While on tour this summer I had the privilege of staying with our dear friends Irene and Tomasi Tukuafu. They’re mentioned in an earlier blog post from last year. Irene makes harps, dulcimers, and psaltries. What you see pictured above are all her instruments (except for the guitar up front…that’s mine). When I came to visit this time, I came prepared with all of my recording equipment. I had it set in my mind that I would not leave this home until I had written and recorded a new song. Over the period of about 3 days I was able to make that happen, and what fun it was. I used the hammer dulcimer, harp, djembe, guitar, and bowed psaltry. The name of the song seems weird, because even though I call it Fiddlesticks, there are no fiddles in the song. The name comes from Irene herself. Whenever something goes wrong she is sure to exclaim “Fiddlesticks and phooey!”
For about 3 years I lived in the small of Nauvoo, IL on the banks of the Mississippi. This last week I had the opportunity to return and visit my good friends, the Tukuafu’s. You can read about them and their awesome house from the blog post I wrote up last November. Knowing where I would be staying, I took my recording equipment so I could have a little fun with all of the wonderful instruments that Irene makes. While there, Irene asked me to capture some of the wonderful night noises that fill the air every night. I used to go to sleep to this when I lived here, it is absolutely wonderful. So plug some headphones in, push play, close your eyes, and imagine you’re sitting on the front porch out in front of the Mighty Mississippi.
Nestled in the mountains of Southern Idaho is a small town named Albion. Once a bustling little town, Albion now has a population of merely 260. At one time, the centerpiece of the town was the Albion State Normal School, a small two year college. To quote from the website of the campus’ current owners:
Albion State Normal School was established by the Idaho State Legislator in 1893. The citizens of Albion actively lobbied the schools establishment, and donated the land and labor for the new campus. The school offered a two year teacher training program until 1947, when it was renamed Southern Idaho College of Education (SICE) and awarded baccalaureate degrees. The school remained troubled by low income and lack of funding and finely closed by the state in 1951. During its existence Albion State Normal School awarded approximately 6,460 degrees. The campus remained vacant until 1957, when the Magic Valley Christian College opened at the site, and later closed in 1969. The beautiful historic campus was locked and boarded up until the City of Albion auctioned it off in 2007 when the Mortensen family purchased it with plans for a retreat.
I had the opportunity to stay a few nights at the campus, which has one building that has been magnificently restored and is perfect for family reunions and large gatherings. While there, I wrote this song. I have included with it some pictures and video I shot while on the campus. For more information about the Albion Campus Retreat, visit their website.
This is one piece I had a lot of fun writing. This song represents just one part of a journey. In the beginning, you start slow. And then one at a time things start happening until you come to that moment where you’re running as fast as the wind. If you like this let me know in a comment and pass it on to your friends!
When I first started working on this website about a month ago I had no real intentions of making it an actual blog. I just wanted a place to showcase my music. But the more I started getting into it the more I realized I enjoyed the writing aspect that came with it. So I’ve finally found why bloggers do what they do. There’s just something relaxing to organizing all of your thoughts together. Today I am typing this sitting in front of a warm wood fire stove on the banks of the Mississippi. The wind is blowing, the fire is blazing, and I am warm and happy. We came
to spend a week in Nauvoo, IL to do a few concerts and work on getting moved out of our old house here. When our good friend Irene Tukuafu learned of our visit, she asked us to watch the house and mend the fire while she and her husband Tomasi (Scrabble player extraordinaire) visit her brother in Texas. Irene and Tomasi live in a beautiful log round house that they built themselves. Their home was even featured in a PBS show called “Illinois Stories”. Check it out below! So now here I sit, blogging in front of the fire by the mighty mississippi. Life is good.