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Reggie Miles / Blog

Happy Birthday! My Nobro turned 23 on March 5th

Happy birthday to the best guitar that repurposed garage sale junk could make! Today my "Nobro" (National/Dobro hybrid, build #2) guitar design is 23 years old. Since its completion, 23 years ago on March 5th, this model has been my main player. I've written and developed an amazing number of incredible song ideas with this guitar, using a combination of finger style right hand picking and both bottleneck sliding and fingering its square neck.

Before I created this found object Frankenstein functional art guitar, no one could have convinced me that I had the ability to do something like this. When creating art of this nature, by combing elements which are unrelated in their original purpose to a specific envisioned or imagined outcome, no small measure of faith is essential. Because, it's impossible to know whether such whimsical designs will, in fact, produce the desired end product, or if one's efforts at exploring such fantasy constructions will ultimately be fruitless endeavors.

I've been fortunate to have enjoyed the rewards of success in this particular build design. But rather than stall or halt my creative urges and settle on this single design as my sole goal in this exploration, my irrepressible curiosity has become inspired by this success to consider additional ideas never before dreamed of in this functional found object junk art meets fantasy musical Frankenstein constructions.

My third build, my Nobro Convertible, is a testament to the success of the pioneering design notions that I've included in that model. However, again, rather than slow or satiate my desires to explore these creative avenues of design, the success of my Convertible has further spurred my efforts to determine whether my additional musical and artistic design musings can be created and how successful they might prove to be.

My fourth build, currently under construction, is an attempt to incorporate more original design elements into the mix than ever before. I'm purposely keeping the details of this build under wraps until its completion. I've been keeping a loose journal of my efforts. Once it's finished, I'll share images of my progress during that build.

Featured in Left 4 Dead 2

About six years ago I was invited to record on the soundtrack of the multi-million dollar video game, Left 4 Dead 2. The music director for the project wanted to include my musical saw playing. However, upon learning of my skill at playing Delta style bottleneck slide guitar and given that the game was set in the Deep South, where bottleneck style guitar playing was born, my guitar playing efforts were also included in the mix.

Not being a gamer and therefore, unable to play the game, I had convinced myself that I would likely never have the opportunity to hear how my contributions to the soundtrack were used. Then, about a month ago, when I mentioned this to a friend, he simply took his cell phone out and searched for the soundtrack online. He managed to find a small clip of me playing slide guitar, which was mixed with an electric band.

I did some additional research and found several different posts on YouTube, all featuring the themes from the game. As a result, I learned that my musical saw was featured in the L4D2 game theme called "Dark Carnival" and I discovered that my bottleneck guitar efforts were featured in the theme called "Hard Rain." I posted one of the YT posts here at RN, which contains the "Hard Rain" theme. You can find this video in my video section here at RN.

I know it sounds strange, but I honestly can't understand why I had not tried to look for this online, six years ago, after the game was released. It had just never occurred to me to do so. But I'm thrilled to finally get a chance to share this with family, friends and fans.

Gregg Allman listens to me play on the street

Yesterday, on July 4th, I was playing on the street at Seattle's Pike Place Market. I was having fun bowing patriotic and other familiar melodies with my musical saw for passersby. And though of less interest to the majority of the tourists that frequent the Market, I also enjoy bottleneckin' and fingerpickin' original songs with my self-made resophonic guitars.

I realize that slide guitar and the Folk/Blues approach that I've been exploring is something of an acquired taste. It's a relatively obscure musical niche and as such, only a handful of listeners will easily be able to relate to my passion.

On the street, there are many other sounds that often accompany the scene, vehicles driving through the area, the voices of so many people all talking at once, vendors barking... They create a kind of din, which can be challenging for a solo acoustic artist to compete with while playing.

I was preparing to offer my song, "Just Another Passerby", when I hear, within the din, the voice of a man say, "Wait a minute. I wanna check this out." I didn't look up from tuning my guitar to see who had paused. I had little time left in my set. Once in tune, I simply started the song. My presentation was feeling good, when suddenly I happened to gulp in a lung full of greasy smoke that wafted by from down the street. I choked on the lyric and decided to end the song early and clear my throat with a drink of water.

As I was wetting down my vocals to defeat the affects of the smoke, Gregg Allman (the man who paused to check out my playing) stepped over and introduced himself to me. He complimented me on my voice. I mentioned the song was my own. He said that he was looking for songs to record and asked if I would mind if he recorded one of mine. I answered in the only way any other songwriter would. He was curious about the picks I was using, the open tuning that I used and about my guitar. I explained all of the zany stuff that I used to make my Nobro and he got a kick out of that. Then he asked if he could play my ax. I surrendered it willingly. He then asked me if I would be willing to make him a guitar. Again, my reply was what any fledgling guitar builder would say in response to such a question. I offered him my three latest discs, "New & Used Blues", "Acoustic Roots Blues" and "Sweet & Silly". I also gave him a copy of my coloring book, "Street Performers" and my card. Yep, I was officially in an instant state of euphoria!

Every instrument maker's dream is to have someone of note and stature, like Gregg, playing one of their instruments. And every songwriter's dream is to have someone with huge exposure and connections in the big-time music scene, like Gregg, want to record one of their songs. Well, this wasn't a dream.

I asked Gregg if he would pose for a photo and his sweet companion was kind enough to offer to do the honors with my iPhone. Here's a link to that image on my Facebook page... https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153075543176896&set=a.161197401895.120713.581296895&type=1&theater

"Who Ripped Off My Pappy's Pappy Van Winkle?"

After hearing the late breaking news about the thieves who stole many thousands of dollars worth of barrels of Kentucky bourbon and bottles of Pappy Van Winkle's Old Rip Van Winkle, the muse tickled me to write my latest... ///

Who Ripped Off My Pappy's Pappy Van Winkle? / by Reggie Miles 2015 © All rights reserved ///

Who ripped off my Pappy's Pappy Van Winkle? / The last bottle of my Pappy's favorite drink / Who ripped off my ol' Pappy's Old Rip Van Winkle? / Some low down whiskey drinkin' thief, I think /

When I catch who stole that sweet and mellow bourbon bottle / They'll be walkin' real funny after their hide I throttle / Who ripped off my Pappy's Pappy Van Winkle? / The last bottle of my Pappy's favorite drink ///

Who ripped off my Pappy's Pappy Van Winkle? / What kind of a cad would sink so low? / Who ripped off my ol' Pappy's Old Rip Van Winkle? / It's 95.6 proof just how far a man will go /// Gonna get my hounds and track that bourbon bandit down / Then, I'm gonna lay him six feet underground / Who ripped off my Pappy's Pappy Van Winkle? / What kind of a cad would sink so low? ///

Who ripped off my Pappy's Pappy Van Winkle? / I swear I'm gonna make that punk pay / Who ripped off my ol' Pappy's Old Rip Van Winkle? / Ain't no way he's gonna get away ///

Aged 23 years makes it taste so fine / Drive a sober man to drinkin' all the time / Who ripped off my Pappy's Pappy Van Winkle? / I swear I'm gonna make that punk pay ///

Gonna lock his thieving soul away / He's never gonna see the light of day / vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv http://www.cnn.com/…/21/us/kentucky-bourbon-whiskey-arrests/

"She's Trouble" #11 in Country Blues at SoundClick!

I have a few webpages but I often don't find the time to keep them all up to date. My site at SoundClick is one of those that I visit only occasionally but today, I was surprised to find that my song "She's Trouble" is #11 among 3,350 songs in the Country Blues charts there and #74 among 55,199 songs in their Blues chart. That's the top .13% of all Blues posted there and the top .33% of all Country Blues songs. Not bad for a guy who plays a guitar that he made from repurposed recycled junk! http://www.soundclick.com/reggiemiles

Maltby Monthly Bluegrass Jam/Show/Potluck

Received a sweet review after showing up to play a set at the Maltby 1st Saturday Monthly Bluegrass gathering, at the Maltby Grange Hall. This event has been an ongoing happening for about two decades and usually draws a wonderful listening audience of mostly the Bluegrass faithful. My presentations seem about as far from that genre as I can imagine. Yep, I got too much Blues in my Bluegrass. I try to compensate for my lack with my acoustic finger style pickin and bottleneck slidin on my homemade Nobro resophonic, as well as sharing my passion for bowing a hand saw. The Maltby audience's patience, openness, generous nature and supportive spirit enable even my worst puns to find a smile. Here's a sweet comment that I just received... "Hi Reggie, My husband and I were at Maltby and really enjoyed your performance. Love your wit and especially your saw-playing skills. Do you happen to have an album of love songs? My husband loves your music, would love to get him a CD for V-day. Thanks!" (Teri Beard) I liked Teri's idea of creating a recording of love songs. So, I produced another of my "645" discs, by rounding up some of my favorite love songs. I called it, "The Birds and The Bees." I've uploaded five of the six songs from this recording to RN for listeners here to enjoy. Love hugs and kisses, Reg

New Re-releases, just in time for the holidays!

In an attempt to offer my musical endeavors at an affordable price, for those on a budget, I've created a series of recordings, which each contain, 6 songs, my "645" series of releases. They feature my favorite selections from previous recordings. Each of these new CD-Rs are just $5. They make a great gift, and are a great price for the Blues lovers you know and love. Here's a list of my first four releases. NR-022 "Acoustic Roots Blues" ~ My 6 LIVE original Bottleneck Blues from my recording "Bottleneck Blues" - Just $5 vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv NR-023 "645 Folk-Blues LIVE" ~ 6 LIVE Folk/Blues for $5, featuring 3 musical saw melodies produced by Phil Erb, 2 original Folk/Blues and an ancient novelty love song favorite of mine, "The Bearded Lady" vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv NR-024 "Seasonal Sawngs" ~ 6 Traditional seasonal carol selections played on a musical saw (from my "Seasonal Sawngs" Saw-D) Just $5 (That's half a sawbuck!) vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv NR-025 "New & Used Blues" ~ 6 of my favorites from my recording "51 Highway Blues" Featuring 4 Willie McTell interpretations and two original Bottleneck Blues - Just $5 vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv Look for more of these in the near future.

Sweet new comment...

I LOVE this quote from Richard Castor, referring to my efforts... "A BLUESMAN, living it and singing about it, all the way down baddass lane."

"A Mother's Love" by Reggie Miles

Just uploaded an impromptu video capture of my tribute to my Mom and Moms everywhere, "A Mother's Love." Captured by Lynn Nash, this video represents the first time that I offered this song in public. Originally written for guitar this video features me offering this song, for the first time, with musical saw accompaniment. Enjoy! Share this with your Mom.

A Mother’s Love by Reggie Miles © 2012 All rights reserved

In the whole wide world round There’s only one that can be found Whose love will never change a bit No matter how far astray I get

Though years may keep us apart No length of time could sway her heart A mother’s love can’t be undone Not even for her wanderin’ one

And so today I take the time To express in words and rhyme And say what’s always been inside Like the double shoelace knot she tied

That my love for you has ever been Strong and true, without end Yes, my love for you has always been Strong and true and without end

Oso Mudslide Blues

I just posted the video to my page at RN

Oso Mudslide Blues By Reggie Miles © 2014 All rights reserved

I’m in downtown Darrington Mud all in my shoes My gal's on the Stillaguamish Got them Oso mudslide blues

And I got nuthin’ left to lose Got them Oso mudslide blues

Hard times here My life's been swept away I’m sittin here prayin For a sunny day

And I’m cryin’ every day My life's been swept away

That clearcut mountain She’s so long and tall The rain it came a callin It made that mudslide fall

And now there’s nuthin left at all It made that mudslide fall

Sittin here moanin This Oso muddy pain Times like these They'll drive a man insane

And it’s a cryin shame 'Bout this Oso muddy pain

I’m in downtown Darrington Mud all in my shoes My gal's on the Stillaguamish Got them Oso mudslide blues

And I got nuthin’ left to lose Got them Oso mudslide blues