How I Spent My Quarantine Vacation

Hi, everyone! Remember me? I hope so… because it’s time for another newsletter! 

First of all, I hope that everyone reading this has made it through the pandemic safe and healthy. I miss going to concerts and movie theaters, and my professional life got turned upside down when I had to learn how to teach online. But, of all the people who were affected in any way by the pandemic, I count myself among the most extraordinarily fortunate. 

Of course, I was dismayed to see my already lean gigging schedule dwindle down to absolute zero. However, it’s frequently said that, in Chinese, the word is the same for “crisis” as “opportunity”. 

My friend Daozi assures me that this is actually not true. Still, it’s a noble sentiment. So, I decided to take all the time I would normally spend gigging and rehearsing and apply it towards improving my guitar skills. 

I reached the point where I could record videos of fingerstyle guitar renditions of jazz and pop standards. I took the best ones and collated them into this YouTube playlist: 

Eventually, I amassed enough videos that I took the audio from them and created a new album, Away With Words. But, once the album was completed, what could I do with it? I couldn’t sell it, because I didn’t write any of the songs. (Actually, I could sell it, but not without paying a hefty licensing fee.) So, I made it available on my website for free download. 

Turns out I also need to pay a licensing fee to have it available for free download. I suppose I could have just put the songs up there and probably not gotten caught, but I like to do things by the book. I found a website ( where I could license the songs for 100 free downloads, for about $26/song. For another $26, I could purchase a “Seal of Authenticity”, whereby once 100 downloads were reached, I could “relicense” a song for free. 

In a classic example of “penny-wise, pound-foolish”, I declined the Seal of Authenticity. This was especially short-sighted, as, compared to the $400 I had already spent for licensing, another $26 would be a drop in the bucket. 

In virtually no time at all, I quickly burned through my allotted 100 free downloads. In my frugality, I had forgotten the first rule of music consumerism: “If it’s for free… it’s for me.” 

Anyway, I relicensed all the songs, so please visit my website and get your free downloads. 

I have suffered for this work; now it’s your turn. 

As for future plans, I’m recording more YouTube videos, gigs at senior centers are starting to trickle in again, and I’ve got some shows playing lead guitar with Seann Clark and Friends scheduled over the summer. 

As usual, thanks for your support. I hope you can get out to see some live music this summer. 

Rock long and prosper, 


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