…assorted thoughts, musings, rants, etc…


Dan Fogelberg – 1951-2007

Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg lost a 3-year battle with prostate cancer yesterday. Most people who know of Dan’s music know the more popular mid-career (and sometimes a bit schmaltzy) material – “Leader of the Band”, “Same Old Lang Syne”, etc.

My first exposure to Dan’s music was in high school, when a friend of my sister gave me a ride home from some school event and the title track from the “Nether Lands” album was playing on her car stereo. Something about the melody and arrangement I found transcending, and not long after I bought the album. I quickly became a fan of his earlier material – the albums “Home Free” up through “The Innocent Age” (the album that contains most of his major hits). But I mostly gravitated toward the lesser-known songs.

In fact, I credit Dan with helping me learn how to play the guitar. A year or two after I moved to Lincoln, I bought my first guitar (an Alvarez I still play today) and a couple of Mel Bay songbooks. The simple folk songs in the Mel Bay books were not all that fun to play, and I wanted to learn some actual songs I knew. So I picked up “Dan Fogelberg Complete Songs – Volume 1”, and started in. It was learning those songs – especially songs from the “Souvenirs” and “Captured Angel” albums – that helped me learn strumming and chord changes. If I work my memory hard enough, I can still play a few of those songs. So I’m going to dig out some Fogelberg tunes this week and listen with an appreciation for the enjoyment they gave me all those years ago, and for motivation to pick up the guitar and learn at least a few chords. In that respect, schmaltzy though it may be to say,

“…he gave to me a gift I know
I never can repay”.

Thanks Dan.


Listening to…

Tess Wiley - Super Fast Rock n Roll Played Slow

Tess Wiley – Super Fast Rock n Roll Played Slow


My multi-year project of converting my CD collection to MP3 has come to a conclusion. Apart from the odd assorted CDs that are currently residing elsewhere in my house apart from the CD shelves, they have all been converted and backed up.

As they were converted, I also took the opportunity to make sure they were entered into CATraxx, a music collection database I’ve been using for a few years. I’d been waiting for the creator of CATraxx to implement a good HTML export feature, and he finally did with version 7 of the program which came out a few weeks ago. So the timing couldn’t be better, given my conversion project completion.

The updated CD collection pages can be found here.


Now it’s on to converting the Mars Hill Tapes to MP3…

Converting and archiving

A couple of years ago I started the on-again, off-again project of converting my entire CD collection to high-quality MP3 format. When I began the project I had a couple of main objectives in mind:

1) Portaility – to have my entire CD collection on one hard drive, for use in my truck, on extended trips, at parties (with a jukebox-type interface), etc.

2) Archiving/safe keeping – to have at least one drive stored at a location away from my house, so that in the event of a fire, tornado, etc., I’d still have a copy of my collection, which I consider to be among the most vaulable objects in my house. Granted, the music would be in a lossy audio format which isn’t as high quality as the original CDs, but at least I wouldn’t lose it entirely (which is significant since many of the CDs in my collection are no longer in print).

When I first started the process I began by converting the artists who I knew I wanted in MP3 format right away (Vigilantes of Love, Over the Rhine, etc.). After a few months I shifted to the more methodical approach of working through my collection alphabetically.

As I’ve been doing the conversions, I’ve also been scanning the CD covers and inserts. At first I was scanning every page of the CD booklet, plus the back insert, plus the CD itself. After a few months I realized that the scanning was consuming far too much time and effort, and that I’d likely lose interest in the whole project soon because progress was too slow. So I shifted to scanning just the two outer-facing pages of the booklet, and the back insert, and the CD. Now I’m scanning just the front cover of the booklet and the back insert (which can be done in a single pass of the scanner).

And the end is begining to come into sight. I’m just finishing up the letter “O”, and I’ll start on “P” next week. If I can keep finding the time and motivation, I might actually finish by Thanksgiving. I anticipate about 160-170GB of files when all is said and done. Then late this year or early next year I’ll probably invest in a dual-layer DVD burner and make DVD backups for additional safe keeping.

With the price of huge (300-400GB) hard drives coming down, and high density (35GB) DVDs on the horizon, I’m also considering re-ripping all the CDs to FLAC format, which is a lossless compression that retains the original CD audio quality but results in much larger files than MP3. The FLAC files would then serve as my archive, and the MP3 would be used primarly for portability. But that project can wait a while. 😉

Listening to…

Sandra McCracken - Best Laid Plans.jpg
Sandra McCracken – Best Laid Plans

Tremolo - Love Is the Greatest Revenge.jpg
Tremolo – Love Is the Greatest Revenge

Listening to…

Beki Hemingway & Jonathan Rundman - Tennesota
Beki Hemingway & Jonathan Rundman – Tennesota

Patty Griffin - A Kiss In Time.jpg
Patty Griffin – A Kiss In Time

Listening to…

Kasey Chambers – Wayward Angel