Posts Tagged ‘Music Therapy’

Why We Need Live Music #4


Another Study Proves It – Live Music: Definitely good for the soul.
By Randall Richards
Mike Heffernan

Fat Hands, creating good vibes, L to R: Walt Kutylowski, Gerry Putnam, Dana Flewelling, and Nic Kutylowski

OK .  It wasn’t an official *scientific study, but ask anyone who was there, at Gerry Putnam’s CedarHouse Sound & Mastering recording studio when he hosted his annual music get-together, and they’ll tell you – Their souls felt better after having been there – both musicians and listeners alike.  This year, I had the good fortune of being a listener. We had missed most of the day’s party which had started mid-morning, but we certainly weren’t short-changed for music.
The party has been the brainchild of Gerry and recording artist Kathy Lowe as a vehicle to showcase Gerry’s studio for potential recording artists, and to thank past artists who had already done an album (or two, or three) at this heavenly studio, complete with a concert grand Steinway piano, and Gerry’s masterful abilities to engineer top quality albums.
As the night wore on, and most of the day’s musicians had headed home, brothers Walt and Nick Kutylowski, also known as “Fat Hands” sat down and started to do a few numbers unplugged. (The day is usually fully “plugged in”). Then, Putnam pulled up a chair and started picking his classical guitar. Gerry not only recorded and mastered Fat Hands’  two albums at Cedarhouse, but ended up playing lead guitar on them as well. Enter drummer extraordinaire Dana Flewelling, (from Night Kitchen) who usually has a whole “trap set”  in front of him.  He  sat down with a djembe and a set of brushes.

Small but appreciative audience

My wife Amanda and I, Walt Kutylowski’s partner Christy, Mike Heffernan and Kathy Lowe were all that remained of the audience. The rest of  the party-goers had all headed home in the cold night air.

The music and energy that happened was nothing short of way cool.  They must have played for an hour or more, and we, the privileged few,  just sat there taking it in.

Fathands has a few upcoming **gigs but  we’re threatening to kidnap them and take them to New Zealand the next time we head down under, and from the sound of it, they might be willing go.  Meanwhile, we (at Mountain Spirit Institute) will most likely be offering to put on  a house concert or local venue concert for these guys if they’re up for it. They deserve to be heard. Check out Fathands, and Gerry Putnam’s Cedarhouse Sound and Mastering through the links above.
* This is a scientific study about the healing power or music, by the BBC.
** Deerfield CoffeeHouse, NH,  April 10 2010, with Gerry Putnam & Kent Allyn
Musterfield Farm, New London, NH USA June 19th, 2010
Thanks to Mike Heffernan for getting his camera out to capture the moment.

Why We Need Live Music – Part 1


By Randall Richards

Joel Cage prior to taking the stage

Joel Cage prior to taking the stage

Tonight, I just heard my good friend Joel Cage play an evening at our local Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse. This will be one of the harder posts to write because no words will justify the experience. You had to be there.  Nevertheless…

Joel played to a small audience tonight. He’s always been the consummate professional. When I first heard him during our early days, when the CoffeeHouse was just starting out in Sunapee Harbor, he blew us all away with his style and technical know how.  But hearing him tonight was like hearing a different person. He seems wise beyond his years, and presents an affable, grounded style.

Joel in action at SCC

Joel in action at SCC

Aside from his stunning guitar playing and vocals, he’s really made a major shift skyward. His whole energy, the way he takes the stage, the feeling put into every note, brings the audience, (at least those willing to go), to a new level of warmth and community.  It seems he’s been on a long journey in a short time. He’s making the most of his journey with the time he’s given – that is clear.

The first thing I noticed immediately, was his total commitment to the performance, right from the first note. The second thing I noticed about Joel, was his guitar.
At first I thought, “That’s an interesting sound hole placement for a *guitar”, and “what a cool finish and woodwork.”  Then I realized what I was seeing. It wasn’t a sound hole. Joel had actually worn away the finish, and then the wood just above the strings with his strumming, until he created the hole after years of playing .”  That in itself might be a curiosity, but it’s how he plays the thing, and how he and the guitar are one. The guitar is an extension of Joel. (*see image)

Joel Cage consciously creates a space, for himself, the audience, and each person in the room. He’s got the technical skills to pull off an amazing performance, but more importantly has put the heart behind his craft that puts him at the cutting edge, leading the way.

Read this book.

Read this book.

Often I talk about leadership in these posts, and the “Courage to Create” comes to mind (Read Rollo May’s book about this, with the same title). Joel is a true leader. It takes courage to present and show a new way, and break the mold of what we think music should or shouldn’t be. The gift that Joel brought to the audience tonight, was his ruthless walk to the edge and his skill in bringing us with him on his journey. Thanks Joel, we’ll be making the trip to see you tomorrow night, at The Mill. Keep up the good work.

This is why we need live music. Unplug the computer, the TV and get out to hear someone play this weekend, or pick up a guitar and play it. To be continued.

Animals Like Music

Animal-Guitar Lover

Animal-Guitar Lover

Another Study proves it, animals like music. Well, it’s not an official study, but an observation over the years. Watching birds come to the watering hole outside of Sedona Arizona years ago when I played my Native American Flute, and most recently-

Pied Kea Piper

Pied Kea Piper

I was playing my little Indian flute, which cost all of two dollars, and a Kea at French Ridge starting coming around, and singing on the off beat. He was perched on the roof for the longest time while I stood below, outside the hut looking up at him as I played.

I brought my “glacier guitar” up the crazy French Ridge Trail. (Maybe it was me that was crazy).

My Alpine Parrot Audience

My Alpine Parrot Audience

So I put it to good use, and attracted three kea who stood and listened for about 15 minutes. Again they would caw on the off beats when I’d hold a measure or two for them. We all had a grand time.