Gee Tar


Last week, I dusted off my “Oscar Schmidt” acoustic guitar and tried to play some random songs from my memory bank in front of my nieces. I failed miserably and I immediately lost their interest as they became focused on whatever else was entertaining them and I felt rejected, emotionally.

I enjoy listening to the sounds of the guitar. Its a great noise that comes from those strings as they are strummed, plucked and picked. In high school I wanted a bass guitar because it sounded cool and I had some friends that liked to play those funky backbeats. My parents rented one for me as a gift and it came with a small amp. I had fun messing around with it but I never really got anywhere. I even took advantage of a free lesson, but still, I got no where. Then about a year later, mom and dad tried it again. They rented an electric guitar for me to satisfy my interest once again. I cheated and played guitar solos on my cd player in the background in my bedroom and pretended I was playing. I ended up fooling my mother, but that wasn’t any fun. I lost patience and the guitar and amp was returned to the music shop.

College came. Various room mates and friends in the dorms had guitars. Electric and Acoustic. As much as I enjoyed hearing the guys jam away, and believe me they were impressive, I just didn’t have the time, patience and skill to jump right in and start playing with all the pedals and knobs, etc. However, when I listened to this one guy with a beard during my second year in college, I suddenly found a way to do this. He was reading tablature from a Smashing Pumpkins song, I think. Its a way of notating music. But tablature made it more simple for me to grasp. It lays out the frets and strings in a more elementary sort of way. At that point my interest in music was soaring anyway. I was experimenting with a lot of bands and hanging out with all kinds of friends that showed me a thing or two with the acoustic guitar. I find that going back to the roots of music with that kind of instrument and those kinds of easy guitar tabs made my experience a lot easier.

I would occasionally pick up my roommate’s, “Hotsauce” was his nickname, acoustic guitar and start jamming based on trial and error. I would hear the sounds on the cd player or sit and observe others, like the bearded man from earlier, and just go by feel and sound. But, of course, the tabs helped a lot when I returned home from college. My parents finally BOUGHT me an Oscar Schmidt guitar. I found myself enjoying it a lot more and growing much more patient with it. All through the late nineties and early naughties, I played frequently. I was able to mess around with the styles of bands like Monster Magnet, Type O Negative, Pink Floyd, Jewel, Mazzy Star and Smashing Pumpkins. But then it really started to collect dust, until I met my wife. I tried to impress her but my efforts weren’t so great because I started to rust out a little. My lack of practicing showed, unfortunately. But lately, since my encounter with the nieces, I decided to try and master a couple of songs and spend more time with it.

Sure I love to listen to music, write about music, go to concerts and review them. But I wish to bring back the acoustic instrument back into my life. I seem to know so much about music and who my favorite guitarists are and I love to write poems that are very much musical. So why cant I get back up on the musical horse and start riding again? That is one of my goals this year. To become connected with the music on a deeper level. Who knows maybe I’ll even post a video of me playing in the future. We’ll see. Later.


Time for some Tom and Jerry……..

Album Reviews

Mazzy Star…..Out Of The Blue (Number 13)


Her haunting voice arrives just after the organ’s hummer
The slide guitar lulls you to its peaceful rhythm
Steady but broken up drum beats
Slow burn of terrific melodies
Acoustic guitar strummed at the pace that screams of open fields
Off In the distant
I need my car so I can fill the tank up
And go for a very long drive along the lakes
Through the forests
Smiling up at the clouds
Seasons of Your Day is this brand new offering
From a band called Mazzy Star
How long has it been?
Seventeen Years?
Unbelievable friendly ghosts from the past
Make this music comfortable all over again
Like the best shower I have ever experienced
In the middle of the winter in a cabin
Deep in the woods
My feelings and emotions are strong with this recording
The voice of Hope is mystical and enchanting
Dreamy acid folk perhaps?
Pastoral country sounds mixed with late smoky rainy nights
Strumming the chords and the tablature
Are plucking on my heart strings
Romance hugs me even with the lovely harmonica notes
May I just say thank you for creating this wonderful music
It has brought me so much joy
since I first heard a hypnotic song entitled “Fade Into You”
so many years ago
Seventeen years ago I was still in college
Yesterday you entered my soul again
As if there was not this gap of time and energy
Heartbeat never skipped
I blinked and you were back
To rescue me from my misguided sleep
I think like the beautiful purple album cover
Just a perfect surprise
For the year two thousand thirteen
I cannot stop playing this record
I am simply blown away

Check it out here:


Watching the MAN at Work!


Saturday night in Chicago was terrific! Denielle and I met up with some close friends in the Lincoln Park area to catch an intimate show at Park West. It’s a small auditorium that is host to many top act performances. I didn’t mind standing outside along the sidewalk waiting for the doors to open. Good people and good conversations to distract us from what we were about to experience. Ever hear of the 1980’s band, Men at Work? Well a very special man named Colin Hay, who was the lead singer, guitarist and principle song writer of that group was the performer of the evening.

You have to hear him play, in order to understand why I think he’s so incredible. Sure you might be familiar with songs like “Who Can It Be Now?” or “Down Under.” But he has really matured as a fine solo artist after his record label let him go back in 1991. He figured it was a good thing they did, because if he’s not welcomed anymore than why would he want to hang around with them. He has written and performed wonderful songs accompanying himself on acoustic guitar.

That is what he did at Park West. He stood there on stage holding his guitar, playing, singing and talking. He even told a lot of jokes at times. Colin Hay is really funny. The audience was just rip roaring at his anecdotes, his old tales from back in the day and just telling us about some funny run ins with some of his oddball fans. Mistaken identities in restaurants and people thinking he wrote some song about a goat. I was just surprised how many times I was laughing.

All joking aside, he had like 5 guitars on stage which he tuned himself, live in front of us. It’s just so special to be in a place this small with this living legend on stage jamming away for us. It’s like storytellers from way back when tv stations like VH1 used to air these precious live shows with little tales about the songs being performed. Colin is a regular guy from Scotland and Australia. He tells it like it is but he’s just so damn good playing the guitar. It is fascinating to watch him strum, tune, his wincing facial expressions and the beauty of his vocals.

I’m glad we went. Here is a sample from the show. It happens to be “our song” when we were planning our wedding and beyond. Thank you Colin Hay for an awesome experience!