Move It On Over. And Over. And...

Mar 26, 2020
This is the third time in four years I've packed up my studio to relocate. The first time was voluntary; I'd been in the same space for eight years and the lack of sound isolation, indifferent management and complete inability to get anything done for the two weeks around South By Southwest finally put me over the edge. I moved from there into a real studio and a space I'd always wanted to work out of, occupying the room I'd done my first paid jingle in more than ten years prior. All of my early Youtube videos were shot there, but the real highlight was getting a selfie with Neil Gaiman just after he'd just finished some voice recording down the hall with my friend Shayna. Then the building got sold. I did score a highly functional client couch on my way out the door, so there's that.

From there I moved into a house with another composer, the super-talented Chris James, and my equally talented pal Matt, who mixed my Pennsylvania Station Blues record. Once again, no soundproofing, so we all sort of dodged and weaved and worked with each others' schedules and deadlines, and I rigged up some big panels to block out as much of the traffic noise as possible. Those are the black rectangles behind me in most of the more recent Youtube videos and all of the Fingerstyle Five material, and they're not perfect – you can still hear the occasional truck downshifting on Cesar Chavez Street in those rare moments when I actually pause and take a breath during one of my lessons. But then that building got sold, and I decided it was time to leave all that food-trailer, electric-scooter hipness behind and move someplace closer to home, literally and figuratively.

So as of yesterday, all my stuff is at my newest location, a few days ahead of the end of the month, and when I figure out just how the latest shelter-in-place rules are going to work here in Austin, I'll see about getting it all set up. I will say this, though: As of this move, I've pretty much got it down. I fit nearly every instrument I own into my Subaru in a single trip (which either means the Subaru is an awesome ride or that I need to buy more guitars). Then I got all my recording gear boxed up for the movers in a single epic noon-to-midnight extravaganza –  and the last hour of that was spent wiping everything down with Lysol while half-listening to an Imaginary Worlds podcast about "Retroactive Continuity." The next morning, I moseyed over to the new place with a set of keys, watched all the boxes and furniture pile up in a corner, wrote a check (from six feet away) and went home. Awesome.

When I embarked on this megillah three paragraphs ago I was thinking maybe there was some greater point to be made about how repetition leads to mastery, but now that I've gotten here that feels like far too much pedagogical weight to hang off of the slender premise of learning to pack up my junk. Luckily, I have a new Youtube lesson out today, so, like Monty Python, I can just dispense with sticking the landing and cut right to something new, minus the giant squelchy stop-action cartoon boot. Watch:

This week, for part two in my six-part series on Travis picking the blues, I teach how to improvise with bass runs. If you've always wanted to play licks over a Magic Sam boogie while answering yourself with John Lee Hooker bass moves (and come on, who hasn't?), this is your chance:

Improvising With Bass Runs

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More soon,


P.S. Next Tuesday I'll be releasing the first lesson of an in-depth, three-part series on developing fingerstyle technique and repertoire. This lesson includes an arrangement of the eight-bar blues "Trouble In Mind," and if you want to get a jump on things, you can download the tab now for the arrangement featured in the lesson. The link below will ask you for your email again, so I can let you know when the lesson posts (and avoid sending extraneous emails about it to anyone who isn't interested).

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