Stories Without Words
Chill.Jazz.Funk.New Age.World.Fusion Music

Just Plain Folks Awards for 2017

March 2, 2017



Just Plain Folks is a community of over 51,500 Songwriters, Recording Artists and Music Industry Professionals and host to the world's largest independent music awards. They always trail a few years behind with the awards but it is a very cool event since it honors artist that are generally ignored by the mainstream.

I've got nominations from 2 different albums - Kaleidoscope (2013) and Stories Without Words (2010)

  • Instrumental Album - - Stories Without Words
  • Funk Song - Chi-Town Strut (Stories Without Words)
  • Instrumental Rock Song - Hanging by a Thread (Kaleidoscope)
  • Instrumental Rock Song - Sunset Cliffs (Stories Without Words)
  • Instrumental Song - Syzygy (Stories Without Words)

You can check out the nominated tunes here.






Here Comes Some More Music

September 9, 2016

I seem to be incapable of going in one musical direction for too long. I need variety as well as creativity. Here are the latest two additions to this obsession -

I spent part of the past year working with guitarist Bruce Williams on a jazz project also featuring Dave Harris on drums, Paul Merar on bass and Jhorber Orta on percussion. It is a groovy collection of upbeat jazzy tunes with a touch of world beat. Very proud of how this one came out. You can check it out here.

My latest random direction is a recording project I call Reason's Edge. The CDs I put out tend to be instrumental jazz, fusion, new age, etc. But I felt like revisiting lyrics and vocal arrangements and a little rock attitude. So here is the result. I am in the process of getting the album set up in all the usual spots (CDBaby, Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp, ). But here is a first look anyway.

An Interesting Lesson in Perspective

August 9, 2014

I recently submitted one of my tunes, Cruise Control, for an placement opportunity. Got back the following comment -

"Interested blend of instruments. Synthesized choir background is of poor quality. Good driving beat."

Aside from the probably auto-corrected "interested", it struck me as funny because, the objection about the choir sounds is purely about the expectations.

That sound was a very conscious choice on my part. It is a sound that would be instantly recognizable to people who listen to much progressive rock - it's a Mellotron, an 8-bit tape-based sampler from the 60s that is lo-fi, slightly out of tune and gritty sounding, but it is a useful sound unto itself. As a choir it sucks, as a Mellotron it has a warm gritty character. All about what you are looking for. It is much like the old Roland TR808 and TR909 drum machines are to rappers - as authentic sounding drums, not so much; but as an alternate, those sounds are used everywhere in rap and hip-hop.

The point is, of course, the listener is also right - if you don't know what a Mellotron sounds like, then it is just a crappy sounding choir; and if your ears wanted a pristine full sounding choir then it is not going to work for you.

Sometimes listeners just are not going to get what you are going for.

Happy Critters

July 21, 2014

Album number three from The Odd Get Even is on its way!

San Diego, California to Chicago, Illinois .... transmitted as bit and bytes, ones and zeros across datalines and servers, the raw material that will become our musical expression assembles piece by piece.

The challenge is always to capture the feel of being in the same room laying down the groove even though we're actually a thousand miles apart. While remote recording sessions are becoming more and more commonplace, for this project that we call THE ODD GET EVEN, we've turned the traditional composition process itself on its head.

Each tune starts off as an improvised drum solo which is actually the phenominal Mr. Bill Ray sketching out a drum part for something that he is just clicking along to in his head. Once the drum track is down, I take it, do some editing for structure and continuity's sake and build a song around it. There is no communication about intent; no attempt to be on the same page. At no point does one Bill know what the hell the other one was thinking.

There's an organic nature to all of this that lends itself to some pretty cool arrangements. If ever there were albums truely "created from the drums up" it would be this project.

Some day we're going to get to play this stuff live. And that is going to ROCK.

Internet Radio

April 8, 2014

A big shout-out to Internet radio programmers everywhere. I have received a lot of support over the years from Internet-based stations. These are folks who bring energy, effort and enthusiasm for little if any compensation. But like the musicians, they do it for the sheer love of music first. You can't get any purer motivation than that..

One show that has been giving me some very nice support of late is D.C. Coast to Coast out of my hometown of San Diego. Host D.C. Hathaway is a genuinely good guy and a musician himself who works to give independent musicians a forum where they can be heard.

Give his show a listen -- you might discover some new favorite artists!

Kaleidoscope

November 4, 2013

It's that time again.

I couldn't stop making music if I tried. It is as much a part of me as breathing. And every once in a while, it is time to get another group of tunes out into the world. The music world has changed much in the last few years. It is much more difficult to get any sort of buzz going around a new album amidst all the other background noise on the Internet than it was even five or ten years ago. Escpecially when what I do live tends to be so different style-wise than my solo projects. Hey I can't help it - I like variety.

The face of music has changed drastically over the last decade or so. In a world of multitasking as daily life and the bazillion or so electronic distractions, music is now frequently one thing among many fighting for attention.

The experience of listening - REALLY listening - deeply to an album and having it draw you into another world seems to be becoming a relic, a distant memory. Like someone from a few generations ago describing sitting around listening to the radio before the invention of television.

Add to that the fact that people have become so used to downloading whatever they want at a whim. It now makes sense to people to spend $5 on a fancy coffee that is gone in a few minutes but not $10 on an album that they can have forever.

For me music is what it always has been - lifeforce. It is to me what religion is for many people - it is what connects my soul to the universe. So I just keep on doing what I do -- creating music that is close to my heart and putting it out in the world. And occasionally, when I know that something I have created really connects to someone, it gives me hope.

Alaska

March 11, 2013

I have long had an affinity for Alaska and all of its open stretches of beautiful landscapes. Ever since my band Crystal toured there several times in the late 80s / early 90s, it was always another home, calling me back.

My wife and I recently spent some time up there again, visiting friends and doing some exploring. One of the things we got to do was take a dogsled ride led by nine-time Iditarod vetran Dario Martinez. I put together some of the footage to one of the tunes off my Stories Without Words album.

Enjoy.

Pandora

January 26, 2013

My latest album ...Past is Proglogue was officially accepted by Pandora radio this past week. Sometimes I get in, sometimes not. Depends on what they are looking for at the moment.

Although I've been a fan of Pandora and their music discovery system since the start, I have to admit my opinion of them as a company has been changing. Since they went public and now have stockholders to deal with, they have been lobbying both the government and their customers in an effort to pay less in artist royalties. That they are on the same side of the arguement as industry behemoth Clear Channel says much.

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