Sunday, April 19, 2009


I plan to hit the open mic at the Barley St. Monday night and I wanted to try and have at least one new track to play. There's a song I've been beating my head against the wall to finish, but I hit some inspiration this weekend and ripped a new song, start to finish tonight. Nice when the lyrics hit quick and easy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Moving on...

Had a jam session with Sean tonight and it was surprisingly productive. I came out with two new ideas to be twisted and molded into something real. One song, for sure, will be full band only, but the other will work ok on the acoustic. Both have a real strong and somewhat droning sound to it. Big riffs, though, and very fun. I'll have to get moving on putting them to paper.

I also got to play guitar through my amp, instead of through a software amp simulator. Quite refreshing to not look at my amp unplugged; its tubes sitting cold and brittle. No, tonight the vacuum tubes burned with the fires of rock and roll as I moved this thing forward.

I want to get a few more songs together and then hit a few open mic shows here in town. Until Sean and I commit to a full band arrangement and find a drummer, this here's a solo act.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Really Did Disappear

The RPM Challenge is all over. The last step is to mail the cd into RPM headquarters on Monday and let the cash roll in.

I've said it in previous posts, but it's been a really amazing experience. I learned a lot over the course of the month about myself, about what my music sounds like when I stop trying to shoe-horn it into particular styles, about the recording and engineering process...

I've been out of a band for literally years and I'd been unsure if I'd ever do anything substantial after my last band, The Trust, did our demo. I'm glad I have something more. I did write the majority of the music (not to understate the contributions of the other members), but this is 100% me, completely free to explore what I can possibly produce. I feel I was able to tap that musical core and produce the most honest, authentic music I've ever done.

Big thanks to everyone who's pushed me along.

While you're at it, go check out T.J. and Sarah's RPM Challenge album. It's awesome, and humbles me greatly. "Phantom Vibrations" wrecks me.

Monday, February 23, 2009

(So Too Does February Disappear)

It's out. Come and get it.

I know RapidShare sucks, but I have no other spot to put it at the moment. In any case, it's available.

I'm super excited to have it all done. Like, DONE done. The tracks all came out really well considering my spartan recording setup and the timeframe it was all completed in. 23 Days. Holy Crap.

EDIT: Moved the file to

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wrapping up

Last night, in a fit of unhappiness with how it fit the project as a whole, I rewrote and restructured the lyrics of "Oracle of Everything." While it's a bit creepier now, it's a stronger fit for the album, and makes a great last track.

I've also been remixing all the tracks to get all the songs consistent in their volume peaks and also to ensure that vocals are all up enough in the mix. when i was starting out the recording process, i was unhappy with the performances, so i was burying the vocals in the mix. I'm a bit happier with them now, overall (well, some songs more than others), but it's sounding great IMO. it's a much better production than I've ever done. I wish I had a large diaphragm mic that I could have used for vocals, but eq has helped over come the shortcomings of my equipment (thanks Waves!).

I should have the tracks up early this week. I could keep working these songs forever, but I'm going to kick this out the door. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Apologies Redux

Unhappy with the re-recorded vocals, I backed off and took a different approach. the song is WAAAAAAAYYYYYY different in tone and overall feel and I had to re-write the chorus completely. Also, I ditched the drums and added a sparse, more lo-fi electronic beat. There's not much there. just enough to keep the song moving. It really feels like a whole different song and I'm totally in love with it.

Can't wait to get some feedback on it. In the meantime, here's a sample.

I've also been re-mixing the tracks. that's going to be going on until the last second, i'm sure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wrapping Up

I do believe that I could kick this one out the door in a few days. With my time coming up short as the month ends - and let's not mention the creative fatigue I've been having - I think I may call it a wrap on recording. Despite my intention to do just one more, I don't think I have it in me. i have 8 tracks now, including the two interludes and it pushed me just over the 35 minute mark.

I finished the vocals from the last track, "My Apologies," today. Yesterday I laid down the vocals and they were TERRIBLE when I listened to it today. pitchy and off time; I couldn't get it together. it was so bad I started to mess with an auto-tuning plugin to compensate (and that did not turn out well). On a whim, i tried one more take today, and it all came together. still not perfect, but i'll take it. I'm sure at this point, I'm going to notice and care more than anyone else.

I've been going through some of the recordings and redoing all the leveling, panning and general mastering, and things are sounding bigger. I'm starting to learn how to create a bigger sounding sound space, which is helping to make the tracks pop. I've also been begrudgingly bringing the vocals up in the mix more.

All in all, I'm very very happy with this project.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Apologies

I'm about to close the book on the last track I think I'll be able to squeeze out before the deadline. my week's fairly busy and next week, i'll need to finalize mixes. Looks like it's all down hill from here.

However, I still have to finish the god forsaken vocals on this track. they don't appear that hard, but I just can't stay on pitch... i mean, more than normal. I have a fairly good take right now that was patched together from multiple takes, but i think i'll probably try to do a retake tomorrow if I get a chance.

I was going to only have the one acoustic guitar track, but i added a backing track of a little electric guitar and it really sells the mix. adds a lot of immediacy to it. Also, the lyrics of this one came together for the most part. not my favorite lyrics ever, but I have some sharp lines (love the bridge and how it works the end). I think this'll be the final track on the mix. it sums up a lot of what I''ve been writing about on the other songs.

Seems the album was more concept driven, if only thematically, than previously thought.

can't wait to have it all "finished."

Sunday, February 15, 2009


damnit. Stupid verses. Why must they be so... necessary.

I have the 2nd part of each line, but can't seem to decide on what I want for the first part. The song is gutwrenching, though. The kind of song I'm afraid to let people listen to, it's so brutally personal.

Banner Day

I just laid down the main guitar track on the song that'll push me over the 35 minute mark.


Valentine's Day was a wash. Did a little mixing, but nothing really productive. I do have a new song brewing, though, that I plan to bridge out of the first interlude. I do believe that'll wrap up my requirement for the challenge, but I'd still like at least one track more.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I had the night free and I wanted to finish writing and recording a song I was working on, but I am just not feeling it anymore. Instead I ripped out two interlude tracks. It's not what I wanted to do, though. I wish I was a little more awake to be productive. Courtney and the baby are out of the house so it would've been a perfect night to make some noise.

Creativity doesn't work on those kinds of schedules, I suppose.

Regardless, I'm now over 30 minutes of all-new, original music, and I'm only halfway through the month. I'm kind of kicking this challenge's ass. I've been reading the boards over at RPM, and there's post after post of people talking about how they can't get started, or can't get anything finished. I feel lucky. I also feel somewhat vindicated that I can legitimately make music, not the song-here, song-there kind of thing I've done forever. I really like what I'm doing, even though I know that with some time, these songs could be better. It's interesting for me to do EVERYTHING on my own. With the other music I've written, I've been the primary writer, but there's always been compromise with other musicians' concept of what I've done, but here, it's pure me, for better or worse.

Back to the topic at hand, I'd love to get at least 2 more songs out and start cutting tracks to make for a more cohesive album. I'll take what I can get, though. If I hit the 35 minute mark and get hit with some nasty writer's block, so be it. I'm simply happy I've been able to meet the challenge.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Way It All Will End

I took myself to a dark place to write lyrics for this new song. It's going to be easy to make assumptions about it and I, but it's like a half-truth.

When I write lyrics, it's all extremes; it's only one part of what I'm digging away at. that's why love songs never sound like love songs, and when, in this example, I take myself to places I fear to tread, it's like the world coming down (or maybe I just sound like a jerk).

I'll try to post it tonight if i get the mixdown presentable. Reaper was having a fit, with all the tracks and effects I was running. I thought it was going to crash a few times and feared I was going to lose an hour of mixing and effects work. thankfully, i was able to free up extra memory for it to devour. It doesn't seem like much, but there's a lot of layers going on. Sheesh, never thought my dual-core rig would feel like a dinosaur...

I decided I'm not going to post full tracks until it's all done. but I will post samples. here's The Way It All Will End.


Spent all last night working on the new track (the aforementioned full arrangement song) and it's turning out fairly cool(?). I'm having issues getting the levels correct, but I'm liking it thus far.

The strangest part of this whole project is how the songs are so dynamic, even in the recording process. Even after I lay down the guitars (where i usually start), I'm still writing and composing. I wish I had more time to craft the songs, but, you know, deadlines...

I'd like to put some vocals on this track, but I'm unsure of melody. I'll have to work it out later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm Totally Famous

"The Ballad of You and I" was featured on episode 210 of RPMcast, the daily RPM Challenge podcast. People seem to really like that song. Note to self, right?

I have 2 new songs coming down the pipe. I'm loving this new tuning I've been playing with. Hopefully I can knock one of them out tonight. The first of the two is just one guitar track and a vocal track or two, so it shouldn't be too tough. On the second, I'm doing drums, bass, multiple guitar tracks and the whole works. That'll take a few days.

More later.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Change of Pace

I had awful writer's block now that i've ostensibly finished the first four tracks. most likely a by product of the creative (or uncreative depending on how much you actually enjoy the songs) vomiting I've done over the past 9 days. I'd say four tracks is a pretty good take.

As I progress, i'm already starting to dislike two of the tracks. Probably because i've listened to them WAY too many times because of mixing.

I picked up my acoustic guitar today, though. I couldn't find anything of interest in standard tuning, so i kicked it over into a cool tuning I picked up from Bon Iver. it's G C C G C C. INSANELY open, but way easier than the open Dminor i'm used to. Once I got acclimated to the basic chord forms, a new song practically wrote itself. It's a tricky song in timing, though. lots of hanging phrases. I don't think I'll be playing with a click track, either. the dynamics just dont work with it.

Guess it's just vocals and guitars. just like the good old days. good times.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Two More Down

Today was EXTREMELY productive, to make up for my lazy Saturday, no doubt. I rerecorded the vocals to "Of Towers and Bastards" finally and mixed what I've got. I'd like to re-do the drums, but I want to hit that 35 minute mark before I start messing around with that. they're good enough, I think. Vocals turned out better, though I wish the lyrics would come together. I played with some edits that Aaron did for me and, while they worked, I ended up going another way with the narrative. That's the problem writing these songs so quickly: they are alive even after they're recorded.

Case in point: "Oh, How I love" (which is now "Snakes"). The vocals were tricky. I wanted something that sat in the mix like a ghost. I played with really bassy eq, and it sounded cool, but I found that stripping all the bass out sounded much cooler. I ended up re-recording them and adding a third verse instead of repeating the first.

Pretty happy with the finished product on both songs. Check 'em out. The links to the songs are now on the right side info-bar.

Now I need to write a few more... Ugh. This one month deadline is nuts.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What A Waste

Somehow, I didn't get much completed today. I did lay down guitars on a new track, but i'm having a hard time nailing down lyrics. Once I stopped languishing in rhyme hell (where I try to find that perfect phrasing of the idea), and just putting something down to complete the narrative, it was fairly easy.

I wanted to re-record the vocals for "Of Towers and Bastards," so the song might be listenable, but I didn't get the chance. I'll have to force myself to do it tomorrow. At least I have the lyrics to THAT song finished! I'm fairly happy with the lyrics, too. Very biting lyrics. Not sure if anyone's going to get that its a love song...

I don't think i'll have time to put anything together tonight. The wife has people coming over, so it'll be pretty rude to sit in the office rocking out by myself. I desperately want to record "Oh, How I Love..." It'll make a nice interlude. I also have another idea from the archive that i'd like to finally get down on wax.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow will have to be productive.

Songs Finished: 2
Songs Pending: 2
Total minutes: 21:23 minutes

Current Track List:
Of Towers and Bastards
The Ballad of You and I
Oracle of Everything

Friday, February 6, 2009

Break Time

I don't think i'll have time to put anything together tonight. The wife has people coming over, so it'll be pretty rude to sit in the office rocking out by myself. I desperately want to record "Oh, How I Love..." It'll make a nice interlude. I also have another idea from the archive that i'd like to finally get down on wax.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow will have to be productive.

Songs Finished: 2
Songs Pending: 2
Total minutes: 15:48 minutes

Current Track List:
Of Towers and Bastards
The Ballad of You and I
Oracle of Everything

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Click here to download Oracle of Everything.mp3

I swear, I won't touch the faders again until I have all tracks written and recording.

I'm kind of drained after this one. I've put A LOT of time and energy into this one song. Need to step back tomorrow and have some fun.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oracle of Everything

I managed to finish "Oracle of Everything" today while Judah was napping. I was really happy with the way it turned out.

It would be up on myspace if it would load it. for some reason, it won't show up in my track list. i'll try using tindeck and put it up here.

UPDATE: here it is

Total minutes of new music: 15:48 minutes

Current Track List:
Of Towers and Bastards
The Ballad of You and I
Oracle of Everything

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

All Day, All Night

I started work this afternoon on one new idea, and it got me back on an old idea that I never had been able to figure out what to do with. After some playing, it's possibly the most big and epic song I've ever written. I really want lyrics on it, but I'm afraid it'll be ruined by my ham-fisted lyrics. I suppose that's what editing is for, though.

I'm amazed at the tone i was able to coax out of Guitar Rig. That little amp simulator has been incredible. Between this and "The Ballad of You and I," it's been the best piece of software I have installed on my PC. Also, big thanks to the people who make Reaper. I love the interface and thanks for having the most awesome fair use policy ever. I promise I'll pay for it someday. :)

Productive day, productive night. Tomorrow, I need to work on lyrics for the new one ("Oracle of Everything") and maybe record "Oh, How I Love" if time permits.

Total minutes of new music: 15:48 minutes
Track List:

Of Towers and Bastards
The Ballad of You and I
Oracle of Everything (NEW)


While I haven't been too productive as of late, I do consider myself something of a musician and songwriter. After all, I've been playing and composing for over 15 years and though fairly lazy and distracted, I don't think I suck.

Over the years, as I found myself more alone, musically, it's been a dream to write and record an entire album on my own. There was always the obstacle of me not knowing how to play the drums, but now that I know how to sequence drums with midi, I really don't have an excuse.

I was turned onto the RPM Challenge via and I think it's going to be a great thing for me musically. The challenge in RPM Challenge is to write and record an entire album in the month of February. The album has to be 14 songs or 35 minutes. I have an even 10 minutes of music written and mostly recorded and it's only Feb 3rd. I'm almost 1/3rd the way there. check the new songs out:

Stay tuned

Total minutes of new music: 10 minutes
Track List:

Of Towers and Bastards
The Ballad of You and I