October 21, 2006
Originally published March 31, 2002
The electricity blipped during the storm, so I had to tour the house and reset every digital clock I own. I set them all a few minutes apart, just to put some variety in my life. A time warp occurs if I walk from my bedroom to the kitchen. Weird.
I dug through my CDs and found some old stuff I had not listened to in a long time. Remember Highway 101? Paulette Carlson broke up that band to start a solo career and neither she nor the band has been heard from since. Too bad, because the band made good music and Paulette sang like a bird. "Sleeping in the Bed You Made For Me" is a classic. Then, I ran across Mary Chapin Carpenter and listened to "This Shirt" three times in a row with the volume turned up loud. I popped Dire Straits in next and played "Sultans of Swing" over and over again. I believe that might be the greatest rock and roll song of all time, with extremely tasty guitar licks by Mark Knopfler. I also have "Neck and Neck," where Mark plays with Chet Atkins, and that's downright obscene. I've played guitar for more than 30 years and I HATE IT when people blow my doors off and make it look so easy. A lot of good guitar players cruise around out there, but I can always distinguish Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Leo Kottke anytime I hear them, no matter what the music. They are stylists and their sounds are unique. Hell, I'M A STYLIST, TOO; I just don't play as well as those guys do.
If I decide to ditch my career in the chemical industry, I believe I could make a living as a minstrel again in Key West. The going wage is $50 an hour and a typical set is four hours. The pickers start at noon and somebody's on stage until 4:00 AM. I thought I was better than at least half of the people I saw playing there. Hell, I'm better than 90% of them. I'm pretty wonderful when you get right down to it. If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect.
I put new strings on my Martin today and she sounds good, a lot better than that damned alarm clock is going to sound in the morning. If I threw some stuff in the truck and left right now, I could be there around sunrise. It's a tempting thought.
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