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Spencer Scholes / Blog

Spring Update

The sun is shining today after two days of rain and a wayward cold snap that cruised in and vanished overnight. The toads in the pond beside the house are singing, swimming, and making babies day and night like a bunch of hippies. The plump little ugly buggers hide when I walk up to the pond, but won't run from my car in the driveway, at which point I have to get out and forcibly shoo them away with a stick. Their stubborn determination to maintain their spots in the wheel ruts when facing imminent flattening could make for a small mirthful allegorical comparison to the plight of certain songwriters I know. I figure it's about time that I said hello and tell you a wee bit of where I am at. I would attempt more but there is more complexity and shifting detail than I care to tackle in this moment in which I am sitting in the library waiting on a software update before I can go back to my cabin in the woods to grab a bite to eat. As you know, I toured a lot the past couple of years. This year I have already been to Kansas City but aside from that the travel schedule is pretty empty at this point. The short version of where I am at is this. I hope to lay low for a while. Revisit the proverbial woodshed which is where the real fun begins to take shape. As I am writing a good bit and songs are starting to take shape, my goal is to begin to share with you via video what I am working on. To start with, I am going to try and get the hang of uploading video ( 20 years behind the curve I know ) with recordings of tunes that I have enjoyed by other folks on facebook. Then my hope is to be able to share with you via my email list, new original songs of the order of one per week. It sounds like a tall order and I haven't got the technological side down yet but believe me, it's a heck of a lot easier than trying to do booking, promotion, publicity, video, blogging, tour management, etc. all by myself. Without any local performances on the horizon and a few western runs this year, I'd love to share with you and this can be done by your liking my facebook music page, www.facebook.com/pages/spencerscholes as well as by signing my email list on reverbnation at http://www.reverbnation.com/theunknownspencerscholes?add_email=true. I really appreciate your support and as you start to get out and enjoy this fine weather along with all the rest of God's critters, I hope you will be kind and not squash the toads despite their foolish determination to hold their ground in inconvenient locations.

Dragonfly Season

More than one season passed in the making of this album and I am very glad to present these songs to you now. Several have been with me and growing for years. Several are very new and came about this year. The process of getting them to light has been long and often arduous and confusing. Now that it is here I am proud of what I was blessed to accomplish. Although I hear all of my mistakes to the nth degree, I feel comfortable sharing these songs as recorded. I wanted a recording of what I sound like in person with little effect and with one guitar and largely due the expert recording skills of Bill McElroy at his Slipped Disc Studios in Ashland VA. , that is exactly what came about. I feel so damn incredibly lucky to share these songs with you and I hope you derive a lot of enjoyment from listening. Please give a listen here and keep in mind that as this music is my sole and soul occupation, every purchase goes a long way to helping me carry on. With my sincere thanks for your support, I give you Dragonfly Season https://spencerscholes.bandcamp.com

Sceneless

A muggy southern summer day here in Oxford Miss. I'm nearly home now boys and girls. I have been touring for two months as a solo songwriter and handling every aspect of that on my own. I can't help but wonder how I'll proceed from here. Everybody knows that being a full time musician is to say the least, difficult. And one could practically be within all bounds of reason to describe such a quest as 'virtually impossible' That being what it is, I am very glad and grateful to have made it around the country with twenty seven performances in eight states to California and back. All of this achieved outside of ordinary booking channels as I can hardly get booked in my own home area utilizing the same. Fact is, I am outside any music scene though I do get to interact with some. I have had to make my way without the assistance of the movers and shakers who push doors open for so many of my contemporaries. I know that I am not alone in this and hope that as I continue to make music and tour that healthy mutually beneficent connections will continue to form with others through music and that maybe at some point it will get a wee bit easier to get a simple gig in my own home area and abroad. I love touring and have been blown away by the support that I have received from family and friends from Mississippi to L.A. and back to Charleston SC. I am also blown away by the willingness of a bunch of local artists and bands to agree to come and perform a song or two of mine at my first ever cd release party in Durham on August 1st at Motorco Music Hall. Just so you know, I thrive on collaborations and have initiated nearly every one I have been apart of. I hope to meet and become more accepted by the musical tribe at home as I have learned if I have learned anything that keeping it like the Kaiser is the crippling and sick way to proceed and that sharing everything opens it up for everyone. ( more on that later ) What sense is there in forming closed cliques surrounding shared sociopolitical viewpoints where everyone agrees on everything? Well I reckon it makes one feel supported and vilified in their own prejudices and preferences. Knock yourself out with that, but consider that as iron sharpens iron, there is more growth in reaching out and sharing than there ever is in hoarding contacts and connections into caverns of ideological nepotisms. I learned long ago that if you don't join up with the indolent concept of 'this side and that side' that you will catch hell from all sides. So my friends, consider if you will the ones who are doing what they do for the love of it. Those who make their way through sheer determination along with the help of friends and family and yet who otherwise remain faithfully sceneless.

High Desert Blogging

I'm sitting in the Flagstaff Public Library working on bookings and organizing the means to stay in touch with all the folks who have connected with me on this tour around the states. Flagstaff is an attractive small town with some incredibly gorgeous mountains, canyons, and frankly people. I've had my nose to the grindstone so to speak since I left Utah where I was laid out sick for a week. I still have lingering symptoms creeping up from time to time but the little sleep, lots of travel, constant pounding the pavement, at least two hours of booking and web presence every day have paid off juuuussst enough to keep the wheels turning and occasionally put some food in my belly. I don't know if I will be able to cover my meager bills throughout this tour and be able to continue the progressively smaller tours I am working every day to book through next year, or If I will come back to NC in tatters and immediately in need of a "real" job. Either way I have succeeded largely by the tremendous kindness of family, friends, and music appreciators along the way and I have given it the best I am able so far. At this point I am looking at eight more cities before I sleep in my own bed in the woods in Durham. They are Austin, New Orleans, Mobile, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington then home. Touring like this is liberating and humbling. I am so small in this thing that I am focused only on sharing this gift with people. I am a broke songwriter always leaving tomorrow so not on anybodies top list of people to engage with. Therefore the connections that are given to me are few and far between but usually positive and real. One thing I am really looking forward to is being able to tour with my group. I have a lifelong friend who plays drums with me who is willing and able to tour once we are blessed somehow with a van large enough to carry all the equipment. I have another friend who is a multi instrumentalist who is on board to come and also serve as videographer . I have more than several more friends who I love who have expressed a cheerful willingness to experience the road with my companions and I. The benefits of touring with a group far exceed on every front those involved with touring solo and it is on my mind and in my intentions to hopefully see this happen. Well back to the booking emails for now and I hope to see and play for you soon.

Spencer Scholes

A Whisper From The Future

These days the momentum has picked up and therefore the work load as well. For this I am grateful and glad as having a focus for my energies and thoughts is strong medicine. Still running a month behind and short on several fronts, I am rolling along on this national tour due to complete the last day of July when I arrive home for two weeks and three shows before hopefully heading out on tour number two up to Canada and back along the eastern seaboard. The most necessary element in touring I have found is real connections made along the way. I have been surprised at the welcome I have found along the way and the doors that have opened up. I also am surprised to witness in person just how many positive connections I have all around the country. I would not have made it this far without all the support and encouragement from my family, friends, and fans. I'm just about to lay aside the online workload and kickstarter rewards compiling for the day, in order to go plug in and play for another group of Californians in Venice Beach LA. Overall I have found things more depressed and laid low around the country than the last time I traveled near and far making music. Still the creative and connective impulse and flow pulses in the heart of the cities and towns where I have been fortunate to visit. I miss my loved ones immensely and each are always in my thoughts. I have been writing along the road and hope to share with you in song what I've written. Keep me in mind, and the spark alive for when we meet again bearing gently and reverently a whisper from the future.

Halfway Point

I'm squatting on my pallet on the floor here in the LA condo of a long time friend and his Lady, going over in my mind the hundred tasks that needed to be completed yesterday. I have learned so much and had so many note worthy experiences that it's hard to know where to begin. Today I woke up upon this same pallet and began working on bookings before I reached a sitting up position. My fearless and determined booking manager and friend Jenny texted me earlier about a show she booked for me this Thursday in LA. and I still don't know the name. Tonight I played at India's Flavor in Glenwood LA. The manager stuck around for my set and introduced himself halfway thru to tell me to swing by tomorrow to talk about another gig. Two days ago, I left San Francisco early after accepting a ride share from a talented songwriter recording an album here in LA. Her stage name for the past three years here has been Lucid Lion, check her out. After cheerfully calling and emailing the folks on my booking list this morning I met up with an old friend to go for a steep warm hike in the Hollywood Hills and lunch afterwards. After that I felt like I could go right back to sleep but my energy has been steadily returning the last four days after being laid out convalescent in a Utah basement with flu like symptoms, and I have work to do, so I didn't. I'm a fair bit sad that I didn't get more time in San Francisco and did not camp on the way down to LA as I had planned but the extra gas money was a help, and the practical tasks of maintaining enough of an income to cover my modest expenses took precedence over my desire to have a moment alone with the forests that meet the cold Pacific. My two gigs in San Francisco were personally extraordinary in several ways. My show at Revolution Cafe was so interesting witnessing the hip and swarming streets of the city as they folks stopped by to listen and enjoy the perfect weather. My performance at Mutiny Radio's Friday program with Diamond Dave was like a bomb going off in intensity but the welcome and hungry support and enjoyment of the eclectic crowd gathered was like being charged with high voltage lines of good vibes. I played so hard the first song that I shredded a callous on my thumb and bled all over my guitar without knowing it until the song was over and I had two more to go. Honestly to keep it simple for now, I'd like to say that I would not be here but for the incredible generosity of family, friends, and new connections. I am thrilled to be here and working hard at what I do. I can't wait to share more with you soon.

Snow Day Distraction

The flakes have been coming down for hours without sticking. I like how snow absorbs sound and brings the reverence of silence closer to a distracted mind. In fact the change in sound was what caused me to look out the window to see the first flakes, as I had looked out minutes before to see rain from a wool grey sky. I find myself absorbed in a paradox which is turning everything inside out without an inside to turn. Having no adequate means to express my experience I dabble in routine and watch the days go by from my cozy isolation. A sea of ideas has taken the form of fluid goals and is leaking from my closet where I had to put it due to having no boat nor crew to sail that sea. I suppose I'll have to make a better sealed closet door or stand drenched and distracted upon waking, stranded in the possible for I am no door, nor boat maker. I have told some of the elves and a not a few of the circus goers about town of my predicament, and have been roundly derided and criticized by each. They make comments like " Ha! that is no sea! you should see my puddle!". They laugh at me from their birds of a feather huddle beneath the smog filtered desert stars, puffing cigarettes and boasting of how inebriated each one can get. Fortunately I have spoken with a few old sea dogs who prudently acknowledged the floating furniture and admitted the permanent damage to the carpet, thoughtfully advising me on sea shanteys and emergency tacking through shark infested waters recommending a small R.V., a Costco card, and holding my breath when around elves and well fed pop culture icons. I admit that I would really like to converse with a mermaid or a flock of surfers as I really don't think I look that different than a small whale, and even they swim in pods and sing to each other. For now the snow keeps falling and though I have floated into a small school of fish, they all look busy studying and I have no bait nor line nor hook nor net besides. I'm aware that a few crustaceans may see this message in a bottle, but I'm not worried, as they only like to print their refutations against seafarers who actually discover something. It would be so very welcome if you could stand on shore and wave your arms.

Studio M for new album!

It has not been an easy decision as I have been fortunate to have communicated with several super qualified, experienced, and talented producers and mixing engineers about recording my new album which is purposed to be a solo acoustic live recording. Mark Simonsen and Thom Canavo at Studio M with their combined experience and welcoming personalities along with their willingness to work with a broke ass musician have contributed to the decision to hit the studio with them in early February 2013. Over all there is a lot that contributes to the decision to record at one place or another and the feeling and timing are more than key to the confidence to make the leap. Thanks guys! I am excited and thrilled to be recording with you fellas. And a big thank you to J.C. Clark for the introduction and the recommendation based on familiarity and awareness of my project. Let's get er done!

Skies Conceal The Invisible

I hear some say "true artists live invented fantasy lives reinventing themselves at whim". I don't know about that. I see a silent grey horizon framing mostly bare trees beyond any sway of human hands or perception. My thoughts cycle around witnessed by feelings steady and reliable as the morning following the night, regardless of my desire. A strong momentum wells up inside and once again I find myself suspended on the verge of unknowable possibilities in a silence enormous. Is it really any wonder words and melody pour out eager and half formed rushing like spring runoff toward the cradle of fishes and sky. This hammer is old. Technology mocks me. I pick up some letters left by a poet long departed and lift gradually into the flowing melody, unworried in isolation.

The Waiting

Posting up on windy patio looking out over Shopping center sea of cars. Hours early for gig due to far from la casa errands landing me closer to venue then anywhere else. So many changes swirling invisibly apparent. Great cacophonous groan and ohms of freeway hum matched only by internal hum of recycle thoughts. Disappointments punctuate bursts of creative momentum. Small steps forward into unknown future. Undisguised waiting for a flash of light over moonless waters. Would you care to wait with me for a while? Would you care to hear a song while we wait? If you have to go I understand.