Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grocery store playlists

A few days ago, while exiting a nearby Fry's, Supertramp started playing. This wouldn't have been worthy of note except that it wasn't "Give a Little Bit" or any of the other songs that get regular radio play. It was "Dreamer."

Dunno if "Dreamer" qualifies as obscure -- it hit the top 10 back in 1974 -- but it's definitely the first time I've heard it in a supermarket.

Then, today, Whole Foods played David Gilmour's "There's No Way Out of Here." I'm fairly certain I've never heard Gilmour in any grocery store, with or without Pink Floyd.

Could this be a trend?

And if so, is it happening because big corporate grocery stores are beginning to embrace better music? Or because classic rock has somehow become more nonthreatening to the shopping public?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Slow and ... stopped

Reading my last blog post, I realized I'd made no progress whatsoever on my song since writing about it a few days ago. Oops. Oh well. Bridges are hard.

'course, it would help if I actually tried to write something ...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Slow and steady

I'm a notoriously slow songwriter. It can take weeks, even months, for me to finish a song. Some days I can't write anything no matter how hard I work at it. Some days I write one line and consider it a grand accomplishment.

Today I wrote a whole verse in the shower.

Today was a good day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quote of the day

"The music business might not be recession-proof, but the music surely is." -- Hank Childers

Hank is a singer/songwriter who makes up one half of the duo Bright and Childers, runs VGB Music, and helped create Cinder Bridge by introducing Ron the Drummer and me back in 2003. Thanks for the quote, Hank. That's probably the most cheerful thing I've heard all day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

ME/CFS in the news

It's been a while since my last ME/CFS advocacy post, and it looks like we're due. According to recent research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, psychological trauma in childhood greatly increases ones risk of developing ME/CFS. This is a fascinating finding ... or it would be if the methodology weren't completely bogus.

Says Pamela Weintraub, author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic:
[T]he CDC -and the Emory study it funded-- had broadened the definition of the disease to include not just those with the actual immune syndrome, but also people who were, well ...simply fatigued.
You can read her whole post on the Psychology Today blog. It's almost a month old (sorry, I've been busy and not on top of this stuff lately), but still very relevant. Essentially, there has been a LOT of good research indicating that ME/CFS is biological in origin, but it has been drowned out by the CDC, which wants to classify the disease as a personality disorder. The CDC succeeds in this endeavor because it spends a ton of money on PR to promote its view.

Great. So not only are they spending our tax dollars on bad research, but they're also spending more of our tax dollars on bad media spin.

In business

It's been a good week for Cinder Bridge. The audience at Friday's Old Town Artisans gig seemed to enjoy us -- including the ones who wandered in from the Gem Show and had no idea who we were. I had a lot more fun singing in front of actual people than in front of vegetables and dirty dishes.

Additionally, Ron the Drummer and I finally agreed on a tagline for the business cards. I did 'em up, and the printed copies arrived Thursday night.

A lot of people who hear us play live say they're surprised to hear such a big, full sound from just two people. We figured we'd take that and run with it.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Ron and I found out on Wednesday that we have a gig lined up for Friday. It's at Old Town Artisans from 6 to 8. Very good news. We put together a new set list for the occasion, and my plan for Thursday's practice was to work on the songs we hadn't been playing as much lately.

Except there was no time. One dentist's appointment spawned another when dentist's office #1 referred me to a (gulp) root canal specialist. So getting home early from work (read: late, but not as late as usual) became an impossibility. Then, after work, I had to get groceries. When I finally did arrive home it was around 9:30. I still needed to deal with food prep and dishes. I was tempted to skip practice entirely, but that seemed like a bad idea the night before a gig.

So instead of sitting at the keyboard to practice, I sung my songs while chopping vegetables and washing dishes.

I cannot decide if this was a creative and practical time management tactic, or a really dumb way to practice. Probably both.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Melody exorcism

When I write songs, the lyrics are usually the greatest stumbling block. The vocal melody tends to fall into place pretty easily. Now I'm working on a song where the lyrics are almost writing themselves, but I don't like the melody. It's serviceable, that's about it.

So I should just think of something better, right? Problem is, I can't seem to get the merely serviceable melody out of my head to make room for something else. Every time I try something new, it morphs into what I had before.

The original melody may start to grow on me before I think of a new one.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why people stay home

I'd planned to catch an hour or so of an Earthlingz gig today. Due to stuff that held me up at home, with the help of my utter lack of time management skills, I only got to see the last ten minutes. On the bright side, it was a fun ten minutes, and I got to talk to the band afterward.

In particular, I picked the brain of one of the musicians, Chet Gardner, about why it's so hard to get people to come to your gigs. He said many fans stopped going to shows twenty-five years ago, and he had a theory as to why: VCRs and drunk driving laws.

Interesting. It's obvious that people watch movies more at home than in theaters now because of VCRs/DVD players. It never occurred to me that it would keep them from going out and doing anything else. As for the drunk driving laws, it's sad to think that drinking is more of a draw for so many people than music.

If Chet is right, we have even more of a reason to get listeners to give our music a try and buy the album via Internet. I don't care how people choose to listen to us as long as they listen to us.