Technique vs. Message

“If we admire the music of a certain composer and having studied his style very thoroughly we draw up rules of musical composition based on this composer we then go to send our children to music school to learn these rules in the hope that if they apply them they will become first class musicians which they usually fail to do. What might be called the technique of music as well as the technique of morals, as well as the technique of speech and language is very valuable because it gives you something to express if, and I repeat if you have anything to express. But if you don’t, if you don’t have anything to say not even the greatest mastery of english will stand you in good stead unless you can manage to fool your listeners by talking beautiful nonsense and make it sound profound.”    -Alan Watts

I love this because I think it’s a profound insight not only with all the arts but with language and communication too.  Message will always dominate over technique.

I’ve done a lot of work with the technical side of music but it’s not more important to me than the message and the feeling of the words that I’m singing.

I’ll stand in the middle of my soul
It’s all that I have
Even if I’m the only one who believes
It’s not that I can’t pick it up and
Start it all over again
Sometimes it’s better to be alone

David Olney, a master songwriter and not the best singer or master of guitar technique died onstage a few days ago (*article here), and the meaning in his expression and his bravery for putting the words to page was his greatest achievement and contribution to the music world.

 

Quotes from “Renegades And Healers”

Bending and unbending

When we agreed upon a plan to record and mix an entire record in 24 hours under camera, there were many forces and agendas that came together.  While an ambitious and enthusiastic producer and cameraman wanted to get his rough pilot in front of some west coasters for a shot at getting a reality TV show, I only wanted to get my material recorded and “out” for the fans that wanted it.

And as you can see, the art director decided to mimic one of the most popular TV shows of the time, 24, this was after all 2006.

Many powers at work, each coming together slowly, planning, then a few days of execution and then off into the sunset and ultimately in different directions.

Despite contractual promises, the pilot was never made (such was life sometimes in such matters).

There’s a time to bend and compromise and a time to not bend for anyone or anything at all for any reason and everyone’s got to to figure that out for themselves. 

24 isn’t on spotify but it does exist on apple music.  You can download it HERE but only until Feb 1st as that delivery system will be replaced.

Enjoy!

 

Standing in the middle of my soul

But what does “Standing in the middle of my soul” actually mean?

Maybe, to be balanced or to “see” things in alignment.  Of course, this is abstract thinking and everyone is going to have a different reaction to it depending on their interpretation of the word soul.  And in the end, I never want to explain my lyrics.  I think that it takes away from them.

Can’t Go Home

I packed my bags long before this day came
I can’t stand to see you cry
If you want to blame me
For everything that I am
I’d have no ground left to stand

When you can’t go home
Cause it’s so far away
And everything you used to know
Changed so fast
And your soul has got no place to rest or stay
You keep moving

I’ll stand in the middle of my soul
It’s all that I have
Even if I’m the only one who believes
It’s not that I can’t pick it up and
Start it all over again
Sometimes it’s better to be alone

When you can’t go home
Cause it’s so far away
And everything you used to know
Changed so fast
And your soul has got no place to rest or stay
You keep moving

But what does it mean?

I was asked last night about the title “Renegades and Healers.”  What does is mean?
“Those are the people who change the world.”

We gonna fly over everything that they see / When no one knows what happens next/ We’re going to be renegades and healers 

Big thanks to MVYRadio for debuting this one on New Years Day:

“Sunrising”

Happy New Year everyone, enjoy!

 

She only pretends to sleep
Her eyes are on her window
Soon the sun will be rising
Will she forget the feeling

When the world is new
And everything is dangerous
She tries but she can’t choose
between the man and the world outside her window

Will she fall in love
And what happens if it ends
Soon she’s going to know

That there’s no way
There’s no way
There’s no way
To keep the sun from rising again

She still pretends to sleep
But she heard every word that he said
We’re coming apart
And there’s nothing i can do

When the world is new
And everything is dangerous
She tries but she can’t choose
Between the man and the world outside her window

If she falls in love
Will she hold on until the end
Soon she’s going to know

That there’s no way
There’s no way
There’s no way
To keep the sun from rising again

Gratitude

I spend a lot of time talking with others and while a lot of it is about the “music” and about “that time this or that happened” it’s a big thing to have so much history with so many and be focused on the future at the same time (this is a trick friends and if you can figure it out for yourself, you’ll be way ahead).

How do you talk about the movie you’re going to make when the last one … was really so good that everyone will compare anything you do to it?

Gratitude is the thing that keeps me locked in.  I am forever grateful to all the people who surround me, support me, engage with me, and believe in the relevancy of what I do, not that music is just a passing soundtrack to our lives, or some kind of trick passage to becoming famous or rich, but that it’s an art, something that has message and purpose and can incrementally make our lives greater in relationship to how far we dare to listen.

Thank you and here’s looking forward to 2020!

 

The Extended Play Fallout Shelter Sessions

Video Recap:

Waiting on a Rainy Night

Last Night

Dock of The Bay

More with less

A big thanks to all the birthday wishes from everyone, it’s appreciated.

I spent some time recording my thoughts on my number one tech device (*pictured below) on the holiday (coinciding with my birthday) and in the age of smart phones I was questioned on using such a primitive device in lieu of the massive handheld computer we all carry around (because it’s clearly less).

This recorder is dedicated to my song ideas and sketches.  Any absence from view or any lack of it in my surroundings reminds me I’m not keeping up on my writing.  This miracle simplicity is so often overlooked, that we are capable of doing “more with less,” we often miscalculate our options and choices with what we do and how we do it, and so we throw out the old ways in a dash for the new.  Many of the greatest math and engineering minds did more with pencils and paper than some of todays science rockstars.

The 15 “Renegades and Healers” song selections were taken from a group of 100 that were born on this little sony handheld.  And making rough drafts of each of them also means having the task of listening to them and deciding when it’s time to throw some away (delete) and move on.

 

The new line-up

I started on an acoustic guitar. I write most material with an acoustic guitar.
It’s time to give you “Renegades and Healers” (and yes, the original version of that one is in it).

I’ve been dabbling with this recording for years, trying to decide how to do, what to have on it and when I’ve played demos for others they’ve always asked when will it be here, and why was I waiting so long?

I wanted to go back because there were a few things I know I could do better, and with no band and no overdubs, everything here is live stripped down songs and I needed to feel each one individually while I was recording it.
No overdubbed guitar solos.
There’s even mistakes that Bob Nash (recording engineer, essentially my only “go to” for advice convinced me it was good).

I hope you enjoy it guys.

Airplanes
Can’t Go Home
Endless Summer
Falling
Grey Lines
Hardest Part
Horizons
Last Night
Let Me
Let’s Burn Everything
No Stranger
Renegades and Healers
Sailing Again
Sunrising
Waiting On A Rainy Night