I need some studio help.

Yesterday as a (halfway) joke I posted on my FaceBook page that I needed some new studio monitors and I wanted someone to buy me some for Christmas. Lo and behold one kind soul sent me $100 towards their purchase (Thanks, Lisa!) and another joined my Inner Tribe at the monthly level (Thanks, Eban!). I decided to go ahead and see if I could raise the money for the speakers this way.

Here’s the plan:

I am sending out an end of year thank you gift to my Inner Tribe Members (you can read about what that is here) which will include some material I haven’t shared with anyone else (and may not ever) as well as a tasty treat or two. If you subscribe as a Inner Tribe member by Monday or donate at least $30 using the button on my support page, I will send you the gift as well. If you donate $120 or more, I’ll also give you a year Inner Tribe membership along with the end of year gift.

yamaha-hs5-studio-monitor-pair-36027709-0-1386670913000

The desired new monitors. Ain’t they pretty?

The sad tale of my monitors:

It’s really not that sad, as they have lasted me a long, long time. I have had these guys since 2003, when I bought them used. They have travelled with me from Texas to Koinonia in Georgia, to the dirty Jerz and finally to Brooklyn where we reside together now. Over the past couple of years they have begun to make more and more noise (static, crackle and hum) and they are now at the point where they are entirely unusable for mixing my music.

Why do need them?

I am beginning work on my next single, “Invocation,” which I plan to mix almost entirely myself. Being able to listen to my work clearly and accurately is vital for a good mix, which I can then share with you, gentle listeners. I have rearranged my apartment so that it is now rehearsal friendly, having these monitors will make it much less expensive to have rehearsals with my string players for my next show in the Spring. Not to mention my podcast and the free work I do for fellow independent media producers like Big Fat Vegan Radio, and [a really cool one that I can’t share yet], and vital PSAs like this.

In conclusion:

I need about $350.00 more to buy these awesome Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitors. I will send you cool stuff if you help. All the buttons and links you need to send money can be found on my support page. Thanks!

“Go.” Video Shoot

Blake Drummond captures Asher, Don and me at the piano.

Blake Drummond captures Asher, Don and me at the piano. Photo by Derek Nicoletto.

Yesterday, the brilliantly talented Blake Drummond and I shot the video for my song “Go” at Judson Memorial Church. I tweeted yesterday about the amazing warmth and generosity I have found in NYC and shoot is a brilliant example. My friend Derek Nicoletto brought his son Asher to be part of the shoot and one of my piano students, Don Matteson, joined us as well. I never in a million years thought I would find a community of artists and friends as kind and supportive as I have found here in NYC.

There’s still a ton of work to be done on the video so I  hesitate to declare a release date. Inner Tribe members will get to see a rough cut and the video itself ahead of the release date. More information about that here. The song “Go.” is available for download on Bandcamp, iTunes and pretty much all other digital retailers.

While you wait for mine, check out Derek Nicoletto’s latest video:

 

 

 

 

Sandyland Tour Diary #2 (+)

I saw Without You I’m Nothing on the big screen when it was released in 1990. Some of my much-hipper-than-me friends were raving about Sandra Bernhard and how we had to go see it, so I signed up having no idea what to expect. I was around 21 years old and green in so many ways — having spent most of my teenage years in East Texas, so it’s funny that the film informed me culturally in a sort of backward way. For instance, at that time I had never heard much from Nina Simone. So, while I appreciated Sandra’s rendition of “Four Women” in the film, it wasn’t for a couple years when a boyfriend turned me on to Nina Simone and I heard the original “Four Women” and had a tremendous A-HA! moment that sent me right back to the film to reconnect with the cultural references I had missed the first time around.

In a similar way, my life is folding back on itself and I just finished my second road trip and weekend of performing with Sandra some 23 or so years later. I’m so happy that the new reality of Sandra Bernhard as car cohabitant and the person with whom I sit on stage has begun to take the place of Sandra as that famous artist I have been following for most of my adult life. Not that I was particularly star-struck (okay that might be a lie) but it was a little surreal at first and it’s really fun to be in “we’re all humans here” world.

We headed up to Helsinki Hudson Saturday afternoon from Sandra’s apartment with tour manager Joe Hubrich at the wheel. The drive was much easier than the previous weekend’s trip to the North Fork. We got to the club at around 5:15 just in time to do a sound check and have a quick rehearsal to iron out a couple of changes to one of the songs. As a musician I can be a little timid about performing music that isn’t written down note for note and performed the same way every time, so my prep for this gig with Sandra and her willingness to try new things on stage has really opened my eyes to the fact that I can handle myself pretty well in that setting. It’s a little nerve-wracking but also exhilarating to approach the part of a song we changed up just a few hours before and just go with it. I am psyched to be pushed out of my comfort zone and growing as a musician through this.

pre-show soundcheck and rehearsal with Sandra at Helsinki Hudson. Aug 30, 2013

pre-show soundcheck and rehearsal with Sandra at Helsinki Hudson. Aug 30, 2013

The Staff at Helsinki was great. Erica was on hand to make sure we had everything we needed and made us feel perfectly taken care of. Pete ran the sound flawlessly and the space itself was pretty spectacular. I fell immediately in love with the Yamaha baby grand piano. Musty Chiffon warmed up the sold out crowd (which included my sister, brother-in-law, BFF Ken and my Aunt Judie and Uncle Kevin). The show itself was solid and the crowd was really fantastic.  Since I was staying the weekend with my sis and bro-in-law, I said goodbye to Sandra and Joe after the show and proceeded to have a relaxing weekend in Chatham, NY amongst deers and shit like that.

I’m already feeling a bit sadzies about this coming weekend in Columbia, SC and Savanna, GA being my last with Sandra until Oct 17. The timing is perfect however, as it leaves my schedule open for writing and rehearsing new material for my solo show, Tentative Armor which I’m performing again on Sept 28th. (Get your tickets here so I can pay my string players!) I met with my director Adam Fitzgerald last night and I’m officially getting down to business. Writing a couple of new pieces for it and continuing to flesh out the orchestrations. So much to do, but so excited.

Sidenote: Adam’s current show, The Awake, got this absolutely STUNNING review in the New York Times. I was already proud to be working with Adam, but this just pushes it over the edge. The show stars 30 Rock’s Maulik Pancholy and is running for at least one more week. Check it out if there are still tickets available.

Finally, I’m sending out my monthly newsletter in the next couple of days and it will include a free download only available there. Sign up for it here.

Thanks for reading all of this and as always, thank you for supporting my work!

“Go.” out today!

"Go." Cover art by Brody Polinsky cleanandsobertattoo.com

“Go.” Cover art by Brody Polinsky cleanandsobertattoo.com

A bittersweet day, this.

The exciting news is that my first single is out now on Bandcamp!  I’m suggesting $1 as a price for the song if you want to pay for it, or you can just download it for free (you’ll be asked for your email address, but I promise not to give it to anyone or e-mail you incessantly). My first desire is for this song to be out in the world, so don’t let that dollar stand between you and the song. If you can pay the dollar for the song (or more if you wanna), know that doing so will help me to create more work. Recording and mastering this song cost roughly $600, it would be awesome to make that back! If you like it, share it widely. It’s on YouTube and Soundcloud now, too, so feel free to post to your heart’s desire. Next Wednesday, it will go live on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and all the rest via CDBaby, so those options are there for you too. Really. Take it and share it. Pay me if you can.

So, of course, the bitter of this bittersweet day lies in the fact that this is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. This song is for her and she is the reason I wanted to release this song today. My mother always encouraged me to pursue my music, even in spite of my massive fear of doing so. Something about her death made me decide it was time to step out of fear and get the fuck on with it already. So, while this has been a year of great sadness and mourning, it has also been a year of tremendous creativity inspired by her memory.

Mom, 
Thank you.  This song is for you.