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My music… my life… so far…

August 12, 2013 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

My life… has been brimming to overflowing – with music…  whether it’s playing, listening, teaching, thinking about – even talking about – music.   I’ve spent my entire life, surrounded by people who are filled with music…  and I honestly don’t remember a single day – from the earliest years of my awareness…  when there wasn’t – music.

My beloved grandfather played totally by ear, and he could thump out a bass part,  play piano and guitar – and he sang… ohhh, I can still hear his voice in my head… Here he is as a young man, with his car & guitar…


My grandmother, knowing my Grandad’s  great love for music,   surprised him with a beautiful – Les Paul guitar shortly after they were married.  He played it as long as I can remember… and he gave it to me, shortly before he died.     Sadly,  it was lost in our house fire.

I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandad…   Here’s a pic of us,  taken from an old clip… singing one of his favorite old songs   “You Made me Love You”    made popular by Al Jolson in 1946…

I love the way he’s looking at me and laughing in this pic…  We would harmonize together and do the old time   “do-doo-do-doooo”  back up’s…       It’s goofy,  I know,  but…  I truly loved it.

PopPop Jennif 2

My grandparents had a baby grand piano… and when I was tall enough to reach the keys… I loved to touch the keys…  and when my Grandad or my Aunt Karen, would pass through the room,  they’d always play a tune or a song,  and sing…   They’d send notes drifting into the air…  and I’d come running – to be there… to watch… and listen…

Now that I think of it… the only one who didn’t  actually PLAY music… was our Nanny.   But she was talented in her own way…  She was a wild hearted, artist… working not with notes or an instrument…  but molding things with her hands from clay;  making things in her kiln; and her oil paints of so many colors & shades, an easel, a canvas and a whole bunch of pictures that would give her ideas and inspiration, all thumb-tacked   up on the wall… wow…  I can still smell the linseed oil in her studio… ohhh… those are sights and smells – I will never forget.

When my Aunt Karen taught me to play chords on the Baratone Uke,  I would play & sing old Pete Seeger folk songs… & she let me take it with me when we moved to Colorado –  and that’s where I discovered –  & fell in love – with the mountain dulcimer.

While hiking  one weekend, my parents & I came upon an old general store, and a bunch of old guys…  all musicians… sitting around a big wood stove – playing music.  Someone had a mountain dulcimer across his lap.   I was enchanted…  He let me try it!!!    I loved it.    That following Christmas, my father – actually MADE me one.    He finished the dulcimer, then, recorded himself playing  “Silent Night” on the old, reel to reel tape player.    When I woke up Christmas morning… I heard the music…  and ran out to see…  and the dulcimer was there under the tree…   and the air was filled with the smell of Christmas pine…. & dulcimer music…   It was awesome.     I was 9 that Christmas…      I’m 39 (and holding) –  and I still get a thrill in my heart… when I play dulcimer…


Here – below – is my newest addition to our instrument family –  A Concert Grand model – which is absolutely heaven to play.  Custom made by Dwain Wilder.

dulcimer JM

I remember I wanted to play so badly… I learned to use the old noter (ew)  and I had a Jean Richie song book,  and I’d play them, figuring it out… practicing every day.   No one I knew, played dulcimer, or even KNEW what one was…  I had no one to ask… or talk to… but I just figured out what the sounds were – that would make the songs I wanted to play – work.

And every night, for many years…  I remember saying my prayers…  and I’d always end them with…

“…and please let me learn to play the dulcimer better – when I grow up.   Amen”

I didn’t ask for much…  but I did ask God  –  for that.

JenniferCello  kid

Soon,  my school got an awesome music program,  and I wanted to play the Cello…  They gave me one to use for free, and thus began  my musical  journey into the classical area of music…  I was 10 years old.

Years… no, decades later…  somewhere along the line…  I left the classical world.  I was there for a long, long time, but felt that it just became too restrictive,  and TOTALLY not expressive enough – for what I wanted from music…   For music – I THINK – should be what your feelings actually SOUND like.  I jumped over to the fiddle… smaller, and easier to fit into the car!


So the fiddle fits, and it’s my wild passion…  But I still think classical education – is a very good, important thing for kids to have in one’s life…    Proof being – my babies all play music, and all have (or are still) in the joyful journey – of the classical & musical world…

Here’s Em & I… playing music in the woods this past summer while we were camping;  my Abbie, is first chair cellist in her local orchestra,  and my boy – Phili… lol… he’s a crazy, rockin’ – upright bass player!

pic stitch

My Mom – Somehow I skipped from Grandparents to my kids…  but Mom… she wasn’t exempt from the family music that more than coursed through our veins… and we’ve spent years now, going to music festivals up and down the East coast together;  and playing & learning tunes.  Her cook book holder has abandoned the kitchen… and she uses it for holding up her music books…   Mom’s Queen of invention!!!     When Mom’s not actually -playing music… she’s  humming!  So even while doing a chore… like cleaning the kitchen, or working in her garden… there’s still the hint of music, drifting in the air!  We just took a camping trip this past weekend, and here we are playing music by the water…

Mom & I dulcimers 12.22.06 PM

Music branches to more than just family…  I’ve somehow become surrounded by amazing friends who are brimming with music too.  I’m not even gonna GO into my fiddle students and how many awesome, talented people I have come through my door every week – for lessons!)

Tom, Phil Mitch & John mix

I of course, can’t forget the boys in the band either, and our great gig each week at the Green!

I’ve been blessed beyond measure – with all the music, and all these wonderful friends who bring music and joy into my life…  and I KNOW…. though my best friend – Marni – who’s been my horse back / trail riding partner for more than 20 years…  would surely protest, saying she doesn’t play ANY music – except for the radio…  I say… hoof beats… ARE – a musical instrument!!!

girlsThe Boys


AND…….. Last… but not least… is Phil.    Somewhere along the long journey of this musical exploration… Philip has not only COME to the world of playing musical instruments, but he’s developed into quite an accomplished musician.  My Mom gave him a bodhran for Christmas, and thus began his intense infatuation with music….    He’s become not only accomplished with the uilleann pipes,  but plays a lovely whistle,  bodhran & bones… and flute.

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His endless thirst for tunes and his ability to combine various melodies into interesting sets – is always inspiring and exciting…  and I think the only thing he’s met with…  ‘not so much eagerness’…   is when he tries to sing…  and that’s…   all I’ll say about that…    but I will say,  he’s very good humored about the ribbing he gets for his efforts!   🙂

But I guess… I’ll wrap this up with a great quote from Ludwig van Beethoven…  “Music is the mediator – between the spiritual and the sensual life…”    no wonder music can make you come alive!  Way to go Ludwig!!!

I’m curious to see, where this fasinating, musical journey… will take me next…   stay tuned and we shall see…

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Mulberry time, from the viewful, tower window…

June 11, 2013 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

Well… the view from my beloved studio window is probably one of the most expressive views I know… for today… the ripening mulberries are heavy and thick… rosing the branches with their varying shades of ruby colored brilliance.  (there’s a song in this somewhere)…  but for now, I’m just enjoying the view.

The honeysuckle scented breeze – is gently rocking the ladened branches, and they’ll droop from the unexpected alightment of a hungry, rogue bird…  be it a Robin,  a Wren, a Cedar Wax Wing or what-not… the Flickers and their unmistakable call… frequent the tree as well… their voice, ringing into my room through the screened window.    But the leaves & branches look stunning when the sun  brightens the various shades of green in a brilliant sunburst,  and the ripening berries almost seem to glisten – although I know this is way too high for them to catch the morning dew.   And even when the sun – skirts behind a cloud… the dark hues come even more richly out…  for not even the shadows – can dim an angle of this brilliance…


My dear kitty… lounges languidly… doing his double duty in both keeping me company up here,  and enjoying the activity from his lofty perch… watching the birds flit about – as they come and go – his sharp eyes not missing anything…  but his soft, round belly keeps him from wanting to actually pursue any of this activity… haha…  for he is the definition – of a VERY content,  rather – um… fat house cat… who has nothing more to do, but anticipate his dinner, play with toys,  and be his charming, saucy self, and purr, curling up on a lap…and allowing himself to be pet, cuddled & held… oh yes… and chase down an occasional cricket that has the misfortune to alight itself – in the sunroom…

But… alas… I am too easily distracted by these things that fascinate me… and so – I traverse back to this diatribe I began – about my window on the world – as I know it…

In other seasons, my window  is equally as expressive and enjoyable…  when the golden, ambers, oranges and rich shades of Autumn lay in jeweled tones – just beyond my touch,  a full three flights up – this window is…  in the top most part, of the castle…  where,  in Winter…  the branches gently cradle the snow…  looking like someone’s dusted the world in powdered sugar…  and oh how I love when it’s glistening like diamonds… and a frost covered world… is shimmering in ice… which heartily reinforces the comfort & warmth of my woodstove… and the heat it most cheerfully emanates.


So it’s here in this tower… I play my fiddle; and it’s here I write my songs; and it’s here -I think my endless thoughts… that roll, tumble and weave into poems and songs and verse… and it is here – where my melodies are borne…  while peering at the world, through this glass…

winter window

For this is a window – of many, changing views, moods, and feelings…  for oft’ times… on a deep, winter day when the trees are cold, dark and brittle…  I can see the cross… from the spire of a distant church…  IF the air is clear.    I can see it – held above the bare, etched branches that look like black lace – against the sky.

This – is what I hold… this is what I see…  this is what I perceive – in my eyes…  up here from my castle tower… where it’s very quiet…  save for the lilting tune of the fiddle, guitar or dulcimer, or a noisy Flicker bird…  and so this is the place – where I hold onto my solitude…

I imagine… in my wildest dreamings… that this possibly – perhaps – is maybe a small glimpse – of how an Angel – would view this very small part of this world…   I am grateful for this glimpse…  and believe it’s another beautiful gift…    To be given a glimpse such as this… and to not only see, but become aware of this gift of beauty… especially in a world such as it is…

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In these frigid, February days…

February 20, 2013 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

The winds of this winter, somehow seem to bite – more than they ever have before… I don’t know if it’s because I have become truly spoiled with the glorious warmth of my woodstove – which I keep running 24/7…  or it’s in fact,  just more raw & cold than ever before.  But one thing’s for sure…  Ol’ man Winter seems to be sinking his teeth in,  just a bit more viciously this year,  and it feels like it goes right to the bone.

snowy morn

The bitter winds, snows & frigid temps – have made me realize the wise hibernating creatures… may have the age old wisdom of what’s good…  because I could sleep this winter away in the deep, soft sleep of a bear… breathing slowly, and deeply… in rhythmic waves, softly rising and falling…  waking only – at the first signs of Spring.

stove & fire

But the days are slowly growing longer…and the nights are settling in a little bit slower as each day draws to a close… and my oil lamps & candles – light my comfy kitchen…  while the blazing fire brings the room into a zone of…  “I don’t want to get out of this big, comphy chair… so I’ll sit here and play fiddle, just a while more”   which is more often – than not.

The days of going out to romp in the snow have come fewer & far between… Of course… I did venture out for some hikes… and walks in the snow… Even found a beautiful fire ring in the woods… and actually danced from the joy of anticipation…  of getting out camping this summer…    after which – I  felt rejuvenated and restored… only to scurry back to the warmth of the fire… clasping a hot cup of tea… as soon as I got back!

snow JM

Perhaps it’s the after effects of Hurricane Sandy… and trying to dig out from under this devastation…  and struggling to recover some semblance of what life use to be…  but all I want to do is hermit… Ha-ha…  more than I usually do.   But really, being a modern day Hermit… is all  made easier with the use of internet…  for – I can have a whole, vibrant existence on Facebook with my wonderful friends far & near… laugh and joke with them,  and write this blog… or emails … and I can still be a hermit… except now you’re onto me!!!

But the coolest thing – is communicating with my good friend & amazing, creative inspiration – Tom White -in NY, who’s producing a 3rd cd for me now.  It is so much easier in this marvelous age of technology… and we’ve probably got “Shadow of a Crow”  over 75% done… and if I must say so myself… it’s coming out – better than I ever imagined.  Tom is a true Master, and has taken the songs I’ve put down for him… and polished them – into something that leaves me wide eyed, breathless… and (almost) speechless… (hah… anyone who KNOWS me… knows I’m rarely – speechless!)  But I anticipate I’ll be posting some clips here soon…  as soon as it’s off to the disk makers!

Also on the newest cd…   I have the same, awesome graphic artist I used for “Mylodic Isle”, and she is creating my “Shadow of a Crow” cover…  Original Abbie  –    She’s come up with the exact feel that I had hoped for – with her graphics… Here’s her link – if you want to check out her site!

So the mp3’s of tunes  –  and the jpegs of samples – are flying back & forth from my studio to Tom at Wizmak,  & Abbie at Original Abbie…   I’m hoping we’ll have this project IN HAND, by early summer… I’ll be posting the cd release party info here…

Brr… be well my friends… and stay warm!    Jennifer!

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Mid December’s thoughts… and I’m back online!

December 18, 2012 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

I know…  It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated here…   I lost the HD on my studio computer in late Sept… then got knocked for a few loops with Hurricane Sandy… and I’m just now getting myself collected enough to realize, I can indeed -put my feet… back on the ground and start getting back to what I know…

The devastation and sadness from Hurricane Sandy has been overwhelming.  It wasn’t at all like loosing my entire home to fire a few years back… for that was only my family effected… just ONE family misplaced.   This hurricane hit entire communities – wherein everyone was effected one way or another… and many were in the same boat… set afloat – along with thousands of other families – drifting within a rising sea, of endless tears…

What amazed me – was there was NO WHERE to glance,  no where to rest my’s eyes… nowhere I could gaze,  that didn’t bind my throat into a tight knot of tears… for I felt everything I encountered, so acutely… and I couldn’t shield, or shy away from the pain I felt  – from what others were going through as well.  Seeing things that made NO sense…



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