Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Finding Your (Other) Voice in Workshop with Maria Muldaur

Looking at the Port Townsend Blues Fest's impressive Faculty line-up in the Red & Blues book I'm thinking how difficult it can be for newbies to make up their minds what to do and whose workshops to take. The first year I was here, that would've been 2008, I got nervous just looking at the schedule. Didn't want to miss a thing. You'll be running on empty pretty soon if you follow that track.

Be selective, focus on your priorities, and add some adventurous twists and riffs, and give yourself a break. There's no failing in keeping your sanity by going for a walk on the beach or hiking up the hill. Take in Public Art hiding between the trees, and read Sam Hamill's poetry chiseled for all to see. Look for wildlife, birds, coyotes and deer abound.

The above advice comes from Wesley Snipes via my wife. El Double Tee Double U ("Listen To The Woman," what Snipes' character tells Woody Harrelson's in White Men Can't Jump the movie that came out the summer after she and I got married).

Yesterday, I joined Maria Muldaur's workshop. 
Maria teaches two blues vocal classes, “Women Be Wise and Also You Guys” developing a blues repertoire that fits your voice AND “Finding Your Inner Blues Voice”, singing the blues with authenticity. Her pianist Chris Burns will be on hand to support the class.
We were all encouraged to sing a few lines from a song, I'll get back with you which one she chose for the gals, and which one for us guys. I may not remember the titles, but I do remember my surprise when I turned into a crooner the second time around. My voice strong and loud and, well, a gal I know from a Centrum Blues Intensive said I sounded kind of like Frank Sinatra.

Frank, eh? I've heard that before. My wife said the same thing. She said I ought to sing more without the guitar, so I can focus on strengthening my voice, and do some Rat Pack songs, cause it seems to be in my genes, or at least what I grew up hearing.  Go figure.

What did I tell you? El Double Tee, Double U. Sing! Or if you're a singer the same must be true for you, take a different kind of workshop, you may surprise yourself, find another voice than the one you thought you had.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Embarrassment of Riches at Port Townsend Blues Fest 2014

Yes, I'm back. Not that I haven't been at Fort Worden since 2011, I've taken a few intensives that I didn't report on here, but I'm finally back for the Blues Fest and settled in my solitary cell at the dorm.
Solitary, yeah, right ;-)

As long as you can hear your next door neighbor tune his guitar (no co-ed on my floor) and here the guys in the hallways jam, solitary is an oxymoron. And that's fine by me, I'm here to connect with, and learn from other musicians.

Centrum's Blues Program's Manager Mary Hilts made sure we all have our little Red & Blues book, and man its overwhelming to see who all are here, and what we can pick up by being in any of these artists' workshops.

Not sure yet whether I'm going to schedule the whole week, or play it by ear.
Puns intended where ever applicable.