Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Store Widget

I'm working on making a Parks Whistles store widget, and the current status is below. It should be the sort of thing that anyone can include in their web page or blog. Pretty cool eh?

If you want to put this "store" in your blog or web page or what-have-you,  click the "Help sell these products" link.  Thanks!

Another toy I just found. Trying it out.

Discover LĂșnasa!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gail's Paddle Jam

I wanted to share a glimpse of life here in southwest Florida. As most of the country is raking the last of the fall leaves and putting away the porch furniture for the winter, the weather here is just turning nice. Well, it's pretty much always nice, but in the summer the mid-day heat and the evening bugs can cause all but the most determined to chose an indoor activity. 

Gail, one of our session mates, lives along the banks of the Orange River with her husband in a home that is on the register of historic places. She invited the local kayakers and players over for a hot dog roast. The paddlers could paddle in the afternoon or after dark as it was a nearly full moon. The players were welcome anytime. Here's a few shots of the event. Great fun, as it always is at Gail's place. 

Parked by the barn, unloading the kayaks. 

One of two launch choices. There's a concrete ramp on the right there. 

The cove has a dock just to the right of Pat and Julie here. The other launch option. 

Some of the players started up while we were out paddling. 

Time for dinner before more tunes!

Doesn't it even look like we're playing Si Beag Si Mor? Great to flute with the autoharp.

And they're off into the tunes...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dempsey's Session - New York City

Here I am pointing to the Traditional Irish Music listing on the sign

While visiting relatives in New York City I took an evening to sit in with the session at Dempsey's Pub, the longest running session in NYC at 10 years.

The session was a good one, it started out with about 12 players and one drunk punter. The punter was wearing pointy gold metallic shoes and was stumbling a bit, bothering each of the players in turn. She stumbled into my pint and knocked it into a glass of tonic water which both went over and made quite a mess. Good thing there were no instruments under that table (there was a banjo under the other one.) Embarrassed, she left. Thank goodness. The session host asked the barman to replace the spilt drinks and I waited by the door while the clean-up was in progress to avoid the mop handle.

I watched in horror as the punter came back down the steps. She had some money in her hand and went straight to the barman, handed him the money and quickly split. Fair play to the punter. She must be a really nice person when she's not looped.

They did the round robin thing for a couple hours and I had a little less than half of the tunes played. I recognized most of them tho. I tried to start tunes I thought everyone might know, but sometimes did a solo for a bit then transitioned to another tune and folks got going. It was the usual "Do you know (tune name here)?" "Not sure, but let's hear it."

After a couple hours, the round robin gave way to folks starting tunes when they felt the muse. The session was smaller now, and the craic was picking up. Maybe it was the hour, or maybe it was the drink, but we had some really great long sets with the lead moving to different players without stopping. A couple times I had that "finger in the light socket" feeling. You know the one I mean? When you are somehow plugged into the other players and everyone is playing as one mind or spirit? Great stuff. To think this happens when I'm 1300 miles from home with people I've not even met.

About half way through a young girl from Chicago who recently moved to the city sat next to me. She was a great fiddler both technically and with great expression. I kept asking her if she knew this tune or that so I would start something she knew. I just loved to hear her play.

Over the course of the evening there were two other flute players, a handful of violins, two or three bodhrans, a couple guitars, four or five whistles, a couple boxes and a button accordion. That was until 11:45 when I left. Arbo said they went until 1 AM. The session host played a borrowed banjo a few times but mostly sat out. Doctor's orders for a bum wrist.

Polkas were a hit. They played some before I stared Maggie and Britches. Later nobody knew Cooley's Hornpipe so after once thru I went to Off to Cali and then Rights of Man. Really got everyone going and got atta-boys when we finished. But the reel fest was the best. Much like we do at the Ray, someone starts it, does a set and then someone else keeps it going without pause. I started a second super set with Whiskey Before Breakfast which most knew, then half the hard-core knew Far From Home, which I followed with something I don't remember and then a box player took the set to tunes I heard but don't know. It was 10 really strong players on fiddle, box, button accordion, flute (three at the high point) and a bodhran and guitar. Magic. That swept along in the music-drug feeling for a good 45 mins.

Oh, I played a 1840 Rudall & Rose flute for a short bit. It was surprisingly light and played all three octaves well. The low notes would really growl when Arbo the owner played it. I couldn't quite get the same tone out of it, but it was a nice flute to play.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Every Whistle Survives a Day on The Street

Fabio from Italy sent the following report of his Every Walkabout's recent adventures. (In my mind's eye I see scenes from "Toy Story" as I read it.)

Here's a story you'd perhaps like. I'm still having the Parks with me wherever I go, as usual (this is not the story, that's coming).

Well, a morning of some week ago I was in a real hurry to get over a train - I was a bit late and that damn train has the very bad habit to begin running in advance, sometimes. To make the story short, I ran like hell and I did jumped over the train in time. The very first thing I checked was my pocket to see if all the three pieces of the whistle where there, as I usually paranoically do every now-and-then.


A single piece was missing. I passed the rest of the day blaming me. When I stopped and I started to think positively (it always helps) my toughs were like "that's not a wallet, that's only a plastic tube with three holes. Nobody will catch it, you'll find on the way back", which made sense indeed. And I found it. In the street, close to a car's wheel. But this is not the juicy part, yet.

The juicy part (I know, I'm a lot verbose) is that the tube was dirt, blackened and with the "sign" of a car's tyre. I can't be 100% sure of it, but it's not unlikely that a car completely rolled over it. BUT, apart some minor scratches which are there now (they are visible, actually, at a close look, but are external, away from the holes and *don't affect in anyway the sound*)... after a good wash my whistle was up and playing as if were hand new! With any other TIN whistle a good (I mean, bad) hit from the table to the floor can compromise the tone (I experienced that more than once).

This darn tube is very resistant, now I have an evident proof. Even if the car didn't rolled over it, it must have pushed it around or something like that to left that kind of "signature" on it, so this "demonstrates" how sturdy your whistle is. Congratulations.

Oh, I've also seen that now you're a lot into the flute stuff, what a nice chance (could I miss that?) to remind you of that beautiful idea of the fife head... that would sell ALMOST as the walkabout. Here, I hope.

About MUSIC itself, I'm learning "the rolling waves" jig, played the Kevin Crawford's way, but three times as slower. I'm enjoyin' my hard and slow improvements, although they cost a lot of efforts.Thank you, have a nice job making whistles!-- Fabio

Anyone else interested in a fife head for the Every whistle? I think I'll give it a try. I'll post the results here when I try it.



Fay Not So Bad Here

Tropical storm Fay passed south of us on Tuesday, which put us on it's better side. We only had winds gusting to 60 and less that two inches of rain.

Tornadoes and earthquakes are a lazy man's disaster. You just carry on as normal until it happens then see what's left. A hurricane comes with lots of warning and days to fret and carry stuff around, then after it passes, you have to put it all back again. Oh well, it's exercise.

Saturday, August 16, 2008



Thought I'd mention that I'm up to date on whistle shipments. Every whistle ordered has been shipped. I also want to let you know that we're preparing for a hurricane in a few days, so I might be off the air for a while depending on where it actually goes.

That island just north of the Tues AM (H) is Sanibel Island, and I am just northeast of that on the mainland. Not very far in however, there's a saltwater canal in my back yard. At the moment they are suggesting the winds on Tuesday will be 80 mph, but they are quick to add that there is so much land around and the gulf is hot (89 degrees) so a lot depends on exactly where Fay spends her time. Could be weaker, but could be a lot stronger too.

Here's the link to the National Hurricane Center if you want to watch our progress:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Flutes and Sessions

In addition to cranking out whistles in the shop, I've been keeping up with the sessions around here (see the new header photo and a YouTube vid here) and I've bought an old German "nach Meyer" flute. These flutes were sold between 1880 and maybe 1920 or so but all sorts of outlets such as Sears and Roebuck. A catalog from around 1900 has them listed for $4.95. But remember, they didn't even have gas stations then, so you can't stay the nice wooden flutes cost a little more than a gallon of gas.

If you want to follow the saga of the antique flute tweak, it's on the Chiff & Fipple Flute Forum. You do know about the Chiff & Fipple Whistle Forum don't you? If not check it out while you are there.

Most of the nach Meyer flutes you find these days don't play in tune with instruments tuned to the current concert pitch of A=440 Hz. So I'm going to see if I can "tweak" it into being in tune. It's a fun player, so it is worth the effort. And I'll no doubt learn something along the way. If you want to know more about the official Meyer flutes and/or the nach Meyers (the ones made "after the style of" the Meyer flutes) Google will lead to a ton of information.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Walkabout in C released

Hi, I've made a C version of the Every Walkabout. It's just the same as the D, only longer. You can order a D or a C or a C/D set in the Every Whistle Walkabout model now.

Here's Tiffany playing "The Bride's Favorite" on her Walkabout C.

The Bride's Favorite

That's it for now!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Been a busy month.


Just a note to let you know that I'm alive and well. I've not been blogging or adding products to the web site because the Every Walkabout's have been flying our of here so fast I have a backlog. Each time I take a batch of partially complete whistles to be engraved I'm thinking "This will get me back to where I can ship as soon as I receive and order." Then before I have that batch finished, they are all sold.

I guess it's a good problem to have, because it means the whistles are scratching an itch.

Lately the orders have been getting filled on average a week after they come in. Hopefully I'll have stock on hand again soon.



Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Clip That Was An Ad

Jessica, a long distance session mate, said she was going to record some clips of my whiste for me. I was expecting some sound clips, but got three video ad's instead. Thanks Jessica!

Monday, June 9, 2008

And the winner is...

Congratulations Matahari!!! The judges have been haggling over the merits of the various entries, and finally have declared Matahari the winner of the Happy Birthday contest.

It was not an easy selection as every entry showed style and flair. Matahari's use of ornamentation on the basic tune exemplified creative whistle playing and thus was named the winner.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I do appreciate the time you took to work up and submit your clips. I had fun listening to them as they arrived. I will post the five tunes on for the use of the Internet in general when they are searching for a little tune to send someone for their birthday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Creating Joy

I often get e-mails from customers telling me of their experience with my whistles. This is one of the best parts about making whistles. It gives me a great feeling to be bringing so much joy to so many people. But sometimes I wonder if joy might not be a zero-sum game. Could it be that to get more joy you must take joy from others? No, joy can increase globally I am sure. But locally, maybe it varies...

"Carey, you'll never know how pleased I am with your whistle! I take it with me from one end of the house to the other and play very often. Margie hates you and does not even know you (LoL). I told her last night that I was looking into bagpipes next and she said if I was serious she'd take up the Tuba."

From reading on-line forums and personal experience it's clear there is something about a high whistle playing Irish tunes. I suspect it would not matter so much if the whistle were playing popular show tune or whatever, the high sound can grate on people. Some people more than others, as I have heard of some spouses and neighbors who encourage the whistle player. But more often not. If you have an "Every" whistle, be sure to use the tone ring when others who might object are around. Oh, and fasten your seat belt when you get in the car too.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Contest Clips

Below is a link to the on-line box containing entries in the Happy Birthday Whistle Contest. Enjoy! And if you have not sent me your redition, what are you waiting for! (Rules below)

You can click on the first entry and select "play" when the form appears. Let it play when finished the next clip will start automatically.

Entries, in order I recieved them, have been submitted by:

1) Bothrops moojeni (Susato high F)
2) FluteRookie (Hammy Practice Flute)
3) BelgianWaffle (Alba Q1 Hi D)
4) GrampaB (Generation D)
5) GrampaB (Parks Every D)
6) Matahari (Acorn Brass D)

The whole collection is at

Contest rules:

1) Send me a file of yourself playing Happy Birthday.
2) I'll post it and everyone can listen to them all.
3) Entries must be recieved before midnight on May 31, 2008 GMT-4 (US Eastern Daylight Time)
4) I'll either delcare the winner if it's obvious, or post the contenders if I can't decide and we'll vote on them.
5) Winner can choose a Parks Whistles hat or Parks Whistles Gig bag.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Check out the Walkabout Every Whistle

Just a quick shot of the first prototype Walkabout Every whistle....

They should be available to ship in about a week. You can order them now by sending me an e-mail. I will put them on the web site store as soon as I can. They cost $60 and are only available in D equal temperment for the moment. Please excuse the poor logo marking on this prototype, I use the engraver's errors for R&D.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Model in the Workshop

Everyone thank Paul (see e-mail below) for prodding me to work on a three-piece Every whistle. I'm going to start work on it right away. I'll keep you posted regarding progress in the shop as I go.



Hi Carey

Greetings from the highlands and islands, well Glasgow actually, or as
near as damn it anyway, I 'm still enjoying my whistles,in fact since
receiving them they're getting about as much use as my flute, and with
the exception of my Hoover whitecaps, to the exclusion of the rest of my

In fact I think it probably unlikely that I will add to my collection
again as your every whistle fills just about every need I have in the
whistle line; with one exception, I desperatley need, well OK prehaps
not actually need but I'm sure you understand better than most, a pocket
type whistle and was wondering if you intend, or could be persuaded to
manufacture a 2 part D tube. ... Anyway, thank you for the wonderful whistles and keep up the excellent work.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Honey, I'm going to go work on my brain now.

The link below was sent to me by a friend who asked "Do you play the whistle because you are smarter than others, or are you smarter than others because you play the whistle?" Well if to you "smarter" means doing better on some the the metrics used in the studies then it's the latter.

As if we need another excuse to play our whistles eh? Maybe it will work for you - "Honey, I'm going to go work on my brain now."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

St Patrick's Day 2008

Quite a St Patrick's day this year. I went to our session pub expecting to have a session and ended up entertaining. For a while anyway. We had a couple guys from Arkansas who were in for spring break join us. Great fun.

Around 10 PM we moved inside where we could hear each other at least, and carried on with the session we expected to have.

It wasn't until after 1 AM that we left the pub to drive home.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wow, what a weekend.

The weekend started out pretty mundane - mowing the grass. By by Saturday evening three of us were playing a gig at a house party, an Irish birthday party. Great fun. Great food. Can't beat it. Then from 10 until 2:30 we had practice for a new band we're getting together. As soon as that broke up, three of us headed 40 minutes north to a session that was already in progress at the Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda. I didn't leave there until 7 PM.

What a blast that session was. Awesome craic. A couple new faces, and a number of new tunes and some songs for the folks in the pub. It was one of those "play and sing with fearless abandon" times that nobody cares how you sound, just so you try. One old woman, who could have been 85, impressed the heck out of the whole place. She came teetering over with her cane, shaking from what I would say was Parkinson's Disease from her shakes. She sat down in a chair vacated by the bodhran player as one of the fiddlers was playing a nice slow tune solo. Mary was having trouble keeping the beat at that slow pace, and asked for something faster. We launched into a couple reels and she was pretty good. The place broke out in applause, and we did a couple more. When Mary stood up to return to her table the applause was deafening.

I hope you get to be part of something like that someday.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cape Coral Irish Fest 2008

Just wanted to post a couple shots from the Cape Coral Irish Festival today. Hope you are having a good weekend too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Price Change for Every and Ghost Models

Well, all good things must come to an end, and today is the end of the introductory pricing on the Every whistle and the Ghost whistle. The introductory price of $29.95 was pulled out of thin air with the knowledge that I would have to determine the actual cost and price of the whistles once I had enough data on making and selling them. After selling over one-hundred whistles I now have good data on what it takes to make them, and running the numbers indicates the price of the Every whistle should go to $55, and the Ghost to $25.

Most of the people who have participated in the tour or bought an Every whistle knew the price had to go up, and said so on the tour thread. Alas the time has arrived.

The thing that says I must do it today is the arrival of my whistles at three dealers around the globe. I'm not going to spill the beans on who they are until they have time to get their web sites ready to sell the whistles, but Doc Jones of the Irish Flute Store has his up and ready, so today's the day. Check out Doc's store via the link on the right of the pages. The other dealers have customs delays to contend with so I expect they will be along shortly.

The price change and the dealer network are indications of the growth of Parks Whistles, so look for more things from me in the near future. For example, I am in the shop as soon as I finish this making another batch of D whistles, and cranking out the first batches of C and Eb whistles. The C and Eb tubes will be available seperately to give you a C, D, Eb set with one Every whistle head. Watch for the announcement of these whistles here and at the dealers.

Happy whistling!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Celtic Ray Session

The latest batch of whistles has been completed and all of the outstanding orders will be complete as of today. Both "Every" and "Ghost" whistles are in stock at the moment.We had a great session in Punta Gorda Monday evening. Made better by the appearance of Rick and Candice with their hammered dulcimer. It was the first time I had the pleasure of playing with one. Welcome to both of you.