STILL MY GUITAR

Right now we're enjoying that magical feeling of being on a train. This is a high speed roller, not a clickity-clacker, heading towards Vienna after leaving Prague. There are mustard fields and wooded hillsides, a lot of trees in blossom and quiet looking villages.

The food has been great, and the beer even greater.  But I’ve also been fasting. Not a food fast. I’m on a guitar fast, and it really makes me uneasy. I’m starving for some string cheese. 

 Usually when I go somewhere, I always take an instrument. If I don’t feel like lugging a guitar, I at least schlepp a little uke. But on this trip we were committed to traveling light. I mean really light. I’ll be gone 4 weeks with a carry on bag and a computer bag.  And it’s been great so far, except for the guitar cravings.

 Little Vanna posing with the teeny-tiny Samsonite. 

Little Vanna posing with the teeny-tiny Samsonite. 

 While traveling with an instrument, the truth is I hardly ever play it.  So much time and energy goes into being out and about that I rarely feel the urge to work on a song or play for hours. But I underestimated the value of checking in with the strings and making a joyous noise, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It’s like making a phone call back home. It’s kind of grounding that way.

This song I’m posting for download is called Still My Guitar. I wrote it for my beloved Alvarez Yairi, which sits patiently waiting for me back home in the Bay Area. I kept it at the Singapore love nest for a while, but I began to worry about the effects of heat and humidity, so I took her home last Christmas for safe keeping. I have a utilitarian beater waiting for me when I get back to Singapore in another couple of weeks, and I will be thrilled to see her. But she’s not my main squeeze.

Sabrina surprised me with the Alvarez after watching me drool over it at Bananas At Large in San Rafael (back when it was still on the corner of 4th and Lincoln.) That was about 35 years ago. They’ve both been with me ever since. I know a good thing…

 For several years after that Sabrina worked for Acoustic Guitar Magazine in our hometown of San Anselmo. At that time I got to play a lot of amazing, one-of-a-kind handmade acoustics. But I never did play anything that drove me to replace her. We are just plain happy together.

So the song speaks to that loyalty and longevity. When I wrote the song I tried to give it an element of surprise;  to make the first verse sound like I was talking about a woman. But the title is one big spoiler alert. (So is blogging. )

This is another one recorded with Tom Prasada Rao at the Tofu Bar in Richardson, Texas. Instead of a bass, we used a twelve string. (Which, if I recall, was a trick learned from Drum Master Jagoda.) I love that sound. The Wilbury-esque slide guitar was added later by my dear friend Paul Robinson.

May everyone be so lucky as to find a guitar they can love deeply and never let go of.  Some players find several.  Who am I to judge?

 From the Museum of Musical Instruments in Vienna. 

From the Museum of Musical Instruments in Vienna.