Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
APR
22

Llamas are among my fans!

Llamas are among my fans!

For a few years in the early 2000s I set up my booth to sell my CDs at a marvelous weekend festival in Chesapeake, Virginia --- an event that focused on celebrating natural fibers such as wool.  Sheep dogs showed their amazing herding abilities; weavers and spinners demonstrated theirs.  My booth was on the outer edge of a huge white tent with sides, but the first year I was there it was quite hot, so the walls were removed to let air in.

As usual I was playing away at the hammered dulcimer, when… I felt the presence of observers from behind me.  You know how that ‘sixth sense’ somehow can tell there’s someone there?

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1899 Hits
APR
19

My hero pennywhistle!

My hero pennywhistle!

Here’s a photo of some of my pennywhistles; in this case they’re all in the key of high D.  Do you see the distinct crease in the Soodlum’s (Walton’s) Mello-D with the green fipple, second from the top?

That crease doesn’t affect the sound, so I still play that whistle often, because it does indeed have a mellow, sweet sound.

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2403 Hits
MAR
05

A new idea every day!

A new idea every day!

Recently I ran across an article that mentioned that Jerry Seinfeld has for several decades kept a custom of coming up with a new humorous idea every single day, and that he’s never let it lapse --- a continuous line of red x’s marked in his calendar as he has concocted a fresh gag every day.  Impressive!

Then coincidentally --- or providentially --- the same day as I was reading elsewhere I found that Dolly Parton has had that same practice since she was a child: dreaming up a new song idea every single day for her entire life.  Wow!

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2100 Hits
JAN
13

Product review: the Dusty Strings Dulci-Tune

Product review: the Dusty Strings Dulci-Tune

Over the past twenty-seven years I’ve used a number of electronic tuners to get my hammered dulcimer and other instruments in tune before a gig or a recording session, and I’ve hoped for quickness and exactness.  Now, the most recently purchased tuner really stands out.  I’ll tell you why after a brief history:

First, starting in 1988, I had a Sabine.  There were just three little lights showing ‘flat, in tune, sharp’ and the note was sensed by a microphone or a jack for an extension cable with an alligator clamp at the other end.  It did a decent job. 

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4653 Hits
NOV
19

The making of the album Common Wealth

The making of the album Common Wealth

In the year 2000 I was excited about all the well-received music I’d been able to do for Shenandoah National Park, and I’d begun playing music in the Park itself.  I wanted to branch out from there to Virginia’s State Parks, where I also was performing, especially at our nearest ones, York River State Park (for whom I’d composed and recorded two pieces on the album Celebration of Centuries, ‘James and York Bluffs’ and ‘Spartina’) and Chippokes Plantation State Park across the ferry in Surry.  So I was considering what could be added using the remaining pieces I’d composed in 1995 for the National Parks Suite and in 1996 for the defunct album project Such a Gift.

I was asked to play music in the Jones Mansion in the Christmas season of 2000.  While there my music caught the attention of Holly Walker, a State Parks program director from Richmond, so I told her of my dream of making an album of pieces for the State Parks.  To my surprise she said that they were actually looking for a CD to be sold in the park shops, so she set up a meeting for me with the Director of State Parks, Joe Elton!  When I met with Joe he had the marketing guy, Tim Skinner, sit in.  I explained my vision, and Tim took over the collaboration.  They asked me how long the album might take to produce, and I said it would probably take several months, and they asked me if in the meantime we could put together an appropriate compilation of tracks from my existing albums, thus having two new albums over the next two years.

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2782 Hits

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