Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Letter to Marty Stuart

Yeah - second post of the day - but this is pretty heavy on my mind right now, so I want to record it...

This is a letter to my friends/family/fans - but it's also a letter of appreciation to Marty Stuart.

Let me start some time back... Vanessa and I were attending the Friday night jam at Halls every week a couple of years ago. We were playing and singing and visiting - just having a good time. My buddy James mentioned RFD-TV and the Marty Stuart Show. I told him we didn't have RFD. Well now I know what I was missing all this time!

When we changed our Dish Service the last time we gained RFD somehow and I set the show (along with Pop Goes the Country, Porter Wagner, Hee Haw, Larry's Country Diner and The Joey and Rory Show) to record on the DVR. I caught a few episodes here and there and thoroughly enjoyed them, but it wasn't until last night and tonight that it really REALLY hit home with me.

Again, we were playing bluegrass every week, then I moved from there to playing bass and singing at the dance in Halls. It's two step and line dancing, so it's a lot of traditional country music (the stuff I grew up on) and of course picking with the great Max Winchester was just icing on the cake. I gained a new respect for the old music and began writing songs as well. Next thing you know I'm going back and forth to Nashville, playing open mics here and there - having a great time and trying to break into professional songwriting.

About this time last year, I'm listening to a podcast and "Sundown in Nashville" comes on. I am floored! This song was so honest and true it was almost scary! I decided to do a little checking on Mister Stuart and I read about how he's "getting back to the roots" and "staying true to country music." I knew he was right, but I didn't know just how right he was.

As the months went on and I continued to write, I felt myself being pulled into the commercial aspect of it. No, I haven't sold a song yet, and it's partly because I continue to write what I feel and what I love. I've had "gatekeepers" in Nashville tell me things like, "no artist today would do that song" and "that's not country, that's Americana. You won't hear that on the radio." The more I heard these things the more I started taking it as a complement!

If you've read my latest email from ReverbNation, you know that my "resolution" for 2013 is to make as much music as I can and to connect with as many people as I can. And I don't mean to connect by writing a pop or hip hop song for the radio, but by writing from my heart and performing from my soul.

Fast forward to tonight... I get home from work (Vanessa is working a ball game at the middle school) and see that the next episode I'm ready for is number 101. It's a re-run from last March and it's all about Nashville Volume 1 - Tear the Woodpile Down - the CD from Marty Stuart that Sundown in Nashville is on. There are also several interviews and behind the scene shots from Marty and the cast talking about what they do and how they feel about it. When Marty talks about making a connection with the fans and "defending the music that he loves..." Well he's articulating what I've been feeling, and I applaud him.

I've always thought he was an excellent musician, but I have much more respect for him as an artist now. So much that I've added something to my bucket list... I already have it on my list to perform at Music City Roots. It's no secret that I love that show and what it stands for. I still want to perform on it, but now I want to perform on it with Marty and the Superlatives. I want to stand at the end of the show and be in the Loveless Jam with them.

Marty may not have the "legend" status that Hank, George, Johnny & Merle have, but he seems to love what he does and loves the music and loves carrying on the tradition. I don't know how he could be anything but a legend.

Happy New Year


I came to a realization a couple of nights ago that I wanted to share and document...

For a while, I've had a few things on my eBay notification list. First, Franklin guitar straps. They are the best, IMHO, and I've picked up some bargains keeping it on my watch list.

The other consistent thing has been "Indy Custom" guitars. At the FLMS (friendly local music store), he carries Indiana guitars. Sometime last year, I can't remember when, he got in some limited run "Indy Custom Shop" guitars. He had some Strat copies and some Tele copies. He had two Seafoam Green Tele copies and one of these had been "set up" professionally. I swear you couldn't tell the difference between it and a USA Fender. I was VERY impressed. He finally offered it to me for $300 even, but I just couldn't justify it - too many other expenses and I don't technically NEED it.

Soon after I was looking around on the Internet and a guy had one just like in out of state. It was on eBay. It didn't sell, so he reposted and dropped the price. Three times. I finally offered him $125 shipped and the least he would take was $125 PLUS shipping. Why didn't I go ahead and pay the extra? It had a BAD ding on it at the body where you would naturally look "down" while playing and see it. And I should say gouge because it was more than a ding...

Anyway, I thought I'd start a notification on eBay in case a "deal too good to pass up" came up. The email two nights ago had this -

Indy Custom ICLE Tele-Style Rosewood Electric Guitar with case - Limited Edition

I thought - "wow - that's better looking than the Seafoam Green! - looks like my Gretsch." Then it hit me... I was chasing a guitar that I already had... Since I don't play lead on a normal basis, I don't NEED this item, and when I look at that one and I think, "it looks almost as good as my Gretsch..." Well... You get the idea. :-)

I do have three things on my "wish list" though to fill in some gaps. One is something that, like another electric guitar, is not something practical right now. A pedal steel guitar. Not only are they expensive (and I have other things I NEED to spend money on - food, shelter, clothing), it's something I'd have to get good at before I could even play it out somewhere. I have confidence I COULD do it, but it's just not something you throw in the car and take to a jam session. :-)

Item number two is "just because I want one." My long time friend Bobby Jack Stallcup has an Alvarez Guitar VERY similar to my old one (my first guitar) with two major exceptions... One, it does NOT have any kind of pickup or electronics. Two, it has nine strings. Yep - nine! The top three are 'normal' like on a 6-string and the bottom three are doubled like on a 12-string. Again, not completely practical, but would be a nice item to add to my acoustic collection.

The third item is something I could pop on Amazon right now and order if I wanted, but just haven't done so... A G7th brand capo. Here's a link -

G7th Performance Capo (Six String, Silver)

You know, that's a little over half the price they were just a few months ago!

Anyway, that's something I've always wanted to try. I have used Kyser capos for years, as you can change their position SUPER fast, but the G7th is supposedly a better product.

So that's my update. Hope to see you down the road!