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!

Posted in Fingerstyle Guitar, Music, Pandemic Life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unemployment?

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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New videos, new audio, and Stay At Home stuff…

Hey y’all, I know it’s been awhile since my last entry here. I always have so many things I’m working on that I don’t often manage to share what’s up with you. I’ll probably do a bit better now that I have more time on my hands. We’ll see.

I had intended to finish up on my “Burn at the Barn” story, and may yet do so, but not right now. D’oh!

The main thing today is, new videos to share, and notice of new recordings I’m doing, alone and with others remotely. The new videos:

1) “Just practice – workin’ on ‘Teen Town’” – Here’s a little snippet “edu-trailer” I played this morning (4/4/20 – Covid-19-self-isolation-stay-home day #24) of my arrangement of Paul Simon’s “Mrs. Robinson” I’m working on. Giving it a little different spin what with the hop-swing-funk feel and all. So fun to play, though surprisingly challenging to get all as clean as I’d like. For any fans of the 17 year-old Buzzy Feiten’s guitar part from the Rascals’ “Jungle Walk” from their “Island of Real” album, it’s in there towards the end.

2) “Mrs. Robinson – edu-trailer” – Here’s a little snippet “edu-trailer” I played this morning (4/4/20 – Covid-19-self-isolation-stay-home day #24) of my arrangement of Paul Simon’s “Mrs. Robinson” I’m working on. Giving it a little different spin what with the hop-swing-funk feel and all. So fun to play, though surprisingly challenging to get all as clean as I’d like. For any fans of the 17 year-old Buzzy Feiten’s guitar part from the Rascals’ “Jungle Walk” from their “Island of Real” album, it’s in there towards the end.

3) “Kit Guitar Practice Caged Cform 3-Arpeggio-up/3rds-down” – This video is a tid-bit from my practice, focused on 1) a warm-up exercise devised by Larry Coryell that I always start with briefly to get my fingers moving, then 2) a couple of ways I might go through the C form of the CAGED system, then 3) a combination of those two ways to go through the pattern exercise in all keys, though in this clip I only do a few to avoid boring you with an extra 20 minutes or so of repetitions of the same this in the remaining keys. If you want me to create the full exercises in the future, to play along with, or for whatever reason, let me know. If I get enough interest I’ll do some of that. I will be doing more of these with various exercises, concepts, guitar focused stuff, general music thinking, theory, whatever…

4) “Applying a Pattern Concept – Skip-a-note” – This video talks a bit about applying a particular concept, or “musical algorithm,” or a “rule,” or whatever you wanna call it, to patterns. The concept is to “Skip-a-note” from each successive note of a pattern. To do it, pick a particular pattern you want to work with, then apply a number system to the notes of the pattern, with the first note being 1, the second note 2, the third note 3, etc. This is done before applying the “Skip…” rule, or whatever rule you may use in the future. THEN, apply the rule from each successive note, from 1, from 2, from 3, etc. So, when you lay out the pattern note numbers with the concept applied, the numbering becomes 1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, etc., clarifying the sequence you’ll be playing with the rule applied. The beauty of it is that you can apply a concept to any pattern, and the more you do it with a variety of patterns the more adept you become at doing it. I could go on about the benefits of this sort of practice, but suffice to say just practice with focus, patience, consistency of technique, tempo, volume, attack and all as your first approach, then you can vary a thing or two at a time to focus on (volume, accents, whatever) as you continue to practice it over time.

The collection I’m recording for CD and digital delivery is a bunch of my original jazz-ish compositions old and new that have never been properly arranged and recorded just as I would like. Now is a good time to do it. I’ll be doing the guitar tracks and possibly some bass tracks, and there may even be a bit of midi stuff to fill things out (don’t know about that part yet), and I’m enlisting some great musicians I’ve worked with over the years to add bass, drums, percussions, keys and such here and there, possibly lots, to many if not all of the tunes. We’ll see how they evolve. Very excited about this!

Gotta go now. We’re gonna be working on expanding our gardening this year and we’re building a new enclosure for that today.

Everybody be smart, be safe, be considerate, be creative, and be well!!!

P.S. If you want to keep up with videos I’ll be posting more regularly now please subscribe to my YouTube Channel. I plan to be more consistent in keeping up this blog, and if I do that, and if you prefer finding out what’s up with me here, then, well, there you go…

Posted in Guitar Concepts, Guitar Instruction, Music, Recording, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Burn at the Barn

Getting Ready and Getting There

Perched high atop a high desert hill a couple of miles west of Mosier, Oregon, sits a magical barn, of sorts. In fact, it’s not really a barn at all. It’s a music studio and supposed storage space for an assortment of vintage and modern musical instruments and related supporting amplification and recording gear in the care of one particularly interesting musician/writer of recent acquaintance. Recently I was excited and honored to be one of the singer/songwriters invited to take part in the first Northwest Songwriter’s Circle held there at Burnt Barn Recording near Mosier, Oregon, a show put on for Don Campbell’s Burn At The Barn series.

It happened on a beautiful morning, that windy Sunday morning, atop that amazing vantage point of a hill, on a windy day in the Columbia River Gorge. Ann and myself and Squeekie the dog and Solo the cat were up and about our morning routine as per usual around 7 am. We had nothing special planned together for that morning, but, as is my preferred habit before a show, especially when it promises to be one of those special days when a gig is pending that will bring a crowd of appreciative listeners to a concert venue, rather than the common case of a bar or winery or other noisy hub of humanity where folks are there to hang out and do a bit of partying with music as ambience, I like to do my best to prepare with a relaxed series of mind-cleansing, self- centering meditational visualization and semi-pampering in an effort to maximize each one of these relatively rare treats of creative performance that fulfill a couple of my most heart-felt desires… or something like that.

As it went along our morning’s events evolved organically, starting with the usual Ann and dog and cat parade to take the dog out to do her “outside” thing, followed by tea and coffee and reading and cleaning the cat box and watering our mini-garden and porch surrounds and all before a nice breakfast, in my case begun with a bowl of cereal with flaxseed, home-grown strawberries and almond milk, then in both of our cases finished with a chicken maple sausage scramble. Mmmmm… a great way to get the day’s mood off and running in a positive direction.

After breakfast I cleaned up my Bob Dill guitar, my favorite instrument ever, and put a fresh set of Elixir HD strings on her. I knew Bob and Alexa were coming to the show, and I thought I’d try to put a smile on their faces by shining up Bob’s masterful creation. I trimmed the extra length of the new strings away and pulled on the new strings a bit to settle them in, then I tuned her up and put her through a few paces on the songs I planned to play. It felt great, and I was ready to go.

We headed out early enough to get a bite on the way at a favorite lunch spot of ours called River Daze in Hood River. We like to get one of their great sandwiches and eat only half and box the rest for convenient consumption later. The food there is really good, and due to their popularity, they can be a bit slow, which is often the case with places that consistently make good food, but we timed it just right, luckily, and we had our meal and ate it too within a reasonable time frame, so we were actually a touch ahead of schedule. So we stopped by the little bookstore next door and picked up a few dollar books by John Dunning, Isaac Asimov and Veronica Roth. Good finds. Then it was time to head to the Barn.

We had never been to the place and we were excited to explore the promise of the event and the studio,. We headed to Mosier with open minds and hearts. We took the exit and curled around on the road east out of town that started climbing up a gravel road, and drove up, and up, and up some more, revealing more and more of the landscape surrounding, with high desert hills to the south and the Columbia River to the north. As we neared the place the surrounding earth fell away to the south and as we pulled into the lot to park near the house it was a but a scant 10 yards or so to the northern edge that fell away to a spectacular view of the Columbia and Bingen and White Salmon across the river.

I don’t know how often the wind blows that strong up there, but it was cooking when we arrived. We had no sooner parked than our friend Chic, another of the featured singer/songwriters, pulled up to park right next to us, dust blowing heartily as we exchanged warm greetings. As we pulled out our guitars and gear from our cars and headed down to the Barn studio just below the south side of the place we had to hang on tight as the wind buffeted and banged guitars into us and threatened to tear them out of our hands. With heroic strength we managed to hold on to all and make our way to the studio.

Next time: The Concert

Posted in Concert, Fingerstyle Guitar, Music, Recording, Singer/Songwriter, Songwriters Circle, Songwriting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I’m back… sorta.

Hello all. Long time… I have backed off of the online stuff for awhile, so there hasn’t been anything new here for some time. So, tell us something we DON’T know, right? Yeah.

Ok. Here’s the new deal. I have struggled with the idea of having a site on kitgaroutte.NET as well as my original site on kitgaroutte.COM, but since I want to keep the rights to both domain names, and I hate to waste one, I DO have a site on each, with some crossover. And, guess what? I actually have a third I still haven’t used, at kitgaroutte.org. Yikes… Don’t know if anything will ever come of that one.

So… I had thought perhaps I would just boil it all down to my .com site, but obviously I haven’t done that. I have a couple of different pursuits, passions really, that I work at daily, music and art.

I suppose I either A) use one site for each, or else B) I’ll have some mixing and crossing over. Either way I suppose it could be confusing for users. A probably makes more sense, but my Blog is really the one thing that may have to be a crossover thing. My provider for my .com site doesn’t make blogging easy, but WordPress does, and that’s what I use for my .net site. So… (again with the “so…”?) maybe the best thing is just to start doing stuff and see where it leads.

Got that worked out. Stay tuned.

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CAPTURED

I’m excited and (dare I say?) proud to announce the release of my latest CD, “Captured.” You can hear a few samples here. It’s a collection of original songs by myself and a few of my songwriting friends, Moe Dixon, Scott Casey and Tim Schneider. At my Ann’s urging I recorded them as a solo singer/songwriter so buying one at one of my shows would mean bringing home virtually the same sound that was heard at the performance.

It is a completely self produced effort, except the inspiration, conception and the photo on the back of the jacket were from Ann Fleming of Fleming Art, my guitar was built by Bob Dill of Bob Dill Guitars, and the mastering was done by Damon Whittemore of Valvetone Recording.

I will be scheduling a CD Release Party (or two) sometime soon, so stay tuned for that.

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La Grande Visit and Gorge Shows

Hey y’all, I’m coming to you from the beautiful Grande Ronde Valley wherein sits the town of my birth and youth, La Grande, Oregon. This weekend is a family visit to my parents’ place, where my folks have lived for a good long while, and to attend a couple of significant family events. My little bro’ Joe came too for this Saturday and Sunday adventure. It is a 3+ hour drive and we had beautiful clear, calm weather for it. Along the way we were thrilled to see a whole bunch of bighorn sheep feeding just up the hill from the freeway between Biggs and Arlington. We must have seen at least 60 all told!

Last night, after we got to town and had dinner with Dad and Mon,  Joe and I and my Mom went to Lyle Schwartz Theatre at Eastern Oregon University here in La Grande, where Joe’s daughter, my niece Megan, had one of the lead roles in the play “Independence,” a theatre department senior project. Afterwards we joined the cast and friends for the after party (last night was the final performance). They did a great job, throwing themselves into their roles with enthusiasm and aplomb and we had a great time visiting with them after.

This morning we will be going to support my Mom, who has provided music at her church for 40 years. The service will be honoring her so we will enjoy being a part of it and seeing her receive the plaudits she so richly deserves.

After that I am taking my family to lunch to celebrate multiple birthdays that have occurred over the last couple of months that I haven’t been here to enjoy with them. That will be a hoot.

Somewhere along the way, before we head back to our homes in the Gorge, I will arrange to meet, at least briefly, with my friend and amazing musician Matt Cooper to pass along some copies of the CD he and I are putting out soon to confirm if the song order is good before putting the package together officially.

It’s always nice to get back to where I grew up here and reconnecting with family and all, and this trip is proving to be no exception.

Later this week, I have some shows.

Usually I play Tarwater Tavern in White Salmon every Tuesday, 5:30-7:30, but this week that’s not going to work out. I will be back at that on the 20th.

Several days ago I began a more rigorous practice schedule to prepare for Saturday the 17th, when I will be playing to 3 hour solo gigs back to back, first at Jacob Williams Winery in Wishram, WA from 1 to 4 pm, then Rivertap Pub and Restaurant in The Dalles from 6 to 9. That’s going to be very demanding physically, so I am trying hard to get in 2 to 3 hours a day of good, solid, physical practice so that my fingers are not destroyed in the process of playing the 6 hours on Saturday. So far I’m doing pretty well and anticipate being in good enough shape to play my best and enjoy doing it.

As a final note, I am really enjoying creating some abstract art these days! Right now you can see some of my creations on my Instagram site, and soon I will have my storefront going here on my own website.

Well, that’s all for now. Since I discontinued my Facebook presence I guess this blog will be as good a way as any to stay in touch, so come back often, and soon, and comment, and stay in touch my friends!

Kit

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Status Update

Since I have had inquiries regarding some health issues I’ve been discovering it seems appropriate to bring those of you who are interested up to date:
I have aortic stenosis, and of late a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease has been added to the mix. D’oh!
Originally my stenosis was characterized as “moderate to serious” based on symptoms and preliminary tests. After more rigorous examination and testing it has ben updated to “moderate.” However,  in the process of investigating why my symptoms seem a little more significant than would seem appropriate for that diagnosis, a stress test was performed on me a couple of days ago and apparently they found that I have cardiovascular disease.
These problems are genetic. Unbeknownst to anyone, I was born with a birth defect. My aortic valve has “two” instead of the usual three “leafs” that regulate blood flow. Two of mine are sort of fused together and operating sluggishly, and apparently have been my whole life. Most of the work is being done (and apparently done surprisingly well) by the one normal leaf. (“new leaf” pun anyone? ;-} ) Cardiovascular disease also runs in my family.
So, I will be undergoing a program of medication (beta blocker) and a 10-week monitored exercise program to suppress my adrenal reactions and strengthen my body so as to improve the effectiveness of my heart. If the program of medication and exercise goes well I should be able to stay on that for awhile, but if it’s not sufficient then a stint will have to be considered, and eventually (hopefully not for a good while…) surgery to replace the valve.
So, there it is. Such is life, eh? No worries. I still feel incredibly lucky to have the life that I have with my soul mate and wonderful friends and family! No complaints here. We’ll just take it a step at a time and all will be well.
Peace and long life my friends!
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