Where Have All The Spiders Gone?

Here I am.

So Where Have You Been?

 
Busy, I guess.

It’s been just shy of four months since my last post. Not too regular lately, eh, wot? I can, of course, claim the usual excuses. Lots of stuff going on and blah, blah, blah. I suppose between that and CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff) that pretty much covers it.

So what’s been going on these four months? Glad you asked.

Family Affairs

 
Wendie has been diagnosed with, and successfully treated for, cancer, with a very good prognosis. Surgery only was required, no chemo or radiation. That’s a big “Thank You Jesus” for that one. She was actually trying to find the cause of some other issues when this was discovered. Had the other issues not bothered her this might have gone undetected long enough that surgery alone would not be enough. That’s another “Thank You Jesus.”

Our younger son has announced his engagement to be married. Congratulations, Andrew and Jana, and another big “Thank You Jesus.”

And we will be heading north in a few weeks to have a nice visit with Wendie’s family and some of our old friends. Looking forward to that.

Churchy Things

 
Still playing roughly two Sundays a month at New Song Church, and enjoying it more than ever.

The Edge Church has gotten off to a grand start. Their first service was on Easter Sunday. Not long before that they did a promotional event in Surf City called Edge-A-Palooza. Some of us from New Song went down and played a set. It was pretty chilly when we went on, but the day warmed up nicely.

And back to New Song, we had a video in the service this morning of U2 doing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. ANd when I sat down to do my new entry tonight I noticed the title of my last post was A Bit On (The) Edge. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Other Music-y Stuff

 
Yesterday Cold Biscuit Band played our first real gig this year at the Hilton Deck. It was notable for a few reasons. I think on most of the songs we sounded better than ever. Our new drummer, Laura, joined us on stage for the first time. We also had a guest guitarist, Landy (I hope that’s spelled right). I will fill in last names at a later date (like when I learn what they are). Landy will be filling in on those times (notably Fridays) that I can’t be there.

Landy may have even more opportunity to play with the band since I will be leaving after the first weekend in June. I’ve decided that it’s time to reassess my musical activities.

After our trip up north in mid-June I think I may start organizing a Christian Blues band. I’ll be setting up a page on my website in the near future with more information about this. As always, I reserve the right to back out of this before I get it started. It is, after all, a scary proposition. Pretty much every band I’ve ever played in has been one that has already been in business and I usually replaced someone who was leaving (or had already left).

Anyway, more on this at a later date.

First day of the 2011 Guitar Center King Of The Blues contest is coming up Thursday. I’ll be heading out to Raleigh to try one more time to get past the local store final.

In recent musical history I did a video for the GuitarControl.com contest. You can see that video here. This was a lot of fun to do, even if I wasn’t a finalist.

And not directly a musical thing, but I’ve decided to leave off my Share The Stage posts for now.

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.

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A Bit On (The) Edge

And I’m not referring (at least not directly) to the guitarist for U2.

The Edge Church

 
Yesterday was a great time at church. We had as guests Eric Marshburn and Tony T-Bone Martin, who together will be serving in The Edge Church in Holly Ridge, NC. The church’s main geographical area of interest is the Holly Ridge – Hampstead area, nestled (so to speak) between Jacksonville and Wilmington.

Eric is pastor and T-Bone is music minister. T-Bone joined with our praise team on keyboards and vocals. We opened with the U2 song When Love Comes To Town. That seemed to wake everyone up!

Rather than me try to tell you all about the new church, please visit their website over the next few weeks to see what’s happening.

On The Cold (Biscuit) Front

 
As you may or may not know, T-Bone is one of the famous Cold Biscuit Band Irregulars. He occasionally joins us, playing either bass or keyboards as the situation requires, and usually throwing in some vocal magic as well.

As I mentioned in my last post, the CBB hasn’t played in a while. We do have an upcoming gig at the Barbecue In Blue Jeans event on January 21st.

Good Old Fashioned Guitar Synthesizer Blues

 
[With apologies to Morton Subotnik.]

Well, the deadline for this contest is now rapidly retreating. Unfortunately I never found the time to do an entry video, nor in fact have I done any videos for my YouTube channel. I do still have plans to actually record and upload some video material.

New Toys

 
Had a chance to shop for some new toys at Christmas time. I picked up a Fender Mustang II amp and a BOSS OD-20 pedal.

The plan for the Mustang II was that it would become my always-hooked-up-at-home amplifier. Then last Thursday at practice for church I ended up using my new toys and liked the way it sounded. I think my new church setup is going to be my Samick guitar through the OD-20 to the Mustang II. I’m seriously thinking of not using my VG-88 at church (at least for a while – all specifications are subject to change).

So the old Gibson Falcon amp will be my always-hooked-up-at-home amplifier. But for recording purposes I’ll probably use the Mustang II as well.

And when gigging with the Biscuits I’ve got some things I want to try out. I need to see if I can use the Mustang II (which is fairly low wattage) as a preamp to the FM212 DSP. If this works well the next step is to see how well the VG-88 and GR-30 feed into this. Oh, the joy of experimentation.

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.

. . . But Look Who Checked Out . . .

When I titled my last post somewhat randomly, I had no idea that it would have led so well into the very appropriate and not-so-random title of today’s post some 13 days later.

Oh Tell Me Good Cap-Tane

 
The first news of the death of Captain Beefheart reached me yesterday on my facebook news feed via my friend Mark from Syracuse. The news prompted me to spend some time on YouTube looking for some more videos. I had already added I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby and Upon The My Oh My as favorites on my YouTube channel. I have since added the haunting Further Than We’ve Gone and the J.J.Cale tune Same Old Blues.

Rest In Peace good Captain.

Wished I’d-A

 
And that bit of news reminds me that I had always planned on having a Share The Stage sequence covering artists who are deceased – sort of a Wish I Could Have Shared The Stage With. I guess now is the time to embark on that. Captain Beefheart will be the first entry.

Who else? Let’s see. I would pick

  • Jimi Hendrix – need I say more?
  • Janice Joplin – she could really belt out the blues
  • Jerry Garcia – almost met him (I think)
  • Link Wray – inventor of the power chord – met his band once
  • Bob Bogle – yes, of Ventures fame
  • Duane Allman – saw him with Derek And The Dominoes
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn – whew!
  • John Lennon – just imagine
  • George Harrison – played some great licks
  • Mike Bloomfield – a great bluesman
  • Roy Orbison – the Voice of all time
  • Ricky Nelson – he was so cool as a teen
  • Bobby Hatfield – a Righteous Brother

 
I’m gonna let that end the list for now. I’ll probably do another set at a later time.

Sundays

 
Played the last two Sundays at church. I have this week and next week off, then it’s every other Sunday in January, starting with the first one. I love these opportunities. Last week I got to play with one of our other lead guitarists and had a great time doing that.

Biscuits

 
Still no gigs in sight for Cold Biscuit Band until next month at the Barbecue In Blue Jeans event.

We did have an informal practice with a few of us the other day and it was good to do that again.

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.

You Can Only Check In

. . . to the Roach Hotel and the Hotel California . . .

Time to put some ketchup on.

Dragon Wheel

 
OK, I confess. I’m a fan of The Wheel Of Time. I actually got into it when I picked up the prequel New Spring as a bargain book and really enjoyed it. Next I found the first book in the series, The Eye Of The World, in the free Burger King book exchange. After that I read the rest of the series in order, buying most copies second-hand.

I started poking around the web when I was having trouble finding book 12, only to find out about the untimely demise of Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney, Jr.). So I have been watching the shelves, waiting for the next book as done by Brandon Sanderson to come out in paperback. When I did find it I was briefly disappointed, because it was published in the (fairly) new, taller, more expensive paperback format, which I had long ago decided I was going to avoid (unless found used).

So I watched the copies slowly disappear from the shelf until I decided I would rather not wait until I could find the book used. This is the first purchase I made in the large paperback format.

And I’m glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

When I mentioned I was a fan I should have also mentioned that I’m not a fanatic. So don’t expect me to do some big thesis on the book and critically analyze how well Mr. Sanderson stayed true to Mr. Jordan’s vision. Suffice it to say that it was a pleasure to see how goes the battle, to join Rand and friends on their continuing journey to the end of all things (at least until the next time).

Looking To The Morning

 
Tomorrow I get to play my guitar at church again. We had a really good practice Thursday and I’m excited about services tomorrow. Actually, looking at the clock, I guess I should say later today.

E.C.

 
I recently purchased the 2010 Crossroads 2-DVD set and watched it a week or so back. Another thoroughly enjoyable experience. And a good opening to sneak in another session of Share The Stage.

There are several artists on this set who I would love to Share The Stage with. I’m not going to say a whole lot about each one, but here’s my list:

  • Eric Clapton – ’nuff said
  • Sonny Landreth – I’ve heard his name but never heard him play until this – he is currently my favorite slide player
  • Robert Randolph – first saw him on TV doing some Hendrix stuff – on pedal steel
  • Joe Bonamassa – Joe is from a town a little east of my home town in Central New York, and he was the headliner for the Guitar Center King Of The Blues final in 2009
  • Hubert Sumlin – a name I had heard, but had not seen him or heard him play until watching some King Of The Blues contest videos
  • Doyle Bramhall II – interesting style
  • Derek Trucks – I’ve been enjoying his playing for a few years now – he’s probably my current second favorite slide player, and he was the headliner for the Guitar Center King Of The Blues final in 2010
  • Susan Tedeschi – have heard the name, finally heard her play
  • James Burton – loved his playing since the Ricky Nelson days – he’s still got the touch
  • Albert Lee – classic
  • John Mayer – that young lad play some blues
  • Warren Haynes – love hearing him play Soulshine
  • the Los Lobos boys – always some interesting playing with them
  • Jeff Beck – one of the most original players on the planet
  • Steve Winwood – excellent keys and guitar
  • B.B. King – what more can you say?

 
Yes, you’re right, I didn’t list everyone in the show. Nothing against the other headliners, but I am drawn in particular to the ones I listed.

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.

Nameless

Sorry about that! I couldn’t think of a good title for this post and I really didn’t want to put it off until a title came to me. At least be thankful I won’t pull this little trick again.

Although I may just pull a new little trick just like it some other time.

More Nameless

So let’s just slather the shellac on the shingle.

Biscuits On The Q.T.

Man! The last gig the Cold Biscuit Band played was October 30th, and we don’t have anything booked (AFAIK) until sometime in January. Guess I’ll be pretty well rested up by then.

Back in the day in Syracuse the local morning newspaper ran a comic strip with no name. It was an odd little strip, offbeat. Anyway, I still remember opening the paper one morning and reading this comic. The first frame showed a fish who was lamenting the sad state of his stream. As the frames progressed he was talking about things like fishermen muddying up his stream. In the last frame he’s holding a banjo and says “Thank goodness for my banjo!”

I don’t know for sure why I brought that up, other than to remind myself that there’s always something to be thankful for.

Meanwhile Around The Corner In James City

Got to play at church again yesterday. Thank goodness for my banjo – er – guitar!

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

So I finished updating my main site. I’m quite proud of the banner image – a fine collage if I do say so myself.

And I started touching up my techno site. If you compare the two side by side you’ll see some obvious similarities. I’m thinking about how to spiff up the banner image on that site.

Although this isn’t the proper place for it, I think I’ll mention that I’m a step closer to preparing my entry for the Roland Guitar Synth Challenge. I now have one of those silly Cyclopean thingies peering at me from the top of my monitor.

I’ve discovered or been discovered by a few more old Syracuse area friends on facebook recently. Hopefully I’ll be doing an STS post soon and listing some of these good people.

And Speaking Of “Share The Stage”

The thought occurred to me the other day that there’s a side to my STS posts that I haven’t yet touched on. Let me remedy that right now.

Since the whole STS thing is me lifting up my ego and listing famous and not-so-famous musical artists who I feel should Share The Stage with me by inviting me to have a guest spot in one of their concerts, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I haven’t already shared the stage with some fine musicians.

It’s always taking a chance when you mention some people that you will forget to mention others. So we usually don’t take the chance. However, since I have now (thanks to Jim’s friend Duffy) been diagnosed with CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff) I can list who I remember and blame any I forget to mention on my CRS (a condition which I just barely remember having).

So here in New Bern let me give mention to a number of people I have been blessed to make music with over the last dozen or so years. I list them here in alphabetical order (by last name). Bobby Acker. Dennis Albertson. Jennifer Alcock. Fred Bisel. Cheryl Bowen. Chad Brewer. James Brothers. Caleb Brumbaugh. Jared Brumbaugh. Mike Brumbaugh. Dave Cooley. Jake Corley. Jim Durham. Barry English. Bernie Farkus. Dickie Fraser. Mitch Galloway. Brian Geer. Jim Grant. Joe Haynes. Jessica Hopkins. Doc Horner. Herb Humphreys. Marty James. Pete Jenkins. Jon Johndrow. Carson Koonce. Clay Lassiter. Bob Lohr. Tony T-Bone Martin. Bill McKinney. Jimmy Merritt. Mark Millard. Andrew Miller. Ricky Nipper. Rhonda Nobles. Dana Outlaw. John JP Parker. Jesse Rains. Dail Reed. Chuck Reynolds. Danny Rogers. Ray Rouse. Julie Schilens. Jeff Severt. Chris Stilley. John Stilley. Carolyn Smith. Mike Thorsby. Sara Thorsby. Andrew Webb. Wendie Webb. Kevin Webber. Rhoda Webber. Ervin Whitehurst. Joy Whitehurst. Donica Wright.

Those of you who should be on this list but aren’t – please have mercy. CRS, you know. [And if anyone sends me names I’ll add them in.]

And I’d like to thank Planning Center Online for helping me to list pretty much everyone I’ve played with at New Song since we came back.

I’ll list some Central New York people another time.

All In All

That’s it for now. More later.

Lifting Face

I have been threatening for some time now that I was going to give my main site a facelift. Over the last week I’ve been working hard on that.

Before And After

Here’s the obligatory Before and After shots.

oldsitesmall newsitesmall

Actually, the shot on the right is not “After” but instead is “In Between.” I’ve still some styling to do.

The main reason I’m going through this is that the new site will be much easier to maintain and update than the current one is. I’ve learned a lot of HTML and PHP since I started working on my first site, but now I’m reaching for the easy button.

Catching Up

I just figured out it’s been over two weeks since my last post. Guess I took a little vacation. There’s been a lot going on, as usual.

Cold Biscuit Band played the big Halloween dance at the James City VFW. The turnout was light, but we had a lot of fun. And there was an upside to the small turnout. You see, the VFW is one of the few places you can go around here where smoking is still allowed indoors. I usually refer to the place as Smoky Joe’s. Well, with the smaller crowd there was noticeably less smoke in the air. And to me, that’s a good thing. Mind you, I still had to shower and put my show duds in the garage when I got home, but at least the pirate car didn’t stink.

This last Sunday I had the chance to play at church again. Love it when that happens!

Lately we’ve had some tough times. But we’ve had some huge blessings as well. God’s in control!

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.

SyntheSizing Spiders

It’s been a long year this week!

SyntheSpider

 
I finally got around to revamping the SyntheSpider website. As mentioned in an earlier post, I set up the SyntheSpider Stuff blog to document my progress in the Roland Guitar Synth Challenge. That blog is an offshoot of the SyntheSpider site, and the site was in sore need of a facelift and update. I also took the opportunity to begin moving the gear pages I used to have on the SoaringSpider site over to SyntheSpider. I’ve been a busy little spider bee.

In His Service

 
The Lord was gracious. He allowed me to play at church this morning. With all that’s been going on recently (a lot of which I don’t share with the public) I really needed that this morning. There is something about playing in a worship service that you don’t get playing at an event like last week’s chili festival.

Sally From Syracuse

 
Back in 1998 we sallied forth from Syracuse (and you probably thought I was going to talk about the famous song by Stu Nunnery!) and ended up here in New Bern. As much as I don’t miss dealing with the bitter cold and the snow and especially the slushy mush that’s in the streets and driveways and parking lots so often during the winter, I truly do miss old friends.

So in my copious spare time the last week or so I’ve been tracking some of those folks down on facebook. It’s been a lot of fun. And I see I’m not the only one who’s been through a lot of stuff through the years.

I mentioned earlier that my Share The Stage series may have some of the Syracuse folks in it. I’ve been keeping a list and have several names from Central New York to add in.

And speaking of STS, it’s become obvious to me that I won’t be able to devote a separate post to each artist. I’ll be doing them in batches of from 1 (which I guess ain’t really a batch) to some number larger than that (sorry if I’m not being vague enough).

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.

Sassy

A Week Ago Sunday . . .

 
. . . one of the ladies at church mentioned she was looking forward to the next time I played because she wanted to hear my sassy guitar.

So Yesterday . . .

 
. . . I got the opportunity to play again. And one of the songs we did, ala Lincoln Brewster, was Everlasting God. Hopefully when I kicked in the wah it got sassy enough.

But Seriously . . .

 
I really appreciate the way God works. He’s given me a talent for guitar that I have sometimes developed, sometimes squandered. Lately I pray I’ve been doing more developing, and using for Him, than squandering.

And I know (and I have to remind myself about this quite often) that it’s not about me, but all about Him. And the glory belongs to Him, not to me.

But He does so love us, and occasionally He sees fit to have someone slide on up to us and give us a pat on the back, or a smile and a kind word, or a compliment, and we can go on our way feeling just a little better than the moment before, feeling that something we’ve done has reached someone else, has brightened someone’s day, or at least a moment, and in return they’ve brightened ours.

At one time I felt that if someone payed me a compliment, especially for something that I’ve only been able to do through the power of the Holy Spirit, it was necessary (and sufficient, as they say in the math world) to point to the sky and say “He did it.” Never take the compliment for yourself, because the glory is His.

But I just don’t think that way anymore. Yes, sometimes a compliment is an opportunity to witness to the power of the Spirit or to the sacrifice of the Son, or to the love of the Father. But sometimes I think you need to take a compliment as an earthly prelude to a heavenly “Well done.” And just say “Thank you” to that person.

And if it’s not the time to turn the moment into a witness, well, it is a time to say, in your mind, “Thank You, Lord.”

So: “Thank You, Lord, that someone appreciates the display of the talent you gave me enough to call it sassy.”

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.

An Abraham Thing

A Blast From The Past

 
Back in 2004 I wrote an article for my main website titled It’s An Abraham Thing.  I did a minor update to this item in 2005.  The item was about fasting, and about music ministry.  Well, actually, it was about fasting from the music ministry.

Jump ahead to yesterday.   I had a Really Bad Day at the day job, and was feeling pretty discouraged.  Just before I packed up to go home I noticed an email that was sent to me by someone I don’t know.  The email’s subject was “abraham thing” which of course reminded me about the article mentioned above.  Here’s a condensed version of that email:

abraham thing [condensed]

 
Just wanted to tell you that I came across your blog about the music ministry and abraham and I really enjoyed it. I have been going through something similar in the last few months. Mine was different in that God started telling me in Oct 2009 that He was going to take me out of my comfort zone and was wanting me to leave my church. I dragged my feet, convinced myself it wasn’t the right time, etc etc… Then one day last month I was praying and listening to some music and God spoke to me and asked me “why I was asking Him because I don’t do what He tells me to anyway” BIG WAKE UP CALL. I decided right there that I was going to do it. I even compared it [to] Abraham and Issac. . . . That very next Sunday I was at a new church . . . the entire sermon felt like it was for me . . . [it was about how] the more we do self will instead of God’s will it’s like . . . pulling away [from God]. I can see that so clearly now. . . . So I am taking it day by day and was very encouraged with your story . . . how I came across it was a plan of God’s. A friend sent me an invite to a revival with Joe Sneed and I googled him online because I had never heard of him before and there was your article. The one and only one that I happend to read. God sure does amazing things! . . . With God all things are possible.

What Goes Around Comes Around

 
And so something I wrote at least partially as encouragement for myself some 5 years ago encouraged another person, and that person sent me an email about it that came just at the right time to encourage me. Isn’t God good?

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.

And One Week Later

Something new this weekend.

At Church

 
Imagine my surprise Thursday when I showed up at church band practice only to find out that we weren’t going to have a keyboard player Sunday.

I had just mentioned not that long ago that I was using a lighter setup at church than what I use on the Biscuit gigs. But with no keyboards on Sunday I ended up taking my full gig rig, sans amplifier (the Blues Deluxe Reissue I use there belongs to the church).

The Sunday morning practice went well but the first service music was a train wreck. ‘Nuff said there. Second service went much better.

Will I use the full rig again at church? Don’t know just yet. We pretty much always have a keyboard player so it’s not like I need it to broaden the sound.

Coming Up

 
The band will be playing twice this coming Saturday. Early afternoon we’re playing at a private party for a couple of hours. Later on (5-9) we play the Saturday Deck Party at the New Bern Hilton. These are always fun, and this will probably be our last one this summer.

All In All

 
That’s it for now. More later.