Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Woodsman's Elixir

When the early spring comes to the North
Before the buds have awakened from winter
And come into their essence unfolded
The guitar twangs its tune's delight

Twinkling on the strings like the rains from the heavens
Harmonizing with elixirs flowing life
As rivers in the sapwood flush their banks
Deep in the mirkwood hollow swamps

The birch guzzle their earthly waters
Drenched in wintergreen flavors coursing through
As the woodsman's taps return the favor
Roaming the glades in shades of nostalgia

And the hand carved kuksa ring and rejoice
Beaming to the brim of their revelry
As the tree frogs echo their joy in the harvest
Keeping time to the drip pot stomp

Inspired by Alex Yerks' latest pics and instructional movie on how to tap a birch tree the old fashioned way.
Pics and movie used with his permission. Thanks Alex.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

AC Myles Musical Intermission

The best blues guitarist in the country is back! Sorry to all you other guitarist folk out there, but it's true. He'll tell us he ain't the best because that's his modest way, but go ahead and go toe to toe with the guy if you want. My money's on the dude from Fresno. The best way I can describe his style is that he plays Stevie Ray Vaughan tunes with the fluidity of Jimi Page. No joke. In fact, I think he actually conjures up a little Jimi Page juju whenever he pleases. The thing is, he just makes it look so damn easy to play. Just find him on YouTube and you'll see.

He's upped his suit and jacket game too. I would assume there comes a time in every good bluesman's life when it's 90+ degrees out and you're layin' down some sweltering hot licks in a dad-gum suit when you have already realized that you might be pretty good at this gig.

I've seen him play about a dozen times, and the most memorable besides playing on our wedding day was when he played in a little joint in my hometown called The Hot Pepper. It was a small restaurant with only about room for the 20 people in there, but my wife to be and I had a table for two right close to the band. And if that wasn't the best damn blues display I ever seen! They played a rendition of Hendrix's Voodoo Chile that was spot on to the T!   Even down to the distortion that perfectly mirrored the album version. I mean nailed it perfect! Hot I tell ya!

So now, After a couple years World and US tour playing for John Nemeth alongside Kid Andersen and gang, AC's back home and just cut a new album at Kid's studio. It ain't out yet, but it's coming and I'll post an update when it hits. It's called Reconsider Me.

Here's a video of him jammin' and another of him touring with John Nemeth. Also check out John's double disk Live album. AC and Kid are in that lineup and it is pure Fire!

So ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu, AC Myles....

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Trapping the Muse

She is not as of the ancient Athena
Of beauty untold bathing
In marbled stone pools perched
In courtyard of the mountaintop temple

More a phantom in the trees
A wisp on the breeze
Floating in and out from brush to brush
Appearing and the next instant gone

Haunting the thick chaparral
As a small creature of the hillsides
Hidden in silence like the hare

I study her ways
Watch intently and take notes
Scratch sketches upon paper
Glass her from afar
She is illusive

I check bait along the traplines
Clack horns and mouth calls
Or sit silent amongst the brush
And lie in wait for days on end

I stick to the basics until drawn
Then flip the set and move on
Over the next ridge on a whim
And reload again and again

She will creep gracefully into the scene
Munching grass and herbs with leisure
My heart pumps blood heavy
With slow anticipation

She sniffs my snares warily
And then to my surprise
Knowingly looks me in the eyes
As I am frozen in amazement

She feeds me images pumping
Her stream of thought consciousness
Rambling on like a rush of waters
As I am now ensnared in her currents

I have coaxed her to this spot
Only to have become trapped myself
Left here in sweet scented sage
She bounds away again free

Sometimes in my wanderings
I see her tracks laid out upon the forest floor
Traces upon the rock
Or deep set clearly in the wet earth

I go to the woods to hunt the words
Fine morsels of meat and flesh
Hidden amongst the vegetation
I am haunted by these ghosts

When I am done for the day
Satisfied with the fruits upon the vine
I gather my quarry and move on
And head for camp to cook my meal

Other days I let time go by
And as I walk along the waters edge
I catch a gleam from the corner of my eye
Of something shiny in the slow moving stream

I reach my arm into the water
And pick her out of the gravel
And place her nugget in my pocket
And move on again over the ridge
For I will be hungry for meat again

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Urgent Spring

Back here our hopes and dreams run thin
Usually the greenup is in full swing
But this year's grasses are growing dim
And an urgency has gripped the land

There is but little water
Waiting to be set free from high mountain meadow
No swollen streams testing their banks
No golden dew of the honey drip

This is not the spring
Of the braided-haired river dancer awakening
Jumping to action from her long winter's slumber
As the fiddles harmonize with vigor

This is the down and dirty
Close to the herbs and earth
Deep forest woodworker's shop ramble
Where the dobro wheels with the harp and stomp

We revel in these times
Enjoying while we can
For all too soon summer will be upon us again
And the spanish guitar will sweep solemn tunes into the heat
Pooring forth from the hacienda veranda

The winter rains have missed us again
As the cowboys have missed them as well
Upon barely there hills their cattle roams
To get what they can before it's gone

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Girdwood Gold Rush

Thirteen years ago this week
I was able to join friends both old and new
For a moment in time
That will forever play across our minds
A taste of a small Alaskan gold rush

'Cept this time it was not for the precious of metals
But for the purchasing of land
And the hopes of our mid-twenties fantasies
Of owning property on one of the
Richest claims on God's green earth

This was their reality however
I was just visiting at the time
A little get away destination
I have not soon forgot

But this was bigger than
Tyrolean dreams and alpental wishes
This was Alaska at its finest
Homesteads in a vast sea of mountains
Forge set jewels in a ring of fire

And we were not wealthily bestowed with money
We were just seeking simple pleasures
For I was amongst a group of folks
Who simply knew the ways

Snow, ridge lines, slopes
Paths to take and chutes to run
They knew the ways to the mountain tops
And the means to get down

Folks who mined the mountainsides
Not only for crystals from the heavens
But for the pockets of air between them
Foraging fluffy powdery pillows to float upon

Quiet 'cept the rushing of wind in the ears
Enveloping clouds of swishes and schusses
Sparkling light blue and white in the sun
All with the feeling of flight over the earth

Their quarry of turns blazed upon the map
A new breed of mountain men and women
Not really nomadic in their search
For the freedoms of the Rocky Mountains

But more a fresh set of sourdoughs
Who have weathered the many odd winters
Who have found their golden valleys
And who now stake their claims
Along the banks of Crow Creek

So with grubstakes granted and prices set
At thirty-thousand dollars a third-acre plot
We proceeded with parcel split maps
And just as soon as bearings were taken and walked out
Their hopes and faiths were laid out upon the rock
And we relished every moment of it

We celebrated prospectings and prospects
With hiking a couple of the bordering peaks
And with our tools in hand
We dug our way up and down glacier carved bowls

We raised our glasses and toasted
To the pure silvery crystals upon the slopes
With our chalices overflowing
Spilling ice cold diamonds onto the bar room floors

Cups of wine in the night
And glasses of beer by the floating bonfires
Happy and content as the new fallen snow
As the auroras shined red overhead
Reflecting wholeheartedly our passion and excitement
At future homesteads in the mountain halls

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Standing At The Base Of Glaciers

Standing at the base of glaciers
The low down deep rumble
Of ageless ice grinding with rock
Can be felt more than heard
As the mountain's utterances for mercy
Ring throughout the land

Most of these old frozen ice flows are gone to us
But the ones that remain
Remind us of how our way on this Earth
Is but a glint of light in time's immortality
A flicker of twinkle from starlight in the cosmos
A burst of life in night sky

Old, ancient runes of the North
Life giving fountains of sparkling waters
Sculptured masterworks of marble and jade
Shining crystals of the mountain halls

Carving the great mountain valleys of Valhalla
Ice blue and brilliant white radiance
The ones that shine in our lifetimes
Are rare gems that light the way in darkness

Retreating to their final rest
They soon know peace from their earthly existence
The constant struggle of their lives upon the mountain
Forever grinding against Earth's will

Yes they are alive and thrive as beings
Giants that come out of the North
With Viking Valkyries for their mothers
Emanating resilience from their breastplates
Riding their waves of frigid air and ice
Born of the snows blown upon the mountain

They build strength over time's enduring ways
And if given the chance
Like youths in the villages
They are soon shown the hunt

And like those youths
They and their ancestors will be forced out
But their villages will remain
To remind us of the ways of old