Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Fiddle

I have wondered about obtaining a fiddle for a few years now. The hope for me is to learn enough to add some fiddle notes on the CDs I make. A month ago, I acquired a fiddle, but as the photo shows the instrument is in need of some love and maybe a few repairs.

Inside the fiddle states this instrument is a copy of a Jakobus Stainer and made in Germany.

The neck was completely off the fiddle’s body. The fiddle nut was missing. the nut is a wood or bone piece that fits at the end of the neck board. There was no bridge for the strings to rest on. Two metal fine tuners were missing. Also, the bow used to drift along the strings to make the sounds did not have any horsehair. The horsehair is stretched on the bow.

So, once I assessed the needs I began searching and ordering parts. I have all the parts needed including strings. I have been working on making the nut out of bone. The neck and other wood repairs have been reglued with Hide Glue. My next step is to glue the nut in place once I have all the sizing completed with the string guide slots filed in.

I as given a fiddle this past week. It too has seen past issues, but it helps to use it for the measurements often in millimeters.

One point all the readers of this post must know. I do not know how to play a fiddle! Ha ha. I hope to work on that once the fiddle is all completed. Wish me luck!

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Earlier this year I released an instrumental CD called Quiet Time. The initial reasoning as to making this instrumental was for a song to be lightly played during a prelude to prayer during church services. Interest arose and some wanted to obtain copies of the CD.

Quiet Time #2 is the second release of fourteen songs of faith for the quiet time prelude to prayer.

I play all instruments on the CD including all string instruments and piano and keyboards. The production takes some time considering various songs may have double digit tracks for completion.

Anyone interested in acquiring a CD contact me at Larry Smail, 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201. I am seeking a ten-dollar donation. Shipping, please, add an additional five dollars.

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Quiet Time Gospel

Quiet Time Gospel

The CD cover shown above featured within this blog site entry is called, “Quiet Time Gospel.” This selection of sixteen gospel/ traditional hymn songs came about through an interesting discussion.

Currently, Laurie and I have been attending the Kittanning Free Methodist Church which is actually several miles from Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Their site is: https://www.kittanningfmc.org/ The church has some great people and friends. The covid issue caused some problems with the attendance numbers, but I understand many churches have been struggling with regaining their numbers.

The pastor of this church presently is, Jeremy Andrews. We get along fine. He is a kind, compassionate man. However, I am not so much…haha.

Recently, he discussed the possibility of myself playing a non-amplified acoustic guitar during a time he refers to as Quiet Time. This is the reasoning behind the title of the CD. I tried doing the guitar a couple of times and was not happy with my sound, so I suggested another option of doing some songs on a CD to use in my place. The pastor was receptive, and I hurriedly made a CD of sixteen songs. I purposely arranged the songs to be in an easy listening style. I did four to eight tracks per song with various acoustic and electric guitar work, bass guitar and keyboards. So, in the few minutes prior to a prayer time one of these recorded songs are played softly during the Quiet Time.

As an afterthought, I decided to take these songs and add some light drum work for a more completed sound on a CD which is the result shown above. I had taken some photographs the previous week of Canada Lilies and thought one of those pics would make for an attractive CD label.

I am currently in the arrangement and recording stage of another Quiet Time CD featuring some more “contemporary” gospel songs.

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In recent days I completed my seventh CD entitled, ” COUNTRY CLASSICS FOR BOB.” I began planning for this venture last summer, I believe.

Bob Miller is my stepfather. He has had some bad issues to deal with in recent years. In December of 2018, he was within inches of being killed in a freak woodland incident. A tree fell grazing hm and breaking his ankle. He still has hardware in his leg from that time.

The following spring in 2019 another issue came to be and by early summer it was confirmed he had cancer. We were told the cancer was terminal. However, here it is in early 2022, and Bob is still with us. He has been taking chemo seems like forever. The treatment makes Bob weak and frail, but he is able to still keep functioning.

Bob has always loved country music, so I decided to do classic country music as a form of dedication. He loves the music and sings along with it.

Bob’s first fall gobbler. I was honored to have called the bird in to range.

The song selection features country songs performed by the likes of: Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash; Ray price; Charley Pride; Eddy Arnold; Mel Tillis and others.

All the instruments involved in this CD along with vocals and harmony vocals were completed by myself. You’ll hear the sounds of acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, mandolins, keyboards, strings, drums, trumpets and piano. The songs have anywhere from eight to twelve individual tracks combined into one song, so it is easily to see a lot of time is involved with the making of a CD.

Those interested with obtaining a CD can get one with a ten-dollar donation to pick up. Add another five dollars if to mail. My address is: 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201.

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After many days and weeks and months my latest Cd has been completed. The CD is called, “I Won’t Have To Worry Anymore.” The time to do one is long for as in this case I did all vocals and all instruments. the number of tracks per song always is eight or more. Once all tracks have been completed the bouncing of tracks begins to one track.

The songs are diversified. Most of the songs have been recorded by many artists. The legendary Hank Williams wrote the song, House of Gold. he wrote and recorded a lot of gospel songs. Some songs were originally recorded in a bluegrass style. Some are country. Some are contemporary and more modern gospel songs.

If interested you may contact me or send along $10.00 donation. Shipping is an additional five dollars for a total of $15.00. My mailing address is: 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201. Local interests may pick up at my home.

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Five CDs and Counting


Around 2012, I received a digital CD recorder. The first time spent with this contraption was discouraging. I am not a tech-type of a person. The recorder intimidated me, but I began the experimentation process to see what I could learn. After all, there was a college course to take, but I went at on my own and I met with many obstacles to overcome and I am still learning “tricks of the trades” so to speak.

My first attempt was a surprise CD called, “SONGS FOR MY MOTHER”. I searched my memory for songs I had heard as a boy at home. My mother purchased many of the old 45RPM records and, of course, I heard the music often. I chose some and began working at finding the keys suitable for me to sing in. One must remember I haven’t sung since a young fellow. I played it safe on this CD and chose keys to avoid fearful singing issues. I have asthma and I run out of air easily.

The late, Dick Vernon played some steel guitar on this Cd and my friend, Marci Williams sang on it and offered the harmony voices, too. I played all other instruments.

In the fall of 2013 I presented this CD to my mother at a local campground event. At first she thought I was playing a joke on her until she saw the CD cover. (Why would she expect a joke from me?) She was emotional for she wanted me to sing for many, many years. She was in shock! I couldn’t have given her a better gift.

My second Cd called No RHYME OR REASON.

The second CD saw improvement as I learned additional tricks with the recorder. I searched for songs in this country-style CD and narrowed them down.

Dick Vernon played steel guitar on this Cd and another friend Billy Rich did fiddle work. Marci Williams sang two additional songs and the harmony vocals. I played all other instruments. I did two original gospel songs on this CD, as well. (I have redone these two songs since then.)

Inside cover

Back cover

The third Cd was a gospel recording called, I BELIEVE. This one featured a variety of gospel songs I have liked for whatever reason. Some of these songs are traditional and some are contemporary songs.

I BELIEVE, my third CD.

On this CD I had Dick Vernon play some steel guitar work. Marci Williams did the harmonies. I did a little harmony work, too. Unfortunately, Billy Rich came to house and we were planning for some fiddle work and he unexpecting passed away. I did all other instruments on this recording.

Inside cover, I believe
The fourth CD called, KEPER OF THE STARS

My fourth CD title came about due to my wife’s desire for the song on the CD. She believed the song was meant for our marriage and wanted me to do it. My friend, Dick Vernon had passed away while I was planning and working on this CD. Another friend, Mark Hamilton did the steel guitar work. I did all other instruments and harmony work.

Inside cover of KEEPER OF THE STARS

Back cover of the CD.

My fifth CD is called, HEARTACHES AND HONKY TONKS. Interestingly, I did all vocals and instruments on this CD.

The fifth CD with me trying to look in a heartache mood.

Most songs on this CD related with classic honky tonk style songs which include heartaches. I included the song Wagon Wheel and a gospel song on this recording as well.

I am working on a sixth recording which is to be another gospel CD. At the time of this entry I have six songs completed. The tentative title may be I MET THE MASTER.

The help on these recordings need to addressed again. My sister, Ruthi Wolfe took some of the photos for these five CDs. Again, Dick Vernon and Mark Hamilton with their steel guitar work. Billy Rich and his fiddle work and my friend, Marci Williams for vocals and harmony. Their additions helped greatly.


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Done gone country!

For many years I played in bands as a lead guitar player. I played some rock in a rock band for a time before joining up with a family-based band doing various styles of music from polkas, waltzes, square dances…

My next band to play in was a country band. I followed this band playing county, some rock, top 40 of those times, bluegrass, some polkas and other varied music. Although this band was called a county band we did do a variety of music. Each of these bands supplied interesting facts about music and the various genres and the issues of personalities.

However, there came a time for me to stop playing. I was tired of two and three night weekends traveling about doing music and coming home smelling like smoke. I quit! Many years later I started playing in gospel bands and still play in a free-lancing way.

BUT- many of those songs of country music had melodious tunes I enjoyed. I really didn’t pay a lot of attention to the lyrics, during those days, for I was a lead guitar player.

As I began to organize my thoughts for this fifth CD, I eventually settled in to the title of, “HEARTACHES AND HONKY TONKS (Mostly). Last December, Laurie and I spent some days in the Nashville area. We walked the streets of the famous Music Row in Nashville. Walking those streets filled with old-fashioned honky tonks with live music exploding from many forced the decision for the title indeed. I remember announcing this title on the way home. Bands play in these places hoping to have an agent stop in and sign them up. They play for tips. This has been happening since the forties, at least.

I sat down listening and searching for various songs of the honky tonk era and eventually came up with the list below. I added some of the famous performers of each song, but most have been recorded many times by varied artists. You may have noticed the extra word in the title of “mostly.” A couple of songs do not fit the true honky tonk time. I have, also, included one gospel song.

This CD is different with past recordings for I did all guitar work, bass guitar. five-string banjo, percussion, piano, keyboard and all lead vocals and harmony vocals… A lot of effort. The time recording happens here at my home with a digital recorder. This CD is better than the others, for I began to work with mastering the music. I had failed awhile back and sort of forgotten about it. I studied more on mastering and completed each song with improvements.

The CD can be purchased for $10.00. (Fifteen dollars with shipping and handling.) Send check to myself at 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201.

Photos for this CD are from my sister, Ruthie Wolfe.

The song list:

  1. Good Hearted Woman (Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson)
  2. Texas Honky Tonk (Justin Trevino and Amber Digby)
  3. Statue of a Fool (Jack Greene and Ricky Van Shelton)
  4. Tennessee Whiskey (George Jones)
  5. You’re Still On My Mind (George Jones and LeeAnn Womack)
  6. Ain’t You Even Gonna Cry (Jim Ed brown and Merle Haggard)
  7. Pop A Top (Alan Jackson, and Jim Ed brown)
  8. Wagon Wheel (Old Crow Medicine Show and Darius Rucker)
  9. My Next Broken Heart (Brooks and Dunn)
  10. Night Life (Ray Price and Willie Nelson)
  11. Swinging Doors (Merle Haggard)
  12. Am I That easy To Forget (Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves)
  13. City Lights (Ray Price and Bill Anderson)
  14. 14. Walk On By (Leroy van Dyke)
  15. Lord Send Your Angels (Candy Hemphill Christmas and the Easters)

The time is immense with deciding on songs, the arrangements and then further planning the music, but the time keeps me out of trouble. ..mostly!

Back cover information

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Keeper Of The Stars

Keeper Of The Stars

Well it is complete. My fourth CD called, “KEEPER OF THE STARS” has finally been arranged and placed onto a CD. I have about  nine months of time utilized for this endeavor. The first step was to find songs to place onto the CD. They need to be songs that my feeble voice can succeed with. I breathe very shallow so my lung capacity isn’t the best. Add asthma issues so singing can be challenging at times due to running out of air at the end of a line.

Once the songs were decided upon,  I needed to find out what key works best for that particular song.  I typed the words and determined the chords and plan an arrangement. Then the recording process begins, track by track!

The digital recorder I have has seven individual tracks. I then take various tracks and bounce them onto two tracks. I, at this time, can add more tracks. However, I will need to erase the bounced tracks. This isn’t the ideal way to record, but that is my current capabilities. Sometimes I wish I still had an erased track to increase volume if needed.  Like I said this isn’t the very best way to record. I have had songs with as many as fifteen individual tracks.

Eventually, the tracks have been completed and bounced onto a special track used to do the final CD. My sister Ruthie Smail Wolfe did the CD designs for me. She did a great job and my friend, mark Hamilton did some steel work on seven of the fourteen songs. Mark is a great friend and fellow musician. I did all vocals and all other instruments…guitars, bass guitar, banjo, keyboards…

This CD is available for a donation of ten dollars for pick up. Add five dollars for shipping if I need to mail. Send check to: Larry A. Smail, 481 Butler Road Kittanning, PA 16201.

On a sad note and after many hours I lost two songs and had recorder issues while trying to redo. Those songs were, Wagon Wheel and Lord Send Me Your Angels.

The songs on this CD include:

  1. Blue Ridge Mountain Blues -This is an old bluegrass number and I do play the 5-string banjo on this song. I used an upbeat arrangement style closer to the John Fogerty arrangement. Fogerty was of the Creedence Clearwater Revival days. he, later, was the band Blue Ridge Rangers where he did all instruments and vocals.
  2.  Keeper Of The Stars– Sung by Tracey Byrd. Laurie, my wife, liked the words and requested I do the song.
  3.  How’s The World Treating You was recorded by many over the years. James Taylor and Alison Kraus may have been the most recent duet to record the song.
  4. Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye has been recorded by many singers over the last decades.
  5.  A Way To Survive was recorded by Ray Price. I loved how is voice worked and I worked to copy his style.
  6. Here Comes My Baby Back Again was written and recorded by Dottie West back in the sixties.
  7. The Little Girl was recorded by John Michael Montgomery and has a powerful Christian message at the end.
  8.  Peaceful Easy Feelings was recorded in the seventies by the Eagles. I worked a long time perfecting the instrumental.
  9.  Life Turned Her That Way was recorded by Ricky Van Shelton.
  10. Some Call It Heaven came about in an interesting way. A friend wanted to do the song for her future. I did the musical tracks in the key of F. She couldn’t do it in that key so I tried it and used it. I redid the song for her in the key of E.
  11. Tulsa Time was recorded by many singers. Don Williams and Eric Clapton made it famous.
  12. Help Me Make It through the Night was another song requested by my wife.
  13.  All I Have To Offer You Is Me was recorded by Charley Pride.
  14.  Take Your Memory With You was recorded by Vince Gill.

The other three CDS are: Songs For My Mother; No Rhyme Or Reason and I Believe. (Gospel music)


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Teea Goans

A short time ago I had an opportunity to play lead guitar with a lovely young lady named Teea Goans. Although we tried to organize a band quickly and rehearse a lot that didn’t happen. We eventually had some musicians together like a week before the concert with Teea. I was very nervous for I knew we didn’t have the time needed to learn various styles and practice like we needed. Oh well, we did our best for her and for the most part the show went rather well.

Over the weekend, Laurie and I and took along a mutual friend Danna Vernon went to the Wheeling Jamboree in Wheeling, west Virginia to see a concert including Teea. Danna’s husband, Dick Vernon had played as a staff band member many years ago for a time. Dick expectantly passed last February. This has been a sad time for all of us. This would prove to be good therapy for Danna.

L-R me; laurie; Teea and Danna

I met Teea through the actions of the Vernons. I hesitantly agreed to play guitar knowing the problems we had musically to deal with. We pulled that show off. So, in a way, this was a great reunion to see Teea and visit a little.

Several other groups and musicians were present to perform that evening in Wheeling, but we were anxious to see Teea. She did her usual great singing covering various types of music. She did swing, country, gospel all with true professionalism. Even when the staff band had some playing issues she carried the day.

Teea is often seen on country music stations on RFD TV. She has been often on Country family reunion Shows; Larry’s Country Diner and the Dailey and Vincent Show.

The three of us really enjoyed the show.

Teea and Danna




I met Dolly, too!

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Recently, Laurie and I spent several days in the Lancaster and Gettysburg areas of eastern Pennsylvania. The primary reason for being in these communities was  to see the stage production of “JESUS” at the Sights and Sounds Theater at Strasburg.  See http://www.sight-sound.com to learn more about this theater. Words can not describe the power of this production.  The acting is top notch and the stage props are outstanding. The props give the illusion of being in Jerusalem at the temple and other places. Live animals move about the stage. We saw sheep, goats, pigs, horses with Roman soldiers riding on them; white doves and donkeys. And there camels used , too. These animals often move up and down the aisles among the audience for effect. Speaking of effects the lightings, sounds, weather and raging seas allow for a great stage event.

One amazing feature that enhances the events is a huge multi-million dollar digital/ led computerized kind of back stage screening that shows actual scenes from Israel. One might see the city of  Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and more. Another aspect that further enhances the view is the fact of the continual stages on both sides of the audiences with active acting events being shown.  This gives much depth to the overall experience.

The shows of that day were both sell-outs! We, both, highly recommend visiting the theater to see first hand one of these plays.

Park at Lititz, PA

We spent time in various Amish and Mennonite farm communities such as Lititz. Here we visiting a pretzel-making business and the home of Wilbur chocolates. Laurie and I spent some time in a beautiful park. We saw farms in Ephrata and other communities.

We saw another stage production at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater called “SWING.” I have always enjoyed listening to Glenn Miller and the like, A live band and professional singers and dancers covered the stage. The music covered the time of Harlem swing music into the World War two years of the Big Band era.

We, also, spent some time in Gettysburg the community made famous from the three-day Civil war battle being fought here in 1863.  We ate in the historic Dobbin House. This original building was built in 1776 and is the oldest building in Gettysburg. Visit their site at: http://www.dobbinhouse.com  for details. We spent some time walking the streets of the famous town and visiting the Gettysburg National Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address in November 1863. Over 3,500 Union soldiers are buried here. See: http://www.nps.gov for details on the cemetery.

That evening we watched another play called, “MAMA MIA.” This production was at the Totem Pole Playhouse. Their site is: http://www.totempoleplayhouse.org

I didn’t take many photos on this venture due to not being permitted at the plays to light rain conditions in Gettysburg.


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