Music fills moments until they weave together into the tapestry of a life. Here, a sampling from the past couple of weeks. But FIRST two Birdsong SALE notices! The cool & colorful short scale Birdsong spec’d out for Thin The Herd Guitars is ON SALE, we injected our tonal magic into a T-style bass that’s a HUGE bargain and right now even more so! www.thintheherdguitars.com. AND over on the exotic end of things, authorized Birdsong dealer www.hdcustomguitars.com has the doubleneck fretted/fretless bass up for sale, fresh off our workbenches and ready for the player who only thought they had everything… now they can! HD Custom is a friend of ours and they will treat you right. Watch their listings for Birdsongs you won’t find anywhere else.
A good friend showed up for breakfast tacos with a bag of CDs he was letting go of and I’ve been grooving on them all week. My favorite so far? Wayne Shorter Juju which is spectacular small combo jazz engineered by Rudy Van Gelder so the fidelity is unreal for something recorded over half a century ago. But there’s so much more in this pile. I’m trying to savor this stack like new sippings over ice and not treat it like an all you can eat buffet. Music is such a wonderful gift. Thanks Les!
And not so much wonderful but definitely an honor, I was able to bring music back to an older friend transitioning into the local nursing home. To plug in the “music machine” and put on Willie Nelson’s Stardust CD and see him close his eyes and start softly singing along with a smile, that’s what music can do. That’s why I do what I do, to be some small part of something like that somewhere for someone. This vibrant, laughing, genius who knew more about music than I will ever understand – things are very different now. He came to me 16 years ago for guitar lessons to actually apply in simple playing what he understood of the vast math of music. Quickly making him MY guru for an hour a week, I helped as he wished but absorbed what I could. Anything jazz flavored in my guitar playing comes directly from this. Like "Uncle" Johnny’s tools, the bits I hold of Wyly's understandings are now in my hands to carry on and make something happen with, and I will. And my friend will fade peacefully to a beautiful soundtrack in his head instead of loose pieces of what he can’t remember. “…nothing but blue skies, from now on…”
Meanwhile down the road a ways as the crow flies, a younger friend survived a friggin' heart transplant! His family is very important to me and his father is the reason I am in Texas and was a huge influence in my life. The hour of the big cut I decided I’d play some music to help tether the soul and beacon the spirit as either was needed, things I know he loves. So I wasn’t there, but while Sterling got an engine swap Jerry Jeff Walker’s Viva Terlingua album spun on old scratchy vinyl out deep in the Texas Hill Country as an offering. This is an album that, listened front to back like an album is meant to be, will realign the spirit. No matter how you straggle into the room, a dose of VT and you walk out a bit cleared – part bender, part exorcism perhaps – but the sun is shining through the clouds and it’s so damn good to be alive whatever scars it has taken.
Speaking of sipping, Cutty on the rocks listening to my buddy Mike’s band Shakedown was fantastic. They’re the best Dead tribute band you’ll see short of the almost real thing, and he streamed their gig to Facebook (it’s linked on the Birdsong Guitars Facebook page). I’ve known Mike since we were kids and he was 14 singing Motley Crue songs. If I can find a picture of us I’ll post it below. Now decades later he’s a guitar player and let me tell you, that Bob Weir style of rhythm playing is neither simple nor easy and he rocks it. AND he rocked it on his custom Birdsong guitar. AND I didn’t have to leave the woods. I just kicked back and mellowed out to great live music from a good old friend on a guitar that somehow came through me on its way to groove those good people in the crowd. Massive. The medicine is strong.
Speaking of which, Birdsong player TD Towers from Edensong sent some good quality footage of his Talisman bass in action! Crank up the low end on THIS my friends. Those twin DiMarzio Model Ones (“Models Wi?”) just slab it out down in lower Hertz-land. And that’s a tight band.
CHECK IT OUT HERE!
Birdsong better half Jamie’s Aunt drove through and spent a day or so with us at the homestead. She is a boisterous lady full of humor, which is good because I believe I referred to the outdoor temperature (at that time 104 degrees) as “Hotter than Satan’s taint.” Anyhow, it came up that I can do incredible, spot-on imitations of various family members, who are all still “East coast” no matter where they have scattered to. Somehow this led to the Archie & Edith Bunker impressions (most legendary around these parts for a stunning rendition en Edithia of Bob Seger’s “Toin the Paeeege” at a local bar gig years back on a dare for a big tip) and before anyone knew what was happening, right there in our kitchen, the entire All In The Family theme song was given a rousing group a capella version as if it were Kumbaya. Fantastic.
It is 2:22 AM as I begin sketching this communication out. I am installing pickups in a bass – not always just a “screw in” job here, as our use of P-style pickups is without a surrounding pickguard to hide a big ol’ cavity underneath; we have to rout the pickup pockets tight & precise, then – because router bits are round and these pickups have corners - by hand shape the corners so the pickup fits in nicely. There’s more to all of this than meets the eye… part of the work that is hidden while in plain sight inherent in something crafted.
Listening to: Don Felder autobiography audiobook (muttering “Really? You really thought you were worth as much as Don friggin’ Henley to an Eagles reunion by the time it happened? GFY…”); Wayne Shorter Juju; Jerry Jeff Walker Viva Terlingua; some Grateful Dead, Billy Joe Shaver, Wynton Marsalis.