Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Aaron Pring!

The drummer from Dave's band The Royalty will be coming aboard tonight to work on Electric Candle percussion. Aaron Pring will be finalizing our drum sections with a snare sound over our existing bongo/conga mix. It should be an interesting addition to the sound and I'm excited to hear what Dave has in mind with it. Welcome, Aaron!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Weston Monster, Sighting 1!

Holy sh*t.

After my previous "quiet-talking" post and my suspicion of some sort of monster nearby, I took it upon myself to review some of my old photos that I took in and around Dave's studio to see if I could find any suspicious happenings. Sure enough, a photo that was taken of me for my May song promo back in the spring reveals a shady monster character coming right at me! I had no idea and luckily something must have scared it away before it was able to attack. It must have gotten spooked by the camera flash or something...

Somehow I didn't notice this in the original photo back in May but here it is clear as day! Check out my first sighting of The Weston Monster! I will be sure to look through some more photos and perhaps do some more scouting around the premises during future sessions.

The Visual Side of Things

Don't ask me why I am talking so quiet here. Must be I don't want the secret getting out that I'm excited about creating the visual elements to the What To Keep & Let Go project. That or there's a monster in the woods in Weston and I'm afraid of getting captured outside of Dave's studio.

To Quote City Lights....

"The summer's over and it's getting cold."

Feels great :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Still Plugging Away At Electric Candle

Dave and I met on the 22nd to once again hash out some parts for Electric Candle. It is our goal to work on one song at a time so as not to lose focus and direction. During our prior session, we nailed down some hand drum work in attempt to lay down a better structural backbone for other parts such as a piano melody and cello harmonies. After some beat tweaking and such, we were able to begin with piano. We took what Marcin had originally envisioned for a melody and modified it a bit (you still get credit for that, buddy) haha

Here is Dave working out the piano. Don't mind the crazy red faced man at the end of the clip.

Shout Out To Tina!

I am grateful to have my cousin Tina, who I haven't seen in a long time, be following my blog! Here is my classic video update on the way to the studio, with a shout out to her! :)

There is a Light In Your Eyes

We push and pull and I fall down sometimes....

My girlfriend and I saw Mat Kearney last night at the Boston House of Blues and it was a long time coming. Back in February when Melissa and I really started to get to know each other, it was Mat Kearney that filled our car space on 3 hour long road trips interrupted by random foggy roads and cemeteries, iced over ponds and just-over-the-line state welcome centers. We found ourselves relating to the lyrics and the stories he tells of love and self-discovery. It's not every day you come across an artist that makes you feel like he or she is actually you in the future or that you're on the same path as they were before they wrote the words you so closely relate to. Melissa says over and over again - "You guys are practically the same person". haha We do seem to have a lot of the same things to say.

Like I suspect Mat Kearney felt at one point, I have been feeling like I'm not too great in relationships. I tend to have commitment and focus issues and I attribute a lot of that to losing a close intimate connection with my mom at such an early age, afraid of getting too close in fear of losing them perhaps. Melissa has a lot of patience with me and seems to understand my "push and pull" tendencies though it's not totally easy for her. She's remarkable in her tolerance. I do tend to stumble back quite a bit but I know I'll get there, the place that I'm comfortable where I am and every step forward is full of life and not fear. The show last night brought Melissa and I even closer, reminding us of those early days when we were learning everything about each other: who we were, who we are and who we want to be.

I saw three of my favorite bands this week and loved each of them in their own way. U2 was nothing short of brilliant and revisiting my passion for them with my best buddy Chad was incredible while Snow Patrol brought out that rhythmic energy in me that I have been longing for. However, I have to say that the deep connection I found with a guy who's life seems to run parallel to that of my own, who lights up a small venue with his down-to-earth, "my brother went to BU", like charm, will stick with me always. He sings of changes within himself and a hope for a more grounded and fulfilled life of love and hope and I aspire to be more like that.

And having the girl you grew to love with his music by your side only helps to amplify that feeling.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You Can Only Take What You Can Carry

Snow Patrol opened for U2 and their first song really stuck with me. Entitled, If There's a Rocket Tie Me to It, it seemed to speak directly to me with a sense of longing, choice and life changing experiences. Granted, I do not know the exact meaning of the song but upon reading the lyrics I have come up with my own little interpretation.

"You can only take what you can carry."

This almost screams to me in a way of helping to make my own decisions in regards to what to keep and let go in my own life. Almost like whatever I do decide to keep, it's not going to be a whole lot in quantity. But I suspect the value of this handful of things will be quite great; the quality, immeasurable.

It's no secret to some how afraid I am in my life. Being both scared of losing people and getting too close to them at the same time makes for quite an interesting case. Where do you find that medium? Somewhere in between there must exist a space that offers a little bit of both as a way to balance yourself out; to center your life between those who love you and those who don't. Maybe that's what it's all about. Maybe those are the people you take with you; the ones that will fight along side your insecurities, your fears and love you all the same. Those that don't believe in the changes you go through and accept that you are simply going in your direction will simply stay behind and watch you go. Even those that believe in you don't have to follow physically; they'll remain inside of you. So in that sense, perhaps you can take with you much more than you think.

After all, there's always room for love.

Magnificent

Last night finished off the two night back-to-back U2 concert series that I attended here in Foxboro, MA. Despite some sporadic lack of energy on the part of the band and some sound issues due to perhaps some faulty acoustics issues or more likely an incompetent sound booth, the show was mind blowing.

"Lift Off!" Bono cried after their first performance last night. They were playing with their enormous, larger than life "spaceship" stage, inviting us to come along with them on a musical journey through different worldly regions, outer space and into the depth of our hearts.

Beginning with a lot of their newer songs like Magnificent, Get On Your Boots and No Line On The Horizon, U2 propelled themselves around their 360 degree stage, catering to every side of Gillete stadium while at the same time remaining as a close knit unit, soaring in their convictions and modest in their charm and humor. Highlights included inviting people up to participate in songs like Walk On and Until The End of the World and The Edge's powerful guitar solo in Unknown Caller. For anyone that doesn't find I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight a good song on the record, give the live showing version a chance- you'll be blown away by Larry's energy on the hand drum and The Edge's infectious stage jump to every driving beat of this intense, worldly, remix. It was the best part of the show, hands down!

They closed with Moment of Surrender, an emotional and powerful song that leads the way in favorites for me on the album. Somehow after two hours of singing to 50,000 people, Bono managed to conjure up his most powerful voice in the last song of the evening. Piercing over a haunting organ and Adam's driving bass line came Bono's heart wrenching vocals, painful and beautiful tones in the same breath that I hope touched as many hearts as it did mine. The ending of the song seemed to drop off to the end of the show too quickly and emotionless for any full appreciation of it, however. The band members put down their respective instruments in a manner that seemed to suggest that they were disappointed in their performance...that or they somehow have remained incredibly humbled in their nearly 3 decades as a group and earning the "Best Band In The World" title.

All in all the show was just as it was expected to be: Magnificent.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

MISSING: CULLEN CORLEY

HAVE YOU SEEN HIM?

I have put Mr. Cullen Corley on the back of a milk carton because he seems to be missing. hahaha Just kidding but that busy dude is hard to get a hold of! I'm sure he'll turn up but until he does, Dave and I are wondering how to proceed...

We have a few lose ends to tie up on the existing songs already in full bloom such as vocals, additional guitar parts and some piano arrangements here and there. But to continue with the remaining songs, it will be helpful to have a drum track in place. Cullen is pretty well seasoned with Stand and Hello, Amy but hasn't really gotten a firm grasp on the remaining songs. There's no doubt that Cullen will turn up but until he does we're wondering if we should work with another drummer on Passing Into August, Circles or
Do What You Can,
go with MIDI drums or figure out a different form of percussion just to get things moving. Cullen has done an incredible job with the songs he recorded with me and I understand he's got a lot going on with his own music endeavor so no hard feelings if he can't help to finish this puppy up! In fact, it might be interesting to mix things up a bit to create a broader dynamic of style and sound on this record. But I'd rather keep this dude through to the end!

So Cullen! If you're out there, let me know your thoughts and if you can help with the rest of the songs this fall/winter. I've appreciated all your hard work and you've done an amazing job on the album. I just gotta know where we're at. Woo!

***UPDATE**** CULLEN HAS BEEN FOUND ALIVE AND WELL!!!

hahah As expected I heard from Cullen today and this is an excerpt of what he had to say:

"....nothing else huge planned for the next few months I don't think, so we can hopefully get a weekly practice going or something until this is all wrapped up. super sorry I've been so liquid re: planning, but I hope we can nail something down soon so we can get this all done!"

I love that term "liquid" by the way, dude. I'm going to start using it. Very nice man! Glad to hear from you and we'll set up scheduling soon!

Ground Control to Major Dave!!

Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong. Can you hear me Major.....Dave? haha

I was so confused when I took the controls as Dave took a turn on the bongo session. All was fine and I was able to run the console just fine, but when Dave was getting a playback of previous takes and it was messing up his session, I was definitely "floating in the most peculiar way" alright and had no idea what I was doing.

Take a look at my confused and perplexed face as Major Dave comes to the rescue. haha

"We're like two monkeys beating on drums"

So true...haha

Dave and I spent a good chunk of the time playing our bongo and conga drums to Electric Candle to see which sounded better before laying anything down. Here is a video of our hand drum antics!

The Storming of Nash Lane

Last night, Dave and I got a hold of Cullen to see if he'd be able to come over and play his bongos for us on Electric Candle. He wasn't able to make it but did say we could go get anything we needed over at his parents house and have a go at it ourselves. So after we gulped down the last of our tea, Dave and I hit the road to go get some bongos and congas so we could put some percussion parts down! We arrived to some friendly faces and good smelling food but we continued on our mission. Up three floors we traveled to find some instruments suitable for the sound of Electric Candle. We banged on a few different drums, testing the tone and pitch of each, wishing we had brought an acoustic guitar to see which sounded better. After a few tries here and there, we settled on a bongo set and a large conga drum.

Mission accomplished!

Back at the studio, we did some tests against our recording of the song and tried both drums during actual sessions. It turns out that the smaller bongo set sounded much better for the higher tone hits but I believe we're going to be using the conga drum to fill in the bass more. Below are photos and video of me and Dave drummin' away during the recording sessions. I did the verses while Dave did the chorus.









Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Show Opener at 6:30!!

I have been contacted by Randy Gilmour at the Green Mountain Festival Series and I guess it was suggested that due to my musical style and the flow that it'd provide that I actually open the show on November 21st at 6:30 PM instead of the original time slot of 7-7:30. So update your calendars if you had already planned on showing up.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Official Website

I'm working on the design and functionality of the official website for this project. I hope to get the site up in the beginning of November, featuring a news section, bios, lyrics, shows, an online store link (yes, t-shirts and other fun stuff will be available sometime soon) and of course some song samples as well.

I'm very excited to start working on the visual sides of What To Keep & Let Go.

Green Mountain Festival Series

On November 21st, I will be returning to my high school auditorium to play a set during the Green Mountain Festival Series "A Reunion Night of Music". Sam Lloyd Jr., Brendon Thomas, Ida Mae Specker and Rusty Belle will all be featured artists of the evening and I feel fortunate enough to have grabbed a half hour spot amongst such talent!

Brendon has agreed to join me for Ask You which I think will be very powerful and emotional as a lot of my old friends and family members will be coming to see the performance and knew my mom personally. The last time I was on that high school stage, I think I was break-dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller in a black t-shirt and tights. The only thing that made that somewhat bad-ass was having a glow in the dark painted rib cage across my chest and moon-walking to a strobe light. Don't expect to see any of that this time. haha

My set begins at 7pm but make sure to stick around for all these other amazing acts. Very excited to see Brendon play some of his new songs.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Finding Your Voice.

We all have one. That instrument we use to express how we feel or what we're thinking, to stand up for what we believe in and to share love and stories with one another. Our voice. With it we set ourselves apart from everyone else and truly become who we are...or who we want to be.

During this year long project, I have not only worked on my songs to get them to where they need to be, but my own voice as well. I'm not talking about being able to hit that falsetto in Horizons, even though I have been working hard to find it, but more like who I am and what I have to say. My voice has always needed working on; for many years I have always had a hard time saying what I really feel and what is on my mind. Well, that's not entirely true. I've always been really open about what worries me or what scares me (been called a worry-wart all my life). It's when it comes to speaking my mind about what I truly believe to be right, wrong or unjustified is where I've had a problem. My mom had it in her, my grandfather surely did too..so it definitely is in my blood to be a bit bolder. Somewhere along the way, however, I decided it was more important for everyone to get along with me than it was to be real with them. Don't get me wrong, I am a nice person (I have been told) but I have "lacked a backbone" in my life; a heavy foot to put down when something isn't right or makes me feel threatened. It's not a good thing to have so many footprints all over you from years of being walked on. Somewhere along the way you have to stand up so that doesn't happen. After all, people can't walk up.

I'm not saying I'm a rude jerk or anything. But I think over the last year or so, I have found a different voice, perhaps the one that my mom would have handed down to me had she not passed away when I was too young to know any better. I'm proud to be more like her everyday though I know I have a long way to go. (She once stopped an elevator with a coworker in it to tell her to stop treating her the way she was. hahaha)

Now that was a voice to be reckoned with!

On the musical side of things, I'm working with some concepts for "my voice" to get it so it's not as strained sounding in certain songs. Horizons, for example, may not sound exactly like you have all heard in the demos. Dave has told me that it might be more effective to use my more softer, breathier voice like in Electric Candle and Bicycle on the Ice in some parts of Horizons, namely the verses. We'll see how it all works out but I'm excited to find out.

Feel free to voice your opinions on that ;) I'm all ears.

"..You're The Piano Man..."

and "we're all in the mood for a melody...."

On September 10th, Dave and I worked on cello parts for Electric Candle. It's in our interest to keep this song in its simplest form while fleshing it out a bit with some haunting cello parts and beautiful piano melodies. So Dave lead the way with his piano skills and we hashed out the cello parts in about three hours at the studio. Below are some photos and a clip of us discussing the bridge and the dynamics/rhythm of the cello verses the acoustic guitar.




Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11

Remembering.

:/

Friday, September 4, 2009

Return to the Studio!

September 1st, Recording Thirst!

I definitely drank up a huge cup of realization that I need to get some good vocal practice in! Reuniting with Dave on Tuesday was both a good and bad experience. While not a whole lot was accomplished as far as final recording, I did come to learn a lot myself and my vocal capabilities. During my struggle through Horizons, it dawned on me that I wrote a bunch of very challenging songs to sing. These days, I'm staying within my comfortable vocal range when I write songs but for some reason I pushed my limits back in my early/mid twenties with Horizons, Circles, City Lights and In The End, all of which are going to be a big challenge. I definitely need to step up some of my exercises if I want them to sound how I'm hoping. Dave had some great suggestions on perhaps changing melodies to avoid certain falsettos or to sing in more of a whispered, sentimental tone in the verses of Horizons. Aside from being easier on my voice, this actually is a good idea conceptually for the song and will definitely make the chorus stand out in a soaring kind of way. If I can pull it off...

Here are a couple photos from the session.


Thanks...Awesome...Great.............Yes!

It's funny if you're in the room or if you're the camera and cannot hear Dave on the other side of my headphones because you only get half of the conversation. I imagine he said something like..."good job....sounded nice....you're not sucking as bad as you were the first time......want to try again?"

haha no, no Dave definitely wasn't as hard on me as I was...

I need some work.