The Secret to Being a Great Artist

Stephen McCranie over at has published a short comic entitled The Secret to Being a Great Artist. It is an incredible, beautiful, and intelligent piece of work that should required reading for any and every art student regardless of medium.

You can download The Secret to Being a Great Artist for free if you subscribe to Stephen’s newsletter. You can read the first few pages on his site, but I do not recommend that. In order to get the full impact and message of the story you really need to read it all in one go. So, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Just get over to, sign up for the newsletter, wait patiently for the download link and when it arrives sit down with a mug of coffee or tea and read The Secret to Being a Great Artist.

Thanks to Cameron for the heads-up and, yes, the story is very similar to my own experiences meeting cool old dudes when I was starting out in music.After I read the comic I sat here for a long while remembering Tiny, Harmonica Joe and all of the other musicians who took the time to share music with a Dobro wielding delinquent out on the streets of Philadelphia.


For the first time in a long time I will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Crisfield with my folks.

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Amy is planning on driving down, which makes me indescribably happy because we have not seen each other in a while. We text back and forth, but I can’t drive up to Manassas and her work schedule makes the trip hard for her.

It is difficult being away from home, but I am getting stronger and healthier every day, so I know this is the right thing. That said, I ache just to see her.

So, we will be together. There will be joy. There will be feasting. There will be Thanksgiving leftover turkey sandwiches after the feast. There will be football (the American kind where the players wear padding). There will be Thanksgiving leftover turkey sandwiches for breakfast the next morning. We may even manage to wedge a Smith Island cake into the mix.

Most of all, there will be love.

This will also be Pooka kitten’s first Thanksgiving. The little monster isn’t exactly sure about the preparations, but  she is aware that a large turkey is in the refrigerator. Every time I open the fridge she leaps in and starts eyeballing the bird.

There is a terrible storm rolling up the East Coast tomorrow. I hope and pray all of you are safe with your loved ones. Together. Happy. Thankful.

Homemade Banjos in Joplin, Missouri!

I got a note from Doug in Missouri with a few questions. Near the end he had some exciting news about  a television appearance with his banjos.

If you get on google check out my video on KSN Tv for joplin banjo builder Brad Douglas. Have learn a lot from your videos and thank you so much for all you give out and I do as you say PASS IT ON

I found the article and it’s really nice.

From The Four States Home Page:

JOPLIN, MO.— A Joplin man is strumming up a fun hobby in his retirement. For the past 10 years, Doug Crane has been making banjos in his free time. He uses special wood for the banjos. Some of the wood has been from debris after the Joplin tornado. Another banjo he’s making is made from the wood of a man’s boyhood home. He picked up the hobby a decade ago from a book he bough for 25 cents and just kept getting better and better.

In addition to the story they did a neat video interview:

Doug’s questions were about jamming. Well, the best way to learn how to jam is to do it. If you are near Joplin contact Doug and make some music with him!


As a lot of you already noticed, we are moving The Daily Frail to Vimeo. We are keeping our YouTube videos up, so don’t panic. We are simply changing delivery systems.

Before we move on, let’s take a look back at my YouTube channel:

614 videos. 3,987,875 Views. 11,000 Subscribers.

Top Ten Countdown: