morning of April 4th, 2015: 1 response

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

🦋 The Tortex(tm) Talon

...In use!

posted evening of February 18th, 2015: Respond
➳ More posts about Guitar

Friday, February 13th, 2015

🦋 Jim Dunlop

I'm kind of flabbergasted still about how seemingly good, worthwhile music is just about pouring out of me since I started using these picks! It's like it was the crucial next step from the Dunlop Thins that I used when I was recording "The Modesto Kid" -- suddenly I'm actually a musician! Check out this playlist [redacted rant of self-justification] -- "Jim Dunlop" by Jer "The Modesto Kid" Osner, traditional music and beyond.

[redacted footnote of self-justification]

posted morning of February 13th, 2015: 2 responses

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

🦋 Plectra

Wow! I must say I'm enjoying playing with the new picks I recently acquired! It is opening up a whole new sort of relationship with the guitar for me. Some songs and attempts at songs that I've been recording with these new plectra, are at my Soundcloud stream. Look!:

posted evening of February 7th, 2015: Respond
➳ More posts about Pretty Pictures

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

🦋 New Kweskin, Old Kweskin

Went over to a friend's house from the have_moicy mailing list the other day, to see about some used Holy Modal Rounders records; wonder of wonders he turned out to have a whole bunch of Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band as well!

And now look! "Jim Kweskin in the 21st Century" -- featuring a new "Blues in the Bottle", plus guest appearances from David Grisman and John Sebastan, Maria and Geoff Muldaur -- is available on Spotify! and fantastic.

posted afternoon of January 25th, 2015: 1 response

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

🦋 Christmas wishes

May all your tidings be explicitly comfortable and feasibly joyous; may all your glory be in the highest.

posted morning of December 25th, 2014: Respond
➳ More posts about Thomas Pynchon

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

🦋 The Modesto Kid

Some folk music for your perusal --

The Modesto Kid -- Very happy with this playlist of folk tunes and covers that I've been recording over the past few months. (Primarily happy about this since I am really enjoying listening to it -- the thing that most strongly motivates my playing music is how much I enjoy listening to the tapes -- is this an embarrassing thing to admit? And happy as well about the prospect of other people digging the tunes. So please take a listen!) Here's a track listing and a couple of annotations.

I seem to have happened on a rhythmick formulation through which one can transform a song: a way to create a totally new song on the structure of a traditional or a popular tune. I've been recording a lot of songs transformed through this method -- this method of altering the song's beat and key and (in consequence) twisting even the melody and lyric itself as necessary -- and here lay out some of the fruits of that project.

"Here Comes the Sun" is the most recent of the group -- I made this recording on the spur of the moment and it is what revealed to me that the project was complete.

"Bring it in over to my house, mama," by Blind Willie McTell. Excellent, excellent, exciting ragtime lick! (Thanks, Dylan, for the introduction to Blind Willie McTell -- thanks, Erik Frandsen, for teaching me this song.)

"Ballad of Hollis Brown" is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. (The three saddest songs I can think of are all by Bob Dylan; the fourth is a traditional number sung by Dylan.) I'll put this in a category with several other trax here as a song that I could picture being traditional. Just hoping I can do my bit to help turn these songs into traditional numbers :)

We been playin' some old-time favorites. Here's "Tell Old Bill." I know this song from the Chad Mitchell Trio. Not totally sure whether it is by Dave Van Ronk or traditional* :)

"Richland Woman Blues" by MS John Hurt, which I know via Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band. I'm no Maria Muldaur but I sure do love to sing that lilting melody! Another one I learned from Erik Frandsen.

(Turning the recorder back on, here's) "Stagger Lee" (hey finally an actually traditional traditional!) -- another tune that I know via Mississippi John Hurt. He's the first delta blues artist I ever really got into.

alright now here's something a little different. A version of John B. (this is a song deeply rooted in my memory of childhood campfire sing-alongs.) I'm never quite sure what to make of this narrative (to tell the truth) but I love the melody/the sound and sentiment of it. This recording has a flaw and I ought to redo it, same goes for a couple of other trax here. Apologies if I have not addressed this already. Oh my god I feel so broke up. dig the solo. (now let's see how that came out.)

kooky little instrumental. was finally able to figure out a dramatic way to end this lick. nice.

Oh yes! Lady waters and the hooded one! made up changes! This is a song off Element of Light by Robyn Hitchcock. Seems totally like a much older, traditional ballad. Great story! (Each time I sing it I wonder why exactly, the hooded one would have recoiled from Lady Waters' sickness? -- seems like as Death he'd have been into that kind of thing.) Extremely erotic song about death and Death.

"desolation row." (grin, shrug) A possibly self-indulgent tribute to an idol. If you're not into that sort of thing, skip it. Otherwise enjoy! :) This song's story-line is a bit harder to follow -- definitely there are moments of insight if you look/listen closely enough. Listen to Cinderella sweeping up, on Desolation Row.

another kooky little instrumental to bracket the two long vocals :)

"wish you were here" (speaking of tributes to idols), featuring me and John as Mountain Station. dig the solo/dig the harmony!

"12 gates to the city". Hey everyone: if you haven't gotten to see "Harlem Street Singer" yet, go find a way to see it! I've rewritten a Gary Davis gospel number a fair bit, came up with something new :) -- threw in a little Apocamon imagery. You owe it to yourself to listen to Gary Davis, and to watch the film if you get the chance.

"taps" (on balalaika :)) -- goodnight.

posted evening of November 15th, 2014: 2 responses
➳ More posts about Cover Versions

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

🦋 Ok, check *this* out:

ok, check *this* out:
#desolationrow #coverversion #dylancovers

posted morning of October 25th, 2014: Respond

Friday, October third, 2014

🦋 12 Gates again

Ok, here is my own version.

posted afternoon of October third, 2014: 2 responses
➳ More posts about The Blues

🦋 12 Gates to the City

I've been really looking forward for a while to the release of the new Gary Davis documentary, Harlem Street Singer. Saw it last night with old Xyris friend Ed and was not in the least disappointed -- indeed quite the contrary. I am here to tell you about a movie that should not be missed -- if you either (a) dig folk music or (b) think you would like to dig folk music, you ought to see this movie.

Gary Davis might be my very favorite guitar player -- and nicely, Harlem Street Singer provides plenty of commentary from guitarists that bears out this favoriting :) -- perhaps the nicest thing about this movie is the footage -- of Davis playing and singing and preaching and teaching, and also some great concert footage of bands he influenced, including Hot Tuna and the Dead. There are also interviews with guitarists he taught and influenced, including with Bob Weir and Jorma, and a monologue by Woody Mann. Mann is also the producer.

Let me leave you with "12 Gates to the City." This is that miraculous beast, the song that every version of it, is fantastic. In the movie Mann and singer Bob Sims performed a version of it that opened my eyes all over again -- check out this couple of different performances of Davis' tune (or Davis' arrangement of a trad. tune? Not entirely sure)(Hmm, and this seems like it would be a good tune for learning) -- and then watch this movie!

posted afternoon of October third, 2014: 1 response
➳ More posts about The Movies

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