Friday, January 19, 2007

Travelogue

This week has has been persistently hectic, mostly due to professional obligations, hence the dearth of blogging. Today was a lot of fun, though, and definitely out of my routine. I headed to Indianapolis this morning to visit a couple of clients there, one of whom is also a close friend.

Randy Adams of Adamsound is one of the most respected recording engineers in the business and over the years he has carved for himself quite a remarkable niche in the music industry. He is responsible for numerous gold and platinum albums and has a closet full of other awards. His specialty is recording large-scale live praise and worship events and he travels all of the world. Many of his projects simultaneously involve large rhythm sections, orchestras, massive choirs, famous solo performers, with all of the formidable challenges that comprise remote location recording. Plus, he is at home in many of the top-tier tracking and mastering studios around the world. Check out his website info to see all the stuff he has done...he is amazing.

Every couple of years or so, he comes to Indy to record an album for a client we share, Calvary Tabernacle, a big church here closely affiliated with Indiana Bible College. That is the reason for his visit this week.


As usual, Randy and I ate at Shapiro's Deli, an exceptional restaurant and one of the most celebrated eateries in downtown Indianapolis. As usual, I struggled with the choice between the lox and bagel plate and their incredible Reuben Sandwich. The lox won out this time. And, of course, I carted home a big sack of their fresh bagels and some espresso brownies. Yum.

Before coming home, I stopped at Arthur’s Music Store to drop off my acoustic guitar, a Larrivee D-03E, for some repair work. It has developed a grounding problem in the electronics that I have been unable to locate and fix myself. The last time I performed with it, I had to take my shoes off to defeat the 60-cycle hum. We’re casual, but not usually that casual, so it was past time to get it taken care of.

I had never been to Arthur’s before and taking an instrument to a new repair shop is a little bit like meeting a new pediatrician for the first time…you’ve got to look deep into their eyes, try to get a glimpse of their soul. Its got to FEEL right and you NEED to know that they have the confidence and experience to treat your baby…I mean, your instrument with the loving, tender care that it requires. I sought this place out because I could tell from my internet sleuthing that it was first and foremost a guitar store. Typically, the big mega-stores of the music industry, Sam Ash, Guitar Center, et al., do not provide good service in these areas. You really have to seek out the places where guitars are a passion and not where you have to wrestle three adolescent salesmen-du-jour just to find someone that knows what they are talking about.

I do a lot of my own guitar maintenance and, since moving to Indiana, I have not required anything that I couldn’t handle. Plus, I’m spoiled. For decades I lived in the D/FW area and used Charley’s Guitar Shop for anything serious. Charley’s is hugely famous among guitar players. This is one of the coolest places in the country, and is where Eric Johnson, the Vaughn brothers, Billy Gibbons, Johnny Winter, Steve Miller, Bugs Henderson, Smokin’ Joe Kubek and every other Texas guitar player gets work done. The guy that used to work on my guitars also worked on Carlos Santana’s, Eric Clapton’s, and SRV's…I’m not kidding. Last I heard, he was on tour with John Mayer as his guitar tech.

But, I digress. I’m here now, not there. Sean, the repair guy I spoke with at Arthur’s, clearly understood my problem and exuded ample confidence to make me feel safe about leaving the guitar. This place has an interesting history and has been in business since the 1950’s, which is exceptionally good for a mom-and-pop brick-and-mortar music store these days. It was not fancy, no headache-inducing super merchandising displays...just a nice, laid-back vibe. I spoke briefly with one of the ladies who owns the store, and she was very nice. My confidence increased as I wandered around and eavesdropped on the employees interacting with other customers. We’ll see how it all works out.

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