There’s a local tavern with a long history. During the War for Independence it quartered Hessian troops, the commander of which — Count Carl von Donop — was infatuated with a “beautiful young widow” by the name of Betsy Ross (age 24).
Betsy, when she was not sewing flags for the Revolutionaries, applied her skills such that Count Dunop was “distracted” by her company on Christmas Eve, 1776.
She held him out of position that night, allowing George Washington’s significant victory a few miles north, in the Battle of Trenton. Von Donop’s desire to occupy her territory proved fatal to the British Empire’s ambitions to control the American Colonies.
Betsy entertained the Count at her place in Mount Holly, New Jersey, a few miles south of this very same tavern. Mount Holly is home to a fantastic start-up — Spellbound Brewing — which brings us full circle to Ken sitting beside me on a bar stool drinking Spellbound Porter as we talked politics, sports, and music.
Ken is almost done his doctoral dissertation in psychology, and despite off-hours, the psychologist’s lens is never really dormant. He turned to me, looking over the top of his spectacles: “Son,” he said, “when was the last time you actually played music?”
We’ve been friends since 7th grade.
“All work and no play makes Rick a dull boy,” he concluded.
“You have set yourself a huge first challenge, I’d say. An a-rhythmical lyric, with syntactical sense that spans multiple line ends, sung at the edges of your vocal range, against a rhythmic accompaniment where the melodic component is a textural combo of counterpoint, choppy guitar and an extended, almost freeform bass line. You know how to aim high, for certain.” (Gethyn)
“I like the minor second above the root in the melody on ‘mare’ and ‘feet’!” (Adam J. Wilson)
“Whoa. That’s a left turn!!! Hats off, Rick. That took a lot of guts. Is this gonna be a thing?” (Chris Buono)
“PISCES: You might feel yourself shying away from a situation, which is actually a good indicator that you should go forward instead. The only way to conquer fear is to let it dissipate through the action it was so afraid of.” (Holiday Mathis)
“Rick: Was not expecting this! Very different, love the vibe. Great recording…the tones of your guitars are so recognizable to my ears.” (Gabriel Levi)
“What’s amazing is how quickly you took this from concept to full realization. The tensions and resolutions and irresolutions (and ear resolutions!) really speak to the spirit of what we need as creative souls navigating our paths. Good to see you, too.” (Killick)
“So intense, it made me think of the writings of Emerson and Thoreau which always for me have a certain gravity and profound thoughtfulness about them, a timelessness.” (Will Pitt)