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Don't miss Darin's music

by MIKE PATRICK
Staff Writer | June 25, 2010 9:00 PM

Darin Schaffer is in the kitchen of the Montana Avenue stucco home under the protective arches of grandfatherly trees and he's making his latest favorite drink, an allegedly tasty, cleansing concoction consisting of lemon juice, cayenne powder and maple syrup.

Not just any maple syrup.

"Class B," Darin says, pointing to the label. "Organic."

He sips. He smiles.

"Want some?" he asks me politely.

"Oh hell no," I want to say.

"No thank you," I say.

Having known Darin for more than eight years, I can honestly state that this is the first time he has made sounds that are not music to my ears. Lemon juice, cayenne and maple syrup - it could be Class AAA+ for all I care - are not to my liking on a hot afternoon the third day of summer.

Darin playing acoustic piccolo bass, sitar and a homemade bowed guitar viol? That's what I like to hear. With those, this Coeur d'Alene native son can do for the soul what his cleansing beverage does for the body.

Now, as we turn our backs on bad drinks but before we toast his upcoming performance next Wednesday at Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center in Post Falls - remember 6/30 at 6:30 - let us review where Darin, who just turned 40, has been.

He was raised by his grandmother.

He has lived in a school bus.

He has practiced music from a couple hours to 20 hours a day, most of the days of his life.

He has studied under musical masters.

He is as spiritually rich as he is financially poor.

He says, "I mow lawns. I move boards. I fish."

He says, "If I'm hungry I'll grow a garden or make sure I know somebody who has one."

He plays, even when he's hungry.

Right: 6/30, 6:30. Ten bucks. Doors open at 6.

Musically, Darin has been opening doors for years. Back in 1993 he and some talented pals formed a basement band that became Moments of Clarity. With MOC he made three albums, the last being a double disc. On his own he's made five more.

The latest - and in my humble opinion, the greatest - is called Places. You can hear pieces of Places on Wednesday, and maybe you can even buy one for yourself. Or maybe not. Darin makes each one by hand, with every cover design unique art featuring slices of photos he's taken in places that mean something to him, and all the song titles are scratched out by hand inside and every CD is numbered which is why I bought two. Collector items. With that bow of his, sounds that make tense jaws slack.

For a man of words I am speechless when it comes to describing Darin's music. Like so many of his fans, I can feel it, but I can't really say it. And I believe writers should be sacrificed to the music gods when they use nebulous, ignorant words like "eclectic" to describe the sounds Darin Schaffer makes.

The Taos News maybe got close when somebody there wrote, "Fans have described Schaffer as Michael Hedges and sitarist Ravi Shankar, with a small dose of psychedelics thrown in for good measure."

I would have to say Darin Schaffer is Darin Schaffer, and next Wednesday night you will leave the Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center a slightly better, certainly happier person for having heard him.

Mike Patrick is managing editor of The Press. E-mail mpatrick@cdapress.com.

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