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Steve Wilson

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Posts posted by Steve Wilson

  1. Gm is a lovely key on a 30-key C/G Anglo.


    Bob Michel

    Near Philly


    Gm is a lovely key, full stop (period you'd say in US).


    I'm impressed with your post in this topic Bob, well thought through. With the resources you've offered and the advice given I thing Sandy should have a good leg up on playing Gm on anglo. I hope so anyway Sandy. There's not many issues with Gm on EC thankfully.


    Cheers Steve.

  2. Good-Oh Bob, bravo, an admirable project. I agree whole heartedly with Rod, you are a talented fellow. I have my hands full coping with just one instrument.


    Great to hear the verses to "...Tipperary", I think the first I've ever heard them! Often seems the way with these old songs. The only WW1 song I do "I'm Going Back Again to Yarrawonga" is reasonably well known by the older folk in Australia but nobody knows the verses. There's two but I only do one of them and there are recorded versions with just the chorus.


    Anti war songs...mmmm? Wouldn't have thought there would be too many of those. Back then they needed happy songs, not ones to remind them of the horrors. Of course there were the songs the troops themselves sang in the trenches, parodys usually, there's a few of those that could be classified anti war. I wonder which are your "mostly neglected" anti war songs?


    Thanks for introducing me to "Lena from Palisteena". What a gem. I might have to include that one in my repertoire and pair it with Yarrawonga. These girls and their concertinas...fertile subject matter. I've a composition in the works, Sabrina with her "Flying Concertina", a lighthearted celebration of concertina in circus.


    I'm still working my way through your videos and look forward to the concertina being centre stage.


    Cheers Steve.

  3. Whoo-hoo, wakko. What a gathering it must have been. Really enjoyed this little youtube offering. And all those english's - not an anglo to be seen. Where are you guys? I wish I had been there(since I play english).


    Really nice to hear a reasonably contemporary tune played on the concertina(s). As was done before folk music was invented. Bravo to all. It looked like you all had a nice time(what was for lunch?). I just lament that there weren't so many younger ones there. This is an issue in the concer world isn't it. Same in Oz. What are we to do?

  4. Hi Adrian,

    First impression was this sounds a bit jerky, a characteristic of the anglo I guess. I don't know Rory's music, had a quick look on Youtube. Bullfrog Blues, pretty rocky! Don't know... going, very 70's. Not sure it works really well on concer. No issues with the playing, very good, concer a bit loud sometimes to hear the lyrics. Just didn't quite do it for me. Just my opinion though.

    Cheers Steve


    Just a second thought, really nice to hear a (reasonably) contemporary song done with the concertina.


    I'd agree with Wolf here Steve. Lovely performance, but I find the accompaniment a bit heavy, in particular the long held LH notes seem to me at odds with what you're doing rhythmically. I could imagine a sparser, more punchy approach to the LH would work better, and the 2nd piece in particular cries out for an alternating bass line - to give it a sort of ragtime feel.





    Thanks for the critique Adrian, much appreciated. I'm reasonably happy with "Lonesome" but "San Francisco" I agree is a bit heavy. There is quite a bit long holding of notes (chords) with the RH too, but there is the melody line tucked in, perhaps a bit swamped. I'm going to to lighten up this song. As for an alternating bass line, there's not a lot of bass on an english treble but you've motivated me to give it a crack.


    Cheers Steve.

  6. Steve, do you always perform standing ?


    Yep, always when performing and rehearsing, mostly when practicing. On stage people can see one more easily(as I can them, and relate to them) and standing exibits a degree of authority and control of the performance. Plus when I play I actually transfer energy from my whole body to the concertina.




    The Parnassus is such a loud instrument. It responds well when played quietly too but gosh it requires a very light touch on the bellows. I'm working on it. I was conscious of balance while recording and did my best. The recorder sat next to the camera and was angled to face above my head but the concertina woundn't be subdued.


    This, for me, is a very interesting point Steve. I know well that different concertinas of the exact same model can vary quite a bit in their sound output, often to do with how they are set up or the period they were made, but your old Wheaststone is not one of the quieter types surely?


    So,you are saying the Parnassus is soooo much louder that you are having difficulty concentrating on getting a delicate enough touch on it to get a good balance with your voice.....Hmmmm! For my use,playing in a dance band, I do have a loud EC with good dynamics but the tone quality can get slightly 'edgy' ( cutting). This crisp/sharp tone probably accounts for some of its carrying power and, although it is not as annoying as some models, I would not mind to have a fuller, rounder tone that I think I am hearing from your new baby.


    My spy on the ground, downunder, has sent a descriptive report which is very interesting, your Parnassus made a positive impression!


    I'd be interested in your, or anybody's, assessment of the sound and tone.... don't look like I'm going to get down to OZ any time soon. Perhaps there is someone in Europe who has bought a Parnassus that I might try ?





    I think I know that spy. CG001 your cover is blown. I wish I could give an authoritative assessment of sound and tone but I really don't have the experience or the ear. All I can say is it seems pure of tone and it's improved a lot since I've been playing it for nine months. Next time I cross paths with CG we should sit down with it and I'll take notes.

  7. Perhaps the concertina is a bit strong in the mix ? Could you play it more quietly whilst singing ?


    I guess if you were using a voice mic ,on stage, the balance that you are creating would be corrected but it sounds as if your recorder is closer to the concertina than your voice.


    G'day Guys,


    The Parnassus is such a loud instrument. It responds well when played quietly too but gosh it requires a very light touch on the bellows. I'm working on it. I was conscious of balance while recording and did my best. The recorder sat next to the camera and was angled to face above my head but the concertina woundn't be subdued.


    For stage I have a wonderful mic, a Sennheiser Mk4, and also angle it high to refine the balance. No more mics hanging off the concertina, no wires, I can move around a bit. I haven't been able to get it to record very well at home, issues with my sound card or program perhaps. Shall have to get it sorted.



  8. Here's a couple of songs to get the toes tapping.


    The first is one is fairly well known in Oz and was done by Australian country singer Kasey Chambers, an inane song of lost love, her bloke takes off with another gal. I was wondering about changing the words to make it gender correct for a male singer but then realised I didn't have to. These days it's not unusual for a wife or girlfriend to dump their bloke and take up with another lady! Kasey sings it with a contrived American accent. I had to be careful to avoid that country twang. Here ya go.




    Here's another, the old San Francisco Bay Blues.




    I like that these songs are a bit boppy. Both have a click beat, you'll see. I've been trying to develop a style of rhythm with my playing but am undecided about whether I'm really happy with it. Sometimes the chording sounds a bit too full perhaps. They're recorded with my little portable digital recorder which probably doesn't help.

  9. G'day Wolf,


    Very nice, I always enjoy your playing. You've got your vocal/instrument balance sorted out pretty well these days. Nevertheless, because of your accent I found it difficult to understand the words sometimes, sorry. I don't know this song and I'm not a big fan of these longish ballads from a performance point of view. I can see the audience getting restless, looking at their programs, toward the end. But that's just my opinion.



  10. I just heard this sad news this evening and wondered if there would be some mention here. I didn't know Peter as I've not been very involved in the folk scene over the years but recently met when he played for our Concertina Convergence concert at the National Folk Festival this last Easter. He thrilled the audience with a swinging concertina piece, round and round, back and forth at arms length. We were very lucky to have enjoyed one of his last performances.


    You're lucky to have known him Dan, I wish I had.

  11. I had a gig yesterday and while playing "Roslyn Castle" which is kind of easy but nevertheless a bit horrifying to me because I once messed it up really badly, my mind went wandering.... It went like: " I really should concentrate here"..... "better not think too thoroughly about what I´m doing"... "there was this thread on C-net about wandering while playing :blink: !!!".... "What am I doing???... Then I fortunately made only a small mistake and managed to forced myself back to playing.


    You know this has happened to me a couple of times recently,"this thread on C-net", but only while practicing.


    I think you have to find your own method for this. The playing, or singing, needs to flow without too much conscious thought. I find if I concentrate too hard I start to think too much about the mechanics - which finger goes where - but as soon as I do that it all falls apart. It needs to be utomatic. On the other hand, not concentrating hard enough is equally risky. The trick is to find the right balance. In part, it means being sufficiently rehearsed that you don't have to struggle to remember what you're meant to be playing, and partly it comes from experience of performing (and of getting it wrong, and having to dig yourself out of a hole)


    IMO this is very true, and the best of advice too!



    Yes I agree. "Too much conscious thought" for me though isn't thinking of the next line of a song. That's just enough thought and the fingers fall on the buttons automatically.


    I certainly wouldn't drink beer before or during a performance and I even avoid caffeine in the hours before





    I remember hearing about some research where spiders were given a tiny amout of caffeine after which they spun some pretty wacko webs! Don't know if the scientists tried giving alcohol. You'd think perhaps the spiders could be too involved making merry to bother about making a web.

  13. My biggest problem as musician has always been a wandering mind.


    This is a problem I grapple with constantly. It's something I don't worry about too much when practicing but as a solo performer the pressure is on when one gets on stage. Nervousness can come into play and also... it's just different up there. Things happening in the audience can be distracting too. But at least there is the audience to remind one of the task at hand. As you say Geoff, knowing the material inside out a great start. Doesn't always work though.


    As a singer when performing I try to concentrate on the words. Half way through a line I'll try to think of the beginning of the next line and doing this can help to maintain concentration to the end. (unless the MC signals 5 minutes during your second last item - oh what is that next line? - silly woman). I'm not sure what you tunie looneys can do. When I reach an instrumental break in a song I usually have to put my head down and concentrate hard.


    When rehearsing, which is different to practicing, I'll often try to imagine the audience in front, set myself up as would be on stage and sometimes record with a digital recorder. Usually I don't listen back, but it puts a bit of pressure on to get it right.


    Sympathetic audiences are good, like local music nights or sometimes I play at ages care facilities, all good for practicing concentration. (as well as practicing the tune, practice concentration). Of course sometimes I'll loose it, sometimes can scramble back with a few strange chords, occasionally collapse in a heap. What can one do? Perhaps appeal to the audience, "Did you like that jazzy bit I put in the middle?" or "Sorry, I forgot to take my medication this morning!". That'll have 'em guessing. Or just ignore it. A bit of a blunder is not a big deal for an audience, especially if the rest of the show is a dazzler.


    Cheers Steve.

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