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Tom Rhoads

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About Tom Rhoads

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

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  • Website URL
    http://tomrhoads.com
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  • Skype
    broadside-tom

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Traditional music of many kinds - on the Anglo concertina, mainly Irish tunes and English folk songs. I also play guitars, cittern and mountain dulcimer in Broadside Electric (www.broadside.org). I play electric bass guitar too, when I get the chance (which is to say, here and there in pickup bands). I play guitar and dulcimer in the contra dance band I-97.
    I manage the 333 Coffeehouse, a monthly folk/acoustic concert series in Annapolis, MD (333concerts.org).
    Oh, and I teach Music Together (www.musictogether.com/) - music immersion for little kids (and their caregivers).
  • Location
    Severna Park, MD (near Annapolis)
  1. I will be there! I have been a few times before, and always really enjoyed it. I also play old time music on mountain dulcimer (or whatever I can get my hands on), so this is a particularly nice festival for me, and the weather in East Texas has always been warm and lovely. Not to mention there is some good BBQ to be had there. If anyone reading this is going and would like to save a few $$$ by sharing a hotel room, send me a PM and maybe we can work something out. I plan to arrive Thursday afternoon. As of 25 Feb. I have not booked a room. I don't smoke (and it needs to be a non-smoking room), drink, or (so far as I am aware) snore. I do tend to stay out late jamming, especially on Saturday night.
  2. Just a few days away!! Time to make sure my bags and cases are in order. If anybody wants to share a ride from the Dallas area, send me a PM. TomR
  3. A couple of years have gone by. Are upgrade reeds for the Elise still available? Thanks... TomR
  4. My approach to song accompaniment on Anglo is usually to first try to play the melody in the right hand, and find some consonant notes or chords that work in the left hand. I have been doing it long enough that I usually have some good possibilities under my fingers. Then I start singing along, and eventually start modifying the right hand part - usually making it simpler - to complement the vocal. (The RH of the anglo is above my vocal range.) Finally I start filling in details, little flourishes and fills. While singing, I usually play oom-pah style in the left hand: root note of a chord on the down beat, and upper notes on off beats. Just imitating an accordion bass, really. It's best to have a light hand on the left and play mostly short notes. Sustained chords tend to overbalance the arrangement - you want the left hand to be as much about rhythm as anything else, especially for a lively tune. You have to control the overall volume so as not to overpower the vocal. And I agree that often you are fine leaving out the third of a chord. Sometimes I will add the third in the right hand instead - "open" chord voicings like that (root-5th-10th is the classic one, for example buttons 1-3-5 of the LH C row on draw for a G chord)) are a little more transparent to the ear (they stand in the way of the melody less). I often play the lowest available bass note for the "oom" and then the same note an octave higher, along with a 3rd or 5th, for the "pah." The good thing about the Anglo is that it's easy to find notes in the left hand that are consonant to notes in the right hand. The bad thing about the Anglo, occasionally, is that sometimes you want to play a note that isn't consonant and it's not there, or only with the bellows going the other way. I personally am OK with the tradeoff most of the time. TomR
  5. I have two C/G Anglos. My Morse Ceili (all wood, accordion reeds) weighs 2 lbs 1.7oz (954g). My Kensington (metal ends, traditional reeds) weighs 3 lbs 2.5oz (1.43kg) The difference is pronounced. I think the Morse must be one of the lightest concertinas there is, and, needless to say, it's way more comfortable to play standing up. I don't have particularly robust wrists, and sometimes that difference really matters to me. In the situations where I want to play standing up, I don't think that a neck/shoulder strap is very desirable for me. I improvised one once (for another larger box) and I didn't think it was great. One of the reasons I still have the Morse is because it weighs so much less. On the other hand, I agree with the builder of the Kensington that it's a feature, rather than a bug, of the that instrument's design that it is built very solidly and has end frames of a composite material that I think is probably heavier than typical concertina woods, but which is super-stable and durable (and I suppose may have desirable sonic properties as well, as it's very hard and therefore probably absorbs little energy). I play the Kensington a lot more. It sounds better to me for most of the music I play. I would be curious to learn about the weights of other 30 button C/G Anglos, for comparison. Is my Kensington heavier than a vintage box? By how much? Some knowledge of weights might inform future purchases - and then again it might not, since the sound, reed response, button and bellows action, and (for better or worse) price will probably always be more important. TomR
  6. I plan to attend! This is a special event for me because I also play mountain dulcimer, and the MD workshops are also great. This year I will make a point of eating at Shep's. Yummm. If anyone wants to rideshare from Dallas - I'll be flying into Love Field - or is interested in saving some bucks by sharing a hotel room, PM me. TomR
  7. I think I might have just gotten the last room at the Best Western. (!) Still open to sharing a room and splitting the cost. The room I got has 2 double beds. I don't snore or smoke. Those allergic to mountain dulcimers might want to beware, though. Anyone interested in room share or ride share can PM me. Tom
  8. Can anybody make a hotel recommendation? Is there a hotel that is preferred by festival goers? Anybody looking to share a hotel room? My choice of lodging may ultimately depend on what I can get by cashing in frequent flyer points, but some context would be helpful. Also... I'm planning to rent a car. Anybody need a ride to Old Pal from Dallas on Thursday afternoon, and back on Sunday? Cheers, Tom Rhoads
  9. Just bought my plane tickets. I'll be there! I play mountain dulcimer as well, so I will be dividing my time between two sets of workshops. I'm sure this will mean a certain amount of frantically running up and down the stairs. Just as well... I'm not likely to get any other exercise there. Looking forward to it! TomR
  10. The Annapolis Traditional Dance Society is pleased to announce two performances by noted Anglo concertina player Jody Kruskal (who frequents this forum) and his musical comrade, fiddler Paul Friedman. Jody is a remarkable player - it is probably fair to call him virtuosic - who has expanded the horizons of his performances on the Anglo to many styles of music. He has won particular acclaim for his use of the concertina in old-time American music - blues, ragtime, traditional country music, Tin Pan Alley songs and more. A sweet-voiced singer with an engaging character, he draws his audience into his songs. He’s also a noted composer of music for folk dancing and theater. Paul Friedman is a veteran New York fiddler. I would like to say more about Paul, but perhaps I will just refer to him as a man of mystery? Paul & Jody will perform in a 333 Coffeehouse concert on Friday, May 17 at 7:30 PM. They will perform music from their 2010 CD, Paul & Jody, and from Jody's new CD, the sublimely titled "Sing To Me, Concertina Boy." Or, at least, that's what we presume they will perform. We haven't seen the set list, and we're ready to be surprised. 333 is a listener-centered, volunteer-powered event. Inexpensive snacks, desserts, beverages and pizza are served. For more information, see fsgw.org/333, write to 333coffeehouse@gmail.com, or call +1 (443)-333-9613. Paul and Jody will be joined by pianist Marc Glickman to provide music for the Annapolis Contra Dance on Saturday, May 18 at 7 PM. The dances will be called by Greg Frock. For details see contradancers.com/atds, or write to annapolis.contra.dance@gmail.com. Both events take place at Annapolis Friends Meeting, 351 DuBois Road in Annapolis (21401). Admission to each event is $10, or $8 for students, seniors 65+, and members of ATDS and affiliated groups (including FSGW, BFMS and CDSS). Thanks for reading... I'll do my best to follow up here as needed. Tom Rhoads 333 Coffeehouse/ATDS
  11. I have always sung, although I didn't get serious about it until I was in college. I still usually identify voice as my main "instrument." I had piano lessons as a child, but they didn't take. I settled on cello at age 8, but mostly gave it up at 14 when my family moved and the orchestra at my new school didn't amount to much. But in college I picked up the guitar (and studied theory) and the guitar has been my primary instrument since then (other than voice). I played in a band with a mountain dulcimer player for a few years and got the bug to take up MD, which I have come to really love. I have definitely found that dulcimer has influenced my approach to the guitar (and vice versa, naturally). Then about 15 years ago I added an octave mandolin (4 course cittern). More recently I have taken up electric bass. Came to the Anglo in about 2001 when I stumbled across a used Stagi at a local music shop at a price I couldn't resist. I realized quickly that my experience playing the harmonica gave me a head start. After playing it enough to get really interested, I sent it off to Bob Tedrow to have the action hot-rodded. I've played concertina regularly since then and acquired a few others, including an Elise (but I try to stay focused on the Anglo). Over the years I have occasionally dallied with other instruments - piano accordion, 5 string banjo, bodhran - and eventually given them up. Currently taking its turn is a lap steel... can't quite decide whether to keep at it or sell it on. The thing that I've got my eye on now is upright bass - better than bass guitar for the folk music I usually play. Oddly enough, when I failed the audition for a youth orchestra on cello at 14, I was advised to switch to double bass. I didn't take the advice because I still loved the cello too much, but in hindsight, it might have been a good move... so I guess we'll see how it turns out. TomR
  12. Frank, I have wondered for a while now... what distinguishes the Professional Model from your standard instrument? Thanks, TomR
  13. Well, I got back from Old Pal tonight, exhausted but happy. Plenty of good free reed vibes. Large quantities of excellent BBQ. Big thumbs up for Jody Kruskal as a teacher. And I attended a few good dulcimer workshops too. Didn't win that beautiful dulcimer in the raffle, oh well... maybe next year. I certainly hope I can go next year! Zzzzzz....
  14. I'm hoping to find transport from Plano, TX (north suburb of Dallas) to Palestine on Thursday the 24th, and back to Dallas Love Field on Sunday the 27th. I can pay a share, or share the cost of a rental car. Alternatively, I could rent a car myself and give a lift to/from the Dallas area to someone who can chip in. I'd just rather not take on the cost (and carbon footprint) of a rental car all by myself. Also, if anyone has hotel space to share, I can sleep on the floor and pay a share of that. If you're interested, please send me a private message. Thanks, Tom Rhoads
  15. At the risk of sounding overly concerned with details, what exactly is the modification to the Jeffries layout? Thanks in advance, Tom
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