As I mentioned a few weeks ago, some friends and I have been working on a Linda Ronstadt tribute band called Blue Bayou. We’ve spent enough time together to do a lot of hard work and occasionally get on each others’ nerves. But enough time now to have worked up close to two sets’ worth of material, bringing it achingly close to ready to perform. We just have to tighten it all up a little, add a few more songs, and get on each others’ nerves some more. And then we’ll be ready!

I’ve been excited about this band for a number of reasons: 

  1. We’ve got a killer female lead vocalist in the person of Yolie Milan. Yolie can flat-out channel Linda, which you can guess is the one absolute must-have for a Ronstadt tribute, right. (Thanks, by the way, are due bass player Kendall Brown for coming up with this particular tribute idea to begin with and pursuing it.) You can see more about Yolie in the artist pages of this website. 
  2. The project brings me back together with keyboardist, guitarist, vocalist, and great friend, Todd Guinn, from FastLane, our Eagles tribute band that enjoyed a very successful 11-year run.
  3. This band also has allowed me to expand my musical horizons by giving me the opportunity to play not only guitar — my main instrument — but also pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar, fiddle, and banjo. The experience has already stretched me creatively and will really stretch me once I have to bring all that to every gig.

One slight bump in the road has involved a key role in the band: the role of drummer. We worked for a number of weeks with our friend, William Ryland. Unfortunately he had other commitments to keep, so we’ve been rehearsing the past several weeks without a drummer. The great news, however, is that according to the latest reports our former drummer extraordinaire from FastLane, Jimmy Siddons, may be returning from El Paso and may join us. We’re extremely pumped about that news and sincerely hope it works out. Come back, Jimmy!

We’ll shortly inaugurate a new webpage here, then, devoted to news about Blue Bayou. I hereby welcome us in advance to the DFW music scene. I can’t wait for that first gig. I’ll let you know when we set the date.

Recently a close friend, Todd Guinn, from my old Eagles tribute band, Fastlane, called to say he had been asked by a mutual friend to join a “Linda Ronstadt and Friends” tribute and wondered whether I would be interested in playing guitar for it.

This is the first time in a long time a new band idea has appealed to me. Others have been proposed at various points and I’ve turned them all down. None really seemed that interesting, in part because I’d grown weary of the tribute scene, and also because the acts being paid tribute to were not ones I felt a strong connection to.

But the Ronstadt thing is different. I loved her music growing up; how can you not admire that killer voice? But there’s more to it. One thing I liked about her music was how different it was compared to most rock at the time. Instrumentation, for example. Her songs featured bluegrass instruments, particularly fiddle, and quite a bit of steel guitar. It so happens I’ve been in possession of a fiddle and a steel guitar for a couple years, but I’ve never achieved much on either; I’ve basically goofed around with them a little. I took the gig largely because it would force me to develop chops on both instruments.

The other attraction has to do with the “and friends” part of the equation. We’ve decided to include others’ songs she did backup vocals on, like James Taylor’s “Bartender’s Blues,” as well as Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man.”

Of course, no Linda Ronstadt tribute gets far without a stellar female vocalist, and we have her in Yolie Millan, a 24 (and there’s so much more) year-old singer with pipes of gold. It’s shaping up to be a fun gig. We’ll keep you posted.

Gary

Mountain Stream Media. Strange name for a website, huh. Especially one based in Dallas, which isn’t exactly known for mountain streams running through it. Honest-to-God mountains are a pretty good distance from here. 

The name comes from a song I wrote a while ago called “Time of Trains.” It told of a time when one was more, as they say, footloose and fancy free (whatever that means). Worry free or relatively so, back when I was just beginning to learn some things about life. 

Based on a series of true events, the song details an encounter between a young man and an equally young woman who meet on a train moving through a mountain pass in a foreign country. 

Here’s the tune:


Time of Trains, © 2013 Gary White, all rights reserved


The relevant lines read like this: 

The tracks hugged a mountain stream
And the scenery seemed to recede
When she spoke of home
In a north country town
I declined to ask her name
I wasn’t much for details
The window ran down rain
And time became those clacking rails

At the song’s close, the stream is evoked again: 

My life is a mountain stream
And when I contemplate
The noisy faces and the dirty cities
That compose my downstream fate
I remember her…
A connoisseur of silences

It wasn’t the first song I had ever tried to write, but it was the first I ever finished. I wrote it one night sitting in a corporate apartment in Alexandria, Louisiana. I was working a contract job, living alone there while going through a painful, as they say, divorce. A rough time. The fact that I was able to piece together something as small and insignificant as a song when my life was busy falling to pieces around me meant something. 

So, fast-forward to today, and Mountain Stream Media it is and shall be. This enterprise is rooted in life lived out, times gone through, idyllic in one case, bitter in another. Hopefully the art brought forth through Mountain Stream Media will touch equally high highs and low lows, and everything in between. I’m looking forward to finding out what the future will bring.

Gary

Welcome to Mountain Stream Media, a new space in support of new voices in the arts. In particular, we’re concerned with two art forms here — the popular song and the novel. And we’re very interested in a particular part of the country, Dallas-Fort Worth.

The reason for the interest in DFW is simple: I live and work here and am tied to the artistic and economic community. But why the popular song and novel? That’s slightly more complicated but still specific to me. First, I love both art forms and have worked in them for some time. I’ve worked as a musician in Dallas and the surrounding area for years, written a lot of songs, recorded some, cut an album, and played more gigs than I can count.

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I’ve also dedicated more hours than I can count to novel writing. I’ll be releasing one one of these days soon. And I’ve rubbed shoulders with many other area writers.

This space is dedicated to supporting the novelwriting and songwriting communities. If you’re a songwriter or novelist in Dallas-Ft Worth, I’d especially like to hear from you. But wherever you’re from, if you’re a songwriter or novelist, know someone who is, or if you simply like to read and talk about novels and listen and dance to music, join us. Sign up for the blog, come back to visit, and stay tuned for some cool debuts, discussions, and more.

Gary