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Vegas good and bad

OK, this post has nothing to do with the blues. I traveled to Las Vegas recently to compete in a big poker tournament. After failing to cash in the tournament, I was feeling — OK, blue — and started getting annoyed by a lot of things about Vegas. But as the sting of losing wore […]

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Yawning as warmup

Go ahead and yawn. Do it a few times.  Feels good, eh? People often try to hold back or cover up their yawns as they would with belches. Don’t be shy about yawning! It is good for you (maybe belches are too but we’ll leave that for another discussion). Recent medical research shows that yawning […]

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Getting the lyrics

After reading my last post about the importance of listening (and avoiding visual stimulation that distracts you from listening), one student apologized for having asked for the lyrics to a song. True, reading lyrics is a nonmusical activity. That’s why I stopped handing out lyrics before playing the recording of a song we’re about to […]

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Seeing, hearing, playing music

A lot of my music students seem obsessed with seeing. They want to SEE if they are in tune, by checking an electronic tuner, rather than listening. They want to SEE the CD cover or lyrics to the new song we are working on, rather than listening to the recording as it plays. Perhaps worst […]

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T-Model Ford as inspiration

T-Model Ford is a terrific bluesman with a warm and engaging personality. Check out his performances whenever you get  the chance, or pick up his recordings. But he also is notable as late bloomer supreme. Ford took up music at age 58, after his wife bought him a guitar as a gift. Just learning to […]

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Heading back to Mississippi!

This will be a rather quick trip, but I will be in Oxford, Miss., March 2-3, playing and speaking at “Music of the South: A Southern Studies Homecoming.” This event features professional musicians who are alumni of the Southern Studies program at the University of Mississippi. Yes, I am in that category. And so are […]

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The world didn’t owe him nothing

As you may have heard, blues artist David Honeyboy Edwards died recently at age 96, a few months after he finally retired from touring. I am happy that there was so much news coverage of his passing. But the reports described him as “the last of the Delta bluesmen,” “the last of the first generation […]

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Toothbrushing and guitar playing

I got my teeth cleaned the other day. And the hygienist praised me for taking such good care of my teeth between cleanings — except for one thing: she noticed a little bit of plaque on the right side of my mouth, where I hadn’t done quite as good a job of brushing as I […]

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Hula hoops for fun, exercise, Xmas gifts

After you spend a lot of hours sitting crouched over your guitar, or over your desk, get up and hoop for awhile! Feels great, it’s lots of fun, great thing to bring to a party. And it trims your middle and strengthens your back. But if you are an adult or a big kid, don’t […]

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Flying with your guitar

No, I don’t mean riding it like a broom. I mean taking it on the plane. If you’re traveling to a gig, you have to bring the guitar. But if you’re just flying on a vacation or business trip, should you take the guitar along? And if so, how? First of all, yes, you should […]

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