New blog location

Posted December 6, 2009 by Bill Morris
Categories: Gigs

Hello friends,

After tolerating the limitations of the free WordPress account for about a year now, I decided enough was enough and created a new blog on my regular webhost.

Please update for your bookmarks:

See you at the new location!

November Concert

Posted November 8, 2009 by Bill Morris
Categories: Gigs

“How was your concert, daddy?” my son said, by way of “Good morning.”

How, indeed? It was marvelous, boyo, thank you for asking. The Stone Bridge Coffee House was packed, with a dozen more people on chairs outside on the sidewalk listening in – we came to call that group The Lions Club, after the Hope Day School Lions, the high school that I and most of them attended. They were the rowdy bunch, them. Several folks up from Oklahoma, Bruce, Susi, Chester, Shannyn (sp?), Jenny. Many folks in the shop I’ve come to think of as “regulars”, people I do not know but whose faces I recognize.

Holy crap…I have fans. That’s kind of a new feeling.

So, surrounded by fans, friends and Chosen Family, it was, at least from my perspective, a terrific show. I added two new songs, “The Athens Queen”, by Stan Rogers; and “You Can Close Your Eyes”, by James Taylor. Love, love, LOVE that song. By this Friday, I hope to have at least two more, but it’s going to be a busy week so I’m not sure I’ll have the time. Definitely by the 20th, though.

Thank you to every one who came to hear me. You made the evening for me.

I’m scheduled to play again this Friday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, with a jam session to follow.

Other, Upcoming Events

December 5, 2009, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Stone Bridge Coffee House

January 9th, 2009, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Stone Bridge Coffee House

February 6th, 2009, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Stone Bridge Coffee House


There’s probably an extra November date in there, too, the 20th, but that’s kind of up in the air. I’ll post here when I know for sure.


Stone Bridge Coffee House

Concert Update

Posted July 29, 2009 by Bill Morris
Categories: Gigs

playing Guitar at the coffee houseI have two concerts coming up where I’ll be performing solo.

August 7th, 2009.
7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Main Street Coffee House, 107 S. Main, Independence, Missouri.

Link to Google Maps


August 22nd, 2009
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Stone Bridge Coffee House. Englewood, Independence, Missouri

I can’t really give better directions or information on the coffee house since it isn’t open yet. I’ll be performing as a part of their Grand Opening festivities. I’ll post more updates as they become available.

Link to Google Maps

I play a mix of Celtic and American traditional music, and some original pieces as well. The music pulls from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and, of course, America.

Recording progress

Posted August 3, 2008 by Bill Morris
Categories: Recording

Tags: , , , ,

Don’t let anyone tell you different: with care, you can record your music without paying money to a studio. This isn’t to say that you should, only that you can, though that line of thinking is a post all by itself.

For my part, I’m recording the cd in my basement. I have good quality mics (as detailed in an earlier post); a reasonably powerful computer; good software; a comfortable space in which to work; and friends with experience willing to help me create the best product possible.

I like my house. It is the only house I can remember living in. It’s about ninety years old, subject to all the aches and pains that such a house is heir to, though for the purposes of this post the one I’m most concerned with is squeaky floors.

Read the rest of this post »

In the studio

Posted March 25, 2008 by Bill Morris
Categories: Equipment, Recording

I’m working on a CD, tentatively titled “Walking There”, scheduled for a June/July release.  If you’d like to be notified when it becomes available, please sign up for my mailing list by clicking on (strangely enough) the “Mailing List” link in the sidebar over there >>.

I’ve finally got Jamie Raeburn to a point where there’s a few places that can use some touch-up, but overall it’s good and if push came to shove I could release it as is.  I’m going to try to have Brett Gibson come and lay down an accordion track for it.

Next step is sometime in the next week or so to build a portable sound booth.  The floors in our eighty year old house are just too damn noisy!  I hung some acoustic foam behind my microphones (amazing what you can do with a queen-size, $10 Craig’s List egg crate mattress pad) and even that small – admittedly jerry-rigged – touch made a difference.

I just couldn’t take it any more…

Posted March 22, 2008 by Bill Morris
Categories: Equipment, Musings

A bit over fifteen years ago, I had it in my head that I was going to have a music career. (It’s not that I was wrong; I was just ahead of my time.) I took my girlfriend – who I would later make my wife – to a place in North Kansas City officially called St. Mary’s School Of Music. It had another name I can’t remember that was far, far cooler than that. They’d set up shop in an old grocery store off of Armour Rd. and sold everything musical.

I was there to purchase a MIDI workstation, which I still have: a Roland XP80. 512 on-board sounds (of which I’ve only ever used about 10), 64 note polyphony, weighted keys…not the best money could buy, but still, $2500 back in 1990 was nothing to sneeze at, and bought quite a lot of keyboard.

one of my microphonesWhile I was there I bought two mics and a mixer. The mics I still have, and they still work well: A Peavey Diamond Series PVM22 (still a good vocal mic) and a Peavey PVM480: both good equipment.

The mixer, not so much. It’s a Peavey Unity 300 12 channel, in its day a good mixer. Hell, a very good mixer. At the time I think it was something like $250.

Over the years, though, it developed an annoying zzzzzzzzzz on the output channel – a 600Hz buzz*, very quiet but also very noticeable. I was able to use a gate and filter it out, but even so it left an uncomfortable ambiance to the recorded sound.

One day, the wife and I stopped at Guitar Center here in Independence to buy cables for my St. Patrick’s day concert. While there, I was pricing the mixers, trying to get a handle on what we’d need to work into the budget. Michelle asked for the price, was told, then asked me, “Will this help you make your CD?” “Yes,” says I. She turns to the salesperson and says, “Go get it for him.”

He just stood there, a goldfish expiring on the kitchen counter. I broke him out of his trance with, “Do you see? See what I have to put up with? Now, go get the nice lady her mixer.”

In reality, there’s more to the story, but I’ll spare you the worst of it. The “bullet points” work like this:

First I bought an Alesis MultiTrack8 USB. Didn’t work with Sonar.
My New Mixer

Next, I bought an Alesis MultiTrack8 Firewire. Didn’t work with Sonar, Cubase or Premiere. Or, more accurately, Windows wouldn’t work with the mixer.

Finally, I bought this. It’s a Behringer Xenyx 1622. I could have made the Alesis work using the analog outputs, but why? I paid $250 for a Firewire interface only to not use it?

No, I don’t think so.

Besides, the Alesis was short an output, using the digital connection for the computer, meaning there weren’t enough outputs left to monitor what I was doing and feed the computer.

In the end, I spent about $60 less, got a bit more mixer (4 more tracks!), a somewhat better interface (I think), and with the money I saved bought a guitar humidifier and dinner from Olive Garden for me and Michelle**.

You could argue that I could have just futzed with the drivers until I got them to work. True, but it just wouldn’t have been worth the time.

I’ve already done some recording with it, and the difference is astonishing. I didn’t realize just how noisy the old mixer was.

* I’m guessing, of course, but that seems right.
** Please don’t correct the grammar, because you won’t be. It’s not “Michelle and I.” How do you know? Take “Michelle” out, and try it both ways: “dinner from Olive Garden for I.” Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? How about, “dinner from Olive Garden for me.” Ahhhh, better. Of course, I could use “myself”, but that’d just be pretentious. I’m not that kind of guy.

Coffee House Concert…

Posted March 18, 2008 by Bill Morris
Categories: Gigs

…was a great success!  I played to a packed house (first time, there) .  It wasn’t a paying gig, but the audience was generous to my tip jar.  There were more calls for CDs, and more reassurances that, yes, I’m recording a CD – hoping for a June or July release, if you’re keeping score.

There were a few new faces, and many old friends.

Thanks to everyone who came!

New Video…and an explanation

Posted March 10, 2008 by Bill Morris
Categories: Fun Stuff, Musings

I got together with my friends Kent and Kevin – who have been helping me with my CD – and we made a music video. Before I give you the link, though, let me offer a little bit of history.

At the end of the video, there is the inscription, “To Lezlie.” Of course, there isn’t a lot of room to expound at the end of a YouTube video, so I’ll do it here.

The “Lezlie” in question is a dear friend of mine. We met – really met, as opposed to just being acquaintances at a renaissance festival – on the set of an independent film we were both cast in. We share a love of music and on the set one day (while we were waiting for the director to get his act together) we brought out our guitars and traded songs. It became an impromptu concert that lasted nearly two hours (we have it on DVD!) . The song on the video, “Jamie Raeburn”, was one of the first songs I played, and is one that I am most proud of.

Last summer, Lezlie moved very far away. She, like so many others, traveled to find her answers, and in the meantime here’s a video…a sort of “Ok, now it’s YOUR turn” message. We still keep in mostly regular touch, and the next time she’s in town we’re going to try to record a CD’s worth of music – and maybe some video while we’re at it.

Now, here’s the video.

New (to me) talent

Posted March 8, 2008 by Bill Morris
Categories: Fun Stuff, Musings

I was bouncing around YouTube trying to find a version of “Maid Behind the Bar” that wasn’t somebody practicing or playing like a clockwork toy, and came across the pairing of Stephen Dougherty and Zac Leger. Their music is terrific! Zac slides the capo on the bazouki so effortlessly that you hardly hear the transition.

The video that introduced me to them.

Their YouTube channel.

As always, links to external sites open in a new window.

This Just In…

Posted March 1, 2008 by Bill Morris
Categories: Gigs

I’ll be performing at the Main Street Coffee House, March 17th, 7:00pm.
Below is the graphic I created – just for fun – for the event.

clicking the image will open a larger version in a new window