I've been working in my city as a semi-professional musician for well over a decade now and have seen the ebb and flow of artists and venues. At various points in the cycle I hear lots of chatter from fellow artists about how there are no venues or no good music. So I decided this year to explore that by checking out one new artist per week and new venues (to me) whenever I could.
I've been at it for over 20 weeks now, seen over 60 artists, and I have to say there is much to appreciate and enjoy in my city.
To keep track of my findings I set up a blog, with photos, video, and reflections. I'm not taking it too seriously so I hope if I cover your show you don't take my response too seriously either! They are simply thougths on any given day; it's quite subjective.
Anyhow. The blog is called "Is it Good?" and you can read it here: Is it Good?
It's amazing to me how much stamina working on a new album takes. I'm trying many new things, in hopes that this one will teach me more about collaboration, intuition and good music.
And I think I'm a pretty good student so far. This whole album adventure is much like driving down a new road. You kinda know the rules of the road, but the scenery, the passengers, the other drivers, and where the road goes are unknowns to be discovered. And who really wants to live life by GPS or only with people we know well, anyway? Why would we want to know what to expect all the time? And why would we want to create something that we know how to create?
We don't learn what color blue we are in a vacuum. We learn by finding other blues.
Looking for those blues on that road requires a steady pace and an appreciation for mystery. So I say I'm working on a new album, but mostly, in ways I yet have to discover, it's working on me.
Here's to that. Here's a life lived without knowing the destination.
The crowd funding campaign for this project starts July 18. I hope you'll check out my Kickstarter page next week...maybe you're the other blue I'm looking for.
Happy new year, friends! Year of the Dragon, year of the Mayans, year of a Milestone Birthday. It's so great to be almost 30. ;-)
This year I'm starting out excited by the concept of Craft Music. A few weeks ago I had a little epiphany about 'local music' while attending Eve Goodman's CD release party. It was such a classy concert and made me think that 'local music' -- which is somehow usually synonymous with lesser quality or value, or unprofessional, or these people aren't famous because they're not good enough or not 'ready' -- is, in fact, much more like craft beer: It's something of extreme and personal value, which you can only get in one specific location. You must seek it out like treasure. It's special because it's only found somewhere, and not everywhere.
Here's what I found on-line about craft beer. Just substitute "brewers" with "musicians" or "artists" or what have you:
*Craft brewers are small brewers.
*The hallmark of craft beer and craft brewers is innovation. Craft brewers interpret historic styles with unique twists and develop new styles that have no precedent.
*Craft brewers tend to be very involved in their communities through philanthropy, product donations, volunteerism, and sponsorship of events.
*Craft brewers have distinctive, individualistic approaches to connecting with their customers.
*Craft brewers maintain integrity by what they brew and their general independence, free from a substantial interest by a non-craft brewer.
*The majority of Americans live within ten miles of a craft brewer.
For those of you who are within 10 miles of me, I invite you to a few upcoming shows (see below). For the rest of you, have fun exploring your hometown for the craft music treasure near you.
Craft Music Rocks.
It's funny that I put an album as a musical metaphor to the greek goddess Hestia, ruler of hearth and home, and for most of the year I am spending time with home renovation instead of musical performance. But deferred maintenance catches us with everyone, no matter the thing that needs attention. For me it's my home. I've been so involved with music-making that it was bound to happen that someday the porch ceiling would be peeling and falling down, the concrete steps crumbing at the corners, the stair rails getting rusty at the joints.
August is for homes, then, and September is for music. I'll be heading west. Though Joni's lyrics stream through my head "I am not old, but I am not young (oh, nothing can be done)" going west is the thing to do, no matter what age.
Perhaps I'll get a new song done before I go.
So, you've wandered into my virtual world. Hi.
It's not even 7 am right now and I'm refinishing a hardwood floor in my home studio. I'm waiting for the varnish oil to soak in so I thought I'd do a little writing.
My newest song, written in April, is called Mile Marker. Any time I travel I'm fascinated by the stationary mile markers along the highway. I'm passing by but at any time I could stop and call that place home. Life, for me, is like that. I'm never quite sure where to stop and put out my shingle...and I do like the open window and the open road.
Since then I've been messing around with two other ideas: I'm floored by how big energy and big oil are trying to Greenwash all of us. They must think we're stupid or something. Certainly that deserves an attempt at a song since it's on my mind at some point every day.
The other idea is about how artists choose the good road which also happens to be the hard road. I've been messing around on the piano, trying to channel the greater ballads of Paul Westerberg. We'll see how that goes.
Anyhow, thanks for dropping by. If you like my music please join as a fan. If you'd like to see me stop by your town, send an email and maybe suggest a venue.