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Monday Musings: 11/18/13

Posted on November 18, 2013 with 0 comments
It's more than a little sobering to think that more than four decades have passed since a little store named Contempo Music opened on Main Street in East Islip. I recall vividly the excitement with which I pedaled my bicycle down there after finishing my paper route the first week they were open. I was already playing a bit-having been shown some chords, a fingerpicking pattern and a couple of riffs by my older brother. I put a Conqueror Telecaster knock-off on layaway and signed up for lessons.

My first lesson was on a Saturday. I saw to it that my route was finished early so I had plenty of time to get there. I wish I could recall how much it cost-I do know that I paid for it myself out of my Newsday carrier earnings. The lesson began with me working haltingly through the early pages of Alfred's Book 1, progressed into improvisation(I had no clue about scales, etc., but could somehow or other spin out some Garcia-esque lines)and culminated in the teacher showing me Steve Howe's intro [...]
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History has been made, hell has frozen over, pigs are flying, shrimps are whistling-I've actually uploaded my calendar dates for the remainder of June 2012! The proof of this extraordinary claim can be found at!

High Road Revisited

Posted on February 14, 2012 with 0 comments
In the summer of 1996 Joe Caggiano and I decided that playing 5-7 gigs a week wasn't quite busy enough, so we decided to record an album's worth of original tunes. We holed up in Ken Wallace's studio in East Islip where I sang, played acoustic guitar and some slide-leaving everything else to Joe-and the result of our labor was High Road.

It's pretty shocking to realize that nearly sixteen years have passed, but there you have it. All these years later Joe and I are still at it with an equal degree of fervor and a heck of a lot more experience and wisdom.

Therefore, I'm thrilled to say that High Road will very soon be available on the individual tracks will be available for download. I'll keep y'all posted.

Everybody's Been Burned

Posted on November 14, 2011 with 0 comments
In the fall of 1974 my eldest brother returned from the Navy with his record collection in tow. Over the next couple of years I delved deeply into the Beatles, Beach Boys and Byrds lps-as well as other cool stuff such as Moby Grape, Charles Lloyd and Herbie Hancock. I would spend hours learning guitar parts, playing and replaying songs incessantly in order to sing along with the various harmony parts, reading liner notes to see who wrote what song and who the producer was, etc.

The Byrds Younger Than Yesterday lp was and still is one of my favorites. Musicians of all ages would profit greatly from seeing what could been done within the limits of analog recording-with no digital editing, no auto-tune-by people who could write, play and sing. Of all the great songs on the album I've chosen to cover David Crosby's "Everybody's Been Burned". I've never understood why the song is so overlooked in the Byrds' cannon. The original recording is a marvel, featuring an interesting chord progression, [...]
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Hot Burrito #1(I'm Your Toy)

Posted on November 8, 2011 with 0 comments
I don't know the precise year that I found a strange looking lp among my brothers' records entitled The Gilded Palace Of Sin, by some guys calling themselves The Flying Burrito Brothers. They were sporting wild, flashy suits(I would later learn that they were Nudie suits). They were accompanied by beautiful women(I would later learn that they were models hired for a psychedelics-fueled photo session in the desert). There was a guy I recognized from the Byrds lps named Chris Hillman, a dude named Sneaky Pete(r.i.p.), and a really handsome cat named Gram Parsons.

It would be years before I actually listened to the record, and it would take a few more for me to really appreciate the force of nature that was Gram Parsons. In light of how pervasive his influence is today it's hard to fathom that he was relatively unknown at the time of his death.

I've loved this song for so long, and never tire of singing it. What say you check out my version on YouTube(gerrymckevenymusic), then find a copy [...]
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