Monday, November 12, 2007

New Speakers - Well, Monitors, Really...

In the hi-fi audio world, you don't call them "audio speakers" - you call them "reference monitors". Why? Not really sure. But I guess it does give the impression that someone is actually using monitors to really identify what's coming out of them, and to analyze it.

Whatever the case may be, I'm looking at buying some new studio monitors. I've been borrowing a set of JBL Control 1's from a friend, but I'm just not sure they're doing the job. They're close, but I think I need something a bit better for popular music reference. I'm looking at JBL's "new" series (atleast it's new to me). The LSR 4328's may be the way to go, but just looking at the specs, I'm a little bit unsure. It looks like I have to take a field trip to G.C. to take a listen to them myself...

So why would I spend $1400 on them? I'm really excited about the opportunities I will have in the future to do more music producing and engineering, and I want a set of speakers of my own - that I'll always have around. Nothing can cripple a project faster than having to give the speakers back for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to searching for four or five singer-songwriters to collaborate with and record over the next 12 months. Just another way to stay busy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Performing in Lake Geneva, WI This Past Week

I can't really express in words the way that this past weekend in Lake Geneva has affected me. Where to start? If I were simply to sum it up, it wouldn't be enough. But here's where I can start:

I learned a little something about my humanity. Life is fickle, and emotions are deceptive. I also learned a bit about serving selflessly - because way too many people - people like ourselves - live on the "margins" - lonely, longing, searching with the last of their strength for something beautiful to live for.

Okay, enough of that. But it's true. We've got to be loved. We've got to live for that love. And it's a love deeper than anyone has fully known. Seek it out. Hold it near. And comprehend what you can of it.

I'd like to give a brief thanks to Russ and Ben for teaching me a few of these things this week.

Thank you all for making this a beautiful, joyful weekend, allowing me to do what I love - to play music!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Homecoming: and Coming Home

I had a ton of fun on Saturday night performing at the Glenbard East Homecoming Dance! I have to tell you, straight-up, I only went to one dance my whole four years in high school: my senior year prom. That was cool, and I knew this then, too, but I'm pretty sure I that I now know what I was really missing by not going. Anyway, how often do you really get to get dressed up - I mean to the nines? Answer: not very often. Especially not without your parents hassling you at the party.

I want to give a shout out to all of my new friends from the dance! Thanks for coming by my merch table to talk! It was also great to see a few familiar faces. I hope you all are as excited about my upcoming album release as I am! Still just a working title – no real set album concept yet.

Chris: great job playing. It's a pleasure, and we'll definitely hang out soon.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Phantom Ranch Music

I'm really looking forward to hanging out with some new faces in the 129 crew this coming weekend! Pastor James asked me to lead music and said Megan could come, too! Score. We're hoping to relax, take a few walks in the woods, and make a few new friends. (College Group, we're not leaving you! so don't be worried...)

This weekend I'll be showcasing a few songs from College Group's upcoming hymns album release. Wow, that's difficult to say! There's a lot to be done to pull the project together!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hymns Project

So, I think that some of you are already aware of this, but over the last two months, I've been working on a new record with my church - the first ever put out by the college group ("COLLEGE GROUP", as it's called). Anyway, I was sitting in front of my Mac, recording some perc, and listening down to what I've worked on with a pair of JBL Control 1 speakers, and I realized something: as much as I am working, I am being blessed by the music and lyrics of the songs.

Now let me back up a little here: First of all, when I say "blessed", I mostly mean the same way that anyone can be "blessed" in life - not in a hyper- wacky-spiritual way... Second of all, when I say "hymns" it usually leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. Don't let it! Trust me, the last thing you'd find me doing is recording some old dude behind an organ with a church congregation singing along. This is a ROCK album - ala Jars of Clay's "Redemption Songs". Anyway, I think you'll love it. It will be out somewhere around the beginning of the Spring college semester of this year (Spring 2008).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Waiting Game...

Yeah, I know there's a band around the area called the Waiting Game. Actually, I think they're pretty good, and I know a couple of the guys in the band - from back when they were called Morningside Drive.

So here's the deal: Now that I don't have internet service at the house, I've been feeling a lot more bobo - hanging out at coffee shops and places that have free Wi-Fi... weird. There's a whole internet coffee culture out there that I didn't know about before!

Right now, literally, I'm waiting to hear back from Jeremy Casella in Nashville about the final mixes of the songs that I recorded down there. Mike Odmark sent us the first passes of the mixes a few days ago, we've made some comments on them, and I should be getting back final mixes probably by the end of the week.

Waiting. So much of life is about waiting. In fact, I would say that life itself is about waiting. All of it. As I like to say, "Change is the only constant", and I guess we're really just waiting for change... (Okay, I didn't intend this to sound like Mayer's first single from Continuum... That's a different topic altogether.)

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm actively waiting for my music career to catch up with my heart. But it's more than that. I'm hoping that my heart is right first, and that the music will be integral to living as I was meant to live.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ten Reasons Why Comcast is Not For You

About three weeks ago, I called Comcast to get my cable internet rate lowered. Why did I call in the first place? Because my bill said that i would be charged $60 for my next month's service! Just for internet service! Yeah, I know, there's a price to pay with technology and all of that, but that's ridiculous!

Basically, I said, "Lower my bill or I'm cancelling service, because I have never been charged that much before." Their response was, "We have this great promotion going on right now: $10 off for 3 months." Ten dollars? Three months? Who do they think they are?!? They don't even have to service the line. All they have to do is keep the pipeline open! They call $50 a month a deal, when their company doesn't have to do anything?!? Yeah right. I cancelled service.

And if that's not enough, when I said "Cancel my service," the woman from Comcast said, "When do you want to stop service?". NOW! Well, for whatever reason, they stopped billing me from that day on, but couldn't terminate service until two weeks later... Again, ridiculous. If they can monitor my computer's internet activity from their service offices, they should be able to stop it from there, too. (Maybe I just don't know how the technology works.)
So here's the deal: it seems to me that Comcast has a monopoly on cable internet service in DuPage County. I searched for other providers and came up empty. What can you do? Don't know.

I'm now sitting at the public library, typing on a borrowed laptop from my sister. And, doing a little research, I found out that 1) the library has free Wi-Fi that broadcasts 24-7, and 2) I can set up a monthly payment plan for a Macbook that's less than $60 a month! I should have cancelled service months ago!

By the way, I don't have ten reasons...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Back from Niagara Falls

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? Have you ever fried your transmission on a road trip? Have you ever paid too much money for a burger? Have you ever sat under a tree in a torrential downpour seeking respite from the elements? These all were things Megan and I experienced in Niagara Falls. Well, before I continue, let me say that the trip was really awesome, though many unexpected things happened. I'd say, if you ever have the chance, check out the falls (from both sides) and make sure to take a trip on the Maid of the Mist (on the Canadian side). It's totally worth it, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime (or twice, or three-times) experience. Make sure to stand on the upper deck, on the starboard side.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nashville Pics Posted on Flickr

I just wanted to quickly let everyone know that new photos from my Nashville recording trip are posted on Flickr. Here's the link: I've included a pic, just to tease you a little bit...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nashville Day 2 & Klondike Bars

Tuesday morning, I hooked up with Jeremy for the first time in about seven years. We easily reconnected (and of course, we had been communicating by phone and email for several months prior to my arrival). We headed out for a coffee at the local drag, Bongo Java, East. We talked music and philosophy and gospel. Recording went well, and we spent the majority of the day working on "You Coulda Been".

After the session, as I loaded up my car to head back to my hotel room, I noticed a curious, little nail in the side-wall of my rear, driver's side tire. I pulled it. Hissssssssss.... Jeremy had a patch kit, so we tried to patch it. Making a long story short, the tire blew on Wednesday night. Thursday I drove on the spare. Friday I purchased a new tire for the 500 mile drive home.

Sovereign chaos.

Flash forward. Today: I just finished eating a Klondike bar for lunch (yeah, not the healthy way to go). I'm convinced that every year these major snack food corporations shave a few millimeters off of their products each year - hoping both that consumers won't notice it, and that even if they do, they'll buy the company's rationale: "Oh, it's healthier for the consumer to eat smaller portions of junk food..."

I'm working on booking shows for a fall tour. Colleges, mainly. If you know anyone who books at your college, please put me in contact with him or her.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Week in Nashville, Now Back Home

There were so many sweet things about my trip this past week that it will take me a couple of weeks to process it all, and say everything that needs saying about it. Working with Jeremy Casella was an awesome experience. Three new recordings - the first installment of several more to come, in anticipation of a new CD - and a few new friends. The trip was well worth it, and I feel a renewed passion for my music, thanks to the sessions and several after hours drinks and meals talking with Jeremy.

First, let's get to the goods: We still have about three weeks worth of work to do on the songs before they're completed. We have a bit more tracking to do, and mixing to boot. We recorded "You Coulda Been", "Not Rainin'", and "I Remain".

I'll start with a little story... Monday, after spending the morning with Megan, celebrating our two-year anniversary, I headed for Nashville. No AC in our 1996 Chevy Lumina V6 3.1 Liter. The drive went fast - both because of how I drove, and because I like driving. I was in Nashville by about 7:30 PM. I quickly unloaded my gear, showered up, and headed to an open mic at the legendary Bluebird Cafe.

Arriving there, I decided I'd grab a bite to eat and scope the place out before bringing in my guitar, etc. Well, I ended up locking my keys in the car!!! I didn't freak out, though. Who was I going to freak out to? I decided to go inside, eat, and figure it out after I had a little something in my stomach. (The last time I ate was at breakfast with Megan.)

There's a lot more to the story here, but the chase is that I met a guy my age (a month older), who owned the same car as me, who was originally from Illinois, who had also previously locked his keys in his car and had successfully broken into it. While Aaron, his sister Clara, and I were outside trying to "break in", other songwriter/performers began filtering out of the club. Each one saw our trouble, proudly flaunted his experiences locking his own keys in his car, and successively breaking into them, and then tried his hand on my vehicle. I met a good deal of songwriters that night that way.

A joke came to me: What's the best way to meet people in Nashville? Lock your keys in your car. And, How many songwriters does it take to jimmy a car... (I didn't figure out the answer.)

More stories to come...


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Concerts This Past Weekend

This past weekend was totally busy for me! My mom had her 50th birthday party, and I went to two concerts! Two friends of mine are singer-songwriters, and, as a friend does, he checks up on them every once in a while.

Saturday night, Megan and I went to see Lilia Griffin play with her band in a warehouse in Schaumburg. It was for a live album recording. I was totally impressed. She has a natural feel on the guitar (which is hard to come by) and her voice (though she said she was sick) was full, clear, and, on the highs, very crisp. Overall, some of the best female singing I've ever heard live.

The second concert was Sunday night at the Beat Kitchen. Julia Klee and her band, Clockwork, played a 45 min. set. Klee's band rocked out on a few super-solid numbers at the beginning of the set, and closed with a few intimate, no-drums tunes. Guitarist, Andrew, really fed off of Klee. Julia, who plays piano and sings, has written and arranged some really cool vocal lines and harmonies, and reminds me of a catchier Fiona Apple.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fat Bean Show Thanks!

I just want to give a quick thanks to everyone who checked out my show at Fat Bean a few weeks ago, with Peter Frederiksen, Daniel Hautamaki, and Matt Schweinberg! We had an awesome time playing, and we even made a few new friends! Thanks to Billy of Dashney for running sound for us, and thanks to Tom of Screaming Beaver for promoting the show.

I've just finished pre-production on the few new songs, which means I'm ready to record a few in the studio. It looks like I'll be doing work on my next album in sections. I feel like my songs, musically speaking, really stretch into different genres, which makes them difficult to record with the same producer, etc. (unless, of course, it's me).

I'm also really excited about the prospect of working with a songwriter/producer in Nashville. His name is Jeremy Casella, and we've been communicating a bit by phone and email, talking about the possibility of recording some of my more "David Gray-esque" songs. Very exciting.

As for some of the other songs, I'm trying to hook up with an old buddy of mine who works out of Villa Park, running a studio, producing, and engineering.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Alive and Kickin'

Just wanted to let you all know I'm still alive and kickin'! I have atleast one more week left before completing some new recordings. I'll let you know when they're done and online. Also, I'm working right now to solidify deals with an attorney and manager. Big stuff. Bringing other people on board is the first step to "upping our game," you could say. Keep in touch!