The twenty-twenties

Kenn and Cheryl Amdahl in 2022 at a windy wedding on an Oregon beach

December, 2022

A month or two ago a lady requested “Heard it Through the Grapevine.” Well, I have never played that song and it would be absurd for a very old folksinger, performing solo and acoustic, to even attempt it. But, partly because it WOULD be absurd I started to learn it. My son Joey was visiting and heard a bit of me fumbling with it and asked to hear the whole thing. So, at my gig on Christmas Eve, 2022 at the Eugene Holiday Market, I did it. Joey was in the audience and recorded about a minute of it on his phone.

Not too likely I’ll be adding it to my normal set lists, and it may be the first time in my life I’ve been recorded strumming a whole song (no fingerpicking) and using a flat pick at that. But if that lady ever shows up at another one of my gigs, I’m covered

I got a ukulele for Christmas in 2020, learned to play it a bit in 2021, and wrote a few songs using it. The Night We Burned the Barley is probably the best.

The Night We Burned the Barley by Kenn Amdahl

During the pandemic, I arranged the old song Got My Mojo Working, changing a few words to make it age-appropriate for me to sing:

During the pandemic, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore seemed like the perfect old song for me to learn:

Wrote The Salt Creek Line in 2021. I played it an an open stage in the Spring of 2022 and a much better musician, a blind blues singer, asked if he could do it. Finally recorded this rough draft on my computer using a click track as a metronome (so I could fool with adding percussion later). Man, it’s been a long time since I tried to play in time to a click track; it’s harder than you’d guess!

The Salt Creek Line by Kenn Amdahl

Lyrics below for anyone who’d like to learn the song:

Salt Creek Line by Kenn Amdahl
(capo 2, key of E)
I’m breaking my body

And I’m breaking my brain

Trying to break even

On Trainsong Lane

I’m losing money

And I’m wasting time

Been driving too long

On the Salt Creek Line

On the Salt Creek Line
John sang the gospel

On Flatrock Ridge

But his boat went down

By the Singing Bridge

Well I got a little light

Gonna let it shine

Still hear John Singing

On the Salt Creek Line

On the Salt Creek Line
Oh the women smile

They dance in the rain

Then they pick your pockets

On Trainsong Lane

Drive a truck for your money

You buy smoke and wine

But you can’t buy love

On the Salt Creek Line

On the Salt Creek Line
I’ve sung the blues

In Snakebite Bramble

Been the sad fourth line

In Love Triangle

You’ll roll through Hellfire

And The Devil’s Mine

If you miss your exit

On the Salt Creek Line

On the Salt Creek Line

I wrote Speaking Truth to Flowers during the pandemic, after I noticed that crazy homeless guys preaching in the park to an imaginary congregation were a lot like me singing songs in my kitchen to an imaginary audience.