This winter, Dwight Lamb, Nate Kemperman, Amber and I decided it was high time, after playing together for nearly 20 years (!), to record a few tunes together. We wanted to get some of Dwight’s rare and common Missouri Valley tunes down, but we also thought we’d try to capture what it sounds like when friends get together in the music room over a weekend. Missouri Valley fiddle is a little different–with more ornaments, more notes, and *way* more free reeds, it sounds almost Canadian sometimes–and we hope it’ll be a fun listen.
The resulting CD will be called “80” in honor of Dwight’s recent birthday, and we’re hoping to get it released by mid-May.
I’ve been doing some sample mixes and thought I’d share a short excerpt or two just for fun. Musicians: Dwight Lamb & Nate Kemperman, fiddles; Amber Gaddy, pump organ; David Cavins, guitar (a red maple grand concert)
Bill Gray’s Quadrille
The Inimitable Reel
I enjoy making these unusual cookies, which remind me of growing up in a Flemish family in a very Flemish neighborhood in Moline, Illinois. I can remember going with my Grandpa DeGreve to Mrs Drummonds’s kitchen door around the back of her house to pick up fresh lukken and spicy cookies called speculaas. Several years ago, my parents bought me a lukken iron (it actually says “lukkenyzer” on it!) after I proved that I could make a creditable lukken in a krumkake iron (that’s the Scandinavian name for a similar cookie). Continue Reading →
A cool guitar built by Antonio Torres in 1888 is up for auction at Brompton’s. The top appears to be made up of at least three unmatched pieces of spruce. If you look closely, the joints and grain lines in the spruce are angled about 6° from the centerline of the body. The back is also made up of three pieces; the center is a strip of rosewood with mahogany wings to make the width of the body. The description says that the sides are also rosewood.
I don’t point out the irregularities of this guitar to throw stones–Torres’s guitars always seem to be effortlessly built. The headstock on this guitar is perfect in its simplicity, and the solera or body shape couldn’t be more elegant. He built outstanding guitars using materials that probably wouldn’t be used in a fine instrument now, and I love how he worked around narrow soundboard and back materials, for instance. This guitar was built with human ingenuity, and the irregularities make me love it all the more.
See Brompton’s listing for larger photos and a video of the guitar being played. (It sounds great.)
The front of a guitar built by Antonio Torres. The spruce top is built up from at least three pieces.
The back of a guitar built by Antonio Torres. The center strip is rosewood, the outer wings are mahogany.
The headstock of a guitar built by Antonio Torres.