John Barrette

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November 1, 2012
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Cruisin’ the muses: Bayer is a man of many hats

C. W. Bayer is a reader. Readers deserve praise. But you can bet that isn’t all Bayer is.Carson City’s Chris Bayer also is a writer, a musician and musicologist, a keeper of a particular culture’s heritage and a man who knows his own mind. More on that last part later; for now, here’s a quote from a book.“Human destiny is a kind of melody in which each note takes on its musical meaning when it is placed in its proper position among all the others,” wrote Spanish philosopher and author Jose’ Ortega y Gasset.The quote from the Spaniard’s “Man and Crisis” came to mind while interviewing Bayer for this piece, though it took awhile to find and reproduce it accurately rather than rely on vague memory.At the risk of trying to sum up the book briefly, suffice it to say “Man and Crisis” delves into how man interacts with his environment and yet remains authentic. It strikes me Bayer is well into that project.This 62-year-old, who is the CW of the CW and Mr. Spoons musical duo, plays a number of musical instruments. Mostly he plays guitar and harmonica, using a resophonic guitar for his ragtime renditions.“I play a National resophonic guitar most of the time,” he said. He plays other stringed instruments — the fiddle, the banjo.Folks who want to catch CW and Mr. Spoons — the latter is Steve Suwe playing the contraption — can do so most any Monday at Comma Coffee from noon to 2 p.m. Originally from Los Angeles, Bayer has lived in Northern Nevada since the 1970s. “I’ve been in Carson now since 1990,” he said.His website presence at provides links to companion sites delving into his passions, which include history, mining culture and that era’s music, ragtime finger-picking guitar, songs from Nevada and Gold Rush banjo music.It also provides a pathway linking on Scribd to his books: “Profit Plots & Lynching,” “The Miner’s Farewell” and “Truck Train Through the Sand.” Bayer is a walking treasure trove about the California and Nevada mining era from 1849-1919. “We have a significant cultural history here,” he said. A significant culture is evident currently as well, and Bayer plays his part in other ways when he isn’t playing music or writing books. He is on the Brewery Arts Center’s board of directors.“I’m always eager to get people involved with the BAC,” he said, adding the community is lucky to have it. Now to Bayer knowing his own mind. He keeps his day job separate from his cultural involvements. Admirable. Knowing this columnist’s mind, though, Cruisin’ the Muses offers up this variation on a Spanish trope:“Su casa es mi casa, amigo.”• John Barrette covers the arts, senior issues and health care. If you have a story or upcoming event that you want the public to know about, email him at or call 775-881-1213.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Nov 1, 2012 01:52AM Published Nov 1, 2012 01:51AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.