Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bluegrass & Friends!

This was an especially nice day, due to the fact that we got to meet with several of our good bluegrass friends.  My oldest banjo student and his wife (Al & Jan), came to New Athens today to join us for lunch at Gary's Restaurant.  It's been a while since we've seen both of them because Al hasn't had a lesson recently.  (Don't worry...he's still practicing that dobro!)  We spent about an hour together eating and talking, and just had a wonderful visit.

After the shop opened, Ron & Lorraine stopped by.  Ron was eager to show off his new D-18.  It was very nice, too!  The figured mahogany back and sides were the prettiest I've ever seen.  It sounds as good as it looks.  Of course, we HAD to play a little bit of music!  Earl, Ron & Lorraine went out to dinner while I "took care of some business" (explained in the next paragraph).

And now, on to "taking care of business."  Last week, my mouse was stuck to my mousepad.  This week, I'm even...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hectic As Usual

We've been very, very busy in August, and things haven't slowed down one bit so far in September.  First off, The Pickin' Chicks have had gigs every weekend.  Secondly, The Chris Talley Trio had two full weekend gigs in a row, with a lot of planning and a lot of hours spent each weekend and the time preceeding the weekends.  I'm not saying I'm not loving it.  I'm just stating the facts.  I've got a boat load of band instruments waiting for repair.  I have a few fiddles in front of the band instruments, but I think I can get to everything this coming week.  Sales have increased both online and in-store, and the number of folks requesting lessons has also increased.  I need more teachers!

My dad and a friend of his visited this weekend.  It was wonderful to see Daddy again.  He's 84 years old and is still playing the fiddle.  Chelsea came over to the shop, and we all played music together.  Daddy played guitar and fiddle.  Chelsea played banjo, fiddle and guitar, and I played fiddle and guitar.  Zoey (Daddy's friend) enjoyed it all!  She doesn't play, but she sure had a nice time listening. 

Daddy is planning on coming to our October 30th Fiddle, Banjo & Flattop Guitar Contest.  If you haven't made plans yet, you should!  I'll be posting information soon, along with a flyer.  It's always a good time, with lots of music, food, friends and seasonal decorations.  This is the one contest we hold that you can dress for!  We don't really celebrate Halloween, but we do encourage everyone (adults and kids) to dress up for this particular contest -- even if you aren't going to play in the contest.  We suggest themes such as cowboy, western, hillbilly, Grand Ol' Opry, etc.

Our Monday night instructional jams have taken on a new twist.  I have been dividing everyone up into smaller groups and having them work out two songs to play in front of the other groups.  It has been working out very well, and the feedback I've gotten has been very positive.  If you are learning to play an instrument and you haven't started playing with others yet, I encourage you to do so right away!  It's the fastest way to get better and it's lots of fun!  The camaraderie and knowledge you gain from it is worth its weight in gold.

We are still holding our every other week Tuesday night jam sessions.  They are all acoustic and they start at 7:30 p.m.  Everyone is invited.  You don't even have to play an instrument to come!  Some folks come just to listen, some just to sing, and some to play and sing.

This week somehow turned into dobro week for Earl.  He worked on several dobros, and we sold another dobro as well.  Earl completely overhauled an old Regal dobro.  Someone had taken out the original "guts" and replaced them with some pretty inferior parts.  Earl took out the old replacement parts and put in a new quarterman cone and new spider and I really don't know what all!  Wow!  Talk about a great sounding dobro!  It was really amazing when he was done.

We got a call from Roland White today, too.  It's always nice to talk to him.  We stock his mandolin and guitar books and they are good sellers for us.  He has some great mandolin tabs! 

Christmas books will be arriving soon.  I don't usually put them out until later, as will be the case again this year.  I like to actually enjoy Thanksgiving first. 

We have a piano teacher on Fridays now.  Katarina is an excellent teacher and has several spots still available on Friday.  If you or your kids have been wanting to learn piano, here is your chance!  Katarina is able to teach by ear and by music.

We hope you'll come and visit us soon!  It's always nice to see old friends and meet new ones, too!