Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Revival

For the first time in my life I have many guitars.  I've played since I was 12 when I was over the top surprised at Christmas to discover a used Kay electric under the tree.  Not too long after, I had my first acoustic...a used Harmony F-hole arch top that I wish I still had.  I played that through college in coffee houses and wherever someone would have me play. 
Then, after basic training and technical training with the Air Force, I landed in Greenland.  I mail ordered a brand new Jumbo Yamaha - shipped direct.  What a thrill when it arrived.  I found Bob who would play along and taught me a lot of Jackson Brown songs.  I carried the Yamaha to Spain and back to the US, playing it for the next decade or so.  Then, I sold the Yamaha to pay for an Oscar Schmidt that played oh so fine. 
My greatest joy has always been to find others who share the love to sing those same old songs.  In the 80's friends made fun of me so I took the old songs to nursing homes and senior centers.  In the late 90's I sat the guitar down when my favorite aunt died and it felt no one would love the old songs the same.  My friend Pete encouraged me again and we began playing on my front porch soon joined by "guitar Dave" who happened by one night.
And then I sold the Oscar Schmidt - not for another guitar but to help fund someone else's pipe dream.  Oddly, that pipe dream gave me opportunity to record on a movie sound track and I had no guitar to play.  I had to borrow the Oscar Schmidt to make the recording.
For the first time in my adult life, I had no guitar.  40 plus years.  I think it sent me off the deep edge.  I started buying guitars.  And then other instruments and another guitar, and other odd instruments and then a bag of stuff and then a sound system and then collecting people to sing and play and then....
And then - I was revived.  Every old song - every vision - every hope.  I am not a gifted guitar player.  I have often kidded that it is a prop and I can only sing if I can hold it.  I love to sing and have since I can remember.  I am not a gifted singer either.  I just love to sing.  I can mostly hold a tune and sometimes remember the words if they are both simple enough.  Every now and then I can even harmonize.  Suddenly I am surrounded by like spirits in a way I would never have imagined.

And now I own a Yamaha guitar, not quite like that first but a fine guitar.  I have a Godin 5th Avenue - not quite like that first Harmony F - hole but it is OH SO FINE.  I have a Jumbo Cumberland that reminds me much of that first Yamaha and two others that serve their purpose when I need them.  I don't really need them all.  But they have been part of my revival.  I suspect several will wind up in the hands of people that are an even bigger part of my revival some day yet seen.
It is about sharing spirit.  It's about understanding that harmony is here for all of us - if we can open up to hear it.  It's about understanding that all our stories have been told over and over again in song.  It's about understanding that the spirit - truth - is not complicated at all. 

Lastly - don't give up the vehicle that reminds you of all that.  Keep one guitar no matter what.  Otherwise you will go off the deep end and start collecting, even if you don't need to.

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