It’s been quite a year for Deb and me. It’s almost sad to see it go. It started with preparing an audition recording and then being selected to perform at the Tucson Folk Festival. And that led to quickly producing an entire Folk CD with my bass (and guitar) playing friend Rick Heyman and doing a warm-up show at the Tucson Baha’i Center. And while doing that, I helped Mike Lindsey produce a CD of his stories – both traditional Cherokee and “modern” – in preparation for his speaking engagement at the first University of Arizona Book Festival. In the midst of all that, in February, we went on Baha’i Pilgrimage to Israel by way of Virginia (to visit family) and London, England.
In May, I performed at the Tucson Folk Festival (twice actually). We also shopped for, and purchased, a new home in Casa Grande. In June we moved from Tucson to Casa Grande, and then sold our old home in Tucson. In July we celebrated my daughter Rachel’s wedding to Cody Langness (a great guy I might add) – and that brought a houseful of relatives to our new home for a week. In September, I performed at the Annual Commemoration of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and got some ankle surgery for Deb.
In October, I coordinated and hosted the 7th annual Music Industry Weekend at Bosch Baha’i School in Santa Cruz, CA. In November, we kicked-off our weekly firesides hosting our dear friend Jim Rhodes, visiting home from Vietnam. I also performed at John Cook’s birthday party at Desert Rose, and attended a funeral for a friend and great Baha’i teacher – Ken Jeffers. This reminds me that along the way, we also bid farewell to Henry Dolphin, and Dan Seals, two very fine Baha’is.
Now, finally, the Christmas season has come and we have no where we need to be except home. It’s a blessing. I’m taking the whole week off work. But just so you don’t think I’m not busy, I have to tell you that recently, with help of Jeff Bohnhoff, and advice and encouragement from Jarome Matthew and Russ Salton, I purchased new recording studio equipment – built around a new iMac computer (it’s cool!). I have a lot of gadgets and software to figure out as I work on my latest project commitment, which is writing a series of songs to go into Joseph Sheppherd’s new book.
Joseph is an anthropologist and has written several books including “Island of the Same Name”, “Leaf of Honey” and “Wayfarer’s guide to Bringing the Sacred Home“. He and his wife Jan moved (as Baha’i “pioneers”) to Slovakia last year and are there now. He is collecting “legend artifacts” from the Folklore of the region and writing stories about those legends, as though they might have been told back in the 1700s. Each story, he plans, will include a song of a troubadour – a common character through all the stories – about that particular legend or adventure. Joseph enlisted me to write the songs. (We met years ago at Bosch and I provided Music for a weekend event at his home in Bend, Oregon back in 2004). I have just finished writing the first song about “Vodnik” (a shape-shifting underwater creature) for his first tale in the book.
I made a draft recording of the tune for Joseph using Garageband on my new iMac, and my two condenser mics, via a PreSonus Firestudio Project interface, for a stereo guitar track. I then overdubbed a mono vocal track. I had to punch in some new vocals after I changed a lyric and it was a breeze. I added some compression in post-production and “warmed” the gutar and vocals with the pre-configured EQ selections. For a quick recording, it sounds pretty good. But I may have to find a decent (yet inexpensive) twelve-string guitar since the Troubadour reportedly plays a 24-string Lute! (seems a waste since he has only ten fingers). The hardest part for me is yet to come, as I must now transcribe my recording into sheet music for publication in the book. I’m shopping for some software to make it easier – but nothing good is cheap.
I hope this holiday season brings joy to each one of you. And if you’re like me, I know you’ll appreciate a prayer for peace as well. You have one from me. Thanks for “tuning in” this year.