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Lachlan MacLearn: News

Three Albums Out There - Three to Go - June 3, 2015

'Oblivion Ponies' (2000)... The three-year project that nearly tore my brains out, while spelunking Merseyside, Vermont love, and the madness of being alone.

'1023 Ocean Orchard' (2008)... My last (and final) attempt to build a band as a long-term business venture, as well as my first (an ongoing) attempt to record the perfect album project, while juggling a running chain saw, a gallon flask of nitric acid, and machete.

'Every Frog a Prince' (2009)... Contractor's Road Fever, punctuated by the drama of a dying marriage, working with a co-writer's material, and a 'walking boy on a windy day'.

These three projects - for better or worse - are now out in world, and it feels good finally see them sail off. I await postcards from distant lands and environs.

Meanwhile, my first two album projects:

'The Putney Album' (1976)... A paean to years spent in that long-haired, scruffy little Vermont college town, all those years ago, and the brushing off of road dust from my early CT/VT travels, during my nascent songwriting years.

'Sahel' (1988)... A study of loves 'bungled', 'overcooked', 'unmanifested', and 'walked away from', employing midi technology for the first time. 

These two are, as yet, awaiting conversion to the digital domain.

And finally, #6 'Ephemeron' - "in process" as of this writing, and perhaps best summed up as a study of approaching (and much desired) invisibility, and a study in later love and coming of age in the best (and most senior) sense.

These six projects represent the majority of a life's songwriting work, at least those efforts deemed adequate to record. We won't even go into how many writing efforts lie deceased, along the side of the road between then and now.

There may be more to come. Who knows. But if my taxi arrived tomorrow, I'd have at least a small offering - a minor canon - to mark my passage through this strange little temporal rift we call this 'samba of maya'. To the admonition "Aut disce aut discede" I can only offer - I am still learning. Onward and upward.

Meanwhile, years later... - May 15, 2015

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So... I have finally managed to push an album-length CD through the portal of my narrowly circumscribed spot in the eUniverse, and onward to the great surrounds of ether, where folks may access it.

Only took me seven years to accomplish this. I originally created this work in a little over a month, back in 2008, while picking my way through more personal minefields than I ever would have thought even remotely possible.

Another project, conceived and produced a year later ('09), will follow a similar path in the next couple of weeks.

What's been taking me so long? (you might well arsk...)

Considering the news - that we've lost one of the true Blues greats... the "King of the Blues", Mr. B.B. King, last evening - I am reminded that everything meaningful one can accomplish in the flicker that is a human life-span is truly a gift. To all of us. Especially when the challenges to such accomplishment are continual, seeming at times nearly insurmountable.

Imagine you were to find yourself waist-deep in a sizable lake comprised entirely of cream of wheat. And further imagine that your very survival (or at least 'salvation'... Okay, so maybe only a box of fig newtons, or a hot date with Penelope Cruz) waited at the other shore, a mile or so away. But it was REALLY important.

You see where this is going, right?

Nevertheless, this short bit of news, hot off the Lachlanmusic press is, perhaps, meaningful if only to demonstrate that, though it might take you just short of forever to achieve your goals - the very ones that mean most to you - it pays to never, never, ever give up.

It's all you've got. That and eternity.

Around the Corner, Over the Hill - April 26, 2015

With a bag of frozen peas ace-bandaged to my left Achilles tendon, I sit in my little office, on a cool overcast Spring late morning. It's April of 2015. My lady-love is off on her 3 oz. bicycle with two lady-pals, for a 25 mile jaunt, along the Nashua bike trail. The last few weeks have alternated between injury and illness, for me. All is well... Jung would approve.

Yesterday, the first formal tracking session for the new album project 'Ephemeron' began. My longtime bassist pal came over for a couple of hours, and we hammered out a bass track to "All the Time There Is" - a gentle Philippic to the profoundly inhumane practices of our power brokers.

It's an admittedly small step. But the internal implications are huge for this flagging energizer bunny.

It's taken me four very long years to turn this corner, and accordingly I shall have a basket of relatively rich goodies to impart, even if this is the last time I walk the formal path to release (which, frankly, I doubt...).

More darkness in the world than last I wrote. It's the end of the world as we know it. The Typhon still consumes its own tail, only faster, now. And oddly, I feel fine.

Soul of a Tree - May 6, 2014

For a while, now, I've been itching for a new instrument - specifically a cutaway dreadnought. However, times being what they are, careful consideration was indicated, to avoid hitting the savings account in the process.

Looked at and played a bunch of instruments, and finally accepted the fact that I wasn't going to find what I was looking for, south of a thousand dollars.

The answer, when it finally came, was in the form of a guitar brand I've somehow managed to avoid for the last 50 years. I found the guitar in question at a nearby shop, owned by a gent I've known a number of years. This particular model is one of a small bunch of remaining 'new' instruments or its type still on the market, with the model discontinued as of last year.

I picked up the Martin DCPA3 (Dreadnought Cutaway Performing Artist 3) this past Saturday, and from song #1 of the first set, at a nearby gig, that night, it was immediately clear I had a special instrument in my hands. What's more, it apparently came pre-loaded with songs. My songs. The ones I've been waiting to write for months and years.

Unequivocally, this is the finest performing axe I've ever owned. Come out to one of my shows in the coming weeks, and tell me if I'm wrong...

Nothing quite like the right tool.

So... - June 8, 2013

"So..." has become the new "Um..." apparently. Used when the mind struggles to catch up to the mouth. I personally prefer nootropics. Costs more, but you're mind and mouth are far more likely to stay in synch. All manner of new supplements and drugs out there, reported by all the glitzy TV news media, and their scrubby-clean talking heads. New drugs to make you thinner, smarter, live longer, and most importantly; help you to begin your sentences without having to prefix them all with "So...".

I've been watching less news lately. There's little in the way of inspiration to be had there. Instead, I've been rereading a little book I originally gave as a gift to a friend, who ended up leaving it with me. Typically, when I give the gift of a book, I write a small inscription - a 'To/From' line behind the front cover, and date it - a sort of minor milestone the receiver can find years later, and remember.

However, that is not to be with this particular volume, which I have benefitted from rereading - in particular from the focus of the book that explains, in part, why TV news has largely lost its value for me. It's a book about Wizards. Not the 'Gandalf' kind, as much as the 'Wizard in all of us' kind.

A tonic to address the blatant banality of our mass media neo-modernity that attempts to shoehorn bland tidbits and gossip of our hopelessly jejune popular culture in between Chicken Little klaxon-calls of every possible variety. Cue: Justin Bieber holding hands with the severed arm of a dead Syrian Child. Sorry. No inquiring minds around here. So... I guess they'll just have to hawk their sad wares elsewhere.

So... you're okay with my simply continuing to bumble along, pursuing the little sputters of magic I keep finding in my song craft, in between my shifts as aging techno-scribe, right? So... have you checked out "Email to St. Jude" on the my site's MP3 player, yet? So... I'll be moving along now.

Duck and Cover - January 2, 2013

This will be brief, as I'm headed back to the skunkworks, tomorrow, and I'm still recovering from the flu that the flu shot I had was NOT designed to mitigate. Fever. Barbed wire coughs (the kind that really hurt).

So... a word on chaos. Chaos is not inherently good or bad. Inevitable? Oh yeah. As I look ahead to the next few months I can honestly say I have no clue where they'll lead. We have a congress that has fully abrogated its responsibilities to its various constituencies. This is truly "equal opportunity incompetence". No one is spared.

Musically, I'm trying to find the inner wherewithal to complete my next CD, and I may as well be trying to sprint in waist-deep oatmeal.

At the skunkworks I'm at the mercy, apparently, of a remote organization of folks who could care less that I want to give them some great product. They don't want it. They want me to produce 'bad' product. Thirty years I have into this discipline, and I'm still trying to teach people to understand the value of quality product. A few of them get it. Most of them don't.

Bean counters decimated the music industry. I have little doubt that bean counters are behind this recent challenge I've encountered. This is, counter-intuitively, chaos at work. Don't believe me? Just use the phrase "Penny-wise, pound-foolish" around a bean counter, sometime. If you don't get a sour grapes look, I'll give you my 'Get out of jail free' card.

Two Heads are... "Different" than one - September 4, 2012

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Earlier, this Summer, I dragged an old hometown pal out for a quick showcase set at the Guilford Mooring (CT). This resulted in some bookings, waterside, at a place I know very well, having lived just around the corner, as a 9-10 yr old. I used a long-handled net to catch soft shell crabs in the Summer. And on hot July afternoons, old Mr. Finney would provide parenting respite for my Mom, by taking me under wing, to the Guilford beach for a swim. For 10 cents, I could coax a ice cold orange soda from the vending machine, on the front stoop of the Marine Supplies store. The smell of marsh at low tide, and the low revs of marine motors, in and out of the marina, are fond memories. And, of course, Grass Island, and the churning tidal river that separates it brings to mind the initiation swim many of us took, at 12 or 13, requiring a strong free-style stroke, particularly at full-on, tide-out flow.

Tim Brennan and I have just finished a third show, and are booked for two more in October. These first shows have brought a bunch of old friends out of the woodwork... Most of whom I haven't seen in over 40 years. Many more are distant, but comment on the 'Growing up in Guilford' FaceBook page. It is a joy to catch up with these folks. Time's getting on, and we've already lost a bunch along the way...

We do our best to rock the house, and seem to be generally succeeding in that pursuit, which makes my heart glad. The dynamics of performing in a duo, compared with playing solo is predictably more complicated. We're also using some backing tracks, to provide a full-on classic rock sound, which means our ears have to be tuned not only to each other, but to the WAV files spilling our of our PA system. In a venue with as much ambient crowd noise as the Mooring on a Sat nite, this can be an uphill battle.

Add to that the large overhead fans which tend to 'bread-slice' the sound, and natural acoustic patterns that result from setting up in a room with a headwall that separates our area from the adjoining dining rooms, and it's a bit of a challenge. Tim is a good friend, and a great player, but apt to be thrown by less than ideal acoustic conditions. And I, who consider it extreme good fortune to be able to still perform before an appreciative crowd, tend to get thrown by dissatisfied co-performers. In the end, it's all good, but as I said... 'challenging'.

Almost like 'real life'.

Who knew?

In Memoriam... - July 26, 2012

I remember waking, early morning, in the late spring morning, in '72 or '73 to the sound of an alarm radio, tuned to a rock station. I was bunking in with my older brother, in a house he shared with a buddy, down in Connecticut. I woke to the opening strains of the Orleans tune "Dance With Me" - that wonderful acoustic guitar riff, running like a happy, bubbling, brook... gentle and sure. God, what a great way to wake up. It's one of those little prized memories - one I probably never would've forgotten. Events that have occurred in the years since have permanently etched it in memory...

Forty years have passed, and it's two days since I learned that we have lost Orleans founder Larry Hoppen. As a host of annual house concerts, I was blessed to spend time with Larry twice when he graced my little 'Sweet Nothin' Cafe' stage, along with band mate and consummate singer/guitarist Fly Amero - first in '07, and again in '09. Both times he was gracious, and giving, as a human being, and sublime as a musical artist. My guests were totally knocked out by his music and presence. In an industry not typically known for gracious, humble souls, Larry stands out as a clear exception.

Larry passed away this past Tues night, 7/24 - and my world is diminished by his loss... Rest in peace, Larry. Thank you for the magic and friendship you generously shared. You will never be forgotten by your many fans... this one included.

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Celebrating Celebration... - July 12, 2012

Helped produce a show, last Sat., to raise contributions for a Vision International Missions orphanage on the island of La Gonave, Haiti. That approx 80 people came up with $8K was pretty cool. I brought in Jon Butcher and Mike Errico, and joined them for a 'Writers-In-The-Round' evening, held at a private home in Andover, MA.

If you've never had the opportunity to see & hear Jon or Mike - go to YouTube, and check them out. Both are masters of their art and craft - and it was a privilege for me to share the stage with them. The crowd on hand was a little restive, early on, and I pulled a 'grand poobah' "Shush!!" to get them to leave off with the chatter, as it was an acoustic show in a very reverby/echo-y room, and you could hear a gnat break wind. Once they did - all proceeded according to plan.

What resulted (besides the gift of $$$ for a very worthy cause) was the astonishment I've now witnessed many times when folks who have never had a chance to be physically close to great music being made, suddenly realize what they're observing. This also is cause for celebration...

Forty years. Blink of eye. - June 25, 2012

Traveled down to the Nutmeg state, yesterday, as planned, to do a showcase gig at the Guilford Mooring, located at the Guilford Marina (or 'Docks', as they were always called, when I lived nearby, as an 8-yr old, and caught hard shell crabs with a long handled net, on hot Summer days).

On this gig, I performed - at long last - with old friend Timmy Brennan. Ghosts from the past came out of the woodwork (all good). Hadn't seen most of these folks since high school days. Tim and I played a fun set, and the place was packed, and rockin'. Bartender was certain it was a new Sunday record for receipts. This too was good. Absent from body, but present in spirit were Brooks, Frank, Bim, Bobby, and Sparky. It's been a long road. A number have fallen, along the way.

Got home after 2am - late by my crotchety old standards, and feeling it. But it was a reminder of why I ever started doing this in the first place. The faces of so many old friends singing along, groovin' to the music. For sure I'll be a couple of days getting my energy back. P90x, plenty of water, and vitamins help...

A wizard is never late... - June 3, 2012

"A Wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to...". So says Gandalf. Always a good model to follow (excepting confrontations with Balrogs and Orcs).

On the heels of plans to perform a showcase set with my old musical friend, Tim Brennan, down at the Guilford Mooring Restaurant (see calendar for June 24th entry), a surprise manifested itself at last night's show at the Homestead Tavern, in Merrimack, NH. A tall gent walked up wearing a Guilford Mooring T-shirt, and introduced himself as a very old friend to whom I had once provided some guitar lessons, wayyyyyyyyy back (don't ask 'how far'...). Kevin and his wife, Annette, had driven all the way up from Middlefield, CT to catch the show. I was both amazed and touched to have a chance to reconnect with an old friend from yester-year.

And so it is that this Jungian moment seems to provide the apparent punchline to Gandalf's opening.

Perhaps it is the perfect time, after so many years, to return to my hometown stomping grounds, to finally share a stage with my old friend (and great singer/guitarist) Tim Brennan. Perhaps it is neither "early" nor "late"...

I just met myself on the way out... - May 14, 2012

I provide the 'catch up' entry. You provide the fries. Back in March, I did a 'Live at the Sweet Nothin' Cafe - Lite' - about half the number of guests, and a 'writers-in-the-round' format, featuring Charlie Christos, Jon Butcher, and me. The response was instantaneous - and very positive. The free-flow of original tunes and funny stories allowed the audience to interact a bit. Looking to do a larger show down in N. Andover, at the Bakers in July. This will benefit a church that's doing mission work on a small island off the coast of Haiti. Film at eleven...

Jon also suggested trying to get some of my tunes - due out on the next CD - published for film and television. Finger crossed...

Now it's mid-May, and I'm trying to get caught up with all things 'domestic' and 'musical', following a quick trip to visit friends down in the Caribbean. God, it was beautiful down there. Going back this coming January, tho' hell should bar the way.

New Tune-age... - December 12, 2011

I'm starting work on new tunes for the next CD project, with the intent that it will be either part of the first HARVEST CD, or be included in my next solo CD, really depending on the availability of PC, PL, and Hair Bear to help me put it together. If they're available it will almost certainly be a HARVEST project, if not, it will be an Lman release. Film at eleven.

Great show in Derry with Pousette-Dart! - November 20, 2011

A splendid time at the Adams Memorial Opera House, last Sat. night. Marc, PC, Jon and I warmed up by jamming in the Green Room for some of the VIP attendees, and then kicked off the show. We did a short set and brought Jon out to play slide on our last song. Jon's first set kicked of with "Fall On Me" - one of my all-time PD faves. We came back at the end of his 2nd set and supported him on 'Halo', 'County Line', and encored with 'Amnesia'.

PD never ceases to amaze... And my compadres were 'smokin'. A great night!

Tickets for Nov 19th Pousette-Dart Show - October 26, 2011

Come see Lachlan with Harvest, supporting Jon Pousette-Dart, in concert, at the classic Adams Memorial Opera House, in Derry, NH. Tickets for the show are available at http://www.fullmeasure.ticketleap.com, or you can get them at the door.

Snag one of the limited VIP 'Meet 'n Greet'  tickets for a pre-show, green room gathering!

Riding the Long Tail - August 19, 2011

Doing more with less is part of the new 'biz-jazz'. Happy to report that plans are proceeding on a number of initiatives, the first several of which (new domain, concert production, new stage mates) are moving forward. More info shortly on logistical support. Critical to the effort is carving out enough time (i.e., getting help so that I'll have more bandwidth for improving the live show, and adding more new tunes) to make some needed improvements. As always - the goal is to put out nutritional wiggling air molecules. Film at eleven...

Eat your heart out, Bill Graham... - August 14, 2011

Dateline Calcutta:

Producing some shows with folk/rock legend Jon Pousette-Dart this coming Fall and Winter. The first two will be in southern New Hampshire, to include the Adams Opera House, Derry (11/19/11), and the Amato Center for the Performing Arts, Milford (2/18/12).

Lachlan's assembling a stellar group of local players to open the show and support Jon on a few of his hits. This combo will feature Paul Luff / Bass & Vocals, Paul Costley/ Percussion & Vocals, and Marc Apostolides / Keys, Guitar, & Vocals.

More shows are likely to follow. Contact your Homeland Security representative for more information on what to do if the population of Hyderabad decides to attend...

Domain, schlomain... - July 29, 2011

First Person: "Okay... So... MySpace, like all the other free social network interfaces ain't so reliable. Hello Hostbaby.com and 'our own domain' route. Ones and Zeros. Off-state/On-state."

Third Person: "After crossing the Sahara, fending off marauding Jihadists, and singing to an appreciative chorus of harmonizing hyenas, Lachlan has finally shaved off the beard, discarded the mufti, returned to the fold, retired his trusty Enfield, been rehabilitated, AND is, at last, once more welcomed into the open arms of polite society (cough) and the digital ether. No firecrackers, please... he's still a tad 'on the edge from desert living' and all..."

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