Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Recommended Utah artists to check out:
Jhonny K (and the Krew) www.reverbnation.com/JhonnyK (Great song! – Back Up)
Mary Tebbs www.reverbnation.com/MaryTebbs (Great song! - Infectious Guarantee)
Kole Hansen www.kolemusic.com

SONGWRITER SERIES at Salt Lake County Libraries
Wow! 86 people at the June 13th show at Draper branch in a room with capacity of 80! What a night that was with Alan and John Paul (Sons of Other Mothers) and Jhonny K and the Krew. It was a very entertaining night. Jhonny K played some great songs with the full sound of his band and really involved the audience.
The series is very grateful to Alan Sanders for providing sound engineering making the musicians sound their best and enhancing the experience. We also appreciate very much Carol Ormond from the library staff for her support in helping us promote this project and work with the library system.
Coming up July 11th at Sandy is Chris Orrock and Brian Bingham. Following that on August 15th at Whitmore is Otter Creek and Kole Hansen! I am very excited about that show. Kole has been touring all over the country this past year and will be in town following the Summer Jam West conference she and her family has been organizing each year. This is the third conference and it just keeps getting better with industry professionals conducting workshops and teaching the ins and outs of the business to musicians that come from around the country to participate in this great event.

My Songwriting
I’m continuing to record snippets of ideas, “bits and pieces,” for future reference. I have new revised versions of “We Can Fly” and “Reason to Believe” which I plan to post sometime soon. I played these new versions at the May 23rd Series show in Herriman. Meanwhile I wrote two new songs from ideas I’ve had floating around for many years. They are “Long Way Down” and “Over and Done.” These have been recorded in acoustic demo format and posted on the Reverb Nation site. I played both of these at the June 13th Series show in Draper.
My Collaborating
I am putting a band together to make band arrangements of my tunes. I don’t want to jinx the project as we have not solidified any band members yet, but I am talking with a bass player and a drummer. At this point they are listening to about 25 songs to identify ones that pique their interest. Then they can fool around with arrangement ideas and I hope to get together this month and bang some tunes around. I need another guitar player that can sing well so we can harmonize and thicken out the guitar arrangements.
My Recording
I recorded three “Sampler” songs that have short snippets strung together and posted them on the Reverb Nation site:
Steve Walker Songs Sampler #1
A Weary Soul to get me Through the Day (Pearce/Walker)
Army Man
Rosemary Days
Blame it on the Woman
She's My Girl
Fine! Fine! Fine!
Forever and a Day
Drive My Car
Gone, Gone, Gone
Reason to Believe
We Can Fly
Hidden Meadow Song (Boy and a Girl)
Already There

Steve Walker Songs Sampler #2
State of Confusion
Peace Will Come
O Freedom
Must Be Love
Carry On
Sweet Celebration
Roll Your Way
Low Down
Looks Like Rain
Don't Let Me Down
Pony Express
She Cries
Shroud of Sadness (9-11-01)
Looks Like Rain

Steve Walker Covers Sampler #1
Calling All Angels - Train
Closer To Fine - Indigo Girls
Delilah - Plain White T's
Give A Little - Supertramp
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - Proclaimers
Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel
Sandman - America
Drive - Incubus
Take It Easy - Eagles
In Your Eyes -
Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
I Can See Clearly - Johnny Nash
Pink Houses - John Cougar Mellencamp
Wicked Game - Chris Issack
Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
Pride And Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughn
Blue Suede Shows - Elvis Presley
Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
Friend of the Devil - Grateful Dead
Truckin' - Grateful Dead
Merry Christmas Baby - B B King
Run Run Rudolph - Bryan Adams

My Live Performance
June 13th – Played three songs between acts at the Songwriter Series in Draper. I played:
Over and Done
Long Way Down
Blame It On The Woman

June 21st – Played the annual summer solstice party at the Larsen’s big backyard on June 21st along with Sons of Other Mothers. It was a madhouse mob and we estimate well over 200 people enjoying food, friends, and great music. I did about half covers half my own tunes. Here’s my set list:
Peaceful Easy Feeling
Sister Golden Hair
Born To Run
Over and Done
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Forever and a Day
Long Way Down
Bad Case of Loving You
Give A Little Bit
Harvest Moon
Still … You Turn Me On
Hey There Delilah
Army Man
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Slow Dancing
Fine Fine Fine
Blame It On The Woman
Must Be Love
Free Falling

June 22 – I got involved with Michael Elrick and Bryan Brough at the Grove Theater to help promote their attempt at the Guinness Book of World Records for the World’s longest concert. The attempt ran from Friday, June 17th, thru Saturday, July 2nd. The attempt failed but it was a lot of fun and they continued to play. I helped book a few bands and along the way made some new friends. I played my set on Wednesday, June 22nd at 7PM. Bryan, Michael, Nancy, and me were the only ones there when I began as I was the first act starting the evening off. About half way through people began to arrive with Coyote Fever who went on after me. There were about 15 by the time I finished (LOL) but I did a real good set and happy with the performance. It was nice to be on a theater stage with a good sound system and lights so I treated it like a dress rehearsal and told my stories and song intros like it was a packed house. It was great fun! I played only my songs. Here is the set list:
Over And Done
Fine! Fine! Fine!
Long Way Down
Weary Soul
Low Down
We Can Fly
O Freedom
Army Man
Forever And A Day (For Mike)
Rosemary Days
Blame It On The Woman
Roll Your Way
Slow Dancing
Must Be Love

Upcoming shows:
July 7         Canyon Inn
July 15       Songwriter Series at Sandy
Aug 15      Songwriter Series at Whitmore
Aug 27      Magna Arts Festival

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Some real excitement has been happening! First and foremost my daughter gave birth to a baby girl on May 21; our third grandchild!

Second, Singer-Songwriters Series project has become the SONGWRITERS SERIES at Salt Lake County Libraries.

Note: Sometimes I get the feeling that I am not moving, but after reviewing this entry I see how much I have done and what I have. I am very blessed to have so much goodness in my life. I know that, believe me I do. That really is enough in the final analysis. I have a wonderful spouse,  awesome kids, grandchildren, and great relationship with relatives, a few friends, a fairly stress free and well paying job, I work with good people, and have free time and the means to travel, pursue music. Life is pretty good!

Recommended Utah artists to check out:
Mary Tebbs www.reverbnation.com/MaryTebbs (Great song! - Infectious Guarantee)
Hour 13 www.reverbnation.com/Hour13 (Great song! - Frailty)
Ryan Innes www.reverbnation.com/RyanInnes (Great song! Long Fall From You – written  with Caleb Blood)
Jhonny K (and the Krew) www.reverbnation.com/JhonnyK

SONGWRITER SERIES at Salt Lake County Libraries
We’ve had three concerts and have more scheduled June 13th at Draper branch and July 11th at Sandy branch. We had an incredible show on May 23rd at the Herriman branch with Mary Tebbs and Bryce Wood. They both did terrific sets and Mary blew us away with her incredible songs, voice, and playing. She also showed us a couple of new tunes! Once called “Beautiful” is just amazing. I can’t wait to hear her studio version. It was a big boost for my musical self esteem to play on the same bill as Mary and have her tell us what a great project this is. And she wants to do it again. We’ll bring her back when we are really rolling.

Alan Sanders from Sons of Other Mothers has volunteered his sound system and ran sound for us on the 23rd and plans to do at least the next one. We are very grateful for that!

This is taking off! The library is very exited! The library sent a representative to the last show and they are excited about what we are doing. I’m in the final stages this week of getting official library sponsorship that may involve some pay. They are building an events center in West Jordan that is to open in January 2012 designed for music, plays, and performance events. What we are doing is exactly what they are hoping for at the center. And they will be paying artists at the center (the series right now is a free gig but good for promotion). I’ve also been asked to get involved with the library’s purchase of local music. Each year they stock the shelves with music CDs and some of that is local artists. They’ve asked my input in helping them sift through the plethora of  local music being marketed independently.

My Songwriting
I have gotten several ideas for new songs which I have captured on my “bits and pieces” tracks on the TASCAM. I’ve also been re-working some of my older songs, particularly “We Can Fly” and “Reason To Believe”. Both of these were too long. I scraped the last verse for “We Can Fly” and rewrote the first verse. “Reason To Believe” says everything I want to but has this guitar interlude. It’s never quite fit but I’ve kept it in there just because I like it. Nancy convinced me to do what is best for the song, take it out, and write some other song to use the cool guitar stuff in. J

My Collaborating
I auditioned with a blues cover band a few weeks ago as lead vocals/rhythm guitar. It was good jamming but I didn’t feel the grove with the band, plus they had a bunch of Willie Nelson and other tunes I didn’t really care for. I called the next day and said no thanks. I never did find out if they were interested in me; maybe they didn’t want me either. Then I got an email from a dynamite original blues band who lost their vocalist. They liked my sound from tunes on the site and asked if I could jam and see how it goes. We were in New York so I gave him my number and asked him to call on Sunday. Sunday no call. Monday I sent a note and he said he’d call me on Tuesday. Tuesday no call. I haven’t pursued it again. They know how to get me. Bummer, what’s up with some musicians?

I met with Alan Sanders at his home one afternoon. We mostly discussed our recording equipment and software and how we record. We fooled around a little with one of my songs. His band is playing with me on June 21 at the Larsen’s annual summer solstice party so we are going to work up a couple of cover tunes just the two of us on guitars and harmonizing. I’m excited about that.
I’ve been throwing my lyrics to another friend, Celeste Hollenbeck, for her to play with. She’s the one that gave me the idea to throw away the last verse of “We Can Fly”. She’s fooling with a few others and has ideas for her own lyrics that maybe could become songs.

My Recording
I’ve got mic placements and track effect settings where I am getting a consistent acoustic guitar with vocal sound that I am happy with. I’ve recorded several covers in my effort to archive versions of songs that I have played live at gigs in the past 30 years. There’s over 300 so I will focus on the top 100 I like. There are some obscure ones I learned and played only once or twice. I made a covers medley that is about 5 minutes and it has a string of snippets from 22 cover songs. I plan on making the same sort of sampler for my original songs. I recorded everything on the TASCAM and transferred the tracks to Sony ACID to cut and arrange the snippets and engineer the fade in-out between snippets.

My Live Performance
My focus has been on the songwriters series and I haven’t performed much else. I really want to perform more and that’s one reason I put together the covers sampler is so I can promote to venues catering to live music for entertainment, not necessarily original music showcases. I haven’t pursued it too hard yet but plan to get going. I did make submission to the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association’s Local Concert Series where they showcase two local artists each month. I didn’t make the cut. I also submitted for a slot on the Acoustic All-Stars festival but did not make that cut either. It may be because I am not rigorously playing gigs all the time. I am also submitting to play the Utah State Fair.

So I have a dilemma with playing local venues. I want to play more but I hate playing bars. I classify a bar as a place that is a liquor hang-out, might have pool tables and what-not, and has music sometimes. Any place where alcohol the number one thing and the main reason to go to the place. Other places that have music all the time, but also serve alcohol I don't classify as a bar, but a music venue. They're OK. Of course restaurants, coffee houses, etc. are OK. I don’t have anything against alcohol, but my experience playing those joints is that people usually don't appreciate what is going on musically and a some just get drunk which isn't fun.

Open Mics and play-for-tip gigs are fun (any gig is usually fun!) but I want to start getting paid for playing again, but it generally means bars (alcohol first, music second). Most coffee houses and restaurants don't pay so you just go for tips or to hang with other musicians in the mutual admiration society. There are also several pay-to-play venues that are mostly theater setups. Some are converted old movie theaters. They have nice stage and great sound systems. But you basically rent the hall and sell tickets. I'm nowhere near known enough to do that. I can't even get friends to come out when I play except once in a while. Catch 22 is you need to play the bars and get known a bit and have a track record of performing to start getting the paid jobs at non-bar places. It takes a lot to be able to sell 300-500 tickets for a rented venue.

Just a little frustrated. Of course, it should just be about the music, creating and recording, sharing with family and friends, and enjoying the open-mics and my new library project. That really should honestly be satisfying enough. Well, it is very satisfying but I still want more. It's not about fame or adulation. I think I want validation that my stuff is real, that people like it. Ah but again, that shouldn't matter as long as I like it. It shouldn't matter if anyone likes it as long as I do. But there is a definite “high” or kind of “buzz” and good feeling (seriously like drugs) that comes from playing to a crowd where you feel like you're making a connection. I want to do more of that and I want to make cash to help me get more instruments, amplifiers, and other gear.

Life is pretty good!

“go forward
move ahead
try to detect it
it's not too late
to whip it
whip it good”

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I’ve been busy this past month.  We started the South Jordan Singer-Songwriter Series and I did some recording. I recorded a Tim Pearce tune, writing some new songs, reworking some older songs, continuing lessons with Chuck Gilmore and Sony Acid Studio classes. And we saw a good show up in Logan. And there is always the choir.

Recommended Utah artists to check out:
Tim Pearce http://www.reverbnation.com/timpearce
Ryan Innes http://www.reverbnation.com/RyanInnes
Red Pete (Keith Callister)  http://www.reverbnation.com/redpete

New Ryan Innes tune – Long Fall From You!
You have to check this song out. This is by far the best tune I have heard to come out of the valley yet! Yes, I said the best ever. Not everyone out there is going it alone. Though it is not as common as one might hope, I have seen some good collaboration in the valley. Ryan teamed up with Caleb Blood to write “Long Fall From You” and then Ben Sorenson, and others to record this outstanding song. Everything is done just right, and it doesn’t hurt that Ryan has one of the smoothest, sexiest voices out there right now.

I haven’t done any real collaboration so far. I’ve had some good contact with a few over the Internet, but we haven’t gotten down to brass tacks and done any real work.  I’m grateful to John Revitte (www.reverbnation.com/johnrevitte) for his critique and suggestions for my lyrics to “That’s The Way It’s Supposed To Be.” I also ran it by Nancy and between both of their suggestions I have headed in a slightly different direction. It may end up being titled something else altogether!  When I have to explain what I am trying to say then I obviously have not expressed the lyrics correctly.

Some whining – I’ve been discussing with a few people my disappointment  with trying to get artists together and trying to build synergy and be involved with the music community. The problem may be that I am not promoting my music; in fact I am down playing it to the point where I did not put myself on bill for the Songwriter Series. I am not pursuing a full time career with music. I write songs, but not with the idea of recording a CD and touring; not with the thought of writing a #1 hit or studying what the industry is looking for now. I just write what comes to mind for me. Perhaps because I consider this a hobby for me and not my whole life I am perceived as “not real.” So I will focus on the Songwriter Series and see where that goes. I do love to perform and hoped to be supportive of younger and hungrier performers and to get some reciprocation for artists that I have set up for shows and hosted. I will set up the outdoor house shows so that I am more of the focus as a performer and make them more about “me” than others. Maybe I’ve been too “humble” and too successful at getting my ego out of the way.

South Jordan Singer-Songwriters Series
We have the first show set up for April 14 at the South Jordan Library. We put the word out, posted on some music sites and Face Book, and got some good response.  We invited three of the better ones to participate. When I started gathering bios and pictures to do promotion I got NO response from one of them. I was surprised an worried that something may have happened to her, but since then I have seen her on the bill at various places around town and she is posting on Face Book. So, sadly I realize that I’ve been blown off! That’s the strange kind of behavior I’ve been seeing. Part of it of course is the musician ego, and part of it is there are several cliques without much cross breeding and perhaps a little bit of competition. Some performers I find to be very courteous and friendly no matter if they are interested in what I am talking about. Others just ignore communications. The ones that baffle me are those that communicate sometimes and ignore others and generally don’t hand out “thank you”; it might tarnish their attitude. -OK, enough whining J

So we have three terrific artists lined up: Molly K Nye, Above Snakes, and Gregory Scott. There are many sitting in the wings for next shows. Molly is a young girl with a wonderful voice and a gift for writing songs. Above Snakes is Keith Callister and some buddies from Red Pete, Linus, and Starmy.

Tim Pearce Song!
It’s pretty obvious that I have been impressed with Tim and like his music a lot. One song in particular really strikes a chord and has some awesome riffing going on called “A Weary Soul to Get Me through the Day.” It is very cool and done in open D tuning. He basically wrote four lines which he repeats after an instrumental bridge. I wrote four lines and recorded my version so it uses his four lines, then the bridge, then my four lines. Time does the title line just once at the end of the song in a distorted, almost spoken and growling voice. I think that is an important line that adds real meaning and dimension to the thoughts expressed in the single lines. So I worked up a melody for it and repeat it twice over the bridge section. My bridge section riffing is also a little different than Tim’s; partly because I was having difficulty figuring out what Tim was playing and partly because I started to hear something a little different when I was working on it.

It’s always a little scary to cover someone’s song, let alone rework it and mess with it; especially when the writer does not know you are doing it. I was a little apprehensive when I showed it to Tim but he was pleased and said he liked the changes and my performance. You can check out his version on his site www.reverbnation.com/timpearce but I have to warn you that he does use the F-bomb.

I’ve been experimenting for quite some time with microphones and placement for recording the acoustic guitar and vocals. For the guitar I have settled in on an arrangement that gives me an acoustic guitar sound I like. I place the SM57 near the 12th fret about 4” away. The AKG is set up in front to my right pointing directly at the front of the guitar about 6” away. I set the AT Vocal condenser microphone about head height center and about 18” away. This gives a really good guitar sound and I usually do vocals separate with AT about 18” from my mouth. But if I can play the song live without mistakes I get a much better sound because the vocal track leaks into the guitar microphones giving a fuller sound. But I can’t go back and correct the vocal when I do that because the original vocal will still be heard in the background on the guitar tracks. I have also settled into the reverb and room space settings I like and just a little compression. I wrote earlier about my woes trying to figure out compression. I’ve played enough that I have settings that fatten the vocals just a hair. This configuration of microphones and effects can be heard on all my records un the past couple of months and what I will be using to finish out recording acoustic/vocal demos of songs that I haven’t recorded yet. I’d also like to go back and remix some of the stuff I recorded two years ago. Some of those I would just like to record from scratch really.

Voice Lessons
I am really enjoying my lessons with Chuck Gilmore. I can already feel a difference and my range has increased a little already. He records our sessions and puts it on CD so I do the exercises from the lessons just about any time I am in the car. I used to have great range into the notes above the C above middle C, but I rarely performed up in that range. But what it did do was let me be very comfortable at A above middle C which is a good crescendo area for my voice. Until now it has been a strain to get up there. With Chuck’s help I am getting up there, not real strong yet, but I am getting back into that territory. We’ve been working on my song “Note Enough Love” so that it is comfortable and consistent. Because it has parts in my baritone range and also parts in my upper tenor it kind of sounds like two different people. Chuck is helping me to a consistent tone throughout all of my range.  I’d like to record “Over and Done” but it is definitely too high at the moment. But I am starting to get the notes and that’s exciting!

Sony Acid Studio
I finished the first eight week introduction to Acid Studio taught at Highland High by Steve Auerbach and signed up for another eight weeks. He will be teaching how to use some of the tools for part of each session and then giving one-on-one time to help us with our individual projects. I showed him that I had imported all the tracks for “Must Be Love” and want to remix it using some of the effects plug-ins available for ACID. I also want to start using MIDI to program drum and percussion tracks using the extensive voicing libraries available. I have downloaded over 3000 free drum and percussion sounds along with about 2000 actual recording clips of drum fills and percussion elements. All kinds of other instruments are also available. I can use my Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer as a MIDI controller to interface with Acid Studio to create any number of backing tracks for song ideas I have. But I need to learn more about the tools and interfaces before I can really get going creating my stuff.

Great Show in Logan with a bonus!
We went to Logan and saw Accidentally Involved. Tim Pearce was the interim act. There was a young girl that opened and did some nice things but was not comfortable with performing yet. I’m embarrassed that I can’t remember her name. Tim was disappointed with his performance claiming he had an off night. Maybe so, but I enjoyed it immensely. He didn’t hit every note right; he cut a couple of songs short; and he generally let each song sort of just drift away without any clear ending. Despite that, he had intensity when he sang and I came away a bit rejuvenated, which is what a live performance is all about. He connected with me. His music can be dark and themes depressing, but I went away feeling positive. Funny how that works.

I enjoyed Accidentally Involved demo tracks on their site. Two things stand out: 1) the vocals and harmonies, and 2) the drumming.

Vocals: Cindy has a great voice, nice songs, and a lot of energy on stage and fun to watch. What's missing is all the harmony. I didn't realize that Emeline (bass player) doesn't sing. I just assumed she was doing the harmony, but I guess Cindy does her own harmony on the recordings. Some of the tunes have three- part on the records with a nice bubbly sound similar to the Go-Go’s. Unfortunately I was a bit let down that the live performance did not stand up to the studio work. Getting a bass player that sings or adding another vocalist or two would make a world of difference.

Drumming: Ricky Lyons is a fantastic drummer and percussionist! What he does, that a lot of drummers don't do, is play to the song. He put touches and nuance that fit just right and elevated each song well above its acoustic/vocal arrangement. I especially appreciated his use of side snare hits and the variations he got from using different sections of cymbals. A lot of drummers play basic beats or try to show the audience how good they are. Ricky is all about the songs, he’s just great! If I had a band I’d be doing whatever I could to get him to play with me.
The BONUS is that my son Andrew and his wife Margie came down from Ashton, ID and met us for the show. Then we retreated to Wolf Creek for the rest of the weekend and had a relaxing fun time. We ate some of the best pizza ever in Logan at Fredrico's Pizza - 1349 E. 700 N. I will definitely go back there again!