Michael BarylaWelcome to my music blog. Unless you already know me, you’re probably here because you’ve gotten my name at a jam or open mic somewhere in North Carolina.  Thanks for your interest, and I hope you enjoyed whatever it was I was playing that night.


Congratulations to Acoustic Guitar on turning 25

2015-01-20 21.44.57-1Congratulations to the staff at Acoustic Guitar.  The magazine just turned 25.

I’ve been a reader since the magazine started and a subscriber for many years.  The arrival of the 25th anniversary issue sent me on a quest to find old issues of the magazine.  What was the earliest issue I still had?

I was able to quickly find the 10th and 15th anniversary issues shown here with my Alvarez-Yairi classical.  But it seems anything earlier than 2000 was lost along the way, likely the victim of some over-zealous spring cleaning one year.

Acoustic Guitar has survived the rise of digital media, thoughtfully augmenting their print magazine with an extensive online presence. For the acoustic guitarist, Acoustic Guitar remains the only magazine you’ll ever need.  In what other magazine will you find arrangements of  a Big Bill Broonzy song and a Radiohead song in the same issue?

Read more about their anniversary in their online  article Acoustic Guitar Turns 25.  And do subscribe if you haven’t already – I’m hoping Acoustic Guitar will be around for another 25 years.


Is your guitar properly humidified? Your smartphone might know

hygrometerIs your guitar properly humidified?  Cordoba Guitars recommends that you store your instruments in 40% to 60% relative humidity.  (See their “All About Humidity” article.) Without a hygrometer, however, (an instrument to measure atmospheric humidity) it can be difficult to know whether your guitar is adequately humidified.

It turns out that some newer smartphones contain a humidity sensor.  Samsung, as an example, included the sensor with their Galaxy S4.  You can access this sensor through third-party apps.

One such app is the “Hygrometer Pro” which you can find in the Google Play store. If you own a Samsung Galaxy, can find Hygrometer Pro in GALAXY Apps on your device.  The app is free.  Do verify that your device has a humidity sensor before installing.

With the app,  you can easily check the relative humidity of the air in your guitar case or in the room in which your guitars are stored.


Robin & Linda Williams play The Arts Center on Friday, Jan. 9

robin_and_lindaFor more than three decades now, Robin & Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, “a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.” As The Washington Post put it, “The Williamses are able to sum up a life in a few details with moving completeness.” On Friday, January 9th at 8:00pm, Robin and Linda will perform live at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC. Tickets for this show are $16 General advance, $12 Friends/Student advance, and $20 Day of Show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call the Box Office at (919) 929-2787. The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main Street in Carrboro.
“Among contemporary country performers,, Robin and Linda Williams shine like a diamond amid rhinestones …”  David W. Johnson, The Boston Globe
For additional information on Robin & Linda Williams visit

Mark Newton & Steve Thomas to play The ArtsCenter on Saturday, Jan. 10th

Mark Newton & Steve ThomasIndividually Mark Newton and Steve Thomas are phenomenal bluegrass performers, but Together Newton and Thomas blend vocal harmonies and musicianship into a fabric of sounds and tones that are sure to be pleasing to many listening audiences. To classify their talent as one genre or the other would be an unfair representation of their sound. Come listen in for yourself! On Saturday, January 10th at 8:00pm, Mark Newton and Steve Thomas will perform live at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC. Tickets for this show are $15 General advance, $11 Friends/Student advance, and $19 Day of Show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit call the Box Office at (919) 929-2787. The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main Street in Carrboro.

“With Mark Newton and Steve Thomas’ pedigree no wonder (their April 2013 album) REBORN is a breath of fresh air.  They easily combine contemporary / traditional, Blues, Gospel and new Acoustic Country all neatly wrapped up in one project. It’s simply great music for the soul.” Robert Weingartz, Chairman & CEO – AirPlay Direct and Publisher & Founder – the Direct Buzz

For additional information on Mark Newton & Steve Thomas visit

Learn Fingerstyle Guitar Techniques

SC_Cordoba-LogoInterested in learning how to play fingerstyle guitar? Acoustic Guitar magazine recently published part two of Cordoba’s excellent “How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar” technique lesson, which features Iren Arutyunyan.

Everything you need to get started is on this Acoustic Guitar magazine page.


Diana Krall plays Raleigh on Friday, April 24

dk_photo_2014Diana Krall recently announced rescheduled U.S. tour dates for her “Wallflower World Tour,” which had been previously postponed.

Krall’s “Wallflower World Tour” will kick off in Boston, MA on Wednesday, February 25th at The Shubert Theater. The 26-city tour includes stops at some of the most prestigious venues across the country including The Shubert Theater in Boston and The Beacon Theater in New York.

You can see her in Raleigh on Friday April 24th, 2015,  at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are now on sale.

Chick Corea Music Workshop

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I stumbled across a free video replay of a Chick Corea music workshop.  The replay is available until Dec. 2, 11:00pm EST.  You need to enter a name and email address to watch it here.

Here is a trailer for the workshop:

K&K Sound: excellent sound, excellent service

kks_logoRecently my K&K Meridian Microphone system failed. It was bound to happen at some point. The system was several years old, and I’d been using it several times a week at open mics and jams. With the rapid set up and tear down at those performances, the system certainly had its share of knocks and drops.

Like practically everything one purchases these days, I figured the system wouldn’t be worth repairing, or that it would be too difficult to find a friendly human at the manufacturer to inquire about a repair. I was wrong.

The people at K&K Sound were friendly, responsive, and helpful. They were able to repair my system for a nominal fee and I had it back in just a few days. Kudos to K&K Sound for their excellent customer service!

The ArtsCenter & The Art of Cool Present: Chris Dave & The Drumhedz

chris daveMark your calendars! This November The ArtsCenter is partnering up with The Art of Cool to bring world-renowned jazz drummer Chris Dave and The Drumhedz to the ArtsCenter stage! Chris Dave has been around the world and back playing for and recording with some of music’s most established and iconic artists including: Adele, Maxwell, D’Angelo, Beyoncé, & more! With the proven track record that spans over a variety of genres, the 90s to the present mark a time where Chris Dave has redefined the role of the modern drummer. He has taken his unique approach to production, tweaked it and applied it to the drum kit, creating an original sound that no other drummer can claim. On Thursday, November 13th at 8:00pm, Chris Dave and The Drumhedz will perform live at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC

Cicely Mitchell, President & Co-Founder of The Art of Cool, said “We are very pleased to partner with The ArtsCenter to present Chris Dave and The Drumhedz. Be prepared to have your world rocked. We look forward to working with them on more innovative jazz/soul music presentations in the future.” The Art of Cool Project is a jazz presenting 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization located in Durham, NC. They are dedicated to presenting and promoting live jazz (and related music) in unique venues throughout the Triangle. Their two major programs are Art of Cool Festival and StArt of Cool, a jazz education program. They are the rhythm of the Bull City that connects music and art to people. Learn more at

Tickets for this show are $30 General advance, $20 Friends/Student advance, and $35 Day of Show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call the Box Office at (919) 929-2787. The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main Street in Carrboro.


Gina Sicilia to play The ArtsCenter on Sunday, Oct. 19

Gina Sicilia

6 October 2014Gina contacted me today and said that, unfortunately, the venue cancelled the show.

Gina Sicilia is a blues singer and songwriter whose vocal and lyrical performance has been compared to such superstars of classic American soul such as Etta James, Maria Muldaur, and Bonnie Raitt. On Sunday, October 19th at 7:00pm, Sicilia will perform live at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC.

“Her smoky alto is a striking instrument, but the way she harnesses its earthy power reflects a maturity that’s also found in her frank songwriting. The result is a combination of polished craft and gut-level emotion that is a knockout, and earns Sicilia the right to comparisons between herself and James.” -The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Destined to take her seat among the all-time greats…Sicilia is the perfect package deal…easy on the eye, equally easy on the ear and with a delivery that is as powerful as any I have heard to date, and I’ve heard them all.” -Billtown Blues Association

“Gina Sicilia may be the best blues singer on the music scene today”

Tickets for this show are $10 General advance, $6 Friends/Student advance, and $14 Day of Show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call the Box Office at (919) 929-2787. The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main Street in Carrboro.