Welcome to Musix Newsletter #20! It’ll bring you up-to-date on what’s happening with Musix: new releases, sales, special offers, and free downloadable music, TAB, and MP3s. As you can tell by the #20 in the title, we have 19 other Musix Newsletters that you can browse for more information and free downloadable music, TAB, and MP3s.

My newest book/CD set, just out last week, is titled All-Time Favorite Parking Lot Picker’s Guitar Solos. It includes 43 great guitar solos of all-time favorite bluegrass, old-time, and gospel songs. Aimed at beginning and intermediate guitarists, it’s packed with songs, solos, and techniques that every guitar player should know. The printed music includes melodies, tablature, and chords. All the solos are recorded at both slow and regular speeds on the accompanying CD. Selections include easy open-string solos, standard “flatpicking” solos, Carter-style solos, closed position moveable and transposable solos, double stop solos, duets, fiddle tunes for guitar, solos with a bluesy sound, crosspicking solos, solos using a partial capo/faux dropped D tuning, and back up guitar parts. All the solos are on selected songs from my Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook. Of course that book contains over 200 songs it! I chose 43 of the most fun, interesting, and essential songs to learn solos on.

The solos are presented in many different keys, along with tips on how to transpose from one key to another. As you work through the solos you’ll receive extensive instruction in flatpicking guitar technique.

Click here for sample pages, solos, & MP3s from All-Time Favorite Parking Lot Picker’s Guitar Solos.

All-Time Favorite Parking Lot Picker’s Guitar Solos is my second collection of solos on songs from the Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook. The first collection of solos was published in 2012 for mandolin and entitled All-Time Favorite Parking Lot Picker’s Mandolin Solos. Click here for more information and for sample pages, solos, & MP3s from All-Time Favorite Parking Lot Picker’s Mandolin Solos.

Gypsy Swing & Hot Club Rhythm
If you don’t have both of our Gypsy Swing books, Gypsy Swing & Hot Club Rhythm, Volumes I & II (four separate books for guitar Vol. I and Vol. II, and mandolin Vol. I and Vol. II, ), you’re missing a whole ton of fun! The CD features a great Hot Club style band that you can jam along with. Each book includes tweleve great songs from the swing and Gypsy swing repertoire with music, TAB, chord diagrams, and info on how to get that Hot Club sound. Play chords, melodies from the book, or your own improvised solos! You could be swinging all through the summer!

When we first published Volume I, a couple of large boxes were damaged in shipping. It looked like they were dropped on one corner. We’ve been telling you about special low prices ($9.95) on “slightly shop worn” copies of those books. These book/CD sets are complete and useable in every way, they just have a bent corner or slightly ruffled cover. If you don’t mind that, you can save 30% on the set. Click these links for availability: Gypsy Swing & Hot Club Rhythm for Guitar, Volume I and Gypsy Swing & Hot Club Rhythm for Mandolin, Volume I.

The Dix Bruce & Jim Nunally CD Collection
Jim Nunally and I started playing together in the 1990s. Along the way we recorded 4 full-length CDs, 56 cuts of traditional and original singing and guitar picking. We’ve just packaged those four original CDs, From Fathers To Sons, In My Beautiful Dream, That’s The Way Things Are, Brothers at Heart, into one specially priced collection available for just $40.00 (plus shipping). It’s a great way to collect our complete recorded output. Click here for info and samples.

What’s up with Dawg Picks?
For the past year we’ve had great difficulty getting Dawg Picks. Our supplier, who can’t get them either, told us that the delays were occurring at the manufacturing level. Apparently there have been a series of problems beginning with Hurricane Sandy, continuing through a factory relocation, damage to equipment during that move, and most recently, sale of the factory. From your emails we know how long so many of you have been waiting patiently for Dawg Picks.

But there’s good news! We spoke again to our supplier last week and were informed that, finally, a new supply of the picks will be in our hands by August 15, 2013, possibly earlier! To facilitate getting them out to you as quickly as possible, we’re currently taking pre-orders. They won’t be shipped, of course, until we have them in stock. Click here for order info. [Editor’s note: Dawg Picks are currently available. Click the previous link for info.]

Dix Bruce & Julie Cline
Julie Cline and I launched our first CD, Look at it Rain, a few months ago. It features a mixture of traditional and original songs arranged around our duet singing and instrumental sound. Here’s a quote from a review in Bluegrass by the Bay:

“Dix Bruce and Julie Cline have assembled a fine selection of original and well-loved Americana songs. Their smooth vocal harmonies soar above a guitar and mandolin backdrop. Some singers have a perfect symmetry in their voices and a gentle balance in their instrumental skins; Dix and Julie have a magical blend that will invite repeated listenings and joyous sing-aIongs from their listeners.”

You can read the entire review and hear audio samples from Look at it Rain by clicking here.

We hope you’ll check the CD out and to make that a little easier, here’s a special offer: $12.00 for the CD, two bucks off the regular price of $14.00. Look at it Rain is also available and downloadable from iTunes and CD Baby. Click here for complete info.

Computers and Hard Drives
One of the major events of the last couple months of my life was the death of my beloved hard drive. This kind of thing never happens at a good time, but mine expired just four days before I was due to turn in my “All-Time Favorite Parking Lot Picker’s Guitar Solos”, book and CD project, to the publisher. Things got a little tense.

Of course everything these days, text, photos, layout, recordings, is done in the computer. This project was no exception. Every part of it was on the hard drive. I didn’t panic, at least not to the Nth degree, more like the Dth or Eth degree, because I had everything backed up multiple times.

When I’m working on a book or audio project I back things up to at least two additional drives every day. I guess I’m a little paranoid but doesn’t this prove the vulnerability of computer media? In addition to the two separate back ups I also could have recovered my files from my Mac’s Time Machine — which works great, but the way, as long as you update it constantly — or the off-site back up I do with Carbonite. I was pretty confident that all I’d lost was the hour or two of work I’d put in Monday morning.

During the week prior to the hard drive demise there had been some warning signs of imminent HD sickness. One was that some operations started to slow down to a crawl. It took longer to open and save files and software just seemed to be taking longer to do their voodoo. iTunes began skipping like a well-loved LP. And, the coups de gras presented itself when my search function couldn’t find files that I could still find manually. Though I sensed something was wrong, I figured I (or rather the hard drive) could hold out for just a few more days, at least until the book/CD project was finished and uploaded. I really didn’t want to be taking everything apart in the middle of wrapping up a big project.

Well, nature — or whatever it might be in a case like this — called the hard drive home and I was in a bit of a pickle. I rushed down to Fry’s Electronics and bought a new HD, swapped it in for the old HD, and set about re-building. I was back in business within a few hours, at least as far as work on the book and CD were concerned. The details have taken weeks, even months. I did have one especially tense weekend toward the beginning of June when I ended up spending about four hours on the phone with Apple Support. It was a long road!

I think things are just about back to normal now. I still have to update a few pieces of crucial software, but I’m somewhat reluctant to change ANYTHING at this point. I’ll take it a piece at a time and, of course, back everything up before I make any more changes.The one long lasting effect of all of this is that I don’t quite trust my trusty Mac Pro again yet. I assume that the trust will return with time and I’ll forget this unpleasantness. Time heals and it is great machine.

All of this drama reminds of the time when computers were just poking their shoe into the doorways of our lives. The possibilities of what might be done with computers was exciting and mind-boggling. These were the carefree, pre-cell phone, pre-digital camera days of the early 1980s. I read a book on a new concept called “word processing.” This was back in the day of having two big floppy disk drives, one for the software (“programs”) and one for your files. Your very tiny files. The book posited that a digital file really didn’t exist unless you had the original and at least two separate copies. That shocked me at the time but I took it to heart and stayed scared enough to try to keep updated, multiple back ups. Man, if I hadn’t done that in this case, I’d have been sunk. I would have lost months of work, a 90-page book, and a full audio CD.

The adventure reinforced this belief: If you want to keep it, back it up, back it up again, and maybe back it up one more time. Keep an extra back up off-site if your work is important and you don’t want to lose it. If you’re working on a project, at the very least, buy a couple of thumb drives and back your work up to them after every session. Disasters can still happen but if you’re backed up, you can survive them pretty well. End of sermon.

Have a wonderful summer and fall,
Dix Bruce