Levi Mullen never learned to read music, but that's never been an obstacle for a man with
30-plus years as a professional musician under his belt. With the release earlier this month of the online book You Can Count to 8, Can't You? Mullen is doing his best to prove anyone else can do the same with a little practice.
"Most people are befuddled by music theory terms, and I've broken it down into simple, everyday terms anyone can understand. Really, if you can count to eight, you can play music," Mullen said.
Born in Burlington, Mullen grew up on a cattle ranch in Arkansas and taught himself to play "at least 10 different instruments." His is a musical family - his uncle manufactures the Mullen steel guitar in Flagler - and he's played on Broadway (in "Pump Boys and Dinettes"), toured with some of country music's biggest names, put out his own CD and now plays with Durango's Bar-D Wranglers after the group's leader, Gary Cook, recruited Mullen from his Texas home three years ago.
"We've known each other for 20 years, and he called and said, 'You wanna come out and sing cowboy songs?' That's what I do, sing cowboy songs, so here I am," Mullen said.
Mullen said he wrote his e-book after being inundated with requests for lessons, and he realized it would be easier to do one long lesson that everyone could use. He minored in English in college, so the writing was no problem - he knocked it out in one day sitting in a lawn chair at his house.
The lessons are written in an informal, almost conversational tone and are as easy to follow as the author claims. He starts with the basic "do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do" scale and makes sense out of terms like "C6th," "augmented" and the minor/
"It's a culmination of a musician who wanted to be an educator, and with the technology available, I figured why not do it?" he said.