KDH originally started out as an online resource for its namesake, the King David's Harp. You can read more about how I became infatuated with this incredible musical instrument on page dedicated to the harp.

While I have a predominate country and western background to my music the you can create with the begena is capable of expressing your personal stylistic preferences so it isn't a big change once you become accustomed to the different styles of play. Which I have also explored on the page.

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Country Weddings A Rootin' Tootin Good Time

Celebrating 25 Year of Marriage with a Rustic Vow Renewal

wedding dress
Traditional Weddings (Modern Colors)

When we got married the most important part was the "married" and that is still the part that we look back on and remember. But there are always things that you might have done differently. We got married the classic way. That is the church the, the rice, the drive into the sunset, you know the whole kit and caboodle.

Back in the early 90s there weren't a lot of options like today. There was the "wedding" that everybody had. And while plenty of our friends mixed in their own personal touches like we did the end result was very much the same.

Today we're going to the weddings of our nieces, nephews and the and kids of our friends and well, I can't say any of them had anything in common outside of the "I do." And not all of them even said that I think.

This is the closest I could find to what I'm talking about. You'll get the idea.

“I want to have a non-religious wedding ceremony and do not know how to begin. All the weddings I have attended have been religious.”

The quote is from the site, and it sums up the sentiment from some of the younger couples we've met pretty well. I'm a little bit old school, and think that if you're going to be getting married then it might as well be religious. Otherwise, what's the point? Now I know that some of you will try to discus this with me. But I'm probably not going to budge. What you can do is give me a little insight in why you think getting married, and having a wedding like that is the right thing. I can accept this point of view if it is what fits with you but anyway. That is getting the entry today a little sidetracked.

As the title suggests, well, if you know me at least it suggests, that there will be a good time on the horizon.

And that very soon. As I had stated in the beginning we had the standard wedding. And after a few of these more modern and free affairs that we've been invited to we thought for our 25th anniversary it might be fun to throw a little vow renewal that fit with our current tastes. Why not?

We've been invited to so many of these celebrations we've been thinking about having our own for a while now. And while I know what many of you are thinking. A couple of you have voiced it. Why 25 years? Why not is the answer.

We see it as a chance to celebrate our marriage, 25 years is a milestone that many of these kids today won't be seeing. The divorce rate is up across the country. Even here in Texas where we hold more traditional values, the rate is up. And that tells you something. Some of the weddings we have been invited to in the last couple of years have already ended. And if that isn't a sad piece of news I don't know what is.

Plus our daughter is thrilled with the idea. She'll be handling the maid of honor duties which just puts a smile on her face when one of us brings it up.

country divas of wedding paper
1.) Laser cut, these are nice
wedding invitations country
2.) Custom pocket fold rustic option
country divas of wedding paper
3.) Rustic themed, also nice

Which makes this a family affair. And while all weddings tend toward that direction, not many of us can say our child was an integral part. And that is what puts a smile on my face.

I'm sort of martial to the first invitation option. But there is a strong trend going toward the second one. While not everyone has the laser cut option, and I think it is rather neat. They don't have much else, and they are a little more expensive. Plus you don't get the full set thing.

Which is the selling point of the second option. They like the pocket fold style, and the whole thing comes custom printed. Actually they all do. But I mean the whole set is styled to your taste. Not many of the others offer that feature so it makes it a plus. Also they have the whole rustic thing down. And that is what we're going for.

In fact, the decorations and everything are going to take on the whole country rustic look. That is one of the things that had drawn us to the idea in the first place. The country theme. Which is pretty popular here right now.

We both grew up on a ranch. And, with family back in the Midwest, I had some amazing Summer adventures on the farm. When we got married, we were fresh out of college, and Houston, for those of you who haven't been there stands a little out from the rest of the State. Sure there is a Texas flare, if it didn't have it, we'd go and boot it out of the State but the weddings were traditional. And while that has changed in the meantime they have gotten a little more hipster as my daughter says (which by the way is what brought me to the point in the beginning about vows and the like).

Decorations for a rustic wedding.

Thy're also looking forward to decorating. My daughter and her friends. We're just supposed to pay. She has it all picked out. And we're fine with that, we've set a budget for her and she has to stick to it. Which gives her some responsibility. They've spent more time than I had estimated driving around picking things up here and there. Which I've noted on the gas bill. And no I'm not taking that out of the budget. That's part of the fun of it.

rustic wedding decoration ideas
The rustic look.

We've hardly had to do anything when it comes to this aspect. And I am quite pleased to say she and her friends do have a nack for picking out fitting decorations for the wedding. And since we've gone all rustic on the shindig we've actually saved more money than we've spent. Since it was supposed to be a small celebration we didn't invite a lot of people. Only some close family and friends. I think that we're at around 50 on our last tally. Which is about a tenth of what we had when we goth married back in '91. So that is something. But we both had a lot of friends while we were in college and that made up about a quarter of the guest list. Their dates made up another quarter. And it took us two years before we got the bills payed off. That says something.

We've set the budget pretty low for the renewal though. We still need to put our girl through school. So we'll have to get by on about ten grand. And I know many of those modern weddings cost a lot more.

decorations for a country vow renewal
The country feel.

Like I said we were able to cut a lot of corners because we went the rustic route. And that isn't a compromise. Some of you might think so but it is something we've wanted to try. And I wouldn't be suprised if our girl goes that way herself when she ties the knot. The whole experience is one of a relaxed atmosphere.

Music My Way

While they're busy getting things set up on their end. I have been thinking about the musical aspect of the whole deal. And that was one area I set a foot down. Many of my readers know how much music is a part of my soul. And that was one aspect that I really just couldn't hold back on. The whole thing will go more into the country range. The first dance will be accompanied by acoustic guitar. The duties for that honor will be handled by my close friend George R. who I've played with (both music and otherwise) since we could walk. First we beat out a couple of tunes on my mother's pots and pans then we grew into more refined instruments. George is a whiz though. Thanks buddy.

celebrating country music
A little music on my part

Even though there will be others playing the majority of the music I plan to get in on plenty of t myself. I am not sure if I will break out the old harp or not but it would be suitable for a number of different arrangements and I might just have to see about adding my own composition to the mix.

And while this isn't going to become an impromptu concert by any means, I wouldn't mind something that fits more like in this picture. I love the warm down to earth nature of a country party and the music that used to be played when I was a kid. Well, it would be nice to capture a couple of those memories and share them here with our guests.

My sister will remember some of these moments,too, though she is a few years younger than I am and our grandfather passed away when she was small. That meant that the trips back east came to an end earlier for her than they did for me. My grandfather's farm was a lively place when his friends and some of our family came over for an afternoon filled with good food, great company, and a big helping of music. That made for a country feel that can't be found in many of these more modern weddings. Because of that I really want to nail the rustic feel for the vow renewal.

Second Honeymoon

And as the sunsets we do not intend to hurry off for a fantastic week in the sun. We will instead be going on a family vacation. It is only fitting. Honeymoons are for the newly weds, we've been happily married for a quarter of a century. We have a wonderful daughter and this vow renewal was more a celebration of that than an attempt to capture something that we haven't lost. So it would only be fitting to continue on with what we have, and that translates into a week on the gulf. A friend of mine is going to let us stay at his beach house, so that means sun surf and the works. After all we can't enjoy the country all of the time. Sometimes you need to get away so you know what you've got. Until then. God bless!

Second honeymoon on the coast.

PS. If you were not invited to the celebration we don't mean it as a snub. The whole vow renewal has been kept small so that we don't have to spend too much. Still we don't want anyone to feel snubbed so if you send Brenda an email before the 30th we'll see about getting you formally invited. I know one of my co-workers we invited wasn't going to be able to come and I am sure another one or two will drop out so we're sure to find a spot for you.

If not you can always bring your own chair. Just kidding. We've got more than enough bails of hay for everyone. And no I'm not kidding.

Original Instruments in Country Music

Country music isn't as flat as you may think

Some of the more engaged readers to this site have often commented on the nature and tone of the content here. Even as far as going to call me a "hippie" which is about as far from the truth you can get without falling off the side of the planet. But that is a topic for another essay. And the King David's harp doesn't come from India people. I'm sorry if you think that, I have never made that claim here or elsewhere.

Because of this I decided that it would be good to do a write up about the different music direction country has had and the exposure to different instruments and methods of play. And while I don't suggest that you use the KDH this way, as I have stated, it takes the tone you give it. And that is something to behold.

So let's begin.



The dobro was developed by two brothers back in the 1920s.

I'm sure some of you may be accustomed to this one though, and point out its grand history.

First played by Bashful Brother Oswald back at the Grand Ole Opry, it wasn't until Roy Acuff's, adopted it that it began to pick up steam.

The dobro really made its mainstream jump into country music when it began seeing use in bluegrass music thanks to names like Josh Graves of Flatt and Scruggs.

Pedal Steel Guitar


This is one that you have to see to believe, hear to appreciate, and try for the shear joy. The pedal steel guitar was developed by Alvino Rey, back in 1939 and played a role in country music well into the '50s.

The Country Music Hall of Fame® has a pretty good sample, along with some good suggestions if you want to zip over to iTunes and try some of the songs listed. Highly recommended.



How many of you recall fond memories of banking on the pots and pans and playing the washboard with your mother's wooden spoons? I know I sure do and if this is a viable musical instrument there isn't any reason the begena doesn't make for good company.



Where would country music be without the zither. I know any of you who has even a little exposure to music will know the zither. And you'll surely know its importance in the country music scene.

You'll take it for granted that this is in fact another fascinating instrument with an illustrious history.

The instrument itself is a flat sound box covered with strings, and doesn't look like much on its own. But I bet you'll be surprised where it ended up, keep reading.

The first example of this beauty comes to us from the Chinese guqin. Talk about family history.

Still the name itself is a German translation of the Roman word cithara.

Sound familiar?

Let's fix that up a bit.

Here is a modern word that stems from cithara, see if you can pronounce it, "guitar".

It is incredible how many amazing instruments we use everyday without even thinking about them. The few that I highlighted here are just a small portion of those.

Interested in more? This is a partial list, and a more in depth look at each and more can be found on the Country Music Hall of Fame®, which I highly recommend you taking a look at. Even if country isn't your thing there is plenty for the avid musician to keep you entertained.

Continue Reading »

Future Growth

At this stage of the websites life it has taken on a bit of a life of its own. And resembles a personal journey through the world of music more than the original couple of references and resources I had collected together and shared over the King David's Harp. With that said I would like to invite musicians and other artists to contribute their experiences with the benega to further round out the site and give it the complete experience and most importantly spread the word about an instrument which is as versatile as the musician playing it. If you would like to share your story and be featured here you can use the contact form to get in touch.