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Overview

Life in Music

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Rural Roots

Four generations of extended family in the steep ridges and dark hollows of southeast Ohio

Keeping the old Gaelic traditions alive in church and at Sunday hymn sings, with storytelling, picking and singing at family reunions...

Both parents aspired to be musicians...

Dad's hi-fi: Miriam Makeba, The Red Army Band, Carlos Montoya, Stravinsky, Harry Belafonte...

Precocious Youth

Indiana: learning saxophone, singing in choirs, picking up guitar, writing songs, forming bands, performing and staging theatrical "happenings"...

Seeing The Who, Steppenwolf, It’s a Beautiful Day, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkle...

College in Chicago, seeing Ralph Stanley, rediscovering Appalachian roots...

California: musical legends Stephane Grapelli, Elizabeth Cotton, John Jacob Niles...

Apprenticing to a luthier in a music shop, self-taught Scruggs style banjo and bluegrass flatpicking on the guitar...

Destroying a pair of pointy boots, dancing at a Ramones show...

Playing in an art-school band, seeing X in a classroom, dancing to punk bands in suburban garages and urban lofts...

Adventures in Inner & Outer Space

San Francisco: dancing to Dead Kennedys, The Avengers, Subhumans, Contractions, writing dozens of angry punk and pop songs...

Seeing Rhythm & Noise, Young Marble Giants, Cabaret Voltaire, DNA, Tuxedomoon...

Experimenting with sampling on primitive tape decks and drum synth, beating on cardboard boxes...

Founding Terra Incognita band and loft arts center...

Dancing at shows by New Order, Public Image Ltd...

Terra Incognita band runs wild all over the city and breaks furniture at home...

Producing multimedia shows with African bandleaders OJ Ekemode and Yasir Chadly...

Dancing at shows by King Sunny Ade, Black Uhuru, Chief Ebenezer Obey, IK Dairo, Brave Combo...

Mojave desert inspires new song lyrics...

Re-forming Terra Incognita as electric string band, rising in the alternative scene...

Meeting DJ Cheb i Sabbah, collaborator and teacher...

Performing continuously in the Bay Area, touring to Los Angeles and New York...

Recording of Rank Stranger praised in Village Voice...

Seeing Sun Ra, James Blood Ulmer, Art Ensemble of Chicago...

Re-forming Terra Incognita yet again as a world dance band...

Loma Prieta earthquake destroys loft...

Hard times...

Apala recordings of late Alhadji Haruna Ishola, new inspiration...

Hermitage in the Mojave desert: visions, more desert songs...

Forming Wickiup in Oakland, performing continuously...

Dotcom boom temporarily replaces both music and hard times with high stress and hard work...

Dancing at shows by Charlie Hunter, Ozomatli, Meat Puppets...

Dotcom crash: hard times return; gradually writing songs again...

Paradise Found

Remote ranching and mining community in the mountains of Southwest New Mexico...

Finally, a studio after more than a decade of privation...

Writing new songs and rediscovering a treasure trove of unfinished repertoire...

Discovering that new technology makes his musical vision achievable at last...

Completing the first satisfactory recordings of his life!

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