moon phases

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Diamond In The Rough

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If you are interested in purchasing Diamond In The Rough, please email with your request. I am working on creating a partnership with Mayo Clinic's Cancer Foundation so that when you purchase a CD, a percentage will go towards Pancreatic Cancer Research in memory of my Mother.

Point Reyes
Written in1974 on a backpack trip to Point Reyes State Park Beach, California.

Occasionally I would take my guitar on camping or backpacking trips as a teenager. This time I was inspired by the sights and sounds of the ocean waves as they rushed to the edge of the sandy white beach; only then, to crawl and moisten each tiny dry grain of sand as if to give each grain a new life, a new purpose. Could it be that the salty ocean water wets each grain of sand to create a beautiful transformation and creation to be witnessed throughout time? Is there a message in nature for each one of us? When we do witness beautiful creations as a result of Water, Wind, and Sand; Is nature whispering guidance of harmony through cooperation and patience?

As I watched, smelled, and listened to the laps of ocean water crash then crawl upon the grains of sand, almost reaching the tips of my toes, I felt the warmth of the smooth soft sand settle around my legs and feet while the grains of time sifted slowly through my fingers. The ocean breeze cooled my sun warmed skin upon my unshaven face, while I watched the bright baby blue sky fade into a glowing golden yellow, red, swirl of clouds painted right before my eyes – music filled my yearning soul and fingers as I held my guitar close to my heart. My fingers, as if not connected to my body, effortlessly re-created the sights and feelings into an expression of music through the strings on my guitar, although there was a deep canyon of emptiness yet to be explored.

Thus, the song, Point Reyes, was born, hoping for you to hear, listen, feel, see, and experience the beauty, peace, and harmony of life, on the beach, at Point Reyes, that one summer day.

1997 in Murray, Utah

Late at night or early in the morning, the music I hear in my head all day or night seems to flow through my fingertips, especially during the silence of air throughout the time people are sleeping dreaming their dreams. When the music for this piece came to me one night, I was all alone, wishing to be with the one I loved. Holding and caressing her. But I was all alone except with my guitar. So you could say I was caressing in my mind the sounds coming from the strings that I touched with my fingertips.

As I developed this song, I would share with my band. They continued to say politely, “that sounds good” but were not sure how to contribute to it. Without going into the story of our last recording session in the summer of 1998, we needed four more songs for that current project. I suggested adding 2am to the collection. So, I began to play, Jennifer began to sing, Dan began to play his violin. After laying several tracks, you hear the results of the three of working together on 2am.

When I listen to 2am, I see and feel romance with the one I love. I see the romance of cityscape night light. I see a moonlit night with stars reaching from horizon to horizon holding the one I love in my arms. I see a couple sitting on a soft smooth furry throw on the floor in front of a late night crackling orange glow of a fire in the living room. Close your eyes and listen to 2am while you reflect upon how your felt with your first true love – the excitement, passion, yearning for more.

Emerald Bay
1975 at Emerald Bay State Park in Lake Tahoe, California

One early Saturday dewy morning on the sandy beach lined with Pine Trees at Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe, I was restringing my guitar and tried to tune it back up by ear and came up with a different tuning. As I watched the sun paint the sky with early morning colors in the clouds above me, I noticed the dew drops on the long green pine needles in the tall swaying Pine Trees on the shore of Emerald Bay. I was the only one on the beach with my guitar and began feeling the energy of the moisture in the early morning turn to dew drops on the tips of the pine needles near the shore of Emerald bay. The bay was the deep blue mirror like reflection you always dreamed about. I experienced it and the music began flowing from my fingertips. Harmonics of dew drops, strums of splashed paint in the morning sky turning to daylight. What a sight to remember and treasure.

If You Stayed
1998 in SLC, UT

A conversation shared between to lovers on the phone. Each explaining, neither listening to what the other is saying. One moving on, the other explaining why they should stay together - the possibilities to share between the two of them. Ironically, the conversation is a masterpiece of musical fragmented harmony, although, each of them are really not listening to the words of love and caring being shared during their last telephone conversation. Sad but true, that was the last conversation on a personal level ever shared between the two of them.

Life’s Journey
1983 in Salt Lake City, Utah at Plum Tree

Getting home one late night after being out with a friend who happen to be a woman, I was taken back by her roommate. For some reason, I began reflecting about relationships in my past and asking the age old question, “What if.. “. I began to see patterns in my life that continue to repeat, no matter where I go, or where I live. Everywhere I go, I see familiar themes, but placed in different scenarios. When you listen to Life’s Journey, you will notice bits of familiar musical patterns from other songs that have influenced me throughout the years. Such is life -familiar, but different at the same time. Once a Man (Woman), twice a child. From birth to death and all in-between that goes on during our journey of life is what you will hear if you listen carefully.

North Dakota Blues
1977 in Belfield, North Dakota at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial National Park.

After my first date with her in the summer of 1977, I came back to my room around 3am, picked up my guitar and my fingers began to play. She was my first true love inspiration. As my fingers touched the strings of my guitar, music flowed from my heart and soul as I thought about that evening with her. Why did I call this song, “North Dakota Blues”? - Because she is no longer in my life, not even as a friend. I haven’t seen or heard from her since 1981.

1974 in Palo Alto, California

One of my bands in the mid 70’s played at church, private gatherings and this one Health Food Café in Palo Alto, California. We happen to tape this live gig. As we listened to the recording we continuously heard the clanking of utensils tapping on the glass plates as the guests ate their meals. One would wonder if they even were listening to us play, until all the band members took a break except for me. I decided to play some “quiet music”. I began to play a finger picking ditty that I was working on just to see what kind of reaction I would get. Much to my surprise, one by one you could clearly hear in the recording the silence grow from table to table as they listened to me finger pick my little ditty, hence I now call this song, “Listen”. This song was actually one of the first finger picking exercises that launched a series of finger picking songs that have not ended.

This Old Train
1976 in Palo Alto, California for a class on Composition

I didn’t like the arrangement of “This Old Train” so I remade it. And she never even noticed.

The Question Why
1975 in Palo Alto, California

After meeting with a Jazz Guitarist, I wanted to write a song that had a bit of jazz and walked up and down the neck of my guitar as I played. “The Question Why” is the result of Experimenting with different movable chords.

Preteen years were filled with the question why as a constant in the air when you were in my presence.

1974 inspired in Hawaii

We had seen the “Exorcist” while on our Geology Field Trip to Hawaii.
I have never seen another Horror Picture since then, BUT, that experience did move me to write this song. I am reminded of the eeriness or haunting ness of death when I play the dissonant chords

Mount Olympus: Three Movements
Murray, UT 1998

On the third floor of Stillwater’s Apartments facing the Wasatch Mountains, Utah with the view of Mount Olympus before my eyes and the eyes of my electric guitar neighbor on the second floor below me. He would play his electric while on break from being an artist of all sorts while I would play my acoustic trying to enjoy the view. Jokingly, we would shout out to each other from our porches, eventually coming together creating a 3 movement guitar piece we named, “Mount Olympus”.
An Eagle spotted in the distance, as we fly in a private small 4 place plane towards Mount Olympus. As we fly closer, we can see the strength of the Eagle as she’s lifted by the air tunnels near the magical Mount Olympus. The plane lands and we set out by foot to explore the depths of Mount Olympus.

Just Ask II
Salt Lake City, Utah 1999

All I had to do is ask, and they played along. We were recording for the last time in SLC, UT. I was tuning in between songs and Cindy White began to whistle and doo waah with what I was doing. I immediately stopped and asked if we could record this spontaneously….no practice, no one knowing what each other would be doing, including me. And here it is.

Desert Moon Journey
Canyon View, UT 1998

Strumming and playing with different tunings, I found myself repeating to chords with a rhythm of going the distance, traveling to unknown places, a long journey with never knowing what to expect next. From the unique beauty of the red rock formations of S. Utah to the variety of mountain ranges in the USA, over the plains of the Midwest, to the green colors of the New England area are many journeys to embark upon with anticipation and excitement. Beauty and Adventure is in the Mind, Heart, and Soul of each human being.

You could hear the sounds of “Desert Moon Journey” coming from my classroom after a challenging time of teaching all day long. No one knew it, but I would be reliving that journey across America in my mind when I needed a breather.

Utah Thunderstorm
Plumtree, UT 1983

First Utah Thunderstorm in 1983 on my porch at Plum Tree I ever experienced with my electric guitar. Yes, I sat on my porch as I watch and serenaded a thunderstorm creeping towards me in the sky from the Wasatch Mountains. The rush of gushing water, to the tiny droplets of water between the crackling of thunder and tingly of lightening as the thunderstorm passed over me to the west side of Salt Lake City Valley.

Canyon Echoes
Canyon View, UT 1995

Inspired by love, beauty, and respect for our Native American Indians.
Our first attempt in the studio and it was a take. Thanks to Sherri and Dan.

Imagine a beautiful Native American Woman standing on the edge of the deepest canyon on earth, as she sings for her true love to come home safely to his wife, child, and home.

Irish Love Song
South Jordan, UT 1997

This is the first recorded song I have written for the keyboard. I started playing Amazing Grace, and came up with this song. I am not a pianist, so Dan played the parts for me in the recording.

When You Least Expect It
Sandy, UT 1997

Written as filler for a project we were recording on summer in 1998. The guitar part was there. In just a few days, we had the words and music ready for the recording. Inspired by a meeting shared between the two of at a bookstore. Never expecting a “blind date” to turn out to be anything but a cup of hot chocolate at a bookstore.

Boston Rooftops
Boston, MA 1996

Reality versus a Hopeless Romantic. This song was written based on a forty day romantic adventure as it unfolded throughout the Boston area and the unforgettable New England scenery during the summer of 1996. The places are real, the memories are real, but a bit romanticized.
I keep a written journal of impressions as I journey across America. I gave Jennifer Gabriel my journal to get a feel of my impressions during the forty days in Boston and beyond. This was Jennifer’s first attempt of writing a Love Ballad. Thank you Jennifer! And a GREAT on might I add!

When we recorded this song in November of 1996, I saw a movie in my head of two young people falling in love on the Boston Rooftops. As I shared that thought with my band in the recording studio that long day in November, they looked at me with raised eyebrows and shrugged shoulders indicating that, again, only in my dreams. Six years later, we are in the process of creating this “dream” into a movie short. More details to follow. . . later….not now! J

This song came together during different times. The introduction was something I had been working prior to the summer of 1996. The 4 part instrumental section at the end came after we recorded the bulk of the song. The three part harmony came after listening and listening and listening to the 15 tracks that day. I wanted 3 part harmony at the end and we only had Jennifer and Bryant as singers at the studio. Dean Kaelin, studio engineer said he would help with the third part harmony. In literally minutes, we had the last section of this song in three part harmony. I work with very talented and gifted musicians. I feel honored and blessed.


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