Last year when I recorded Westbound, I went down to California with the band and producer to a little town called Buellton, outside Santa Barbara. Actually we were hanging around a triangle of three towns, Buellton, Solvang and Los Olivos. It’s the wine growing region – lesser known than Napa I guess – where the movie Sideways was filmed. It’s the stomping ground of Bear Erickson, who runs Erickson Sound Labs in a small industrial park surrounded by wineries. Bear welcomed us with wide open arms, and brought us into his world, where he seemed to know everybody. He made us feel at home at his landlord’s quirky mansion up in the hills, where we stayed for five nights, and took us wine tasting at his friend’s bar and to some of his other haunts.
He was a great host at his studio, professional but casual, making the place feel like ours during our time there. The studio space includes his workshop, where he and his dad make their own unique guitars.
One of these guys I just stumbled onto on Youtube…
Legendary Quebec fiddler Jean Carignon plays La Grande Fleur. Check out his percussive footwork and playing style. This is from Pete Seeger’s folk music television show, and is recorded at Jean’s home in 1957.
I don’t know much about Dan Frechette, but I sure dig his ragtime guitar. I think he comes from Winnipeg. Nice move around 1:30 too!
With three part fiddle and vocal harmonies, the Quebe Sisters play a western swing tune called “It’s a Sin.” Some fine traditional Texas fiddling by this group.
Appalachian Tommy Jarrell talks about why the old-time fiddlers put rattlesnake tails in their fiddles, and plays Drunkards Hick-ups and part of John Hardy.
I’ve got a young nephew in Whitehorse who’s just about seven months old. His name is Elias. I wanted to give him something nice for Christmas, ideally something home made. So here it is – a box with different shapes that fit through holes in the sides:
I didn’t want to do anything too complicated since (like everybody else) I seem to have so many other pressing things on the go already. Still it ended up being a bit of a process. Some pieces were cut indoors:
Some of the jigsawing and most of the sanding was done outside since it’s been so (relatively) warm lately:
All of the wood is recycled maple from a local condo development. It’s been sitting around my place for at least six years, so some of it is kind of warped. That’s why it took so many clamps to hold it in shape while I glued the pieces together:
In the end I think it turned out alright – mostly thanks to borrowing Byron’s belt sander to smooth out all my poor joinery. Now hopefully I can get it to Whitehorse in the next three days!