Thursday, December 31, 2009

Take Your Bow, 2009

As we watch 2009 take its bow and wait for 2010 to take the stage, I reflect on the good, the bad and the down right confusing parts of this past year; the changes, the memories, the people that have come in and out of my life to make a difference within myself, to help shape who I am and who I want to be. 2010 will be yet another step in the everlasting cycle, a season changer and a mind bender all wrapped into one; a beginning, end and middle of perspective, a tune in for a sharper picture, a foggy window wiped down for clarity. Love, loyalty and freedom of mind, a new outlook, old friends, familiar strangers and sweet amends.

It was a settling sound. A wild ride. Thanks, farewell, 2009.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I'll be leaving for South Carolina with Melissa this evening and probably will not be updating my blog until we return on Sunday! So I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays, safe travels, warmth and happy times with your friends, family and loved ones! Cheers!

Much love,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ask You (Live)

This was a very special moment for me to play Ask You in front of so many of my community peers, family members and friends. Brendon joined me on stage to play his part and it was just an incredible feeling to be closing out my set with this song. Here is my live performance of Ask You featuring Brendon Thomas.

Keep (Live)

This song, Keep, isn't on the album but I wrote it wrote for Melissa a while back and I thought it'd be a great addition to my GMFS set. It was her birthday weekend on the night I played the show and I was so appreciative of her being there to watch me perform on a Saturday night that I wanted to play it as part of a birthday gift. Here is my live performance of Keep.

Bicycle on the Ice (Live)

I finally am getting around to putting up some live clips of my show at the Green Mountain Festival Series Reunion Night of Music. Here is my life performance of Bicycle on the Ice.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What To Keep & Let Go is 1 Today!

The What To Keep & Let Go production is
1 year old today! I cannot believe how fast the time goes and I must say, it has been a great ride so far. This whole thing could not have been possible without the help of everyone involved and so I'd like to thank Dave Eastman for all of his hard work so far on the album in the studio; Marcin, Cullen, Chad and Brendon for their musical genius and contributions; Melissa for her advice and photography skills; Brian for his vocal training and instruction; And of course all of YOU for reading the blog and following the progress of the album. Your support and enthusiasm has been and will continue to be very much appreciated. Thank you!

Here's to a swift and successful race to the finish line!

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Taylor"ing to our Needs

David Ireland, my art director and long-time follower of this album project, has graciously offered to let me use his custom made, walnut bodied Taylor guitar to help provide a better and more full sound for the acoustic part in Stand. With some additional help and expertise by Mic-man Dave Eastman, we were able to get a pretty great sounding track to take the place of the original take done a few months back with Marcin and me playing at the same time. We may still add another guitar on top of this Taylor track as it wasn't exactly the full-body sound we were looking for but perhaps with a little bit of post production tweaking, Dave can get it where we need it.
Thanks Dave (Ireland) for letting us use your guitar!

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Poster!

Today I am releasing my third poster for
What To Keep & Let Go
. The two that preceded it were very "teaser" in nature and I feel this one is more official with a more definitive release date and additional musician credits. I plan on doing a couple more before the project is released.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


WOW!!! The Weston Monster has made contact!!!!......through my blog?!?!?

I was astounded to read the very first response to my post that thanked you all for following the blog and learn that it was ACTUALLY from the creature I have been spotting for the past few months!! Check out our dialogue through the comments section of that post. I can't believe's crazy!

WM: You are welcome, Dunkin MusicMan. I like to listen at night in woods outside studio. Music good!

DD : hahahah is this The Weston Monster writing in???

WM: some call me monster. Found this old laptop in woods. Still works Gud. Now I can write in blog too!

DD: Wow!! It's so great to hear from you! You know, you have caused quite a scare around the studio!! And you can TALK?!?!

WM: Yes, I can talk Gud. Can sing some songs too > > Am Gud at scaring too ArArAr!!

Either this is a trickster pretending to the be The Weston Monster or this creature we've been dealing with for a few month is actually....civil?...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I don't say this enough...

...but thank you for reading my blog and keeping up the progress of the album. It means more than you may realize to have you all a part of this process :)

So...thanks :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Car Talk!

Ever listen to that radio show with those two guys that answer people's car queries? Well this isn't that. haha

But check out my new "car talk" record update on the way to the practice space last night! I'm liking the new compartment to hold the camera! Makes for a much safer documentation!

New Website Coming...

Sometime this winter I plan on getting snowed in on more than one occasion to get started on the official What To Keep & Let Go website. I have mentioned this before as one of my biggest goals to feature bios, merchandise links and of course clips of the music and other goodies. I wonder if
The Weston Monster will make a cameo somewhere in the site.....hmmmm..

Look for the new site sometime in the beginning months of 2010!

Studio Invasion!!!!

Holy sh*t!! I seriously thought that once the summer and fall ended the Weston Monster would have gone into hibernation like all the other creatures in the forest! But no!! Last week I spotted the beast inside the studio as I was heading back to record a section for the album! Luckily I had my camera with me to grab this quick snap shot of him peaking out of the bathroom but, like always, the moment the flash went off, so did he. He must have somehow gone out the window faster than I could run down the hall which proves that this creature is not only agile enough to escape off a porch and down a tree (see last sighting) but also FAST enough to escape an interior like a small hall and bathroom. Amidst my fear and shock, I vaguely recall seeing, too, that the window was neatly shut behind him. So...this is a creature of intelligence we're dealing with.

I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of The Weston Monster this winter...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We Just Don't Know..

During our session on the 1st, Dave and I tried to figure out what other elements of rhythm we could add to Stand, be it shakers during the first verse, tambourine during the chorus, or some quick-pickin guitar licks by Dave himself somewhere underneath it all. The idea is to keep the song subtly mimicking a train sound, very rhythmic and steady with lots of layers of percussion and beats.

Here is Dave trying out some guitar stuff of which we remained quite uncertain about...

The Return of Car Updates!

On the way up to Dave's studio on the 1st of December, I broke my vow to never again do video updates while driving! However! My new Mazda 6 has a sweet, eye level, compartment that holds my EZ Pass gadget, my ipod and NOW my digital camera! Perfect for some music news filmin'. I think it's pretty safe ;)

Check out the return of my car video updates (Enjoy, Tina!) haha

Kodi :)

Totally not music related but I simply cannot express my excitement enough and what better way than to post it for all of you to see! My girlfriend is super awesome and has sealed the deal on me getting a puppy for my Christmas gift!! She's a beautiful, two-month old black lab with a white spot on her chest and apparently pieces of white on her feet. No, I haven't actually met her yet but that is all part of the excitement of it all! She's a sweet, loving rescue dog and will soon be a part of our life. I have named her Kodi and I'm already in love with her. Look at those eyes!!! Thank you again, SO much babe!! xoxo

I'm sure I'll write a song about her some day. There! Music! haha

Asking About Ask You

During our productive concept session, I reintroduced to Dave my idea for creating an alternate ending for Ask You that goes better as the conclusion to a whole body of songs. As the single released on May 26th, having just Brendon and me through-out was effective and beautiful and has served its purpose wonderfully since then, honoring my mom and raising money for Familial Amyloidosis research. However, being the last song on the record, Ask You needs to take on a more important and meaningful roll, wrapping up the 11-piece, heavily unified themed record and allowing the listener to pop that CD out of their player feeling satisfied with a somewhat "answer" to my question "What To Keep & Let Go..."

To help pull this off, I have asked the musicians of the record to return one last time to leave their final mark on the last song, chiming in at different times in the conclusive instrumental section as a way to bring the album full circle and to run through that finish line together as a whole. I have asked Cullen, Marcin and Chad to re-listen to the song and write a part that can fit into their respective cues. They have all agreed and it will be fantastic to hear everyone in the final version. I may even have newcomers Aaron Pring and whatever back-up vocalists we bring on add a little signature of their own, as well.

I, too, will be adding another little something at the end of the song that will, lyrically and conceptually, make the entire album as a whole really make sense and help to better mirror the entire theme. It should work out really nicely.

The Agenda!

On December 1st, Dave and I once again hit the studio to discuss the upcoming work left to do on What To Keep & Let Go. It was a highly productive session, spawning some great ideas for songs like Bicycle on the Ice, Stand and Circles to name a few. Upon revisiting some of the recordings so far, we realized certain things about each one...what to take out to make the song stronger or what we need to add in order make it shine. In other words...what to keep and let go in each song! har har.

We started with Circles and had a joint listen-through of the guitar work I recorded at home this last weekend. Dave had a few suggestions regarding more simple harmonics but other than that, he's very pleased with how it came out. We'll be re-recording it with a real electric guitar out of an amp as I simply used my Ovation acoustic plugged into garage band with a preset "electric" setting for the demo. Next we had a listen to Stand and realized the song sounded much stronger as a heavy bass/rhythm driven song with Chad's electric guitar parts in there as atmosphere. Chad's melodies are beautiful but the slide parts in the opening and chorus sections seemed to hide the feel I was originally going for. From this point on, we will focus primarily on percussion and bass, soft melodies from a variety of instruments, (including some of Chad's other guitar parts in the song that fit very well), and also some ambient female vocals in certain parts to create a soft and beautiful world that I had first envisioned. We'll also be re-recording the acoustic guitar part as we're in need of a much more full-bodied sound. My art director, David Ireland, is first in line for providing us with one of his custom made guitars which should work out really nicely.

With Electric Candle pretty much complete, I wanted to have another listen to see if there was anything to tweak before we sent it to the mixing stage. Both Dave and I agreed that the viola section we put in the finale of the song was too "squeaky" and needed to be taken out. We did just that and it felt more complete at that point. With Bicycle on the Ice, we did the same thing only with a piano part that we threw in on the off-beats to originally create an interesting echo effect. On the second listen, we realized it was mimicking a somewhat "R&B" feel and it had to go.

We concluded the session with more thoughts on back-up vocalists for Horizons, as my vocals are very difficult to achieve in this song and need the help of a more experienced, finer-tuned singer to fill in the imperfections. Brian Hourihan, my co-worker and vocal trainer, has agreed to come in to audition for the roll and if his tone fits the song, we'll be set to proceed! We may need to use this treatment for other songs such as Circles, In The End and City Lights as well. My vocal style and stamina, I'm afraid, has changed since I originally wrote these songs a few years ago and I need a bit of help to cut some corners.

All in all, it was an extremely great session in the sense that we have a lot on the agenda to chisel away at in the next few months. Here's to a great six (or maybe less) months of wrappin' this puppy up!

"Chester's Super Talents"

Thanks to Bob Smith over at the Green Mountain Outlook for his write up on the show on November 21st. He had some kind words to say about all of us Chester natives!

Click here for the full story published in this week's paper back home. Thanks Bob!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thank You...

"Two people commented to me that they were "moved" by one or more of your songs." - Randall Gilmore, Green Mountain Festival Series

Whoever you are, thank you...I feel honored to have touched your hearts.

World Aids Day

In this tiny, cold corner of the world, I'm reminded of all those who are living with HIV/Aids and my heart and thoughts go out to them all, as well as those who have lost their lives to the disease and their loved ones that have been affected by it.

Love and Hope.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Let's Live How We Know Best

I spoke with my grandfather last night on the phone after a many month conversation drought and he sounded good for his age. He'll be 94 in April I believe and he has been through so much in his life: a great war, a family illness and the loss of a wife, two daughters and a son. He's a tough old man with a warm heart and a pair of tired eyes.

A couple of years ago I wrote a song about him called Rising Suns. I haven't put together a final recorded version of the song though it does exist in the form of a couple different demos. Someday I will feature it on a collection of some sort and hopefully present it to him in a better version. Until then, it will remain in my "to-do" archives but I'd like to share with you the lyrics to the song. My talk with him last night reminded me of his long life and his fragile time ahead.

Rising Suns

your eyes have seen the light of so many rising suns
your feet have brought you further than both of mine have done
and with the beating of your heart you've kept a steady pace
while tragedy and love have carved the lines upon your face

and i can't imagine
how it feels to see it all
to hold tight to the memories so they may never fall

and one day I will ask you
what you thought of your own life
but for now I think I'll let you dream tonight

the wind has carried secrets, inspired stories told
it's held up walls meant to protect, knocked down the trees of old
but today it serves one purpose and that's to keep your fire bright
for the gentle breeze holds melodies sung deep within your life

and i can't imagine
how it feels to see it all
to hold on to the memories, however big or small

and one day I'll ask you
what you thought of your own life
but for now I think I'll let you dream tonight

We never know what tomorrow brings
it's drowned out by songs we sing
but i know that the sun will set
and until it does let's just live how we know best.

GMFS Review by The Vermont Journal

Check out the article written by Donna Allen over at The Vermont Journal. First time I've seen my name spelled like the popular donuts franchise :) haha No worries, Donna! Thanks for the article!

A Grand Reunion.

Music, art, family, friends, good food and a whole lot more!

The Green Mountain Festival Series
: A Reunion Night of Music event on November 21st was filled with joy, tears, laughter and a "renewal" in the twenty-five year long series that brings talent from all over to the small high school auditorium in Chester, VT. It brought people together that haven't seen each other in years, allowed the graduates from the school to let their fellow townsmen in on what they have been up to since snagging up their GED, and brought light back to what some said was a dimming event. There is talk that they will bring back the students next year as well and I think it's a great idea!

Here are some photos from the event. Videos from my performance will be posted soon as I received the full DVD from my cousin Liz on Saturday. I regret not having any performance photos of Ida Mae Specker and Sam Lloyd but rest assured they were both amazing!

The Acts!

Sunsets & Skylines.

Kate from Rusty Belle.

Sound checking Ask You with Brendon.

Me, Sam Lloyd and Kate during Hey Jude Finale.

Matt from Rusty Belle.

Brendon Thomas.

Me, Melissa, Leah and Maura after the show.

Hey Jude finale!

Circles Guitar Work

This weekend I spent some time at home piecing together some electric guitar parts for Circles. It's really coming along and with Dave's pending approval on the sections I have written, I think it's safe to say that the song is really filling out nicely. After we nail down these parts, we'll have the daunting task at carefully selecting some orchestral instruments to bring the conclusion of the song to its most dramatic peak. This will also be, in my opinion, the climatic point of the entire record.

Ask You Raised Nearly $150 for Amyloidosis Research

Today I will be sending a check for $148 to Boston University Amyloid Treatment & Research Program thanks to the money raised by Ask You sales and random donations at last weekend's Green Mountain Festival Series event. I'd like to thank everyone who bought a CD for charity and those that threw in a few extra dollars to help our cause. We are eternally grateful. And enjoy the music.

If you'd like to make a donation in the name of The May Fund and Janet Duncan, please visit the link above. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wanted: An Old Bicycle

We're approaching winter and that means iced over ponds, which in turn means more photo opportunities for album art and posters that involve a bicycle on the ice. I've got the settings all around I just need the bike.

Melissa took some great photos last February up in Maine that I will be using for a poster design at some point but I'm really liking the idea of getting back out there on the ice with an old 60's Schwinn or something....maybe a little rusty and worn...just to have some more options for some art. She got a new camera for her birthday so I'm guessing she'd love to lend a hand with her new toy!

Until then, I'll be on the look out for this crucial What To Keep & Let Go prop. If you have any ideas, or know of anyone that is trying to sell one that looks similar to the bicycle you see on my blog art and buttons, please contact me! Thanks!


I was listening to Ask You this morning on the car ride to work and it occurred to me that I haven't been giving my aunt Cindy, who also died of Amyloidosis, enough attention. I do mention her a lot, along with my grandmother, in articles for Search for a Cure and other Amyloidosis related events but I never have once thought about writing about her...until now.

Cindy and I weren't as close as my mom and I were, obviously, but she was still a big part of my young life. My sister and I used to spend a lot of time over at her house where next door she owned and ran a carpet retail business with her boyfriend, Danny. We used to play around in the large rolls of carpet in the back of the building, jumping from one to the other while songs like Madonna's "Like a Prayer" played over the sound system. There was a big, puffy white office chair that was fun to spin around in behind her desk. She had three dogs, Bette, Boo and Zach, and they were great to be around. The house was an old, white, Victorian that sat on the banks of the Black River and overlooked the Springfield Plaza. The historic Gear Shapers building sat adjacent to the house and used to develop machinery and airplane parts for World War II. I heard it was actually a bombing target for the Nazis.

But I digress. Cindy was a young, motorcycle-ridin', wild spirit who loved dogs and the camera lens. The youngest of the kids in the family, she remained in the house that she grew up in and seemed to live a free-spirited life. When she got sick with Amyloidosis, she no longer could live on her own and so stayed with us at our house. I was probably 10 and my mom wasn't quite sick yet. I remember we had a big, blue easy chair in the living room where she sat for most of the time, getting weaker and weaker. The Cindy that I grew up to know in the big, white house and carpet business was no longer there. Being so young and seeing the disease for the first time, I think I tended to withdraw a bit from Cindy because it was such a big change and seeing her like that was difficult.

Cindy eventually required the care of a hospital and after a good while of living with us in Chester, she moved out. Not long after, she passed away due to complications of the liver transplant or being so far along that the surgery made no difference.

I haven't really shared much about Cindy until now and I think she deserves more than that. Sure, I wasn't as close with her but she was still family and I wish she was still around to get to know better. I was so young when she died that I never really had a conversation with her.

So with all this said, I'm thinking of writing a song about her. Something simple yet beautiful to express my feelings of a life I never really got to know with her. I'll call it Cindy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Running around in circles.... find the right sound!

The past couple of weeks have been progressive in finding the right acoustic guitar combination for doubling up the tracks in Circles. On the 12th, we took my newly set up Breedlove into the studio and played over the original track (without the drums) but realized that there wasn't enough difference in tone when using the same guitar for the double. So on the 19th, we redid the track using Dave's guitar (see earlier post) and that had a much more authentic sound.

Here are a couple of videos during these sessions.

Rutland Herald article about the Festival Series

Check out the article written by Josh O'Gorman at the Rutland Herald. He had contacted me last week for a brief phone interview about the event and the story ran on the 19th of November. Thanks Josh!

Click here to read!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Circles Guitar

Last night Dave and I worked through the drum sections that Cullen did for Circles and he was so spot on that it didn't take much at all to finish it up. With time to spare we talked over the doubled acoustic guitar part and realized we needed it BUT with a different acoustic. Dave pulled out one of his guitars that had some old strings on it but when played together with the newly set-up Breedlove, it sounded AMAZING!

I'm very excited about how this song will turn out

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Reunion Night of Music

I will be returning to my hometown of Chester, VT on Saturday to play a half hour set at the Green Mountain Festival Series: A Reunion Night of Music event featuring Brendon Thomas, Ida Mae Specker, Sam Lloyd, Jr. and Rusty Belle. Show starts at 6:30 at the Green Mountain Union High School and event information, ticket pricing and artist profiles can be found on the

It'd be great to see you there! I will be selling Ask You CD's to raise money for Familial Amyloidodis research at Boston University Amyloid Treatment & Research Program, as well as "bicycle buttons" to raise money to pay for the album project.

Oh, I open the show at 6:30 so arrive early! Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bicycle on your shirt...

...or bag, guitar strap or where ever you want!

I ordered some buttons from
One Inch Round
in Portland, Oregon the other day and told them I needed a rush delivery so I'd have them in time for next Saturday's show in Chester, VT. Well, they came through in a very timely fashion! I received the buttons yesterday and they came out great! I will be selling them at the Green Mountain Festival Series show next weekend and if I have any left over, I will make them available to the general public (price to be determined). Most likely I'll be using One Inch Round's services again in the future; their prices are great, quality is satisfactory and they're turn around time is amazing!

Now to find a t-shirt place...

Cullen's Last "Stand"....

....well, until he returns for Hello, Amy.

On November 4th, the studio came to life again with the arrival of Cullen and Marcin. It was good to hear Cullen's drum beats coming out of the recording room while Marcin sat and cracked jokes and avoided my videotaping. haha It was a very successful night with Cullen laying down drum tracks to his final songs, Stand and Circles, making it possible for Dave and I to proceed with more guitar parts, strings and vocals.

Cullen has done an awesome job with his parts on What To Keep & Let Go and the songs wouldn't be what they are without his talent. He'll be back for our live recording of Hello, Amy as a full band but until then, thanks for all your time and energy, bro.

What Are You Doing?!?! haha

I attempted to capture some random lolli-pop humor that Marcin was spewing off in the studio but I didn't get the button hit in time and then I was caught again! Blasted!

"A little more simple"

Cullen's unique drumming style has lent itself wonderfully to songs like Horizons, City Lights and In The End with his sudden rhythm changes, out-of-no-where splash cymbals and intense fill-rolls driving the songs till their final beat. With Circles, however, I was looking for a more direct, less flashy beat to carry out the ideas, which Cullen managed to do quite nicely. In this following clip, I'm explaining how it'd be good to get a more simple fill-roll in the end...just to have in case.

Let's Do It!

Cullen's last recording session was of particular interest to me as he was scheduled to tackle the most important song on the record to me-Circles. He had some exposure to the song here and there through random introductions at practice and the demo that I sent to him but until this session, I was unsure exactly what his treatment was going to be. Not surprisingly, he came through in true Cullen form and nailed it down perfectly and confidently, meeting every expectation I had for this pivotal song.

Filming Marcin

I have turned into the annoying camera guy. haha It was great to have Marcin back in the studio for a number of reasons, one being that I got to video tape some of his humorous antics he tends to bring into the setting. He hasn't changed much in not wanting to be filmed tho...haha

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Weston Monster Chase!!!

Whoa!!! Just when I thought The Weston Monster disappeared into the warmth of some cavern for the cooler weather, it showed up RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME the other night before my recording session!! I'm really surprised that no one else saw it as the studio was quite full with people. Marcin, in fact, was there right before me. I wonder if this illusive beast has it out for only me! I wonder what is making it come closer these days.....

I was able to get three good snap shots of the creature before it ran off into the woods. I couldn't tell if he was angry or just amused that he was able to evade capture! Not sure what I'd even DO with the monster if i caught him...

Here are the photos!! I wonder if I could get money for these....hmmm

Thursday, November 5, 2009

2010 then.

It's looking to me that What To Keep & Let Go will not be ready for your CD players until 2010. With less than two months to go until the ball drops, it's highly unlikely we'll finish up these songs with so much more to do.

As we progress further along, I will make a more definitive release date. I'm hoping for sometime in March.

Thanks everyone for your patience!

Practice Makes Perfect!

Well we weren't perfect by any means with such a long time since our last practice, but we were able to get in a good couple hours of review, rockin' around and random jams. And that wasn't all! Each of us brought back a bit of our unique character to the space: Cullen feasted on some burnt pizza and peanut butter crackers in between beats, Marcin took every opportunity he could get to impress us with his frantic fingered bass lines, Chad wore his new Carnival Hero attire and fired the band up with some wild guitar riffs and I, of course, opened my gig bag only to find a broken guitar string! Typical! haha I did get a chance, however, to rip into a sloppy but ambitious solo on cue during our blues jam, which definitely left me realizing how much practice I need at that. haha

Good times as always and hopefully we'll have more practices in the future with less down time in between.

Last Transmition from Saturn

October 27th marks the last night of video updates from my trusty 2006 Saturn Ion as it succumbed to its doom last week after I wrecked it on the way to practice. Luckily no one was hurt and I'm thankful that the accident didn't occur due in part to filming these rather risky videos while driving haha. I was wondering how much longer the car was going to hold up, it having so many miles on it, so my accident was somewhat of a blessing in disguise. I'm currently in search for my new vehicle and I'm not so sure I'll feel comfortable doing any more video updates while driving, it being a brand new car and one accident per car is enough for me, thanks. haha I'll wait till I get to my destination!

R.I.P. Saturn (sorry, I never named you...haha)

Let It Slide

On the 27th of October, Dave made some attempts at correcting some slide parts in Stand that didn't seem to sound quite right. Chad gave us permission to try and redo these parts but instead of taking them out completely, it was our hope to simply go over the sharp or flat sections with another guitar so we could retain Chad's musical signature. Dave tried three different guitars, one being a lap steel, but in the end we realized we could not cover up nor replace what Chad had envisioned in his sections. We simply need him to come back in and redo them!

Here are some photos and video of Dave making his attempts at the Stand verses.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Please "Stand"by...

So I sent Stand to Chad yesterday to show him our concerns with the slide part and he agrees that it may need to be redone. He's also thinking that he might play around with using an ebow for the verse parts, a sound that would be somewhat similar to what he's going for with the slide. He's going to play around with it and see what he can come up with.

Additionally, it had been in my hopes to use hand percussion SOMEWHERE in the album (this effort failed in Electric Candle) and so our next target was Stand. Chad, having started to learn how to play the djembe, seems very interested in playing a hand drum part in Stand which I think would be great. He already has some ideas that he wants to introduce to me and I'm sure it'll sound great.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where we Stand....

Last night Dave and I, with Melissa providing a third pair of ears, picked through Chad's Stand guitar parts and found the ones that worked best, throwing out the ones that seemed out of pitch in places due to Chad's use of the very difficult glass slide on his guitar. The different effects and delays he has for the song are great, providing a somewhat earthy atmosphere over the already twangy, dare-i-say, country-ish feel of the song. We have a lot to go with this tune, still needing Cullen's drum work over it as well as a second, more energetic acoustic guitar part, but it's looking really good! I like where we're at!

Being almost November, tho, I'm starting to wonder if this won't be a 2010 release...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You "NO" Best!

The Electric Candle release poll has closed and it was pretty unanimous: the song will NOT be made available until the album is officially released.

I'm very happy with this as it shows you are all excited for the final but not to the point of ruining any surprises :)

Thank you to those who participated in the poll and sorry to those who wanted it released; you'll have to be patient for a few more months.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cam DeBarcho?

Who is this mysterious man behind Chad Macomber's new album project - "The Diary of Mr. Cam DeBarcho"?

Find out here.

How MUCH is that monster in the window....

....the one with the scary black tail?!

holy Sh*t! The beast can either FLY or has raided the garage for a ladder! I caught this image of the creature outside the studio window while Dave was setting up the wind chime mics!!! It seems to be getting closer to the house with every new sighting...I hope he doesn't find his way inside and cause all sorts of havoc!

I'm going to have to start figuring out ways to protect this project....and us.

Dave & Dylan

Been a great ten months so far... Here's to finishing this puppy up!

Though it's hard I try not to look at my wind chimes...

....Now and then a tear rolls off my cheek. Well said Brian Wilson, well said.

I don't cry over the beautiful sounds of my wind chimes like Mr. Wilson but I DO take great pride in having them outside our bedroom window to fall asleep to! They were left hanging on my Brighton porch from previous tenants I suspect and I grew to love them so much that I had to take them with me to Randolph. Who knew that they'd end up in one of the songs!

The Sun Sets on Electric Candle

As I drove to the studio, I filmed one of my "from the steering wheel" videos expressing my excitement for the completion of Electric Candle, the poll (which the "no!"s currently hold the lead, and what song is next (which I don't really know!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Electric Candle....

.....done! :) (minus mixing, of course)

In the words of Guster, "...on to the next one!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ask You to benefit Amyloidosis Research

October 17th marks our third Search for a Cure event in Chester, VT and we're hoping for clear skies, beautiful foliage and lots of warm and caring people to come out and help us raise money for Amyloidosis research.
Search for a Cure
is an event that was created back in 2006 by my life long friend Meredith Johnson and it has been successful in raising close to $10,000 for research and The Diflunisal Trial, a clinical investigation on the effects of Diflunisal on the production of Amyloid proteins in FAP patients (my sister and self included). After completing the trial back in June, I am on a regular prescription of the drug and if things go according to plan, I, along with my sister and many other Familial patients, should be able to avoid this deadly disease and long, harsh treatments.

Along with the scavenger hunt, I plan on generating some fundraising dollars by selling copies of Ask You at the event. I'm handmaking 50 sleeves that will contain a CD of Ask You and a bonus acoustic track of May, a song that once appeared on an album I did with Chad Macomber back in college. Like the monies raised from the search, all the proceeds from Ask You sales will go directly to the Boston University Treatment and Research Program to benefit The Diflunisal Trial. There will also be order forms available in case the CD sells out and participants are interested in purchasing more.

If you don't have plans on Saturday and would like to come out to help our cause, please visit: for more information on the event and how to register. It's a great and hopeful time for all.

Poll: Should Electric Candle Be Released on October 20th

On the eve of its completion, it is in my thoughts to perhaps release Electric Candle next Tuesday as the 2nd completed song on the record. However, I am torn as I do not know if it'd be best to wait for the entire album to be completed before revealing any more songs. But I'm excited to share it and keep you all interested as well! What to do? What to do!?

So! I have put up a poll that will close next Monday night to see what you all think on this matter! After I see the results, I will make my decision and do what is in your interest.

The poll can be taken in the sidebar on the right.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus, Wild Rumpus, Internal Compass

What do these three things have in common? Well....they all hold a special place this week in October, today being of course Columbus Day; and at the end of the week the long awaited "Where the Wild Things Are" hits theaters! An internal compass?...well, this has more to do with finding yourself than it does a distant land. And why not take advantage of all this inspiration and start searching within?

Discovery. Columbus made a big find, this we all know ...although it can be argued a great deal that this is really a European "discovery"; that other explorers from different countries found the New World long before he did and that there were in fact people already settled here. Nevertheless, it's an important holiday and it's fun for some of us to get the day off and enjoy the crisp fall weather, eh? :) And while Columbus traveled across the Atlantic from Spain to the America's, Maurice Sendak's character Max makes a discovery of his own in the beloved children's book "Where the Wild Things Are" when he leaves his state of punishment to travel the seas of his imagination, sailing to the land of the Wild Things. There he conquers the great monsters, becomes King, does a little dance and returns home upon a wave of homesickness. He finds his dinner waiting for him when he arrives.

But not all quests and discoveries are to new worlds and distant lands filled with monsters. No...some epic journeys don't require you to even leave your country or your bedroom. Sometimes the greatest discoveries can be made within yourself by using your own internal compass...figuring out where you are and where you need to go.

I won't delve into details but it's no secret by now that this album project is, in a way, riding my emotional and psychological coat tails, existing as an entity that has much greater meaning due to the crazy unfolding of events in my own life to make it so. It's become apparent to me that my life and the album seem to be running parallel to each other, holding hands in this journey to figure ourselves out and for me.... to learn what is most important in life. Maybe then, it's not the album that is benefiting.....but perhaps myself. I really do feel that I'm figuring out where to go throughout this entire process.

However, I don't think my compass necessarily points anywhere special. Like many others, I'm in this constant push and pull of direction in day being so entirely sure of what I want and where I'm going and the next not having the slightest clue on how to even open my eyes to see the options. It's a merry-go-round and roller coaster all in one with only a couple barf bags to get you through. But the insane ride is all part of it! The discovery of where you're going and how high you're willing to go, how fast you're willing to fall just to get back on with a weary smile across your face and a "wow, that was actually great!" shining from your soul.

So this week in October we celebrate Mr. Columbus, little Max and the compass inside us all...for they all three help remind us of grand discoveries, outside and in.

Dark Creature!

My biggest fear is that I'd run into that creature when it got dark! And of COURSE, that fear came true last week. I was driving up to Dave's a little later than usual (that and it's getting dark earlier) and I spotted it: the monster that seems to be stalking me on my studio visits! I stopped immediately in the road to take this picture and I am surprised I was able to muster up enough courage to continue down the road, get out of the car and head up to Dave's place. I just barely captured this picture seconds before the beast ran off into the woods.....
I hope that was the last I saw of it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Crazy Tea!

No, we don't have any special teas that keep us crazy and wired...that's just me being a moron.

haha We do love our tea though at
Fat Dave's Place and rely heavily on it to stay awake and alert as we plummet into the late night hours. Chai, English name it and Dave has it sitting there on his stove ready for us to consume.

I just realized this is such a lame post.

A Fly on The Wall

Well, this is clearly isn't a fly. In fact we mistook it at first for a wasp and were wondering how we'd escape the night without getting stung! Turns out this friendly little guy landed himself on the chandelier above our console station to hang out for most of the night. I like to think that he was dropping in to see what was going on, enjoying the music and vibrations and serving as our unofficial studio mascot. I wonder if he'll bring friends next time.....
haha that might not be as cute.


At the end of our session, we seemed to have a good grasp on Electric Candle and what final steps we need to take to finish it up. As I drove home, I decided to commentate on the evening and what we accomplished!

It's Shaker Time!

We needed a little bit of soft percussion to fill in the spots where the snare drops out in Electric Candle. Since Dave seems a bit more rehearsed in his egg-shaker rhythm, I took to the controls while he laid down a shaker track! At first it seemed strange having it in there but with some other bass drum stuff we're playing with, it sits in there quite nicely.

Subtlety is "keys"!

Upon maybe our tenth full listen of the song, Dave said he kept hearing some very soft and subtle piano chords in the 2nd verse after the cello comes in. He played it right where he felt it belonged and it sounded beautiful! So we figured out the chords and threw in that extra touch.

Here is Dave figuring out the chords. We suspected the keyboard of being digitally out of tune...which of course is impossible. Maybe our chai tea was wearing off...

You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings least beneath the song! Sorry, Bette.

So we needed something to kind of serve as the atmospheric glue for the song and support that idea of a wintery space in a cold and lonely attic. We attempted to do a scratchy record player sound but it turned out that high frequency pops made it sound like fire and this is in fact a song about an ELECTRIC candle...not a real one. haha So that didn't work. So the next thought was wind. And through some trial, error and a few cups of tea, we landed ourselves with a pretty neat fabricated wind effect that required some twists and turns of the knob to control the howls! I like howling so I was the on board for the task!

If you listen close....or have better headphones than a pair of earbuds, you can hear the wind blowing through the song :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We've Got A Handle on Electric Candle!

Dave and I went from my initial desired simple acoustic/voice composition of Electric Candle to adding cello, piano melodies, on and then off again bongos/congas, snare drum, a wintery wind sound effect, some shaker, a bellowing boom of a bass drum in some parts and some reverb for space....ALL without crowding the song and drifting too far away form that concept of being alone and distant from everyone (which is what the song suggests). With possibly only ONE more session to go before the song wraps, we have a solid direction of what we need to finish it up and fill in a few of the cracks. We plan on adding some small sound effects like wind chimes and some violin to harmonize the cello in some parts and add to the intensity of the chorus. Electric Candle will be the next finished song on What To Keep & Let Go.

Here are some photos of Dave playing with the piano parts. Approachin' it at ALL angles!