BIT 16 – December 13, 2007
Wow, this has been a great trip around the country… lots of beautiful places. Dad and I headed out towards Southern California and went through Colorado with it’s majestic Rockies where we stopped to visit a good friend just outside Denver. We then traveled down into New Mexico and stayed with some really great folks in Santa Fe. They’re more like family now.
Afterwards, we continued on to Arizona where dad wanted me to see this place called Sedona, a gorgeous colorful town he remembered from years ago. So me, being “resident navigator” of this entourage, found a “shortcut” on the map. Well, at least that’s what I thought it was! I’ve since learned to always check to be sure that the road isn’t an unimproved (i.e. 4×4 only) road first!
Now you have to imagine us going down a barely navigable mountain road… ok… it was more like a washed out riverbed, but you should have seen the looks on the faces of all the tourists standing in the backs of the rental high riding 4X4’s that were on this road. It went from sheer surprise to awe that a small Hyundai overloaded and sitting only 6 inches off the ground was driving down this treacherous road!
The businesses in Sedona… at the bottom… cater to the tourists that want to get scenic pictures of the valley from the mountain road. I think everyone we went by took our picture. I had a great time but dad dodged boulders and ruts that were over a foot deep all the way down.
We didn’t get stuck even once! I got some awesome pictures, and dad was so busy trying to stay on the road he missed it all. Needless to say, Sedona was beautiful, but next time we’ll take the regular highway in!!!! Now you know the story of the ‘Sedona Shortcut’ 🙂
From there, we went to Southern California, and we met with Jonathan Pusey at Zaolla Cables (I use Zaollas both live and in the studio). If you check out their website: www.zaolla.com you’ll see why I choose to use Zaollas. I had a great meeting with Jonathan and learned a lot more about these fantastic cables!
Later that day, I also got to meet some distant relatives of mine, John Kinnard, who is a Master Luthier, and his mom, Betty. We got to talk shop and visit, I also had the privilege to try out some of his finished guitars.
I particularly liked the distressed OM Mahogany/European Spruce model he had there! If you’re in the market for a fine handmade guitar, you should check out his website: www.johnkinnard.com for more info, and tell John I said hi!
It was amazing to be able to hear the different sounds the banjo can produce, simply by changing one component, or by using a different top tension. During the tour we got to meet the owner, Greg Deering.
Afterwards, I had the honor of getting to play the 1st 12-string banjo Deering ever made! There’s only one word that sums up it’s sound…AMAZING! It’s definitely on my must have list. Check it out at: www.DeeringBanjos.com the 12-string model is D-12.
The next day we went over to Taylor Guitars, www.taylorguitars.com where I was finally able to meet some of the people that I’ve only known over the phone ’til then. I even got to meet one of the owners, Kurt Listug. It was a pleasure talking to him. It’s so nice to get to know the guys that started such a great company that has touched the lives of tens of thousands around the world with music.
Later on, we took the factory tour, and before it started, the tour guide took a moment to introduce one of the tour goers. He was Bob Taylor’s shop class professor, Larry Kaiser.
He told us about how Bob came to him with the desire to build a guitar for his credit in class… he saw that Bob was really serious about it, so he said ‘okay, go ahead’. This was Bob’s 1st guitar ever… a little history in the making… afterwards, I got to play for the tour goers which was really a treat!
From there, we headed back to Omaha and reunited with my mom who was staying with some super friends of ours in Omaha… Dale and Deb. They were our long distant neighbors for a few years in Costa Rica, so it was really nice seeing them again!
After a few days, we all headed to Indianapolis, Indiana where I did the recording, mixing and mastering of my new CD at Dave Stroop’s recording studio.
We actually finished the recording and mixing the day before Thanksgiving. They invited us over to spend Thanksgiving Day with their family. It was like being with family… a very special day for dad, mom, and I.
If you need professional studio time you can contact him at: www.audioinfluence.com. Dave is a lot of fun to work with, plus he is flexible regarding helping you get the sounds you want out of your music. (Sadly Dave is no longer maintaining a web presence).
We continued over to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I played my December 1st and 2nd concerts at, Grace Point church of the Nazarene. I even did an extra unscheduled performance Sunday morning, at the “Grace Point South” location that the church started, to help reach the Hispanic community on the south side of Fort Wayne!
It was nice for me to do the two Hispanic services as it gave me the opportunity to speak Spanish while in the States. The Senior Pastor, Chuck Sunberg, opened up the whole Sunday evening service to me, he spoke at the Saturday evening service for the opening of the first Sunday of advent to the congregation and so he got to hear me play and speak for the first time.
His opening the service to me on Sunday evening really allowed me the time to share my testimony along with a full concert to play a wide variety of my music on both my Steel string and Nylon string guitars, plus it gave me the time to instill hope for those in the audience who feel a call on their hearts from the Lord, but sometimes they just don’t have the confidence to step out in faith and do it!
It’s always a blessing sharing the gift the Lord has given me, but it’s even more important that I share hope with everyone I meet! Their website is www.gracepointnaz.org
The Worship Arts Pastor, Edgar Fink and I hit it off instantly (he is an excellent classical guitarist in his own right). He’s quite a gentleman, his comments to me after the performance were uplifting and special coming from him.
He has lived in, and traveled to many parts of the world as a musician & minister and while I was talking to him with my dad he offered to connect me with some folks and churches in Europe if I ever decided to do a European tour. He didn’t realize that we’d been praying about going to Europe when he made the offer.
When my dad told him, he was excited for me and offered to help connect us with some pastors he knows in Europe, talk about God’s timing! I not only had a great time playing at the three services, but I made a new friend and comrade in the process! God is great!
While we were in town, I went over to the www.sweetwater.com store and picked up my new Baby Taylor LTD (Also listed as the BT-3)! It’s great, it has laminated flamed Maple sides and back with a solid Sitka Spruce top! It even has a Maple neck with an ebony fretboard and bridge.
You have got to try and get one before Taylor discontinues it, since it’s a limited edition model! If you would like to see about getting one, visit their website or call 1-800-222-4700 and speak with Ed Nystrom ext. 1646 and tell him ‘Buddy, the Guitar Guy’ sent you!
We then went up to Battle Creek, Michigan where I met with my friends at GHS Strings, Melissa Ebel and Chris Walters as well as the owner, Russ McFee. I’ve enjoyed playing a few tunes for them while I was there.
I have had the pleasure of playing and promoting the GHS String line for a number of years now. There are now a number of very happy people that have heeded my advice… give GHS Strings a try to find out what your full tonal potential could be! Their site is: www.ghsstrings.com
That evening I played a private concert hosted by Buddy Houghtaling for his friends and family. It was so nice meeting everyone and learning that most everyone in the family plays an instrument. His dad is a good guitarist and said he was going to learn this fingerpickin’ thing after he watched me play.
Buddy Houghtaling is a singer and a songwriter that I think is quite clever. I can still remember the first time I heard one of Buddy’s songs, “Here Kitty, Kitty” (which is still my favorite ‘Buddy Song’). My dad and I heard it on the car radio many years ago. Check out his website to order any of his CD’s: www.buddyhoughtaling.net I’m sure you’ll be blessed if you do!
The next day, we drove up through Frankenmuth, Michigan, again, and of course, had some more great fudge. After arrived in Sebewaing, Michigan, where I played a concert at Bay Shore Camp. It was so nice to get to see some old friends of mine again after so long! Playing for my friends is always a special occasion for me!
Early the next day, we headed out for Massachusetts for my mom’s family’s annual Christmas party! We got in two days later and got a good night’s rest before the party. Being with family around the holidays is a blessing… needless to say we had a great time.
So, I think that should pretty much get you all caught up to date. I’m really excited about my next CD titled: Happy Fingers. It should be out in about two weeks, more or less! The CD is available for orders as of 12-15-2007. (For those of you who had pre-ordered this CD, I will have them in the mail shortly after receiving them.)
In closing, I want to wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.