Less Social Media, More Peace and Productivity

Yeah, I’m gettin’ rid of more social media drain and focusing on creating music and paintings at my home studios. Aside from feeling hypocritical by supporting ever-more-socially-and-morally-damaging sites for my own benefit (as virtually non-existent as those benefits have become as I grow older and less inclined to grovel for fan support and financing while growing more philosophically evolved, I think… [?]), the time required to carry on in our sensation-hungry cutthroat commercial society is just not worth sacrificing time better spent on continued development of skills and quality of the creative work that so fulfills my soul.

So, the time I choose to spend on anything social-media-like will be focused on kitgaroutte.com and kitgaroutte.net, as well as the occasional video on YouTube. For now I have changed my Instagram page to private, but considering it’s a part of the despicable Meta empire I probably will decide to shut that down entirely before long as well.

It’s crazy to think any of this will actually be of any significance beyond my own well-being, but in good conscience I feel compelled NOT to contribute to the not so slow march to dystopia the mega-rich and powerful and leading us on. Perhaps all is just Que será, será, but ultimately I believe we are what we do and the world is what we make it.

That’s all for now. Be well, be safe, be smart.

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Hope Always

Remember when things felt worth doing because the future looked bright? I remember, though just barely. These days it’s really challenging to retain a level of hope and excitement in the face of so many existential threats that, taken together seem all but certain to take us over the cliff, down into a nightmarish, hopeless struggle to survive, ultimately ending in extinction or a life too miserable to contemplate or something like that. Ugh.

Looking back, I was born in the 50’s, and throughout my childhood and into young adulthood it seemed the possibilities were boundless. I was inspired by stories of great musicians such as the young genius Mozart and by stories of the amazing artists and writers and statesmen and heroes of sport and “real life” who left their mark while making the world a better place and expanding human knowledge and leading the way into a bold new “universe.” We were inspired in the early stages of space exploration and medical advances were accelerating and technology was innovating and records were being broken as humans seemingly evolved further and further. Life seemed to be getting better for more and more of us and all the wonders of the future seemed to be developing as we moved through the 60s, 70s and 80s.

As I discovered my initial interests, and later my “bliss” it seemed a heroic pursuit in it’s own right to become the best and most creative person I could be in my area of interest (music) as a way of contributing to the honorable quest to help take our species ever higher on the evolutionary scale. It was worth all the sacrifices and the long hours of practice and work because in my heart I knew (foolish me…) that at worst I would leave a legacy that surely someone would benefit from. My efforts were permeated with meaning and “truth.”

Today, reading the news to start off my Sunday, I am bombarded once again with the plethora of imminent disaster that awaits us over the next couple of decades — Climate change, A.I., civilization’s devolution, etc., etc. The promise of the future has faded away, replaced by the dark specter of what’s to come. We’re rushing towards the tipping point(s) that will destroy the balance of pretty much every facet of the systems that make up the dynamics of our amazing and wonderful world, and we’ve let it go for so long it’s virtually certain we’re S.O.L..

So what’s the point. What do we do? How can it be worth striving to be better when it appears it will all be for naught?

We live. We go on as if we still have a chance to mitigate the problems to the point that we can survive and life is worth living. Whether we actually can survive in a world that’s “worth living in” is actually beside the point. The way things are in this universe is far beyond the coming and going of a particular species, world, galaxy, or whatever my exist, has existed, or will exist. Anything can happen… everything we have can be taken away at any given moment… everything can be given at any time. Motivation must come from within, regardless of all external trappings, as our energy is, and always has been a part of our existence and our universe, and ever will be.

Hope is always there for us to embrace if we choose to embrace it. I choose to try. I will undoubtedly have to go through this exercise over and over again to maintain that attitude. For today I will take the Galaxy Quest course and say “Never give up! Never surrender!”

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Magic Is – the latest collection from Kit Garoutte

Magic Is

Instead of my usual random thoughts and musings I thought I’d share a review of my latest CD/streaming effort, which I am proud and excited to share with as many of you as may be into it. Enjoy.

ALBUM REVIEW by writer/musician Don Campbell

Idle hands, the saying goes, are the devil’s playthings. We’ve learned the hard way that nothing idles hands like a devastating COVID-19 pandemic. The wrath of the wildly infectious virus, unleashed on the world in 2020 and persisting still, put a serious dent in many artists’ creativity and productivity, with no live gigs and few opportunities to collaborate and record.

Not so with Kit Garoutte. The composer, guitarist, bassist and recordist spent his quarantine time – alone and with virtual collaborators – crafting and recording a 10-song project called “Magic Is (As Magic Does).” Pulling from past compositions, snippets and ideas, as well as newer creations, Garoutte has conjured up an instrumental fusion-funk-jazz album that sizzles with strong, singular melodies, creative chordal modes and grooves, and stellar musicianship.

The genesis of the project was a pile of drum tracks that Garoutte had recorded with The Dalles drummer Jeff Minnick (Junior Brown, Gary Primich, Paul deLay) at Minnick’s home studio for possible use with some backing tracks that Garoutte was working on. Idle hands and some free time can, in the right configuration, result in musical gold.

“I got to thinking that since I couldn’t play with live players during the early part of the pandemic,” Garoutte said, “I would have some fun playing bass with those tracks that Jeff had played so well and creatively. So one evening after [significant other] Ann went to bed I started playing with it, adding bass and finding some cool stuff, then adding guitar tracks, and after various compositional editing, by the time the night was over it was pretty well done. It was the fastest multi-track recording I ever felt no qualms about using in a publicly accessible music collection.”

Garoutte enlisted the services of some of his favored musicians from Portland, where he spent years honing his sizable chops, and the Columbia River Gorge, home to a number of exceptional expat players. In addition to Minnick, he tapped drummer Jay Lundell, bassist Dave Captein, Brian Rose on keyboards, drummer Mike Grodner, pianists Matt Cooper and Tim Mayer, and bassist Ted Swenson. Garoutte, in addition to guitar and bass, added various guitar synth parts and embellishments.

It was a decidedly iterative approach to song creation and tracking. Says Garoutte, “Magic Is (As Magic Does) and Joyous were a result of playing to drum tracks, this time provided by my old friend Jay Lundell with whom I played in Rainbow a while back. I laid down some bass ideas first, then started adding guitar and guitar synth parts, with each new flavor influencing the composition and arrangement.”

Along with Whitewater Run those iterative compositions were several brand new Garoutte songs that came about while recording the album. And because of the influence of the guitar synthesizer, he offers, the newer songs have a different general feel and style than those that he had written pre-synth.

Garoutte had every intention of fully exploiting the talents of Portland bass heavyweight Dave Captein, who contributed a thunderous bass line on Rogue, but soon found himself thoroughly embedded with playing his own bass lines (oh, those idle hands…). 

On Rogue, Garoutte crafted a bass part that he admits that he didn’t take enough time to learn to play all the way through well enough to record it, so he wrote out the part and sent it to Captein as a touch point for the song, with full license to change the part as he saw fit. “Dave is the most incredible sight reader I’ve ever come across on the bass, so I figured it wouldn’t be a great hardship to read it and it might save him some time.”

The “rough” track Garoutte got back was nearly perfect and so lives on in the recording.

That kind of spirit pervades the project. Top to bottom it bounces with crisp and inventive melodies, deftly executed rhythms and creative backing tracks, be they synth guitar or unique keyboard sounds. Garoutte is a masterful guitarist and a formidable bassist, and a bit of wizard at concocting joyful finished tracks all by himself from a disparate cache of digital files in a quarantined home studio. Leaning on talented friends to flesh out his ideas energized the tracks and helped polish them to a bright shine.

It might be easy for a project like this be overly indulgent. For Garoutte, it’s another jewel in a quiet career that deserves a far wider audience.

Click on one of these links to purchase and/or stream Kit’s music online at Amazon MusicApple MusicDeezerNapsterSpotify, among many other online outlets.

I really appreciate your support in these difficult times, and always, especially because it helps me to keep following my passion, my bliss, my yeah-I-gotta-do-this! THANKS!


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Home Repairs, More Rain, Life & Our Animal Family

  1. Home Repairs: This morning, Sunday morning, is a bit of a cacophony of sound and wetness as I enjoyed my morning coffee and cereal, and Ann her tea and peanut butter toast in my music studio on the second floor while a home repair guy does his thing doing our long-awaited counter top re-installation after the water mitigation company tore out things rather recklessly during our refrigerator’s ice-maker breakdown ruined our floor and more 5 months ago. Yeah, 5 MONTHS AGO! Man, between that damn not-to-be-named water mitigation company and our $%#&*!’ not-to-be-named insurance company (maybe I’ll name one or both later… I will if you ask me in either case!) it’s taken FOREVER to get things repaired and paid for… -ish! We never did get everything paid for that was supposed to be covered. Man, it’s been tough for us, and ESPECIALLY for Ann, who’s had to deal with all the communications and stuff. Massively frustrating the way the corporate powers want to battle over everything while using the clients (US!) so heartlessly and ruthlessly to try to get one over on each other. Oh well, whaddya gonna do huh? The good news is that after tomorrow we anticipate finally, FINALLY being done with all of it. What a relief that will be. Anyway… ENOUGH about all that!
  2. The rain: What we’ve been getting is apparently the leading edge of the Atmospheric River that is being projected to dump as much as 8-10 inches in parts of California and plenty elsewhere along the Pacific Northwest as well. This is supposed to create a huge drop in pressure, which could have a significant impact on sinus headaches and such. The prediction is that this will be the most significant storm of it’s kind on record for the Pacific Northwest. Too bad all this rain isn’t more spread out over time, and focused more on creating high altitude snow pack that could deliver melt water more slowly and usefully. Well, hopefully there will not be any loss-of-life from flooding and catastrophic damage as could occur in the worst case scenarios we’re being warned about, particularly in Northern California where it’s supposed to be most severe.
  3. Life goes on with it’s usual ups and downs, and we seem to be able to ride along on the flow of things pretty well. We’re preparing for the Clark County Open Studio tour the first weekend of November, for which Ann is the cover girl. It was really great and exciting to hear that her painting was to be used for the posters/flyers for the tour and that she was to be interviewed as a Featured Artist for the whole deal. SO COOL to have that happen after only living in the area since March. The image is striking and very effective to create interest in the tour so it’s no surprise they chose it.
  4. Our Animal Family members are doing as well as we could ask for. Solo the cat continues to mature and evolve into a more trusting and loving companion with a penchant for playing and spending as much time as he can in our secure back yard. The collar with tiny little bell has been effective to scare off any creatures he tries to “play” with, so he is now unable to accidentally hurt or kill any creatures. Poor little Squeekie, or miniature Dachshund is very old and unfortunately has doggy dementia, but most of the time seems comfortable enough sleeping and wandering around endlessly. She requires pretty significant care, but after many years of being such a wonderful companion for Ann, it’s just the balance of things that we accept wholeheartedly to try to make the end of her days as comfortable as we can for her.

Ok, that’s all for today. I hope you and yours are well, and I wish heartily for the best outcomes in life for all creatures and all things in our shared existence.

Hopefully yours my friends!

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Welcome Rain, Music with Mr. Stowell, and “Dune”

It’s been raining for a few days now here in Ridgefield, and we’re happy about that. It looks like it will continue for days and that too is alright, assuming it doesn’t end up flooding and causing mayhem and all. We’ve been lucky to avoid the devastating dryness that’s plagued much of the West in recent years. Our hopes for that very outcome have, so far, turned out well. I can only hope that future decisions regarding where to be as climate change escalates are as successful.

Last night I played at Emanar Cellars in Battleground for the first time. It’s a small place, but cozy and very friendly and nice. When the weather is nice they have seating outside, and there were a few folks out there at times with heaters and cover over their heads. It was a little cold for me due to the placement between the two doors to the outside, which were opening wide and then closing mostly, but as it got later in the night they were left closed more so I was more comfortable.

I had new strings, or at least nearly new, since I had put them on a couple of days before and had played them only minimally to break them in. They felt and sounded ‘perfect’ last night, and between that and the benefits of my recent experiences making music with the great jazz guitarist John Stowell I felt very good about my playing. My new instrumental versions of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, “King of Pain”, “Teen Town”, “Mrs. Robinson”, “Theme from James Bond” and a couple of others went well and the folks there were very happy and so appreciative for the music, as was I!

Regarding my connection with John… he is SO good at his unique mastery on the guitar and as a passionate jazz musician that I had a little trouble adjusting to playing with him at first. I have not been immersed in a jazz world for many years, though there is plenty of my playing that has been influenced by my studies and experiences in that realm in my past. I have continued to utilize what I learned throughout that process, but I have embraced other styles and approaches much more extensively over the last 30 years or so. Therefore I found myself straying outside of myself to sound more “jazzy” and became a little lost and frustrated with the results at times. I was also a bit intimidated, I must confess. However, with a bit of time and introspection I came to recognize and rediscover my own strengths and weakness more clearly… I re-engaged with my “bliss.” I rediscovered “what I am” and as a result I am once again more fulfilled and comfortable just letting my playing and composing be what it wants to be.

We have been composing and recording new songs and are closing in on enough for an album soon, and we are both feeling very excited about where it’s going. It’s been a great learning experience, and for me, a unique journey musically, in regard to the arts of composing, arranging and recording with such an amazing master of his art. I couldn’t be happier or more enthusiastic!

…That will have to do for now. Ann and I need to run a couple of errands and prepare for a visit from her son and his wife for dinner and the premiere of the new “Dune” movie this evening. We are all hoping it will come closer than previous efforts to bring that beloved epic science fiction classic novel to the big screen. Fingers crossed…


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Ridgefield Life

Ridgefield, Washington is home now. Since March life has been centered around the nexus of the Ridgefield, Vancouver, Portland, and Tigard environs. All is good.

Playing opportunities are arising once again what with the diminishing of pandemic restrictions and all. Unfortunately that could change again if the resistance to vaccination continues at anything close to the level we’re seeing now. I won’t get into the whole thing, but it would be a damn shame if we have to go backwards as a result.

The Wildlife Refuge here is awesome, though it’s hard to know when trails close temporarily. We’ve run into that several times. The walking paths are great. The old downtown area is quite nice.

Playing for the “Musicians in the Park” series here in Ridgefield is very cool and lots of fun.

Looking forward to returning to some “old” haunts in the Gorge to play music a few times this summer. Here’s the schedule so far. (Please note: you can change the month shown on the calendar to look ahead to August and beyond.)

On the medical front, I’m undergoing the TAVR procedure in a few days that should restore more normal heart function which should allow me to be more active, energetic and productive than has been the case for some years now. I’m really looking forward to that!

Anyway, life is pretty good for us around here these days despite some challenges, such as a water leak in the wall unit that occurred a few of months after we moved into our new home and dealing with the conflicting interests between the contractors and insurance company that has delayed and delayed our being able to get it all repaired. One tiny little unit that connected water to the line to the refrigerator’s ice maker (apparently a very common problem by the way…) has taken out our entire flooring on the main floor along with the cabinets and some of the wall at one end of the kitchen. Argggghhhhh!!

Oh well, “C’est la vie!” I guess…

That’s it for now…

Hopefully I’ll talk here again soon, or at least not TOO long from now, or… eventually? D’oh!

Yours truly in love and hope,


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The Good, the Bad, and…

The Good

It rained some last night, which is very good. We just planted our tomato starts, and they were a little shocked of course, so they were sagging a bit after being planted. We gave them some water, but knowing it was supposed to rain last night we wanted to get them in when some natural water would come in to help them along as well. Today they are looking good, standing tall. We’re still waiting for our other newly seeded veggies to show themselves, which should be any day now. Yesterday there were two tiny little Kale starts peeking out, so something is happening.

My online distancing recording project is proceeding nicely. Yesterday we designated as a “vacation” day, so I didn’t do much in that regard, except pecking away at a tiny bit of planning, charting, file prep and transfer. Things are sounding better all the time, and I am getting ever more connected to musicians I’m recruiting to add tracks.

I also received an invitation to be involved in an online project with Clackamas Community College’s Music Department Chair, longtime collaborator and good friend Brian Rose, to help students develop their recording and online music business skills that will be a lot of fun.

My life partner Ann was doing her bread-making and baking thing yesterday, as she has quite a bit lately, so we are enjoying the benefits of some delectable baked goods and other home grown goodies as we continue further and further down the road to a much more self-contained home life. The calzones she made for dinner were excellent!

Oh yeah, and we enjoyed “Onward” from Pixar last night!

The Bad

It’s difficult to keep a positive attitude going forward isn’t it? It’s so incredibly disappointing what humans have done and continue to do to our world, ourselves and all life we connect with. There are always ups and downs in our general moral comportment, but just when we needed to be doing everything we could to deal with Climate Change, and we were at least moving along a positively accelerating road to mitigate the intensity of the crisis, 2016 came along and brought a whole new, horrible set of short-sighted, pathetic, disgusting, foolish, impulsive, xenophobic, criminal, so-called leaders, in the US and beyond, that promises the worst possible future for Earth.

Ok, sorry to be so negative, but I had to get that out of my system this morning. I won’t say any more about for this entry.

& …

Covid-19. Need I say more? Ok, maybe just a little more…

No stimulus money received yet. Denied for unemployment. They’re telling me I’m not self-employed, but I really AM self-employed…

Man, I could sure say more about the so-called leaders again and their foolishness and short-sightedness and greed and all that made this crisis far, far worse than it might have been… but I “won’t”…

Final thought

Despite the despair that keeps trying to infiltrate our psyche, we all must embrace the challenges before us, pull together, be even more creative and compassionate and empathetic and courageous. Be mindful, be safe, be well my friends.

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Dirt Day

Yup, today is Dirt Day. We’re gonna be collecting some serious dirt.

We’ve reached the point in our building of the new garden enclosure that requires an infusion of good, rich earth added before completion of the structure. The only thing remaining to be done before that can happen is for us to put plywood lining inside the open slat sides of our hauling trailer that we bought several months ago with this kind of project in mind. We have the wood from the former backyard house concert stage we deconstructed so we could repurpose it for the garden enclosure and the trailer walls. It looks like it will work out to be nearly exactly the right amount of wood to finish those projects. Well, we did have to buy a couple of 2 x 6 boards to have enough for the enclosure, but it’s really worked out quite well.

So, that’s our major project for the day, but as is usually the case on our weekdays, I’ll be off to my studio to do all the practice and recording I can until lunchtime. Then we’ll devote the afternoon as needed to take care of today’s gardening and trailer projects.

The weather is beautiful again today, as it has been for the past several, sunny and only a little windy now and then. The breeze is nice because, other than a couple of days ago, the wind is cool enough to keep the temperature down for working in the direct sun where we are putting the enclosure in. We wanted that in the spot that gets the most hours of sun at our place, so working there is sunny, when it’s sunny… lotsa sun… you know what I mean.

I’m waiting for my boiled egg to sit for 10 minutes (bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let sit in the pan, covered, for those 10 minutes) before consuming it to get some protein to carry me through the morning effort. I already had my daily dose of Ancient Grains cereal with Flaxseed to help with my cholesterol. (I recently had my lipids checked as part of my ongoing maintenance check for my aortic stenosis. The counts were down significantly enough after a year of opting to do the flaxseed thing instead of taking statins that we have confirmed that’s the best way for me to go for the moment.) I’ll finish my second cup of immune booster tea with my egg and be ready to get to working on music.

Being Tuesday, Ann and I would normally be doing our show at Tarbar here in White Salmon, so in lieu of that we may do it right here at home tonight instead. No audience of course, but one of these times we will be doing a video, or live online show, or something. There’s nothing better than performing in front of people to bring out the highest level of performance and improvement, so we need to do a public show in some way shape or form sometime soon.

Anyway, my egg is ready for me. Have a great day my friends. We will persevere, we will have a chance to get better leaders into office in November, so be safe, be smart, be empathetic, be strong… a better path is waiting for us to get things turned around and embark upon a great adventure.

Today’s fingerstyle guitar audio clip is here… and/or you can pick whichever you want on my YouTube channel.

For now, Ciao!

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This is a novel situation for me (no pun intended… or maybe a little intended.). Due to the nature of the challenge we are all facing, I, like “everyone else” have had my livelihood disrupted, cancelled, postponed indefinitely, so I have been applying for unemployment as part of the “gig” economy. The forms and procedures do not fit my situation, since it’s only due to the pandemic being so all-encompassing that folks like myself are even being allowed to apply. So far, it’s not going well. I am “doing the best I can” to fill things out properly, as per the unemployment website’s advice, but I am “ineligible” so far. D’oh! I have written them to try to get advice as to how to get this thing working properly. We’ll see if I get a response any time soon, which might be hoping for a lot considering the crushing volume of applications and all.

Ok, enough about that. It’s time to get going on “stuff” to do today. 1) Clean out the cat litter box. 2) Grab the clothes from the dryer and fold/put-away, etc. 3) Play with the cat with a pheasant feather for a short time to keep him healthy and happy and at least a little exercised (he’s an exclusively indoor cat). 4) Practice guitar patterns, theory and so forth for an hour or two. 5) Work on my new recordings for an hour or two, possibly including a new short clip on my YouTube channel. 6) Continue to build my new performance repertoire for an hour. 7) Get a little exercise in between those guitar/recording/practice sessions. 8) Come together with Ann to have some lunch, 9) do more work on the garden expansion project, and 10) any other work around the place that makes sense in the remaining time, if any, 11) relax and have some dinner and watch/listen to something(s) for a couple hours, 12) tie up any editing of audio from the day… and finally, if any more time and energy after that 13) any website updating, tax preparations, site managing, financial admin, and blah, blah, blah… Life is full, yeah? Makes me tired just listing it all out like this. The good news is that I enjoy all of these  currently daily activities so it’s just a matter of taking one step at a time to get it all done. It’s all good. Yup.

BTW: In case it is ever confusing to use my blog and other web pages, I actually have two websites under the kitgaroutte umbrella. There is some linkage between the two. This blog actually resides at kitgaroutte.net, while most of my music and art pages are on kitgaroutte.com.

Ok, thanks for listening… and off I go…

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Garden prep ongoing

We made progress on our new project to add a garden enclosure that will be safe from the deer today. A couple hours worth of work covered most of the remaining hard work. Detail work over the next day or two, then we put in the dirt and plant our veggies. Getting excited!

Also received a test bass track for my song “The Rogue” from my old friend, master baseman Dave Captein. Not a final but my it sounds great! Very excited about that too!

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