We hear about local, national and international artists releasing new songs, EPs and soundtracks all the time.  Such fanfare and pageantry!  Producers, Engineers, Writers, Marketing Gurus and Designers are paraded through a gauntlet of praise.

Not so for me.  I write all the lyrics and music for my songs unless otherwise noted in the post.  Some lyrics take years to form after learning from time and experiences.  The odd one just jumps out at me and is written in one sitting.  There are verses or bridges waiting for a home.  Smashing them together will work in a pinch, but I have found that everything has its place and it is better to wait for the right project than to force a marriage. 

My early recordings find me singing and playing bongos or other cheap percussion toys that survived my pre-teen years.  I finally worked enough chores to buy an acoustic guitar that was a step or two above the ukulele and nylon guitars I would get for Christmas presents from my parents.  (As stated before – I blame my mom for all of this LOL)

Writing this I think that might have been my motivation for getting and keeping jobs at an early age….. It was so I could buy instruments, recorders, microphones, gadgets; toys no one would buy for a kid.  Hmmm.   

On this blog I post a lot of songs where I play all the instruments on the recording.  I use as many acoustic instruments as I can and these days the computer is also the recorder, FX, sound source and MIDI controller.  So I use a lot of strings, pianos, drum and mood sounds that are ‘sampled’ from the real instruments and stored on the computer so we can use MIDI controllers to generate the sound of each.  So, while I do not play violin or trumpet, I can do my best to recreate their behavior using various MIDI parameters.  I also have friends come over and record guitar or vocal parts.  My wife and I also sing vocals on the majority of my songs.              

After that I am the engineer, producer, promoter – ha!, and all the other knit-picking things one has to do to keep all this going year after year.  That, and have a regular day job and family.

Many recordings are not the greatest and are not as polished as I would like to see them some day.  I think a few are great.  I share them with you not as gleaming product ready for the digital consumer’s shelf.   I get a song to the point others can listen to get the outline and vibe.  Maybe the listener is a producer or band member that could see their group performing unique songs.  

With that in mind, thank you as always for your visits, and please enjoy songs I have written for the last fifty years.  I am excited to see what I will do in the next fifty!

Waiting for the band

JJAR in the Studio

Noodling at Night
Mix Session
Studio and Gig Set Up
Room to Play!
Careful with that Axe, Eugene!
Drums and Triggers
Full Studio
Racks at Night
Location Recording Rack

Image  —  Posted: January 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

I have been playing around with some themes, grooves, melodies lately. I have written a number of instrumentals over the years that are destined to have no lyrics. Sometimes the pieces are simple riffs and other times they can be full blown productions. I have a few I would like to share with you in the near future. Here is one I am still working on but I like where it is going.

This one I call “Another Dimension”

“Another Dimension”

Image  —  Posted: January 15, 2019 in MUSIC
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Last week I returned home from a short visit with my daughter and her family.

Last month I turned 65 and quit my labor intensive warehouse job.

Last year I enrolled in Medicare.

I am a procrastinator.  I rationalize my symptoms.  I laugh at me looking for a way to postpone trivial things all the time.

A lot of conditions are starting to be classified and quantified and turned into another annoying sound bite.  Dyslexia, obsessive compulsion and attention deficit disorders, anxiety, being introverted and living with depression are just part of the long list. When I was growing up and entering grade school no one talked about these things.  Few could diagnose and some treatments were still in the future.  At least I now know what some of the things I have been dealing with all my life are called, lol. 

Evidently there wasn’t anything extreme or I would be dead or in a prison somewhere or in an alcoholic state of bliss.  (IYou – Them)  Just enough to make IYT ‘odd’.  Just enough so IYT know we are different.  IYT literally see things differently than the other school mates and friends.  IYT understand things from a different point of view.  Where others find life fun, IYT see nothing but challenges and embarrassments.

It is funny growing older and learning of medical conditions over the years on the news and go, “OH!  That’s what I have!”  Of course, I procrastinate.

But back to rationalizations.

You have heard of Spring Cleaning.  Every season you get everything out and dust it off.  Some you decide to keep and some memorabilia is lucky to find another home.  Even if it is only for the hope of being uncovered again in the future.  Now think of that process in decades.  Other than family and friends, what have you accumulated over all the years that is truly worth anything?

I have an old photo in a frame of my late sister and her husband.  It needs a new home.  For days it has been sitting on my desk.  I see it every day.  I procrastinate.  I feel moods change whenever I look at the photo.  I wait.  I need to find the right place for it.

I am sure it will be obvious                                 in the future. 

Image  —  Posted: January 10, 2019 in family
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Here are a few pictures I took recently in the Red River Gorge, KY area.  We stayed in a cabin for my birthday and the first morning watched the sunrise over the hills and into the valley.  The fog was the best constantly changing eye candy!

Image  —  Posted: December 18, 2018 in Photography, Uncategorized
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          I see you are disappointed by the answers

          But it’s really the questions that you ask.

          Critical of the way things look

          Yet you will never remove your mask.

          So what if you keep painting masterpieces

          Clearly no one else will ever see?

          Surrounding yourself with splendor

          Makes you lazy and rarely sets you free.

                   So let me leave you with this;

                   It is but a simple gift.

                   Friendship is the only thing

                   That can reach across the rift.

                   Soon you may face the edge;

                   One you cannot cross or could not see.

                   Only friends will tell you when to jump

                   Or when to just let it be.

         

          From nowhere you are puzzled by a memory

          So clear you question who you are.

          You have heard it a million times before:

          You are the center of a fallen star.

                   Soon you may face the edge;

                   One you cannot cross or could not see.

                   Only friends will tell you when to jump

                  Or when to just let it be.

                   So let me leave you with this;

                   It is but a simple gift.

                   Friendship is the only thing

                   That can reach across the rift.

Image  —  Posted: December 11, 2018 in Poetry
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                                                                                            ©   MSK 11/27/2018

It is difficult to live in a world

Where those in power commit as many crimes in the name of faith as the poor in the name of survival.  The powerful might be among the poor in church but they don’t cross paths in the prisons or become enslaved in debt. 

It is difficult to live in a world

Built on privilege and inherited blessings that can last through the ages. Maybe at some point your ancestors did something right and earned – or stole – the fortunes you rely on.  It is frightening to think how that power can be wielded with malice.  If absolute power corrupts absolutely, imagine the impact of guaranteed absolute power your entire life.

It is difficult to live in a world

That allows greed and profit to drive one amazing creature after the other to extinction.  Not so far away now there is a real possibility we will create mankind’s own doom.  Weapons are easily financed.  The world quickly filled with needy and desperate people living in cities of ash and poisoned air, but we will be the rulers of it all.

It is difficult to live in a world

You can only survive by closing your eyes and pretending ignorance is bliss.  Knowledge is spreading and more accessible but even at this rate there is no way to keep up with propaganda, lies and distortions manufactured so easily today.  Trust no one.  Believe no one.  Agree with no one.  The powerful have won again, and will be rulers of it all.

Image  —  Posted: November 27, 2018 in Opinions and Observations
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                                                                         © MSK 11-15-18

Let’s say it like it really is.

We use so many words that hide what they are.

Wherever there is an imbalance

And desires are raised beyond reason.

 

We make everything sound fine.

Truth is where we look it’s not very pretty.

What appears to be the best things in life

Turns against us when we need it the most.

 

Guns, lies, love, faith, kindness and truth.

They are all weapons in the wrong hands.

              Call them what you will but don’t turn your back:

They are all weapons in the wrong hands.

 

Guns have no power to do harm.

Before adoration or anger picks one up.

The empty lies should have no meaning

Until they come from someone we trust.

 

There’s nothing we won’t do for love.

No end to the crimes committed in blinding faith.

Murder is no more than taking a life

Unless it hides behind kindness and truth.

 

Guns, lies, love, faith, kindness and truth.

They are all weapons in the wrong hands.

              Call them what you will but don’t turn your back:

They are all weapons in the wrong hands.

 

 

Image  —  Posted: November 19, 2018 in Poetry, Uncategorized
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(C) MSK 11-8-2018

Intelligence is not the answer,

Though wisdom certainly is.

I might be waiting for the cows to come home

But I don’t have time for this.

 

It doesn’t take a genius to know,

Facts are the same for everyone.

That doesn’t mean it’s all black and white

Or can be changed with a gun.

 

It’s often a matter of perspective.

And that makes it hard to understand.

Why someone turns grey into black or white

Without experiences of the other man.

 

If you have been supported by faith

Then religion can be your guiding hand.

Survive Jihads, Inquisitions and pedophile priests

You might begin to feel nothing but hate.

 

The police are always there to serve,

And get you home safe at night.

In my neighborhood it ain’t like that at all

So it’s safer to take your chances and run.

 

Intelligence is not the answer,

Though wisdom certainly is.

I might be waiting for the cows to come home

But I don’t have time for this.

 

All the experts seem so smart,

Until you hear from the others.

Sooner or later we have to realize

It’s time to stop killing our brothers.

 

Smart people become rich people,

Their answers bring cash and fame.

The poorest will always be poor; just look at them.

There’s no one else to blame.

Image  —  Posted: November 12, 2018 in Poetry
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MSK 10-29-2018

Happy as a clam but on the verge of tears.

Thought I would be there but wasted the years.

It’s not just a matter of confronting your fears

It’s looking like a fool in front of your peers.

 

Quiet as a mouse is not sneaking around.

Are you still there if you don’t make a sound?

No breathing.  No movement, ffrrooo__zen: never found.

God Damn Innocence can’t be sold by the pound.

 

So where are we now?

Still in control?

Is there really enough money

To buy your soul?

 

So where are we now?

Still in control somehow?

It seems a little bit funny

That no one knows how.

 

Hungry as a bear brought to the verge of tears

Reflections in ice from thousands of years.

Helpless    Hopeless     Drowning in fears

Watch as the suffering spreads to your peers.

 

So where are they now?

Still in control?

Is there really enough money

To buy their soul?

 

Sometimes circles don’t go ‘round and ‘round.

Often; It’s the colors that make a sound.

Who suffers?     Paid Players,   Cho__zen:      lost not found.

Everything in life can be bought by the pound.

Everything alive can be bought by the pound.

Image  —  Posted: November 5, 2018 in Poetry
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Some of my recent pictures from Spring Grove Cemetery:  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image  —  Posted: October 31, 2018 in Holiday
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