Above video features Rick McVicar playing his violin.
Text and video by Rick McVicar
“A Horse with No Name,” song written by Dewey Bunnel. “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain.”
My horse is a reddish-brown wooden box with four metal strings pulled tightly over the top. Sometimes when I am tired and sad, I play it as a violin. Sometimes when I am feeling gay and energized, I play it as a fiddle.
From time to time I wonder if I should name it. After all, B.B. King named his guitar, “Lucille.”
My violin has been my best friend for the past 20 years.
I played it back in school through college. I put the instrument down when I moved to Nashville. After hearing professional fiddlers, I was filled with shame by the way I played. I moved back to Ohio and sent my violin away into the unknown by visiting a pawn shop.
However, quitting the violin left me with a burning itch that would not go away. It hurt worst during times of sadness and depression.
Then in 2005, I returned to Nashville, this time with determination to scratch that itch for good. I no longer cared whether I could compete with fiddlers on Lower Broadway, a downtown strip of honky tonks. I just had to rub that itch away.
So I stopped by Williams Fine Violin and Luthier Studios. A luthier is someone who makes or repairs orchestral string instruments. They had a rent-to-own program for buying violins. I signed up immediately and paid off my violin two months early.
Inside the violin is a tag identifying Tomas Drennon as the instrument’s maker. After spending an hour researching the Web, I am afraid I cannot find anything on Tomas Drennon for this story. That’s a shame, because I sure would like to meet the guy.
I’d ask Tomas Drennon what made him put so many animals into this fine violin I hold.
Some days it purrs like a pussycat, while other times it roars like an angry tiger. It has enough animals to match whatever mood I am feeling. And with my mental health background, that is a lot of moods coming at you. I can play the violin smooth as velvet or rock it out by grinding on three strings at once to sound a chord.
So what name should I give it? Well, that’s a tough one. It would have to be a three-syllable name, like Theadore. Geraldine or Archibald. The name has to be as complicated as the instrument. But not too fancy, as it must be available for suiting a city sidewalk.
Maybe now you see why I’ve never named it. So for now, it will remain my “horse with no name.”
I hope you have found your horse to carry you through the desert, and that you have artful health ahead.
Click on image to see my latest song video, "Nature on Our Side."