Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shows and Videos

I haven't written a blog post for ages. I aim to change that. Life as a solo artist can be really busy. It feels kind of like a volunteer position at a company where you just hope to get promoted.

As a solo artist at this stage in the game there is a lot do that might otherwise be delegated to various members in a band. Just social media alone can keep you busy, but there are other forms of promotion, shows to book and play, songs to be written, contacts to be made, etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm very busy, but I will try and keep the blog up better.

I wanted to let you all know about my show this last weekend. Both shows so far in April have included a djembe (african drum) as percussion and Saturday (April 9th)  a great friend from high school days joined me on the djembe. I think it brought a nice flavor to the music. You can view some of the concert here:


I also have a show coming up this weekend.  If you are in Lancaster, please stop in for my showcase at 6:00 pm on Saturday. You can find more details here.


Another thing on my mind has been the idea of  holding a contest where fans create a music video or photo montages for one of my songs. I have yet to determine the song, the judges, the prizes, or any of the logistics. The wheels are still churning, so I would love to hear any feedback that you all might have.

Let the brainstorming begin.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Conversation with a 6 year old

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to post another blog after a conversation I had with my 6 year old nephew tonight. I'll set the scene and then provide the brief dialogue that occurred. I was sitting and playing guitar, working on a new song. He came into the room and sat down beside me.

My Nephew: What are you doing?
Justin: Writing a new song.
My Nephew: I didn't know you could make songs.
Justin: Where did you think they came from?
My Nephew: From the factory.

Ah, to have such creative and different perspectives on life. This from the little guy who has made his mom listen to my new album on a loop for whole days at a time. My sister and I were talking about my nephew having an uncle who is a musician and she pointed out that for all he knows everyone's uncle is a musician and has a CD.

It is really great to have family and friends be such a support on this journey as a musician. It was so wonderful to have so many people help me with my CD release concert this past Friday. It was a great success. There were a lot of people who attended and several of them helped us set the facility back up to normal after the show. A big thanks to all of those who came out and supported my music. I really appreciate the opportunity to share my music with all of you. I don't foresee my fans doing quite as much interpretive dancing to my music as my niece and nephew, but I won't judge you if you do.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reflection, Explanation, and Thanks

I was thinking about what it has taken to make this album project (World Gone Crazy) become a reality. I have been surprised many times along the way by how many pieces go into making something of this magnitude. I had these grand plans to release the album in April and obviously as I write here in August that certainly did not happen. To be fair, however, when I first set off to go down to Nashville and record, I had a 6 song EP in mind. I was going to be able to record the whole thing in 2 to 3 weeks and that would be it. A little editing, a little mixing, a little mastering, voila.

Shortly after I arrived I told my co-producer that I had changed my mind (this was the first of many times) and that I wanted to try and squeeze 3 more songs in while I was in town. I figured while I was in Nashville I might as well get 3 more tracks recorded to use at a later date. He agreed to try and make it work and we continued on with the project, now with 9 tracks in mind.

I was very happy we had decided to go ahead with the few extra tracks, but what are you going to do with 9 tracks? I mean, it's too long for an EP, and it's just not quite long enough for a full-length album. This found me heading back to Nashville over Easter break and laying down 2 more tracks to make a well-rounded 11 track album. As you might imagine, this created a lot more work over all going from a 6 song EP to an 11 track album.

Fortunately, the newer tracks had a lot fewer parts, which saved us a bit of time in the end. When approaching the songs for World Gone Crazy, I tried to incorporate a variety of instruments and layers. This all came at a cost of time. With some songs reaching over 200 tracks per song there was a lot to keep in mind as the songs were being completed. I left some of the singer/songwriter feel I had anticipated for the album and embraced a much larger acoustic/pop/rock sound for some of the songs. They turned out grander than I think even I had ever imagined.

As might not surprise anyone at this point, the album actually contains 12 songs.  Not long ago, I ended up back in Nashville for a week and took some time to stop by the studio and put down one more track for the album before we sent it to the manufacturing plant. At the time of this writing the album is complete and at the replicators. That's probably a good thing, seeing I can't add any more to it at this point. I guess other pieces of creativity will just have to wait for the next album.

All in all this has been a really incredible experience creating this album for all of you to enjoy. I was really blessed to work with several talented and patient individuals...Darrell Lehman, Jordan Lenhoff, and Jamie Hess to name a few. I would like to thank all of you who have supported me during this arduous process and thank you for your patience while I have worked to produce this collection of songs that I hope bring many moments of joy, reflection, and pure listening enjoyment.