Since my youth I can recall how vivid dreams are. So dramatic, real, and of great mystery.
When a musical instrument comes to me in a dream, oh my are they fascinating! Like low hanging fruit just waiting to be literally plucked or listened to. I have learned to keep a dream journal handy at my bedside wherever I may be. To write down my dreams–and not just the musical ones.
So came to be the instrument I call the Dream Machine.
After sketching it in the journal (as seen below) it sat untouched. A number of years later I’m at my church’s rummage sale looking at all the items on so many tables and see a letter holder.
“Ah hah! That’s that thing from the dream!”
“But it looks kinda different….”
“Yeah, but that’s still it. Dude, it’s like a dollar-buy it!!”
I took it home and looked at it. Now what??
Here began a litany of issues to solve: how many strings? How long is the string length? What gauge strings? How do I tune this thing? What kind of bridge exactly do I make? How are the strings mounted to the body? Just precisely where do the bridges get placed? On and on…
This whole process gave me a much deeper appreciation for any instrument maker.
I found the matter of string length is the math of things extremely touchy. Little to no tolerance allowed.
Now the next and very important question; “How do I play this thing???“
It sat for a year or better. People coming to my place would certainly notice this curiosity sitting against a wall. Conversations would ensue.
I felt slightly ashamed I hadn’t completed any compositions for it. I still have techniques and ideas that aren’t yet realized, as I need to further some design issues. But through the notice of others I sat down and said “Well at least write something simple-just get it going man!”
And so “War Cry” was born.
It is a piece of music sitting somewhere between African American spiritual, Oriental tone and Native American spirit. This joining of cultural influences makes me very happy. Taking the dream machine to concerts is a great conversation piece!
The “skateboard with strings” is ready to roll.
Things turned out amazingly well considering I only planned this two week solo tour 6 weeks in advance, as previous plans had to change. I played in Dallas TX, Edmund OK, Joplin MO and my hometown of Waukesha WI.
It was wonderful driving these routes again after many years away. In 2002-2007 I traveled to these places dozens of times with Spoken Groove, so I reunited with many old friends and places.Photo: Joplin Missouri.
I’ll call this the “Faith Tree”. This was in the path of the tornado, which cut the town in half. If a tree was left standing they often were stripped bare. 3 years later, now, thankfully some people had a great idea and brought back life from destruction.
Helpers at the shows took on the form of a 10 year old girl, my nephew, wait staff, and other performers, etc. This kind of help was a specific prayer request and it was beautiful to see who chose to get involved. Also implemented was the grace on my part to ASK for help.
The van performed without a hitch. Driving tours by myself takes more consideration to do things wisely and safely. Such as staying healthy and in good form, not falling asleep at the wheel. I don’t need to conquer the entire world today. I am learning this new rhythm better now after recent years of solo tours. To admit my limits has taken so many years…Photo: Special people in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
The Kinart family. My old bosses and life long friends. It means the world to me to have people you once worked a job with some 20 years ago, and they return with the warmth of extended family. August 9, 2014 at Sprizzo Cafe.
The first week was a challenge as most of the traveling and playing was in this period. Many magic moments kept popping up the entire tour. I think of the uncanny timing in many forms, provision of rest and rest areas, playing for hurting souls including my own, seeing my old bosses who had such love in their hearts, watching a community heal in spontaneous song, and encouraging and being encouraged by old and new relationships alike.
Who is giving to whom? Oh how this line is beautifully blurred when God is in the middle of it!
O.K. have you ever felt done for? This little angel sure did it to me. This is my grand niece “Zami”. My great uncles were musicians, too, so history shall repeat itself once again.
Time at home in Wisconsin (where I was born and raised) was beautiful and bittersweet. My father has Parkinson’s and it’s progressed a lot this year. He is happy and in good spirits. It is beautiful to see my parents married for 61 years and they are still in love and worry for each other and their children same as they always have. They need prayer in their sunset years.
The Wisconsin landscape absolutely wooed to me like the fairest of maidens. A work of art in each breeze. Oh how I wish I could get YOU to see!!! Green flowing and waving from the trees like the sweetest song of God. He sings the finest Aria every time I watch the trees. How can such talent and genius exist?
I understand this when I play.
And so we live,
Heaven on earth in the Kettle Moraine near Genesee Depot WI.
This gem is just down the road from Les Paul’s boyhood home in Waukesha Wisconsin. Park is located off of St. Paul Ave.
As if a giant snake had eaten the earth for miles across the land….Joplin Missouri got back up and continues to rebuild and heal 3 years later.
(Correction: the Dallas area show was on Saturday night.)
Paul’s Southwest Tour of 2014, reviewed in videos.
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