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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Second Guest, Not Second Guessed

Joel D. Canfield

I do love word play still, sorry. So today I have a guest post from online friend Joel D. Canfield, another who loves to play with words. And who does so splendidly. I met him through Seth Godin's Triiibes. Here's his story.

Hi, I'm Joel, and I'll be your server today.

On March 12, 2002 I started blogging about music; music I loved, music I wrote, music and how it affected my life. When I launched my musiblog, I wrote this pseudo-bio which is still probably the best short explanation of my relationship with music. (We're, y'know, [insert visual image of crossed fingers here] like that.) is a by-product of a lifetime of musical ingestion. As a child in Wisconsin, entertainment was primarily homemade music. Even though it was the 60s, we didn't have a television (well, not one that worked.) My father played every instrument I ever saw him touch, and his brothers and sister were (and are) quite talented as well. I thought everyone played a musical instrument, and that they all wanted to be Woody Guthrie or Jimmie Rodgers when they grew up. No astronaut or cowboy dreams for me; my lifelong ambition has been to finally record the music that's built up inside my head.

When we finally got a phonograph (for you kids, that's kind of like a turntable and amp all in one, except back then, it only had one speaker, because the music wasn't in stereo) the first four record albums my parents bought were 'Marty Robbins Gunfighter Ballads' and three albums by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem (as I recall, they were 'Recorded Live in Ireland', 'Hearty and Hellish', and 'Live at Carnegie Hall.') As a result, I grew up thinking that 'music' meant country and western or Irish folk songs. The Beatles had a pretty good cartoon, but I distinctly remember the first time I heard 'rock and roll'—someone called 'The Rolling Stones.' I didn't like it.

My musical taste has broadened a bit since then. On any given day I may listen to Chopin, The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Led Zeppelin, Gordon Lightfoot, David Gray, and Moby. Oh yes; the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are still favorites, and I definitely lean toward Celtic music.

After 20 years trying to teach me a few chords on the guitar, my father almost despaired of me. I learned about a decade ago that I can play a few chords on the piano, and around the same time picked up a friend's Washburn A10 bass and discovered that as long as I kept it simple, it came pretty easy. (I traded some web work for the Washburn.) Since then I've gotten a Fender Precision Bass, which sees much more use than the old Washburn.

When I am working on my writing, if I'm near an instrument, it's the piano. Still have trouble with chords on the guitar despite having a gorgeous Seagull six-string. I gave my Gibson acoustic to my oldest daughter. She practiced every single day for over a year, playing it Hendrix style since she's a lefty. I finally restrung it upside down for her, and she's been better than me for a long time now.

While my musical taste is broad, my musical influences have been few.

My father instilled a deep-seated emotional response to music early in my life by making it a part of my childhood, and later in life, by allowing it to be a bridge between us when other bridges failed.

Stan Black, the greatest guitar player I've ever met, and one of the best I've ever heard, professional or amateur, taught me that passion for music can sometimes be enough. I don't know many people less ambitious than Stan, but when we used to play together, he'd reach a point where he was inside himself; eyes closed, head back and swaying, firing off slashing licks that only a Clapton or Vaughan could hope to best. When we played together, the music was enough.

And finally, my middle daughter, who, besides having a marvelous voice and being my favorite poet, writes powerfully moving and fun music, and often lets me be a part of it.

I'm always interested in talking about music. Drop me a line at; I love hearing from any music lover.

Joel D Canfield is a singer/songwriter, a business author and mentor in business heresy.


What are your musical influences?


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Be My Guest

As I'm nearing my 500th post to this blog, it is going to change. For the better I hope.

I don't have the time or oomph to blather on about what I'm thinking anymore. No more philosophical ramblings. Hopefully. I really shouldn't be on about that.

What I should be on about is the music, the art.

I will continue to update you all about what's going on when major things happen, but continuing plot lines in the story of Vinyl Art will mostly be found in my email newsletter, which is free to subscribe to on And you can find discussions and likable links at And when minor things happen, I share them at

So then, what's left for this blog is the art. New pieces. New exhibitions. New commissions. That kind of thing. Better, no?

And, what I'm REALLY excited about is making this blog more communal, more focussed on what I'm here for - the music. I've met and built relationships with some pretty cool people online. Some of them really good writers. Some of them really passionate about music. Some of them interested in what I do. Some of them willing to write guest posts for this blog.


The post prior to this was the 1st in what I hope becomes a series of writings from Zane Ewton, the ever-so-nice fellow who won my contest last year and has since become a close friend. Also, a bunch of others have signed on to do a post for me. I'll introduce them before their posts so don't worry about not knowing why you're reading what you're reading here.

Then, hopefully, comments will abound. The art, the music, will take centerstage. If you'd like to be my guest, please stay with me, and share your story.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Starting With The Best

Jimi Hendrix - (i) inspired by photo by David Montgomery
This is the first of what I hope to be many guest posts from my friend, Zane Ewton. You'll see why.

by Zane Ewton

Deep into the swinging 1960s, an alien descended from some far off, R&B soul rock planet. He landed on London’s Carnaby Street and outfit himself in the latest fashions. He didn’t say, “Take me to your leader.” He assumed leadership.

Vinyl Art is an exceptional marriage of music and image. It is all about the music, of course. Why else are you here? But do not lie to yourself. These musicians, artists and performers that Daniel immortalizes within the grooves of their own creation are all iconic images in popular culture. Few are more iconic than Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi Hendrix is one of the elite rock and roll artists that everybody knows and loves. Children are born with an innate knowledge of Hendrix. Anyone more than 40 years old was in the field as he played “The Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock. The rest of us carry him around like the Abe Lincoln penny in our pocket. Hendrix exists outside of time and space.

A simple image of his face conjures the revolution of his musicianship and showmanship. Guitars and afros blazing; the Experience in full flight. The grooves in the record deepen his soulful songwriting. Hendrix was the sizzle and the steak. Soul and bombast. The electric church.



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On The Wing

So I'm shooting for at least one blog post a week, instead of once a day. Clearly my priorities and time have shifted. Which is a challenge in the sense that I can't promote my business as I did. I'm having to figure out what will be more efficient and effective, and before doing it.

The way I promoted my art before was rather haphazard. I've got fun stories about specific commissions and projects, like the one about these 5 pieces going to a guy in New Jersey for his new place who emailed me not only knowing who he wanted, but sending me the images he wanted as well. Yet selling pieces was hardly predictable or consistent. I'm hoping it can be. It feels like new territory for art though. Artists typically don't look at their work as a business in the typical sense, I don't think. Maybe I'm wrong. So I don't quite know what I'm doing, basically. It's a little scary.

I mean I want to be able to support a wife, a daughter, and 4 dogs with Vinyl Art. But I don't want to go the traditional gallery representation route. Nor is my art traditional in the first place. I've felt that way a lot in my life, in no man's land a bit. Not as grandiose as charting new territory or anything. Just not normal. But then what's normal?

I can't just wing it anymore though. Fumbling is unacceptable now.

I need to fly. I'm learning how, on the wing.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Taking Stock

Over the years, I've built an inventory of records, and some painted pieces. This past month or so has shown me how valuable preparation is in life.

My brother-in-law wanted all of the Eagles. I already had 4 copies of their greatest hits album. They're going to look so cool all together. I've painted Don Henley and Joe Walsh already.

My friend, Ryan Barton, wanted Topol from "Fiddler On The Roof" to give to his dad for Father's Day as his piece he won in the auction I talked about awhile back. I already had the soundtrack album. I've painted it and shipped it off.

A fellow in Norway wanted Tom Waits to give to his music teacher. I already had painted this piece. I've framed it and shipped it off.

I've said before, preparation prevents perspiration. Now that I'm a stay-at-home dad, efficiency is really important in all that I do, especially work. Having the stock of records and paintings that I do is helping me take care of what is most important in life. Family. Speaking of, she's waking up.