Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I BELIEVE (My latest CD)

I have been involved with this CD for almost a year. “I BELIEVE” is the title of this endeavor. The road from start to finish has witnessed many ups and downs. Yes, frustrations were all too common at times, but the work continued regardless.  Today those feelings are gone!

“I BELIEVE” is a gospel collection of varied songs of faith. I began this process by listening and searching out gospel songs. This list was a long one indeed. I continued the thought process and, eventually, reduced the list to a total of fourteen songs. The selections ended with a diversified list of songs hopefully most may find peace and enjoyment. (The selections are shown below.)

Once I had finalized the list of songs the other work began. This work included deciding on what key my voice worked the best in. The arrangement process, also, began to take place after the key was determined. This all takes much time. At this point I devised a chart system to indicate order to each song. Introductions and instrumental breaks needed decided upon, too.

These recordings are multi-track recordings on a digital recorder. Each song has from eight to fourteen individual tracks on them. I played all instruments except the steel guitar , hence the time of work producing this CD. Also, I did some harmonies on a few songs. One song, for instance has two lead vocals and four harmonies between myself and Marci Williams. (See below)

My dear friend, Marci Williams quickly offered her talents to do some harmonies for the songs once she realized the plans for this CD. Of course, I was hoping she would be interested in singing. Marci is a very talented singer; guitarist and artist and I truly appreciate her efforts. She would record the songs, that I had partially completed, and practice them at home when time allowed.   

Another dear friend, Dick Vernon agreed to add some steel guitar work to give some songs a country-flair! Dick and I have played together many times over the last fifteen, or so, years. Thank you Dick!

On a sad note, Bill Lettrich agreed to play some fiddle tunes to add more diversity to some songs. Billy came to the house and we went over a few songs. It was decided I would record what was done and mail the recordings and charts to him to practice. Billy called and said he didn’t think he could do the songs justice, but I didn’t know what was to happen. Bill was 87 years old and mentioned, while he was at the house, about not feeling well. He said the fiddle playing was keeping him alive. About a week, or so, later I received word that Bill Lettrich had passed away.

Billy’s unexpected passing would make me reevaluate my arrangements. I played some keyboards and piano in a few places. Also, I would add additional guitar work to fill the places the fiddle was to have been included .

My wife, Laurie needs some praise here at this time. Many hours in the recording studio, arranging, rearranging and performing were required to do this CD. I appreciate her patience with me for the long hours busy with the work. She is a good woman.

Anyone interested in purchasing this CD the donation price is $10.00 with an added $5.00 for shipping and handling. The CD may, also, be picked up. My e-mail is: lasmail@windstream.net   My Address is: 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201

THE SONG LIST                                                                               

1. Climb Higher

2. I BELIEVE (Title song)

3. He Knows My name

4. When He Was On The Cross

5. You’re Worthy Of My Praise

6. Thanks To Calvary

7.  Wasted Years

8.  Revelation Song

9.  Mercy Walked In

10.  Bless My Soul

11.  Help Me

12.  I Can’t Even Walk

13.  Ancient Words

14.  Come Morning



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I have been working on another CD for quite some time. The Cd is called, “I BELIEVE” and is a selection of gospel songs. Deciding on what songs to do proved to be an interesting process for me. I determine what songs to use when I listen to a series of songs and then play any particular song if it is heard continuously within my thoughts. In other words, when I keep hearing a song in my head I believe that must mean something to me. I then consider that particular song. So the selections I am using comes from a number of styles of music. If the song stays in my head the song went on the list!

As I write this entry I have fourteen songs ranging from complete to varying stages of completion. I need some harmonies to complete along with steel guitar and fiddle work. I may add piano and keyboards on a few. I do all guitar work including bass guitar. My melodious voice did all the lead vocals.

This CD, hopefully, will be completely finished within a couple of months.

Current Songs: You’re Worthy Of My Praise; Climb Higher; I Believe; Bless My Soul (10,000 Reasons); I Have A Maker; Come Morning; Revelation Song; Help Me; I Can’t even walk; Wasted Years; Mercy Walked In;  Ancient Words; When He Was on the Cross; Thanks To Calvary

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Another Evening of Gospel Music

img_2037 The Kiski Unity Free Methodist Church has been having country gospel events. I have been playing lead guitar with the gospel band of Paul Eckenrode and the Country Gospel band since last spring. There is no practice, but somehow the music falls together. Pastor Paul Eckenrode sings most of the lead vocals and provides comedy  to make for an enjoyable and spiritual evening. Pastor Walt Marr accompanies the band on drums and he always comes dressed as someone from history. This past Sunday evening he came dressed as Abraham Lincoln. Walt took  a few moments to recite Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Lincoln gave his famous address at Gettysburg on November 19th, 1863.    img_2040

Don and Sherry Townsend  play guitar and piano. Their grand-daughter, Rachel sings great! Phyllis S. plays the keyboards.  Davey Whitmire usually plays the bass guitar and vocals. Joe Wagner often plays the mandolin and I play the lead guitar. Joe and Davey couldn’t make this Sunday’s event due to prior commitments. (The two play in another gospel band called In Transition.) A guest mandolin player stopped by last Sunday.

The church is 99% filled to capacity for these gospel music events currently. WOW! The words to most songs are displayed overhead and anybody may sing along as they desire. Most do! Next event will be the first Sunday of December. A Christmas candle-light special is being planned for December 18th.


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Weekend Of Music


Old friend, Davy Whitmire and myself acting up!

Old friend, Davy Whitmire and myself acting up!

I do not wish to play full time in a band anymore. I went through that stage a long time ago. Granted, I miss the level of professionalism a band can obtain with sincere practice, but the free-lancing style can be fun, too.

Danna Vernon; Ron Stiffler; Rick Staugh and me

Danna Vernon; Ron Stiffler; Rick Staugh and me

That is what I do today. I have played recently as much as five times in a week for nursing homes, and or churches. That is a little more than I care to do, and playing that often isn’t the norm.

Last Saturday, August , I drifted south near New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, to see if I could get any playtime at the Hill Lake Jamboree. I ended up playing with some friends in a put together band. This group played traditional country music, some western swing, and gospel music.

Look how serious!

Look how serious!

We all had a great time. The music seemed to flow rather well. Musicians were: Danna Vernon on vocals; Dick Vernon on steel guitar; Rick Staugh on rhythm guitar and vocals; Ron Stiffler on bass guitar and vocals, and myself on lead guitar.


Dick Vernon

Dick Vernon

Sunday evening, August 7, I played at the Kiski Unity Free Methodist Church between West Leechburg, and Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. Here, I played lead guitar for Paul Eckenrode and the Country Gospel Band.

Paul Eckenrode and Walt Marr

Paul Eckenrode and Walt Marr

I felt good as the test song was ran through. The band members really played tight, especially when there was no practice. I received the list of songs a few minutes before we started. Most songs, however, I had heard before.

This audience really enjoyed themselves. They were singing along, and clapping enthusiastically. This made me feel good. The entire band did “very” well!


My mother, Ruth identifying as a man!!!!

My mother, Ruth identifying as a man!!!!

Band members were: Pastor Paul Eckenrode on rhythm guitar and most lead vocals; Pastor Walt Marr on drums; Morgan Reese, and Joe Wagner on mandolins; Davy Whitmire on bass guitar; Don Townsend on guitar; Sherry Townsend on piano; their granddaughter Rachel sang harmony; Pastor John P.

Jim Watt, owner of Hill Lake Jamboree

Jim Watt, owner of Hill Lake Jamboree

on harmonica, and myself on lead guitar.

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No Rhyme Or Reason

LARRY RR CROPPED ORIGINAL with words  Those reading that heading are, probably, thinking what is he up to now. The answer is simple. The words, No Rhyme Or Reason, is the title of my latest CD.

The title came about as I searched for songs  while I was planning for the CD. Some were songs I just randomly found while searching. Some of the songs I had never heard before. As you can see the songs came about because of No Rhyme Or Reason!

I slowly chose songs over a period of time. Most are  of the traditional country sound. My voice is limited in range, so I tried to use songs I felt I could handle.

Do not even ask how many hours I have in putting these songs into this CD. I don’t know, but many, many, many hours were involved. Once a song was decided upon I needed to determine the key that worked well with my voice.  Words were typed, and arrangements were worked out.                  larry rr fog sepia new (2)

Every song has many tracks on it. Most of the fifteen songs have, at least, nine to ten tracks. I begin with laying down the rhythm, and bass guitar tracks. After these have been completed then anything goes. Some songs have, as many, as five to six guitar arrangements.

Songs include songs made famous by Ray Price; Keith Whitley; George Strait; John Fogerty; Hank Williams; Taylor Swift; George Jones, and Bob Wills. Yes, there is even a western swing song form the 1940 era.

My good friend, Marci Williams sang most harmonies with her melodious voice. This CD would be much less without her superb harmony styles. She, also, sang the lead vocals on two songs. I sang harmony on one, and she sang her own harmony on the other song. What talent! Marci is, also, an incredible artist!

Other friends worked on this venture as well. My good friend, Dick Vernon, did some steel guitar on a number of songs. Another friend, Billy Rich did some great fiddle work for that country sound. Both of these gentlemen have been playing music for a long time.

Two of the included songs are original gospel songs I had written. I wrote them during spring gobbler hunting lulls over a period of time. I did some keyboard work on one of these songs. That was interesting since I don’t play the piano! Somehow it worked.       Back page

My sister, Ruthie Wolfe did the photography, and text layouts. She always does a great job! I appreciate her talents!

If anyone is interested in obtaining one of these CDs, I am asking for a $12.00 donation. If I mail them out I am asking for an additional $3.00 to help cover costs of shipping, and mailing.

Thank you for your interest!

Larry A. Smail at 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201

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Teea Goans Concert


My step father, Bob Miller and mother, Ruth with Teea


Teea Goans

What a voice! What can I say!  I had the honor to play lead guitar with Teea Goans On Saturday, September 13th at the WTYM Radio Station for an outside country jam concert.

The morning proved to be challenging for all of us trying to keep dry under a few tents. Water blew in from the sides and back. Water dripped between the tents and water even dripped through the tents. Nobody was electrocuted. The rain caused additional problems as well. The sound system people couldn’t set up everything we needed to do a successful rehearsal. Teea had to sing without a microphone. Hearing was difficult, but we managed to get a quick rehearsal in!

The band with Teea

The band with Teea

DSC_0045  After this I returned Teea to her hotel room and waited to pick her up again for the show later. The day gradually cleared after the noon rains quit, however, the winds came! Hair was being blown all about!

This band came about after much effort. We searched for a drummer and bass guitar player to offer the style of music needed to play many of the songs Teea had planned to perform. Time was short, but we managed to put together a band quickly. The band members were: Dick Vernon on steel guitar; Betty Hill on the bass guitar; Al Mechling on rhythm guitar; Jeff hazard on drums and myself  struggled through with the lead guitar.     DSC_0047   DSC_0018

Teea Goans is an up and coming country music star. She has been on RFD TV television shows with more shows coming. She has two CDs on the market and is about to begin her third CD. She has appeared on the stage of the Grand Old Opry, Branson and sang with many of the “big names” of country music.

Laurie and I took her out for the evening meal after the concert and we felt honored to become more acquainted with this “down-to-earth” young lady. Please, take some time to visit  her web at:  http://www.teeagoans.com


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Over the last several months I have been engaged in a music project. The project consisted of working with my friend, Al Mechling. Al is owner, along with his wife Marla, of Mechling Bookbindery  north of Butler, Pennsylvania on Route 38. The business deals with books and restoration and bookbinding. Their web site is: http://www.mechlingbooks.com

Marla Mechling Photo

Marla Mechling Photo

However, back to the music project details. Al, and myself, worked on making a CD entitled, “Songs from The Heart.”  Al did all lead vocals on this country-styled endeavor. My task was to arrange and place the various instrumental tracks prior to his vocals. I played all guitar parts, bass guitar and did some piano and keyboard tracks as well. Al’s daughter, Melissa Lauer, performed the piano work on an old classic called, “The Last Date.” The CD has over eighty tracks on it with twelve songs recorded. This equated to many hours of work!

Al is greatly involved in the MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION and he is donating all proceeds to this organization.

A special introduction was included on this accomplishment by Ashley-Anne Stump. Ashley-Anne is a special young lady to Al. She has benefited from Al’s dedication and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Anyone interested with a purchase can go to:  http://www.mechlingbooks.com/product-p/cd100.htm


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