Pink Chuck High-Tops

Mom said,”can I borrow your pink sneakers?” I looked at her and thought about it, “for the detail?  That’s kind of gross.”  “I think it’s perfect!” she said and after all, it was the ’80’s.  I let her take them.   They were this color pink.   She bought them for me so I didn’t feel right saying no, “Yeah, sure” I said “try not to get them too dirty.”  She was using them for an undercover prostitution sting operation that was happening in the turnpike rest areas in Florida, near Orlando.

imagesWhen you’re the child of two cops the dinner table conversation is 61yx-181t0la bit different.  We discussed all sorts of criminal behavior, how economy affects crime rates, recidivism, whether evil really exists or is the result of environmental causes and desperation.   We chatted about every type of traffic infraction and car crash. It becomes household lingo.  You get used to cleaning guns as part of the weekend chores and schooled on the “realities” of life and the misery that some folks face.  So  mom comes back with some interesting stories.  One in particular was of this trucker/john she arrested.  During the training, undercover agents are taught how to avoid “entrapment.” One way is get the john to say what he wants and how much he’s willing to pay.  This guy offered her 5 bucks for a blow job. “Can you believe he only offered me 5 Dollars!?!” she said.  I was really surprised, “only 5 dollars?, wow, that’s cheap!” I said.  This was probably around the time when the movie Pretty Woman was out, so I was thinking we’re talking some real money here, certainly not 5 bucks.  Well that was  it for Joe.  He got carted off to the hoosegow.

Her book is out.  It’s called, “Behind Her Miami Badge.” and you can get it on Amazon: It’s a great read and it’s real life.  I remember the stories so well.  For some reason I see Reese Witherspoon playing her in this as a movie or series…

I was out one evening playing a show with my buddy and fellow songwriter,  Jenn Rogar and I told her that story and she said, “that sounds like a song.”  I thought about it and couldn’t quite wrap my brain around what that could sound like.5bj-cover-1back-cover-5bj-1

Creativity is  like gardening.  You plant a seed and give it some water and before you know it you’ve got a flower or a story about a truck driver named Joe.  This refrain popped up and the story fell together on a Saturday morning.  It’s a little punk, a little rock and roll and as my sound engineer buddy put it, “the first time I’ve ever heard anyone use the Miranda Rights in a song.  You can buy it here on Amazon or Itunes

You can hear it here on Youtube as well.

Dance More!

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I took the time to re-edit and remix this project and this is the latest version.

Though I was born in Ashland, Kentucky, I grew up in South Florida where music and dancing is a large part of the culture, salsa dancing in particular and finding a club whose live band has a horn section is a common thing.  Hence my love of horns, Latin rhythms and dancing.

As a songwriter I address a variety of topics, but sometimes I like to keep it light, fun and simple.  Life is beautiful so dance more!

 

It’s a New Day!

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So much is happening.  My music has been re-released on Cinderella Records, Sony Entertainment (Germany) and my new publishing company is set, O’Mally/Tabitha Publishing.

I’ve finished mixing 11 new instrumentals which I’d love to have released by the end of this year.  It will be off to mastering with Professor David Houston in the next few weeks and then I’ll focus on the artwork.

I’ve re-edited the video’s for Easy Money and Texas Rain and am preparing for this Saturday night’s show at Luna’s here in Sacramento, featuring Carey Seward at 8:00, myself at 9:oo and Jenn Rogar at 10 pm.

Free

This is my latest song baby. She was born the first weekend in May and came back from Mastering a week ago. She is definitely one of my more inspired pieces. What does that mean? It means that everything came quickly and easily from the words to the sounds to the recording. I played around awhile with the mix using different vocal effects and ended up happy with a clean version, just a touch of reverb.

The lyrics of this song haunt me. I got up Saturday morning and watched the Bruce Jenner/Diane Sawyer interview and the idea that we all just want to be “free” really stuck with me. I think the darker imagery stems from realizing that Bruce had been struggling with this issue for so many years. For me “Free” represents the deep unabating desire we have to reach self actualization and fulfillment. That’s really the American Dream is it not?

Blurred Lines in the Music Business (Mimicry and Risk Aversion)

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Marvin Gaye’s family won the lawsuit to the tune of 7.5 million dollars.  So now Thicke and Williams have to pony up the loot. I’m a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist and producer who strives for originality.  Now nothing in songwriting is purely original.  Most of us stick to the Western scale system and use I, IV, V as the root of our music.   Different formula’s for different styles but the fundamental platform in which we write a song has been an established paradigm for years.  So then what’s the problem? The business wants Mimicry! Repetition and for you to make it sound familiar!  One need only look to Glam Metal to see the obvious….lol.

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Making music is a huge business where ridiculous profits are possible (not probable for most).  Promoting the new and unique is akin to risk taking and like any big business, they’re risk averse.  They want to continue to reap profits from a proven method.  It’s understandable.  Fear of losing one’s paycheck is enough to incentivize them to want to err on the side of caution, so everything soon starts to sound the same.  Follow the rules, sound like someone popular, get to the hook fast, have production that sounds like the pro-sounds that the major houses put out.  One of the best examples of this is the Nashville sound, which has pretty much ruined country music.  The commercially produced music coming out of Nashville is sounding like pre-packaged meals, looks great on the outside, but inside it’s bland.  As long as the standard operating paradigm for the music business continues to be “do what has been done before,” we’ll continue to see judgements such as this.

We love songwriting for the framework, it’s like you’re given free range to roam within a certain set of rules and boundaries.  But there’s nothing new in the universe, so being creative is a challenge.  As a voice student, I was taught to never try to sound like anyone else, but to discover and cultivate my own sound.  The same approach applies to my songwriting craft.  I sonically isolate myself from popular music or even any music at all when I’m creating and let the words drive the melody.  Even with all safeguards, it’s still possible to end up with something that may sound a bit like something else.

To intentionally create music that sounds like something else flies in the face of true artistry, but we can’t help but wonder if the jury had really been peers of Thicke and Williams (meaning a jury of fellow songwriters) would the outcome have been the same?  I can easily distinguish the cowbell rhythm differences, and other major differences, but could the jury?

I use a submission service to place my music and I’d like to give you a little taste of my last rejection from Warner as it demonstrates this paradigm: “Hi Kally, First I want to say you are a true artist/writer.  I admire when an artist is not afraid to do something new.  The problem is, we work with straight middle America pop and RnB.  I wouldn’t know where to begin to place your project so for that reason, I have to pass.  If in the future I receive an opportunity that fits your style of music I’ll reach out to you.”  I’ll take the rejection over watering down my artistic integrity any day.

I’d be willing to bet that many artists get worn down over time and eventually bend to what the business wants, which is guaranteed profits.  It would be all to easy to sacrifice that integrity for the idea of “success” which is something every composer/producer must face.

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Bourbon on my Deathbed

I’m terribly impatient. I want to release these as I get them recorded and don’t have anything keeping me from doing that. Freedom is a beautiful thing. I’ll eventually pull them all together into a CD format and hopefully manage to keep a few songs a surprise.  

My family is from Ashland Kentucky and my Granny and I had an especially close relationship.   She was an amazing and entertaining lady.  She would talk about how beautiful Kentucky was and how she ached to return to the land of her roots.

When she was in the assisted living facility she was a hoot.  I was visiting with her one afternoon and she was telling me about what was happening with the lady she shared the room with and somehow we started talking about  Kentucky and she said, “Oh, what I wouldn’t give for some KY bourbon.  Just a taste would be sooo good.”  and I said, “Granny, I can take care of that for  you right now.  There’s no good reason why you can’t have yourself a little swig of bourbon if you want it.”  You could see her eyes just light up at the thought and then she said, “Oh, no…no. I just couldn’t,”  “Yes, Granny, yes, you can.  It’ll only take me a moment to run to a package store and get you some!”  She refused.   It was a funny moment that stuck with me.  So this song is for her.  I tried to capture her passion and love for the state and I accidentally made up a word, which I can fix in editing  – I’m just  not sure I want to.

Lyrics:

Give me bourbon on my deathbed
fill my cup, before I die.
In that cup, I place my solace and the
secrets of my life.

Kentucky bourbon on my deathbed
when the bells begin to chime
Oh the devil comes a callin,
If I drink before it’s time.

Give me God that sweet refreshment
it’s like horses running wild
through the bluegrass fields of heaven
as I cross the great divide.

One last kiss of pure delightment –
one last taste upon my tongue,
for this land has been my heaven,
Kentucky bourbon take me home.
Kentucky bourbon take me home.

I’m Gonna Run

I spent Saturday working on this piece using Logic Pro X, my Ipad and IMac and my Blue Yeti microphone.  Composing brings out my OCD. I love nothing more than delving into edits and continually fine tuning the instrumentation and mix and getting it out of my head and into a solid format.

The scandalous NFL Rice and Peterson incidents have instigated much needed discussions surrounding domestic abuse and family violence.  The #WhyIStayed comments have been incredibly revealing and I wanted to write a song that was more hopeful and optimistic about the topic.  It takes a lot of strength to break out of something bad, especially if it’s been going on for awhile and conditioning takes hold.

This is for the women who aren’t afraid to run.

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It’s gotten bad, it sure ain’t good.
His temper’s rising, he’s gotten cruel.
It’s time to go. I’m no longer safe.
Ain’t no therapy, gonna change that face.

I’m gonna run, I’m gonna hide
I’m gonna find, the strength I left, behind, I’m gonna run.

I’ve got a plan. I’ve packed some bags.
Gonna head straight up through North Carolina
I’ve got three thousand dollars, and a clean car title.
I know I’ll be just fine, if I can make it past the state line.

Bridge:
I’ve grown stronger. I’m standing tall.
I may bend, but I’ll never fall….
cause I’m gonna run.

Photo by Sascha Kohlman