Sunday, April 20, 2014

April updates

Oh man. It's been two and a half months since I posted anything here. Oops.

In my defense, there's been a lot going on. Ron the Drummer and I are flying to Nashville on Wednesday to record a few songs. I'm psyched about it, obviously. I'm also scrambling to get everything into place so I can leave.

Then, three days after we get back, we'll be playing in the Tucson Folk Festival.

Our slot is Saturday, May 3, 2 p.m., at Old Town Artisans. Come see us! Bring your 50 best friends!

More updates as events warrant, hopefully sooner than 2.5 months from now.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Discovering the Dunwells

I didn't want to go grocery shopping tonight. It was the end of a long day, and I wanted to relax, and if I couldn't relax, I wanted to get back to work, try to keep from falling behind. Unfortunately, I was out of pretty much everything I'm going to need for tomorrow, so ... grocery shopping it was. The best I could hope for was a short trip.

I stumbled over the silver lining my way out the door of grocery store #2. Whole Foods was piping in a song I'd never heard before. It was acoustic and driving and exactly the kind of thing I like.

I stopped. I turned around. I spotted the nearest ceiling speaker and stood under it until I caught enough lyrics to look the song up when I got home.

This is great. Exactly the message I needed to hear tonight. And it was released just two years ago. It's always nice to discover a good band that's making music right now.

If they'd only play it on commercial radio ...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Another late application

For this year's Tucson Folk Festival, the organizers did something new and generous: they waived the application fee for performers. The only catch was that you had to apply by December 31. After that you paid the usual fee.

So of course, we didn't get our application in until Sunday, January 19, which was the final deadline.

More accurately, we tried to get our application in on Sunday. The server wouldn't cooperate. It bounced us off when we tried to send the online form, then wouldn't let us in at all. We eventually got in, but didn't get through the entire process until after midnight.

Fortunately, they told us they'd extend our deadline. In fact, the last day for all Tucson Folk Festival applications is now today, Jan. 20.

I'm beginning to suspect that we weren't the only people who waited 'til the last minute ...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Scenes from a songwriting session, Jan. 18, 2014

Nope. "Ubiquitous entropy" doesn't even come close to scanning.

I wonder if later, I could write some other song where it does. The phrase would totally work in 6/8 time!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Revenge of the Christmas music

I may have mentioned in passing that I don't like Christmas music. There are a few Christmas carols I enjoy, but most of the genre does nothing for me, and every year a goodly number of grocery stores and radio stations decide that I'm going to hear it no matter what.

Well, tonight Ron the Drummer and I became part of the problem. We had a gig at the VA hospital, and we were told that the audience would expect a few Christmas songs.

Hmm. We'd encountered this at a gig before, but got around it by playing part of "Linus and Lucy" (from A Charlie Brown Christmas) and "Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah." We couldn't get away with that this time. Hanukkah is long over by now, and we needed more than "Linus and Lucy."

So what songs to choose? I hate the Santa Claus/secular Christmas songs. The pretty ones are religious, and this isn't my religion.

In the end, I found a workaround. We'd throw in three Christmas carols (plus "Linus and "Lucy," natch), but we'd do them as instrumentals. The audience didn't seem to mind the lack of vocals for our shortened versions of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," or "Carol of the Bells." We had fun going from each carol instrumental straight into one of our originals.

Funny. The idea of singing about Jesus made me uneasy. No lyrics? No problem.

* * *

On a slightly less bah-humbuggy note, we had a great time at this gig. We love entertaining veterans, hospital staff, and volunteers, and this batch of listeners was responsive and appreciative. We hope we can do it again soon.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I'm theoretically excited about the song I'm writing at the moment. It taps into a mood most songs don't explore, which means I have have a chance to do something new. Newish, anyway.

Unfortunately, I'm stuck.

What challenge am I attempting to overcome? Plumbing the depths of a difficult emotion, perhaps? Finding precisely the right words to convey concepts that aren't easy to articulate?

Eventually. But right now I'm trying to find a rhyme for "live." Did you know that almost nothing rhymes with "live"? Seriously, almost nothing rhymes with "live."

On the bright side, obsessing over this one line means I can put off plumbing the depths of a difficult emotion and finding precisely the right words to convey concepts that aren't easy to articulate.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lyrics vs. technology, take 2

I needed something to rhyme with "on my own," or possibly "alone." Hmmm. How about "waiting by the phone"?

Not bad, not bad.

Oh, wait. Nobody waits by the phone anymore. Cell phones have destroyed that cliche forever. I've already lost one decent song to advances in telecommunications; no point in making another one obsolete before I've even finished it.

Back to the drawing board.

Or the tablet. Whatever.