I know a little something

· Loser, Music, Musicology, Songs for Beginners, the Dead, man...

Before applying the electrodes to the heart of the typewriter yesterday my last post here was about an experiment I started last July of posting videos of myself playing and singing songs to YouTube.

That’s really where my “blogging” energy has been since then, as I have built of quite a body of performances. It’s great having them out there and the feedback has been more encouraging than I’d hoped for, but I still feel like these things all need to be posted here, too, and organized by song, with the good takes highlighted, or something like that.

Or maybe I’l build out pages on my wiki and just like from here. Not sure.

Anyway, here’s my latest. I’ve got an arrangement for the Hunter / Garcia song “Loser” on ukulele that’s starting to come together:

Loser (solo take)

This ain’t no cocktail you buy in a bar

· Music, Musicology, Songs for Beginners, The Reuben Kincaid, ukulele stories

One of the songs I’ve been playing the longest with the Reuben Kincaid is an original by Cecil Vortex about prison booze called “Pruno.”

In fact, before the Kincaid even got together Pruno was one of the first tunes Cecil taught me and that we played together, and it was one of the first songs I recorded myself playing with Cecil, when I started to get the idea that this playing music together thing is actually pretty cool. At the time we were playing it on piano and uke but not TRK plays it in our current power trio format, with Cecil on guitar (sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric), the Reverend So-Called Bill on bass, and myself on ukulele, of course. Vocals on the “I don’t want to be right” chorus by hillbilly leprechaun Shmuey, who would himself never make or consume pruno.

Over the last few years we’ve played the song scores of times, usually with some major or minor flubs. The version I’m posting today is done in the slow epic/anthem mode, and has its share of clams, but is also a fairly representative demo of how we play “Pruno” today:

Pruno (demo)

UPDATE: Shared with the gracious permission of Cecil Vortex!

When it comes to thinking, bigger really is better

· Music

cover of Think Big ManifestoMichael Port, author of a number of bestselling sales-guru business books, has now come out with a pocket volume called The Think Big Manifesto: Think You Can’t Change Your Life (and the World?) Think Again.
I like the arresting graphic design of the book (a publicist sent me an advance copy) but was somewhat wary of the bold marketing language on the wrapper. Still, I found on opening the book that I was drawn in by the author’s cool, knowing style and I prepared myself to be convinced.
I started reading the book, nodding my head: I agreed with just about everything I read. The prose voice is somewhat breathless, though, and I had trouble staying focused on the book’s flow. As brief as it is, I noticed myself skimming ahead to the summarizing statements.
I found myself agreeing with all of the specific advice in the book and wondering whether I can (or do) actually follow it myself. What most of it comes down to is daring to think big and avoiding the doubts and negativity and small thinking that can so often hold us back.
I like this kind of thing, though I am also wary of it. That is, I want self-help, breakthrough, artistic and entrepreneurial leaps, but I have also seen a lot of snake oil and easy answers in my day. So it’s love/hate with this type of thing for me, and sometimes I adore it (The Power of Now, The War of Art, Money & the Meaning of Life) and other times it doesn’t stick.
For all of the books of this ilk I’ve devoured, where are my masterpieces, my killer apps? I’m still waiting to see if this one will take.