G League Lyric Video
Continuing with the ongoing effort to catch up with content that I’ve previously released as music only. I’ve got a new lyric video releasing today. This one is for people who are fans of the recently renamed basketball league that is now known as the G League. If you’re not familiar with the G League, it’s the minor league of the NBA. As of 2019 it has expanded to a bunch of new markets. Added a slew of new teams and even renamed some of the old teams.
Here’s the lyric video in all of it’s glory:
Enjoy, share, and watch multiple times.
p.s. this was released as the title track on all the G League mixes. Hear it here.
Till We Meet Again Lyric Video
My oh my, there’s a another new lyric video in town. This time around it’s for the song Till We Meet Again. This incredible ditty that was dubbed “Your Purple Rain” by the co-producer of the track George Leger III. I wrote it with the amazing Jesse Stern. Like the song there is a bit of journey in the lyric video.
Because I could sit here and rattle on for days, I know you’d rather just watch the damn thing:
Follow it. Roll it. Mark it. Share it.
Above all, know that I am grateful that you’ve spent time taking it in.
New Lyric Video
There’s a new lyric video in town. It’s for my single A Perfect Man. There’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that I got way behind on doing things for songs I’ve released. Scratch that, that’s a lie. I kinda went into recording mode only – where I dealt only with the studio recorded version of the song, released it and then did nothing further **.
Without further ado, here’s the lyric video for A Perfect Man:
Enjoy it. Share it. Love it. List it.
I’m grateful you’ve stopped by to see and hear it.
** There’s a bit more of sordid story as to what caused this, you can read about it here.
The Hostless Oscars
A paradigm shift happened in award shows last night, the hostless Oscars. Normally, I’m not fully interested in watching the Oscars. I find them stodgy and usually boring. Often it’s a lot easier to watch the highlights of the interesting things that happen. As per Anne Hathaway, the worst Oscars ever happened last year – and I didn’t watch.
Last night I watched the Oscars as I wanted to experience the idea of an awards show that didn’t have a host. What I got was an efficient show that felt like it had a decent flow. What a refreshing change of pace. Not having to watch a carnival barker doing a song and dance in-between each award was fantastic.
The awesome side effect is that each award became about the award itself and not about the lame ass stuff the host does trying to keep people interested in the show. I was more riveted, I was more interested to know about the people nominated and the winner of the award itself. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about?
The other great side effect of the Oscars last night was an earlier finish that didn’t feel forced or exhausting. There were a few moments where I was disappointed in producers cutting people short in their acceptance speech. Though, let’s be honest here, when people start thanking tons of people who very few people are privy to know – it’s boring and rambling at it’s very worst.
After the show I sent out a tweet stating that was a perfect showing as to how to run an awards show and that the Grammys should take note and do the same thing next year.
The Grammys would do well to note that the Oscars going sans host was a win. I know that lots of media outlets thought Alicia Keys did a spectacular job hosting the Grammys. Personally, I didn’t agree. I felt that lots of her comments and constant statements were forced and not genuine. That’s coming from a musician that is a fan of Alicia.
It was as if the Grammys were trying way to hard to oversteer the boat. I had female friends texting me during the Grammys mentioning the same thing – that the Grammys were trying too hard to push some agenda that felt forced and fake.
The bigger news of this years Grammys were the artists that turned down performing on the Grammys. The biggest of them all, Ariana Grande, even called the Grammys out after the producer sent out a fake statement as to why she wouldn’t be performing. Mashups of various artists who probably wouldn’t otherwise work together were on the chopping block. As they should be. That’s part of the whole feeling forced vibe.
Personally, the Grammys would be well served to limit performances to the 5 songs nominated for Record of the Year. Get rid of Album of the Year – the new industry isn’t about selling Albums, it’s about streaming, time to fuckin embrace that shit. This way, we, the consumers (and yes, I consider myself an ardent music consumer despite also making music on a professional level), won’t get terribly bored by lackluster performances by artists that are too weak to deny the Grammys making them look like grind organ monkeys.
Sprinkle those performances throughout the awards show, like the Oscars did. That way there isn’t a constant barrage of some pointless host trying to make points that fall of deaf ears. Nor would there be performances that make no sense.
Cracks in the wall of the old method of awards presentation at the Grammys blew wide open. The Oscars cemented the foundation of how to move forward. As a member of the academy, I’m hopeful that we can make a change that show the Grammys could become more relevant going forward. Where people can see more of the actual awards, as a vast majority of the Grammys are done prior to telecast – in an effort to have more “song and dance” that many find more boring than the awards we don’t get to see.
Will the Grammys make the change? We can only hope they’ll take note of how well the hostess Oscars came across.
I really did that?
Did I really do music that appeared somewhere? That’s what is sometimes surprising to me, the sheer amount of places where music I’ve done has shown up. There’s always a surprise each quarter as to where I’m going to have music having been used somewhere in the world, be it in film, on TV, in a commercial, or elsewhere.
There’s a long list and I decided to finally put a page up where I tried to make it as comprehensive as possible to know where you’ve heard music that I’ve done. Problem is, I’m only going back about 3 years here. Which isn’t all that far back. There are quite a few more years that I need to add, but the start of the credits page is already a pretty big list as it is.
There’s so many websites out there that claim to be the definitive authority on who’s worked with who in music, or who’s worked on what. Often times they’re incomplete, or incorrect and of course – they make it really difficult to correct the information (which is the biggest disappointment). Then other large services collate that incorrect data and it gets passed along as truth. Thus, I’m working on providing as comprehensive a list as I can for everything I’ve done in music. It will take me some time, but hey I’m gonna be the definitive source on all things music that I’ve done.
Therefore if you’re of the curious type you can shoot on over to the credits page and find out where you may have heard me, or who I’ve worked with, etc. Chances are there are even things I’ve forgotten about and if you’ve got proof, I’d appreciate the refresher so I can add it to my list.
In the mean I’ve got some more musical stuff to work on.
A Perfect Man exists
Something so simple, yet so complex has been created by Claude J Woods Jr and myself. The idea of a perfect man isn’t something new. No. I’m sure there are plenty of women out there chasing the concept of a perfect man.
Claude and I have done several tracks together and he came to me wanting to do more of a ballad type of song. So I decided I wanted to reimagine the idea of a ballad. Not the typical ballad or power ballad, but rather a stripped down and barebones bare the soul kind of thing. I came up with a very simple yet rhythmic solo electric guitar part that expressed that vibe. Claude responded with a melody and lyric idea that transformed into what you hear now.
In Claude’s words: “The song turned out to be an introspective of being a man basically in charge of his world. Where he’s not egotistical enough to think that he is invulnerable or infallible in his endeavor to be the man that he was taught to be. He’s able be strong in his conviction and responsibility, while still keeping his self esteem and self confidence. This man has a strong desire to be good whilst at the same time staying honest and humble.”
For me, it became about how a man could be put on a pedestal by his significant other. He realizes he’s been put there. That he wants to let them know about his imperfections and despite the possibility he might let them down, he’s still there for them, to the best of his abilities.
The journey of getting the song tracked initially went very different from how I had expected to do it. The simplicity of the guitar part took a lot more work than it what the auditory sound like. I spent a couple of days playing thru various amp and mic combos to get the right vibe with the guitar I was playing.
Once I had the guitar sound and got it tracked, I fought with my arranger & producer self to keep from putting too many instruments or layers into the production. In doing so, I really had to pay attention to how much emotion was coming thru the minimal amount of parts. A lot of attention to the detail of being able to propel the song forward came in to play. Usually I can throw the kitchen sink at a song and keep it interesting by sheer number of noises and layers I put in. The concept here thwarted that notion and made it more difficult to achieve.
I gotta wonder if the feelings I ran thru working on accomplishing the goal of simplicity runs anywhere similar in nature to how Apple designs their iconic products.
It’s my pleasure to present this song to you. I’ve already had some female friends tell me it makes them feel super sentimental to the point of bringing a tear to their eyes. To me, that’s the ultimate in compliments when a song can move a person to such strong emotions.
Let me know how it moves you. I know Claude and I will appreciate hearing your connection.
p.s. you can read more about the song here.
About a year and a half ago my friend Greg Watton came to me wanting to write another song. I mentioned that I thought it would be a great idea to write about Veteran’s, especially since he is a veteran and was going through some rough stuff at the time. So he came up with some lyrics centered around forgotten warriors of America.
We tooled around with the musical direction. I had started one musical idea but Greg felt it wasn’t quite hitting the right direction. Thus I scrapped that and started something entirely different. He was excited about the new version, which meant it was time to go after the melody.
Once I finally started digging into the words we had to work on doing a bit of rewriting and editing, as good songwriters often do. The hook became a double-edged hook after I suggested we remove the ‘of America’ part of the title. It didn’t sing or flow well. Once that was removed it became anthemic! Anthemic in two different parts.
Greg and I wanted a song that could strike up the awareness about how our veterans are treated after serving our country. Many are left fending for themselves and in dire need of help after seeing the ravages of serving the country. As a terrible and prime example, consider the recent shooting in Thousand Oaks CA. There is a veteran who was obviously having some trouble and had no-one listening.
Our goal is to have you help make this song a national anthem for veterans. It’s easy to sing along for the chorus and feels wholly empowering in the process.
Our original plan was to release the song a year ago, but due to unfortunate circumstances I had to forego the idea of releasing last year.
Fast forward a year…
Now it’s been released as of last Friday morning. The buzz of the feedback has been great. As I was doing the first live performance of the song last night in sound check at the local TV station, the production crew and host was already singing the song before airtime. It’s always incredible when people you don’t know are singing your words and melodies back at you. Flattering and humbling.
I look forward to having you singing it back to me at a future show!
We’re quickly coming on the end of summer.
If the trees are any indication, we’ve already hit fall. If you’re a student, summer has ended as school is back in session. Which means you’re summer romance, the fling of your life has also recently dissipated or is about to dissolve into the ether.
Enter my new single “Till We Meet Again“, a candid song about those loves we’ve had in life that we hope to rekindle somewhere down the road.
The journey of this song is one of several start and stops and finally a go.
Originally the intent was to write an upbeat tune for a TV show and for a library. I pulled in a bass player friend of mine to co-write it with me. However, there was a bit of miscommunication and he got miffed about the situation, which ended the direction of the song as I had envisioned.
Next I approached another bass player friend of mine, Jesse Stern, and we started working on the music. As a direction it was still to be a library track, however as we got going with it, lyrics started pouring out. He was going thru some dark stuff and was spitting out darker lyrics. Musically as it was speaking to me it had to be a bit more positive, maybe a little more longing. Suddenly we got a song that embraced all of that along with the sounds we were laying down.
During the process of the demo we got to a section of the song and were discussing how to change one bar for it’s time signature. We spent a good deal of time trying to work out if we’d stick to the song’s common time signature (which happens to be 4/4), or go with either 7/4, 6/4, or 5/4.
Multiple different drum fills were tried out. It was a songwriter’s producing exploration into the wild blue yonder until we finally settled on one particular fill in 5/4 that provided such a sly feel to the section of the song that it was as natural as an organic ripe tomato.
Tracking the occurred in several studios. Namely mine for the acoustic guitars, synths, additional background vocals and drum programming. Yes, those are programmed drums. Jesse’s studio was were the bass was tracked and some additional synths as well. Finally the vocals were tracked at George Leger’s studio (Utopia Parkway Music) when it was located in Los Angeles.
One moment during tracking stands out to me. At one point George turned around in his producer’s chair to show me his arms. The hair was standing straight up. He says to me, while Jesse is sitting there:
“This is your Purple Rain. You’re giving me goosebumps.”
Chances are you don’t know George. He is a massive Prince fan. So much so, that he once took me to see Prince perform when I was down in the dumps going thru some tough shit in life. It was a shining moment. I digress. George was so taken aback by the vocal we were laying down and the quality of the song that he felt it would be my equivalent to Purple Rain. My reaction was “I sure hope you’re right.” Damn right, I’d love to have a song be as popular as Purple Rain. Hell, even half as popular would be ideal.
Another memorable moment came when George first noticed the bar of 5/4. He asked who the drummer was that recorded the part and who came up with the fill, he thought it was amazing. When I responded with, I programmed it, he thought I did a hell of a job. Very few people notice because of how natural it feels, it doesn’t feel like a bar of 5/4. This prompted a discussion between myself, George and Jesse, mainly because it was George who originally gave me the idea of adding an odd measure in a song.
After getting all the vocals tracked, George and Jesse also sang some backgrounds. Once back in my studio, I felt I needed some additional voices for the backgrounds, so I enlisted the help of Val and Julia to sing some more parts.
George and I tackled the mix and eventually George did the mastering (as he’s also a fantastic mastering engineer as well).
Now it’s finally been released and is ready for your listening pleasure. I hope it gives you goosebumps like it did for George. Cause that would mean you’d tell others they need to hear and playlist it, like you will.
More music coming soon.
As a musician, I love analog but I embrace digital. Actually I don’t just embrace digital, I love digital as well.
It amazes me that there are still people who will bring up the Analog Recording is better debate. I get it. You can’t let go of your past.
I’m fortunate enough that while I started recording in a bedroom with a TASCAM portastudio, you know the ones that recorded 4 to 8 tracks on a cassette tape, I quickly moved to digital recording as I saw the future. I learned oodles about recording and noise, thanks to that old portastudio. Hell, I have 100s of cassettes that I should transfer into my computer. Though at this point I would have to borrow a working portastudio as I gave mine away to a budding musician. She never gave it back.
Another reason I don’t go digging thru those old tapes is that it would only be a reminder of my beginnings, I highly doubt any of those recordings would ever be salvageable.
I never released any of my song recordings done on tape. All recordings I’ve released were all digital recordings.
However, I have worked on other people’s projects that were recorded on tape. Some sound great, some, not so much.
I quickly moved to digital recording on a computer as soon as my budget allowed me to purchase an audio card. I was limited to 4 tracks, but what a difference it made in sound quality from a portastudio to a computer. What I discovered though was that digital is not forgiving like tape – it was a mirror image of what you fed it. There was no magic vibe automatically created by digital recording.
So I learned that you have to give digital exactly want you wanted, otherwise you’d get disappointed. That made me more determined to make sure I understood how to perform and record to get what I wanted.
Recently I got into a discussion with another songwriter about recording formats. They came right out saying that digital sucked and analog ruled. Their claim is that 1’s and 0’s can’t supply depth to a recording.
Spoken like a true novice.
This particular songwriter claimed they wanted to learn what the differences were between analog and digital. However, with the opening salvo being that digital recording was already weaker, it made for a lame way to claim they were looking to start a conversation to learn such differences.
My answer eventually boiled down to this:
“The difference is mental. Entirely mental. If you actually believe you will achieve a better recording with analog gear – then you will. If you believe you will achieve a better recording with digital gear, then you will. It’s entirely a mental thing for the artist.
In blind A/B tests, you will never know the difference. So why does it matter?
What matters is the performance of the artist/band and the competency of the engineers.”
They had nothing to hit back with.
Of course it helped that other producers jumped in talking about the advantages to digital recording: Speed, ease of use, etc. One older producer went so far to say that one couldn’t pay him enough to go back to working with tape and all analog gear.
Over the past several years and as recently as a month ago I’ve upgraded to newer audio interfaces. The most recent update is the Apollo 8p Quad. It gives me a bunch of additional processing power, along with enough inputs to now track full bands if I need to.
As you know with my career, I’ve been an in-the-box guy for a long time now. I use a laptop (along with a specially designed midi pedal) for my live guitar rig too. That’s how in the box I go.
Great recordings still require several things. An awesome musician or musicians to perform. A means to record. An engineer that understands those means. A quality mix engineer. A quality mastering engineer. These are things that are needed to get an awesome recording. It doesn’t matter if it’s analog or digital (they’re just means).
It doesn’t hurt to have great microphones. It doesn’t hurt to have great mic pres. It doesn’t hurt to have a great room. It doesn’t hurt to have awesome outboard gear. Those things will enhance a recording, as long as they’re used appropriately.
I love the idea of analog, but I embrace the beauty and ease of use of digital.