So I discovered the Decemberists at almost exactly the same time I met the woman who’d eventually become my wife. Neither of us remember who introduced who to the band, but we both loved their music, and their album Crane Wife came out right after we started hanging out. We listened to it all the time, even adopting one of the songs as “our song” (Crane Wife Part 1).
The sheer quantity and variety of instruments included in the Decemberist’s arrangements blew my mind and their songs are so intricately constructed, a lot like Sufjan Stevens but more rock ‘n’ roll. Anyway, I don’t play 30 instruments, so I had to find a way to make these songs work with just a few guitars and voices, it was a fun challenge but the songs are so solid that they really work well even stripped down.
So I hope you like this month’s entry in the “In Honor Of…” Project, I’m halfway to the end now! 6 more months and 6 more artist’s to pay tribute to, and it’s only going to get better.
Hey! I’ve been in the studio, and I just can’t wait any longer to share with you guys what I’ve been working on. So these are rough cuts, but here’s a few of the tracks that are currently in progress for my new album, enjoy!
I’ve loved Queen since before I can even remember, my parents love to tell the story of me riding in the carseat in the back of the minivan when I was 2 or so singing along to “A Kind Of Magic”, and how I’d look from side to side when the voices sang in stereo. They’re one of the most talented bands of the glam-rock movement of the 80s, and since technical talent was such an important facet for those types of bands, that’s really saying something.
You might notice I’ve changed the songs on a structural level, it’s not that I feel my changes improve the songs on a fundamental level, I just feel my changes improve my version of the song, you know what I mean? If I didn’t remove the first chorus from “It’s Late” or take a few extraneous bits out of “Radio GaGa”, those songs would really start to wear on your ear. They’re great when there’s a full band playing with incredible guitar solos and bass lines and drum fills and all that jazz, but when it’s just guitar and voice, some things need to be sacrificed to keep it snappy enough.
Well that’s a lot of setup, have a listen and see what you think for yourself, I hope you love it.
Friday the 17th is almost here! I’m opening for the biggest band I’ve ever shared the stage with: Cloverton! The concert is a fund-raiser for a local family whose young son recently had extensive brain surgery to reduce seizures brought on by his cerebral palsy. I can’t imagine a more worthwhile cause, and the event should be a ton of fun with three local bands opening for Cloverton, a silent auction, a bake sale, all kinds of good stuff.
So hymns/gospel/worship music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember and it’s always been important to me because a) I’m a Christian, b) a lot of them are gorgeous songs and c) for the first dozen years that I played guitar, the only time I played in front of other humans was for worship at youth group. Without playing at church I might (see: most likely) never would have had the confidence to start playing my own concerts in front of people, I met almost all of my good friends through playing music at church.
Religious music is also cool to me because, like a lot of other art forms, the majority of examples we have of very old music are religiously based simply because the only demand for music and art was in relation to the church. Some of the most enduring pieces of visual art we have are things like the Last Supper, the various artist’s statues of David, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, all of them religious, and all of them windows into what the art and attitude of the day was like. So while I identify with the songs I’ve chosen on a personal religious level, there’s also a whole nother level of the simple value of a piece of history preserved in musical form. Anyway, I hope you like the songs, talk to you later,