How Far from Home: A Spiritual Journey
History Bob Bohlman was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. After college, he spent two years in the Army at Fort Gordon, GA during peacetime, 1958 to 1960. Most of the rest of the time he has resided in California, except for a three year period when he went back to the Northwest to get a BA and an MA in English. Before that he was a Medical Technologist with his BS in that field, but he was never very happy in that profession. He taught English for a number of years in California, but retired from that and finished off his working career with an 11 year stint with the IRS, from which he retired in 1997. He and his wife recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest from California and currently resides in College Place, Washington. Bob Learned about dulcimers when he was teaching English near Modesto California. Someone in Modesto was deeply involved with the instrument, and had given some dulcimer books and dulcimer music records to the library. The Modesto newspaper, The Modesto Bee ran a feature article on that person with pictures. It caught Bob's attention and aroused an interest. The Sears Christmas Catalogue of 1979 had a $29 Taiwan-made dulcimer. Bob, not knowing whether the dulcimer would be a real interest or just a passing fancy, knew his wife would satisfy his curiosity with the instrument for that price, so he asked that it be a Christmas gift to him that holiday season. She complied, and he was instantly charmed by the instrument in spite of it's inferiority. Thus began a 24 year Odyssey with the instrument. Bob since has graduated to better instruments, although He still has and plays that first model. In fact, Mary Magdalene's Gift is played on that instrument in Bob's album, 'How Far From Home: A Spiritual Journey.' Bob has had opportunity to take classes at the Summer Solstice Music and Dance Festival, which he has attended several times, and at the Claremont Folk Festival, both in Southern California. Some of the artists He has taken classes from are: David Schnauffer, Janita Baker, Larkin Bryant (now Cohen) and Neal Hellman. Most of his learning has had to be on his own, because He was seldom near where other dulcimer players lived. As a result his style grew mostly like the proverbial 'Topsy.' Because of this, he feels his style is a little different than others he has heard, and desires to share it. Bob also has built many of his musical instruments, among them are all of his mountain dulcimers but his first. He also built his hammered dulcimer. These were used in recording his album and are among the instruments pictured on the album.