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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Playing tonight Porterhouse Grill in Norwood NJ

Hey everyone if you're around tonight, I'm playing at the porterhouse grill in Norwood, NJ, at 303 and Broadway. Come on down and I'll sing you a song.

God bless,

Willy

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Blessings

This year was a real blessing at Christmas time. We were so broke, and really struggling and several good people came through in a big way to provide a nice Christmas for our kids. The wonderful people at Creekside Ministries up in Fishkill, NY, the people at Crosslands Community Church in Shrub Oak, NY, the town of Highland Falls and the great people at Hudson Valley Christian Academy and several other private individuals all donated food, clothing and toys that really made our Christmas very special during this time of little work that my wife and I have been enduring.

Well, after several minutes of trying, I can't seem to get any pictures to load either in a gadget at the bottom or in this blog. I'm aggravated by it, so here's a link. Hopefully it will work for you.http://www.flickr.com/photos/31214315@N06/

God bless,

Willy

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Devotional

Hello, for those of you who are interested. I was asked to deliver the Christmas Eve Devotional at Pastor Dave Anderson's church Crosslands Community Church up near Shrub Oak, NY. They asked me if I would post it online so that people could check it out. If you live in the area, and don't have a church, Pastor Dave is a great guy, and has a wonderful family, and the church people are great. You can check out their website at www.crosslandscc.org.

Peace

My favorite Christmas song is “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I especially like the part: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead nor doth He sleep, the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth goodwill to men.”
The angels brought the message to the Shepherds, “Peace on Earth; Goodwill to men.” As I was thinking about the song, I found that I too was feeling a bit cynical just like Longfellow was at the start of the song. It seems like there are a lot of things that contradict the message of peace on earth. Every time I look at the news, all I see is war and strife, marriages falling apart, hearts being broken, government troubles, death, countries around the world at war with each other, the list is endless. It’s easy to wonder why if God told the angels that the good news was about peace on earth, why isn’t there any peace on earth, and why is it that I have so little peace a lot of the time in my heart?
Why is peace so hard to maintain?
But as I was thinking about this, I didn’t get a revelation in the same way that Longfellow did by being reminded of the words of the carols the bells were tolling, but I did almost immediately envision an image of an orchid. It came to me that peace is a lot like an orchid. Orchids are one of the most temperamental flowers. Orchids need a certain type of light, soil, water, and temperature or they die. They require constant cultivation. In an article entitled “Caring for Orchids,” at articlesbase.com, I found this:
Orchids are beautiful, exotic plants that are temperamental, but can be successfully grown indoors as a decorative houseplant. Orchids are not that complicated, and if you understand caring for orchids and their needs you can grow these exotic and beautiful plants.

Orchids will thrive in your ordinary home environment if given the proper potting bark, right amount of water, proper amount of sunlight and fertilizer occasionally.
I found this part particularly interesting in light of the drought that it seems like I’ve been going though lately.
Orchids usually grow on the trunks and branches of trees. This means that their roots are used to drying out before being given water again. When growing one of these plants in your home, you should let the potting bark dry out completely before watering.
So as a side note, it seems that there is some connection between the drought that the Orchid goes through, and their beauty. And as Christians we are often called on to experience suffering before we experience God’s joy. I Peter 5 says that we will suffer for a little while and then God will restore, support and strengthen us, and set us on a firm foundation. This has been a cause for joy for me lately, as I cling to the fact that the suffering I endure is only temporary.
True Joy comes from understanding our relationship with God. Happiness often comes from our situation. But peace seems to be more elusive. It could just be my Midwestern roots, but finding peace is extremely difficult for me. I was raised from the time I was a little kid to prepare for the worst. Never go out with a light jacket, but wear many layers, that way you can take off layers as needed. You can never trust the weather. Just because it started out as a 60 degree beautiful sunny day in June, doesn’t mean that it won’t be snowing by 3 in the afternoon. (That actually happened to me one time when I was helping my dad dig a ditch for a water line.) You just can’t trust these things. People in Indiana have proverbs like: “Never get your hopes up, and then you will never be disappointed.” Very practical advice.
Or how about this example, when I was a kid my front yard butted into US 40, one of the busiest highways in Indiana, so it seems my mom’s solution was to never let us go outside and then we wouldn’t be hit by a car. Until we heard about people a few miles down the road who were sitting in their living room and a truck slammed into the front of their house ripping off half of it. I don’t know how you prepare for that situation. I guess my mom would say, “you think ahead and move.” The way people worry in the Midwest reminds me of the movie “What about Bob?” Bob was afraid that his bladder would burst in public. He believed that if he faked a heart attack he wouldn’t have one.
Yes, there is a point that I’m meandering towards. The interesting point that I’m trying to make is that though I’m talking about peace, worry also seems to require constant cultivation.
Peace requires constant cultivation. If they both require constant cultivation, which plant do we want to cultivate, the Poison Ivy of Worry, or the Orchid of Peace? The two are mutually exclusive. They can’t exist in the same space. They’re like matter and anti-matter, they destroy each other.
Jesus said many times, let not your heart be troubled. Or in another translation Do not let your hearts be troubled. Elsewhere we are warned to guard our hearts.
There was the old Latin term Pax Romana. The Roman Peace. This was an enforced peace of a dominating power over all would-be usurpers, kept in place with torments such as flogging, crucifixion, public burnings at the stake, public executions for entertainment purposes and the threat of slavery for miscreants.
It’s an interesting phrase Jesus used. Do not let your heart be troubled. He didn’t say, your heart will be troubled, so pray and it will go away. He didn’t say, your heart is already troubled, so do a whole bunch of good things so you don’t have to worry. No what he said was, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God. Believe also in me.” Our belief will provide the peace we need.
How easy it is to look at the situation around us and let our peace be stolen away. Peter looked at the waves, and his peace was taken, and he began to sink. David began to look at a beautiful woman, and ultimately his peace was taken away. The Israelites looked at the Giants in the land and their peace was taken. I find that sometimes it seems so much easier to just believe in the circumstance and the situation than to believe in Jesus.
It’s interesting to note here that the opposite of peace is fear. Those who live in war-torn countries are often said to “live in fear,” for their lives, for tomorrow, etc., they live in constant fear. When I was a kid, and the Russians were going to blow us all to kingdom come, we all lived in fear. Do you remember that? Remember being told how to hide under a desk? Like that would do anything against a nuclear bomb!
When I was a kid, I remember people almost worshiping Ronald Reagan when the Berlin wall came down. The greatest fear of our lives was over. We didn’t have to worry about being nuked anymore. I remember before the fall of the wall, I read a book about Spetsnaz, the Russian special forces, and how tough and mean they were. It was said that when Spetsnaz interrogated people they used a file to file down their prisoners teeth until they got the information they wanted. When the wall fell, I almost couldn’t believe that these tough guys would go away so easily. Surely, people that mean and dangerous wouldn’t just cave in because they weren’t getting paid to be mean and nasty anymore? Who would have thought that a force so strong could be destroyed by lack of money? But there you go, these Spetsnaz guys cared more about getting a paycheck than they did about fighting Americans. So no more Cold War.
And finally after thousands of years of turmoil, we had peace. Right?
But peace didn’t last long. We let our hearts be troubled, as a world, and found new conflicts to worry about.
I hope I am making the point and showing how fragile peace actually is? This is why Jesus warned us. You believe in God, believe also in Me, he said. How is it that believing in Him brings this peace? Many people who are not Christians claim to believe in God. But that God is distant and impersonal. In fact, many people don’t want a God that knows them too well, or at least they don’t want to think about God that way. They don’t want God knowing their most hidden evil. Somehow anyone who believes in God, when pushed, deep down knows that God is holy, and not happy with their evil parts. This is why Jesus took his phrase a step further. You can believe in God and not have peace. But believe also in Me, He said. Why? Because knowing Jesus, knowing that He knows you intimately, and yet loves you anyway, is the first step to peace.
Let not your hearts be troubled. When you believe that Jesus loves you, and when you focus on the fact that the Creator of everything, who spoke and entire worlds sprang into existence, out of nothing, who caused baskets of food to multiply out of just a few fish and bread, who caused so much fish to be caught by the disciples that it almost destroyed their nets, who was able to make Himself fit into the body of a virgin, and then be born, go to the cross to die and then come back to life again, who could walk through walls, walk across water, ascend into heaven, and has promised to come back again for us… when you believe that this amazing Being LOVES you, and you focus on that, then peace is the automatic response.
Take a breath, relax. Don’t let your heart be troubled. Let peace swell up in your heart. Things may be hard, but He is in control. Let peace grow inside of you.
That’s why the angels said Peace on Earth. Will there ever really be peace? No, not until Jesus returns. He said so. Is He contradicting the message that He told the angels to proclaim about Himself? No. Where is that peace, is it between evil men who war to possess things that really don’t matter anyway? No, it’s in our hearts when we focus on who He is and believe in Him. It can only come that way, which is why He is the Prince of Peace.
I went to a Quaker school, and Quakers are big on peace. But I never understood from their perspective the passage where Jesus says He didn’t come to bring peace, but He came to bring a sword. Most of the Quakers I knew tended to avoid that passage. But I think what Jesus was saying was that He would be just another excuse for earthy men to war over. I mean look at the Irish, Protestants and Catholics both warring over the name of Jesus. But even in the lives of sincere dedicated Christians, there is lack of peace. When someone comes to Christ, people around that person will not be happy about it. It will cause tension, it will cause strife. But it causes strife in the same way that a doctor does when they have to cut out an infection or tumor. It is painful at first, but afterwards, there is healing.
The peace of Christ comes from within, and is not a Pax Romana. It does not come from without. There is no nuclear bomb anywhere that even comes close to the power of Christ. Liam asked a few nights ago if all the superheroes put all of their powers together would they be as powerful as Jesus. No, they wouldn’t. Why, because Jesus is the ultimate power inside and outside of the universe. All power is derived from Him, and returns to Him. So if anyone could enforce a type of Pax Romana, it would be Jesus. Yet He chooses not to. Notice I said, Chooses, not to.
He has ordained that peace is not something that comes from trusting in our environment. It is not something that automatically comes with the Joy that we have from being set free from sin. It is not something that comes from having stability bought by wealth. It is not something that comes from our knowledge of the Bible. It only comes from actively BELIEVING in Jesus. We can know a lot about the Bible, Satan does, but he has no peace. We can be happy all day long that we’re saved, but if we don’t believe that Jesus is more powerful than our situation, we will lose heart and lose our peace when a trial comes along. We can have our environment and our wealth shaken and we would lose our peace, if we are trusting in those things to give us peace. The only way to have peace and to keep it is by focusing constantly on Jesus.
Longfellow brings up an odd phrase to ponder. “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth goodwill to men.” According to Longfellow, The Right must fight to maintain peace. This is essentially what he is saying by using the word “prevail.” While this is a strange thing to say when talking about pace, it is nevertheless true. We have to fight off all the things that would distract us from focusing on Jesus; from believing in Him. We have to fight off all of the things that want to choke out our peace. We must continue to cultivate the delicate orchid of peace in our hearts.
How do we do that?
Well, I would say that we need to continue doing the things that are good for us. We should pray, sing, read our Bibles, fast, give, serve, or any of the many other things that we can do. But we need to be careful that these things don’t become a list of do’s and don’ts, or regulations to fit in with God. These things are tools that we can use to bring our attention back to Jesus and His love for us and for those around us.
So this Christmas, when you hear the phrase “Peace on Earth,” remember where that peace comes from. Believe in Jesus and experience that peace in your hearts. When the trials of the New Year arise, continue to believe in Him, and continue to cultivate peace in your heart.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everybody!

I am just finishing up adding new songs that I recorded this year. I hope you enjoy them. If you like them, you can copy this http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=367684 and paste it into your browser, and it will take you over to Sound click where you can download them.

I hope you all have a great Christmas!

God bless,

Willy

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Beach Boys Christmas Album

Christmas time just isn't Christmas time without five part harmony. Every year I find that I have to play the Beach Boys Christmas Album at least once. When I decided to record my own Christmas songs, there was no choice but to try to tip my hat to their harmonies. I know that I can't even compare to Brian Wilson, but I had to pay homage.

Brian Wilson came up with such great arrangements of classic Christmas songs, but most people forget that without the Beach Boys Christmas album there might not have been a Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album by the Beatles, and the entire history of Rock n' Roll would have turned out completely different.

Back when the Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper's, they were listening to Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, which has the immortal classic "God Only Knows," reportedly Paul McCartney's favorite song.

But there would have been no Pet Sounds without the Beach Boys Christmas album. When the Beach Boys went to record the album, it was the first of their albums that featured an orchestra. The orchestra would play a pivotal role in future Beach Boys projects from Pet Sounds to the aborted Smile album that finally saw the light of day a few years ago with Brian Wilson's current band. But the Christmas album was apparently Wilson's first chance at working with an orchestra.

A few years ago Brian Wilson re-recorded a lot of the songs from that album, and sang lead. Though I love the Beach Boys and really respect Brian Wilson, the one thing that he doesn't seem to get, is that Mike Love was the voice of the Beach Boys. The other guys sang a lot, but it was Mike's voice that is the sound most people think of first when they think of the Beach Boys. I think it's sad that Brian re-records a lot of the classics with out Mike. In the press there seems to be a lot of law suits between them, and to the casual observer it seems that Brian is upset with Mike and wants to create versions of the songs he can listen to without listening to Mike. I don't know if this is true or not, but it seems like it might be. When he finally finished Smile, I noticed that Brian re-recorded "Good Vibrations," with totally different words, and took Mike's credit as a co-writer off of the album liner notes.

So what does all of this rambling have to do with the Christmas album? Well, Christmas is the time to remember Jesus' birth, and Jesus taught us to forgive each other. I think it would do the entire world a great deal of good if Brian Wilson and Mike Love would put aside their differences, and bring Al and Bruce back into the studio for one last Beach Boy album. I know they're getting old, but I'm sure if they used Brian's back up band for filler they could come up with one last great Summer album. Or maybe even a better sequel to the Christmas album than the never finished attempt from the 70's, that was included on the remaster of the Christmas album.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Carols

My favorite Christmas song was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, entitled "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day."

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on Earth goodwill to men

I thought as how the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had tolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth goodwill to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For Hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth goodwill to men

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
For wrong shall fail and right prevail
With peace on earth goodwill to me

Till ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice a chime a chant sublime
Of peace on earth good will to men.

I love this song. It has such a profound lesson to teach us. We live in a time of war, poverty, fear on all scales and a government which seems to be out of control. People who have no jobs, the economy is up one day and down the next like a mad roller coaster ride to destruction, but Longfellow's words descend like a dove from on high. "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep!"

What an amazing reminder that "peace on earth" is not just some fantasy, but God has promised through the Prince of Peace that one day there will indeed be peace on earth. It is true that we might not see peace between everyone, but we can have peace in our hearts, and that is the first place that it has to start. We can't impose peace. When governments have tried, it only produced a quite smoldering resentment. But if there is peace in our hearts, then it overflows to those around us. I think this is the basis of what Jesus was trying to tell us when He said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If we are at peace with God and ourselves, then that peace will flow out of us and into others.

Perhaps, we can help bring some of that peace to ourselves this Christmas season, by changing our perspectives from focusing on the minutiae and all of the things that could get us down, or all the things that we want and do not have, and instead leave these issues in the hands of our loving Father who cares for us, and instead of spreading discontent and discouragement, we could focus on the blessings that we have been given.

God bless,

Willy

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Jazz

I played at the Porter House Steak House in Norwood, NJ the other night. I play there a lot, and as it is close to Christmas I played a lot of Christmas music. One of the things that I realized about Christmas music, is that when you buy a Christmas songbook, often the chords and arrangements are not what you expected. Or perhaps I just don't pay enough attention to the books I buy, but this one songbook was predominately a jazz book of Christmas songs. Now I have nothing against jazz, I just don't play much of it. The problem that I have with Jazz is that it's a lot like talking to people who don't know how to edit themselves, or take pauses in conversation so you can get a word in edgewise. I find that when two chords will work just fine, the average jazz songbook will throw in seven.

I feel that I am a very utilitarian player, I like to minimize what I am playing on the piano so I can focus on the vocal. Or sometimes I like to minimize the chords so I can focus on the fills that I want to add to spice up the chord. So when I buy these songbooks that are very elaborate on the chords it annoys me. The other thing that gets on my nerves is that there are so many renditions of Christmas songs out there that it's hard to find very simple versions in the song books.

I have decided that the solution is for me to sit down and chart out all of the Christmas songs that I like to do and make my own book. That's pretty much what I do with most of my other music, but I have never taken the time to do it with Christmas songs.

I think to begin I need to figure out what songs everyone likes to hear at Christmas time. So if anyone out there has any favorites, I'd love to hear them as I work on my Christmas song book.

God bless,

Willy

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

James Taylor At Christmas

I'm listening to James Taylor's Album: "James Taylor At Christmas." It's pretty good. I like James Taylor. I really enjoy his version of "Go Tell It On The Mountain."

I really like the way the piano was recorded on this Album. It sounds really crisp, a lot like James guitar. I heard that James Taylor uses the same guitars that Phil Keaggy uses. They have such a great sound. I think they're Olsen guitars. I guess they should sound good for the price tag.

The nice thing about this album is it really sets a mood. It was very well produced. Some album are a hodge podge of styles and types, but James knows his idiom and stuck with it. Each one of the classic songs are rendered in a way in which it sounds like something he wrote himself.

I think my other favorite song on the album is "In the Bleak Midwinter." I've seen this song in hymnbooks and Christmas songbooks, but never heard it before. I don't know if this is how it usually goes, but I really like it. It's got such a pretty melody. The simple string arrangement in the background along with James' guitar and the simple percussion make it a highlight of the album. I love the line "Heaven cannot hold him, nor can earth sustain, heaven and earth shall fall away when He comes to reign." It reminds me of the passage in the Bible: "Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away."

If you don't have it, it is a great Christmas album to have in your collection.

God Bless,

Willy

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Albums

I'm in the middle of recording a Christmas Album; I'm thinking about calling it either "Songs of the Savior's Birth" or "Go Tell It On The Mountain", or maybe "Go Tell It" I'm not sure. Anyway, that doesn't really matter. But it has got me thinking about Christmas Albums lately, and maybe I should spend some time this month talking about some of my favorites.

This week I listened to The Chipmunks Christmas Album, The Beach Boys Christmas Album, One of John Denver's Christmas Albums, Harry for the Holidays by Harry Connick Jr, as well as his other Christmas Album, B.B. King's A Christmas Celebration of Hope; I think I listened to Point of Grace's album as well as my wife's favorite, The Osmond Christmas Album. And I even sampled Dylan's new Christmas album. Though I love Dylan, and Christmas music in general, I have to say that his voice is really sounding worn. It almost sounds like Bob is getting lung cancer or something. I feel bad fo him. His voice sounds cool on his own material, but the melodious sounds of Christmas do not seem to work for him. But I'll still probably buy it. I've bought everything else he put out.

Anyway, I'll spend some time listening to some more this week, and let you know what I think about them.

God bless,

Willy

Friday, December 4, 2009

Billy Joel

Well, I was going to write about Elton John today, but I just finished working on my Billy Joel chord charts, and felt that maybe I'd say a word or two about the Piano Man.

I remember getting into Billy Joel more after high school. I did like a lot of his songs growing up, especially Uptown Girl and For The Longest Time, but I had been listening to the Beach Boys for a long time at that point, and really liked that Doo Wop kind of sound. So when those songs came out, I really liked them, but I hadn't heard much of his other stuff until my cousin Tom got into him, and started playing his stuff on the piano.

All though high school I was listening to a lot of Elton John, but when I got into college, Tom gave me "Billy Joel Complete Volumes 1 and 2," a two volume set of green songbooks with almost every Billy Joel song up to that date in it. I remember playing a lot of the famous songs in one setting, and then trying to tackle "Stiletto." I'm still working on that song 15 or so years later. It's really hard to play the steady left hand beat with the right hand doing the counter beat above. Then when he gets to that solo, forget it. It's crazy. I don't know how he does it. He's just an amazing piano player.

Another song of note for Billy is "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant." Not only does the song have several passages that are fresh and interesting, the piano solo, brief though it is, is mind blowing.

Well, I sadly must admit that I do not have in my collection of albums as much Billy Joel as I should have. I do have a lot of his albums, though, the ones with all the hits anyway. I think my favorite album is probably "The River of Dreams." I really like how it was produced, and I love most of the songs. Of course he has a lot of really good songs on other albums. Probably my favorite song of his is "Summer, Highland Falls." Who knew that almost 20 years after hearing that song, I'd be living in the same town where he wrote it? This town really is a good place to write a song though. You can't go anywhere without a beautiful view. That's my plug for visiting up here. While you're here take a tour at West Point!

Anyway, I am sad that Billy Joel hasn't been putting out much music lately. Even if he just sat down and jammed at the piano and released albums of just piano people would buy it.

I am waiting for a Face to Face album to come out. I think they should do a highlight of all the best of all of the Face To Face tours. A while back Billy Joel was on a tribute concert for Brian Wilson, and he did a version of "Don't Worry Baby," that was awesome. I always loved that song by the Beach Boys, and his version was great. It sounded like he was bringing a Frankie Valley influence to it, which he did with the songs on "Innocent Man" anyway. But it worked out really well. You can probably find a clip on YouTube.

So I hope you enjoyed reading a few of my thoughts on Billy Joel. If you want to hear me ramble on about anyone else, please feel free to drop me a line.

God bless,

Willy

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bob Dylan

I have been a fan of Bob Dylan's music long before I ever knew about Bob Dylan. My dad used to play a lot of his songs on our old upright piano. I remember my dad playing "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream," "Motorpsycho Nightmare" and a lot of the songs off of the Slow Train Coming album. Turns out my dad wanted his Bob Dylan record collection safe, so he kept it in the attic along with some 78's an old turn table. The less valuable records were kept in the regular collection in the front room.

We lived on US 40 in Indiana, and our house had a screened in front porch, that most of the time had windows instead of screens in place. The piano spent many years out on the porch, and I remember the console record player was out there as well. I remember listening to the Beach Boys (which proves that my dad had the right idea about storing his records upstairs, because my brother and I, actually it was probably just me, drew all over the cover of Surfin' Safari', the Beach Boys first album, what a waste. Anyway, we also listened to the Elton John album, his first US album and Madman and Tumbleweed also. I know he had some Ray Charles, and I know my mom had some Roy Orbison and a lot of Moody Blues albums. Not sure what else I listened to when I was a kid, but almost every night my dad would come home and play the piano on the porch.

My dad was a plumber back in those days, and I guess it must have been his way of unwinding. I think he must have played while mom was making dinner, or maybe after dinner. I know he used to watch the news sometimes, usually Walter Cronkite, I think.

Anyway, these are my early memories of Bob Dylan. So many people associate Dylan with Protests or Drugs or whatever, but for me Dylan's music was comfort.

I think I was about 13 or 14 when we moved from our house on US 40 out to the country in a log cabin my parents built. When we moved my dad brought down a box from the attic with all his good records in it, and there were a whole bunch of Dylan albums. "Here, you might like to listen to these." I had just gotten an Emerson record player for either my birthday or Christmas. It had a built in radio and dual cassette deck. I was in heaven.

So I started out on "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Another Side of Bob Dylan" and I think there was "Bringing It All Back Home." Great Albums. After that, I think I went right out and bought a cassette of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," and maybe "Blood On The Tracks" and "Blonde On Blonde." In my mind, those two albums were published right after each other, even though I know there were several other albums in between. They just seem to go together for me. I don't know if it's just because I bought them together or if the lyrical style is similar. I don't know.

This was about 1989, and Dylan released "Oh Mercy." That album will always be one of my favorite Dylan albums. I especially love "Most of the Time."

Well, I could probably write a book about my love of Dylan's music, but two other things that I would like to mention, I did get to see Dylan in concert once with my cousin Jonny in Indianapolis at Deer Creek. That was a good show. Ani Di Franco opened for him. That was my first taste of her music. I didn't particularly like it, because I think her bass player was either stoned or drunk. She only had a three piece, and his playing was so bad that it threw off the ability to appreciate the music. One highlight of her performance, however, was when she came out by herself with a banjo and did "Most of the Time." It was great because as I mentioned before I love that song.

The other thing I'd like to mention is when Dylan released the folk albums in the mid-nineties. I really enjoyed those albums, "Good as I've Been To You," and "World Gone Wrong." I think they must have been recorded at the same time, and released as two albums. I never looked it up to find out, but it seems reasonable. I think what is special about those albums is that Dylan is known as a "folk" singer, but aside from his very first album, "Bob Dylan," he didn't really record a lot of folk music. But these albums showed Dylan's mastery of the folk genre, and brought to light some really great folk songs. I really love Dylan's version of Frankie and Albert, an old Mississippi John Hurt song, well, I guess a lot of people probably covered it. I especially like the way he plays guitar on it. What fascinates me about Dylan's playing is often it sounds like he's finger-picking the guitar, but when you see him live or on a video, he does a lot of strumming and more hammering and pulling off with his chord hand. As a guitar player, I haven't seen a lot of people play like him.

Anyway, those are some of my rambling's about Bob Dylan to start off my tenure as a blogger. Hope you enjoy.

God bless,

Willy

Blogging Well

It seems that in order to blog well, one needs to pick a topic that they are passionate about and talk about it. Here at my blog spot, I guess I'll start with music. If there is anything anyone wants me to talk about I would be happy to write about it as well. So feel free to throw me suggestions.

God bless,

Willy