I'm preparing to head south to start the tour again. I should be in Florida before the end of the month, then on to Mexico by the end of February. I'll be taking Dueodde, the 30' steel sloop I rebuilt, down to Mexico and Belize, retracing the trip I made in the Rave last spring. This year I'll be looking to settle in and play, looking toward establishing it as my winter base to replace Florida. Though I'm tempted to see about taking the rave for a trip down to Guatemala. I'm not sure where I'll be, but I need to find a place to set up the recording equipment.
That project is complete, so I did what I came here for. I've built a cpu based on a Athlom 550, and installed two Paris system cards with two breakout boxes and one mixer/controller and a Yamaha midi/synth card, with a CDR for backup and mastering,and a small mixer and a couple good mikes, I've got a simple effective digital recording and processing system. I've used a video card that handles video processing as well, so I can digitize and process video as well as audio. I've got 40 GB of HD space, and have made several booting partitions so I actually have the DAW in one partition, a windows with everything in another, a third partition for programming languages, and I'll be adding a fourth for Linux, so I can get familiar with that. Paris requires windows, so I'm stuck with it for now. I did my first projects just transfering some interviews I did with my Grandmother many years ago from my reel to reel to CDR.
The only problem is that I haven't had time to record anything. Though I have postponed leaving an extra week to try and record something before I get on the road, I'm not sure what I'll have time to accomplish. I still need to get some extentions to get the monitor, mixer, mouse, and mikes seperated from the noisy cpu. I better look in to that before I get to Mexico, as well as any odd bits of anything else, hardware or software, that I might still need.
As for the vague future, I figure I'll be going to Alaska again for the State Fair, maybe both again. I want to drive this time, there are just too many places in between, and too many places to go up there, and too much gear, to do otherwise. I'm still putting out feelers for international touring but I beginning to feel that its like the music business here. You can spend you life waiting for something official to happen, to get a break from someone, or you can just go and play on the street and wherever anyone invites you once you are there. I've done the same for years here and it has worked. Even if nobody in the ivory towers of Nashville, New York, or LA know about me, I can't seem to go anywhere anymore without someone recognizing me. In fact, there were people in Mexico and Belize who remembered seeing me perform in the states. Though I feel its too bad more people can't hear me in better venues, or with a good ensemble, but I don't have the time or energy to waste scaling the walls of industrial indifference. I'm too busy putting my energy into playing. Is it really so much better to play for a crowd than for one person? I can't say. I just know I am good enough to make it wherever I go, just like this trip to Mexico, so I might as well go while I still have the energy. I'm not even feeling particulary enthusuastic about driving around the country again. Maybe I'll just go off to Alaska and spend some time up in the bush again, though I feel like I should be playing somewhere, caught between the street and the bush, I'd rather be in the bush. I know I have the ability in the music, I have seen to much reaction to it over too many years to doubt its power. But I myself do not have the ego, ambition, and sheer arrogance the present system requires of artists. I can't blow my own horn, I can't do the hard sell, its just not my style. In fact, it seems our culture is suffering from the fact that success is a measure of ambition, ruthlessness, selfishness, arrogance and ego; so it is dominated by people with those qualities, while talent, intelligence, character, and compassion are notably lacking.
I'm considering going with an agent. I need someone who knows they can do a lot with a talent like mine, and will enjoy bringing it to fruit, and to the people. I've known producers, and they enjoy their art as much as I do, so I'm beginning the search for someone or several, to work with. I've got to recognize that on my own, I'll probably never have the energy to push as hard as you have to these days, recognition is just not worth that much to me.
I also miss playing with others, so I'll start taking more time to stop and jam, and make an effort again to find a musical partner, or two or three. I just know from long experience how unlikely it is as long as I keep moving so much. So it goes. It makes me think of establishing some more certain bases within my circuit. So even if I tour alone, I can have regular people to play and record with when I'm there.
Its funny, I am really just now beginning to do the things I planned on 7 years ago before disaster struck. So much has had to sit on the shelf all these years. Even now, its hard to grasp these old plans, they are distant somehow and unreal, even though they are still the thing to do here and now. Life has been so disconnected and unreal, its been so long since I thought about what I want to do, I don't know where to start. Hmm, or I guess I do. Music has been the consistent thread in my life, paid all the bills, and kept me from losing it through these long hard years. If nothing else, it's what everyone has always told me to do.
THE ELECTRIC DULCIMER
There has been a lot of requests for for me to post my music on new websites akin to MP3.com, which I left for ethical reasons, and I have tried to participate in new ones that are free, about independent music, and ethical. I hope to be releasing a lot more music soon, if I can find somewhere to set up the recording equipment (and learn to use it). I wonder if I should dedicate each site to a different aspect of my music, or just upload every new track to every site I participate in. Though it is hard to find the time, I have expanded my interface with the web. I have uploaded to several new sites at IUMA.com, Kanoodle.com, and Soundthreads.com, and a few others. I have also joined The Dulcimer Web Ring, as well as several other webrings. I've started fequenting some music and recording oriented forums and newsletters like Just Plain Folks, to try and get more involved in the on-line community. But I must admit, often my access is spotty, and much of the on-line community seems still focused on the industry and the old "star-maker machinery behind the popular song". Not much use to basic working class musicians like me. Frankly, for me the web is a net energy loss, as far as music goes. It takes away from time I could be working on the music and has yet to produce anything except a few encouraging e-mails. It has worked well as a communication tool, and has helped immensely in researching and building my recording equipment. I have enjoyed the contacts I've made. I live a lonely life, and the the internet does provide a consistent platform independent of physical location. I also enjoy trying to help or inspire other musicians. I have a pretty good database of knowledge, and the web makes it easy to distribute it to interested people. I have sent many copies of a report I did on how I built and bought my DAW. I have sent out copies of log9-99 (now available here in the Archive) telling the story of the passage I made in Further in 1999. But as far as promoting, booking gigs, selling Cds its been pretty ineffective. Street music still seems to be the only practical and effective thing I can do to reach people and make a living playing music. Out there, everyone tells me how much they enjoy the music, and they can't understand why I'm playing on the street instead of doing concerts or playing in a club. Many people even assume I'm being paid to play on the street, that its some sort of public works concert. I'm too good for my own good it seems.
Since so much music is going up on line at other sites, I will be removing most of the soundbites from my home page, even though they are designed to illustrate the text just like the pictures, and perhaps they do a better job of it. But they take up most of my website on the server and due to present slow download times, they don't fit in smoothly into the text and pictures as I would wish they did. More importantly, I wish to keep expanding the text and photo information here in the Archives within the limited space I have here.
Now that I have the digital recorder set up, I can produce a lot more music. I am thinking of implementing an idea I had a long while back. I may try to form a "club" of people who wish to subscribe to my music, setting up a direct line to my work. I'll be able to provide not just finished work, whether it is released on CD or not, but works in progress as well. I hope they will even enter into the project by providing me with early critisism as I shape the project, recieving multiple versions of a song and sending back opinions and comments. I want to both build an community of people who want direct and continuous access to my music, but allow them inside the process, able to be part of the process if they like. Just as in the real world, one of the problems with connections is establishing some type of continuity. The net seems to lend itself to this by allowing easy automation of the processes of maintaining a communicating community.