Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting close...

Meeting with Dave Eastman in Weston on Tuesday to talk over the the schedule for recording over the next few months. Should be really productive! I spoke with the guys and I have a pretty good idea when they are available for both practices and recording sessions.

Should be a great time! Can't wait to post studio photos and video!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dave Eastman on In The End

Dave had some things to say about In The End that will be featured on the album. Here are his thoughts on the direction of the song:

"When I first heard this song, and still now, I picture a rocker that starts out with just vocals, guitar, strings, piano, maybe some other element. I hear the drums coming in strong with a toms driven beat around the chorus or the lines 'but when you throw a line.' Thats been my reaction everytime i've listened to this song and seems to fit when you want a gentler feel in the beginning and have it build somewhere- then again maybe what I'm hearing is a bit too heavy. Overall, I think this song has a great dark rock vibe to it."

Dave also had a chance to listen to the live version played on Jan. 25th in Weston. (You can find this on the January, 26 post.

"Its sounding thing I noticed was that all of the instruments jump in at the beginning- some more space could be taken for instrumental development."

Definitely a good thoought. I agree that there could be more building and maybe with Marcin's piano/strings part along with the acoustics to carry us into it. Can't wait to see how it comes out!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

...We're Always Changing

So, I was flipping through some pages of my old lyrics book and found the page with tentative track names for the album planned sometime in you can see, a good deal of songs were cut from the final list, while some were inserted!

And on the adjacent page I came across a small description of the themes and ideas behind What To Keep & Let Go. Hmmm, I'm pretty sure I stuck with these ideas..

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ear Protection and Beer Poses!

Some fun photos from the practice on Jan. 25, 2009.

To Cure The Wounds of Those In Pain

The guys and I ran through In the End for the first time ever and it came out very intense and great! My vocals are all over the place (haha) but everything really sounds nice. Chad's guitar is really dark and the mood is perfect. It'd be interesting to see how to incorporate a little bit of the piano work that Marcin played around with a few days ago. Check it out!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mr. Chad Macomber has arrived!!

Chad Macomber joined the gang today as we went over Horizons and In the End, the two songs that he will be adding his special touch to. Everything really fell into place nicely and his sound is going to be a really welcomed addition to these songs. Very very excited. Check out the full band version of Horizons in this post.

And make sure you head on over to Chad's music blog as well:

Horizons Full Band

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Horizons Bass View

Going through some of the videos shot over the last month and this one is definitely the most visually entertaining. Cookie Monster made a cameo!

Friday, January 23, 2009

In The End, 1-23-09

Marcin Kuc and I worked through some stuff with In The End tonight and to my surprise we never went over any of the bass parts. Instead, Marcin came up with some brilliant piano melodies that I feel have changed the scope of the song entirely. It has definitely retained its dark and dramatic tone but feels much more gentle and beautiful than I originally had envisioned. I absolutely love it. I am excited to see how the other parts fit in with what Marcin came up with...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Poster Designs

Did up some poster design sketches. Check em out!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What To Keep? Sticky Notes of course!! Always!

So I was just rummaging through my desk drawers at work for any sketches or doodles I might have done of the last few months for What To Keep & Let Go graphics.

Found some!

Album Art, Sketches, Doodles

A while back I sketched out some graphics for possible t-shirt designs, album cover art (which has been developed entirely from what you see here) and other little fun things. I have decided to post a couple of these pages. The arm shows a tattoo idea I have involving a portrait of my mom with the lyrics "nothing lasts forever save the memory of you" scribed into her hair. Nothing Lasts Forever will be a future song...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

City Lights Lead Guitar Work

So I have been working through some lead guitar compositions for City Lights and you can hear what I have come up with in the accompanying video. Please note the tone of the guitar is not something I necessarily desire for the song; I'm more focused on trying to come up with the arrangement and note progression.

Dave Eastman had a chance to listen to the guitar work and came up with some suggestions, all of which I completely agree with. I am currently working on revising this part and will update you on its progress. Keep in mind as well that this just a demo version of the song; drums, bass and singing are all just placeholders for the lead experiments.

Dave's Notes:

" I listened/watched the city lights
recording from Cullens house- its coming along really well. I put
together some notes on the lead guitar part you sent me- here they are

verse 1- the intro melody is nice- kind of a floaty/blind melon vibe. The
delay you have on it suits that feel. could see it being a bit more
locked into the main groove as this song has an uptempo-rocker sound.

prechorus1- the lead does a good job of lifting/building the prechorus to
the chorus

chorus- overall, it feels like the ld gtr and the vocals are fighting for
the same space. the lead should either double the vocal and stray a
little bit, staying complimentary to the melody, or just harmonically
compliment the lead vocal all the way through, or some combination.
Basically, the rhythm and the harmony need to match up a bit more.

verse 2- compliments the vocals pretty well- maybe make this line a bit
more sparse? (i.e. not having it repeat every 2 bars?)

prechorus2- again, this does a nice job of building to the chorus.

chorus2- Same thing as chorus 1- could have it match up melodically with
the lead vocal for the first 8 bars then start to build for the second 8
towards the bridge- you do this a bit in the demo.

bridge- want to keep this pretty minimal so the solo section afterwards
really pops out- otherwise, you're hearing too much lead guitar.

solo- like this solo- you're basically looking for a soaring type of solo
that heightens this section. Minimal well chosen notes with the delay on
could be very effective- or one minimal guitar with delay and another
smaller sounding guitar filling in the gaps. want this section to be big
so that the drop down for the quiet start to chorus 3 is dynamically large
and important.

drop down- no lead?

chorus 3- This sections sounds good- could keep the solo closer to the
melody at the beginning, and then like you do in the demo, have it take
off a bit and harmonically compliment the vocal and logically lead us to
the drop down in intensity at the very end.

end verse- I like coming back to the playful verse melody.

The lead part has a really good feel. Ultimately, it just needs to be
narrowed down a bit so that there it isn't overplayed and so that every
time it comes in, it serves a specific purpose."

Brendon & Adrian

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Brendon Thomas a bit about his possible involvement with Ask You and if he'd still be interested in recording his guitar part. He said he would love to. We're just on hold for total commitment until it's known for a fact he'll be returning to the east coast from New Mexico. Lookin' good tho! I'm very excited.

Adrian Newkirk has also expressed his continued interest to play on Electric Candle. I'm thrilled! I can see it as a dual acoustic guitar song. Maybe a little bass in the back ground and some light percussion.

Target Release Date of May 26, 2009

I was on my way to work this morning listening to Ask You, the song I wrote for my mom and it dawned on me: What To Keep & Let Go needs to be completed and released on May 26, 2009. This day is of great importance to me as it was the day my mom passed away from Amyloidosis and it will be 12 years ago this May. I can't see a better date to release the album that is so very much inspired by her life, her death and the events and experiences that followed. And it's on a Tuesday as well! CDs come out on Tuesdays! haha (that was just coincidence)

What To Keep & Let Go - Due out May 26, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Horizons Guitar Work

I had a chance this weekend to work with Chad a bit on the Horizons lead work he has come up with. Check it out in the clip! The beginning part is experimental and don't think it will be like this. Just playing around with some ideas.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tentative Musicians

Brendon Thomas of FOREVERINMOTION played guitar on Ask You back in 2007 at my mom's 10 year memorial fundraising event. I was so moved by his contribution to the song that I invited him to play on the album when the time came to record it and he agreed to do it. I threw him on The Musicians section on the side bar but I realize he is super busy with his own project coming out in March so his involvement is yet to be determined. If you're reading, Brendon, let me know if you're still interested because it'd be great to have ya on.

Adrian Newkirk is a good friend of mine who lives in Walpole, NH. I have him slated to play on Electric Candle as we had a great jam on it a couple months back and I loved what he came up with. He too is a tentative musician on the album as I don't know how easy it will be to get him down to Weston, MA. He frequents his hometown of Providence, RI every once in a while so perhaps on his way down sometime.....Adrian, you been practicing?? haha

As far as I know the other musicians are on board and ready to work! So exciting..


So I have realized for a while now that I need to work a bit on my vocals. This is especially apparent when I watch a video of us practicing and the veins in my neck look like they're going to snap like an old string hit too hard. haha My coworker Brian is a singer and has offered to help train my voice so I'm more at ease with singing falsettos, belting out the intense parts, etc etc. I'm grateful for his advice and excited to condition my voice before singing on this album. Here's to improving!

Horizons Bass Work, January 14, 2009

Went over to Marcin's to work with the bass line minus the awesome drum work by Cullen and here is what manifested! (Sorry it's a bit dark...)

The Official Site (Coming Soon)

So I finally got the alignment issues right on the main site (thanks to Travis) and here is the link provided in this post!

From there you can access the featured demos on Reverbnation and Myspace. Also there is a link BACK to this blog. My direct email address is provided as well.

For easy access to the site, click the website thumnbnail shown in the side bar.

Thanks for visiting!


Thursday, January 15, 2009


I thought I would write a bit about my thoughts on working with all of these talented musicians and artists on What To Keep & Let Go. Frankly, I love it.

I was thinking about it a bit last night after talking with Marcin about "putting your trust in everyone's artistry". Not sure he said exactly that but I couldn't agree more with that idea. I mean at the same time it's a terrifying thought, no? It's almost like handing someone the brush you're using to paint this very personal picture, having them dip it in their own colors and just make their mark however and wherever they feel is right. Yikes! Anything could happen! What you expect or not!

But that's the beauty of it. The interpretation that others have on your own blueprints. How they see things fit together to make the whole thing that much stronger. How they shape and mold and change what you thought was satisfactory only to realize that art is never done, always impermanent, expressed in many different ways and absolutely open for interpretation.

What To Keep & Let Go. Will we ever know? Tough to say.... But while you're trying to figure it out, let it all in. Be open to everything and anything that happens to you. Don't get too ahead of yourself or you'll actually miss the process of it all.

I'm excited to be working with these talented artists and grateful to know them. I cannot wait to see how things evolve with their help and input.

Demo CD Cover Art

A few weeks back I made up a handful of What To Keep & Let Go demo albums to hand out to friends and family. The idea for the art was to show something sketchy,...unfinished...much like the demos themselves. Above is the artwork for the CDs that I made. If you would like one, let me know and maybe we can work it out! I won't be making these after the finals are done so get your copy now! haha

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chad Macomber music update!!

So a few days back I plugged my buddy Chad's new band's blog site. He has since changed the name of the blog to Ashes to Embers.

To get there click below!! Support his tunes!

Ashes to Embers



Horizons Lyrics

So i was sifting through my notebook and came across the Horizons lyrics (and its modifications) and thought I'd share the handwritten version! Perhaps I'll do this with all 11 tracks..

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The "M" String and Background Screamer

More Horizons craziness with a made up string and an out of place scream in the song. Turns out I confused Marcin with a missing chord or two.

"I got a fever. And the only cure... is more cowbell"

More cowbell!!

Figuring Out Horizons Bass

Here is a video from Jan. 7th. Marcin is working on the bass guitar part for Horizons. It'll get stuck in your head too!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Listen to the Songs

I will post some direct links on the side bar that will lead to my available demos online but until then you can follow these links to hear them!


Happy listening! But don't get too used to them...they'll be full versions in the next few months!


Chad's Song

My great friend and longtime musical collaborator Chad Macomber is starting a band up in the north shores of this great state of Massachusetts and I urge you to follow his progress! He is on blogger! Check him out! He will go far.

Chad will also be a featured guitarist on a few songs on What to Keep and Let Go.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Music video??

My friend Ian will be working on a music video for Bicycle on the Ice. I'm very very excited to see what he comes up with but he described using the same sketchy look you see in the header art.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of that!


January 7th Practice Photos

Photos by Amy Miller

City Lights

On January 7th, I got together with Marcin Kuc and Cullen Corley to run through some songs so we could have a better feel for what they'll sound like in the studio. Below is some video from the night's practice!

City Lights

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Web Site

Currently working on this project's coming soon website that will feature links to both myspace and reverbnation as well as a link back to this production journal. The address to the main site is:

You can also click on the "YOU WILL KNOW" banner on the side bar to the right.

For regular updates, come back to this blog site. News on the main sites progress will be posted here.

Introductory Session

On December 16th, I went into Fat Dave's Studio in Weston, MA to begin preliminary planning for What To Keep & Let Go. Dave Eastman and I sat and drank tea and then did a few practice runs of the song Bicycle on the Ice. This was mainly to get a feel for the studio space.

Here is a photo taken from this practice session.