On Sunday, Lila (my fiancé) spent half of the day painting so that I could have an awesome album cover for Human Music. I’m really happy with how this turned out! The album has now been submitted for digital distribution. If everything goes well you’ll be able to purchase this on Saturday August 2. I’ll also be getting some physical CDs of this, which is going to take another 4-6 weeks to get all of the artwork assembled and CDs duplicated.
So are there really evil robots and do they really want to take over the world? Of course there are, and they already have! It’s been reported that six media companies control 90% of the media in America. That’s an amazingly small number of gatekeepers for a pretty big and diverse population. With music, these gatekeepers have proven that its more important for them to market image rather than music. The music they give us is often over-produced, over-compressed and lacks depth.
So how do we away control from the evil robot media corporations that control the music world? Talking more about music that’s made for the sake of the music and not for an image would be a good start. It would benefit us all to share more of the music that we’ve found outside of the influence of the big six.
Many of you reading this are long time veterans of the live music scene on Second Life, or perhaps other indie music scenes (like the former mp3.com). If you’re like me, you’ve heard a lot of really awesome music in these places that is considered unknown or obscure that deserves to be heard. The only way it gets heard is if people share this music with their friends and other folks. So get out there and blog about it, post about it on social media, and share links to your favorite indie artists websites, videos and other places that we share music.
So I’m guessing you wouldn’t expect me to make a post like this where I didn’t put my money where my mouth was, right? Right. So here are a couple of songs that I think you should listen to today:
Frenzy by Lyndon Heart
At Any Rate by Sean Kagalis
So who’s with me?
This album is acoustic versions of what I consider to be the best songs I’ve written to date. I had heard from some people that they liked the emotion from my live performances and that some of the fully produced tracks were missing that. The album is called “human music” because I decided to record it in a way that included the small imperfections that are often produced out through the use of computer software, which is a practice that many people feel is making our music less expressive and more contrived.
To listen, just use the player below. If you like it, please subscribe to my updates here.
I just had to bookmark this page for July 24th next year:
You’re welcome 🙂
It’s been 5 years and I’ve lost count of how many times (probably 800-900) that I’ve spent an hour of my day singing and playing guitar in front of a computer screen to an audience comprised of pixelized avatars. In that time, I’ve seen lots of ups and downs in attendance. I’ve seen some people connect with my music in a profound way, and have also seen those that give it less than a 30 second chance before teleporting off somewhere else. I’ve also seen a lot of other performers show up new to Second Life and get tons of instant recognition, while others (sometimes very professional polished performers with great songs) not get very much attention at all. I’ve also seen lots of debate around performers getting paid by venues, while noting that very few performers can make enough to make the money a primary motivation for playing. While these observations and debates all reflect some potential benefits and/or pitfalls of performing in Second Life, I think there is one other benefit that trumps them all.
I realized a long time ago that playing regularly in Second Life is FORCED PRACTICE. Because I hate backing out on promises I’ve made to someone else, if I’ve got a gig scheduled, I show up and play it no matter how good I’m feeling. After doing this for 5 years, I can honestly say that I feel there is a night and day difference between how I sounded when I first started in SL and how I sound now.
Case in point:
Here’s my song “The Reasons Why” recorded from my first gig in Second Life at The Old Barn in May of 2009::
5 years later, here’s my song “Caff-fiend” performed at the Hotel Chelsea on July 15, 2014:
To my ears, I hear massive improvements in lots of different areas, most notably my confidence, singing, production values, and my ability to interact with the audience. These are the kind of improvements that come with repetitive practice and lots of hours of critical listening. This just comes naturally by playing lots of shows in SL as well as attending shows by other performers. These skills have transferred over to my real life performances as well and I’m thankful for that.
I’d be curious to hear these comparisons from other SL artists if they have them. Give me links, people 🙂
Like anyone else, I’ve had my ups and downs in life. I’ve lived though times where I had the best life I could imagine, and also through tough times where I’m not sure how I survived. At times I’ve felt like I’ve had good friends and at other times I’ve experienced extreme loneliness. Sometimes down periods and extreme loneliness seemed longer than they needed to be, mostly because of a combination of bad choices I had made. my behavior, my unique life circumstances, or just general social awkwardness/anxiety.
Now I don’t think just having tough times should be enough justification for anyone to buy my music, because I get it…everyone goes through tough times. I also don’t think that I deserve any pity for the tough times easier for the same reason, and because the tough times helped made me who I am today. If anything else, what I really learned about music is that when I listened to music I could identify with, it made the tough times seem not as tough. Listening to music helped me with the emotional release I needed at times just to keep going. And even in the good times, listening to music seemed to make it even better.
I figure that by working hard at making music, hopefully someone else in the world will find what I make, identify with it, and even maybe it will help them get through some tough times, just like other music did for me. And I think that’s a great way of making the world a better place. I certainly don’t expect that everyone or even the majority of people will experience my music in such a profound way. But strangely enough, I’ve seen it happen a few times. For me, that’s enough encouragement to keep going…
I’ve made my song “The Reasons Why” available as a free download! This is a song with a bouncy chord progression and bass line that is guaranteed to leave you in a better mood than before you listened. Provide your email in the form below, and then click on the link that’s emailed to you to get your free download. It’s that easy!
Please provide your name and email address for your free download.
Over the past month or so, I’ve been meticulously recording acoustic versions of what I consider to be my best songs. To help improve the quality of my recordings, I made some strategic investments including new vocal and stereo mics (for the guitar) from Michael Joly Engineering, acoustic foam for my walls, new studio monitors and acoustic treatment shield behind my vocal microphone. As a result, I can honestly say that these recordings are by far the most balanced acoustic guitar and vocal recordings I’ve ever self-produced.
The goal with recordings was to prevent an alternative to something that I see as a problem with pretty much all commercial music today: that everything we hear on the radio is doctored up so much by computers to fix all of the little imperfections..it’s really rare to hear something that’s recorded well that was a continuous take of anything, and not chopped up into little bits and altered by some type of DAW or computer software for audio recording. I’ve decided to call this collection of songs (ok its an album) “Human Music” because I left in some of the little pops that made it through my pop shield, and didn’t go in and pitch correct anything, or slice up (and combine multiple tracks) to fix minor timing mistakes, etc. Essentially everything is continuous takes with guitar and vocals being recorded at the same time, which is how I perform my songs. What this means that is if you enjoy my live performances, you should love this album, imperfections and all!
I’m happy to announce that the tracks are all mixed now, and that I’ve submitted them for mastering to Sage Audio in Nashville. I should have the masters back in a week or so, which will help me determine a final release date. You can subscribe to my mailing list to get notified when the release date is finalized.
Here’s the track listing:
4. My Mind’s Already Made Up
5. This Time I Will Change
7. The Unexplainable Funk
8. The Waves Come Crashing In
9. I Love the Way
10. Followed by a Falling Star
11. I am Floored
12. History Lesson
13. Drive into the Blue
15. The World is My Imaginary Drumset
In other news, for folks that live near Salt Lake City, I’ll be playing a backyard house concert on Saturday night next week with Jason Brown in the Holladay area. Between the Facebook event and meet-up invite, I’d say we’re expecting a good crowd of 30-40 people, so it should really be a fun time. If you want more info, you can call MacNichol Guitars at (800) 849-3305 for the location and more information. There is a $10 per person cover which is going directly to Jason and me 🙂
For those who typically watch me in Second Life, I’ve got a number of shows next week including Drunken Drow, Ecnad, Hotel Chelsea and Guthries. I’ll get the times and dates updated in the events section of this website in the next couple of days.