a guitarist's occasional blog
I'm back in the recording studio, though with a pandemic twist to it. We're recording a couple of tunes this fall with fellow musicians contributing parts from their own home recording rigs. That's the safe way to do it. Fortunately, the people I get to work with are good at this.
In the meantime, I've got a video to share. My friend Brud Giles at Fremont Recording recorded my A Whisper in this Town album that I released back in 2017. He has since moved his studio out to a great space on Sauvie Island. I finally got to visit, and I'm pretty sure this is where I want to record music for the rest of my days.
This was a first take of my song "Iron County". Brud used a matched pair of Coles 4038 microphones. The space is cozy and sounds fabulous, and Brud knows what he is doing. The guitar is my prized Martin D21 Special. I'm really happy with everything here. I hope you enjoy it!
"Iron County" words and music copyright Chuck Cheesman 2018
I am now opening up my online teaching to more students. Sadly, it looks as if this is going to be our only realistic option for making music together for quite some time. If you are interested in guitar, ukulele, or songwriting lessons, please get in touch.
Teaching online has been far more enjoyable and productive than I thought it would be. It works quite well, and it has provided some much needed human interaction for both teacher and students during this pandemic.
I hope you are finding a safe and healthy path through these hard times. Keep up the hope, and try to stay connected with the people you love. Fight the good fight.
"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public." ~ Cornel West
Black Lives Matter
Like a lot of other professional musicians, all of my work was canceled when the pandemic hit. All my teaching and gigs evaporated almost immediately. Fortunately for my family, my wife is our primary breadwinner and she has continued to work. I am fortunate and grateful.
The first few weeks staying home had me feeling helpless as I watched all that was happening. It is important to me that I contribute something positive to my community. When a few friends asked me about online lessons I found a small way to help.
Over the last few months I've been teaching some guitar lessons using Facetime. The lessons have been a highlight of my week. Even though the contact is across the internet, it is still a sort of human contact. I've needed that! More importantly, together we have been able to donate all the money I charge for the lessons to some good organizations. As of today, we've given a total of $1490. Oregon Food Bank has so far received $650, and we have sent Portland's Neighborhood House $840. It is a modest amount of money, but something is a lot better than nothing.
I want to thank my students Roger, Henry, Kayla, F.X., and Jess for making these donations possible and for giving me a bit more purpose each week.
With my family supportive of this plan, I am going to continue donating money from some of the online lessons I teach – probably the first four lessons each week. Beginning in July, I am going to pick some different organizations that focus on various causes where we can help.
I would like the next donations to be in spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement. Oregon Public Broadcasting recently did an article Racism in the Great Outdoors that really hit close to home for me, and I think I might use that as a guide.
Let's stick together and support each other and our communities. Wear a mask, social distance, give if you can, and check in on people who need a "hello". Black lives matter. We all need to help fix things.
I hope this finds you safely at home and in good health.
I wanted to let you know that all of my own work is currently on hold. The Multnomah Arts Center is currently closed until at least April 28th. I'm also not teaching out of my home studio. My wife works in healthcare and is our primary source of income. But other than her work, my family is strictly following guidelines for social distancing and sheltering at home to try to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
I have a tremendous amount of concern for my colleagues. Many professional musicians operate completely independent of any regular employment. It's a constant hustle to the next gig or teaching opportunity. All of these gigs are now wiped from the calendar for the near future. It's going to be incredibly difficult and stressful for them.
There are ways to help if you are in the position to give:
In regard to that last bullet point, The Alberta Rose Theaterin Portland is offering a series of twenty streaming concerts for $100. I can think of no better way to support a great local venue and some of our favorite Portland musical artists, and also to keep the economy moving along a bit. Get a ticket and enjoy a huge amount of wonderful music.
Please stay safe and do your part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Try to keep yourself busy doing things you love to do with the people you love at home. We all need to tend not only to our physical health, but our mental health as well.
I look forward to getting back to music with you!
Chuck Cheesman writes hopeful, loving, and sometimes funny songs for people of all ages.
All materials ©℗ Chuck Cheesman
Banner photo by Gina Dazzo