About a month ago at a concert with Laura Story in North Carolina, a guy and his wife came up to me at the merchandise table. He introduced himself and mentioned that he was a violist and was especially curious to know what sort of gear I use to amplify my violin. It was fun to talk to him and geek out like string players do when they randomly meet. I scribbled down on some paper the different products that I'd recommend.
Today, I was thinking that it was about time for a new blog post and since I've had lots of other violinists and violists ask about my gear at various gigs, I thought that I'd write a few notes on the products that I use. Please note that I don't have any endorsement deals, so I've not been paid or perked to mention any of this...it's all just stuff I love after a lifetime of trying different violin related products. (Although if you happen to work for one of these companies and feel like sending me free stuff, I'm totally cool with that as well.)
I highly recommend you purchase products from The Violin Shop located on 8th Avenue South in Nashville, Tennessee or HERE at their Online Store.
If they don't have what you need in-store or online, then I recommend Young Musicians, a Ft. Worth based company that began just as I was beginning violin lessons.
Other quality retailers include Corner Music (Nashville, TN), Williams Fine Violins (Nashville, TN), Shar Music (online), Andy's Music (Mobile, AL), and Southwest Strings (online).
Wolf "Super Flexibel" Shoulder Rest - Growing up I was a hardcore fan of the Kun Original shoulder rest, well, after I graduated from a kitchen sponge to a WeBad to a real shouder rest that is. My teacher in 8th grade told my mom I had to buy a Wolf, which we did (we were complient folk) and I hated it. At least I hated whatever model we bought back then. But a few years ago when my Kun finally bit the dust (yes, I'd gone back to my Kun!), I noticed this model by Wolf in the glass case at The Violin Shop and tried it out and finally found the shoulder rest of my dreams. I had some difficulty location this exact rest online for you fine folks, but looks like the Wolf "Forte Secondo" might be the newer and fairly equivalent version. Cost: about $30
So there you have it! A few of my favorite things. What gear do you love? Any more questions? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
I remember the first time I ever heard myself on the radio. I was driving across the long bridge over the Ross Barnett Resevoir in Jackson, Mississippi and had the local Christian station playing. All the sudden, sandwiched between the well-known tunes of the day, the station announced a new song, "Undo" by a band called "Rush of Fools," and I caught my breath as I realized that even though it was new to the radio, I knew the song by heart as I'd had the opportunity to play on it just a few months before. As the second verse blared through the speakers, I had to pull over onto the shoulder of the road and savor the eight notes of my violin that didn't land on the cutting room floor.
I felt a similar feeling last night when a dear friend's mom posted on Facebook that my album was in the "Half and Half" section of the Catfish Alley Magazine Spring 2014 issue. It's just so exciting to have something you have worked on and dreamed about and put heart and soul into come to fruition, and to see a little article for my album in print, well, I kind of felt like a kid at Christmas. (My apologies for any social-media overload you might have endured...I was just so delighted and had to share!) But not only was it exciting to see something about my album in print, it was extra-special to see it in a publication from the small Mississippi town where I spent most of my adolescence. A town where I played carols at the only shopping mall with the youth orchestra every Christmas, competed in music competitions on the weekends and gave my highschool senior recital at the local college auditorium. A town where everybody knows your name, helps raise each other's children, and is proud of where they come from. And I'm thankful that in this small way, my town and I get to be proud of each other. And also, in this age where most news is about crime and wars, deficits and struggles, it's encouraging to see media that celebrates Southern food, folk, music, landscapes and other worthwhile fare.
If you live in Mississippi & would like to purchase your own copy of Catfish Alley, click here to see where it's available on newsstands throughout the Golden Triangle Area, as well as Tupelo and Greenwood and Vernon and Tuscaloosa, AL. Or, if you're an out-of-towner, you can choose one of their reasonably priced subscription options, (as I did just a few minutes ago.)
In case you can't read the tiny print in the photo, here's the review (written by Jan Swoope, a dear woman who once taught me how to ride horses English style. Welcome to the small-town-South.)
"Bethany Daniel Bordeaux packed her violin in 2006, moved from Columbus to Nashville, Tenn, and was soon performing with multiple artists and the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. Her debut instrumental CD, "Songs from Along The Way," came out in December 2013. Its acoustic tracks of violin, guitar and piano feature Celtic and Bluegrass flair as well as enchanting, slower pieces."
One of my favorite parts of being a musician is the friendships that are forged on the road with folks you play with. But then.....sometimes.....just sometimes.....it goes the other way and prexisting friendships turn into musical endeavors. Such is the case with my friends Blake Thornell and Shanna Scrimpshire, who have been leading worship together as a duo since they were at Mississippi State University together...and now have officially become Trembling Hearts.
Although we've celebrated many a birthday, wedding, and holiday together, it's only been recently that we've gotten the opportunity to play music together (well, except for that one time Blake and I appeared in a music video...back in the the day). Over the past two years or so, we've played at the wedding of a dear friend and a few youth events at the church where Shanna's husband is the middle school pastor. And then this past fall, Blake called to ask if I'd be up for playing on their debut worship EP. It was a crazy week. My grandmother was quickly slipping away from us, and we had another family issue we were working through. The holidays were approaching full force and I had a long string of events happening in an abbreviated time period. My own album was in post-production. Suffice to say...things were busy. In fact, after I said yes, I think I might have rescheduled about 4 times. (Sorry, Blake!)
But as I stood in the tracking room in the studio and listened to the music through my headphones, I felt my soul settle and my pulse slow. I became completely enveloped in the songs that came across the wire and instead of having to "work" at creating a string arrangement to play, I simply closed my eyes, wiggled my toes into the oriental rug and let the notes flow from my fingers. Notes that the Lord had put there for me to discover before the songs had even been written. Just as He orchestrates our stories before we were even conceived in the womb.
I felt so inspired and invited into a worship experience by the lyric that for about 30 minutes straight, I just played the song over and over with my eyes closed until the engineer came over the speaker to tell me that they had plenty to work with and that I was finished. I was sad to put my fiddle away and my shoes on and head out the door.
I'm excited today to say that the debut Worship EP by Trembling Hearts is finished. And not only is it finished, but they are giving it away for free on Noisetrade. Go download it now and close your eyes and listen and worship the One who gives us each moment.
also, be sure to like them on facebook by clicking HERE
and follow them on twitter & instagram: @thworship
Stories and thoughts and current happenings in music and life
Bethany is a freelance violinist/fiddler and tour manager who works with artists & events such as Kelly Minter, Cultivate: A Gathering Around The Word and Laura Story. She and her husband Keith live in Nashville, TN with their daughter Clare, cat & 6 backyard chickens. For more info on Bethany, visit her bio page!!