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David Hakan's Blog
All last week I had the honor of meeting the people who support the Glendale Folk Festival by performing, pickin, grinnin, volunteering or planning. To my delight many of them showed up at my main stage set on the historic Foreman's Porch stage, along with quite a few festival goers. I had begun to wonder what would happen to the crowds at that stage as the temperature rose to 96 degrees. Keep in mind that one of the stages is inside...with air conditioning. Although I did all originals, people seemed to enjoy my set and bought CDs. Who could ask for more?
Let's All Go To Barbara's Place is the start of the chorus for that song. And it is more true than ever. Besides the big house in Phoenix, Barb and Chuck Giamalvo have a huge barn in the back that could easily seat 120. Carpet, insulation and an arched wooden ceiling make for a great acoustical space.
People came out for my concert and bought CDs. But they also came out for the pot luck and the start of all the jams and song circles. Recording sessions in the morning. Workshops after lunch. At dinner, "Are you coming back to the Barn? Bring your instruments." All are welcome. That autoharp and fiddle will bring the angels home.
Corrales, New Mexico has this great bar that does live music every night of the week. Since I'll be coming through on a Monday, I get a show there. Well, it turns out I was playing for my supper. I was on stage (the open spot by the piano) singing as the last of the patrons went back home, and thought that this certainly wasn't the first time I had played for a meal. Then I remembered the Very First Time I sang for my supper.
I was 17 that summer. I went on a 6-week tour of the West with my buddy Mark. (Who was 16, and just learned to drive.) We took my parents' Volvo station wagon. (Was I a lucky kid, or what?) I took my brand new guitar that I got in April, my Martin D-12-20 (twelve string). We had a friend who said we could stay with them in Portland, OR. We kept heading north till we got to the first campground in Canada, just outside of Vancouver. It was a beautiful spot with a big pond. One family had camped right beside the pond. I took my guitar down to the pond and started playing. The family invited us over and wanted to hear more music. Then when they had their big batch of spaghetti ready, they asked if we wanted to join them. So I got dinner for the two of us from playing a few songs.
I thought that was so cool. Especially since we weren't really prepared for cooking on this trip. (Our experiment with chocolate pancakes was a big flop.)
But singing for my supper is really about people listening and appreciating my songs enough to offer something in return. Food for my body, food for my soul.
All along I-40 I was treated to the graceful dance of white giant windmills producing clean energy. Oklahoma had some really close to the highway. Then there were some in the Texas Panhandle. Then in New Mexico, I saw a farm with white and GRAY windmills. Too cool. Here is a map of windmill farms in the US. Let's build these while we can.
First Overnight Test in the Gypsy Wagon Shell at 30 Degrees
It was time. The design hinges (pun intended) on the Laveo Dry Flush Toilet actually Working, and Fitting in the little shower space of the trailer.
So I bought the Laveo and moved in for the night. It got down to 30 degrees overnight, but I was inside the garage, and I had the space heater on. Just in case, I brought out my sleeping bag. I am SO glad I did.
One thing I wanted to test is how fast the space would warm up. If I get in late from playing music and it was 50 degrees inside the Shell. When I was changed and ready for bed it had warmed up to 56 degrees. Most of the night it was about 68 degrees which is fine for me. I think the real heater I end up using will do better than that especially since the Gypsy Wagon Studio will be so well insulated and air tight.
I did have to have a lot of Stuff, change of clothes, water, LED lights, quick-inflate mattress, etc. Storage is going to be a continual challenge. But with a truck right next to it, this should be quick and easy to set up and pack up. Cosy is good.
The Gypsy Wagon Shell audio test was supposed to take one or two days. Well the good news is that my fears of low frequencies getting magnified was unfounded. But I was getting a "bump" at 1,000 Hz. So I unplugged my "big" Rode mic and hooked up my "little" Rode mic. The bump was almost gone. Ut Oh. Time to invest in a really pro, flat response mic. So I order a Blue Microphones "Baby Bottle". When it arrives I get a much better reading. I put a little padding by the door and everything evens out. I will have to "tune" the final Gypsy Wagon Studio, but that should not be hard at all.
Once the test was done, I didn't want to leave. I just kept playing my guitar and singing. The space gives a natural compression. This means all the subtleties and nuances of the instrument are heard clearly. These are the delicate parts of a wooden instrument that get lost in a living room with carpet, upholstered furniture and drapes. There is also a natural reverb. When I closed my eyes it seemed like I was playing my guitar in a space twice that size. No echoes, but not dry either. Amazing sound. (And the real Gypsy Wagon Studio will be 5 inches taller. Much bigger. It will have 3/4 inch Douglas Fir Tongue and Groove paneling instead of thin plywood.) It will really sound amazing.
So my builder is working this week to finish the design and give me the detailed price quote. Let's do this.
Every Home Has A Door
We are close, very close to finishing the Gypsy Wagon Shell. I was able to make the door, but not hang it in place. I learned that you can’t make a door from the hole you cut in the front and expect it to work. You have to trim it some so it is a bit smaller.
Now the final ribs under the rafters. Stain to match. Bring in the other light and put a hook up for it. Oh, my. It is done. It took just a bit longer that a couple of days, more like 26 hours of work for the two of us. But worth it.
Now to test the audio.