Friday, August 10, 2012


Randy Travis. He recorded Honky Tonk Moon in 1988, and it was a number one hit in October of the same year. The money from that song has made a lot of things possible for me over the years, and I'm grateful. Now it appears he's in a world of personal difficulty, and dare I say, some emotional pain. I hope he pulls out of it. I never met him. Would have liked the opportunity, but it never really presented itself. Good Luck to you, Randy, sincerely. Turn it around, make the big comeback that people love, almost as much as they do the initial crash and burn.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And So It Goes....

Two weeks ago I get a call from a friend informing me that a woman has contacted him, looking for an entertainer for a private party. He describes me, lays out what I do, the particulars. Have him call me, she says. I call. Her name is Jane. Sounds fiftyish. I give her a thumbnail of who I am, some of the things I've done, and what kind of music I play. Well, she says, that sounds great. She's having an outdoor party for sixty or seventy people. How much would I charge? Two hundred and fifty bucks. More than fair, I think. As a matter of fact, when I hang up I kick myself for not asking twice that. Ah, well. The party is on a weekend. It's not too far, within the county. I give her my web site address where she can read, look, and listen. This is on a Friday. She promises to get back to me on Monday, which comes and goes without a word from her. I wait till Thursday, call, get the answering service, and I leave a polite message. Remember me? The party is scheduled ten days hence. I would like to get confirmation and directions. She doesn't call back. I wait another five days, till today. I call. The phone rings, rings, rings, and I await the recorded message. But she picks up, it's her, Jane herself, sounding a little harried. I give her Remember me, and What we talked about, and she says, Oh, I'm sorry, didn't you get my email, those darn things, I don't quite know whether they've actually gone through or not. (This is the 21st Century's version of "The check is in the mail. Didn't you get it yet?") No, Jane, I didn't get an email from you. Oh, well, I've decided to go with another group, she says, I emailed you, I'm sorry, but thanks for calling. And she's gone. Jane has disappeared into the ether, gone forever. Okay. No gig. But why? She was enthusiastic at first. Was it the web site and the music and the videos she didn't care for? Then why not call, tell me the truth, or obfuscate a bit if she felt awkward, and tell me, oh, anything, perhaps her daughter had already booked an act, and has just gotten around to mentioning it? Anything. But do me the courtesy of calling as she promised. Nope. She rings off, thanking me for calling. Am I going to be able to fill that date now? Unlikely. Does Jane care? Decidedly not. Right now I imagine she lies abed, snoring, and farting quietly under the sheets.

This is nothing new, nothing that hasn't come before, just under a different guise with a few minor twists and changes. Happens to musicians all the time. Happens to folks in a lot of other professions, too. Except plumbers. Even Jane wouldn't fuck over a plumber.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Where we are now.

Well, I'm in Anderson, South Carolina, trying to jumpstart the music career after a short stint on the Dark Side. And I bowed out of Face Book after a few months, deleted the account. A great deal of noise disappeared with it. This post is a preliminary, a short salvo over the briny and across the grey skies, mostly to wake me up, get a fire going. I importune the Deity on a daily basis, and am seeing results, however small and incremental. That's progress of a sort, isn't it?

Sunday, July 24, 2011


That's what I called him. "Guitar George" Ede. But unlike Mark Knofler's hero, our George was more than a rhythm player; he could make the guitar cry and sing, too; and he often did it with astonishing speed, fingers flying up and down the frets. He is the owner of Liberty Music in Framingham, Massachusetts, in business now for forty years or more. When I began to establish myself on the Irish folk circuit in New England in the late seventies I cast about for a store for the necessaries of a musical life. To a man, all my peers said, "Go see George at Liberty."

It was a fairly big shop and very friendly. And George was, in a manner of speaking, big and friendly himself. I'm not talking about size, I'm referring his warmth, integrity, sense of humor and professionalism that made him, yes, larger than life. (A fella named Steve worked with George, and Steve played saxaphone. No need to ask what nickname I gave him. They played some good music together in various aggregations.) They sold guitars of all makes, electric pianos, amps, strings, sheet music, et al - everything a musician could want. They also rented band equipment. It was not uncommon for any of us to drop in for a set of strings, or something more serious and stick around just to shoot the breeze with George, or any of the musicians that showed up; exchanging stories and leads to new clubs and gigs. It was that kind of place because George was that kind of guy. Bets are he still is.

I play a big Guild D 70 acoustic; have for thirty years now. It's been my one and only, and thus deeply associated with me in the minds of friends and fans. There were times when I would borrow a guitar to take on the road, just to play something different, to hear a different tone and color. And people would say, "Where's the big Guild, Denny? It ain't you without the big Guild."

I had a Guild D 35, I think, when I first started to patronize Liberty Music and struck up a friendship with George. Liam's Irish Tavern, also in Framingham, was a fairly regular gig for me then, and it was not uncommon for George to stop in and sometimes sit in. He had a keen ear and his comments about one's performance were always welcome and taken very seriously. One night he asked if I was coming to the store anytime soon and I replied that I was, indeed, headed in for some things the next day.

Coming out from behind the counter George greeted me with a sly smile and told me he had something special to show me, something I just had to see. We walked to the guitar display and he stopped in front of a very big and very expensive guitar case. "Uh-oh," I said. "Is what you want me to see in that case?" He just grinned and started to open the case. I took a step back. "Don't do this to me, George. Please. I just know whatever is in that case, it's beautiful, but way out of my price range. Don't torture me. I can't afford it. I don't even want to look at at, never mind play it."

Of course he ignored me, let loose a dramatic cackle and in a second the cover fell open revealing the most beautiful guitar I had ever seen. I groaned, "No, stop. Please. No, No. Absolutely not. Put it away." It was like that old Flip Wilson routine with Geraldine being tempted by the Devil with a new dress. George steered me toward a little piano stool, sat me down. He lifted the guitar gently out of it's case and placed it in my hands. I wrapped my arms around it and almost cried. Then I played a chord, strummed one chord, an E Major, I think it was; and I sat there and listened as the notes resonated through the big rosewood body and sailed out the soundhole. And the notes rang beautifully, slowly decaying, so slowly that it was hard to tell when they stopped.
I looked up at a beaming George. "You can do it," he said. "I'll give you a good deal. You need this guitar, Dennis. This guitar was made for you. We'll work something out."

He gave me more than a good deal. He took the old Guild and a small deposit, and we arranged a payment plan. And further, he let me take the guitar right then and there. Yes, friends, you read it right - he let me take it home. Musical instrument dealers do not do things like that. Still don't. Hell, retailers of anything aren't going to let you do that. But that was George. He put me and that guitar together.

And I paid him, I did, and on time. And I played that Guild for years, and I still play that Guild. It was with me in hundreds of clubs and a multitude of cities and states over thirty years. I wrote a great many songs on it, among them Honky Tonk Moon, a number one hit for Randy Travis. And it was with me last year, on two different cruise ship gigs; in the Baltic, the Mediterannean and the Caribbean. Fifty ports. Passengers remarked numerous times on the warm sound; warm because I mike the guitar. No pickup. With all that beautiful, aged wood invested with the music of hundreds and hundreds of gigs, thousands of hours of playing.....Why would I ruin that? And the amount of young and old folkie guitar players that shyly, hesitantly asked if they could play it? They were legion.

Well. A certain segment of that cadre of Irish pub singers slowly drifted away from the Boston area, indeed, some from New England altogether. Seamus Kennedy went to Maryland, Frank Emerson to North Carolina, Robbie O'Connell down the road to Rhode Island, and I went to Nashville. I saw George last on a trip back to Massachusetts to play the Eagle Brook Saloon in Norfolk on Paddy's Day, oh, ten years ago or more. Time, you know.... But he was a good friend and will remain a big part of the beautiful mosaic of my life as a musician and an entertainer. He's right there in the audience everytime I set the Guild in my lap and start to play.

June 17, 2011

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Well, it's on the way, no doubt, even though the temps are still around eighty. It's a cloudy, dark, cool and humid Sunday morning in Fairview, Tennessee. I'm in the kitchen looking out the big french windows at the silent, green forest. There are stories out there. Great imaginings. And a bobcat or two. Yes, the leaves are still green, but Fall tickles. She's out there and she's coming for an embrace.

I had mentioned to the songwriter Michael Snow that I love days like these. You can make your own colors. He liked that. I must remember to tell him that I got it years ago from an exchange between the poet Dylan Thomas and novelist Lawrence Durrell. Durrell was living in Greece and he wrote Thomas urging him to come and work in the sun, if you will. Thomas demurred, stating that if he went to Greece he would do nothing but sit in the sun, whereas in dark, gloomy England he could create his own colors.

I finished a new song last week and I quite like it. I was laughing through most of the work. It was a delightful ride. There will be more about it when I have a demo recorded. I can't afford a studio band so it's just gonna be me and the Guild. I think that will serve.

My last new effort is posted on my web site, an MP3 of a duet called SUNNY SKIES. Quite a departure for me. And yes, those are real steel drums. This is Nashville. Some of the greatest musicians in the world live here and you can find someone to play almost any instrument known to man, and some known only to the Balzaconians from Balzor. As a matter of fact, I believe that a few of these guys may very well be Balzaconians. I have a certain upright bass player in mind.

A literary agency in New York responded positively to my query about the book. They asked for a copy, and I sent one. They've had it for six weeks. I'm told by a friend in the publishing business that this is normal procedure. It could be another month before I hear from them. My friend adds that this is the time of the year when the big publishing houses are concentrating on the actual printing and distribution of new titles for the Fall and Holiday seasons. No one is really looking for anything new right now. He advises that a follow-up email at the end of this month would not be out of place. I'll do that.

Hello to "old friend" Joan.
And that's it. D

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What a funny title!!

This is the blog for the soon to be released book - Clean Cabbage in a Bucket.