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Introductions: When the Roll is called...

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My name is Todd.  I'm a Country Blues addict.
I was born with a harmonica in my mouth, got hooked on Muddy Waters as a kid.  Got the chance to play with a lot of cool old timers in Chicago through the awkward junior high and high school years, moved to Madison, Wisconsin at the age of 18 and met Catfish Stephenson who was a local street musician and played tons of great old material.  I was bound and determined to start playing with him and learn country blues harp while he was bound and determined to get rid of me.  The first tune that he played when I tried to sit in with him was Terraplane Blues.  The second was Georgia Rag.  I sounded like hell but didn't give up.  He figured I had staying power so he took me under his wing, told me all the right stuff to listen to and what to play as well as what not to play.  I played harp with him for four years, then switched to upright bass.  Did that for a while, he left town and I served as sideman for some other guitar players.  I always had a steady job in construction, some money in my pocket and took to buying guitars from different partners when they were broke and needed money.  I also picked up little bits of guitar from each of them.  Having amassed a pretty good collection and realizing they were all arrogant and crazy, I stopped being a sideman and figured that I should just back myself. 
I lived in San Francisco for a while, befriended Alvin Youngblood Hart , was housemates with guitar great Craig Ventresco and started to really get into guitars from the teens and twenties.  I moved back to Wisconsin, started finding old guitars and fixing them.  I started building guitars about four years ago and have now quit my day job to dedicate all of my time to building and playing.  Sometimes I wonder, "what the hell was I thinking?" but the worries are becoming less frequent.  In truth, I couldn't be happier.

Greetings -

I'm Mark, age 44, living in Victoria, British Columbia.? I learned to play piano accordian as a kid, but gave it up in my teens.? I took up guitar at age 27 or so, teaching myself to fingerpick by learning tunes by John Hurt, Bruce Cockburn, Leo Kottke etc.? John Hurt was pretty much the extent of my exposure to country blues until about 5 years ago when I started attending workshops with the likes of Tim Williams, Michael Jerome Browne, and Rick Fines (all frequent faculty at the Hornby Island Blues Workshop:?

Since then I've been delving deeper and deeper into this great music: now I have an large (and growing) collection of prewar blues on CD and the majority of my guitar reperetoire is country blues tunes.? I'm currently playing tunes by Blind Blake, Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, John Hurt, Tampa Red, Memphis Minnie, William Brown, William Moore and others, with sooo many more on my list of songs to learn (Bo Carter is next up).? Over the last 5 years I've also been playing mandolin (both blues and some fiddle tunes), and have taken up accordion again.

I've been down to the Port Townsend Country Blues Workshop for the last two years in a row (thanks to the prodding of Shelley 'Desperate' Stevens, an alumnus of both PTCBW and Hornby Island Blues), and plan to keep on coming as long as they keep letting me across the border.?

I learned about Weenie Campbell (the myth AND the website) during my first trip to PTCBW.? Great work guys, just keep doing what you're doing.

Pleasure to meet y'all? ?;)

Nice meeting you too Mark! - and glad you've finally made some posts!  ;)

 I'm 53, grew up mostly in South Jersey, near Philly, listening to lots of soul and doo wop in addition to the British invasion and the psychedelic sound. I also got into a lot of Folk in the early '60s so when I told my folks I didn't want to waste any more money on piano lessons and they asked me what instrument I wanted to play (good answer), I told them folk guitar and we went and got a dime store Stella. Thanks to a very cool book by Alan Lomax (which I just found in the piano stool on a recent visit) I learned a bunch of chords and a bunch of folk songs. And then, by some twist of fate, I met a woman (well, she was a senior in college and kinda like Mama Cass) who taught me to fingerpick, alternating bass and all. I spent every day at her house all summer long. We played all kinds of stuff like PP&M and Donovan and even Come Back Baby by DVR. My folks were so impressed that they gave me a Martin D-18S as a graduation present. I went off to college (in Ithaca, NY) and played a lot of open mics and such. Even had a brief but cool band with a couple guys who were graduating a month later. Me on guitar and harp, Corey on washtub bass (with a hockey stick, of course) and Dave on soprano sax. My heart was broken when they took off. I also started getting more into theatre, and that finally took so much of my creative juices that I let the guitar slide to the point where I only played it once a year, at Christmas, for my family. Spent the rest of the '70s in and around the theatre department at Cornell and then after a year at the Boarshead Theatre in Michigan I spent the '80s becoming totally disillusioned in NYC. By a twist of fate (too long to tell here) I ended up in SF in time for the big Quake in '89. That kinda made me see things a little differently. I did have quite a reawakening of my acting career, but soon my awareness of the lack of boundary issues many bring to what is inherently a difficult collaborative process caused me to pursue fewer opportunities. After a while I started to realize I still needed to express myself and decided to get out the old Martin. Well, by then it needed a neck reset, but it was worth it. I got it back a little over three years ago and haven't stopped playing since. Come Back Baby led me to the prewar blues and pretty quickly I found Stefan's Guitar Workshop. I've also gotten into playing some of the old guitars and have developed a nice little collection of Oscar Schmidts (thanks to Neil), a couple Nationals and a few others to compliment the D-18S. I stick to the old arrangements pretty much, and am developing the ability to transcribe from the recordings, thanks to the encouragement of JohnM and Frank and others. But I do still play some of Dave van Ronk's arrangements. In fact, I had a great conversation with Lightnin' Wells who was also first turned on to country blues by DVR. We were listing off all the songs on "Sings the Blues" from about '64 and I mentioned the Morton song "Sweet Substitute" as one of my favs so Lightnin' tells me it's on his latest CD and I later got him to play it at the Public House. (Also spent a few more scheckles at Quimper) Anyway, can't remember how I found out about PT but the first guy I met was Doug from Sitka and those lads took me in and really drew me out, night after night. Lee and Gary have really become regular phone bill items and the whole bunch really exemplifies what PT is all about as much as the Weenies now do for me. Last year I was posting about my second PT on the IGS Forum and Frank emailed me about I been here ever since.
All for now.
Barbecue John C.

Michael, 40

Born in New York City, lived most of my life in New Jersey

"Outfidel" is the opposite of "Infidel"

Guitar history:
-- Learned a few chords in my teens
-- Picked up guitar in my mid-20s to learn a few T-Bone Walker riffs
-- Picked it up again in my mid-30s to learn to fingerpick like Mississippi John Hurt...and have not put it down since then

Main guitar is a Martin 00-18CTN Elizabeth Cotten model

Favorites: MJH, Libba Cotten, Doc Watson, Mance Lipscomb, Sam McGee, Rev Gary Davis, Merle Travis, Blind Blake and Etta Baker

Other heroes: Harry Smith & Joe Bussard

Also learning clawhammer banjo, albeit very[/i] slowly


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