Browncoats Keep Flyin’ (Firefly Lyrics)

“Browncoats Keep Flyin’”
Firefly lyrics by Rie Sheridan Rose
music by Marc Gunn

Performed by Marc Gunn
From CD: Sci Fi Drinking Songs

*Freedom’s a spark
in the heart of the Black
and the Browncoats are aimin’
to take our ‘Verse back

Serenity Valley broke many a man
but the Browncoats keep flyin’
as best as we can.
Our fight weren’t for glory
or gold or for guns.
Our fight was for freedom
for our daughters and sons.

Sure there are comforts we lost ‘long the way
and many a Browncoat’s
still hunted today.
But our prize is the freedom
to follow the stars
and to know that whatever
we hold to is ours.

Oh, the Black has its dangers–
like Reavers and thieves–
but it goes on forever,
as free as you please.
So we’ll try our luck there
till it beats us at last…
Our faces turned forward,
our hearts in the past.

So band with us brothers,
wheree’er you might be
and remember the lessons of Serenity–
For Browncoats stood tall
when they gave us their worst,
and there are no finer men
in the whole of the ‘Verse.
And the Browncoats keep flyin’
as best as we can…

CG042: Show Lessons from GenCon

GenCon is over. As much as I love the con, boy, am I tired! I’m ready for a few days of recoup, but “days” is the wrong turn of phrase. I have today. The show whole weekend was fun, fantastic with lots of amazing people.

I think it’s the people I love best at this convention. They’re pretty laid back. They’re friendly and fun. I saw nothing but smiles all weekend, even in those grumpy mornings when folks were up after not enough sleep. It’s a wonderful environment.

Add on top of that some amazing people to work with like Jeannette, Tiana, Todd, LT, and good friends and musicians like Apryl Knight, the Great Luke Ski, Dan the Bard, Water Street Bridge, Il Troubadore, Mikey Mason. It’s just a tremendously awesome weekend. I also enjoyed meeting Sarah Donner, who tore it up at Friday Night Live this year.

I want to thank each and every person who came by and said hi. Thanks to everyone who attended my shows. And a big thanks to those who supported the arts by buying a CD. I hope you love the new albums!

Today’s show is sponsored by Lunarpage. Need awesome web hosting. Go to http://marcgunn.com/lunarpages

This Week’s Celtic Geek News

CG041: GenCon Musicians Union

It’s the final day of the GenCon. I’m tired. But I still have a couple hours of performing in the lobby before the long drive home. So I did final podcast to chat with musicians and helpers and share some of the fun.

Was that English? Tiired.

This Week’s Celtic Geek News

Star Wars Figures Invade GenCon

The first two days of GenCon are over. So far, this is once again a brilliant convention. I’m just having a blast.

Star Wars Brawl in the Cantina

For starters, I wake up early and get a nice walk in the cool air as I talk with Kenzie and Gwen on Facetime. I love “being there” as Kenzie goes from groggy to “let’s play” even though we’re chatting through a phone. I love my iPhone. Isn’t technology wonderful?!

Yesterday afternoon, I finally got to try out my new Roland Cube Street Ex for busking. The response was tremendous. The number of tips were up with being amplified. Plus, people happily walked by smiling, dancing, clapping and just totally enjoying the music. Sadly, I don’t have that kind of success when I play unplugged. I wish I did. But the amp is working wonders!

The Firefly Drinking Songs show last night was awesome despite some challenges. The room was a bit smaller and there was a huge pillar from the former train tracks that run through the hotel (look up Crowne Plaza Union Station for details). There were 115 people who attended, which was a little down from last year. But the energy and enthusiasm and the smiles in the audience were spectacular. I don’t think there was one person in the group who was NOT singing along. Everyone was involved and having fun.

The final bit of fun has been on Facebook. I brought my Star Wars figures to the convention. So we are creating a scenario and building a story with visitors help. Yesterday was Episode 4 characters. Today is Empire Strikes Back. If you want to be a part of the story, just visit the Facebook page.

CG040: Autoharp Pickup Repair Made Failure

I am in Indianapolis once again for GenCon. I added a new Wednesday evening show that went well despite Autoharp and location problems. Now it’s time to rock out the rest of the con.

Sponsored by Lunarpages
marcgunn.com/lunarpages

This Week’s Celtic Geek News

CG039: Creating the Ultimate Autoharp

I’m back after a week off from vacation on the beach with the family. Kenzie’s school started back up so I’m also back to a regular work schedule.

Today, I’m pleased to share all of the news I missed this past couple weeks. I list my upcoming shows and apologize for a Celtic podcast screwup. Plus, I get to talk about my “new” autoharp It’s like the Six Million Dollar Man, faster, stronger, better than before. Learn what I look for in an autoharp.

Today’s show is sponsored by Lunarpages. It’s intelligent web hosting for intelligent people. I’ve used it for 10+ years. marcgunn.com/lunarpages

This Week’s Celtic Geek News

Who's your favorite autoharper of all time?

How to create the Ultimate Autoharp from a Good Body

Every autoharper has their own opinion on what makes a great autoharp. I’m no different. I’m an Oscar Schmidt guy. Those are my absolute favorite autoharps. Partially because that’s the instrument I first started playing years ago. But now, it’s also because I love the sound… of the older instruments at least.

I got my first autoharp from my dad. I took it to college with me. However, it took eight years of of talent-lessly playing the guitar before I picked up the ultimate musical instrument–the autoharp. I remember holding it to my ear, lightly stroking the strings to the most beautiful sound I ever heard.

My love of the autoharp is never wavered. How many people have told me I need to learn a “real instrument”. I kept strumming. Some of those same people who ridiculed me watch what I do with it and tell me, “Wow. You’re pretty incredible with that instrument”.

Choosing an Autoharp Body

All that said, the autoharp chooses the Wizard. For me, it’s a late 70s-early 80s body. That’s when the autoharp was made the best. It’s sound is warm and comforting. It’s like ducking your head under the water as you take a warm bath. You sit there and absorb the sounds and melt into relaxation.

Since then, the manufacture of the autoharp has been varied. I would LOVE to walk through the Oscar Schmidt factories and try all the different autoharps. The basic model, maroon and black, sucks. Not only is the sound so-so, but the pegs strip easily. The wood is cheap.

You can find a more expensive model that range from $350-500. They even have pickups or tuners. But the sound is typically dull.

On the more expensive side, there are the custom autoharp luthiers. These folks have gone out of their way to learn how to make autoharps. They know what woods sound louder and the timbre it will create. I talked with Ray Choi and was kind of blown away by what luthiers do.

The problem with most luthiers IMHO is that most of the ‘harps are too bright and shallow. That seems to be popular with autoharpers. I think that’s because the bright sound is great for playing lead with the instrument. However, I mostly use the instrument to support my singing. I like more low-end with my autoharps. The brightness just detracts from that to me.

Now that said, I did like the sound of one of Ray Choi’s autoharps. It was extremely pretty. I just wish I could afford one.

So if you’re looking for the perfect autoharp, my suggestion is to start with an autoharp body from the 70s or 80s. If you can get a 21-chord from the start, even better. Otherwise, you can buy an upgrade kit for about $90 (last I checked). That’s all you need to get setup.

Today's setup at The Summit Farmer's Market.

Autoharp Pickup for the Oscar Schmidt

If you plan to perform, then you probably want to upgrade your autoharp further. You can get an Oscar Schmidt pickup for your instrument. I think that too was about $90. It’s fairly easy to install.

The only problem with the basic OS pickup is that they usually use 1/8″ inputs. The musical standard is 1/4″. I had my autoharp repair guy in Austin turn that 1/8″ input into a 1/4″ jack. It screws into the side of the instrument for stability. It’s the best setup, but I’m not familiar with a better.

Custom-Action Hold Down System

Years ago, I had Chuck Daniels install his custom-action hold down system. This setup is designed to reduce the clacking that occurs with the standard autoharp setup. It also keeps chords from flying all over the place when you take off the cover. I love it.

Now that said, Chuck has been extremely difficult to get a hold of these last few years. I do remember seeing a wooden alternative that was marketed in the Autoharp Quarterly. Honestly, if I was in your position, about to setup a new autoharp, I would seriously consider not buying a new 21-chord OS chord bar setup in favor of this. Especially if it is as easy to setup as it sounds like it is.

Ready to setup your own Perfect Autoharp?

That’s about it. Get a good body and make it your own.

If you’re new to autoharps, then please check out my Autoharp Music Tips website. If you have questions about what I wrote here, email me or post in the comments.

Oh! And if you happen to find a non-black autoharp that seems like it’s in pretty good condition, let me know. I am always looking for a back up!

Slainte!
Marc

Where Did I Go Wrong with Procrastination?

brain 2
There’s a lot on my mind right now. So I thought I’d blog. That, and I’m procrastinating recording this week’s Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. That’s okay. I’ll get it done today. The shownotes are almost done. I just need a good title for the show.

Hmmm…. Where to begin?

Upcoming Sci Fi Conventions

Let’s see. I did some updates to the GenCon and DragonCon pages on my websites. Mostly, I just ditched the con specific email lists. I like the idea, but I can’t adequately manage those extra lists. So I’m gonna delete them.

I checked up on shows at GenCon. My cat show is at capacity. My Firefly Drinking Songs show is sold out. My Sci Fi Drinking Songs show still has space for 60 or so people. Friday Night Live has a space as well. I need to determine band order and solidify who’s performing. I haven’t done either things yet.

At DragonCon, I have a tentative schedule. I just need to put it on the website. But I called Andrew McKee today to talk about the convention. He’s hoping to finish an album in time for the con. I did my best to encourage him to get it done. I’m certain he will. He works best with deadlines.

We also have a WHOLE bunch of shows and panels at the con. And we’re awaiting a few more. Thus, it’d be REALLY smart to get that site up-to-date. So I put it on my calendar for tomorrow.

Last of the Kickstarters to Be Mailed

The last of the DVDs arrived today for the Sci Fi Drinking Songs Kickstarter. That means tomorrow I will also be packing up the final CDs and mailing them. I have a busy day ahead.

My review for the Roland CUBE Street Ex is doing well. I’m getting a lot of views for it on YouTube.

I guess that means I should move next week’s Celtic podcast to Thursday… We’re going to the beach this Saturday so I really want to have a show setup for while I’m gone.

Where Did I Go Wrong with The Celtic Geek

Ye know, there’s one big problem with moving The Celtic Geek to Tuesday. I always want to do it first thing on Monday. I’m usually thinking more about it then. I got a lot done mind you. I published the newest edition of the Celtic Music Magazine–6 New Celtic MP3s for You to Download. But darn it, I like using that Monday morning, ready-to-work feeling. I may need to update it. Hmm… I guess I could do the shownotes instead on Tuesday? There’s an idea…

Past and Future Shows

The shows this weekend in Marietta went well. The attendance was small, but I think everyone had fun. The cat show I found myself forgetting lyrics. It reminded me that I really need to work on the show too. Especially since I’m doing a cat show at GenCon. Much of the problem there was due to the heat. The show was outside and I don’t handle heat well.

My next show will be at GenCon in Indianapolis. I hope to see you there.

Celtic Music vs. Irish Drinking Songs

One final thought. Earlier this week, I posted the following question to my Facebook page: When did you first hear the term “Celtic music“? Did you hear of Irish and Scottish music first or were the names always synonymous? 

I LOVED reading the responses so much I asked the question again on my Celtic podcast page (see the original post here)

I have so ingrained myself with the idea of “Celtic music” that I feel like I’ve blinded myself somewhat. I think “Celtic music” is more appropriate to the music I do. But quite honestly, there are many people who only know of the phrase because of me. That means there’s a whole world out there who has no clue what “Celtic” is. Thus, I find myself fighting an uphill battle.

Perhaps this is why I feel I’ve had so much trouble getting into Celtic festivals and what not. I’m just not defining my music enough…? Perhaps…

It’s definitely an interesting observation. So many bands choose their “allegiance”. Do they do Irish music? Irish songs? Scottish music? Traditional Irish music? Irish drinking songs?

Of course, the last of those, I’ve done a LOT of marketing for–Irish drinking songs… and not Sci Fi Drinking Songs or Firefly Drinking Songs or Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers.

Yes, there’s a bunch of them.

Well, I only have a couple hours of work. So I better get back to it.

But before I go.

What did you think of this blog? For me, it serves multiple purposes: organizing my schedule, informing my Gunn Runners, and optimizing my content. But does this appeal to you at all?

I probably should ask that at the BEGINNING of the post since if you made it to the end, you are probably more interested in the content. But nevertheless, the question remains.

Do you find this post useful? Entertaining? Education? If so, how?

Thanks so much for your time and supporting my music. Slainte!
Marc Gunn

PS. As I was writing, I was SUPER excited to see that I unlocked my first Milestone for Patreon. I’m gonna share seasons 2 and 3 tomorrow. Thanks for your support!

CG038: How to Unclog Your Inbox, Ah-Ha Moments

As I pack up CDs to mail from my recent Kickstarter for Sci Fi Drinking Songs, I thought I’d record a podcast. Today, we talk about how to filter your email. I share the challenges of promoting with social media. And I remember the ah-ha moments that changed my musical career forever.

Today’s show is sponsored by Celtic Invasion Vacations. Visit http://celticinvasion.com to find out about the Invasion of Donegal next year.

My apologies if I said, “Uh” too much in this episode. That’s what comes from not focusing on what I have to talk about, I guess…

How to Unclog Your Email on Gmail

I use gmail for my email client. I love it. They offer lots of space for storing stuff and it’s easy to manage. Here’s how.

  1. Create a folder for “Newsletters”.
  2. Next to the Reply button, is a down arrow. Click that.
  3. Click “Filter Messages Like This”
  4. At the bottom right, click “Create filter with this search”
  5. Click the buttons “Skip the Inbox (Archive It)” and “Apply the Label” with your new Newsletter folder

Now each time a newsletter comes in, send it straight to your Newsletter folder. After a couple weeks, your inbox will be beautifully empty.

You can also add a filter from slainte@marcgunn and editor@celticmp3s.com and marc@thebards.net.

Now you won’t miss a single email by me because you will you insure that they go straight to you inbox (mine don’t go to Newsletters, silly).

David tells me that you can also filter emails in the Gmail App on the iPhone. He writes:

  • Google mail now automatically filters your mail.
  • I have my email david@re****.com automatically forwarded to gmail.
  • Gmail in turn sorts all my email from this and all addresses (12).
  • You can tell gmail where you want each piece mail to end up.
  • And the good thing it is easily done via the Gmail app for iPhone.
  • It syncs with web explorers on your PC or Mac.
  • Takes little time for any geek to set up.

Thanks David!

 

Celtic Geek News This Week

What Songs Do You Share of Mine?

marc2

I want to create a new “Welcome to Marc Gunn’s Music” compilation CD. To do that, I want to know your absolute favorite songs? Which songs do you love?

But more importantly, which songs do you love so much that you have shared with a friend (I give you full permission to do so, after all)? What songs that I have recorded do you think are essential for this compilation?