Turtles All The Way Down

Wings of Fire
Like a Leaf
Redwing Blackbird

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    History of My Music

Handmade Music

     So here are explanations of each of the fifteen songs. I started writing when I was fifteen. In 1961, I was playing in a folk music group called The Minutemen in Kansas City with Dick Dickinson and John Carmichael. Dick's parents went up in their attic and brought out what I believe was a Gibson L-5 (wow!) and a spruce top Gibson mandolin with an oval hole. These were vintage family heirlooms, and they said we could use them if we wanted. We liked the mandolin, but the guitar looked funny to us in the sixties, so we didn't use it. If only we knew then what we know now.

The process of writing for me has mostly been impulsive, meaning I would get an idea, write down words that rhymed or not and then see how a melody went with them. Later I began to think of the words as beads or jewels on a string, the string being time. Along the way I learned that sometimes the music is the space between the notes and I began to use syncopation and other rhythmic devices. The idea I am presenting and the way the words fall sometimes determines the tempo. I have sometimes written the music first, sometimes the phrases and the music occur together, but mostly I write, then lay the words on a rhythmic matrix.

I play an Epiphone Texan (cir. 1955) that I bought in 1964 at the Denver Folklore Center with two months' Army pay. I rescued a Takamine Jasmine 12-string in 1997, but the neck is a little narrow. I play it in open G with a drop C. I always use the Dunlop .0225 fingerpicks and National medium thumbpick. I use a Shubb capo, but try not to capo at all, I use my voice in different keys. I nurture my traditional and folk roots, but the tree is not all roots. The branches show different life experiences, and...and...growth. For me this is a living process. My music defines me.