Thursday, October 31, 2013

music, kickstarter and me

My wife has been a fan of Kickstarter for a while now. For the uninitiated, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website. We've supported a variety of projects, including a solar oven, glow in the dark roses, and a 3-D pen. But, of course, what I want to write about is the music projects.

As I've mentioned, I supported the most recent album by Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby.. It was trhough that that I got their recording of "Do You Think of Me (Now and Again)" to use as a demo.They sent mke the recording a month and a half ago, and I still have to post about the finished product.Long story short, I love it.

More recntly, I signed up to support a project in which someone is trying to put together a 6-CD box set of Graham Parker and the Rumour live performances through the year. I was of slightly mixed minds. I like a lot of Graham Parker's music. But he's not quite up there with Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Wreckless Eric. But he did a bunch of great albums early in his career -- Squeezing Out Sparks, Heat Treatment, Howlin Wind. Then he got kind of boring, but more recently he seems to have regained that acidic bite that I liked. Songs of No Consequence, which he recorded with The Figgs, was as good as anything from his younger days. Three Chords Good, which was a reunion album with the Rumour, wasn't quite as good, but it still had some serious high points. And a recently released live album of him with the Rumour (see image of the cover) is scorching. The video also gives a good flavor. After due consideration, I decided to go with the $125 funding level, which rewards me with the six-disc box set, two additional live CDs and an 8×10 autographed photo of the band. Oh, yeah -- I also get my name in the liner notes of the box set. Woohoo!

In other Kickstarter music project news, I noticed someone is trying to fund a three--stringed guitar. They call it the Loog Guitar for reasons I don't know. Apparentky they already did an acoustic version, and now they're working on an electric one. Their plea video follows this paragraph. When I first saw it, I was thinking that I really wanted it. It looks simple and interesting. But some thought later I've changed my mind. The sound is a bit tinny and I realize that, while you can make a major chord with only three strings, you can't make a full minor or seventh chord, since those require four notes. And let's not even get started on suspendeds and whatnot. My daughter (who just started guitar lessons) had some interest, and I was thinking that if it helps her learn then it may be worthwhile. But no one whom I skaed seemed to think it was worthwhile. Oh well.

Getting back to Graham Parker, when I did a search on Kickstarter for "Graham Parker," I found two projects that I would have supported had I known about them at the time -- a documentary about Graham Parker -- and an album by Bob Andrews. Oh well. C'est la vie.

One other thing. I think I've found another use for Kickstarter. There are lots of musicians trying to fund albums, and some of them will, for the right support level, record a cover version of your choice. The question is, are they willing to record a demo of an unknown song? I contacted Sonia Leigh about that. One of the songs I am working on writing would be good for her style. There are some other musicians who I gave a look, but I don't think any of them would be right for the songs I'm writing. But there will be others...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

scott turow's airline preference

A couple weeks ago I was at a book signing. Scott Turow just released a new novel (Identical). Anyway, he started off by taking about his experiences on book tours, including noting his two rules for air travel:
  • Never let go of your luggage
  • Never fly United

I don't know what experience caused him to feel that way about United -- I haven't had any experiences with them that stood out in my mind. Certainly nothing egregious. But when he said that, I was reminded of the following:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

guitar lessons for my daughter

So, my daughter has started taking guitar lessons. So far she's had three lessons. Some time ago she expressed interest in taking guitar. But we hemmed and hawed about it for a bit. A big part of that was that we wanted to find someone who would be a good teacher.

This past summer, I hit on the idea of Charlie Shaw. Now's the point where I should talk about how Charlie and I are old buddies who go way back to our childhood years, playing freeezetag in the front yards. That would be great, but inaccurate. I have known of Charlie through his music for two and a half decades now. When I was in college, Charlie was the drummer for a New York alt-country band called Five Chinese Brothers. Years later, I saw him drumming as a backup for Ken Waldman (Alaska's fiddlin' poet) at the Long Island Children's Museum.

All those years later it's not like I saw him and said "Hey! That's Charlie Shaw from Five Chinese Brothers!" But I did see him and say that guy looks familiar. The whole show I was sure I'd seen hime before. Then Ken introduced him to the audience by name ("And I'd like to thank my drummer..."). I knew the name was familiar even though I couldn't place it. So after the show I asked him igf he had been in any bands I may have known. When he mentioned the Brothers that was it.

We chatted about music. The New York country music scene, Ken Waldman, what he's up to... At that point he was playing in a Band called the Wicked Messengers. See my posts about Alan Backer for details. I've seen him playing with the Messengers a couple times, and I also saw him playing guitar with Ken Waldman at least once. One of the things I noticed was that he was very patient answering kids' questions. I was also under the impression thathe worked in childcare.

So when I started thinking about potential guitar teachers for my daughter, I thought of Charlie and the fact that his combination of skills and interests may be good.

I should write more, but I won't for now. I'll leave other stuff for later days.

Sunday, October 27, 2013