Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Ask Why

The death of famed Windham Hill records artist Michael Hedges in late November 1997 was brought to mind this evening while I was updating a link in my bio on this blog page. One of the main repositories still out there documenting Michael's life is Matt Guthrie's Nomad Land which I linked to. I was perusing Michael's bio when I went to the newspaper accounts of his car accident. This was such bizarre strange unbelievable news that I actually got nearly a month after the fact in late 1997. I was stunned as so many were who felt this guitar pioneer's influence during the 80's and 90's, it was so unreal that this really creative guy almost a mystic that we all followed was no more.

Though not the first, Michael did bring such a strong fresh spin on instrumental acoustic guitar technique when he burst on to the scene as a Will Ackerman discovery for his [Ackerman's] then upstart cottage industry record label in the late 70's that it was unlike anything many interested in the guitar in a compositional way had ever heard. Not to take anything away from Leo Kottke or John Fahey but Michael brought a mix of eloquent detail and precise percussive and rhythmic technique and sense of focus that it was much akin to falling under the spell of Shira Kahn in the Jungle Book.

The paradox in this 'fame' that he gained was almost accident to what accounts say he really wanted, that to be recognized as a singer-songwriter or somewhat of a rock star.

This entry is just several lose thoughts for now. If the name is new to you get a hold of Michael's first recording Breakfast in the Field and his last he was recording just before his death, called Torched. In a sense I've moved on to a different chapter in my music though I still think about him and really owe a lot to him. A couple months after his death I wrote a piece simply called For Michael. I recorded two different versions on my first and second CD's, Celtic Journey to The Path and Through the Door. On one of my first trips to California in 2001 friend and television producer Jeff Watts shot this performance video for me,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday Morning at 11

A few weeks ago after encouragement from fellow artist Matt Stevens I followed suite and started doing a live 30+ minute webcast on that I launched as a bi-weekly event. I just did my 3rd show on May 24th.

This series is giving me the opportunity to perform for people through virtual connections in places I may never physically get to travel. In the performance I do largely improvised music with an occasional semi-composed piece from my "Michael Hedgesesque" repertoire of recent years, on fretted, fretless guitars, oud and some loops via an Electro Harmonix 2880 4-track looper which is great.

So far I've had people connect from the States, UK, Germany and Sweden. My next broadcast is Sunday, June 7th at 11am EST. The show URL is

Select times are 4pm UK, 5pm continental Europe, 8am PST, 9am CST and Asia 12midnight. Please tune in on the 7th of June.

An idea, a germ, a seed, a double-neck

As I posted on a Facebook blurb a bit ago I was thinking today about a guitar instrument that would be a double-neck with one neck fretted and the other fretless. This of course is not completely new in guitar making the idea of double neck and I'm almost certain someone has manufactured a fretted-fretless creation but this was floating around my head today. I have an upcoming travel gig that will require flying and it's the energy that spurned this interest/need as I play both with fretwire and without. When I do shows these days I often take at least two instruments and sometimes three. With the airlines now scrambling to make up for lost income by charging for any checked baggage this adds a potentially annoying stipend to my travel budget.

So what I saw in my mind was sort of more of an electric body but still some hollowness to have some natural sound amplification but the idea would be more portable with pickups for the main sound generation. Then six string scale fretted and fretless necks.

And to continue to dream a bit as custom guitars always tip the price tag 4-7000, it would be nice if this could be made of possibly recycled materials and not so much rare tone woods and selling for a musicians affordable price.

My friend Eddie Powell, a fine fretless player, has built a double or triple fretless necked instrument. Eddie has had influence on my fretless interest though as this need/desire sounds out, I'm still got a foot in both fretted and fretless worlds. There are really neat things about both textures in my music creation these days. My more percussive and earlier work when I was more composed really makes better use of the wire and the newer improvisational work is more linear and lyrical and has me leaning towards fretless guitar.

A sidebar, my newest CD Vertical is completely fretless and includes me on oud and violin in addition to the fretless guitar.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

An introduction...

I am Jim Goodin a composer, musician and improvisational artist living in New York. I am also a photographer, videographer and freelance video editor.

As a musician my foundation for 25 plus years has been the acoustic guitar. For many of those years I played in a style influenced by artists such as Michael Hedges, Will Ackerman and John Fahey and performed largely as a solo artist. Around 2000 I began to collaborate with other musicians initially two percussionists one that I still work with today in the collective East of Where.

Though the idea of improvisation was not new to me during the summer of 2005 my music and interest began to lean towards more experimental and improvisational partly through the East of Where collaboration. A year later through chance email meeting after doing some research on 'looping' I struck up e-dialog with guitarist/analog tape loopist Daryl Shawn. The dialog led to electronically working together live through the amazing open source technology NinJam.

The Shawn/Goodin NinJam sessions became regular weekend gatherings that led to the formation of a duo we dubbed Chinapainting. By the winter of 2006 we had enough improvised content that we released two CD's and by the summer of 2007 we decided to formerly meet, take Chinapainting to the live stage and record our first 'in person' CD, Night Blooming Cereus.

Chinapainting is an on-going story and continues to do mini-tours nationally each year.

The work of these collaborations has had great influence on my solo work which has evolved to be largely improvised. Additionally I've delved into other instruments including fretless guitar, oud and violin as well as looping technology to often weave the different instrument textures together.

Professionally I have endorsements from GHS Strings and Seagull Guitars. I am published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc. with a book/CD on the popular DADGAD guitar tuning, titled DADGAD Encyclopedia.

In addition to my traditional performances in the spring of 2009 I started a 'live' webcast series on titled Sunday Morning at 11. In the series I perform a 30-40 minute improvisational set of music bi-weekly. I am very excited about this series as it's giving me the opportunity to perform for people in places I may never have the opportunity to actually go to.

I am an active member of three musician web communities, Loopers-Delight, CT-Collective which I recently produced an usual experimental CD for titled ReUse, and the RPM (record a CD in 28 days) Challenge of which I've released 3 solo CD's and 1 duo CD. As an independent artist I have released 7 solo CD's, 2 duo CD's and been a part of several compilations. I have appeared at Y2K International Live Looping Festival with Chinapainting and will be appearing this summer at the Ingenuity Festival also with Chinapainting in Cleveland.

In addition to my music, imagery both still and video which I've always been involved in, have become more and more involved in the last few years including launching myself as a freelance video editor in the last year.

Though I have several homes on the web my plans are for this blog to become my main portal. More to come.