x

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your ReverbNation experience.

Sills & Smith / Blog

The Sorry State of Things

We are now engaged in recording songs for a new album and that makes us excited. And we remain immensely proud of Uncertain Vista. Thank you to so many kind and talented souls on Reverbnation who have said nice things about our music. At the same time, it is difficult not to take note of the sorry state of things for independent music and artists. It's bad enough that commercial radio won't play decent music anymore. But it also seems that the majority in the world around us are not willing to support musicians and composers. Folks will spend $50 a week on coffee and donuts at Tim Hortons, but they won't shell out $15 bucks for a CD. It reminds me of a line from a Rodney Dangerfield film: "It's rough out there." It is and it's not funny. I see so many artists on Reverbnation offering up their music for free on Bandcamp and other online venues. Don't do it! It hurts all of us involved in the creative process so badly when you do. I'm thrilled that we now have fans in places like England, Australia and Norway who have bought our album and tell us how much they are enjoying it. That warms my heart and keeps me going. But let's make sure as artists that we don't devalue our art by giving it away for free. Frank

Rhesus Monkey
Rhesus Monkey  (about 3 years ago)

Right on Frank!

kloudworks
kloudworks  (about 3 years ago)

Basically right!

Day 1 in The Studio!

On Monday we headed back into Jonathan's studio, Corvidae Music, with about 15 new tunes written and well-rehearsed. so far. The dogs greeted us cheerfully at the door as per usual. We were stoked with caffeine and the anticipation of the magic that could be created. "I'm Right Here" was the first song that we sang with Jonathan manning his control room. I sang in what Jonathan refers to as "the agony booth," while Jeremy was about 15 feet away across the room with his gear and mic. We layed down guide vocals on "I'm Right Here", with Jeremy playing electric guitar. There's another quiet tune called "Radiance" which we handled with considerable aplomb in the studio. Some lovely acoustic guitar from Jeremy on that song. I think "I'm Right Here" and "Radiance" have pretty beautiful melodies that folks will like. Both are basically love songs, which is a switch from the sometimes grim subject matter on Uncertain Vista. But we also did a dark, foreboding rocker called "That's Not the Reason." There are a bunch of other songs in this vein thematically, but there will be a lot of variety, once again, in terms of the music and subject matter on the next CD. Can't wait to hear massive drums, another electric and bass on "That's Not The Reason." That tune has a killer chorus. Anyway, the approach on Uncertain Vista was to do vocals that were pretty much like live recordings, with minimal over-dubs (a couple of notable exceptions included Jeremy's amazing vocalizations on No Safety Net and A Symphony of Colours). I love the energy and spontaneity of the songs as we recorded them on Uncertain Vista. For this record, however, at Jonathan's request as producer, we are doing guide vocals and then re-doing the singing, if necessary. This way we'll get to sing over a more or less full musical arrangement that Jonathan will build from the bed tracks -- instead of just one guitar and two voices initially. The idea is to aim for a little more spit and polish in the sound. We'll see how it turns out, but we are taking our time. Jonathan has already done a first mix of I'm Right Here, which sounds amazing with the additional electric guitar, bass and drums. All and all day 1 at Corvidae Music was a success. Now, if I could only get the incessant sound of that damn "click track" out of my head. More details to follow as the recording progresses. Cheers! Frank

Rhesus Monkey
Rhesus Monkey  (about 3 years ago)

If Uncertain Vista was will the 'Exile On Main Street', will the next album be the 'Goats Head Soup' - I can't wait to find out - good luck guys!

kloudworks
kloudworks  (about 3 years ago)

hahaha @click track! Yeah it might result in a frequency gap in your spectrum for a lifetime:) Get well soon, mate!

Back in the studio next week!

Exciting news! We have been rehearsing a whole pile of new tunes for the last few weeks. The material is really sounding amazing. Jonathan joined us on acoustic guitar for two sessions on Monday and Thursday. What started as a creative spark, has turned into a raging inferno. There are enough new songs written already for an entire album. But we will not be rushing things. We'll take extra time and care to make sure that we produce a worthy follow-up to Uncertain Vista. We start recording at Jonathan's studio, Corvidae Music, next Monday. Anyway, keep following our blog for updates as the new music takes shape in the studio.

Rhesus Monkey
Rhesus Monkey  (about 3 years ago)

Fantastic - can't wait to hear the output!

Sills & Smith
Sills & Smith  (about 3 years ago)

Thanks Robin. It is exciting to be back at it again, hopefully creating something pretty special for folks to hear.

Canadian Classic: Sills and Smith

"Pacing is everything; but there's music that should be getting heard. So for a 2nd Monday feature here's Sills and Smith (Jeremy Allan Michael Sills /Frank Smith) with "Writer's Retreat." It might seem like a cop-out to compare a group from Ottawa with other Canadian bands, but here it's apropos. The Tragically Hip have been trying for years to get something as epic and achingly personal combined in the same tune, and these guys have done it as if it were just that easy. Maybe they spent a snowed-in weekend drinking Le Maudit beer and listening to "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" relentlessly to get into the proper frame of mind here. The song opens with wobbly singing that intones "a cabin in the woods, a writer's retreat, a long gravel road..." over an ominous minor chord to minor sixth dirty guitar; clearly this isn't a story that ends well. The spacious mix leaves storytelling room, and the choruses open into a rolling 6/8 release of major chords with layers of expansive bass and lead guitar. The production work of Jonathan Edwards makes what would be a merely quirky tune in the wrong hands into a dramatic knockout. And this is definitely one of the more artful videos I've seen. Well done guys!" http://jaebberwocky.blogspot.com/

RoboKitty
RoboKitty  (about 3 years ago)

This is a great review for a unique CD. Frank's inspired images and heartfelt musings, combined with the brilliant muscianship of his bandmates is a knock out combo.
The image on the Uncertain Vista captures the tone of the CD perfectly -- it's almost as if the CD was written around this photo. There seems to be a connection between all the songs.

Uncertain Vista

"It's an uncertain vista, that we all behold. The photo seems adjusted; is that a pot of gold? But the painter's brush strokes, interpret differently. The light, the dark -- all we're meant to be."

Johnny Butler - Amazing Guitarist!

Check out the amazing Johnny Butler. Butler is a brilliant young guitar player from Boise, Idaho. Watch the video of Love Worth Living Part 1. Brilliant! http://www.reverbnation.com/johnnybutler989

Uncertain Vista

"It's an uncertain vista, that we all behold. The photo seems adjusted; is that a pot of gold? But the painter's brush strokes, interpret differently. The light, the dark -- all we're meant to be."

Trent Radio air play and Moondance store appearance

I will be in Peterborough this weekend, stopping by Trent University's radio station on Friday afternoon to give them a copy of Uncertain Vista. I've been told tracks from the album will then be played on air around 2:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter. I should be in the studio to chat a bit with Anthony Gulston about the album. Tune in to hear the show online, or on the radio (92.7 FM) if you are in or near Peterborough: http://www.trentu.ca/org/trentradio/ On Saturday, I'm at Moondance, 425 George Street North, Canada's oldest music store from about 2:00 p.m. to at least 3:00 p.m.. Moondance http://moondancemusic.com/ is also my favourite record store on the planet. Growing up in Peterborough, it was the place where I bought pretty much all my music. Anyway, it will just be me -- so no live performance. But Moondance will be selling Uncertain Vista. I'll be there to talk to folks about the disc. And, I will be giving away the lyrics sheet for the album to anyone lucky enough to buy it on the day. The lyrics sheet is an extra, not part of the lovely, artistic digipak package. I will be signing things, but only our products (not the latest Justin Bieber album) and I don't sign body parts no matter how much you plead with me :) Looking forward to meeting folks in Peterborough. Should be fun. Cheers, Frank

Radio Play in Scotland -- Show audio posted in Songs!

Thanks to our new friend Chas Cunningham of the terrific Scottish band The Skunnerd we received airplay on Saturday, October 15th on the Pulse 98.4: http://www.pulseonair.co.uk/ In addition to being a bass player and songwriter of considerable fame, Chas does music programming on Pulse 98.4 in East Renfrewshire. The Saturday Sandwich is a program that runs from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (which means a 6:00 a.m. start for us in Ottawa). The show is a really neat format combining live music with Chas and various talented friends and recorded songs. Chas chose our track No Safety Net to play on his show. A portion of the show is now available on the second page of our song selections. Thanks again Chas! We so enjoyed listening in online. The land of the finest single malt whisky is home to even finer people and tremendous music.

Appreciating this great Reverbnation community!

Over the last couple of weeks I've been listening really closely, for hours to a lot of music in the Reverbnation community. Without mentioning artists specifically in this blog, I've encountered so many brilliant musicians across genres, around the world. I've started communicating with some of you and I think friendships are developing based on our musical sharing and kind words of appreciation. As someone who absorbs music like a sponge and needs to constantly be exposed to and challenged by new sounds, this has been quite an experience for me. It's really a privilege and pleasure for us to be part of something as great as Reverbnation. There's a Neil Young tune, Union Man with a line that I often think of: "Live music is better, bumper stickers should be issued." So true, Neil. I think I'll modify that slightly, with Mr. Young's tacit consent, "Indie music is better, bumper stickers should be issued." Cheers to all you amazing folks on Reverbnation. Keep playing, keep singing and keep composing inspiring music. Frank Smith