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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Celtic Night Project #5

Celtic Night Project 5
This week’s Celtic Jam was great. Normally we have three lovely ladies, but this week we had a whole host of beautiful women stop in to jam. All you guys who could have been here playing with us were missing out! Dana brought her sister Dee Ann who played piano, a little hammered psaltery and some guitar, and her mom and sister-in-law dropped in to listen to the music.
The Irish music was fun, but things reached even greater heights when we switched over to Christmas carols. We played a really cool version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” where we played a verse, then sang a verse. Dee Ann added a really cool harmony part between my lower and Dana’s higher voices. It was really great. My wife was upstairs putting the kids to bed at that point and when she got back to video it, we kind of fell apart on a couple spots. But I’ll post the video so you can get an idea of where we were going. We also tackled “Gabriel’s Message” made popular by Sting. The video sound quality is too poor to post, but live it sounded great. I need to figure out a better was of videotaping these jams so I can have better sound. I need a camera that I can insert directly from the mixing board.
At one point in the evening, my littlest, Gideon, played the bodhran. It wasn’t perfect, but I was surprised that for a four year old he could almost keep a steady beat. I think he has an incredible gift. I have to work with him. He can hear a song once and a week later, he’ll be singing it around the house. He has an incredible ear, and has very good pitch as well.  My daughter Etta had fun playing the psaltery. What is nice about this psaltery is that it is a pentatonic instrument, so that as long as we’re in the psaltery’s key, anything she played sounded good. Her only complaint was that she couldn’t hear herself very well.
Liam played his bass on a couple songs, and after we got the volume adjusted it sounded really good. I’m surprised at how well these songs sound with little instrumentation or a lot. Either way they turn out well. I found out this week that in traditional Irish jams, most of the lead instruments play all the melody, while the guitar, and drums tend to keep the rhythm. So instead of taking turns, the tin whistle, the pipes, the fiddle, banjo and mandolin all play the melody together. This week we had Dee Ann on piano mostly, and her and Dana alternated between the melodies more like in a traditional bluegrass fashion, then at the end of the song we repeated the verse with them playing together. It was a lot of fun.
I’m going to post some flyers at Earlham, IU East and at the music stores this week, hopefully, and maybe we’ll find some more players. I found a guy on Craigslist who might come down from Muncie. He plays a lot of instruments, and is well versed in Irish music. Hopefully, he’ll be able to make it down sometime as well.
Well, I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, and hopefully as we near the Christmas season, we’ll be able to post some Christmas music for you to enjoy!

God bless,

Willy

Monday, November 22, 2010

Celtic Night Project 4

It's getting to be the time of year that we turn our hearts and thoughts to the Yuletide, break out the eggnog and dust off the Christmas songbooks. This year though, we're searching the web and scouring our old hymnbooks for Irish flavored Christmas songs. I'm opting for just about any English, Irish or Scottish Christmas music, however. I'm also searching for medieval tunes that might need revamped.

Friday had some highlights that I wish we had on video for you. We found an Irish version of "Greensleeves" and combined it with a version of "What Child Is This?" that I had in an old hymnal. "Greensleeves" was in Am in believe, and "What Child..." was in Em, so we created a nice little modulation and played through them a few times. I think it came out nicely. I found some versions of other Christmas carols that I am looking forward to trying out as we progress.

I'm excited about next week. Dana's sister Dee Ann is visiting, from out of town, and we should have a fun time playing. Hopefully we'll have a packed house, and we will be able to video it and post it so you can enjoy it too.

Until next time, top o' the morning to ye, and may the road always be gree for your feet, and all those other Irish sayings that we love so well.

God bless,

Willy

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Liam with Drum

Here's Liam with his Kiernan O'Patrick drum.

Dana, Keb' Mo' and Willy

About a year ago, I met Keb' Mo' backstage at the Tarry Town Music Hall, in Tarry Town, NY. Where I worked with a great crew of guys. Kevin was a really cool guy, and hung out with the crew from about 10 am until midnight. He's very nice. He found out that it was my wife and my 10th anniversary, and so he autographed a CD for me of some unreleased recordings. I guess he only sells that CD at his shows. I saved the promo poster, and framed it along with the CD. So it's hanging on the wall in my music room, next to my poster of Blues Traveler from when I worked their show.

Here's a shot of "400 Celtic People" with the Keb' Mo' poster. We're missing Liam in the shot because he was taking the picture. We're intently studying the music for "Autumn Woods." I love laptops, you can put all your music on them, and not have to print it out. It's a beautiful thing.

Dana's Calluses

Well, when the video doesn't turn out at least we can get pictures off of it. Here is Dana inspecting her newly forming calluses.

Celtic Night Project #3

Celtic Night Project #3

Well, Celtic Music Night #3 started out with a bit of difficulty, but we had fun nonetheless. Dana seemed in a really good mood, and her playing of “Autumn Woods” which we practiced the week before actually was hard for me to keep up with. She played it a lot faster than I anticipated, and it was really fun. I think it went from being a walk through the autumn woods, to a joy ride. Then the E string broke on her violin.
But we were not to be deterred. She’s learning the mandolin, so I tuned up my mandolin for her, and she switched over. We were trying to talk my wife, Trevor, into playing the Bodhran, who had showed an interest earlier in the week, but she seemed wiped out from work, so we let her off easy. Next week, I’m determined to get her in on the action.
Liam and Ligee, who were supposed to be playing had gotten in trouble at school for throwing rocks, so they had to sit out the evening. I’m hoping we’ll find some more players. I invited my cousin-in-law to come and play bass, but his job has been preventing him from coming. We’ll just keep at it and I’m sure that when the time is right we’ll have the right mix of players.
In my mind I envision a great bustling room of excitement and camaraderie, but as of late it’s only been my family and Dana, which is bustling as it is, and the boys are really doing well with their drums, and Liam also with his bass. Maybe next week we’ll try out Liam on the bass, and Trevor and Ligee can play drums. We’ll see.
Liam was going to video tape for us, but nothing seemed to come out well enough to post. Next time we’ll see what we can do. I sent around the chord chart for Sting’s “Dead Man’s Rope,” from the Sacred Love album. It’s a really cool song, but the bridge is very strange. I think I figured out how to play the bridge, but I don’t have a clue what to call the chords that are played on it. Maybe we’ll give it a shot next week. I think we should start singing some songs.
Yesterday, the day after the jam, Liam bought me a CD of traditional Irish songs at the Dollar Store, and it had a lot of the songs and tunes that we are trying to play. Now we have some sort of reference to hear how they’re supposed to be played. So hopefully soon, we’ll be able to post some of those songs. What I found odd, and maybe it was just a lazy editor, but there are songs that are called one name on the CD, but in O’Neill’s book they have a completely different name. I guess it could be that they made a mix up when processing the CD, or it could be that these old folk tunes are known by more than one name. But I think there are other songs by the same name but with different tunes in O’Neill’s book.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Celtic Music Night Project #2

Irish Jam November 5th, 2008
Here we are again trying our best to sound Irish. Liam got his bodhran in from Musicians Friend this week, and we decided to design a logo for our band. Liam came up with the name 400 Celtic People, kind of his way of tipping his hat to 10,000 (or as he called it 1,000) Maniacs.
The other night we took the kids out to eat at pizza hut because they won awards for a program called Book-it, where they get a free pizza if they read a certain amount each month. So as we’re eating Liam begins telling me what the logo for 400 Celtic People should look like: a leprechaun with a fiddle, dancing on a pot of gold. So I draw out a quick sketch on a napkin.
The next day at school, Liam and I (he’s in the 4th grade class that I teach) start working on the logo in earnest. We do a web search to find several examples of leprechauns. After a long search we find a few that we like. So we combined all the things that we like about the various leprechauns and I drew up a rough draft of the little mascot.  After a few tweaks, we had a decent logo. In Photoshop I designed a Celtic knot background and touched up the original hand drawing of the leprechaun. And suddenly Kiernan O’Patrick was born.
We decided to name him Kiernan after Liam’s buddy Kieran from his old school in New York. Kieran’s mom, direct from Ireland, was a lovely woman who when mad at Kieran seemed to Liam to call him “Kiernan.” So in honor of his friend we named our mascot “Kiernan O’Patrick.”
After school, we went down to Office Max and had some stickers made up of our logo. We put Kiernan O’Patrick on Liam’s Irish drums, and gave Dana a sticker as well. Now we just need some green T-shirts with the wee little fiddling leprechaun and we’ll be set. Well, that and we need to get some songs down for our repertoire.
Dana’s violin is sounding great. She’s a really good violinist. Apparently when a violin sits around for several years tuning it becomes very difficult. But after you use it for a while, it starts to become easier to tune. So where we spent a great deal of time tuning last week, this week everything seemed to stay in tune a lot longer.
I’m not so sure about my guitar playing. Something tells me that I’m not playing the rhythm right. It seems to me like I’m playing everything to sound like “Raw Hide” instead of sounding Irish. Perhaps, there’s a connection between the stereotypical cowboy music from the movies and Irish music? Anyway, I’m thinking about switching to piano.
For some reason, last week I was very successful at looping, and was able to loop the guitar, banjo and mandolin. But this week, when I tried it I was just off. I guess everyone is entitled to an off night.  
Dana and I had the same teacher. She studied under Bill Tortelono at Earlham College when she was in High School, and at the same time I was taking Music Theory off of him while I was a student at the college. She learned well, because she makes it so much easier to play the songs. Though I’ve been playing pretty much constantly for the last 10 years, some of these tunes are giving me quite a workout in sight reading. I haven’t had to read in a while, relying mainly on chord charts and fake book sheets. But it’s been fun.
I need to figure out what we are going to play. My wife Trevor suggested that we add some Waterboys songs to our jam. I know he’s not Irish, but I’ve been yearning to try some Sting. I’m thinking “I Hung My Head,” or “It’s Probably Me,” might be a couple good songs to try out. I miss singing, and Dana can sing. It would probably be fun.
I was watching the first video of Liam on the djimbe, and he was doing really well. I think we might need to switch back to that for a while, because the bodhran is really a fairly difficult drum to make sound good. It’s also incredibly loud. Liam was sitting on my right in between Dana and I banging away, and the concussive force off the back of the drum was drilling into my ear like a nail. Maybe if we tape a piece of foam to the back it might deaden it a bit.
I picked up a set of bagpipes from my dad, and am trying to figure out how we can incorporate them into the jam. We’ll see. Also, hopefully soon, a few of my friends I invited will show up to jam with us. It will be fun to have a few more instruments.
Until the next jam, I hope you all have a wonderful week, and may all your days be green!

God bless,

Willy

    

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Celtic Night Project 1

Friday October 29th, 2010

I've decided to launch a new project, and track the project over the course of the next year. If everything goes well, we will post some youtube videos, and see if we actually get good at playing this type of music.

I have been a musician for a long time. I play many instruments and have played many styles of music. I have always been interested in Irish music, but have never really played any of it.

This project came about because of several threads that seemed to finally converge, and made it seem that it was finally the right time to give it a shot. Last year I played in an Irish steakhouse, and though I played mostly pop and blues music, the posters and maps hanging on the wall awoke in me an interest to find out more about the music of a country that I have always wanted to visit. Around the same time I was working the steakhouse, Sting came out with his "Winter" album, which, despite his reticence to call it a "Christmas" album, I really loved.  I enjoyed the instrumentation, and the feel, and I wanted to do something similar.

I asked several friends of mine in New York if they would be interested in playing, but we just couldn't get together to play. So after moving back to Indiana, I happened to mention to my friend Dana, who used to play violin, if she was interested in Celtic music. She was, but hadn't played violin in several years. It turned out that her violin actually needed some repair, which I was able to do, and the Celtic Night project began.

The question that we had initially was, "What are we going to play?" So I surfed around on the internet and found that there was a great songbook full of Irish tunes called "O'Neill's Music of Ireland," by Captain Francis O'Neill. The collection has over 1800 tunes that we could work through and practice.

So here we are playing and enjoying the company, the music and the dream of the Emerald Isle. Turns out that Dana's actually been there, and she said it's as green as we imagine.

My son, Liam, who is the only one of us so far that has any Irish in him, due to my wife's background, is learning to play drums and bass. He decided to use the djembe, clearly not a traditional Irish instrument, but we're making due until his bodhran comes in the mail from Musicians Friend. Should be in Monday or Tuesday, so hopefully he'll have it for the next jam night. For a 9 year old, I thought he did pretty well. I'm pretty proud of him.

My wife Trevor had the great idea of filming us on her phone, so soon we'll have some video to post of our jam.

So here's to the first week. We'll keep you updated on the journey!

God bless,

Willy

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Greg Brown

I have become a very big fan of Greg Brown over the years. Today I'm listening to some of my favorite songs that he recorded. I really like the "Further In" Album. It has some of his best songs. Two of my favorite songs of his are "China" and "Two Little Feet" both off of that album. Greg has a very simple way of telling stories, and the music is simple as well, but he exudes a charisma that a lot of artists do not have. It takes a lot for a musician to be able to play one instrument and captivate your attention as well as Greg does. I think when you compare someone like Greg Brown with a lot of modern artists they fall flat.

Take for instance someone like Lady Gaga. Her music is so processed that it's hard to tell is she's actually any good or not (overt Satanic themes aside). If you stripped down her songs to the bare minimum you wouldn't have a song. Just a collection of sound clips. I don't see how that is really songwriting. For me songwriting has to be a combination of poetry with music. If the music is lacking and the poetry is poor then the song falls apart. Another example would be artists like Michael Jackson. The king of pop was another prime example of a songwriter who if you strip his songs down to the bare minimum they tend to fall flat. While sometimes he showed a knack for poetry, or the ability to write a good melody, usually his songs didn't combine both elements very well.

Greg Brown not only is a very talented songwriter, but also is a good guitarist. His country folk picking is very soothing and hypnotic. On the "Live One" album, his version of "Canned Goods," is a great example of this. Every time I listen to that song it reminds me of my own grandma, and how she used to cook for us.

Perhaps one of the reasons I like Greg's music so much is that it reminds me of where I come from, and the whole Midwestern mentality that is represented in his songs. They make me feel at home no matter where I am when I hear them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Loop Pedal

Hey everyone!

I started using a loop pedal, and you will be able to hear me pretty soon using it. I got a JamMan pedal by Digitech, and it's really useful. I was playing around with it yesterday and had fun jamming to Time by Pink Floyd. It really works great. Not only can you loop your instrument you can loop a mic as well. There is a mic jack and a 1/4 inch jack in the back that will let you loop whatever you're playing. I expanded the capabilities of it by instead of plugging in an instrument, I plugged in my mixer. So I can set up several instruments and microphones and just switch back and forth between instruments in order to stack up layers of the songs I'm playing. I will be posting video soon so you can check it out.

I used to use a loop pedal years ago, and really liked it. It was the Boss RC-20, which was a great loop pedal. But the JamMan seems to be a little better. The only thing I liked better about the RC-20 was the drum loops seemed more practical. The loops built into the JamMan have bass as well as drums, and aren't generic enough for me to really use. But it does have 99 loop slots as opposed to the RC-20's 11 or so slots. So I'm pretty happy.

I'll try to get some video up soon so you can enjoy it along with me.

God bless,

Willy

Farming

Ok, so this has nothing to do with music, but I found a cool blog about farming called the deliberate agrarian. I really am interested in getting back to basics. Maybe if you are interested in these things too you can check him out. He's here on Blog Spot too.

God bless,

Willy

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Porterhouse Grill

Hey everyone,

It's been another fun evening here at the Porterhouse. Please stop by next time and get a nice big juicy steak and some wonderful dessert.

God bless,

Willy

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oath Keepers

Hello everyone,

Today I wanted to let you know about a great site that I heard about. These guys are going around reminding military and police that they took an oath to protect the Constitution from threats both foreign and domestic. If you are military or police please check it out.

God bless,

Willy

http://oathkeepers.org/oath/

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dates

Porterhouse Gill in Norwood, NJ.

Feb. 4th
Feb 18th
March 4th
March 12th
March 18th
March 26th

Play Dates

Porterhouse Grill in Norwood, NJ.

Feb. 4th
Feb 18th
March 4th
March 12th
March 18th
March 26th

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Black Forest Mill Restaurant!

Hey Everybody!

I'll be playing this Saturday at Black Forest Mill Restaurant on 32 near Vails Gate, NY at 6:00pm. I'd love to see you there. Come on out and see me! I might be premiering my new song "Pray" on Saturday. It's about the N.W.O., how they're trying to take over the world, and micro-chip us all.

God bless,

Willy

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dates I'll Be Playing the Porterhouse Grill

For anyone who is interested, here are some of the up coming dates I'll be playing at the Porterhouse Gill in Norwood, NJ.

Feb. 4th
Feb 18th
March 4th
March 12th
March 18th
March 26th

I'd love to see you. Also keep on the lookout for me to post some live music on the player in a couple days.

God bless,

Willy

Friday, January 29, 2010

Playing tonight- Porterhouse Grill, Norwood NJ

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to let you know I'm playing tonight at the Porterhouse Grill in Norwood NJ.

I've added an events calendar at the bottom of the page, and hopefully this week I'll be updating it for you.

God bless,

Willy

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pink Floyd - Time

Someone asked me if I would do a Pink Floyd song the other day. My first thought was, "Pink Floyd? On Piano?" Well, after pondering it for a few days, I've come to the conclusion that the perfect Pink Floyd song on piano would either be "Wish You Were Here," or "Time." And after further consideration I think "Time" would have to be the winner. First of all I have to be honest. I only knew the lyrics of "Time" as "Bla bla bla, dee dee da da doo da da. Dee dee dee, dee dee da da doo dee." But then I looked into it and found that the lyrics are actually making quite an eternal statement.

The gist of the song is about the proper use of the limited time that we are allotted. The Bible says that "it is appointed man once to die and then the judgment." I think about that a lot. I believe we are given a certain amount of time on the planet to do the best we can, and the time we waste can never be gotten back. I kick myself when I think about all the time I've wasted. In my mind I imagine myself standing before God and having to account for all of the wasted time. So I try to keep myself on track and stay busy.

I especially like the ending of the song when Waters brings us to the place where he has run out of time, but then comes up with something else to say, and goes back into the part from an earlier song on the album, but included at this point, about how he's "home again," makes me think of someone going to heaven after a long "day" on earth. And hearing the church bells tolling and calling the faithful to the "magic spells" of faith, is a nice ending for me.

It's interesting to note that Alan Parsons produced that song, and he also has a song called "Time" from his days with the Alan Parson's Project. It was a great song too. I have never listened to the songs back to back, but I wonder if they dovetail together?

Anyway, I think I'll have to try to work up a solo piano version of "Time." I think it certainly says something of value that we all should take to heart.

God bless,

Willy

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blues Music part 2

Once upon a time, I was a pawnbroker, then later I became a minister, and then I was a pawnbroker and a minister simultaneously. Somewhere in there I also was a security guard at a laundromat, and though I was never a bartender, I have learned that people who are going through hard times want someone to talk about and commiserate with their problems and hardships.

I am a firm believer that just about everyone goes through hardships. Those of us who don't, might not be human. I think the human condition is all about suffering. Why is it that most of the world's religions have some doctrine that speaks to this obvious human condition. The human condition is suffering. Buddhism has the doctrine that "life is suffering," Judaism is filled with tales of prophets who suffered for God. Islam teaches that martyrdom is the ultimate form of devotion, as does Christianity whose central figure, Jesus, paid the ultimate price for not only the sins of His country, but of all humanity, though a violent and grisly death. Thankfully for us Christians, it didn't end there and out of the suffering came a powerful and glorious Resurrection.

Which is ultimately what blues music is about. I find that it's about death and resurrection. Take John Mayer's song, "I'm Gonna Find Another You." I'm not sure if John actually wrote this song, or if it's a cover, but here we have him bemoaning the fact that his woman is mean to him and is in the process of leaving him. Through the course of his song, he takes us through a great deal of emotion. First he's begging her not to go, then he's angry that she's leaving, and then finally (as the mourning process tends to progress and conclude) he's resolved and is going to go out and find someone else. What is this but an illustration of Death and Resurrection? His relationship has dies, and now he's moving off to a new life with someone he hopes is just as beautiful, but nicer.

I think the human condition is such as to demonstrate the cycle of death and resurrection. I think God made it that way to point us back to Him. We go through a long series of losses, and blues music is filled with it. Take any good blues song from Robert Johnson on down the decades all the way to the more modern blues guys like John Mayer and Johnny Lang. These songs of loss somehow are mirrors of misery that show us that we are not alone in our suffering.

It is the ultimate form of pride perhaps to utter the simple phrase, "you don't understand." Maybe some people do not understand. But People do understand. Because it's written into our very DNA. We must suffer in order to be complete. We can't fulfill our purpose, we can't connect with our Creator and others if we do not suffer. Maybe that's why Peter and James wrote that we should "count it joy," when we suffer. 

I think blues music focuses on suffering, but typically there is consolation and  resignation in many blues songs that we need in order not to die. I have mentioned previously my distaste of the Goth scene. I find that Goth tends to glorify the death, without offering the hope of anything beyond that. How pointless is that? Without regeneration there is nothing lovely or pure or good or wholesome or of good repute in the fondling of carnage and decay. There can be no true joy in focusing on death without following it with life. It's like playing a C major scale and stopping on the B before you get to C again. It's aggravating and begs for completion.

And that is why I think Blues music is really the other side of the coin of Gospel. I think they go hand in hand. I don't think you can really have Gospel music without the Blues part. If you take out the story of your depravity before Christ, then the Gospel music loses it's punch. Likewise if you have nothing but misery and despair, then Blues becomes just a long litany of whining and complaining with no hope. I think the early bluesmen understood that. Even the quintessential blues song "Cross Road Blues" or as Clapton made it, "Crossroads," is supposed to be the tale of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the Devil at the Crossroads. And yet the song is actually about repentance, and a cry for help because ultimately he knows that there is a place to go for help when the suffering gets so dark it grows beyond us.

Anyway, maybe I'll ramble on some other time, but these are just some more thoughts of mine on Blues music.

God bless,

Willy

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Porter House Grill Norwwod, NJ

Hey Everyone,

I'll be playing tonight at the Porter House Grill in Norwood, NJ tonight at 6:00 until 10 pm. Hope to see you there.

God bless,

Willy

Monday, January 4, 2010

Blues Music

I'm often asked if I am a jazz pianist. But though I do play some jazz, I often tell people that I am a blues musician (I guess I'm really more of a pop player with a heavy blues influence). I like blues music. No, that's not quite right, I love blues music. There's something about knowing that other people have experienced the hardship of life that unites us as humans, that draws me continually back to this music. I find that there is a realism that is not found in standard pop music. I guess I'm not only talking about the standard 12 bar Chicago style blues, but more the earthy blues of the south. I like to listen to artists like Mississippi John Hurt and Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson and Junior Welles. I like the old recordings of guys like Big Bill Broonzy and Charlie Patton. These blues recordings are scratchy and ancient according to modern technology, but there is something real about them that speaks to the heart of human suffering in a way that nothing else does. Sure there are sado-masochistic genres being developed lately with Gothic themes that glorify human suffering, but that is useless to most sane people.

But blues music discusses the raw emotions that people feel in a true way that relates to the common themes that people experience in life. I've been out of steady work lately, and the truth that Ray Charles proclaims in the song "Busted" speaks to me. When I was in love and lost a girlfriend, the anger, the pain, the loss, the hopelessness, and the resignation are all present in the songs of Robert Johnson. Just listen to "Judgment Day Blues," and know the anger being expressed by "If I had possession over the Judgment Day, the woman I've been loving would have no right to pray!" That's a powerful anger of Biblical proportions!

Going down through my list of Blues recordings I see names like: Koko Taylor, Albert King, B.B. King and Memphis Slim. You should take a listen to artists like Elmore James, Blind Willie McTell, John Lee Hooker, Son House and Sonny Boy Williamson (I and II).  There's a lot of good gospel blues like Rev. Gary Davis and the Blind Boys of Alabama. There's a lot of good modern blues like Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' (who happens to be one of the nicest musicians I've ever met). I even love the earthy folk/blues of guys like Greg Brown (you should find and listen to his song King Corn, that's solid blues!) I could literally go on for pages and pages describing all of the artists that I love so much.

The piano styles of New Orleans jazz and blues artists like James Booker and Professor Longhair have really inspired my piano playing, as well as the great doctor, Dr. John. These guys have a piano style that is amazing. Take a listen to Booker T. Laurey and Memphis Slim and see if you don't hear a taste of their style in the songs I play when you come out to hear me. They have had a great impact on my formation as a piano player.

I owe such a debt of gratitude for these guys for taking the time to record their music. And though I'll probably never meet any of them, it is such a joy every time I get some quite time and can listen to their passion being poured out into their pianos.

If you get a chance you should check out some of these greats. If I get the time I'll tell you more about some of the other great blues artists I love.

God bless,

Willy

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ligee In Battle


Ligee In Battle
Originally uploaded by willyminnix
Here's Ligee doing battle against the forces of darkness overwhelming us lately! Go get 'em Lij. I'm sure they can't stand against the mighty onslaught of your Nerf blaster you've got there.

God bless,

Willy

Mommy and Etta


Mommy and Etta
Originally uploaded by willyminnix
Here's a vision of beauty. My lovely wife Trevor and Etta, next to our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree! My favorite time of the day is seeing those two lovely ladies smile!

God bless,

Willy

Liam Pants


Liam Pants
Originally uploaded by willyminnix

Here's Liam with his great excitement about the new pair of pjs. He really needed them. For such a typically somber and thoughtful (or as Liam puts it "Think-ative") kid, this picture really makes me happy!

God bless,

Willy

Liam and Cars


Liam and Cars
Originally uploaded by willyminnix
The airshot super drop is actually a lot of fun. We raced different cars to see which ones went the fastest. And we elevated the ramp at the end to see what the optimum height was to get really good jumps! Liam really loved all his gifts. Thank you all so much.

God bless,

Willy

Ligee K'nex


Ligee K'nex
Originally uploaded by willyminnix
Here's the very image of a happy boy! Give Ligee a few K'nex and he's ready to create anything! Thanks again to all of you wonderful people who made our kids happy this year!

God bless,

Willy

Etta Dress Up


Etta Dress Up
Originally uploaded by willyminnix
Isn't this just the very look of joy?! Here's Etta as she holds up a gift of dress up clothes. People really went out of their way to bless our family, and make this holiday a wonderful event. They really showed the true spirit of Christmas this holiday by showing Christ's love to our family! God bless you all, and I hope you have a wonderful New Year.

God bless,

Willy

Space Warriors 2


Space Warriors 2
Originally uploaded by willyminnix
Oh the joy of blasting alien space invaders! Here is a group of intrepid warriors off to rid the galaxy of evil! Another wonderful present from the many good people who blessed us this Christmas.

God bless,

Willy

Giddy Train


Giddy Train
Originally uploaded by willyminnix
We had such a blessed Christmas. All of the wonderful people who helped make our kids happy this Christmas are greatly appreciated. Here's Gideon holding a GeoTrax train that someone gave him. Just look at the excitement expressed by his little juicy lips!

God bless,

Willy