Category Archives: new music

Growing a Tune: The Sudbury Session

This is really a cross-over post. The recording came out of the Sudbury Session and is probably the last I will post from that session. However, the tune, The Marlin Spike, is the one that we have been running a collaborative recording experiment upon. As nice as it is to spend time laying tracks on a new tune, they also have to get road tested. The only way to do that is to try them out at a session. That is where you get your feedback and it is where you really learn what works and doesn’t work on a tune.

In this recording I think you can hear the tentativeness of playing together the first couple of times through the tune. But the third time through it starts to get some bite and someone yelps as if to say ‘Go-on!’. Then after the tune, a bit of good-natured session ribbing. But, the part that makes you want to keep writing is when someone asks if ‘that is one of your own compositions’.

The Long Trip Home

The Long Trip Home   You know the old line:

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.

Well, I’m gonna try anyhow.
I am supper happy to announce that my buddy Josh Dukes just released his first album. No, I’m not going to do a track by track album review, I think you should listen for yourself. But I will tell you this, the first time I listened I thought, ‘hmmm, this makes me want to get better at playing the flute…damn him.’ The second time I listened I thought, ‘well now, listen to that sweet guitar playing, why didn’t I think of that slick chord progression…ggrrrrr’. Needless to say, I was afraid to listen to it a third time…but I couldn’t resist. And I’m happy to say that Josh is the man. He, along with a host of other very talented musicians have put together an album of really tasty traditional tunes. Plus he’s got all the instruments I like on this album; his Olwell, guitar, the bunka-bunka (that’s the tenor banjo for those not in-the-know), ye ole goat skins and a variety of other cool instruments.
But, I’m sure that you don’t need to hear me ramble on about what a great recording this is and why you should get your own copy. So, instead, take a listen for yourself. Josh was kind enough to let me post one of his tracks here. Then, immediately following, I want you to head over to CD Baby and make one yours so that you can hear the remaining fourteen tracks. Also, if you are local or plan to be mustering in the rain at Sudbury this weekend, I have a dozen or so copies on hand for the reasonable price of $15.

I am certain you will enjoy it.


Growing a Tune: Josh Jazz

Now things are getting interesting. First Unstachio sent along his idea for backing. Then, with Luke’s help, I recorded a completely different track. Now Josh has sent me a rough mix that is much more jazzy than the first two. All of them are great and it is really fun to see how the same melody can be interpreted in a variety of styles. The best part is that I don’t think we are done yet!

Growing a Tune: The Marlin Spike

The Marlin Spike

O.k. It has a name now.

Also, here is a rough mix of a new set of tracks. They are a bit faster, include the flute and guitar and are repeated an extra time. The whistle track is a guide track and may eventually be thrown out. I would like to replace it with a fiddle track. If Josh sends me a guitar track, this guitar track will be thrown out. And, Unstachio will use these tracks to prepare a final bouzouki track.

Growing a Tune: Inch by Inch

We are making some progress on our tune. I’m working on a final flute track. Josh Dukes tells me he wants to add some guitar backing. Luke is planning on taking my wav files and doing what Luke does. And Unstachio has already put down a bouzouki track on my mp3 whistle track. The sound quality is a bit degraded because he was unable to use the original wav files…but this is just for practice anyhow. It should give you an idea where things are headed.

I hope to have the flute wav files done sometime this week. If anyone is interested in using them for their own experiment please contact me and I will get them to you.

Growing a Tune: Power!

I got power!!!
I got power
Not the superhuman kind, nor the political kind. Just the kind that makes my mics work again.

Now that I’m back in business, I took a few minutes to record a practice track of my new and still unnamed tune. From here I will start testing it out with other instruments, name it and maybe even write it down so that it is legible. Also, I’m hoping Unstachio comes up with a brilliant accompanying bouzouki part.

In the next few days I will attempt lay down a flute track I like and send him the wav files. He will then overdub his mighty bouzouki part. It is good to have a plan.

Growing a Tune: The Seed

Here is my latest tune.
latest tune
I know it doesn’t look like much, but it is how most of my tunes start out. A fleeting idea enters my head as I’m driving to work. I reach into the console to find something, anything, to write on. I fervidly scratch the lines of the staff onto paper as I’m taking a corner (hey, at least I’m not on my cell phone). I pencil in a few dots to make up the first couple measures. Those first few dots are seeds. Sometimes nothing happens with them and they don’t grow. I have hundreds of scraps of paper lying around with seeds that never bloom into anything. My wife loves the mess. Other times the idea does grow. Sometimes into a weed and other times into something a little more enjoyable. I add more dots. Maybe even enough dots to make a tune.

At this point, I generally let that tune sit for a few days. This is part of my vetting process. If I can remember that tune a few days later without looking at the music, it might be worth playing for someone else.

Yesterday I played this tune for Unstachio, what I could remember of it anyhow. I haven’t wasted time trying to figure out a name quite yet. No sense in finding a perfectly good name for a perfectly crappy tune. Gotta save names for the good tunes. This might be one. Seems better than a weed.

So, here is the plan. Unstachio and I are going to continue watering this one and see how it grows. First I need to really learn it. Then I am going to do a rough recording of it send it to him so he can learn it. If we think it has merit, we’ll spend some more time caring for it…and we will see what grows.

I’ll post about the progress as we go.