I’ve heard some interesting music this summer. A couple weeks ago I went to a show by the legendary David Crosby, which was the last show on his recent solo tour. Croz was in great from, his voice and guitar playing still remarkable after all the years and experiences (good and bad!) he has endured. Although he leaned heavily on his solo recordings there were a few tunes that were familiar to the fans who might have been less than ardent followers, including “Triad,” a very interesting and ambitious solo acoustic take on “Carry On,” and of course “Guinevere.” His guitar tech handed him a new guitar for every tune, which made sense considering Croz uses many interesting open tunings. There appeared to be four or five guitars in rotation including a vintage D-45, vintage D-28, a smaller Martin (OM or 000?) and a smaller body boutique maker guitar that I didn’t recognize. Between his fantastic playing (sometimes making it sound like there were two people playing), those great guitars and a fantastic sound system at the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford it was a wonderful musical experience. He spent about as much time talking as playing, which was very entertaining and his self-deprecating humor was great. Croz has always been quite political (extreme left-leaning) so if you didn’t agree with his views it might have been uncomfortable but I happen to agree with him on most things so that was fine with me.
Looking quite like the Mark Twain or perhaps the Benjamin Franklin of rock music, three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member David Crosby is well worth hearing if you have the chance. He is truly an original.
On another totally different tangent of classic American popular music, we heard Three Dog Night at the local county fair a couple weeks ago. Tons of fun, quite surprising actually as I was never a big fan of their music but you have to give them credit for cranking out the hits back in the day. Of course they ended with “Jeremiah” and the crowd of at least 2000 went nuts. Three of the original members led the group with a Nashville ringer on keyboards (their original keyboard player died in March) and a very good session drummer. They put on a very entertaining show and I left with a smile on my face. What more can you really ask for?
On the local level, groups in my area continue to be borderline obsessed with Grateful Dead music. This has been going on for a while now and I find it kind of curious, although I understand the appeal from a player’s standpoint. The Dead’s music is pretty simple on its most basic level, some of the tunes are still catchy after all these years, and then there’s the whole cultural phenomenon component. I saw them twice, once in the early 70s and once in the 80s and I think I found them kind of rambling and boring but I get it when it comes to their legendary status. Whatever.
My teaching schedule remains close to full, which is great. I have a couple of adult intermediate level players who have come a long way since they started a couple years ago and it is really gratifying to see them take such pleasure in playing. Everyone progresses at their own rate and I have to be sure to keep quite detailed records of each student’s progress to help in my weekly lesson planning session. I am beginning to formulate plans for some winter guitar get-togethers for present and former students, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for years. Playing with others is a vital part of the overall musical experience and older players just don’t have the networking opportunities that younger players often have. So this has some great possibilities! More on that as my plans progress.
I’m excitedly anticipating the arrival of a new guitar, a crossover nylon string Cervantes that should show here in a week or so. It was pricey but being able to play my bossa nova and jazz tunes on this type of guitar (versus my perfectly fine 000-18 Martin) is something I’ve wanted to do for years. I will post a review of the guitar after I’ve played it for a while.
As Olde Cape Cod groans under the weight of the yearly influx of tourists, I look forward to a little getaway to St. John in a few weeks, followed later in the fall by a 10-night trip to Italy. Sometime before then I really, really have to finish my house painting project, continue my recording endeavors, do some fishing, play some more summer gigs, and more stuff I’ve probably forgotten about. In spite of that, I WILL post more often!
Peace & good music,