pale beneath the blue

Road stories and more from singer/songwriter, pale beneath the blue.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The First ever "Who's Line is it, Anyway?"

Oh, my goodness. What a fun night. Our first songwriter Improv Night at Kaldi's was a big hit for everyone there. I don't think that we could create that kind of magic every week, but definately once per month. It does mean that if you make it to one each month, you would write 11 songs this year. Even if you aren't a songwriter, you can participate. Folks were banging on the bongos, the triangle and I brought some cheap whistles that folks were enjoying. Everyone watching would just jump right in on their instrument. It was pretty cool.

Our prompt this month was "It was a typical Thursday morning..." We had to write something from just hearing that, though it didn't need to be the opening line. First up were Chris Dunaway from the Star Killers and new to town, Mark (oops, I forgot his name). They wrote their song in like 10 minutes and it was a Christopher Williams kinda thing. Then came Liz Bowater and Nathan Foster (Star Killers) with this really nice tune, well thought out and Nathan even sang back up vocals (when did they have time to practice that?) Jim Danehy (Bulletproof Charm and former Barrelhouse sound man) and I were up next with a very short little punk thing that made no sense, but was made better by Eric Falstrom's beatboxing. Then Luke Pace (The Terrors) teamed up with his friends Kyle Volk and Jessie to come up with a complete song in less time than we had. Then Sharon (The Shirts/Beau Alquizola band) pulled out this amazing song in about 20 minutes (that included recopying it) and didn't practice or anything. She just sat down and started playing. It was crazy.

The lightning round was great fun. Everyone had to pull the name of a breakfast product or restaurant out of hat and sing a jingle. My favorite was Nathan's tune about Count Chocula coming into Kaldi's, played to Billy Joel's "Piano Man."

Yeah, you missed it. Be ready next month and bring a pen.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pro Tools and long days

It's after 6p and I haven't showered yet. I've spent all day trying to learn enough about Pro Tools (recording software) to work on mixing my record. I've been working on Stethoscope, Evidence and Wishing today. Stethoscope was starting to drive me nuts, so I moved on, but it's not done yet. Hoping to get through the rest of them tomorrow.

I've been writing like crazy so I have a billion things to record as soon as this is finished. Something called "Okay, Alright, Uh-huh", a little ditty called "Phrases", a heart-breaking love song that remains untitled, and something titled, "Ricochet". I've also been working with a lyricist from Australia and from some of his writings, I pulled out a jaunty little thing about a military man called, "Private Milton."

I haven't been blogging because there aren't enough hours in the day, but as you can see, I'm still practicing and playing everyday. I have to go shower now so I can meet and chat with the photographer. We have to get some ideas in place before we shoot this weekend. Oh, and I just cut my hair--yes, I did it. I couldn't stand it any longer.

More soon--xoxox,

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Grammys and Laptops

As I sit at my computer looking out my front window, I see the sun melting what little bit of snow fell on us last night. The ground was covered when I got up but it is now no more than a smattering.

So, the past few days have been busy. I've been trying to fix the vocals on my jingle and haven't had much luck. Then yesterday I played a show at the Lane Library in Oxford, OH. I'm not a big fan of small towns, but Oxford is different. Everyone is helpful and kind as expected but they are also very worldly. I met an almost 4-year-old who's favorite bands are Keane and Coldplay. And since his name is Duncan, he's been checking out the latest from Duncan Sheik. I mentioned XTC to his mom and she started singing "Senses Working Overtime." I don't think anyone from my small town or my current Cincinnati suburb has ever heard of them. I don't know if realizes the impact they have made on that community.

Anyway, I didn't watch the Grammy's last night. It usually sucks and the audio is horrid. But mostly it's just depressing because I'm not there. You'll have to let me know what the highlights were, I don't have time to read them on I'm hoping to practice some this afternoon, but today I'm busy dealing with business stuff--booking, instrument insurance, mailing out press kits, blah, blah, blah. It never really ends. See, most of you get up, go to work and you come home and you can relax--at least in theory. Working from home is great. I can wear what I want, go to the post office when I want, eat lunch when I want. The biggest problem is that there's no one telling me to get something done right now. So, if I get off track, I'm just off doing something meaningless until I realize what I'm doing. But I love being able to work in bed in the morning or at night or while watching tv--Dell laptops are the bomb. But in exchange, I work non-stop. So, you aren't so jealous now, are you?

Well, happy working and I hope that if you are working with extruded plastic parts or deodorant, that it's because you want to.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Fun with horns

So I spent all day today, okay well from when I woke up at 10, then wrote for 40 minutes, then had breakfast and rode my bike during the View--so from about 11:45 until about 3p--I was recording here at my house. The worst part is that I was only recording a :30 piece. Considering that I know very little, I guess it's not too bad, but it still needs vocals and cleaned up a bit. Tomorrow, I need to fix a guitar part and then do the :60 version.

After that, I went to a townhall meeting with Congresswoman, Jean Schmidt. I quickly realized that politics may be a possibility at some point in my life. I have the answers, I just need to get everyone else to listen. I've never heard of her and don't know what her track record is. Mostly I agreed with her, but was highly disappointed in her ideas of dealing with our current medical/health insurance system. Maybe she just wasn't prepared, or maybe she hasn't really ever been in the hospital. I'm hoping to call her office and give her some pointers.

Hope you all have a great week and I encourage you to learn something new.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Generosity is in the air unless you are from Seattle

Friday night at Borders started with high school freshman, Holly Nibert, opening. A great start to the evening, she started off with Nirvana and got everyone's attention right off the bat. A great little songwriter she is, keep your eyes peeled for her. Some other interesting things happened as well. I was playing something when a nice lady put a really cool hemp bracelet with blue beads on my keyboard. When I was finished with the song, she told me that she and her grandaughter had 100 more bracelets to make for kids in the Cancer ward at Children's Hospital. She said they also make them flip flops, scarves and blankets to help them feel as normal as possible during their stay. She sells bracelets and different items only to get money to buy more materials. Isn't that amazing? I will post her info as soon as I get it out of my van. After that, I mentioned that I was trying to raise money to get to SXSW and some guy came up and handed me 10 bucks. I tried to give him a cd but he just wanted to help. How cool is that?

Saturday night, James and I headed to the Blue Note to see Sunspot, Peter Adams and Kristen Key. After turning around 20 times, we found it. I must say, Peter is good, but Sunspot is amazing live. It's fun music these 2 guys and one girl put on an entertaining show. They truly the hardest working band I've ever met, and I've met alot of them. When they play at Chicks Rock Fest in April, you will want to be there.

Sunday at Borders was fairly usual except that my friends Jerel and Tammy showed up to hang with us. Then high school junior and co-writer, Alycia Mikel, showed up to play two of her own tunes. Fun stuff and I didn't even get a parking ticket.

Unfortunately, Seattle's luck wasn't so good. I used to be a Steelers fan, but since the Carson Palmer thing, I've been rooting against them. I could not believe that the calls during the first half were all against them. Seriously, how did they get to the Super Bowl if they are constantly making fouls? According to the refs, these guys are incapable of making a simple tackle and yet the Steelers can make a touch down without the ball actually being across the goal line. Not a fair game if you ask me. I guess this is why I don't watch sports very often.

Hoping to record tomorrow here at home. I'll keep you posted,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I've been in a creative state/Return of the King/Please Pray

Sorry, I've been quiet the last couple of days. It's not because I'm avoiding you. I've just been practicing and writing and writing and practicing and helping Alycia with voice lessons after school. I realize how little I know every time I try to help someone new, but I think that some progress is being made. I'm hoping that she'll play a song or two at Borders Deerfield on Sunday.

Also, Patrice and I had a show last night with Kelly Thomas, Entheos, and Mi and L'au. Quite the night at the Poison Room. Kelly is an amazing guitarist and then she has these killer vocals. Allison and Carl of Entheos do some really cool things, great songs, great harmonies--one of the more modern groups around the area actually. Then Mi (Mira--Finland) and L'au (Laurence--France) were mesmerizing but Jenny kept talking all the way through their set. Mira has a beautiful voice and the music is stark and haunting. Remember that scene in Return of the King where Pippin sings in the castle? Though I couldn't stop laughing because I could envision the late night advertisements hocking "Songs from the Shire" CDs, it was beautiful. Honestly, I'm surprised that someone isn't making money off that end of things yet. Enough of that, if you have the chance to see them, it's different and refreshing and makes me rethink everything I do.

Anyway, tonite I was watching the first part of the news, as I always do before I have to drag myself up to bed, and am just seriously concerned about what is going on in the world. Cincinnati is not my favorite place but I've heard that crime is getting worse everywhere. If you believe in God or some sort of higher being, I think that now is the time to pray for whatever city/state/country that you live in. Personally, I'm sick and tired of hearing about it and though I'm not scared, I don't want anyone to end up as a victim. From dog knappings, drive-by shootings and child abuse (and that was all just from tonite) to bank robberies, muggings, break-ins, and rape it's out of control. I would think that after 9/11, we would all be ready for anything and not willing to put up with this crap from our own citizens. Pray for a solution and the ability to act if necessary.