Posted tagged ‘guitar’

Wait, which left? Ohh, Leftwich!

February 5, 2011

Like bluegrass music?  How about fiddles that sing, dance, and tap your foot for you?  I happen to like bluegrass, especially bluegrass gospel, and in my exploration of the genre came across a guy named Ricky Skaggs, who’s an awesome musician (that’s got to be the understatement of the month) and a Christian to boot.  I saw him playing with the Boston Pops some time back, and I fell in love with the style of Kentucky Thunder (his band).  Most of all, I found a weakness for a well-played fiddle.  And who do you think was playing that fiddle?  A young man named Andy Leftwich.

I have other musical likes as well, but recently I’ve been listening to my bluegrass CDs again, and I remembered how much I enjoy hearing fiddle music.  Since there is no chance I’m learning to play fiddle myself, I’m thinking I’ll have to get myself a copy of Andy’s solo album, Ride.

Andy doesn’t just play fiddle, as you can see in the photo.  He also plays the mandolin and the guitar — quite the talented musician!  I encourage you to check out these YouTube videos of Andy, Cody Kilby, and Byron House: Shark Tooth and Shining Water.

I sometimes admit to fiddling around, but Andy does a whole different kind of fiddling around, and he’s a lot better at it!

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My Father’s Daughter

June 16, 2010

Many people will tell you their father is awesome.  I’m one of them.  My dad is not perfect, but he keeps trying, and he knows how to help me keep trying too.  I’m my father’s daughter in a lot of ways.  I’ve been told since I was small that I look like my dad; I have his (near-sighted) blue eyes, his curly hair, and his light build.  I’m like him in several personality points as well, but my favorite similarity is our musical talent.

I remember the first time I did special music with my father.  Dad did special music on a fairly regular basis at church (the same one where I was baptized), and one day when I was eight or nine, he asked me if I would like to sing with him.  Of course I wanted to.  I loved to watch him do specials, and I had dreamed of doing one too.

We decided to do “Amazing Grace.”  A very original song choice, I know, but it was my favorite song at the time, and one that I already had almost memorized.  We rehearsed for several weeks.  I remember being nervous in practice because I had difficulty picking out my cue to begin.  You see, Dad had me sing the first verse solo while he accompanied on his guitar.  Then he sang a second verse solo, and we both sang the last verse. 

But I couldn’t seem to figure out where to come in. 

I would start the first verse too early, or I would be late.  Finally, Dad began giving me a visible signal, dipping his guitar toward me just a little so that I would know when to start singing.

The day we did our special, I was pretty excited.  I don’t think I remembered much of the rest of the service that day.  I was too focused on being ready when it was our turn.  We had checked out the microphones before Sunday School, so that was all set, we just had to walk up, and Dad had to get his guitar ready, and then we could sing.  That was plenty of time for me to get nervous, however.

We weren’t going to a huge church, but it was big enough to be intimidating to me.  I looked at the congregation and was glad I wasn’t up there alone.  As it was, I suddenly developed nerves.  But Dad started his introduction, and I turned my head enough that I could see his signal when it came.  I certainly didn’t want to miss that in front of all those people!

I got through the song just fine, and I became more comfortable as we went on.  Once it was over, though, I think I felt like running back to my seat.  Several people said nice things to me afterward, but I was so shy and nervous that I could make little response.  I did want to know that people liked it, but I wasn’t sure how to respond.  After all, this was new territory for me.

I’ve done quite a few specials with my father since that first one.  Our specialties are hymns and some old choruses.  These days I usually have my guitar too.  Yes, I learned to play from my father, using his old guitar.  We’ll have a double duet, my father and myself, and Betsy and Marie.  I used to wonder why my sister got her tendency to name everything; I don’t wonder after I learned that my Dad named his guitars. 

My singing sounds much better now (especially since I’ve been taking singing lessons), and Dad sometimes will sing harmony beneath my melody.  I have to smile sometimes because I may carry the melody in the vocals, but Dad definitely has the cool guitar part.  I just keep the rhythm going.  Still, I know I’m contributing in both ways, and it sounds pretty good to me, even though I don’t hear it in the correct balance because I’m one of the performers.  For our latest special, I even sang solo with Dad accompanying on his guitar.  Singing solo has been a major hurdle for me, and I’m glad to have finally made it over.

I’m my father’s daughter in another way; I seem to have inherited his songwriting gene.  Dad has written a dozen or more songs, some of which I like to play with him and others which he sings alone.  I sometimes feel like I have a song simmering inside me, but as yet, only a few have come forth.  For every good song I’ve started at least three that I couldn’t get right.  I doubt that my songs will ever end up on the top 40 list, but they are one more way that I express my joy.

Some of my favorite times have been playing guitar with my father, learning new songs and coming up with different arrangements of old ones.  Thanks, Dad, for giving me a new outlet for the music in my heart.


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