Friday, February 26, 2021
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
The B-side of today's single comes from my 2017 album Weather Patterns. Still Life is basically the sequel to the song above, even though I wrote this one first. It's about recognizing just how big, beautiful and diverse the world really is. This song is also based on a true story.
But what we've never seen, we can never miss
Enjoy. Share. Be well.
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Today's song that I would like to share is called Fever Dream. It is the opening track on my 2019 album Better Days. It's basically about what has been termed "late capitalism" in academic circles, and how the things that we consume end up consuming us.
The chorus goes like this:
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Sunday, February 14, 2021
Since today is Valentine's Day, I thought I'd post a couple of apolitical love songs from my newest album, Embers (2021).
"I made a mixtape on my radio... it can be your soundtrack wherever you go..."
"We are all that we need... like the water we drink and the air that we breathe..."
Enjoy the music. Stay safe. Love the ones that you're with, even if it's just you.
"...and all we are is beautiful"
Thank you for supporting independent art.
Saturday, February 13, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
In 2017, I simultaneously released three albums of original music. It was a collection of thirty-three songs that I had written over the previous two years, during which time I was also working on my dissertation and then adapting it into a book. Whenever I needed to take a break from academic writing, I would pick up a guitar and work on songs. Once I was in the editing stage of the book, I started recording the music.
Whereas in scholarship, I try to be as specific and succinct as possible, when writing a song, I tend to paint in much broader strokes. With that in mind, I think that having a well-honed balance between these two rather immense projects allowed me to be more productive with both without getting burnt out on either.
For all intents and purposes, Weather Patterns was the first of these albums that I wrote, then Mechanical Bull, and then Good Night, Fahrenheit. All three of them were recorded in the first half of 2017 and then released in June of that year. A savvy listener might be able to hear the steady improvement of my mixing and mastering skills on them if listened to in that order, as well as on my two subsequent albums: Better Days and Embers. I'll be the first to admit that my abilities as a DIY artist are a constant work-in-progress.
That said, I hope you can appreciate the songwriting on my earlier work, even with the somewhat limited production value. In my experience, I often find that the best way to grow as an artist is to create.
Here is another song that I thought I would share. It's called Be Civilized, and it's about how civility is a requisite to civilizaztion. To date, it is my
most streamed track on Spotify, taken from my 2019 album Better Days.
"I hope you realize... what it means to be civilized"
Enjoy. As always, if you like my music, please share it and add it to your playlists. If you want to listen to it at your leisure, you can always buy it, too.
Thank you for supporting independent art.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Click here to listen to my song Gravity from my 2019 album Better Days on Spotify. As Drumpf's second impeachment gets underway, it seemed appropriate. Call it wishful thinking. It's still one of my favorite songs to play.
"They are going down... like gravity."
While I'm at it, here is another track from that same album. This one is called Entropy. It follows a similar theme. I wrote it when the Mueller investigation was still in progress -- more wishful thinking on my part, I suppose.
"The 'president' is a criminal, but it's just business as usual..."
"The world is changing in strange ways... it's getting stranger every day."
When I wrote that song, I had no idea. You can find other protest songs among my work as well. These just seemed the most pertinent for the events that are set to transpire this week in the US Senate.
Enjoy the music. May justice prevail.
Monday, February 8, 2021
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Monday, February 1, 2021
The term "Do-It-Yourself" may seem pretty self-explanatory, but I want to talk a little bit about what that entails when it comes to making music.
Basically, unlike most music that you hear, which is very much a collaborative art, what I do is singular. I write the music and lyrics to all of my songs. When it comes time to record them, I not only do the recording myself, but I also play all of the instruments. With the drums, while I do have a drum kit in the basement, I find that I get a cleaner sound using sequencing software, and it's a lot easier to work with in the mixing stage -- which, incidentally, is also my responsibility, as is the mastering.
On the other side of the equation, I get to decide which songs make it to the album and what order they appear in. I decide what the cover art looks like. In most cases, I even took the photograph from which I made the album cover. I decide where it streams, where it sells and for how much. Basically, I have complete control over every aspect of my music. Every decision that brought it into existence was made entirely by me. Another bonus is that if I want to record a guitar track at 11:30 pm on a Tuesday, that's my prerogative. I can even re-record it a hundred times if I want to, and it doesn't cost me anything because I'm not paying for studio time.
The downside of this is that my nine-year-old laptop and my hundred dollar microphone in an open room of my house aren't exactly capable of capturing high-fidelity sound in the way that a professional studio setup can, but I do what I can with what I've got. I am also not nearly as good of a bassist as someone who plays that as their main instrument, for example. For that matter, I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there who could play all of these instruments far better than I can, just like how someone who is trained in sound engineering could do a much better job than I can in terms of production value, even with the limited equipment that I have at my disposal. That said, if I could afford better equipment, I would, and over the years, piece-by-piece, I have upgraded a lot of my gear. Still, I feel like the somewhat raw aesthetic of my music kind of fits with what I'm trying to do, at least with these past five albums. They each bear my name beside the title because every single part of it came from me.
For what it's worth, I have played in numerous bands in the past and have spent time in recording studios before. While I do very much enjoy working with other artists and technicians, on some level, that's not really the point of what I'm doing here. My five solo albums, all self-produced, are me saying: here's this thing that I created. It's like an art project. I hope you like it, because frankly, it's about the best I can do with what I've got. How many albums have you made?
To be perfectly honest, I would probably love it if other musicians took my music further (as long as I still got proper credit for the songs, of course). As a musician, I am kind of a peculiar sort. I like writing and practicing music more than I enjoy performing it, and I do what I do purely for the love of my craft. That, and I couldn't imagine not playing music -- and I figure that if I'm going to play music, I might as well write my own. Taking that rationale one step further, since songwriting is something that I have a strange knack for, then I feel like it would be kind of waste not to use it.
In a nutshell, I write music because it is something I love to do and that I want to share, plus I happen to have an unusual collection of skills that allows me to produce this stuff all by myself. I write songs that don't yet exist but seem like they should. Sometimes it feels like I'm just pulling them out of the ether. In that sense, I am merely the vessel for transforming them into something tangible. As a DIY musician, I then take these songs as far as I can within my relatively limited means, which to me, is still infinitely better than when they did not yet exist. One is infinitely more than zero.
Still, I must say, there's no reason why my process for making music can't be something closer to what we consider normal. After all, there are lots of other people out there doing what I do as well, and while we may not be able to get that polished radio-friendly sound that you're so used to hearing, this is a far more direct conduit between artist and audience, and I think that there's something to be said for that.