Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Support Local Music

I am playing a set of original music as part of a local music festival next Saturday at 11:45 am. If you happen to be in the area, check it out. I'm proud to be a part of this lineup. It should be a good time.

(It's in the enclosed park next to Daylight Donuts.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

(Welcome) Diversions

Last month, I got a piano. It's an old player piano that someone locally was giving away. The only catch was that I had to figure out how to move the thing... but with enough help, it wasn't so bad. That said, I'm hoping that whoever lives in my rented house after me also wants a free piano. I don't intend to move anytime soon, but whenever that does happen, I like to think that maybe the piano can stay behind. I'm mostly saying that because the wheels all broke off in the process of moving this thing. It's a beast.

I neglected to ask if it was haunted or not, but if it starts playing Moonlight Sonata unprompted at three in the morning, then I'll know. I'm curious if I can make a player roll for this thing in the college's maker-space. If so, I'll probably want to make one that plays the theme song from Beverly Hills Cop. How cool would that be?


Over the past few weeks, I've also been sitting in with a local jazz band. It has been a humbling experience. I have played guitar for almost thirty years now, and I am amazed at how many chords I don't yet know. My knowledge of music theory is also fairly limited, so it's been a steep learning curve trying to get caught up with the rest of the band in terms of playing these songs. Don't get me wrong. It's been a good experience, if a bit stressful at times. Then again, I tend to think that one of the best ways to grow as a person and an artist is to get out of one's comfort zone from time to time. In order to learn anything, we must step beyond the limits of our existing knowledge.

The jazz band performs at the beginning of next month. Then at the end of May, I'm playing a forty-minute solo set as part of a local annual music festival. Basically, when I'm not learning jazz chords or messing around on the piano, I'm practicing my own music. Every once in a while, I tinker with some of the songs that are still in development. 

I also teach full-time and like to spend time outside when the weather is pleasant. Sometimes that means bringing an acoustic guitar to the back yard. I also perform at the college every once in a while, each time so far for an audience of three or fewer people, and that's counting my friends and colleagues who play bass and hand drums.

Once these upcoming performances are both behind me, as well as the current semester, I plan to get back into wholeheartedly working on the album that I got about half-written over the winter and spring breaks. By the time it's done, don't be surprised if it ends up having some piano in it. I also suspect that some of these jazz chords will make appearances in my work, whether intentional or on autopilot. I might even know what key I'm playing in without having to think about it for too long.

As always, thank you for supporting independent art... and local music. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Happy New Year

Over the holiday break, I managed to get about four songs written. I say "about" because it's really more like three and two halves, with a few additional songs that are still in very early stages of development (as in: I have written a verse or a chorus, none of which is anywhere near finalized). In any case, a new album is indeed coming together, though at a slightly slower pace than I might like. Still, it feels good to be creating again, and so far, I like the stuff that I have been coming up with. Tentatively, I am calling this project Ghosts and Mirrors, but that may very well be subject to change as it continues to evolve.

I also got the opportunity to perform live on a couple of occasions over the past few weeks. On New Year's, I played about a forty-five minute solo acoustic set on stage at a local bar. It went well, especially since this was essentially my first public performance since before the pandemic. About a week later, I played unplugged and unmiked at the same place, but that was more of a collective jam than anything else, as I noodled my way through some classic rock covers that I didn't really know how to play. I also played some originals, but again, on this particular occasion, it was more of a jam than a performance, as I was pretty much just playing for and with other musicians. It was still fun, of course, even if it's not quite the same thing as performing on stage for an audience.

Every New Year, rather than make resolutions, I try to set realistic but challenging goals for myself to accomplish over the next twelve months. Resolutions are for quitters. This year, I hope to not only finish writing and then recording another album, but I would also like polish up my performance chops and seize every opportunity that presents itself to do so. I've already gotten back into the habit of practicing every day, which I basically treated like a full-time job over the break. My calluses have never been thicker. Now it's just a matter of sharing my music with others in a live setting, which I'm hoping to be able to do with other musicians who are willing and able to learn my songs. Lately, I am happy to report that things have been moving forward on that front as well.  

It would be difficult for me to imagine a life without music, and every year in these moments of reflection, it is something for which I am profoundly thankful.


Thursday, December 1, 2022


For all intents and purposes, I've taken this semester off from writing so that I can focus on teaching some college courses that I've never taught before, while also getting settled into a very different life than what I am used to. I intend to get back into a daily writing routine in the new year, although I have not yet chosen a project. 

That said, over the past several months, I have recorded over a hundred riffs and chord progressions that seem to be working themselves into songs the more that I practice them. I think that I've easily got another album worth of material here. It's just a matter of sitting down to write lyrics and develop them into fully realized songs, which I suspect will take place this winter, maybe even concurrently with some other major writing project.

Stay tuned for more... 

As always, thank you for supporting independent art.