18 December, 2022

QTN Wintry Whirling Wonder-Wanderings


Photo by Sally Bogardus

 Greets of the Season of the Long Night!

This latest musing finally got typed. Complicated thoughts for a complicated year. There are 3 newsy parts here, but first – announcing a Eugene, Oregon gig I haven’t played in person since The Pause. 

It’s the return of 


A live river of guitar music, 
candlelight, community, space and focus 
to embrace the longest night
with no holiday hoopla.
Bring a friend, a candle and your ears.

A. 2022 extrapolations in review
B. Newly released recordings
C. Continuumusing – again!

A.  Another spin around the wheel, another year draws to a close. Another opportunity to leave old ways behind and to welcome the new with open receiving arms. The new chops and experiences, new ways of dealing with old patterns and situations appear suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere. Once a pattern is recognized, the option to participate – or not – is clear. Once volitional consciousness discerns what is significant, choices are weighed and made.

And so the inward and the outward (as well as the toward) collide with one another, change each the other and, as it is outside, so it becomes inside. A look around the metaphorsphorescence and careening impossible of the worldsphere reveals the too much of it all, so stepping into silence is a river and a pulsing sinewave. A quieting of the chaotic rampage of elephant monkey donkey trickster mind patterns while listening and being still is a rrrrrr-evolutionary act; not indolence but a useful tool.

What kind of newsletter is this and what the hell am I going on about here? It’s another part of the music that surgemerges through and this has been a year the likes of which we’ve never seen the like of (just like every year has been previously for a bunch of em in this century). Living with uncertainty is a certain solace, and watching traditional forms dissolve around us and becoming new forms is revealing and a deeper kind of green yes we’ve barely had time to explore and celebrate, like dwellers on the threshold beckoning and becoming. It is what we are here to do the best however we can.

B.  Much of the last few years of pause I’ve had the opportunity to do the best I can by bringing songs I make and play and others' songs and sounds together into tangible form. The Pause time without live presentations has felt impossible at different times for many and the challenges of living and the constant river of change (along with cherished others leaving life) can make present time difficult. Still I am thankful that some projects I've long wanted to bring to completion (after years of only being home maybe three weeks at a time) have finally been made 3D. 

These days, Bandcamp is the closest thing I have to a website (my other site was last updated about 2012). You can stream whole albums, download them or send for physical CDs. I’ve posted many odd downloadable sonic relics there too that will never be made into CDs. Music is a thoughtful giving to share and CDs still make great gifts. Click on the blue links in this letter to listen in and take a ride in the earbuds. 

Al Grierson, The Petals – In 2020, I made a CD of Al Grierson’s uncollected songs, a project Anne Feeney and I talked of doing for years. Al died 20 years ago, swept into Texas floodwaters after a gig, but he made two fine albums while he was alive. Now there is a third and I think he would like it too. Listen to The Petals here and if you only listen to one song, play the title track. You’ll likely listen to the rest after that. Download or order the album there. All the $ goes directly to his daughters and there are still a few physical copies available too. 

Richard Crandell, Lost Legacy – This summer, as my musician friend Richard Crandell was in his last days on Earth, his dream album of piano originals, Lost Legacy, was delivered to the hospital. A master musician, Richard made his first guitar record in 1980. He played jazz and salsa piano in many combos too. After six guitar albums, his hands could no longer play due to his Essential Tremor. He then became an international-recognized innovator on the Zimbabwean mbira played in his own most untraditional style. He made five mbira albums (two with koto master, Masumi Timson) and he and I worked on Lost Legacy for the last year and a half. This one is only a physical CD and isn’t online yet but if you’d like more info, just hit reply. His other recordings are streamable via all the usual places.

Brian QTN, OsculEARiosophy – This year I released a new recording of my own, OsculEARiosophy, a naked voice and guitar record with ten songs, new and not so new. The Bayard guitar I play is the whole band and it all was recorded in one session. It has gotten a lot of radio and online airplay this year and has stimulated many great emails and letters. Take it for a spin. 

C.  It is a changing time and music you enjoy is a great tool to have in your box. It slows time, changes the channel, and fills your head with ideas and stories. It fills your heart with melodies and rhythm. It can be habit-forming and yet, it is way better than teevee. Or obsession, alcohol, drama or confusion. I agree with George Harrison who said it was the best part of himself he had to give.

With so much in constant flux all around us, it is good to remember that we are people all in this together with much more in common than our differences. Sometimes what needs to change is our ideas about each other and as much as systems and politricks, corporations and global dysfunction would like to separate us and make us dislike, hate or fear each other, we are all riding on this same little pebble in a vast swift evre-expanding river that curls back on itself like Ouroboros eating its own tail. Mind yer entropies and cues and let’s be kind to one another and embrace the changes we all are facing. As the song goes: let us know, let us know, let us know...

Oh, and Richard Crandell made acronyms too. My favourite of his is: ACRONYM - Another Creative Round of New Youthful Music! 

The Wordless Solstice is dedicated to Richard this year.

May you find heartpeace in your days. Onward into 2023!

Your corn forest pundit,

03 July, 2022

Brian QTN July Music in Oregon!


Andrew Alikhanov and QTN at OCF 2019  Photo by Kimm Still  

 A hat tip of the summery daze to Upper Left Edge folk near and far!

OCF, Wordless and worded post Fair dates and times below

Still swimming through Kerrblur after six weeks in Texas at the 50th Kerrville Folk Festival. It wasn't below 95 degrees any day of that time and often it was triple digits. I learned to take 5 showers in a row everyday and it helped immensely. Indeed a tough beautiful time with many dear heartsouls and beautiful long unseen faces. Here is a video peek of the finale of our Crow’s Nest show with us all singing “Sometimes A Darkness Comes” for your edification and enjoyment 

I realized I mostly was peripatetic throughout years of this liferide (at least til the past couple) and I moved through many communities for most of it. Two and a half years is a way too long time between visits. There are new things in the big mindheart and faces outpictured by so many I saw. And now I get to do it again with an intensive weekend at the Oregon Country Fair, my 34th year of playing music there. I am celebrating with the release of a new 10 song album, OsculEARiosophy, linked here for streaming.

This year’s QTNBand has the usual suspects – Jason Montgomery on bass, Lewi Longmire on mando, Michelle Alany on violin and Andrew Alikhanov on clarinet and for the first time this year, we'll be joined by Courtney Von Drehle on accordion and whatever he feel like playing. 

Strangely we have two sets both on the same stage at the same time each day, two days in a row and we’ll have musical surprises each day.

Saturday July 9 1:40-2:40 PM@ Blue Moon
Sunday July 10 1:40-2:40 PM @ Blue Moon

For folks who won’t be at OCF this year too –  my annual post Fair gig with two sets, a picnic, kids, cookies and community encouraged.
Wednesday, July 136:30 pm 
Eugene’s Scobert Park 
(on 4th St. by Sam Bond’s across the street from Nelson’s)  

Later this month, I’ll be playing guitar and feeding the ravenous Wordless Beast in me with two outdoor Saturday evening gigs:

Saturday July 23 and Saturday July 30, from 6-8 pm 
at 16 Tons in South Eugene at 29th and Willamette St.
in the plaza with Market of Choice.

World is a hot scary mess nowadays and human gatherings are more important than ever. There are many ways to raise our voices to call attention to the madness all around. We are not powerless working together and we can move many heavy huge stones like we have many times before. World is changing and the dysfunctional ways things have always been done are running themselves out. Metamorphosis. Image a nation. Image a world. Image mindfulness, connectivity community.

Your corn forest pundit,

10 April, 2022

Brian QTN Going Through Texas With Drawl 2022


Mark "Gumby" Williams and QTN, Kerrville Folk Fest, 1983

Hello people of the HeartMindMusicSongSoulVerve!
All the boing of Spring to you all!

It’s April already though it got here mighty fast. Still chilly here and even though baseball season has begun, it’s snowing in several parts of the country. Grateful for  snowdump this week in the higher elevations here as that is our summer water and we are still in drought. 

Worldsphere is waking in a new form. Everyone and everything has been changed somehow in the last couple years of staying far from the crowding mad and reassessing what works and what doesn't. Through it all folks still create, and the new songs, poems, paintings, films, books, dances and expression move and speak differently. There is a line from the Before Times to now and even though there are difficult and terrible things happening all around us, there are also things that are proceeding, overcoming great odds in a more positive way in tandem simultaneously.

Winter was deep and productive, even in my learning to rest differently and better. Been working on archives, recording new music, playing guitar, making a new album, compiling a book of stories for Kerrville Folk Festival’s 50th anniversary written by a folks who took the time to write a story to benefit the KFF Foundation, and space here to ponder other endless imponderables. There is a rhythm, and in every beginning is the rhythm even before words are necessary.

I am excited about heading to Texas in a few weeks as I've done for so many years for playing shows, Kerrville and for visiting familyfolk long unseen. Right after the Texas trip I’ll be playing at a real live and in person Oregon Country Fair  too. Tickets for both events are on sale now and are smaller in size than previous years so don’t wait to get em. I’ll send OCF details soon.

Texas gigs:

• Mother’s Day, May 8, I’ll be celebrating the new QTN album, OsculEARiosophy, with a concert in Austin at Radio Coffee and Beer, 4204 Manchaca Rd., from 7-10 pm. Got special guests in mind and there’ll be a Texas sending with more info this week. 

Meawhile, if you’d like to order a copy of the OsculEARiosophy CD or download the songs, go here.  I've just ordered a second run of CDs as the first pressing went fast and what good news that is. The album is intimate – 10 songs with one sweet Bayard guitar and one QTN voice, recorded head on with 3 vintage mics in the sweet studio where I recorded Guitarred and Feathered and songs from The Sound of Photosynthesis. Thanks to all the DJs who are sharing this with their listeners already.

• Thursday June 2, at 9 pm, Steve Fisher and I host the toasting of the wonder that is the Crow’s Nest, saluting Crow Johnson who the campfire is named for onstage at Kerrville on the Threadgill Stage. I’ve camped and sung around that Ring of Stones for more than half the years of my life and some pretty astonishing things have taken place there under the stars in the deepest night. There’ll be songs and other guests and I’m thrilled to hear that Crow will be there in person as well to make this festive night ever so much more heart-moving and indelible.

• Sunday June 12, 2 pm, I host the Ballad Tree session on Chapel Hill on the last day of the 50th Kerrville Festival. Bring a song or poem, your friends and your ears. Also that night, you can see David Amram conduct the Festival Orchestra for the grande finale. David is 91 and still an extraordinary performer! See the whole amazing Fest schedule here.

During the week before Kerrville, while in Austin, I am looking for a set of street legal wheels I could borrow for around town use and/or a venue for me to play Wordless Guitar or a singing guest set or two. Best way to reach me is through this email. 

Thanks for your ears, your kind letters and good thoughts about OsculEARiosophy. The sap is rising and the energy is high for change and evolution. Doing my best to rise to meet it. After all, we didn’t come here to go to sleep – we came here to WAKE UP.

Your corn forest pundit,

13 February, 2022

QTNs OsculEARiosophy and the Water Tiger Year


It’s the top of a new ear and already in process! The sap is rising like the rivers and the water is a-flowin.

There are four parts to this newsletter:
1. A Musing on the Water Tiger Year 
2. New QTN album, OsculEARiosophy
3. The Petals by Al Grierson
4. Last Call for Kerrville Stories

1. Here we go round and round the big wheel that scrapes the sky. Moon was New February 1 and so a new Lunar Year begins. This time around itsa Watery Tiger following a heavy Metal Ox and it’s been observed that if the Metal Ox was a dam, the Water Tiger may well burst it as big energetic changes move further in. Water is yin, an element of ending and a preparing for something new. Other perspectives can be helpful especially in times like these.

Lots of deep breaths lately to begin again in this contracted winter with grace and fluidity.  Fluid-ditties are fun to sing even though there aren’t many gigs to play with real live people these days. I am digging into singing and guitarring, making new things to sing, finding older ones to re-sing. Real eyes sing.

2. I begin this new lunar year offering the heartiest thanks to all of you who’ve been preordering OsculEARiosophy  Preorders have helped mix, master, manufacture and send this new recording out into the whirld at large. Already it has gone many places and it goes out to many more round the world officially this month. Physical copies and digital files are there (even though we are in an odd time where CD players have largely gone the way of the Thesaurus.) 

For those of you in radio, a separate sending is coming your way. If your email address has changed, please let me know asap. Radio folk can request digital downloads with metadata to get the music out faster (and less $ for postage). 

 I made a new recording last summer in my favourite studio here, with three vintage mics, six exceptional strings on an extraordinary Bayard guitar, ten fingers and a voice, and in one 6 hour session, ten songs were recorded. Order and stream tracks via my bandcamp page linked above and you can comment there or send words here. I’ve been told it’s a fun album to listen to on a cold day with a good cuppa something hot. 

Two other important mentions:

3. The Petals, Al Grierson’s 3rd album, was released last year as a collection of unreleased gems he left behind and curated by me with a baker’s dozen of unforgettable Al tunes. The project was begun by Anne Feeney and I years ago, dear to our hearts and it all came together incredibly. Al's been gone 20 years now (and Anne left us a year ago) – his songs are eternal, so what’s a couple decades between friends? The other two albums he made while he stomped the terra firma are streamable and downloadable at his Bandcamp page here and all sales go directly to his two daughters. 

4. 2022 is Kerrville Folk Festival’s 50th Anniversary and that means it's last call for stories for the Kerrville book Festfolk are writing together. If you’ve been procrastinating, the buzzer just sounded. I need them all as soon as possible to get it together and done by May Fest. Don’t wait to send your tales of amazing Kerrville happenings, camp origins, rain stories, Kerr-characters, raisin consciousness, rivers and weather, synchronicities and absurdities. Wax poetic and share your unbelievable experiences with the Kerr-munity and the rest of the outside world. Just collect your thoughts, type em up and hit reply to me here. If you’ve posted a great story on fb, copy it off the page and paste it into an email.

Here's hoping we have places to gather and sing again, festivals for the soul and other community hoopla. Hoping too we can come together as human neighbours and people with kind hearts to stop the animosity toward each other and focus on the important changes inevitably headed our way. 

The oldest trick in the book is propagated by those with hubris and no hearts inflicting dualities into everything so folks argue endlessly about what they choose while their pockets are picked, and their rights and culture are exploited and stripped clean of its soul by those who stand to gain the most… it’s the oldest trick…

Thank you for being a part of this list, for your many letters, your enthusiasm and your ears. It is no small thing to me here on the hill over by the way and I hope to see you out there soon.

Lord Buckley said it best:

“The flowers, 
the gorgeous, mystic multi-coloured flowers, 
are not the flowers of life, 
but people, 
people are the true flowers of life 
and it has been a most 
precious pleasure 
to have temporarily strolled in your garden.”

Your corn forest pundit,