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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Surprises of California: Birds of Paradise

Moving to a new climate always brings surprises and delights.

Having this bird of paradise plant on the next block from our home, along our daily dog-walking trail, is one of them!

When I first arrived last March, this was in full bloom, and it remained so until the heat and drought of summer.

Then, with the coming of fall and the falling of the deciduous leaves--who knew that those trees' leaves would change color and drop here also?--this bush began to bloom again!

It looked to me like two blooming seasons in one calendar year...but the longer I think about it, I think it is just one blooming season that begins in Nov-Dec and continues until the heat and dry of summer.

But the Jan-Dec calendar bisects that season, making it appear to be two.

(Whohoo!  I got to use a math word today!)

But isn't that often true?

We draw conclusions from all of the evidence we can gather...but it is our point of view, or our framework that outlines the boundaries of our conclusions...and our conclusions are often misleading, or worse...simply false.

So, I stand corrected.

And I am grateful that I can make this confession and move on...wondering what else I am going to unlearn today?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Whale Watching

Since hearing John McCutcheon's Leviathan years ago, written after his first whale watching experience, the desire to see them for myself was planted.

This summer, after finishing my two month cross-country music tour, my spouse and I signed up for a whale watching tour off the coast of Monterey Bay because the humpback whales were feeding.  The night before we packed and headed south for our day trip, I sat down at my hammered dulcimer and did my best to play some of the themes that McCutcheon had written, to get into the mood.

Driving down highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz, we had our first sighting--right from the coast!  A big plume of mist from the exhalation of the creature's blowhole, followed by its large flukes before it dove.  Because I was driving, Connie saw more clearly than I but both of us were excited and fulfilled, even if that would have been all of the whales we had seen for the day.

But, were we in for an amazing experience!

Once we got out of the harbor and the bay, just off the point of Pacific Grove, we saw some other boats and as we drew hearer, all of a sudden the gulls started gathering and wheeling and diving.  Then the water began to foam with writhing bodies of sea lions, then!  the curving dark backs of the whales began to appear, with fountains of misted air, then the uniquely colored and notched flukes of their large tails gracefully curved up out of the water and then disappeared beneath the waves as they dove and the surface became relatively calm again.

Video from our Whale Watching Tour

The naturalist on board the ship was very impressed and with each new appearance of this pod, she took note of the mother and calf who seemed to arrive on their own, but then the group seemed to have 12-15 whales, who were all cooperating in this uncharacteristic group hunt.  (At least, uncharacteristic in terms of human observation!)  They began to use the boat as part of their hunting scheme.  The naturalist described the symbiosis of the whales, sea lions and gulls and the feeding on the fish that would keep them throughout the winter before they headed out for their breeding grounds.

Before we headed back in to the harbor, the whales began swimming right along side and beneath our craft, to our delight and sense of anxiety--these beasts are HUGE!  But, thankfully, they were gentle with us.

I was and continue to be in awe of Leviathan, the creature of the deep, who, according to the Psalmist, was made by the creator, "for the sport of it!"

(Watch and listen to John's composition below:  let me tell you...his composition, and rendition, certainly echo my experience!)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Learn to Play Guitar for the best possible rate!

I've been teaching guitar in my private studio for many years.

     In 2006 I was approached by JamPlay to become their first guitar instructor for a new way of teaching guitar: on the internet! I know, this is crazy, but it actually works!

     At first we just filmed lessons and people watched them at their convenience, with the ability to pause and replay, and print out supplemental material, to progress at their own rate. Then, Jeff and Kevin and Chris at JamPlay decided to try an interactive chatroom, which was hosted by the instructors, to give student/subscribers a chance to ask their questions of the teachers in real-time. The teacher was able to answer and demonstrate. However, the students often had a difficult time describing their issue.

My friend & fellow-instructor, Jim Deeming,
teaching Chet Atkins' "Windy and Warm"
     So JamPlay decided to upgrade the functionality of the chat and made it possible for students to use their own webcam and microphone to demonstrate to the teacher (and the rest of the chatroom) what they were wrestling with, or demonstrate how they had mastered that skill or song.

     The result is a powerful, interactive and supportive community of instructors with student-learners/teachers which is active most of the hours of every week.

     Since the chat has begun I've been a part of the roster of live instructors. At one time, I hosted 5 (3)-hour sessions every morning, which helped me to leave my fruitless attempts to teach music full-time in the public school system, in favor of working daily with people who were finally being successful at developing their musical skills in playing guitar.

     Now here is the reason I'm writing today.  The current annual price for an all-access subscription is $139.95  (38¢ a day, or $2.69 a week).

     After  December 28, 2014, the price is going up to $179.95, which is still reasonable, considering that there are more than 75 teachers with more than 4,500 lessons in High Definition video, available when you need it.

     Here's a link to one of my free beginner lessons, and one of my fingerstyle lessons, one of my bluegrass lessons, one of my celtic lessons, and one of my gospel lessons.

But here is the kicker:  JamPlay is offering a sale, starting TODAY with a full-year for less than $100!  

Yep, for only $99.95, you can have access to everything I teach, but even better, everything that everybody else teaches as well!  I don't want you to miss this opportunity before the price goes up.  

Click here to sign up now.

You'll be glad you did!

If this isn't your kettle of fish, but you still want to learn to play, or just have some support while you teach yourself (which is how I learned, by the way), contact me about setting up live, one-to-one lessons via SKYPE.  Or visit this link on my website for more details.

[If you want to watch my introductory video, you can do that here]

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tension: the New vs. the Familiar

I’ve heard it at CD tables, after (and during!) live music concerts, at festivals and weeklong music educational events.

People pick up a CD and say, “I don’t know any of these songs.”  

They pick up another one and say, “I know these songs, but I already have 10 recordings of those songs.  Why do I need this one?”

One concert attender leans over to another and gives a review:  “these are just the same songs they always play!”  

Or they opine, “I wanted to hear the stuff I know (which I like!) and all they played was their new stuff.  It was unfamiliar.  I didn’t like it.”

They take a class and complain:  “The instructor only taught us things that I didn’t know.”  

Or they return from another workshop and report, “it was all the same old stuff everybody does.”

Humans are an interesting, loyal and simultaneously fickle lot.  “Familiarity breeds contempt,” the adage acknowledges.  “You can’t get too much of a good thing,” we stomp and declare just before we feel the inevitable discomfort from eating too many potato chips or ice cream, illustrating the economic principle of diminishing marginal utility.

At war within us are the poles between the novel and the threadbare; the strange and the comfortable; the unique and the familiar.  And bouncing between these poles like iron filings between the poles of an electro-magnet is our attention and our loyalty.

When we are tired of the commonplace, we crave newness.  When our lives are destabilized, we latch on to the comfort of the familiar.

There is nothing groundbreaking here.  We can observe this several times a day in ourselves and in others.  

What can get us stuck is assigning ultimate value to either pole by seeking to resolve the inherent tension into the good of either one.

And we artists?  We seek to give voice and witness to the whole of life, but in specific and concrete ways that help us both to notice and enhance the tension, then offering resolution, only to set up more tension that leads to more resolution.  

Thus, the dance of life continues in its eternal way.

(And it would be nice if folks would buy the CD, enjoy the concert, learn in the class no matter what!)
©2014 Steven B. Eulberg

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Free Christmas Compilation includes Steve's Music!

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen is the 1st track in this Christmas compilation by Magnatune which was just released today (12/17/14).

You can enjoy the entire list as I did below:

A Christmas with Magnatune by Magnatune Compilation

You can share this with your friends as a gift from me to you to them!

This tune is from my 2003 CD 'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime which is available on iTunes, at, on several streaming sites and also here:

This collection is a crisp walk under a bright winter moon.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A "No Way!" Day

After I finished my final Music Together Class on Friday, I was talking with the grandparents of one of my students who said they were heading home.

"Where is home?"  I asked.


"No Way! I'm a Buckeye, too."

"No Way!  What town?" she asks.


"The one just south of Toledo?" Grandpa joins in.

"That's the one!"

"That's incredible!"

"Where in Toledo do you live?" I inquire.

"Over by Anthony Wayne High School."

"No Kidding?  One of my good friends, Kerry Patrick Clark, used to live just down the street from Anthony Wayne High School,"  I report.

"No Way!  Kerry Patrick Clark?  His wife, Amy, is my best friend!" she says in disbelief.

"No Way!  They just moved from there to Maumee," I mention.

"I know!  I spent three weeks helping them pack and move!"

"Bless you!  I know they appreciated your help," I exclaim.

Grandpa says, "I actually grew up in Perrysburg."

"Now I've got a small world story for you,"  I begin.  "I was hiking up to Chasm Lake at the foot of Long's Peak in Colorado."

The jaw of my student's mother goes slack as she says in disbelief, "No Way!  I'm from Colorado."

The in-laws chime in:  "From Fort Collins."

My turn:  "No Way!  I just moved from there this year, which high school did you attend?"

"Rocky Mountain," she replies.

"This is wild!" we all exclaim.

We all shake our heads in amazement and line up for a photo of the meeting.

Grandma messages the photo to Amy Clark (Kerry's wife) and as I am leaving the rec center gives me her report.

"I just sent the photo to Amy, and she wrote 'No Way! We love that guy!"

And that's the way it was that day!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Glimpses from S.E.A Summer Touring

Here are some photos of our Trio (S.E.A) from our Summer Touring:

Kentucky Music Week, Bardstown, Kentucky

Westwood House-KU Lutheran Campus Ministry, Lawrence, Kansas

Courtland Arts Center, Courtland, Kansas

And here is video of our performance at Kentucky Music Week

Ain't we got fun?!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fiddle Whamdiddle Summer 2014

Vi and I have had some great gigs playing together this summer so far!

We had a fun night at Avogadro's number at the end of May, and then a terrific time at the Avery House for July 4th Independence Day Celebration.

Some different friends captured these moments as images to evoke that fun:

The tent was provided by Streetmosphere, Beet Street's summer music program. [Photo by Franklin Taggart]

This looks way too cheerful to be Blacktail Weasel and the Ground Squirrel Clan!  [Jim Frye Photo] Listen to that tune here.

Here are some nice close-ups while we play (which is musician for "work"!) [Pics by Pabo]

Monday, June 9, 2014

Views from the Road (Summer Tour 2014)

Nearly two weeks into my tour, here are some views from the road:

Nevada White Sand "dust devil"

First stop:  West Wendover, NV / Wendover, UT, where my clock couldn't figure out which time zone it was in.

Just past Salt Lake City, as I was nearing the Wyoming Border, I stopped at this scenic overlook beside a L-O-N-G Utah Lake.  This could be a panoramic photo, but I haven't stitched it together and it wouldn't fit this vertical web-based format, either:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Steve's Coast to Coast Summer Tour 2014

View my latest Newsletter here.

Steve's Coast to Coast Summer Tour 

May 25-July 24, 2014.  

Click here for the Schedule.

With stops in California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Michigan, Steve will be playing solo and teaching at week-end and week-long festivals and camps.  

He will also be performing with Vi Wickam as Fiddle Whamdiddle, and Erin and Amber Rogers as S.E.A (Steve, Erin and Amber).

S.E.A will also have California engagements in August.

Dulcimers, dulci-bro, banjammer and more will be coming to bring lively and thoughtful music to you.  

Come and join me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


He swings down like the flourish of a pen
Signing a signature in white on white.

The silence of his skis reciprocates
The silence of the world around him.

Wind is his one competitor
In the cool winding and unwinding down.

On incandescent feet he falls
Unfalling, trailing white foam, white fire.

--Robert Francis

from Room for Me and a Mountain Lion: Poetry of Open Space, selected by Nancy Larrick.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Open Mic Night at Freight and Salvage

It is an important acoustic and folk venue, and it is an historic Open Mic:  the longest-continually running one in the East Bay.

Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse on some alternate Tuesday nights is the host to the Open Mic.

Open Mics are part of how I got my start and developed my chops in Fort Collins:  Avo's, Lucky Joe's, The Canyon Open Mic in Masonville and more.

Signing up to play a new tune, or test one's stage presence as a performing artist, to get known in a new area, to meet other song-singers and song-writers are some of the reasons that men and women add their name to the list.

As a listener/observer, Open Mics are always hit-or-miss in:
the talent department,
or the ready-for-prime-time department,
or the stage-presence polish-department,
or trying-out-the-new-material department,

but that's exactly the point.

On a recent Tuesday, I threw my hat into the ring, bought the ticket to get in, hitched up my baritone mountain dulcimer and traveled the BART across the bay.  Important learning: Arriving 20 minutes before door opened almost didn't get me a spot to play.  There were several other hopefuls behind me in the line who DIDN'T get a slot to play that night.

Before I went, I thought I'd check in my with colleague, Kerry Patrick Clark, about which song to sing for my "Freight" debut.

I have a large repertoire, I play many instruments and when faced with a "one-song-set" am sometimes stymied by which one to choose.

"It's a no-brainer," he said, when I finally reached him on the telephone.

Then he named the perfect song, but it was one I had completely overlooked when trying to balance: instrument, style of song, goal of song in giving my debut performance on this stage.

"We need to move the audience to laugh, or to cry, to move them toward community," he noted.  "It's the stories that have the power."

Of course he was right, and I played the one he suggested.

I drew #26 out of a line-up of 28 performers and even though I waited for nearly 3 hours through all the preceding performers [and found myself really being moved by a third of them!] I had a blast!

And my sweethearts: (my spouse and my daughter) both came to smile and support me....
....and they said,

"you did good."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Off to California

Here I am in my new studio, with just a tiny sampling of my work behind me!

The physical transition was completed with my arrival in San Mateo last Saturday at 4 pm.

I can't even begin to describe the beauty I witnessed while crossing Utah and Nevada on I-80:  the colors of rock, the shades of tan, the raw umbers, burnt siennas-- I finally realized where Crayola got the names for some of the crayons that I used from my 64-color box.

The mountain peaks reaching up to scrape snow or rain out of the clouds, or was it the clouds leaning down to be scratched like Baloo the bear in Jungle Book?

The clouds hovering over the Great Salt Lake, the snow draped peaks with the deep blue-green of the tree lines in a band of color below, while the spring-yellow slope that rose to meet the tawny border that separates them all like the fancy parfait treats made by my mother.

The perspective I learned in art class in Junior High was demonstrated with the long road to infinity stretched ahead.

Towns every two hours apart, a family friend to visit in Reno, the foggy, snowy Sierras which gave way instantly to SPRING!  The bright orange of California poppies and the white bobbing heads of jonquils on springy green stems.

I didn't come close to hearing everything I'd planned to hear from my iPod, but instead kept repeating tracks over and over to sing with Holly Near, Sandy and Pat of Emma's Revolution, Jim Croce and more.

So now I am here, learning my way around, correcting forwarding errors at the post-office, finishing the fiscal transitions and sitting on my back porch, watching the planes in their final approach across the Bay to SFO.

Pinch me!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Homeless or On Tour?

Two days ago the moving truck pulled away from our Fort Collins home of 10 years.

Yesterday after a couple of landfill/recycling/hazard waste runs, a pawn shop visit, the packing of my car with my two-weeks worth of clothes, instruments and gear, and the beautiful restoring power of the "final housecleaner", I signed the papers to transfer ownership of the house to just the right couple who have been looking for a long time and jumped on the PRE-availability of our house on Christmas Eve.

Because I had no idea how long it would take to sell the house, I booked northern work  (in North Carolina and northern Colorado) through the end of February.  So, I have no home here anymore, but my spouse and our pooch are now safely ensconced in a rental house that will become our new home in San Mateo and all of our stuff is in a truck in-between us.

So, with so much stuff and a place eventually to put it, I can't rightly say I'm homeless.

So I will say I'm on tour, based in a place I've never lived and have only visited a few times.  But that is where my love now lives and as Valentine's Day arrives, is where my heart beats and yearns.

Thanks to the generosity of my friend, Paul, and pets Roxy and Orra, I have a place to park in Fort Collins until the car points west to leave this wonderful home of 17 years in my rear-view mirror.

Of course, I may not be able to see it....

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Celebration: Music Director’s Final Worship

SteveHeadshotFarWestSteve Eulberg, the Director of Music at LCM/CSU for the past 16 years, will be present to lead worship music for the final time on February 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm.  Please come and share in celebrating his service to the community.  Steve is leaving to join Pastor Connie in San Mateo, California at the end of February.
The community of Lutheran Campus Ministry at CSU has had a long tradition of a using variety of worship settings (the Lutheran Book of WorshipGatherThe Chicago Folk Mass).  It has also had a tradition of creating worship forms that served the community in their worship of God.  (e.g. St. Thomas Celebration).
In addition to being published in This Far By Faith, Worship DVD (AugsburgFortress), Chalice Praise (Chalice Press), and Upper Room Worshipbook(Abingdon) Eulberg has continued this tradition by creating several liturgical settings of music in use in worship at St. Thomas Chapel during his tenure:
St. Thomas Blessing & Praise was commissioned by LCM in 1998.
Hope for the Future (2008)
Sophia’s Dance (2009)
Anam Cara (Celtic Worship) (2010)
An Evangelical Lutheran Worship Setting (using selections of liturgical settings from the ELW.)
Several World Music Celebrations.
Several of these worship settings are in ecumenical use at congregations, camps and retreat settings across the USA and Canada, testimony to how the gifts of Campus Ministry continue enrich the entire church.
(this post originally appeared on the website)