3 EP Songs Selected by Women of Substance Internet Radio!

slide1-1Here’s a nifty bit of news … My EP is getting some national attention! Three songs from my Something Good EP were selected by  Women of Substance Internet Radio to appear in their regular rotation! Each song will join the rotation after being introduced at 3-week intervals in their “What’s On My iPod?” New Music Show, then will later be featured on their award-winning podcastI See You will be introduced first, daily at 5 pm ET / 2 pm PT, October 3-7, 2016. Please listen to the New Music Show here, and please consider  helping me spread the word about this, my EP release show, and the EP itself by giving me a shoutout online on your favorite social media.

Please also come to my EP release show at Art Boutiki on Saturday, November 12, 2016. Thank you so much for your support of me, live music venues like Art Boutiki, and local musicians including Dave Maurischat, Chris Lanier, and Will Diamond, who will join Kenny Schick and Sabiné Heusler-Schick of ArtemesiaBlack in backing me. ArtemesiaBlack will also open the show.

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Show time is 7:30 pm, and advance tickets are available here and by clicking the icon on the left for $10 plus a small transaction fee. You can also buy tickets at the door for $10.

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Getting Over It

“Ah. You haven’t gotten over the fact that it’s you doing it, have you?”

It was 2007, and I was sitting with my cello while Greg Newlon adjusted the baffles and microphones around me. It was one of my first times recording anything, and I was understandably nervous.

I started as a classically trained pianist, cellist, and vocalist. I had never considered doing anything but classical music until Greg asked me to write and play a cello line on “Eloise,” a song on Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon’s 2007 CD Any Doorway Will Do. That was the first in a series of adventures that brought me where I am now.

IMG_5214 I have fallen into a few pretty significant ditches – there were a few months when I considered never singing again – and had some pretty crazy times – while I was on tour, a police officer who pulled us over for speeding at 4:00 am (I was not driving) asked if we had “any drugs or guns in the car.” We didn’t, but I nearly burst out laughing at this fantastic moment of insanity in my otherwise fairly ordinary life. In these last few years, I was kicked out of a praise band, wore fabulously over the top costumes as a lead singer in a crazy cover band, went on tour with a name artist, began writing originals, launched and saw crash an original band, then spent more than a year playing and singing only for my dog, who still howls miserably when I play.

Putting myself out there has brought intense and lasting pain because I suck at rejection, and there is a lot of it if you try to be an artist. On the other hand, putting myself out there has also brought me the chance to jump on the better end of the dichotomy in the internet meme “It’s better to look back on life and say, ‘I can’t believe I did that,’ than to look back and say, ‘I wish I did that.’”

I released my first EP at age 50; in fact, it is my 50th birthday present to myself. Some people might wrinkle their noses, sniff “mid life crisis” under the breath, or assume it’s trite and horrible because it comes from someone who only got up the guts to put herself out there in this way when one kid is launched and the other is on the doorstep. I would ask them to listen, just once, to all 4 of the songs, because they might be surprised. Then if they like them, I would ask them to spend $4 (less than a Venti latte!) and please buy them.

bpt_buy_tickets_large-copyIf you have any interest in seeing me play live, my EP release show at Art Boutiki on Saturday, November 12, 2016 is the best chance to do it; please click the BPT icon to the right for tickets. I don’t play out often, especially with a full band, and your help filling the venue will go a long way towards supporting me, live music venues like Art Boutiki, and local musicians including Dave Maurischat, Chris Lanier, and Will Diamond, who will join Kenny Schick and Sabiné Heusler-Schick of ArtemesiaBlack in backing me.

Speaking of folks who haven’t played out recently, I somehow managed to talk ArtemesiaBlack into opening before they back me up. This is a rare opportunity to see and hear the magic they weave. Please take advantage of it.

Show time is 7:30 pm, and advance tickets are available here for $10 plus a small transaction fee. You can also buy tickets at the door for $10.

In the meantime, I’m well on my way to getting over the fact that it’s me doing it. Putting out this EP helped a lot (more on that in another blog post), but I am definitely not done. I’ll keep working on it, and invite you to listen, buy, download, come to a concert, and see what it sounds like.

Thanks for reading.

Recording

I began this year with a resolve to get an EP recorded. At the risk of tooting my own horn, I was tired of having nothing to offer when supportive audience members approached me after a gig asking, “Where’s your CD?”

One tricky part is I have no band. I certainly have no shortage of incredibly talented friends who have offered to back me. I even invited a few to my house one day in December to jam, but it didn’t work as well as I would have liked. It wasn’t their fault, which leads me to the other tricky part. I have little idea what my music needs beyond the melody, lyrics, and the guitar arrangements that I work out, or that Greg Newlon developed for me when I was working with him.

In other words, I don’t have a producer’s ear, and I needed help.

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“… on a quest for the right reed for recording … here’s 20 or so years of rejects … maybe one of these will work with this mouthpiece and my mood today … only about 500 to go through.” ~Kenny Schick, working on “Leave It Alone,” April 12, 2016

Happily, I was steered to Kenny Schick at Basement 3 Productions in Boulder Creek. Kenny specializes in working with singer-songwriters like me, and is weirdly blessed with an insane ability to play many instruments extremely well. He’s basically a one-man band, one track at a time.

He is also blessed with the ability to hear what a song needs with only melody, chords, and a sometimes tentative guitar part to work with.

I sent him my first demo in January of “Leave It Alone,” previously known as “Scab,” with which Greg helped me so much that he has a co-writer credit whether he wants it or not. When I received Kenny’s sketch of the song a short while later, my head exploded. He added drums, bass, electric guitar, organ, and eventually sax, and turned a stammering, hesitant tune into a sizzling, hard-driving blues ode to obsessive thinking. Listening to his sketch, I was overcome. I was amazed at his ability, and, frankly, amazed that a song I wrote sounded so damn good. I didn’t know if it was lipstick on a pig, but I was willing to take it even if it was.

I am familiar with how merciless the recording process is from my work on cello for Michèle Sharik, Women with Strings Attached, Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon, and Rich Armstrong. The level of precision required is daunting to say the least. I was at one time relatively comfortable with recording on cello, and am familiar with the amount of time and hard work needed to prepare for a recording session.

The recording preparation process for the EP is fascinating, and very different from preparing to record on cello, and preparing to play live. First, it requires that I separate playing guitar from singing – because the guitar and vocals are recorded on separate tracks so they can be mixed properly. This is so odd to me considering I’ve spent the last three years working like hell to be able to do them together well. Separating the parts, and studying each closely to make sure it is doing what I want it to do is strangely satisfying. In the end, it’s a numbers game – how many times I can run each part with consciousness, intention and intelligence determines how well I will do on recording day. But preparing the vocals takes a little more …

One thing that hearing Kenny’s sketches has given me is the freedom to sing the way the songs need to be sung, and truly to be myself. I love the process of figuring out which vocal coordination each part of the song needs so that it fits both my voice and the mood. I love hearing my progress as I gradually settle into the pocket of a song, so I walk into Kenny’s studio and nail it in a take or two. Then I love putting the song back together – vocals and guitar – when I understand both parts so much more intimately. It’s like re-introducing old friends who are more mature and confident, and seeing how they get along.

In the end, this process is breathing new life and understanding into my stuff, song by song. Even more importantly, it’s helping me to love my voice and what it can do in ways I have never previously known. This is amazing to me.

So I can’t wait to share this EP with you when it’s done, which I hope will be by the end of the summer. I have plans to put together a show to celebrate its release; I will let you know when those plans firm up. In the meantime, I appreciate your support as I continue the recording process. I could not be happier.