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Get Back On and Ride

  01/21/11 17:56, by , Categories: Guitar, BFMN Exclusive, Percussion, Laura Williams, One Thin Paradigm , Tags: 12-string, bfmn exclusive, dan grigor, hearing loss, laura williams, one thin paradigm

One Thin Paradigm by Laura Williams

If you’re here perusing the offerings of BFMN, I think it’s safe to say you love music. You might even be a musician, or someone who loves one. My name is Laura Williams and I’m a former partner of DanG, currently not playing music at all due to a severe hearing loss that obliterated my desire to play as well as my enjoyment.

I began playing guitar when I was 12 or so, taking lessons at a nearby music store on a nice old twelve-string. I wasn’t interested in theory or learning classical style, so I just told my instructor to teach me certain songs. I caught on quickly and it was no more than six months later when the poor guy finally said he could teach me nothing more. Not that I was a prodigy or anything, but with the restrictions I gave him on what I wanted to learn, he could do nothing else but end the relationship. It didn’t faze me. I went on to teach myself whatever song I wanted to learn, my catalogue growing steadily and my friends, teachers and family tolerating it all.

Click through for the story, a song and a word from the publisher

Laura Williams and Dan Grigor

I met Dan Grigor so many years ago that I can’t remember. All I know is my son wasn’t born yet and my mother was still alive, so it had to be when I was about 19. I believe I found his number on an ad in a music store, and after our first meeting we agreed to form a partnership. Our voices blended beautifully, and though Dan’s songs were in a style I wasn’t used to playing, we soon got into a nice little rhythm and began making some incredible music. Unfortunately for both of us, my hearing began to deteriorate around that time and though the loss wasn’t as severe as it is now, I still felt frustrated and eventually ended the Just Us partnership. Aside from a few songs here and there with my brother’s band, I never formed another alliance again. In fact, music steadily slipped away from me.

I never stopped playing completely. A guitar was always within reach, but I looked in other directions for fulfillment, hoping that I might find something to take the place of my guitar. It took a long time to find what would become an obsession and a direct line back to the creative vibe.

Around 6 years ago I started taking drum lessons and if you think it’s easy…if you think that just because you’re a talented musician that you’ll have no trouble…think again. I felt like an uncoordinated klutz. Eventually though, I gained control of all four limbs doing different things at the same time and became somewhat competent at keeping rhythm. It wasn’t until I was laid up with a serious illness that I took up my guitar again. I was confined to bed unless I absolutely had to get up, and my feet were in no shape to play drums. As I picked up the new Art & Lutherie 12-string I had bought, I felt as if I’d been given a shock back to life.

My fingers found all the right places and did the right things, just as if I’d never abandoned the instrument, but what amazed me was the right hand improvement. My rhythms were incredible! I was doing things I’d never done, funky and fun. It was logical to me, after I stopped and thought about it, that all the drum practice had done something to my guitar playing. I almost felt like my hands had been upgraded. During the months of my recovery, I found utter joy again in playing and singing, even if it was just for myself. The important thing is I picked that guitar up again and tried. Just like I did again recently when I met up with Dan after 20-plus years. I’m sorry to say that the most recent attempts at music have been nothing but sheer frustration, my hearing aid causing every loud sound near me to turn into fuzz. This doesn’t stop the creative urges though, and last week I finally felt the stirrings of desire to play. I guess it’s time to get back on that horse and ride.

 

DanG says:

We really did make some incredible music; together we had a 6-octave range. Two 12-strings. It was fun. We didn’t make a lot of money, as I recall, but we played a lot and made incredible music.

A point of focus for BareFoot MusicNews in the very near future will be the research into and review of tools for hearing-impaired musicians: how to prevent it, treat it, deal with it. Hopefully we will find a solution together. I look forward to the day we get to play again. I’m counting on it. Stick with us, we’ll tell you what happens.

In the meantime, enjoy the mind and perspective of our fabulous new writer, my friend and music partner, Laura Williams.

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