Mason Proffit WantedMany, many years ago I came across John Michael Talbot, a fine singer/songwriter, at a Christian conference in French Lick, Indiana. I found a few snapshots from that trip (grossly underexposed) last weekend. Talbot’s work as a Christian musician impressed me. The work was good. The music was good. It was a great combination.

I picked up his early recordings as I could afford them. We had little money in the 70s and at about $8 each, records were expensive. It wasn’t until the late 70s I even had something to play them on.

John Michael Talbot went on to become a Catholic monk and turned his musical focus to worship music. While good work, I thought he lost the punch of his early work. That’s OK — people grow and change and decide to leave things behind in the search for what is next for them.

I knew it, but never acted on the fact that John Michael and Terry Talbot formed an early country-rock band called Mason Proffit. That work was seminal to their work that followed and the work of many other musicians as well.

I’ve been backfilling my music collection with artists I enjoy but do not have their early work. I decided to pick up the Mason Proffit catalog, now that it’s been issued on CD. This is music from the late 60s and early 70s. It sounds like it. However, the work holds up. It’s good work.

Walking Over the Water

MercylandThis is one of the best songs from Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us. The song works on many levels. It’s well worth the listen.

I find Kearney’s singing a bit difficult to parse, so I looked up the lyrics to this song. I caught the emotional content just fine without completely understanding the lyrics. The words make it that much more poignant.

My mood fell late yesterday afternoon. I woke this morning, as a friend might put it, just OK. As my morning wears on, I find myself really missing Wife. It was 10 months ago she died. I wake many mornings about 0500 and remember those last few hours, and especially those last few minutes. I’ll be haunted by that time the rest of my life.

Was that you walkin’ across the water? Was that you shining in the face of my Wife?

Walking Over the Water
Mat Kearney

I raised my glass toward heaven
On that night that she was born
Praised your name and gave you thanks
And I bought the house a round

She came like a thief of glory
Stole my pain and gave me life
These tears I thought were long, long gone
Fell like rivers from my eyes

Was that you walking over the water
When the sunlight that came pouring through the cracks
Was that you shining in the face my a daughter
Never thought you’d come again to take me back

Raised my eyes toward heaven
She was floatin’ down our stairs
Backpack and a bright red skirt
And a river of long black hair

He came like a thief of glory
And he stole her heart that day
Ever since she started crawlin’
I always knew she’d sail away

Was that you walking over the water
Well, I watched my baby slippin’ through the cracks
Walked the aisle and gave away my daughter
Never thought there’d come a day she would look back

Raised my fist toward heaven
From that dark forsaken road
Blue lights flashed on broken glass
The siren left me cold

He came like a thief of glory
All he left are fingerprints
Should I thank you, should I blame you
In a storm that won’t relent

Was that you walking over the water
While the ocean came pouring through the cracks
Was that you calling out Adam’s daughter
I never thought you’d come again to take her back
You always said you’d come again to take us back

G&L Fullerton, Reprise

G&L George Fullerton Signature ModelMy (new-to-me) G&L George Fullerton Signature model guitar arrived this morning. The FeDeX deliveryman looked at me as I signed for the parcel, “A Guitar?” “Yep,” I responded.

At first, I resisted opening the box. But the need to confirm condition overwhelmed my desire to continue work. So, I cut open the end of the box and removed the tweed case carefully packed therein. I opened the latches and had a good look. The guitar is not perfect, but is in my kind of condition. That is, whoever had it before me cared for the instrument and took care of it.

I removed the instrument from its case and found the vibrato bar. The G&L vibrato bridge is one of the best I’ve ever used. I use a vibrato bridge when playing. That’s what it’s there for and it allows the player to drop and raise pitch, unlike bends, which can only raise the pitch.

I sat on the arm of my chair and played the instrument a little. The wave of emotion that washed over me was palpable. I was completely devastated by the intensity of my feelings. I’m still shocked at the strength of those emotions.

I suppose I repressed my feelings about music and guitars for some time. They jumped up this morning and bit me in the ass.

I put the instrument back into its case and returned to my worktable to try to work. That was a laugh. Instead, I sat in my chair and wept, nearly sobbing, for a half hour. Grief has a funny way of working itself out. My grief returned to me this morning and pummeled me for a half hour or more.

Although I’m still not sure what it was all about, I think my soul is telling me it’s time to pick up the instrument again. My first Fullerton was a marvelous instrument I should not have sold. It reached me at a deep level and was the first electric guitar I bonded with. It was an extension of my body and soul and allowed me to express myself musically in ways that I didn’t expect.

The timing is good as well. I’m nearing the end of my first purge of the house. The garage is nearly done so that project is coming to a close over the next few weeks. I have been wondering what will be next. In fact, I’ve been praying for guidance on what is next. I know when this big project is done I’ll be left hanging in that way that always happens after I am heavily invested in a big project and then it’s done.

My friend and master guitarist Scott told me to find a Fender Deluxe, either a ’65 model or the ’65 reissue. It’s not too powerful, has tubes (and tube tone), and will be a good match for my style of playing, my preferred music, and the Fullerton. I am not going to rebuild the pedalboard I once had, but intend to have only a few effects. They will be a delay, a drive, and a chorus/phaser/flanger.

What will I do with this? I have no idea yet. I think that for awhile my intent will be to permit myself to experience making music again as well as listening to it. Beyond that, I have no idea what will happen. Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

G&L Fullerton Signature Model

G&L Fullerton SignatureAbout ten years ago, I sold my G&L George Fullerton Signature Model guitar. Some folks call them an “S-Type” guitar. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a Strat-lovers Strat.

My instrument had this dark sunburst paint job, just like the one in the image. It had the three single-coil pickups. It had the G&L dual-fulcrum vibrato bridge. The only difference is that my guitar had a rosewood fretboard and not the maple. My Fullerton had the deep V-shaped neck as well. A lot of electric players don’t like that neck. I’m an acoustic player and it fits my hand very well. I loved the neck of the Fullerton.

I thought I needed a double-humbucker rig for the rock and roll band I was playing in. So, I sold my Fullerton and bought a PRS SE. I used the PRS for the band and my regular gig (worship team leader). When I quit the band and the church, I was left without a goal for my music. Therefore, my instruments languished and have been stored since then.

I sold my Marshal Acoustic Soloist amplifier (a great little solid state acoustic amplifier) but was unable to sell my Johnson JT-50 modeling amp. The JT-50 is in my garage under wraps.

When I traded Jimmy my car for some cash and photographic equipment, he brought along a Japanese Stratocaster. It’s a genuine Fender guitar. Handling that guitar reminded me how much I loved that Fullerton. There was something magical about it. The neck pickup had this great fat sound. The in-between settings produced a scooped sound that was great with a little chorus or phaser. The bridge pickup had punch.

Although a guitar is a material thing; it has no soul. But I grieved the Fullerton after selling it. It was a bad decision.

I’ve thought any number of times I’d like to have mine back. It was one of those times I wanted to go back and undo something. That doesn’t happen.

The image is of a guitar I found while searching for Fullerton model G&L guitars. I did some checking and the price was fair. It wasn’t a great buy, but it wasn’t an unfair price either. So, I bought it sight unseen. It was shipped to day and should be here Monday or Tuesday.

I’ll order a set of Thomastik-Infield strings. I prefer the Power Brights and use a 10-gage set. When the guitar gets here, I’ll set it up for the strings and play it.

For now, the JT-50 will do. However, I think I’m going to find a Fender Deluxe because I love the Fender sound and can do just about anything but heavy rock and roll with a Fender.

I’m not going to rebuild my effects board. I’ll probably buy a delay and an overdrive unit and call it good. If I want time-domain effects, I can probably pick up a used Intellifex pretty cheap. They were popular a decade ago and have probably been supplanted by newer technology by now. I like a little chorus, phaser, or flanger sometimes. I have no use for Wah and never was able to really use one.

Musically, I probably need a goal of some kind. I think for now, my goal will be to practice some, get my finger back into shape, and bring up some of my classical and acoustic repertoire as well as enjoy my electric guitars. Then we’ll see what might be next.

Photography and music were always my passions. I added writing to that about 12-years ago.

Dan Tyminski

MercylandOne of the things to come out of a collection of music like Mercyland is that I am introduced to new musicians. Dan Tyminski is featured on Mercyland and his song is a standout, although they’re all very good.

I will be purchasing Tyminski’s recordings this week. I can’t wait to hear them. Bluegrass is fine by me.


MercylandNow and again, well, perhaps somewhat more often than that, I purchase some new music. Sometimes it’s by someone or a project that I am unfamiliar with.

Yesterday I was listening to Shawn Mullins’ Light You Up and heard The Ghost of Johnny Cash. The song was written by Phil Madiera. I knew I’d heard that name before, but couldn’t place it. Mullins’ web site had an album note about the song and a link to Madiera’s web site.

I bopped over there and read the bit about how the song came about. I was hooked. Anyone who can write (much less write a lyric like that) will get my eyes now and again.

I decided to check out some of his music and decided to purchase a copy of Mercyland, with the subtitle Hymns for the rest of us. It arrived this afternoon and is now ripped and in my iTunes library. (I have flacs too, in case I want something of higher quality.)

Phil used to play with Phil Keaggy (among others). I think that’s where I heard the name. The recording is going to take a few plays to settle in, but I really think this is some excellent material and the variety of songs and players is also a joy.

New Music

GoI love new music. Vertical Horizon is a band I discovered many years ago while restoring my house in Lubbock. I listened to the radio quite a lot while cleaning up the house for sale.

Everything You Want was quite popular during that time. I found the song interesting and picked up a couple of the group’s recordings. They are quite good. A few days ago I was working through my music collection and realized there are a couple more recordings by Vertical Horizon that are not in my collection. I found them via Amazon and picked up some of them used and a couple of them new.

This is good music and I’m enjoying it. The CDs are ripped to flac and MP3 and are now in my iPod. Music is good for me. This is good stuff.