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We had another great evening at the Loveland Aleworks this past Friday night.  It was Night On The Town here in Loveland and the place was jumping.  I saw many old friends and made some new friends as I played my solo guitar music through the night. 

The Ale is so good there, in fact as I type this Sunday afternoon (WHAT? YOU'RE NOT WATCHING THE BRONCOS?) I am enjoying a glass of the fabulous Stout they brew there.  It is a fine ale for a mid-autumn afternoon.

I'll be performing there again soon so check out my calendar for that and future performances.

How to write about music.  Especially instrumental music.  This dilemma has befuddled me for quite sometime. 

I often perform in quiet but background situations and I get to observe peoples reactions to my music as they converse, drink or eat.  One peculiar observation is that if I play only instrumental music, that is music composed without any lyrics, for a time and then switch to an instrumental version of a song, I can almost see people brains twisting in the heads as the brain switches from it's non-verbal side to it's verbal side.  The real problem for me as a performer is that most people are far more comfortable with the verbal side of their brain than the non-verbal side.  Once they get to the verbal side they don't want to leave.  This has led me as a performer to drop all my arrangements of songs and concentrate on strictly instrumental music in my performances.  (Perhaps I am more comfortable in my non-verbal side of my brain.)  People want me to play familiar music when they ask for requests, which usually means a song, not an instrumental tune.  So I guess I am becoming an ambassador for the joys of instrumental music and residing in the non-verbal part of the brain.

Which leads me to the original question.  How to write about instrumental music?  How to express verbally what is non-verbal?

When music reviewer write about CDs they write about the song lyrics, or they compare it to another performance by the same or a different musician.  they rarely mention anything about their emotional response or the musical structure other than the rhythm or speed of the music.  

I could write about the technique used by the musician in the performance or the musical structure of the piece but that does not convey the emotion that is ultimately what the brain reacts to with music.  Does instrumental music elicit a purely emotional response?  It certainly seems that way to me as I listen to music and watch the audience as I perform.

So how do I write about emotional responses?  I'm still working on that part.

In the meantime, I'll be performing instrumental solo guitar music at Loveland Aleworks this Friday night November 8th at 7:30pm and I promise not to twist your brain from one side to the other.  I'll let the Stout do that.

I had a great time playing guitar for the people that stopped in at Loveland Aleworks Tuesday night.  The stools were occupied most of the evening and every one had a good time.  The Ale pourers said at the end of the night, "We were rockin' !!"

Check the calendar for the next time I play there as well as other upcoming performances.

The leaves are starting to change color, there is a nip in the morning air and my cats are curling up under the blankets at night to keep warm.  It's a wonderful time of the year and there is snow on the mountains that glistens in the sunlight.

I've got some great gigs coming up, so check out the upcoming gig schedule and I hope to see you soon.

It rained and rained and rained starting last Tuesday night and the Big Thompson River spilled over its banks Thursday night and it kept raining.  Luckily I live over a mile from the river and I can report no flooding and no leaking in my house.  Many people in Colorado were not so lucky as the waters flooded houses and took out bridges and roads.  The news says 15,000 houses damaged and destroyed and many families now are homeless.  Please, if you can please contribute to the Red Cross as they have been very helpful here and their supplies have been depleted.

My performance for the Larimer County Humane Society was cancelled due to the flooding and Loveland was split in half by the Big Thompson River flooding over all the bridges including Interstate 25.

The sun is out now and the river has mostly receded back into its normal riverbed.  My lawn is this incredible shade of bright green from all the rain that fell.  We are all hopeful that life will return to normal soon and that this flood turns out to be a hundred year flood like the media claim and not a 30 year event.

Last Saturday I had a great time performing at the Loveland Aleworks.  A crowd gathered early, probably half of them to watch the Broncos-Seattle game, but the Broncos bowed out quickly (are they taking lessons from the Rockies?), and many of them stayed around to listen to me perform.  I did my own instrumental compositions, told some stories about the music, played some jazz instrumentals and I sang a quite a few old blues tunes.  We all had a great time and thank you to all of you who stopped by and said nice words about my performance.  Watch my calendar for the next time I perform there.

This is the first of the notes for the original compositions on my CD, "One Man, One Guitar"

I chose Test Patterns first because it was the first instrumental I composed that I actually felt worked as a composition.  Before Test Patterns I dabbled in song writing creating mostly boring songs with lyrics that were either morbid or trite, typical teenage longings and ranting.  I actually performed these songs at open mikes and the few coffeehouse performances I booked for myself.  Oh, the horror!

About this time I discovered Kicking Mule Records and their various fellow record labels that released albums of fingerstyle guitarists of the time or rereleased blues recordings from the 30's and 40's along with some tablature of the music.  I found I really enjoyed the music the guitarists were doing, both past and present and I immersed myself in learning how to fingerpick during my spare time.  I also bought every solo blues or solo instrumental guitar album I could find and listened to them over and over and over. 

I thought if I could play Anji like Paul Simon, The Fisherman like Leo Kottke and Ditty wah Ditty like Blind Blake my life would be complete.  So I studied the recordings and the tablature when it was available, or wrote out my own.  I also began to have musical ideas of my own and began to archive my ideas on reel to reel tape and later cassette tape.  (I still have these tapes but I am not sure I want to listen to them anytime soon.)  At some point some of my musical ideas morphed into Test Patterns.  I knew I was on my way when I played it for some friends and they said, "Wow, you can really play guitar."

That put me on a life long quest of learning, composing and performing.

The name Test Patterns came from the TV screen that was on all the local stations when they ceased broadcasting around midnight or so.  This was before cable TV.  It also was a play on words because the piece was a test of my composing knowledge and playing ability at the time and it is basically a series of pattern variations.

I teach Test Patterns to many of my students because it is a fun piece to play.  For me it remains a great warm up piece to play when I go on stage without time or a place to warm up.

The tablature for Test Patterns is available.  If you are interested please send an email to  Also please sign up on my email list for info on future concerts and my soon to be released CD. 


An odd thing happened several months ago.  My index fingers started to not straighten out.  It didn't affect my guitar playing but it scared me.  My doctor said it could be many things and suggested to take a break from playing as it could be tendonitis or arthritis or something else.  So I took some time off and nothing really changed.  So it probably is not tendonitis. 

I really missed playing and now I am trying an herbal ointment that may or may not work.  It was highly recommended by someone who had the same ailment.  I am also back to practicing, recording my latest CD and looking for performance opportunities. 

Please contact me if you are interested in having me perform and watch for my new CD which will be available before the Holidays.


I had a great time performing at ArtWorks Loveland.  The occassion was for the opening of a new show by photographer, Robert Campagna and sculptor, Dee Clements.


                                                                                                            photo by Devani Ruff

The artwork by both of these talented artists was amazing and very inspiring.  I greatly enjoyed their brief comments about the particular pieces that were on display and I enjoyed meeting and talking with these gentlemen.

Many thanks to Judy O'Gorman for hiring me to perform for the Opening and thanks to Devani Ruff for the photographs ofd the event.

I attended The Tommy Emmanuel show last Sunday.  It wasn't Heavy Metal loud like some of his shows and I liked that a immensely.

He played many new tunes for the first part of the show which was great.  He did however go into a few very extended single note improv sections which were technically impressive but a bit boring.  In fact as I wandered about the lobby during intermission, I heard the comment,"It was a real shred fest."  And it was said in an unfavorable manner.

Tommy did a Merle medley and sang other songs as well and I admit I go to see him play guitar not sing so that was a bit disappointing.  His intros to songs were great as well as his "guitar lesson".

In conclusion, I must mention that when I left I had Classical Gas and one of the songs he sang running through my head which surprised me because Tommy is a great guitar composer besides being a great guitarist and I would really rather see him play just his own material, which is very good, rather than cover tunes.


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