Posts Tagged ‘electric guitar’

Christmas Surprise

December 25, 2015

imageMy biggest Christmas surprise was this gift from my brother. I’ve never owned a Fender Strat, and now look forward to getting used to one.  I’ve played acoustic throughout my life, and have always been clumsy on the electric.  Now, I’m more interested than ever before to see what I can do with one.

Thanks, Rick!

Thoughts on Music and Watercolor

July 29, 2013
Third Day on the Coca-Cola Sign and Gate

Third Day on the Coca-Cola Sign and Gate

I work in drybrush when my emotion gets deep enough into a subject. . . . It’s a weaving process–one applies layers of drybrush over and within the broad washes of watercolor.  And I sometimes throw in pencil and Higgins ink.

Andrew Wyeth

Finally today I have gotten down into the business of drybrush, texturing the vintage Coca-Cola sign, and working on the ground textures beneath where the grass will lie.  The afternoon has been an exquisite one–the northern lights have flooded my studio, and Andrew Wyeth’s words have washed over my psyche like an oracle.  As I poked the drybrush and pencil over the washes I had laid down, spritzed the area with the spray bottle, and applied salt, I came to the realization that I am not haphazardly throwing media on the paper, as it may appear to anyone watching.  After years of experimenting with drybrush and pencil in watercolor, I’m finally settling into some known patterns, but still taking risks, all the time noting what works and what doesn’t.

At this juncture in my iife, I am also trying to learn electric guitar, practicing scales and playing lead patterns over backing tracks.  What an amazing similarity.  Of course I note that my electric lead is about as attractive now as my watercolor drybrush attempts were ten years ago.  I am missing much more than I am hitting, but at least not despairing!  It dawned on me this afternoon that lead guitar players successfully weave music over the backing rhythm sections by applying patterns already learned that work, while at the same time risking new ventures, and creating new tunes.  As a painter, I am much further down the road, meshing drybrush with a backing wash.  Perhaps with practice and patience, I will someday play lead guitar, successfully meshing single-string tunes with a rhythm section.  In the meantime, it is refreshing to think on this connection between guitar playing and watercoloring.

I think the painting is dry enough to return to now, so I’m going to get back to the drybrush.

Thanks for reading.

The Passing of a Local Blues Guitar Legend

February 9, 2011

Zeb Cash-Lane, holding his Fender Jazzmaster

My Watercolor Tribute to Zeb

Zeb Cash-Lane passed away yesterday, February 8, 2011.  He had taken me under his wing back in 2006 when I was trying to find my way as a blues guitarist.  I played side guitar for him at the Peppermill Lounge in east Fort Worth, Texas for a few months spanning 2006-2007.  Zeb’s health was failing then, and when news came this morning that he had died, I could only hope he hadn’t suffered.  I had seen him on many days when it was a struggle just to draw a breath.  I’ll always remember with gratitude what he taught me about guitar, music, performance and a host of other matters relative to the music environment.  And I will always recall the sensations of his Fender Stratocaster shrieking in the night as he belted out his original blues compositions.

I close by posting recollections recorded in my personal journal the morning after I met him:

Friday morning, October 13, 2006, 7:50 a.m., Martin High School Philosophy Class:

Last night, I had a life-altering encounter at a recording studio in east Arlington.  I met for the first time Zeb Cash-Lane, an aged blues musician, specializing in harp and searing electric guitar (Fender Jazzman played through a Fender tube amp).  It was a night to remember always and I now attempt to record the visions . . .

7:00 p.m. Thursday found me pushing my Jeep westward on Abram, with temperatures dropping, a chilly October evening and a sun sinking large, flooding the western sky with color.  Looming silhouettes of tire shops and tattoo parlors paraded down the corridors of my peripheral glances.  Finally, the cinder block building came into sight.  Jim Farmer waited outside on the parking lot with a slender, rangy man sporting a Rasputin-like full white beard, faded jeans, suspenders and a gray-blue “Charley Guitar Shop” T-shirt.  I was introduced and shook hands with Zeb Cash-Lane.

Inside the dim studio room that doubled as Zeb’s dorm room, we heard the searing electric blues that Zeb ripped.  It was an authentic Blues environ: whiskey bottles, ashtrays, Zeb rolling his own cigarettes, scattered amps, guitars, a cello and even an upright piano.  The room had the clutter of a maintenance shed or electrician’s shop, but it was a music room.  A Blues room, a three-dimensional photo gallery of where Zeb was and where Zeb had been.  Jim Farmer played his new electric bass, Zeb played his Fender Jazzman and I played my Martin D-35.  The Blues seared, screamed and moaned late into that cold October night.  Inside, the guitars cried while outside, the winds answered with a chorus of mournful, yet affirming howls. Stormy Monday set the tone for the Blues night in the studio.

After hours of playing, we sat outside on the concrete steps, weary but full of hope about our musical collaboration, and shared stories over cold beers.  I drove home, late in the night, numbed by the experience.