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 (Great song! - Infectious Guarantee)
Hour 13 (Great song! - Frailty)
Ryan Innes (Great song! Long Fall From You – written  with Caleb Blood)
Jhonny K (and the Krew)

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”

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