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!

 

The Bluegrass Grill

I took a few days off from my day job and am wrapping this project my sister from another mother suggested, a song for the Bluegrass Grill.  I heard my mother talk about the Bluegrass Grill and how it was a popular meeting place when she was young.  I did some investigating and found a menu online and wrote the lyrics over a few days.  The tune came easily.  The challenge was in writing the parts and figuring out how to convey the idea that cruising to the Bluegrass was a rite of passage for generations of teens.  Thanks to Audrey for the suggestion!  You can listen to it here and look for it on my next CD which I’m working on now…

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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.

Tips for Musicians Who Work Day Jobs

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Tips for musicians who work day jobs:

1. Return to gratitude as frequently as possible.  Gratitude expands the heart and opens possibilities whereas resentment, frustration and discontent block creative flow.
2. Downplay gossip, it eats the soul and fuels discontent so avoid it at all costs.
3. Find a couple of good friend coworkers who appreciate all of your talents and your super hard working nature.  This is especially important if they make you laugh or bring out your silly side.
4. Try to catalog the funny office moments that may fuel or spark a song.  There’s a ton of great relating examples in the workplace.  What can be culled from those lessons and applied towards your craft?
5. Know that you’re setting a powerful example for your child (if you have children) as a responsible parent who remains dedicated to your artistry.
6. Know that people in the community respect you.  Most people give up their dream along the way but you have found a way to contribute to and work with society without sacrificing your artistic integrity.
7. Find the aspects of the job you do like and try to grow those areas and minimize the annoyances if possible.
8. Return to number one.
9. Fake it til you make it.
10. Retire as soon as possible.  Focus on your plan for the future and manifesting your personal goals.

I have enormous respect for musicians who continue to do what they’ve got to do to support their families. Ultimately I’d like to see a better balance and monetary infusion for artists, in the form of generous grants.., something! Until then you’re a fierce soldier of your craft!

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Featured image used under a creative commons 2.0 license from Flickr
Photo by Paul Hudson 

This Ain’t Working Anymore…. ♪♫♪♫

I’ve hatched a new one.  This is fresh from the mental factory and there are three main components driving this song.  At Monday night’s Fox and Goose open mic in Sacramento, I heard a performer effectively use the “repeat the same line 4 times technique” and I realized that I typically avoid that technique in my writing.  I like to go somewhere with the story and resist singing the same line.  He challenged me to write a song this week using that approach… so I did!

Carey Seward played Ani Difranco’s, “Both Hands” that night and that’s one of my favorite songs of Ani’s so I wanted to capture just a touch of that element as well.  And finally, another local songwriter, Allison Hallenbeck recently wrote a song with lyrics that impressed me so much I practically fell out of my chair.  So I thought of Allison and her lyric effectiveness as I pulled this together.

Carey is a songwriter from Alaska who has recently joined the music community here in Sacramento and she’s got oodles of talent.  Allison is a ukulele goddess with a sweet soprano voice.  Both frequent several open mic’s around the Sacramento region.

The second verse came first and then came the chorus and then the last two verses and ironically the first verse was the most difficult to write, but it’s so true that it sticks with me like butter.

2 Week Update:  I’ve changed the chorus.  It was too annoying. It’s become:

This ain’t working anymore.
This ain’t working like before.
The time has come to close the door
cause this ain’t working anymore.

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The Institution

The struggle of all working artists who haven’t broken through the surface of their craft’s domain is the day job.   All those years of music education to be a secretary… and have a bed to sleep in, a pot to piss in, and maybe with enough hard work, you’ll manage to break through, but at least you won’t be sleeping on the street somewhere dreaming about the would have could haves.

Some dreams die easily.  I’m not going to be a famous dancer, doctor or a National Geographic  investigative journalist which were dreams that lit up like a firefly and burned out fast.  But I do have a particular set of skills that have grown into an ability from a teeny tiny little mustard seed and that ability continues to carry the root of who I am and what I have to offer.  That’s where this song comes from.

Flaming needles prick the darkness, hosed down halls that house the heartless, two pills in a paper cup, liquid soul, drink it up.

The Institution describes the cognitive dissonance I feel in my day job.  It doesn’t even matter what the day job, so it’s not tied to my current organization of employment.  I know I’m not the only one….

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

My Songwriting and Producing Process

I work in academic medicine during the week and my evenings are packed with workouts and band rehearsals so Saturday and Sunday are ideal for composing and getting deep into my craft.  I’m coming down to the final process of my instrumental CD, 12 songs are mixed and ready to be looked at for line up, transitions and mastering.  I accidentally fell into my 13th composition for that CD last Saturday and I think I’ve decided on a name, Delandia.  Naming instrumentals is much tougher than a lyric based song so I look for a word or group of words that conveys the color/hue/vibe of the piece.

I’ve also started recording the tracks for my next CD, which will include, Sweet Delta Breeze, Fly, Oops I Fell Off the Barstool, Miss Understood, Got my One Good Eye On You and a bunch of other tracks.  As a sound engineer, I am extremely interested in the mix and the tricks, continually asking myself, what can I do to make it better, richer and sonically clear. I see so many folks listening to songs right from the speakers of their phones so I think about that mix as well.

My songs are born from all sorts of methods.  Sometimes I get the music first, sometimes I get the lyrics first.  Sometimes some sort of event occurs in my life that is so vivid, so strong it becomes the catalyst for inspiration.  I often get the song all at once, as if I opened up the front door to discover a beautifully wrapped gift left on the porch.  All I have to do is pick it up and unwrap it.  Sometimes it’s so simple it’s downright silly.   Other times it’s silly but not quite as simple.

Oops I Fell Off the Barstool took a little longer and it belongs in that vivid life event category.  Here’s how it went down: A very nice looking blonde lady was sitting at the bar of One Speed restaurant in East Sacramento and enjoying dinner and beers.  She looked a little tipsy but not drunk.  She was laughing and chatting and having a nice time.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw her hand fly up and then heard a big commotion and looked over and she was on the floor and the barstool was on it’s side.  The servers and busboys came running over to make sure she was okay and she popped right up, red in the face and embarrassed.  She went back to her meal and things settled down.

About 4 days later I was sitting in that same barstool.  I had just finished teaching yoga and was enjoying a nice cold beer or two and don’t quite recall exactly how it happened.  I may have leaned back a hair and not realized it, but the next thing you know, I’m on the floor and the chair is on it’s side and I was like, “What just happened?”  I got up and pulled myself together and did a mental review of the incident but couldn’t quite believe it.

The next morning I was in the shower getting ready for work (I get a lot of songs in the shower) and I heard the melody and the line, “Ooops, I fell off the barstool last night!, Gave the poor bartender a terrible fright…the chair flew out and I fell down, people the restaurant turned around when Oops I fell off the barstool last night.”  The rest of the song came over the next few days and involves a bump on my head, a sore butt cheek and one or two beers too many….  Bright fun harmonies and a nice rowdy feel with humor.

So tell me, have you ever fallen off of a barstool?  Or seen someone else fall off of a barstool?

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