No tags :(

It’s a while back, the summer of 2016 perhaps, when all my upper teeth are removed. They’ve had enough; years and years of abuse from wine, curry, tobacco, recreational drugs… being shaken loose by the pressure generated in the saxophone mouthpiece, and who knows what else. There’s little concern about not playing my horn, it’s been a while since that was taken seriously. Though I still liked to play casually, alone in the privacy of my workshop. So what now?

“What do you do all day out there on that island” was an oft-asked question from the urbanites left behind back east. Well I do live in a paradise free from the noise, rules and stupidity of the city and though I can go about my day with little or no interference, outside of my immediate social circle there is very little refined understanding or appreciation of what I consider culture; and on occasion intellectual stimulation can be a challenge. Plus the physical limitations of being elderly often an hindrance. I do have friends, some musicians, two who helped me along with my next musical episode.

Later that same year [October 2016] the two Hornby friends – Dana Inglis and Gord Bateman – each lent me a guitar; one a slightly beat-up Johnson Resonator Dobro the other a Baby Taylor 3/4 size acoustic. Just to give it a try. Guitar is an instrument I’ve never thought of playing, bringing about a new challenge involving multiple hand co-ordination, chord sequences, six strings tuned in incomprehensible intervals. Not the linear up-and-down key action of the sopranino saxophone.

The author’s two daughters Karla & Natasha with house guest Bukka White [1972] • Photograph William E. [Bill] Smith

I have, in my abstract investigations, discovered one of the secrets of certain early country blues players that I admire. A system described as open tuning. The six strings [conventionally E-A-D-G-B-E] tuned using only the triadic notes of a chord [i.e. G-B-D = G Major], a simplistic, and for me, more logical pattern. This tuning system allowing me to produce, within a relatively short time, sounds that fit my imaginary sonic landscape that are based on a long-time love of the rough-edged boisterous language of country blues artists; Bukka White being an example. The story’s heading – Talkin’ To Myself, is inspired by the Blind Willie McTell song of the same name. However there is no intention of replicating the magical stories that belong to their lives, lay claim to a century-old Black American tradition.

Willie “Bottleneck” MacMyth [2016] Photograph Sheila Macpherson

After renting an amplifier in nearby Courtenay, I set about, with the Dobro plugged in, to attempt to unearth its covert resonating parlance. As is my wont, a character was invented for this caper. Willie “Bottleneck” MacMyth the chosen pseudonym. Over the winter of 2016/17 I created and recorded a series of pieces and burnt a CD in an edition of ten which were sent as Christmas presents to ten friends. I titled the CD The Field Recordings of Willie “Bottleneck” MacMyth. A pseudonymous character existing in an mythical realm.

The two recordings embedded in this post are from that project, both from November 2016.









I Thought I Heard Robert Johnson Say

Love In Vain