It appears we have entered the long dénouement into Fall, then...fade to black. Yep, the Minnesota State Fair is in full swing which is the ultimate symbol of Summer's demise. So be it. I am ready for Fall but have really enjoyed the past few months...more so than I ever have. I actually was successful (sort of) in my efforts to embrace the sun, though, many evenings were comfortably spent in the basement recovering. I was lucky enough to enjoy several vacations, tons of quality family time, and now, it is time to reflect a bit and get ready to move forward. It's not quite over yet though! In fact, I started writing this in between grill check points.
I played a few fun shows this Summer with two exceptional stand out performances: The annual Lake Harriet gig with New Roots Duo and my new favorite solo venue up at the old Historic Inn at Itasca State Park. Dan and I always find a way to rock the bandshell. Itasca was a serene setting with a relatively large and enthusiastic crowd AND all of that old historic inn wood just sounded amazing! It's so easy to play when you are surrounded by good vibrations. I am going to video this one next year.
The precious free work time I had was spent playing the guitar, of course, and I must emphasize the word playing. It was an absolute joy to sit down periodically for spontaneous practice sessions; short bursts of inspiration that yielded surprising results. I will expound on this experience in a later article. Anyway, it was a welcome relief to the usual overly focused intense 'gotta get something done!' sessions which dominated the previous year. I think I am on to something. And, I no longer wake up at 5:00AM to work.
I have been working up several new solo guitar arrangements of pop tunes from various eras. This is not a concept that has necessarily been planned and carried forth. It's just what has been showing up at my door. See my previous reference to playing and joy. Not sure if it will lead to another immediate project or not. If so, it will be an odd duck - perhaps 1/2 arrangements and 1/2 new compositions. Talk about a mixed up muse.
I am also very much looking forward to regrouping with New Roots Duo. We have some solid shows coming up, some new music, and are hoping to record a few singles later this Fall. I head to Milwaukee sometime in October to tape a session for a new instructional DVD that is being released by Hal Leonard Corporation. It is not exclusively my instructional DVD but rather I am one of the featured acoustic personalities in the series. More on this later as well. Needless to say, it is a fine opportunity.
I am hoping to play live more this coming year, maybe hit the road more often, beginning with a trip down to Winfield, Kansas later this month to compete in the International Fingerstyle Competition. Why I submit myself to such abuse I will never know. A born hedonist, I suppose I need a counterweight. Perhaps there are some masochistic tendencies hidden within. It will be interesting to see what goes down. My playing style isn't really designed to win competitions but this is an opportunity to showcase in front of a large and selective audience. Hopefully I will make some new, more far reaching, connections as a result. If I escape the experience with my ego still intact, I will count it as a victory.
Yes, another time of transition is upon us. A time to look back, a time to look forward, and time to stay present.
See you later in September!