Give Us A Chune

A virtual jam session

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I'm new to this so bear with me. I intend to try to reignite my long dormant writing skills and try and create --in prose, pictures, links, and comment/dialogue--the feel of one of my favorite musical experiences: the jam. "Chunes" is what I heard when I brought my mandolin to Ireland a few years back. "Give us a chune on yer wee guitar." Still makes me smile.

To belabor the analogy, it might take a bit to get the instruments in tune, find out what everyone knows, and pick a key, but I got nothing but time.

I am a 40-something person who has too long been walking along the paving stones of good intention and this blog is step one on a different path. After long consideration, I believe that I am a damn good critic but an all-too-reluctant participant. That's why I decided to do this in the public sphere rather than the private: as a musician, I learn more when I'm in front of an audience. I'm hoping this holds true for writing as well. I'm curious to see where it takes me.

I'm a professional musician in the sense that people pay me to play, but not in the sense that I make a living at it yet. About 4 years ago, after spending some 13 years in healthcare management, I was reorganized into a new life. Thankfully, my wife also picked up a new career at roughly the same time, one that enables me to make a go at music.

Yep. I know exactly how lucky I am, thank you.

My group, the Whistlepigs, is in its third full season and we continue to build and improve. We've had a lot of success playing festivals, bars, threshing shows--you name it, we've played it or something damn close. The longer we play, the better we get, and the farther afield we're invited to travel. To date we've played a lot in Minnesota, a fair amount in Wisconsin, and one gig each in South Dakota and Saskatchewan, Canada. Feel free to check out the band at .

It's the best job I've ever had and I hope to be doing it until I give up the ghost. We make literally hundreds of dollars at it. Every year, too.

I live up near a fellow Minnesota blogger--Deb--who I suppose is my indirect inspiration for this effort (Sand Creek Almanac). I've got a pair of German Shepherds, a beautiful 22-year-old daughter just graduated with a theater degree, and my lovely wife Missy, aka "The Founder Of Our Feast." Unlike Deb, I live in town, though it's a distinctly rural burg; rural to the point of hearing Dueling Banjos playing off near Floyd's Barber Shop. It's not my home town but I'm not really sure I have a home town so this'll do for now.

That's enough intro. Nobody wants a biography. I'll be back with something we can all play next time.


At 12:57 PM, Blogger Deb said...

Oh great, one more damn blog to put on my list of "must-reads" every day! :)

Seriously, welcome to The Blogosphere; I'm looking forward to reading some of your writing.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger madcapmum said...

Welcome! Deb mentions you so often, it's good to see your face and "hear your voice". I'm looking forward to reading more.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger NatureWoman said...

Great first blog entry! I came here by way of lurking on Deb's blog. Wish I were in MN or WI so I could hear you guys play!

Nice to see that life does go on for others after a reorg!

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Wow! 3 comments on the first day. Thanks a bunch, Deb, for the boost, and thanks all for sitting in on the session. I've been to your blogs through Deb's and I'm happy to be doing it. Feels like a nice parallel to writing music; with luck one with spur the other on.

Yes, life does go on after reorg. I'm still adjusting, in a way. Now my pace of life is too slow :^)


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