Free Music

The music that flows freely in our world is essential, necessary, and everywhere. Our music, the exquisite sound, the magical noise, liberated today by technology to ring out everywhere, enriches every corner of our lives. The more we share music, the better we are; we could not imagine a world without this inexplicable, gratuitous, extravagant gift to us all.  How “Free” and “Music” go together… Recently a music publishing executive was interviewed on a network […]

“The Next Chapter”

Hey, “He’s baaack!” …as the old saying goes. Actually, ‘been around here all along, but I thought it was time to declare the next chapter. I’ve been working this year with a new lineup of our band, now “Crary, Evans, and Barnick.” Our new guy is Wally Barnick, veteran of the famous West Coast bunch of superpickers known as The Cache Valley Drifters. I’ve known Wally and listened to his eerily beautiful voice since the […]

Guitars & Attitudes

I am interested in your attitudes about learning the guitar. Different attitudes play a major role in the approaches people take to learning the guitar. So that’s important to me because I spend a lot of time trying to help people learn the guitar. In Thomas Hart Benton’s great Midwestern-impressionist painting “The Music Lesson” a little barefoot country girl is watching intently as a young man in a straw hat and overalls shows her something […]

Across the Tracks

I have been at this quite a long time. ‘Seen some amazing things, heard and was fortunate enough to play a lot of music, wore out a few passports and sets of tires, and generally rode guitar music around all over the place. I’m planning a book that will tell some of the more bizarre stories. The people who did the bizarre stuff should tremble at the prospect; but actually, they don’t need to worry, […]

The Passing of Doc

Assignment: Write something in your Flatpicking Guitar column about Doc that is worthy of him, captures something authentic about him, avoids saying the same things that everyone else is saying about the life  and passing of Doc Watson. It turns out to be very difficult assignment: so much has already been said about the guy, he has been decorated, praised, applauded, and lauded by the whole world it seems, and well-deserved too. The ancient Greeks, […]

Winfield 40th

They asked me to write a few words about the Walnut Valley Festival on its 40th anniversary, I guess because of the matter of perspective. Long life gets you, if nothing else, a bit of a sweep in your view of things. So I definitely got sweep: I was here at the first festival, and also at thirty-some of the intervening ones.  One of the accomplishments of this festival is that in some ways it […]

Gambetta & Crary: On the Road, UK (9 May, 2002)

Back to business and it’s over to Leicester for a concert/workshop for the Taylor Guitar folks and Sheehan Musical Services. Part of the Gambetta/Crary team assignment is to put on these guitar company backed workshop events where we play, meet a lot of other guitar players and try to get out some information on a very important topic: How to teach yourself how to play a musical instrument. Oh, and we talk up the guitars […]

Gambetta & Crary: On the Road, UK (8 May, 2002)

When you last heard from us we were on the way to calendar, via a quick stop at PC world to pick up some adaptors to attempt to connect us with, well… with the world. Mind you, that’s not an unmitigated blessing, that getting connected. Northern Scotland is a place where I want to feel that I’ve gone ‘way far away. It’s a lot of trouble to fly across oceans and continents, so it’s a […]

Gambetta & Crary: On the Road (April 28, 2002)

The last scheduled thing you do at the Shetlands Folk Festival is hang out very close to a bar and listen to music. It’s also the first thing you do. Also the middle, the early-middle, late-middle, and…. Well, you get the idea. On the very last night the festival folks throw a bit of a party for those who performed, those who helped, and those who played other roles in the massive series of events […]