Video Studio Journal 11-15-2010 Making The Rounds

Studio Journal 11-15
You Tube

Associated Videos
All videos available streamed on my You Tube Channel

performance video link "A Gypsy Lullabye"

Associated Websites

The Soundry in Vienna, Va   –   The Iota in Arlington, Va  –   The L.A. Bar and Grill in Arlington, Va

Denise Johnson, Pro Drummer
DJ Music

Avi Dey
Walden Three
Facebook: Heritage Music Circle


fall colors


I decided to make a video studio journals again, to mark my return to the webjournal and studio. Might not do another for a while, we’ll see. Right now, I am in a real crunch for time, but I am dedicated to the video journals in the long run, so I’m putting one up first thing, Though, in the short run, it has distracted me from other priorities, already hampered by unavoidable distractions of life in the real world. I did get the big tree branch off the shed roof! like making the rounds of the open mikes is announcing my return to the DC area, this is a way of announcing my return to the internet after these months away. But I need to focus on the promotional performance videos for the website so I can start promoting with it, start lining up gigs, and get the recording and dulcimer building "done" before I get too busy getting out to find gigs and just busy performing. I can feel thankful I can go back to the street, if I need more cash, though I shoud be ok till Florida, though not working, and running up debt, doesn’t help. A musician told me there’s a good street scene in Annapolis, now. Though it is getting cold for that up here, now, good to know. And in itself, the street is a distraction from the new directions I am trying to move, especially because it works so well. Though I have to wonder that it is still the most viable option for me, the only venue I can count on to pay the bills, and it will do that, even if I have to wait till I get to Florida. You have to respect something that pays the bills, and I’ve had some great scenes on the street, and some not great ones. Still, I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the street, it&039;;s ancient traditional roots, and it remains the dependable safety net. Still, it seems a sad story about the American music business and venues.

I want to included one performance video with this Studio Journal, since it is about making the rounds of the open mikes, but the fact is, I may not be able to do many more. The camera is having serious problems with recording the audio track, which at this point is often unusable, with drop-outs and other gliches. Even the performance I included had some drop-outs I patched well as possible, but some clips have more than is possible to fix. I don&039;t have time to figure it out, but the end result is I don&039;t know yet if I have any usuable performance videos to post from the open mikes. This is a major issue in my life right now, and has been for a while. All my recording gear is ten years old, now, could use upgrading, and likely to start failing any time, but I can’t afford to do anything about it now. I have to focus on producing what I need to move forward to the next round of performing with what I have, the promotional videos to get gigs and recording the material for new CDs. But I am really dealing with the same issue on many fronts. I tried to take my guitar to the Folk sing-along but I coudn&039;t tune the low E because the tuning peg has siezed up while I&039;ve been gone, and needs to be fixed or replaced. The car and the van are both in need of repair, unfortunately. It happens with old cars. It is still cheaper than new ones. I can only hope my teeth last long enough to get them fixed and I don’t get injured again. That’s life in the real world for all of us poor folks. I am skating on thin ice with so many things, just hoping they&039;ll last till I can get these big music projects behind me, and the drain on my time and energy and money, or the flip side, taking time away from performing, so I’m not making money. Lucky I don;t have to make it last. All I’m trying to do is get up this hill, then the road will ease up for a while. Without thiese big jobs to do, I’ll have time and energy to get ahead and catch up on the day to day. At least the ice will be thicker.

The last two weeks have seen me start to focus on the music, though not with stunning progress, but got the wheels moving. I did get the dulcimer unpacked and the pickups installed, tuned it and started playing again, an important step. But that wasn’t untill the second week. The fact is, I am still overwhelmed by all the priorities of all the other work here. While the music is the most important, the hard facts of life, like repairing the cars, fixing the roof, fixing plumbing, getting the woodstove going and gathering, cutting, and stacking firewood are higher priorities. Houseplants had to come inside before they got frosted, simple enough.

I should cut myself some slack, have only been back barely three weeks. I haven’t even finished looking at all my backed up email. I had to get adjusted and start unpacking, try to figure out lists of what must be done and priorities, and I was dealing with emergencies and unavoidable distractions. There was my ma&039;s 81st birthday, and my brother flying in from Austin, and visits with my sisters. There was ma&039;s leaking roof and my sister&039;s broken plumbing and both the car and van needing work immediately. Right now I am racing to get this webjournal ready to post before I have to get ready to go out to dinner with ma and a cousin just in from Michigan. I know I won&039;t have time to finish it, so I still won;t get it posted till tonight, a couple days late. I was up till 5 am last night mixing and rendering the video studio journal itself. I hope that as the next couple weeks play out, I&039;ll have dealt with some of the huge list of jobs waiting for me here, and have carved out a rutine that gets to the important work I am here for, recording. I am justly worried that once again, distractions and emergencies will delay me till it is time to go to Florida again.

But I did get out and make the rounds of some open mikes. It was great to play, though frustrating to play so little. I still have mixed feelings about open mikes. I feel they are there for people who need stage time, that it is their chance and it isn’t right for me, when I’ve been on stage all my life, to take up a slot when there isn’t enough room for everyone who wants to play. Yet, it is a way to meet and network with the local musician crowd, look for session players, look for a potential band, but as much, just to socialize with other musicians, at any level, but people who understand what drives me. And I do want to show them dulcimer. I also realized when I was away this summer that I just need to play, I get moody and depressed, listless and irritable, if I don’t. I quess I am addicted to playing, simple enough, and not ready for rehab since I don’t want to quit! And of course, there is the old strange juxtaposition of getting the dulcimer tuned up again after so long away, and just being amazed at how beautiful it is, and then facing the incredible response from the audience and other musicians when I play anywhere, and yet I still can’t seem to get any traction on getting gigs. Of course, a lot of other things to do, and really, I am trying to complete the website with the promotional performance demo videos, the audio recorded with the studio gear. Sometimes I just want to go back to my quiet success as a street musician and forget gigging and dealing with the business of music, with the prejudices and egos and attitudes. I was satisfied with the street. But every time I take the dulcimer out I know that wouldn&039;t be right, that I do have to “do more” with it, like everyone has been asking and telling me to do for decades. But right now I just want to go to bed earlier!

I had a few conclusions from my retreat into the wild, and one is that I have to get out and play regularly, either start gigging, and have some income as well, or go out to jams and OMs, where there’s no pressure and I can network. Either way, I need to make the effort even if I slow down production. Just like I realize I need to take some time to get back to a natural wild place regularly to stay together, and be more productive than if I get unhappy and slow down. I need to stay energized, music and nature are the food of my soul. We won’t mention my poor heart, not so easy to do something about.

But in the big picture, this is one of the main pillars. I see the internet as a way to get to the People directly, and the People have always supported me, even if the business and venues wouldn&039;t. This webjournal is the pipeline, and so I have to keep up the content stream, while I get to work on recording and producing new CDs, on building more dulcimers, and finding new places to tour and play. It is still fairly simple, and I just have to keep a steady course and I’ll get there, despite all the delays and distractions. But can’t say it is fun.

Though playing at Sol’s open mike was great, because I could jam with other people. It is a clear reminder of what I really want to do, that is, find people to play with, and work towards forming a band. Of course, that means finding gigs to pay them, but having a band will make it easier to get the gigs that pay. And it was great finally meeting Sol in person. In my travelling life an important skill is being able to know who your friends are without needing to know why, to know who is coming from the same place as you are. It was clear Sol and I are on the same page, even if our paths don&039;t cross much. It was also good to see a lot of good players. I really enjoy other musicians, and live music, when there isn’t the ego and pretensions, the competition and ambition that typifies too many people in the music world. Instead, these open mikes were mostly a pretty cool crowd. Though I still can’t take too much time for them. I want to network with the local music crowd, but I can’t be going out three or four nights a week, I need to work here in the studio, and maybe go out one or two nights a week. I am just too overloaded with work to justify the distraction, while still making it an important part of my routine here, just like the webjournal and producing videos, or answering email. I have to stay focused on the highest priorities and the absolute emergencies first.

I have made one significant step forward on the recording, contacting Denise, the drummer who I videoed with Franky last year, about doing session work. While I was up in the mountains I thought it all out, how much to pay, how much to spend, and the interesting balance between buying an instrument and doing it myself and finding and paying a session player. The thing that tips the scales towards session players is that I want to play with other people and I want to form a band to play live with, which I won&039;t do if I focus on doing it all myself. Though that may be the solution in the short run, when I need to get these CDs done. Still, it was cool hearing from Denise because she was really supportive, willing to cut me a deal to help me out. Its funny really, because I want to pay full price, do what I think is fair and right, though when I look at it the other way, I know I have offered to do the same thing often enough, how can I refuse if someone want to help me get my recording done? But it is a hard question. Whatever the answer, I need to get some movement and momentum back into the recording process, before it is time to go again.

A reason I wanted to do a video journal, and get some new video posted before I get lost in the work. This is important. I’ve been gone for a while, and it may be a while before I get to the next one. Though of course, part of it is learning to make a quicker job of it, processing video takes time, and have to turn to music production. With this journal done, I’ll move on to the Alaska video, but without the time pressure. I hope to finish cleaning up and patching up around here and get into a routine of production, take up where I left off, and try to use what I remembered in the mountains to keep from being frustrated with the delays, distractions and resistance, internal and external, and my own imperfection. So it goes. I’ll just hold my course and be patient, check out the view.

spacerdulcimer on stage

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