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The personal blog of Michael Ashby

Category / music

Return of the “B-Side”?

Just last week, Dan and I were engaged in a little music trivia and the topic of “B-Sides” came up. I lamented that it was a shame to lose the B-side because I discovered a lot of music that way, but that there was no digital equivalent. Well, I guess I spoke to soon. Today […]

My New Favorite Toy

I came across this courtesy of Kayray via and it’s my new favorite toy. This site is brilliant!   Make your own at  

Mix Tapes Are Back Baby!

In the immortal words of Bender, “I’m back baby!” Well, mix tapes are at least. 🙂 Via a twitter message late last night, I saw that Mike Rohde had posted an 80’s mix tape. I’ve been listening to it this morning and I have to say that it rocks and I’m happy to see that […]

Holly’s New Song – This Is My Day Today

I just finished submitting a song to the American Idol Songwriter competition for Holly. She and her good friend Mary wrote the song specifically for the competition in the hopes that they will be chosen as one of the songs used for the top 3 finalists. If you’re not familiar with how Idol works, when the show is down to the final three (I think it’s three) contestants in the finale, an original song is chosen for them to sing. This is the first time in the competition when original music is chosen for them to sing and not something that’s already been recorded. Continue Reading

iTunes Toolbar For Windows

I had some security updates to apply for Windows XP this morning and after a reboot, I saw this weird little iTunes like toolbar for all of 2 seconds before it disappeared. Doing a little digging, I found that for Windows users, iTunes 4.7 has a small toolbar to allow you to control iTunes without taking up any desk space. Here’s how you do it.

The Jambodians

The Jambodians CD CoverOne of the first friends that we made when Holly and I moved to Nashville was David Dorris. He worked with Holly at her first job here – Danco. David really helped introduce us to Nashville as well as other people. Through David we met Bill Lloyd, Swan Dive, and he even introduced me to one of my best friends, Dan Westman. After he and Holly left Danco, we didn’t see each other as much as we’d like, but we have kept in touch.
One of the things that David invites us to every year is a thing called “Jambodian Fest.” What started as a yearly jam session among friends who happened to be in town for the holidays has grown to an annual concert. Granted, these “friends” are some of the best musicians to come out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, with many Grammys under their belt, so it’s easy to see how things could get out of hand in a hurry. We’ve never been able to make it in past years, but this past December things worked out just right and we took Dave up on his invitation to make the hour drive up to Bowling Green for Jambodian Fest III.

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The Depressing Side Of Playing The Trumpet

I wrote this early Sunday morning, even though I didn’t get it posted until today. I bring this up because I’ve left the present tense used in the entry since I wrote it before I began playing on Sunday

TapsI’ve been playing the trumpet for around 25 years, since the 6th grade to be exact, and it’s something I really enjoy a lot. Most people don’t know that I have my bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Trumpet Performance, but at one point I planned on being a full-time musician. After graduation, I changed paths and I don’t regret the choices that I’ve made. I don’t play as much as I used to and to be completely honest, I simply don’t have a lot of time for it. It takes a lot of practice to keep your chops up and I don’t make the time like I should. However, there are a few gigs that still come my way. This weekend I was asked if I would play for all the masses at church in honor of Memorial day. I readily agreed to perform, but there was a part of me that wanted to say no.

Why? Because the reason I was asked to perform was so that I would play Taps after each mass in remembrance of our fallen soldiers. In all of music, I cannot think of a sadder song than Taps, yet for a trumpet player it is part of the standard repertoire. Think about it, the only time you hear that song is when it’s played for the dead. Funerals, memorials, anything where you’re remembering a soldier that has died, Taps is called for. I suppose that if I did it often enough, I’d grow hardened, or accustomed to the song and the scene that accompanies it. However, that’s not the case so as a result each time I play it, it’s a struggle to get through it.

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I Love iTunes

I Love iTunesIf you’ve read any of my other entries regarding my opinions on the Macintosh, you know that I would like to switch from Windows to OS X, but I haven’t yet saved up the money to do so. In the meantime, I’m still plugging away in Windows XP Professional and fairly content with the “devil I know.” However, there is a program that I’ve begun using a few months ago that gives me a taste of what it is that draws me to the Macintosh. It’s elegant, easy to use, powerful and represents the best in class for this type of software. I’m of course referring to iTunes.

It’s More Than Purchasing Music

If there’s one thing that I’m consistent about, it’s the fact that if I like something, I’ll tell everyone I know (sometimes even those I don’t) about it and iTunes is no exception. Once I became familiar with the software it seemed like everyone I talked to, I had to mention the software to them. Many of my friends scoffed at trying the software because they said that they didn’t want to buy music online. My answer was simple, “Good! Then don’t.”, because that’s not what iTunes is all about.

Yes, it’s what Apple talks about, because they want you to buy music from the iTunes Online Store, but purchasing music online only represents a small percentage of what you can do with the software. So if you don’t like the idea of purchasing music online, then don’t let that stand in the way of trying iTunes. Continue Reading

Where Did All The Jingles Go?

You Deserve A Break Today At McDonald'sThis week marks the start of the fall season for the major networks. As Holly and I watched the season premier of Two And A Half Men I was taken a back when the titles came on and I heard the title song. It was pathetic! Some low male groans and one little soprano wispy cry and that was it. The whole titles took no more than 10 seconds tops. That got me thinking about theme songs and how they haven’t totally disappeared, but they are certainly a rarity.

When I think about some of the classic TV shows, they all had a theme song. Cheers, All In The Family, Three’s Company all had memorable theme songs that you could probably sing parts of, if not the entire thing. “Come and knock on our door…” or “One, Two, Three, O’Clock, Four O’Clock, rock…”, each of those makes you immediately think of the television show associated with it. Not all shows had words in their theme songs, but they still had distinctive songs that you could quickly identify the show from, such as Bonanza, Seinfield, and Law and Order.

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I’m Now A True Believer

Photo by Tom WoodOn Sunday we went to Church at BCC. The praise and worship music was great, as it always is, but there was a special surprise. Phil Keaggy was playing lead guitar (yes, we rock out in Church) that day and he played a special song entitled ‘True Believers.’ Phil is a legend in the Christian music industry, yet I had never heard any of his music. I was totally unprepared for what I heard.

The song featured Phil by himself with an acoustic guitar. It began simple enough with a him strumming and singing. Then he stopped and began playing percussion on the face of the guitar. He had an effect pedal that allowed him to sample and playback in a loop what he had just played, so after playing percussion for 4 bars, he started strumming the guitar again. The percussion part he had played just before looped behind him. He kept adding more and more parts to the point where he was a one man band. On top of all this was a great song!

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