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NorthernBandit / Burt K. Arthur / Blog

Rock Candy...by Montrose...listen up, this what Rock is all about!

If you were like me strechin out reachin for your Dreams( lyric in the song and true to life ) When this Album came out...1973 or so my favorite record hang out was Swains General Store in my home town of Port Angeles, Wa, used go there two or three times a week to check on what new record LP's were in and came with a hand full of dollars ready to Rock...my good friend tipped me off and I bought my first Montrose LP, the one this very song is on...with Ronnie in my memory...and the remainder of the Band...Denny Carmassi on Drums and Phil Church on Bass and featured here in this LIVE performance the Amazing Joe (Sach) Satriani, The Great Sammy Hagar, be sure to check it out on Facebook, YouTube what have you...It is time to Turn it UP!

This is who I am...

I have a strong feeling about the wisdom of the Native American peoples of these United States of America, I also have a great attraction to the American Southwest where Kokopelli is accepted, entertained and allowed with a certain respect and wariness. I believe in the United States of America as a valuable place for human beings who with education can learn to become a part of this Great society, to give of themselves and share in it's great rewards of freedom and happiness and with the hopes of many... a Dream Catcher to bring to the soul of a man, woman or child the blessings of know what right is and what to do when diversity aflicts it's people and bring all human beings to a place called love. I am a Hippy at heart but a true American citizen!

Inspiration is a strange bed fellow...

Inspiration is a strange bed fellow...this is not what you think.

Artists, Songwriters, Composers all are afflicted at some point with the question..."Now What".

Sometimes just being left by the universe to stew in the primordial soup of conscious effort only to be stymied by more of the same.

So here's my jump off point...I was there. Since October 2015 I had been just cruising having finished 'Red Canyon Sonata' with great feeling about the song and how it turned out.

But since then have been rambling about outside of music not being able to think about much in the realm of the Chord.

Aye but alas I have lighted upon a beauty and spent part of my day reacquainting myself with an old beloved song that I received lyrical help from a friend a long time ago.

His name is Kim Westley Powell, brother in law to a fellow I work with at the Bakery who was a guitar player and songwriter and he had written prior to Easter in 1981 a couple of I guess you could call them stories...two to be exact each one a good long paragraph...

So before I left Traverse City, Michigan...Kim and I were talking and he had said he'd never written a song so the conversation came about and he asked me if I thought I could take his writings and turn it into a lyric for a song...

So we said our good byes and life has been a long and winding road.

In late 1981 I came back to my home town and preceded to put together an all Original line up of players which eventually we called the Band "The Now" which is where this song took it's form.

The song is titled "On My Mind"...Kim's writings did not have a name...I came up with the title after gleaning through his original paragraph. It is only about a 6th or what he originally wrote at the time.

The song reflects many of my own reflections and some of the bands I had been influenced by, Bob Seger,REO Speedwagon, Blackfoot, and STYX...

It is in his honor that I publish this now, it has bee 34 year since I originally wrote and recorded this track...I have spent a part of today working out the three Guitar and Bass parts and messed a little with the Lead and Backing Vocals. I am amazed that I remembered how to play it with no reference other then Kim's original writing. So here are the lyrics for you now...I am anticipating beginning the recording soon...but for now the words mostly say it all...

*Original transcript/story written by Kim Westley Powell/Easter 1981 not published. Traverse City Michigan 47684 *By Permission to create a song honored. Dedicated to Kim Westley Powell, my friend. On My Mind Copyright 1981 by: Burt K. Arthur

My life is like the wind and I find myself back on the road again With a tear in my eye and my head in a spin For tonight I am to be a man with no friend I’m back on the road to the places I’ve never been

So for now I must go I’ve got so much to do With a Dollar in my pocket and one in my shoe I hear the calling of my name Not knowing from where in came from or if I’ll hear it again I’ve got so much to say but no words Answers to questions that I must find before I die Like the Eagle I too must fly So do not cry… For there is no good bye As long as I’m alive You’ll be on my mind… As long as I am alive!

Day's of Guitars and Melody...

Day's of Guitars and Melody...

I don't often hear in interviews this question or answer by the player being asked about there choices and why they do what they do.

Most times it seems more about many of the tangable aspects of the Artist like Amps...Influences, Guitars...

So I bring this thought about because in the old day's Melody was the reason for a song...the lyric was important but the Melody was King.

I personally grew up listening to some of the greatest Pop Culture Melodies that were ever created...through the late fifties and into the eighties...I won't name names but what I will say is that Melody is what we humans are attracted to like it or not.

I create melody when I write and produce...I can't get away from it...in Rock music Melody is only relitive to the effect of what it is you are creating, it spans a range of emotion from joy to anger and may or may not be pleasent but as with life diversity is the Spice of Life as they say!

Some Artist say...I am a Guitarist or a Bassist or... but in my realm I play and perform all the instruments that are on my recordings usually...I have been fortunate to meet a couple of great Musicians who assisted me on projects but I have become the Band so to speak so Guitar is one aspect of the Melody I create!

The only thing that changes is the way people preseave your creations...one cannot please anyone but self so if you are happy with what you are doing you are on the right track.

Like in the movie 'Field of Dreams' "They will come" your following will follow and listen...be thankful and forget the rest...it is a big world out there not everyone will tell you you are great...you have your life to prove them wrong!


Support to all Musicians...

It has been something that can not so easily be dismissed yet so obvious as to not be ignored and that is the way an Artist, Singer/Songwriter, non-Professional and Professional alike are subject to the Music Industries dark past. It is embedded like so many other things in our daily lives sometimes it goes unnoticed but not for long. It has been said that ignorance is bliss and to some degree that is a truth but as with all things the truth will raise it's informative head and lay the myths and deceptions low only to reveal either and open or closed door.

It is a belief in yourself and what you do that matters...never give credence to some one who belittles your efforts. With all things remember it depends on your insight and realistic understanding of what you do either as a Hobbyist, Semi or Professional Artist.

You may choose music as a profession for any number of reasons. They are all valid. Maybe some not so desirable to many but as long as you feel that the conviction you have made is equal to the reward ( in good actions of course ) all anyone can say is...Congratulations, well done!

CBG, what?

Cigar Box Guitar Buddies and Budette's unite!

How y'all doin out there?

For my birthday this year I was given a really cool gift...haven't got it yet but soon perhaps.

I have been graced with the thought I could build a Cigar Box Guitar and my family went so far as to tell me Happy Birthday and pick out something you want to build! Isn't that Awesome!

So now for a couple of week I have been musing on the C.B.Gitty website and have put together my preliminary parts list. you should check out all the possibilities. Very cool indeed!

To get an idea of what a CBG is go to C.B.Gitty or youtube and search Samantha Fish. She has a three piece Band and she plays a four string CBG and just tears it up!

I'm not going to elaborate on design...what you must remember is these guitars are hand made by the soul who makes them ( in this case it will be me)...you can buy a KIT, a basic three string acoustic costs about &40.00 or you can by a pre-built from about $90.00 to infinity or if you choose like me, I am hand selecting all of my parts for a truly ONE OFF design. Mine will be Electrified!

So if you are bored you can literally go out and buy you some boards and make one of these and they really are a guitar that plays.

Usually in the style of a slide guitar in open tuning...rustic if not crude...but your degree of crudeness or refinement will be your signature...when you have built and played your Cigar Box Guitar...

I can't frickin wait!!!

What about you??? Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

From the land of Mordor...an Original Composition.

From the land of Mordor...an Original Composition.

'A Story' was written from the spirt of the return of power and triumph to a land beseeched by dread and treachery!

Featuring on Lead Guitar* Burt K. Arthur...including Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar backing...Lead Vocal, Backing Vocals ( chorus ), Bass Guitar And Percussion.

Featured on Drums and post Production and Engineering by: Victor Snow

* The initial interplay of Lead guitar starts off as a subtle meandering of mood of pending drama, as the 'The Story' opens up the Lead Guitar takes on a flight of excitement that brings both energy and exclamation to the Vocal track. From beginning to end the Lead Guitar in this song charges ahead to the finale like Gandalf's mighty steed Shadowfax...with Grand Exuberance!

...the exceptional Drumming by Victor Snow brings this song to a full life and energy of it's own...

Free to Down Load...for you to enjoy...Ride on with 'The Story' by yours truly...NorthernBandit!


To be or not to be...

There is a fellow Musician and Record Company Guitar Player that goes by the name J.J.Rocks.

Very talented and with great wisdom.

He recently posted a comment that has great substance that I feel the need to interject some depth to.

Tradition in Blues was the subject of a comment someone made that JJ had mentioned in his article and he followed with the profound by also stating that the along with Tradition...Innovation was essential...of course I am paraphrasing so to completely understand his message via ReverbNation be sure to check it out!

...but I also think Innovation is the result of something that comes from a deeper place...as much as anyone might profess that a player is born talented, that remark remains to be scientifically proven...there has to be something of substance that lends to the ability to be innovative.

I don't think anyone can honestly come from the womb and have all 'The Stuff ' to be an innovation in anything. There if either a long term apprenticeship or a short term period that will lead to a player being innovative but only under the influence of curtain conditions.

It is true that the young player or even non-player will ride high above the older less opportunistic because of the nature and physics in human development but there has to be taken into consideration the influence of the younger soul and the effort put in front of them as far as interest and effect of their surroundings ( i.e parents who play, listen or have contact with music and or people in the industry ).

Now this may not even be so for most older players.

I would be one of those examples of and older person/non player being influenced later well after birth ( 9 or 10 years old ) to be drawn in to the realm of first amazement of sound, the talent of others who's sound was so inspiring and then the desire to play or be in music as a result of the inspiration which they shared by their performance and innovation.

So there is that word...Innovation. Stepping outside the box of normal, carrying the old traditions in basic understanding but moving away from tradition and keeping at the same time a contact with what came before.

I think that is where the players spirit and soul take over and the mechanics of the background are always idling but the positive nature of performance and desire to create develop into what we might call innovation.

It is true that many and with good fortune stick to the bread and butter of what they do and that will suffice for some...but it is those who due to many different things are influenced by their desire to not necessarily be different for they sake of difference but for the release of the need to be creative.

I have always said that it was my desire to be Artistic in music because of my lack of ability to draw or paint pictures which when I was younger I desperately wanted to do. It was not until later much later...first in writing lyrics/Poetry/Stories that I understood where this would go.

The unfortunate thing for many is the frustration for having to spend your life doing things that to others appear to come so easily...for me this was my problem but as with time and effort sometimes what you put into something that you enjoy pays off on the path to Innovation.

Innovation in and of itself is nothing but ambition with no history...no meat and potato's, no spirit or soul. You can tell by observation the strength and depths of a player when you listen or watch them perform through their commitment in action and interplay.

I think then as the player continues on either you continue to improve yourself with foresight or you choose to remain where you find comfort. In any case... ...To all their own...never wishing to leave others behind or to feel left out but to inspire but being who you are with the best intensions for yourself and others...That's Innovating!

We all need to know!

We all need to know...

Neil Peart is a really incredible musician...and he is a Great Drummer to boot!

Having said that he like so many of his contemporaries are human aye! We all need to know at some point that what we are doing is on track. I'd say he is, I understand his means for the structure he places on his style...I like what he does.

Pete Townshend is another example of musicianship...back in 1971 when Quadrophenia was in it's infancy, Pete went at great length to try to explain the depth and the meaning behind it all...sometimes as I had read in interviews he had it didn't always pan out explaining it all away.

Music Critics can be either a blessing and a curse.

If you are less then conscious as a writer you might deserve bad press and just because you as a writer are prolific and seem to be in the stream of what's happening doesn't necessarily mean you are successful....it is a conundrum most creative people endure for the opportunity to express themselves.

So it is with all of us or most of us...we could hold up in our Studio's and never step out ( kind of like me ) but the problem with that is that it does nothing for my reasoning for doing what I do. Identifying with others about similar likes in music has always been a very important part of my life. To connect and have I suppose a relationship about something that excites the soul...that brings the spirits together.

But like Neil and Pete, I too am at a constant struggle within myself wondering and asking the question...am I good enough, does what I do have relevance?

The next thing that would come up and I have been ask this question many times...don't you like what you do, are you not happy, why do you need others to compliment what you do?

I suppose it's not really about greatness at all. If I were or anyone was that self centered I could see the issue but this is deeper then that.

It is an issue of relevance to why each of us feels the way we do about our craft. If no one else mattered we would not carry on these kinds of conversations. That is unless we were Mad as a Hatter.

Some Musicians don't require the attention...others can't get enough...all I want to know like so many others like me, is what I do in the bigger picture of things, does it make sense to you too?

My Soul...

Red Canyon Sonata... New song release on ReverbNation August 30 2015

It is interesting to me why I continually am fascinated with subject matter that revolves around the natural environment and the history of our nation in...fact, fiction and music.

I was not born in the South...I was born about as far away from it as a soul could be born...but that is not a disqualifier for having attributes of that place I so often think of.

Next to Washington State the Oregon Coast is my go to feel good place but in my music and poetry places like the Southwest...New Mexico, Arizona, Texas...and to the east Arkansas, Florida and the Carolina's...Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi...there is something going on there that draws me near.

If you pressed me I could explain it all...I am kinda long winded that way but if you want to just experience a few of my songs in the period of those tracks playing you would know me better then perhaps you thought you did before. But you have to listen and pay attention and think while it's going on...that is the beauty of the gem in the rough sound I create. It is my soul.

If you have the chance, the first three songs in my line up are a fine example of what I am saying...

I hope you get the chance to meet me someday.