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.