Tip the Scales 



Somewhere toward the end of 2017, when the weather was damp and a little on the ‘bleak’ side (it’s the Pacific Northwest, after all) a few musicians and music lovers on our island got, abruptly, tired of bitching. I’ll spare the details. In short, we were tired of conversations that seemed to go nowhere, on the topic of the value of a life in the Arts. 


I have yet to meet anyone who disagrees in principle that artists should be paid a fair fee for their work, but in practice, it not…

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Minor alert: I rarely swear in writing, much as I love to when I speak, but in this particular post I did, just a little. I couldn’t help myself. Just so you know.


It’s not dark humor, it’s really not, just a slightly different shade of “what the Hell?” And sometimes, it’s a saving grace. Something is going to get all of us, after all. Some people get hit by a bus. When I was thirteen, a sleepy and irritable yellow jacket almost killed me. The yellow jacket was the only one that died though, that time…

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B.C. #2 

It’s been awhile since I promised to write a blog post (or several) about the process of playing guitar and getting my chops back while recovering from major surgery. I’m sorry it’s taken over a month to get around to it. In my defense I’ll say that I’ve started this post countless times and thrown every previous version out the window. I discovered that language and vocabulary had transformed noticeably, along with everything else. For example, I’ve never in my life used the word “chops” to describe my…

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     I was raised in a family with a fondness for hyperbole. My father never could seem to say, “I like this because so-and-so,” instead he favored “everybody says this is the very finest thing in the world.” For stuff he didn’t like, the reverse was true, and the object in question became a hideous affront to nature that nobody had any respect for. For instance, my dad who had, after all, been raised in Oklahoma in the thirties, reacted violently to the very idea of the film “Brokeback Mountain.” He…

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The Docherty Guitars 

 So… this is the way I was raised; the house I grew up in was, and still is, full of antique clocks, furniture, and assorted doodads in disparate levels of usefulness.  Some are objects of everyday use, such as the round oak kitchen table and the William Morris chair, the one with the carved lion heads.  That table has been the center of our conversational circus for as long as I remember, and the chair has been re-upholstered with leather that is now full of tiny puncture holes.  The cats discovered it…

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Lyrics as Poetry 

  If you happen to be on a mission to find a source of real contention in the music world, try putting five or six songwriters in the same room and throw out questions like these:  "Do you think of lyrics as poetry?  Do you think the listening public ever hears them that way? Do you approach your work as if you were a poet?"  You might throw a creative writing instructor and a few music biz movers and shakers into the mix for added heat, depending on whether you like your arguments mild or extra spicy…

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