More Fun than Ever


I had a blast playing with Tide Spring at the Little Grill the other night. Great crowd! It's fun when people are so responsive--singing along and laughing (sometimes even when we meant to be funny). 

Looking forward to my solo gig there on May 14. I'm having a great time relearning songs I wrote but haven't played in a while. I was listening closely to "Keep Moving," and I heard myself say, "Oh, he must play it in open C turning," and "Ah, that must be this chord." Wait, that was me playing it!


Nice Bowl of Blues


Man, I love Alex Albrecht's playing. That's what I want to sound like. So smooth, yet so syncopated and swinging.

That's what I was thinking as Alex and I traded sets tonight at A Bowl of Good. Great crowd--everyone stayed a long time. And, as always, the cafe staff was wonderful, and the food was excellent.


Radio Play

I heard a few songs from Find Your Way on the radio the other day. That's affirming!

Summer 2008

Wow! It's been many months since I've reported news. I guess that my musical news is that I'm playing out more and more, trying to get better at communicating in every circumstance. I've got a regular gig at Earth & Tea Cafe in Harrisonburg--every other Friday night. And I sprinkle in some festivals and other restaurants. It's been really fun supporting some other artists by helping put on their shows and playing backup for them. So I've been playing for kids, for disabled people, for festival crowds, for contra dancers, in church, in noisy pubs and quiet listening rooms, for suffocating crowds or for an audience of one. Trying to grab attention, set a mood, make a statement, get someone to care. Wanting to reassure, to challenge, to sneak up on someone's politics, to give a new perspective. In all that, I'm learning not to take myself too seriously. People mostly want to hear a beat or a memory. It's a rare thing to have people really dig in to your songs. But it does happen, and when it does, it's a great opportunity to share ideas. News tidbits: * Got to jam with the Lotus Eaters old time band at the farmers market in the spring. * Collaborated on stage with Jonathan Reuel, Dave Landes, Jessie Trainum, Beth Nealon, Barb Graber, Mark Rallings, Alex Albrecht, Mike Williams and Sheila Newman, Jerry Holsopple and Gina Holsopple at gigs over the past year. * A bunch of us put together concerts honoring the work of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Judy Collins this past year. * I won an Acoustic Challenge Night at Massanutten resort. Is there such thing as a competitive folk singer? Anyway, that's what's going on. I'm getting better. And maybe when cold weather comes I'll get back in the studio and start to work on the next album.

New Album Released

My new CD, Find Your Way, is on sale now! Just click the Products tab. I think you'll really like this one, too. There are a couple of fiddle tunes at either end, and a fresh acoustic sound throughout. It comes out to 12 new songs--from historical to sentimental to wry. Ginger Nealon did all the photography and design, and I think she really captures what I'm trying to say. Check it out!

Case Studies' First Album Released!

Mark and I have finally laid down a few tracks on a CD. Our first album is called "Something You Already Know." The title is a quotation from Mark's "A Song." I'm really pleased with this set of songs. There's a great variety of sounds and textures, and there's a wide range of moods. Buy it on the Buy page of this site. Here's an annotated list of songs. 1. A Song (guitar, mandolin, harmonica; Mark's musical musings on the Muse) 2. Sister of My Soul (guitars; she is simply what I need.) 3. Out In the Cold (guitar, banjo, harmonica; sometimes it's the place to be.) 4. Jesus Online (guitar, slide guitar, harmonicas; a technologically savvy update.) 5. Everyone's Hometown (guitar and banjo; come on in Floyd's Barber Shop.) 6. A Mighty Rocky Road (voices; Jon Nichols used to sing this hard-knock spiritual.) 7. Manger Scene (guitar, slide guitar, bass, harmonica; Mark's search for the real nativity.) 8. Shadow of Doubt (guitar, slide guitar; for those days when you're paved over with pain.) 9. Wherever It Will (guitars; a meteorological mystery of cosmological proportions.) 10. Seeds (guitars; for the back-to-the-land farmer in all of us.) 11. Falling Freely ( guitar, mandolin, harmonica; I have such a fond memory of playing this in the kitchen as the heavy snow poured down--"covering and spreading round a blanket on this frozen ground.") Get it on the Buy page of this site!

Website Launched

Thanks for checking out the new Website. Let's make it a good place to communicate. You can sample songs, read lyrics, check the performance calendar, see pictures, write in the guestbook, and buy CDs. I'll try to update frequently, so come back anytime.

Lessons around Harrisonburg, VA

Need lessons on guitar, banjo, or mandolin? I've got a few openings. I teach in a very positive, encouraging atmosphere in my home and a few central locations. Weekly lessons are about a half hour and cost $20. Write me: or phone 540/433-5461

On Broadway

On the stage at Broadway High School, that is. I played a Ruritans convention recently and got to try out my new sound system in a 700-seat auditorium. It filled the room nicely. I managed to play four different instruments, 2 banjo tunings, and three different guitar tunings in a span of about twenty minutes. I felt like I was juggling.

Case Studies Blows Away Greensboro Crowd

Actually, it was the 50 mph winds that blew us offstage and sent the crowd scampering for cover. Mark and I have performed at the New Garden Harvest Festival in Greensboro for most of the past ten years. This year's event, on October 28, saw chilly temperatures and high winds, but performers and their audiences were hardy. When we took the stage at 4:00, the wind seemed to pick up speed. Then, about four songs in, a gust howled. It knocked over guitars, tables, and chairs, and it just wouldn't let up. Festival organizers feared for the equipment and for everyone's safety, and they politely tackled us and dragged us from the stage. At least we had a chance to catch up with friends as we hollered over the groaning gale.

Case Studies' First Valley Performance

After ten years of playing festivals, parties and restaurants in North Carolina, Case Studies made its first Shenandoah Valley appearance at Mennofolk on October 14, 2006. Mennofolk brings folk musicians from Mennonite congregations together to perform in a festival setting. Mark Rallings and I played two sets with banjo, guitars, harmonicas, dobro and mandolin highlighting songs from our just-released album, Something You Already Know. Beth joined us onstage for a couple of songs. I really enjoy the enthusiasm of Mennofolk. There are so many musicians I admire, and I learn so much from them.