News From The Woods.23


By Bob Ketchum

Originally Published September 10, 1998

"September In The Ozarks"

Well, I thought it was about time I came back down to earth and brought you up to date on what's been happening here at Cedar Crest.

We started the month off with a BANG on the 5th with a gig on the ferry. A "gig on the ferry" for the uninitiated means to play music on the former Highway Department ferry that used to carry vehicles across Lake Norfork years ago (before the twin bridges were built). A couple of local friends bought the ferry and it's barge from the Highway Department and use it to schedule excursions on the lake during the good weather months. I try to book at least two gigs a summer on the ferry. It seats about 200 people (a literal "captive audience") and is a great way to play a gig without being cooped up in a smoky, dim lit bar. Plenty of fresh air and beautiful scenery. A nice breeze blows over the lake, and when it turns to twilight it cools down a bit and makes for a very pleasurable cruise for all aboard. The latest band I have been fortunate enough to play in is called "What About Bob?" Fitting, eh? I play (mostly) guitar in this band. Old band mate "Tappin' Tom" Dappen plays drums and some percussion when I am "on the throne". Veteran studio players Doug Dreisel (bass) and Robbie Springfield (guitar) keep the other half of the band churning. Robbie "smokes" on the guitar and even makes me sound good when I'm on guitar. He also understands recordinmg very well and is a qualified audio engineer himself. Doug and I have been friends for years and I've always admired his chope and appreciated his sense of humor and sense of friendship and fairness. His bass playing is right on the mark and he is an exceptional vocalist with a lot of range. Doug and I have recently been conspiring to produce an album of his own material on HYPE Records. We had a great cruise and had a lot of music pals in attendence who sat in throughout the evening. Everyone wants to be in on a deal like that........ I can't wait for next summer!

My old pickin' buddy from MOVER days, Wayne Littlejohn, made the trek to the Ozarks (his original home) from LA-LA Land (L.A.), where he currently resides. He stopped in to the studio for a day to lay some guitar tracks down for my upcoming album. I'm trying to get as many friends to sit in on this VERY FIRST album release. You say..... "It's about damn time, Bob!" And you'd be absolutely correct. I have spent so much of my career recording everyone else's material that I have never made time to do my own album. Well, NOW I have decided to put out a CD if it's the last thing I do (and sometimes it feels like it WILL be). After listening to many of my songs recorded over the span of the last 15 years, I have come to the conclusion that I could NEVER do as good a job (or get as many old friends together again) as on the originals, so I decided to update as much as I could. I have taken many master tracks recorded onto 8-track and 16-track and "bumped" them over to the new 24-track to clean up parts and flesh out other parts. I have been SO close to the songs for SO many years that I will have to leave it all up to you whether or not these tunes are "worthy". Many friends like one particular song, while others prefer other tunes, so I never know one way or the other. When the CD finally comes out next year, YOU be the judge!

The studio was commissioned to create several sound tracks for video productions this month. Some of my friends and associates on the Video Toast Mailing List (VTML) expressed a desire for some custom music beds for production use, and I shouldered the task. Along with my cohort in crime, Mark Rex, the two of us contrived to create some sonic landscapes for specific video projects in other parts of the country. We would record some :60 tracks, then convert them to WAV files via GoldWave on the PC and send the tracks via email to our clients. The system worked so well that it is now the method by which we demo our work to prospective clients. It is very fast and we get immediate feedback from the client while we are still set up and working on the tracks. Usually within an hour we would get email from the client telling us what changes needed to be made or whatever. It is a very efficient way to do music demos. We created two music beds for a religious video production out of Oregon, and a salsa music bed for a dance instruction video produced in Dallas.

The video business this month has been made up mostly of legal video depositions and video settlement brochures, which has become a staple of the video business. It is fascinating work, but can be pretty emotional at times. I try to keep a professional detachment when shooting, but sometimes I have to brush away a tear when videotaping some of the things I am asked to document.

The Baxter County Fair was held this month, and this year we entered Robert into the "Beautiful Baby" Contest. Obviously, it was rigged, because Robert didn't win. I just wanted to show him off to the community anyway! He certainly loved the fair, with it's lights and sounds and all the people. And of course wherever we went HE was the center of attention. He just sat there in his stroller and "held court".

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