Cleveland Hills is a tune from back in the good old 'Newkirk & Bell' days when Deanne Newkirk and I took our brand of acoustic guitar music and harmony vocals from Victoria B.C. to Ottawa Ontario, to Bluegrass and Folk festivals in Washington State, Wyoming, Minnesota and North Dakota, to name a few. We also did four tours of the U.K. playing at Folk Clubs, Bluegrass and Folk festivals. During those tours we played several gigs in the county of Cleveland performing at the Redcar Folk Festival, The Stockton Folk Club and the Marske Country Music Club. The inspiration for writing the tune was on one of those tours, the Cleveland Hills are a pretty range of hills that run parallel to the coast. Check out Bob Evans recording of Cleveland Hills on his CD 'Caffeinated Coffee'


One day it struck me that of all the things in my home my Martin guitar had been around longer than most of them and had seen and heard everything that had happened to me up to that time. The guitar in question is a 1970 Martin D28 that I bought second hand in 1973. I suppose that 'Martin Box' is really a love song to a guitar, a 1970 Martin D28 guitar with 'Rosewood Back and Sides"

This finger style guitar tune 'Final Approach To Castlegar' was inspired when my good friend Gordon Stobbe and I were heading to teach at the first Kootenay #9 fiddle camp in Castlegar B.C. We were descending Bombi Pass and as we looked down into the valley to our left we saw an Air Canada plane below us on its approach to the Castlegar Airport. It's not often when you're driving that you see an airplane below you! Here I am on the 'Sun Room Sessions' playing my Sigma guitar.

My life changed in a huge way in 1998 when I was asked to teach the guitar class at the Emma Lake Fiddle camp. Thankfully I was drawn into a world I didn't know much about. Sure, I could pick some bluegrass tunes but I didn't know much about the Canadian Fiddle repetoire. At the evening concerts I was lucky enough to play with some of the best musicians I'd ever met. People like Gordon Stobbe, John Arcand, Calvin Vollrath, Patty Kusturok and the list goes on. Also, there that year was a wonderful guitarist from Nova Scotia, Skip Holmes, who showed me the ropes and got me through those concerts with his knowledge and friendship. So here is my tribute to that camp, my arrangement of two great fiddle tunes by two great fiddlers,  "Big Bear" by John Arcand and "Pelican Reel" by Gordon Stobbe.
Back when I wasn't real familiar with the Canadian fiddle world one of the tunes that I was familiar with was St. Anne's Reel. St. Anne's had been played  by two people who's playing I admired greatly, Dan Crary and Russ Barenberg. Crary's version was in C and Barenberg's was in D. I tried working it out on the high strings but it wasn't very satisfactory to me so I worked it out in dropped D tuning  and moved the melody to the low strings and was much happier with the outcome. I play it in a hybrid style of pick and two fingers which is the only way I can play it and have any hope of keeping up with a fiddler! Here I am playing it on my Sigma guitar that I absolutely love.  You can check out my website at