I'm actually feeling fairly inspired as of late. The semester end crunch is giving me fits, but when I get a second to pick up my guitar, I'm able to write. Dad and I have been working on getting together a new project with some stunning local talents. I expect this new work should be something very different. Easter is on the way. I love a good ham dinner. I don't care what the occasion is. There's new merch in the reverb store. I had The Strokes "Is This it?" as an alarm on my droid, but it was giving me early onset ennui, so I had to switch back to that shitty default tone. I think maybe music has too much power over me and my moods. I've been drinking apple cider vinegar for it's myriad health benefits. I'm forever turned off of most salad dressings though, as a curious side effect. I've been having a very hard time not buying a new guitar. Being practical and buying school supplies galls me to no end. The Funkin Champions are doing well. I'll probably diddle some new merch into the store.
That's about it for now. I'm down to roughly one cup of coffee per day, and I've ceased taking my ginseng. How do you people live at the speed of stop? That's kind of a Mike Brown line.
Talk to you guys later. Whomever reads these things.
Oh, I'm going to put up some work on Exposed Vocals dot com by weeks end to see if I can generate further interest, so watch for that.
As a quick update, I've been working my way towards working my way. I've been between jobs and sweating bills, but I'm going on interviews and trying my best.
I've started writing again, and I've got two songs that I'm fairly pleased with, so that's a good start. 8 more and I can start recording.
I'm playing live shows, locally and open mic nights. I've been doing my best to get a feel for the stage again. It's been going well. I'll be setting up an appointment with Mike Brown to do an Open Mic in West by God as soon as I've returned to gainful employment and can afford to put gas in the tank again. :)
I'm nervous in all directions, but at least I have plenty to write about.
If you're in the Cal U area, feel free to stop down on NOV. 14th, at the gallery, I'm going on at 7:30. See if I can remember what gallery sets are supposed to sound like...
I've been moving up the charts nationally as of late, and while I'm sitting low enough to be under everyone's radar, I thought I'd think through what it is I'm really talking about when I think about "being a successful musician". Let's say #498 Nationally turns into #109 overnight, and then #50, and then #2. Will the phone start ringing with offers from indie record labels looking to snatch up a singer/songwriter? Will a limo pull up and ground out in the driveway with an offer to tour and release with big national promotion and a guest appearance on Ellen? (Which I would TOTALLY do, btw.) Probably not. No. Even if it DID happen that way, is that what I want? Give up this small-towning and take up the reigns in a big way, representing something bigger than myself with my music that happens to be vastly more profitable than working at a soul-crushing gas station? Well, I don't know. What do I really want to do with this music of mine? What possible reason do I have for continuing to make it, if not for a shot at a major deal with even a minor label? What is this success that I'm after? How far away from it am I? I don't know. In a lot of ways I'm already a success. I've had the good fortune to have a supremely supportive family who've given me the resources to produce 5 albums before my 26th birthday. Contents Under Pressure, Yours Truly, Obscurity is Forever, Retrospective, and now Bloodstone for Courage. Were they commercially successful? Fuck no, we lost shit tons of money on them! But they're a foundation, a core of who I am as a songwriter and a person. Not everybody gets to know themselves and then HEAR who they were a decade later. I guess THAT is how I define success. Regardless of Rank or notoriety, if I can say that I've written my best, and performed at my best, and have been recognized (in whatever fashion it comes) as genuine, hardworking and talented? I will continue working to get and be better than I am so that I can continue to do that. That is how I know and will know in the future that I'm successful. But what do I want from all of it? In a real way? Tacky and trite and cliche, I want writing to make a comeback. I want pop songs to say more than a couple words on repeat. I want kids buying legal pads and pens and books and sitting down trying to figure things out in all directions. If somebody hears me say "I sold my soul/for the words to write", I want them to say "what the fuck is he talking about??" and be so curious about it that they go searching within themselves for an answer to it. I want to resurrect curiosity with my music. A trifle grandiose, but there you have it. So How Far is It? You tell me.
Is it my cynicism that makes my taste in music tend towards something loftier? I've been gaining new fans lately. That crowd review thing has been good to me, btw, so if you're reading this and want to test the waters? Give it a shot, it's worth the cash. I say that to mention this: with every new fan I get, I listen to the song they post with their profile. If I'm not offended by what I hear, I fan them back. If I LIKE what I hear, I recommend them. We are a community, after all. I was in the process of sending a message to one of the new fans. Just something basic, "Hey, how's it going, dig the sound, etc etc", and while I was sending the message I was hearing their song in the background.
Is there somebody somewhere who can explain this tendency of the female singer/songwriters I've been hearing on this site? Why is the imagery ALWAYS flowers? Could you maybe NOT talk in shitty metaphors that make me question not only your songwriting skills but your integrity as a human being??
This is why Ingrid Michaelson is such a big deal: Yes, her lyrics are feminine and coming from a genuinely female perspective, but she's not using her gender to define her experience or as (god forbid) a crutch. She's got deeper, and more thoughtful lyrics than I'm capable of writing a lot of the time, and it has nothing to do with her being a woman and everything to do with her being thoughtful and intelligent enough to be a competent singer/songwriter.
It would be like me writing a song about how I LOVE driving Ford trucks and John Deere Trayk-ters and drinking Buhhhhd Lahhht. Yeah, I COULD do that, but A.) That's Pandering and pandering is WRONG, and B.) I'm not going to pretend that my masculinity is so important that I have to make it a core component of my songwriting. Yes I have a dick. No it's not writing my lyrics for me. My checks, maybe, but NOT my lyrics.
So keep your "flowery" songs to yourself thanks.
Fairly soon, I'll be posting new shows and events we'll be playing at this summer, and I'll finally get around to setting up that Album Release Party I've been trying to get my hooks in. Right now though, I wanna talk about two new features on Reverbnation that I'd like some feedback on. 1.) Has anybody tried Crowd Review? If so, was it worth the cash you put into it? I thought, "ah, hell with it, I'll do Gold, how much could it cost..." and then closed out of that window promptly. Without knowing what it'll help with, I'm hesitant to part with my cash. 2.) Album Promote. Has anybody used THAT yet? If so, how have your numbers jumped and what kind of real world change did you see for the cash you laid out?
Get back to me, cause if I activated BOTH services, getting my work reviewed, AND promoting the new album..(available now on iTunes here...https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bloodstone-for-courage/id630883105) the total cost would be somewhere north of 400$.
Is it worth the cost of a low-end guitar / ten cases of Guinness / new tires? Any thoughts are appreciated.
It's funny, for all the drinking I do, I've been remarkably good about keeping my blogs and pints separate. You'd think at least one of my rants would be fueled by intoxicants. Anyway, I'm writing to give a quick update on the album...It's shipped. It's physically on the way to me. I'm also writing to hint at a video in the near future. I've been in poor voice lately, but yesterday was good, and today could be better, and by the time we set things up I should be able to sing and breathe etc. New shows are on the way. I'll have them posted here of course, and wherever else you guys are looking for me. Other than that, I recently had some of that Third Shift Amber Ale? So worth the money. So worth it. Cheers.
Bloodstone for Courage is now available on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bloodstone-for-courage/id630883105
I went through CD Baby for my digital distribution, and I feel like I've been let down. I had to be notified by family that it was for sale at all. No emails, no notifications, nothing. Cdbaby just passed me along, and didn't even bother letting me know it was there. I suppose I'm not paying enough for common courtesy.
That's just awful, really. I'm not happy about that, and it may be nice to link you guys to iTunes, but if you're reading this, I'm willing to bet that Reverbnation would've sent me an email if I put up an album on this site...Which I'm SERIOUSLY considering doing.
Anyway, Details to come,
If you're an iTunes fan, link's at the top. Enjoy and get back to me with any thoughts or reviews.
That's the slogan for Aaron Huff Music.
It's on the new t-shirts on here. "Yes, it has to rhyme. No I won't let it go. Aaron Huff Music. Because it matters!"
I know the view finder in the RVN store isn't the most sophisticated thing on Earth, but hey, the services here are top shelf otherwise.
Anyway the reason I'm writing is because I'm struggling to think my way through an issue.
If you write serious music with serious lyrics, and you do it well...it's seen as somehow having more credibility than a songwriter with a sense of humor. As though humor were somehow less intrinsically valuable to our understanding of the human experience than hearing some deep dark shit from the minds of the injured singer songwriter.
Why should that be? Why would I roll my eyes at a legion of "quirky" ukelele-wielders who have funny things to say, but REVERE Paul Simon?
Am I saying more with "So I sold my soul / for the words to write" than "I don't know what I been doin' / all I know is I been screwin' your best friend while you go off to work" ? Good question. Maybe. Maybe humor takes more reflection to create, but less thought to absorb, and it's just about which side of the joke I'm on. Maybe it's the shared experience of thinking your way through a song that makes dramatic works seem more compelling. Well, I'll keep working on it. Because it matters!
So, I'm trying to become more social on this site.
I'm reaching out to the top artists in this genre, and doing a little research to see what it is that's putting them so high on the charts.
After two hours of listening and searching and thinking, I have some findings to share:
To get to the top? Apparently it's all about banjos. No, seriously. Go check out the top five spots of the folk charts nationally. Boom. Banjos.
Also, having quirky, above average good looks. Wearing a big fucking sun hat with a flower on it is just silly if you're not as good looking as the Urban Outfitters model of the day.
Mumford and Sons, son. Because redundancy works if it's pushing album sales.
Lastly, folk may be the wrong damn genre to have myself in. I need to look around a little, see if I can't find something a bit more...NOT bluegrass.
Music-ing is hard.
Anyway, I'm not so sure I wanna be en vogue. Maybe I'm alright just playing and doing my thing without the hassle.
I'll keep working on it and get back to you.
I just got this new fan on here, her name is Alyson Anton. She'd messaged me after hearing my tunes, and gave me a thumbs up. That's a good feeling. So I thought I'd do my level best to go find out what she's all about and what her music sounds like. In a word? Polished. Which is good, it's hard to get a sound that's easily recognized as pro level and have the chops to make it interesting.
This isn't why I'm writing though. It's not HER sound I'm thinking about, it's the "produced" sound that brought up an internal debate that I think is worth talking through.
If you throw enough money and hard work at being a musician, you'll be one right? Just like if you spend enough time writing you'll inevitably become a writer.
I don't know that that's true...What's the bench mark for authenticity? At what point can you say you've paid your dues, and NOW you're the something you've been working at becoming?
It can't just be this self-determinate thing that one day you wake up, and go, "Welp, I've done it, I'm a success". There are plenty of people who languish in obscurity(forever, ha ha) with a great deal more talent than myself who ultimately give this up because they "failed".
I feel like there's something disingenuous in a person who performs for performance's sake. Yeah, I sound like shit a lot of the time, but when I get on stage, it's not just because I want your money, or to soothe my massive ego. I have shit to say, and if I don't get to say it then I'll loose my mind. I HAVE to write, and I HAVE to sing, and I HAVE to perform. It's more than catharsis, it's self expression in the religious sense.
Mighty High-flung of you Aaron. You're goddamn right it is! It's hard to pay enough attention and think your way through life such that when you pick up your instrument, your experiences give you something meaningful to talk about. Then on top of that to make it rhyme with a pleasant melody? Shit, that's where it's AT.
When I really say it? That's the bench mark for authenticity. It's not that the notes are perfect, or the rhyme is tight. (Most of the time the notes are flat, and the rhyme is somewhat fickle) When I really say what I meant to, and the rest of it comes together, that's how you can recognize me as the real deal.
Stay away from Pro Tools, kiddies. Alyson really worked hard to get the pitch right and hit the damn notes. That's much more authentic than some ass with a laptop tweaking a wave form trying to make the next Adele.
Anyway, I'm gonna get going, I've got to be at work soon. Nothing like the number one folk act in the locality tied to a register. Keeps me humble.
In the words of Mr. Keilor, Be well, Do good Work, Keep in touch.