Party For The Planet

Party for the Planet: Michigan Green Living festival

May 13-15th – Downtown Rochester, Michigan

Join the party to help keep Michigan beautiful. Many of us take for granted the big beautiful planet we live on. I know I do. This event will help build awareness of the MI Green Team and all the ways they are working to improve the health and prosperity of our community and our great state. Learn about the local businesses and local people striving to help thru the use and production of green products, services and practices. Get information on how you can Green Your Life or Your Business. Join the celebration of the beauty of our planet and those dedicated to keeping it that way. There will be music, dancing, food, drinks, games, prizes, exhibits, awards, a parade and so much more.

Visit for more info.

Party for the Planet will include performances by:

FREE ADMISSION – Sponsored by

New Chapter

For those that haven’t heard yet I will no longer be playing with 7 Million Jigawatts. It has been a good run. I have been with them for over 3 years and in that time I have made some great friends and grown as a musician. The band helped me to improve my vocals by singing harmonies. Improved my rock and pop guitar playing including learning a ton about tone and gear. (thanks Jake!) Had a lot of fun playing bass and keys together. Put my home studio and recording engineering skills to the test when recording our 5 song ep “Taking Flight”. I had the wonderful opportunity to record on Melissa’s jazz project. 7mj fans are in for real treat when Melissa releases the tracks for that disc! Melissa, founder of Dream Town Media, is also working with some great artist helping them to develop and promote their projects. Dream Town Media handles a wide spectrum of services from online marketing to publishing to branding. Jake Tobias, founder of Tobiasound Studios, is available for recording. He did a great job recording, mixing and mastering my show at Bakers last year that is available to listen to on the jazz trio page. Jake and Melissa are always working hard to support local music/artists and our community. 7MJ will continue to rock hard pushing into the new year with a new lineup so I hope the you will check them out. My last show with them will be Friday, December 17th at Rogers Roost in Sterling Hts. Hope to see you there.

However the time has come for a new chapter. Time for me to work on some other things. It is time I finally quit talking about writing a third Fingerstyle disc and really do it. In the mean time I will also be recording a live disc for release in mid 2011. The first date for recording will be on Friday, Jan 21 at Lazy Daze Lounge in Downtown Rochester.

Also, It’s time I get back to my true passion- jazz. As luck would have it I recently got a call to book the jazz trio- slightly modified to focus on Latin jazz to fit at Cantina Diablo. The timing couldn’t be better to get the guys together and work out some new material. We have recorded a little bit from our shows and you can listen to a couple of clips on jazz trio page. Check the shows page for complete show info but as of now we are playing at Cantina Diablo in Ferndale on 12/3 12/11, 12/18, 12/30 12/31 and then all Saturdays in January and February starting January 8th.

Jon and Nate having a blast performing live
Jon and Nate having a blast performing live
Of course Jon and I will still be playing together as 45th Parallel acoustic duo doing classic and alternative rock along with our original music- especially Jon’s. Did you know that Jon Vidal is an incredible song writer? If you haven’t done so you definitely need to check out his solo discs. We are about half way done recording his 3rd disc at Studio 1946. We hope to have it done early next year and also considering recording a live disk as well. Stay tuned for more info about that. You can visit or like us on FaceBook for complete show info but here is a list of our next couple: Sat, 12/4 @ Liberty Street Beer Co in Plymouth, Wed, 12/22 @ Dooley’s in Sterling Hts, Thursday, 1/27 @ OCG in Royal Oak & Friday, 1/28 @ Library Pub in Novi.

Hope everyone has a great holiday season. All of my different projects as well as 7MJ are available for private parties and functions. If you would like more information email or call. I would be happy to discuss the possibilities.


No Rules

Alternate Tunings
About 8-10 years ago I found my self in a little bit of a rut- sort of burned out on guitar. Then there was a series of events all of which help me to find fufillment in playing acoustic guitar. A couple of them I already wrote about in a previous post about Tuck Andress. It was around this period that I started playing around with alternate tunings. Just when I had thought I had seen it all I attended a Preston Reed clinic and concert and started using the body as a percussion instrument. One concept that came to mind was “NO RULES!”.

When you take the guitar and completely retune the instrument it is like starting over. Your normal chord shapes and structures will not necessarily work in the new tuning and you have to abandon your previous views on how to compose. People often ask me how I write my tunes and honestly they are almost all different but for the most part I like to start with a melody line and then fill in the bass notes. By the time the melody and bass are together there are only so many possibilities of what other notes you can fit with six strings, four fingers and a thumb! It is fun to start with a drum beat some times but I have found that I often get too caught up in the groove of the percussion and bass until I can no longer hear a melody or even a second section. Over all exploring what the guitar has to offer in any given alternate tuning can be a nice break from the theory-driven aspects of standard tuning.

I saw Preston Reed perform again recently only this time it was the as a music fan instead of a guitar player. It was just as inspiring but it a whole new way. Up till this point I had been focused on the complexity and technique of his playing, this time around I was swirling in the compositions.

So today I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

Wes Montgomery played impossible things on the guitar because it was never pointed out to him that they were impossible.” Ronnie Scott

Out with the old and broken

Taylor guitar
Taylor Guitar beaten and broken

This instrument was definitely one of my favorites. Definitely the one I had the most fun playing. So much so that it has been to see the repair doctor 3 time for major cracks. Seems I like to play my instruments a little hard. However, it was not my playing that put it past repair. No, it was the price of convenience. At the time of its death I was using a gator soft gig bag to tote the instrument around it. While in transit an amp and some other equipment shifted in the car and fell on it. I didn’t even realized it happened till I opened it up a couple days later (and a couple days before the next gig I need it for). To say I was heart broken was an understatement. I was also very frustrated because it was the only instrument that I had customized for the percussive acoustic style of guitar that I love to play. With just a few days before the next gig and such extensive damage it was time to say good bye. Of course I didn’t have the funds to go out and replace it so I bought an inexpensive used acoustic which I moved the additional pic ups into and have been playing that for almost a year now I think. Of course this was always a temporary thing since it never sounded very good and played even worse.

In with the New, shiny and all-graphite acoustic guitar.

My new Rainsong Guitar
My new Rainsong Guitar in its hard shell case.

I have been considering RainSong Guitars for a long time, since the first time I pulled out the Taylor and found a big crack in the body and realized that either I need to play nicer or get a tougher guitar. I tried playing softer… But now it is time for something tougher. So yesterday I took a ride over to Huber and Breese Music Store, the only place in the metro Detroit area that carries them, and bought my first RainSong, the h-ws1000n2 (came with a custom hard shell case which I like even if it is as tough as they say it is). Today I have taken in to Mark Weninger Guitar Works to have some work done on it. I am having a hole drilled into the body so that I can install the 2 extra pickups that I use to get that big boomy percusive sound. Mark has been working on my guitars for years and always does a stellar job. I can’t wait to get it back! I will be writing more about the RainSong as I use it but so far it is great. Has a truly unique carbon sound and a loud bass sound.

So lesson learned? All convenience comes at a price. The gator soft gig bags are great but my Taylor was worth more than the convenience of the light easy to carry case with back straps.