Tap the Red Cane Whirlwind

Tap the Red Cane Whirlwind

Zach came up to Mule HQ for the tailgate before Jason Isbell's show. Zach has a Mule and the thing with customers is that a lot of times they end up being friends. "In Grateful Cooperative Labor" is on the certificates that come with the instruments these days. You can think about buying a guitar like you're spending money, or you can think about it like you're trading your work for ours. When you’re working together with someone its easy to become friends.

I got a letter from Zach in the mail with a CD case. He had seen a video memorial I was asked to do for Kelly Joe Phelps and realized the profound effect he had on both our lives. Zach wrote a heartfelt note and included Kelly's live album, Tap the Red Cane Whirlwind. I was brought to tears by synchronicity. That album was the first I heard from Kelly. I was in school at Roberto- Venn and I would walk to the grocery store to read guitar magazines for free and I read a review of the album. At the time I didn't know people played guitar with just their fingers instead of a pick. I bought the album and I sat on some milk crates at the apartment and Tap the Red Cane whirlwind changed the course of my life. Five or so moves since and I had lost the album, but since it was no longer printed and not online I couldn't replace it.

And then it showed up in the mail. Sent by someone who ended up at the same spot I did 19 years later. A friendship created by a man's existence and giving. The value of human connections made by him is hard to count in my life alone. His impact is tough to fathom.

You can have the same impact. I've kept this story to myself for months, wondering if it was too personally important to share. If you know me, you know I ring things out, throw water on them, and ring them out some more and there's still more to do. But a conclusion I came to is this: don't just do stuff. Who we are and what we do can change the course of our own lives and others. Moments assume the meaning assigned to them. We have the ability to decide that meaning countless times every day. Another moment, another opportunity to change the course of our lives and others.


Gary  M.

That album is one of those once in a lifetime performances by a truly great artist. The entire album is fantastic but I feel like Waiting for Marty is the high spot for me. I was lucky enough to see him perform once and it is an experience I will always treasure.