Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
MAY
29

Thoughts about a great song, Phil Keaggy's 'Our Lives'

Thoughts about a great song, Phil Keaggy's 'Our Lives'

Last week as I played my iPod’s 22,000 tracks on random, a song came up that I hadn’t heard in quite some time, and it confronted me powerfully: ‘Our Lives’ by Phil Keaggy, one of the foremost guitarists of our time, and a profoundly distinctive singer-songwriter at times, too.  (See the video of it below.  But how about reading what I have to say about it first?)

When he was thirty years old, in 1980, he recorded this piece on the album Town to Town, and we got a copy at the time.  I remember our daughter Karen a couple of years later, as a baby, hearing this song as we drove in the car in the Jamestown area, and breaking out into excited singing and dancing in her car seat!

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2551 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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2446 Hits
SEP
04

The making of our album Here on this Ridge

The making of our album Here on this Ridge

This will be my longest post about my albums --- and it’s perhaps the most trimmed-back!  Here on this Ridge was clearly the big turning point in my music-making.

In 1994 the holiday album Incarnation showed me I could successfully produce recordings of my own music, so I moved right into production of a general-themed CD called Wayfaring Stranger .  The instruments and the Celtic and hiking material could sort of be called themes, but it was mostly just a music CD for listening.

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11427 Hits
AUG
16

Top picks for symphonies --- with Youtube links!

In the middle of the Eighteenth Century a new phenomenon arose in serious music: the ‘sonata form,’ in which a melodic theme was introduced, then developed, then recapitulated, then brought to a special conclusion, all done over a significant amount of time.  This differed from earlier ‘folk tune’ or ‘fugal’ approaches to musical structure. 

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4258 Hits
AUG
15

Three features of Beatles ballads

When in 1995 I composed ‘Sky Through the Pines’ (originally ‘Such a Gift’) I envisioned it as a sung song with guitar or as an instrumental ensemble piece with guitar, hammered dulcimer, flute, and other instruments; both versions were recorded, in 1996 and then 2002, and the latter was released on the album Sycamore Rapids.  But I never imagined playing it as a solo --- and was frustrated that I couldn’t play it again except on a CD player!

In 2000 I began developing my new stylized method of separated-hand solo hammered dulcimer playing, and at first limited it to quite simple tunes to keep it manageable.  Then the occasion came, for a couple of weddings, to arrange Beatles pop ballads in such a manner.  Many of us agree, I think, that some of the finest of the pop ballads are by those guys, and they have a sort of pure simplicity that ought to go well with my separated-hand technique!

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3080 Hits

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