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Eric Heisman and the Formation / Blog

Most lately, december '14

Today I finalized preparations for recording,...well, I got a studio all set up now and am planning on making some drum tracks just to test stuff out. It is exciting. I've had a room full of stuff and finally got everything out that was preventing studio preparations. I have so many lyrics in my head these days, and collaborations are not steady enough. Today also, I spent a few minutes watching the videos that are on this page, and I enjoyed them all. If I could recommend one for you, it'd have to be Soupy July, but The Atomist and Knock Knock Sticks also represent well. I haven't booked any shows recently, I've been working on the old originals preparing them for upcoming shows, hopefully, at Canal Street's Co-op. That venue is supportive of original songs and songwriters. Ok, keeping this brief, have a fantastic Christmas season and may your New Year be all you wish for!! Love and peace, joe


The year started out with me losing my way into reverbnation - I had gotten a new browser that wouldn't allow a log in image. so things happened and I couldn't share them. This summer, I got a call from a former employer - I used to cook at a Cajun place in nearby Troy, but since then, they've changed over to a pizza place. The owner asked if I was still performing and said he had some slots for me to fill. I visited and got scheduled for a few shows. They went well, bunches of friends came out, bunches of cousins supported me and I found some new listeners. Of course, I warmed up for those shows by playing parks and empty lots and sidewalks some. The passers-by were very good to me too this year! Kids in parks, teens, littler ones, and adults all had good words for my music. Then, coming out of work one day, another bar owner I've known for years and who has booked bands I played in in the past, stopped me as I was leaving work. He asked me to open a show for him and went on to say it was a day the city would come to life some with music - Piqua's 100 year anniversary of a Bike Fest. It turned out that several businesses had entertainment, including a big shindig downtown with thousands of bikes and a big stage. Well, my good friend, drummer, Brit Wight, ran sound for the show at the bar. One More - owned by Steve Mikolajewski - was hopping for Bike fest. Steve had his staff build a stage in the lot and a wonderful, and large, crowd joined in the fun. This year I've focused quite a bit on cover songs. Before the Bike fest, I played first at Miami Valley Music fest, for a thousand or so early arriving attendees. The Friday I played fell on Jerry Garcia's birthday, so I dedicated a set of his songs, some Grateful Dead, some Jerry Garcia Band, and some Old and in the Way songs. I started at 5pm and played over two hours before leaving my set early, sort of, to allow amazing Paige Bellar to do her excellent original songs. My spot was 630 to 730 but I started at 5 and played until 710 or so. Paige was hip to the extra time and pleased a loyal crowd in front of the stage. I guess that's about it for gigs this year so far. I can see myself booking some more soon. I'll keep yas posted. Have fun. Rock out! Peace and Love, j


Dave and I wrote a new tune last week. It's been difficult getting collaborative sessions in lately. Dave setup a new space, it is resplendant! We haven't finished the new song just yet. Last weekend I got word from Dave that he'd be performing with a reggae band, it was a rather spontaneously thrown together affair. I enjoyed watching Dave and Tom U and hearing all that nice guitar with a string of Marley and Jimmy Cliff favorites. The previous weekend, Tom H and i went to see Dave at Canal Street Tavern. He was performing a difficult setlist of Grateful Dead classics with his friends in Terrapin Moon. The setlist was brutal, from my point of view, asking so much from the band, but those guys nailed them. The changes were outrageous! The band is made up of guys that have each others backs, they've performed so many shows together. Its an honor getting to hear such passionate work being done to those marvelous Dead songs. I guess last weekend, too, we managed a few hours in a garage jam with Dave, Tom H. and myself. Those sessions are rarer these days but they are a big relief and fun musical conversations, i feel, maybe moreso than months back, say, but i love all that garage jam free form shindig fun that happens in that garage :) Oh, while i was at Canal i signed up for a show January 1st, 2013. I know, not new years eve, but its a half hour free show on the day many folk will have off. I've been working on an entirely different setlist for the show, all songs Dave and I have cowritten, but many i've not transcribed and such. I'm looking forward to it. The list of musicians signed up to perform at their weekly co-op was backed up to January 1st! thats good, i'll use that time to improve the impression of those songs i've chosen. Last bit, I stumbled upon a cd at the store sunday. it was Sheep on Drugs. Never heard of them, so i didn't buy it, it was used, and was a greatest hits from 93, so i sort of dismissed it. since then, i have indulged in half a dozen excellent songs from what is there on youtube from these guys. I liked it a great deal! I'll buy something new from them in tribute. May God please bless the Smith family. Alright :) have a lovely day! joe

Young's Ice Cream Charity Bike Tour Blog

First, Happy Birthday to my amazing sister, Therese! The wonderful folk that spend hours and days and weekends and moneys to organize the event were kind enough to ask me back for another afternoon of entertaining the cyclists after their 80-some mile trek! I was honored, but I had no idea just how i was going to feel by the time i had a moment to reflect on the whole shmear. I set up earlier this year - now, i had wondered if i had played last year, i thought i hadn't - as it turns out, i had. I think that was my fifth year this weekend, but it may have been only four, since my injury sidelined me for a year, if i am remembering rightly :) anyway, the people organizing were there to help me get things rolling and before any riders arrived, I was performing. That had me happy, i never beat the first riders until this year :) they're unbelievable. Ok, I performed over 6 hours of music, of course not including a few five minute breaks. I had to double up on five tunes, but i wasn't bummed about that. I was pumpd for having played Pink Floyd's Pigs and Bob Dylan's Mississippi among other great tunes. Well, after the music, as they do each year, I was invited to dinner. As each year, the food and service is impecable! I am a twenty some year cook-busser-waiter-barkeep, the food and service was impecable. Still, above the music, and above the dinner and pay, was a feeling of great fortune unassociated with those things I recognize each year! I was sitting in a room full of amazing folk! Wonderful folk!! Around me everywhichaway was one rider after the next who spent hours training, hours cajoling and interesting sponsors for their ride, and securing their entrance fee and their own financial input associated with preparation, and still each one there was taking a weekend of riding and giving of themselves for the benefit of great charity causes. The inspiration cannot relate in words, The great fortune, I have just attempted to put into words for you. Thank God I am alive! Thanks eternally to all the support people and the organizers and the riders! I cannot close here without passing some great will toward you either! I pray your days will be long with inspiration and short of want! Joe

weird hats, english shirts and classic rock vocal stylings.

I have been asked to wear a hat, a tie, a suit, a jumpsuit, and a litany of other looks, i have declined. (i did try a silk pajama shirt once, but that was soooooo lame :) I have seen rockers, which i consider myself one, lol, wearing those cool button-down psychedelic English shirts, and the metal studded belts and scarfs and boas and platform shoes. I don't. I have tried to sing like Ian Gillan and Bruce Dickenson, heroes of music and vocals to me. I cannot. Sure, i can scream and emulate such amazing rockers, but in the studio, it is so not me. What happens in the studio is my art, and in collaborative efforts, the art of David and Tom and Britt,... My art, in my opinion, demands truth, at least a great deal of it when it comes to appearance. When I tried to sing a song Dave and I wrote called "fill up a boat", i laid down some Dickensian-Gillanian style vocals, it made me laugh out loud. It was so not me. So I consider naming this project something like "in avoidance of pretense" but that isn't nearly as cool-sounding as an Easy Rider reference, lol. Anyway, I am always digging the fine outfits and fashion statements other musicians wear, it's awesome folk can find something to wear that yells who they are and that they feel comfortable in it - and it looks so great! Me, i have some ratty t-shirts that are overworn through the week, and i have cuffed pants because i ain't tall enough for uncuffing them, and the cuffs are frayed, like my coat-sleeves, and i sing like very few stars of music - but i ain't apologizin', i do like the voice God gave me. as a musician, i have oodles to learn, and those edumacationisms will undoubtedly shape me further. I reckon i penned this blog because i feel some folk might wonder why i ain't tryin' hard to look and sound like an Mtv artist. That is pretense i can get behind, LOL! Hey, although sometimes it isn't quite what it is, sometimes, it does happen to be precisely what it is. Rock the freak out! joe

on Roger Waters, the tune.

The lyrics start out; "they're hollerin' at The Man down at the courthouse steps, carryin' signs sayin' apathy'll kill ya, missin' how that's a two-way street." Ok, at a heritage day festival, i saw some folks sitting with big dumb signs by the side of the road. one sign said "apathy will kill you". Others were hatred-filled rhetoric about how we should hate our president. Supposedly, the apathy they fear is folk not hating our president sufficiently enough, so much so, that they felt compelled to make signs and sit by them on a hot summer day so traffic would "wake up". again, that was on a sign as well. So it occured to me that politics has two sides, and from my perspective, the apathy that will kill you is the sort that informs rich folk to be indifferent to those struggling. of course, the double meaning of the lyric allows that i may be suggesting that killing can eventually breed apathy - as we have seen in the thoughtful work of Michael Moore's videos. After a while, the killing turns from an impactful sadness to a din we seem to miss. The next line is "They're fishin' for sympathy and the line is out to the river. Empathy and duty is the order of the day. Sensibility to a theory is a hard thing to find." I figure from experience that theory can be void of sensibilities - the act of sensing emotion and this,. i believe, is one of the core reasons we exist - to sense life in us and life around us. When folk lob theory around as a way to run the world, it is not surprising to me that folk slipping through economic cracks are not a concern - they are something to ignore - from the theorist's perspective. I am not into ignoring the plight of others. I plan to use my senses until i breathe no more! The next line is "I'm feelin' the pain of a perfectly composed specimen. changing my face in fitting room glass, a new me, in every pair of jeans." So as one who seeks to sense others around me, I was awoken by something a very beautiful woman once told me. She was relating why she tries on outfits at the department stores and she said that she indeed felt like a different person in each outfit - like she had a new job, a new set of dreams, and everything. to an extent - i was imagining. I always wondered why my sisters tried on ten outfits and bought one, now i had some insight.The next line is "You drafted me for a tour in your protracted detour. we're snaking 'round things after midnight breakin' every rule and stayin' out of sight". I entered the Navy when Kadafi threatened the USA in 1986, I was compelled to be part of something bigger. The ordeal in Libya was over before i got out of training. When i served, initially, i spent a few months dodging guards sneaking hits of a doobie. I knew i couldn't keep it up, pressing my luck. Well, that is the short of the thought behind the lyrics. The diction was chosen for various preferences. for example, fishin' line and the river was a metaphor i think feels earthy and is visual. In Dayton, they sometimes hold protests on the steps of the courthouse, and some of the protestors certainly fashion themselves "hollerin' at The Man" anyway, I love the song. The music features David on the great sounding guitar compositions and I drummed, thinking I had Bonham on my mind at the time. David also composed and performed the keys as i sang. In duets! always in duets when there are two of us, and always trios when there are three! This certainly brings an element that would be missing if we made these songs one track at a time, and that would have one of us bored at all times, so, duets and trios, always duets or trios. Happy writing, and thanks for reading. joe

art inspirations and murky dishwater

Yesterday was a tough day for most of it. In the midst of the worst bits, i decided i needed to art my way out of it. I penned two lines, scratched those out. penned a song of my woes, buried that in a pile i seldom pay attention to. then i wrote maybe the best set of lyrics i've written in a decade. i had moved past the sadness and frustration and into the light. Maybe we need difficult times, artists. but maybe the diamond comes after we've moved beyond the self. That is what i had done. The lyrics of the "discarded" song were crap. but i think i needed to remove some of the crap to get at the shiney stuff. I hope Dave and i get this down into a song soon. These latest lyrics come from a period of reduced mobility - since my car up and went on christmas break this week. But it should be ok. I even came up with a great set of experiences for the next song. we were watching that film about bob dylan and i realized i had a good story to tell. maybe i'll start it and edit the lyrics some before Dave and i get back in the wolcott studios. well, anyway, just relatin'. peace and love to all of you, happy jamming, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and have a great New Years, all of yous!

Shawnee Kilgore
Shawnee Kilgore  (about 4 years ago)

"maybe we need the difficult times...." yup, i dare say we do! i've been holding on to a terribly painful muse for the last year, and DAMN the songs have been good....(i mean, i do wish he'd just figure his shit out and just admit that he's in love with me...but i humbly accept the creativity that longing has bestowed upon me ;)

what i meant to say was: thanx for sharing steps of the ongoing journey!



What genre are you?

This page started out a folk page. Joe plays acoustic guitar and sings songs about local people and critters and trees and places. After many enjoyable band names, the former Torture for Purists songwriter Joe Gillis constructed this space for promoting all his various musical projects. Since July 2010, the music on this page has become more and more the project that is the collaborative artistic efforts of Joe and David DeVore. Under the name The Caves of Sugar Grove, Dave and Joe released over thirty songs online, through a now closed myspace page, youtube videos and at Reverbnation. Eric Heisman and the Formation does not sound like a folk band. The genre here had to change. Joe still plays these songs in the parks and on local stages, but these demos are not folk stylings. The best choices from the artist's perspective were rock, alternative, and other. We have heard about our "mid 1960s" sound, our "college radio" sound, our "art music" sound and our "hard to tell genre" sound, lol. The music doesn't sound like anyone else to us, or we'd not be doing it at all, lol. Alternative may fit best for what sound this band has that isn't everyone's definition of Rock. Enjoy the music, what ever genre it might be. don't be too shy to send us a message and provide us some input. Happy Reverbnationing!

Behind the videos.

Two new videos for Reverbnation viewers have been added. The locations are all around Piqua and the videos are not synched performances. They are Dave and I doing various things. People have mentioned the visual nature of Knock Knock Sticks, so we have wanted to share this video for some time. The huge ice pilars built up by this trickle of a creek sem magical to me. Knock Knock Sticks is a winter wonderland video. Winter wonderlands are not wonderful to all folk. For some, winter is the end. Joe portrays a homeless person through much of the video. In the end, the homeless person succumbs to the elements. The waterfalls are Charleston waterfalls, in Miami County Ohio. The flagstone wall is on the west side of the county, south of covington, and is located near the caves of sugar grove. Afghanistan/Ol' Buzzard's Home Blues features the artwork or sound sculpturist Michael Bashaw, who is also one of the driving forces in the band Puzzle of Light. The sound sculpture was built by Michael and sits in downtown Troy, where anyone can go up to it and make music with it. When it was built, it sat in front of Hobart Welding and it was completely battleship gray. When the city moved it to a place where folks could find it easily, they painted it in the style in the video. I never see folk banging on it, but if i lived there, i'd be there probably every week. Its beautiful. Well, Dave and I have been recording amazing songs lately. Our most recent here is Abject ideals but more will be coming soon. Have a lovely day checking the sounds on this wonderful website. Peace and love, from joe and dave.

An Incredible Journey

I've had an amazing journey. It started as I rode a bicycle to a friend's house three weeks ago. I wiped out, got a bit of the head trauma and many broken bones. a friend came by and broke out his guitar two weeks ago. I could not handle an open E chord being strummed then. It made my head spin like crazy, and then some pain and fatigue. that night, i had a freak dream. I was at a party with big names, and no biggie, i am no schmoozer, so i knew i'd not meet anyone. Bela Fleck sat down next to me and asked me to play a song for him, it'd been so long since he'd heard me sing. so, there was then a guitar in my hand, and i started angel from montgomery, by john prine. I buggared up the lyrics, started again, buggared them up and i awoke. Why Bela? I am in awe of his talent but i am not a big fan. he's certainly not heard me sing. and why did i try a cover? so, the next evening, i broke out the acoustic and got through an original, just to see if i could do it. It went very well. I vowed to play no more covers in my dreams, lol. So, last sunday, we planned on playing in the garage - so i broke out the acoustic saturday and played for an hour and a half - it went well. so did the garage fun. Last night Dave and I wrote a new tune from scratch. I didn't think i could get through the chords twice, so i asked Dave if we could just try going through the changes one time, and not like have a half dozen verses, and hours trying to nail one take. It went well. We have a very nice song and the lyrics are about his beloved cat Ella. I managed to compose a very nice chorus along the way. My brain still isn't where it should be and in that chorus, i had written down, Fm and kept telling Dave, "its Fm". It wasn't working for him. So, in futility, I grabbed the alverez and showed him. Of course, I was playing F#m, and he caught it, and the whole song came together smoothly. Thanks to Dave for not judging me an idiot, i told him, "i know, my brain aint workin just right yet". The doctors say 6 months healing. Dave, buddy, hang in there, please, lol. During these three weeks, eric heisman and the formation has slipped a bit in the RN rankings, but that is cool. I wish Drasy and all those wonderful local talents well and have enjoyed their support. God Bless y'all!