Hi everyone! As promised, I wanted to give you a few more little stories and insights on my new CD… Christmas with Doyle Dykes.
First of all, I will admit my goal was to have my new CD to debut at Huber Breese Music in Fraser, MI on November 15th. Paul and Judy Huber and the entire gang there are very special people to me. Every year for years, I’d call Paul a few days before Christmas and he’d bail me out helping me find last-minute gifts for the kids. Especially for my son Caleb. Our event for Huber Breese Music was also sponsored by Guild Guitars (Fender) and the sales rep for that area, Ron Mancuso, is about as fired up and spontaneously funny as any stand up comedian! We (several hundred of us) all just had a blast! Caleb also came and helped me play my very first Christmas concert. This was also my first look at my new CD, as I had them sent there directly. Sweet Baby James, Paul and Judy’s new (and first) grandbaby, took most of the attention. We should also give Andrea a little credit for giving him birth. Isn’t it amazing to see your friend’s children… having children? Another Christmas gift.
Now, also… let me say how incredibly impressed I was with Frankenmuth, MI. I had heard of this place back in the 80s from a friend of mine. I had no idea how popular and beautiful it was. My son-in-Law Jake Johnson’s best pal is Chris Zehnder of Zehnder’s Famous Chicken Dinners Restaurant, bakery and hotel in Frankenmuth. Chris had moved to Nashville and was trying his hand at playing the guitar and singing and had formed a band called the Avery Set that Jake had joined before he and Haley were married. I thought their music was great and very original. Chris is very versatile and clever in his writing and brings a cool factor in his style of music. I must say Jake’s bass playing added something different that other bands didn’t have. They were all great players and Chris was the lead singer and a fine song writer. He and Jake are also co-writers on some of their tunes. Chris worked at a small restaurant in Nashville and seemed like a happy young musician living out his dream in Music City. His family has owned Zehnder’s now for three generations. His dad, whom I also met, is a very stately and gracious man and was very supportive of Chris’s endeavors to go out and see other places and play his music and fulfill his dreams. I wondered why he moved back to a small town in MI and now I know. If you’ve never been there… you should go. If you have been there, then go back to Zehender’s and realize the folks there are as nice and friendly and good as you hoped they were. Maybe Chris will be playing around the area. He and Jake are cooking up something for next year so more on all that later. Maybe they’ll borrow a little of my Country Fried Pickin’ to go along with the restaurant. Maybe not. I must say it was a great weekend to debut my new Christmas CD. I even bought some guitar-shaped Christmas lights at Bronner’s Christmas Store. Google that up!
I always liked the song Auld Lang Syne, but not enough to where I wanted to play it. It didn’t interest me until this past New Years’ Eve, I got a text from my friend Bob Taylor (of Taylor Guitars). Bob says… “Do you know what I’d like for New Years? I’d like to hear Doyle Dykes play Auld Lang Syne on the guitar just for me. Maybe just record it on your iphone. Do you think that could happen?” I told him I thought it was very likely to happen. Only thing was, I didn’t have an arrangment. I made up something… recorded it and he said he and all his family gathered around and listened to it and they all teared up. I played it on an old 20th Anniversary Taylor that Bob personally gave me from his own collection. I did my best… but I didn’t think it was the best I could play it. The song stayed in my mind for a month. I started loving it so much that I would get teared up listening to it.
When I wrote, Christmas at Knebworth (with you) at my mother’s home in Florida, I thought I would maybe play a Christmas song as an intro. I did several versions but Auld Lang Syne just seemed to fit better than all of the others. I loved the chord changes and melody so much that I came up with a whole new arrangement with a G on the 5th string and a C on the 6th which is the tuning I wrote Christmas at Knebworth in. Auld wasn’t long enough for me so I made up an entire intro and an orchestral hook line that eventually turned into an entire movement on the end sort of like I do on Ave Maria. When a song strikes me that strong and hard I often try to make it longer because I enjoy playing it so much that I simply don’t want it to end so quickly.
Auld Lang Syne was used also in my Christmas Prelude at the beginning of the CD, so it made it on the album three times. So, thanks again Uncle Bob for the encouragement and inspiration to record Auld Lang Syne.
Well, that’s the news for today on Christmas with Doyle Dykes. Caleb and I dodged the storm tonight. It should be passed over by now here in Michigan. May the warmth of this Christmas Season permeate your spirit, and may the Love and Joy of it flow out to others.
Merry Christmas… in November.