Monday, November 29, 2010

Winners and Losers

The voting is nearly done, with December first on the horizon. Barring any dramatic changes in voting (one more time: tinybluemusic.com/demolisten.html) the following four songs will absolutely join "Grams" on my brand new album. Which songs?

Little Rikki - a tune written about the bouncing bundle of happiness that my little cousin Erica happens to be.

Almost Right - a reminder of what happens when you get so close... almost there... and fall just short.

Yours Anytime - a musical open letter from one heart to another.

Simple D - a tribute to Erica's big sister, Deena, and a celebration of the simplicity of how fantastic my first little cousin was, is, and will be, even if the near college grad isn't so little anymore.

It's a good feeling, in my mind, that you selected songs about two of the most important people in my life to appear on this album. It's doubly appreciated as they share the grandmother with me that inspired the song "Grams" - the first tune that was destined for this album. I also like that the songs selected are all a bit more upbeat, and mostly positive slanted.

I'm enormously less surprised that "Jingle My Bells" didn't make the cut. Maybe my little AC/DC modeled tune wasn't quite what my listeners are into, despite prior urgings! Can't blame a fella for trying to skirt outside the usual.

There does seem to be something interesting brewing towards the bottom of the list, but I'll tap into that tomorrow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Life Echoing Music

December first marks the end of my "Listeners Choose the Songs" album concept. (If you still wanted to go out and vote on which songs I'll be using, check out http://tinybluemusic.com/demolisten.html ) If you've been to the page, or even if you haven't, you will likely find the new CD to be a bit "happier" and less darkened than my first offering. My intent will be to start recording early in December. The reason that I have allowed people to help me whittle down the number of songs is that I genuinely couldn't decide. These are a little more fun, a little more upbeat, a little more tongue and cheek, some of the recovery and rebuilding nature... and, alright, one revenge song. Life has actually turned into a bit of a better place, and while I will always have something to color my music a shade of blue (there are some elements of my past that aren't the most joyous), I wanted my current positives in life to start echoing into my music. Stay tuned for an announcement this week on the album title - one that will reflect this nature.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Music Changes Quickly

Just a few days after I post about which songs were garnering what vote, people stepped in to make a change. That's a bit impressive. Have you voted yet?

The reminder, one more time, for those who haven't a clue: I recorded 14 demo songs to fill the remaining 9 slots on my new album. You can listen to the songs here and then go to the voting page. You decide which songs will be re-recorded for the new album. One voter will win a free copy of the new album (must put in an email address).

So the other day I discussed where the music is so far. Funny enough, things have changed a bit. We still have the same number one song - Little Rikki has the most votes, and is apparently guaranteed to make the album. We do have a new number two, though: Almost Right. There was, for lack of a better phrase, a voting explosion to try and get the song on the new album.

Who else is higher up on the list? Unless there is a vast shift, "Your Anytime" and "Simple D" are on the road to making the cut.

Ahhh, but then we have the current "losers" as it were. "Reluctant Hero" is a song that I happened to really like, but unfortunately, it's not getting a lot of love. Granted, the sample set isn't enormous, but this is also the reason that I'm holding the voting. If "Reluctant Hero" stays this low in the voting, that's proof of two things: 1) It should not go on the album 2) It needs a little reworking. I definitely wish folks would add a little more feedback when voting, but this is a good start.

"Sweet Dreams" and "Across the Line" were two songs that I nearly expected to be shoe-ins. "Sweet Dreams" actually initially debuted on The Gumbo Show with Joe, on Internet radio. It had favorable feedback then... and yet, the current crop of voters haven't listed it as a favorite. Perhaps that, too, will change.

Everything else is in something of a middle crunch. A little separation at the top, a little at the bottom, but a whole lot in the middle. I'm curious to see if this will turn out to be a more blues oriented album, ballad driven, pop styled or if some of the heavier songs will be picked up. The entire album will be acoustic, and all of the winning songs will be re-recorded for the album... but right now, I'm not entirely certain what shape it will take. That's actually kind of exciting. After all, the listeners choose the tunes!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Musical Polls: Top Songs So Far

During the election period, it was all about the polls. Who was leading, who was favored, and what not. Well, we've already talked about the fact that I'm allowing people to vote for which songs should go on my new album (the posting You Choose the Tunes). While I haven't decided how long the voting will go for (currently contemplating ending it on December 1st), I can actually talk about how things are going so far, and what interesting things I'm learning about my songs, and what people are hearing.

First, let me say a very big thank you to all of the people who have told me how much they like certain songs, and who have complimented my voice. These were very raw demo songs, no mixing, and I believe I had a cold when I was recording the vocals to about a third of the songs. Just wait until we have a legit mixing, I've gone through 5-10 vocal takes per song (and maybe a dozen guitar track takes) so that the songs are absolutely perfect! My brother, Drummer Dave, has a dominating nature in the studio and an absolute insistence on perfection. He'll have at least a little listen on this before it finishes up, so it's going to be a great Album.

That said, every single song has accrued at least one vote. My hope is that more of you will go ahead and vote - and spread the word - so that we can get some more separation. There is some bunching in the middle... but the top overall song at the moment happens to be "Little Rikki" - a song inspired by my younger cousin Erica. Quite intriguing, truth told, as this is the second time that I threw a simple and fun song on the list, and it became far more popular than I ever expected. The first time? I recorded Hailey Girl for Lighting the Dark (my first album) and it became my top selling song on iTunes in short order. Definitely need to start playing that song live, I'm thinking.

More intriguing to me is the fact that three songs - "Across the Line", "Low Key" and "Reluctant Hero" - all have just one solitary vote. The first one is a song that I wrote about 11 years ago in college for the girl who I eventually moved to Austin, TX to be near. That is another story... and the last time I'd ever be willing to move for love... but I at least thought this might finally be the arrangement that would go on an album. Perhaps not (unless new voters sway that). "Low Key" is something of a better written sequel to "While Jon Drinks" (a song from the first album, ironically written in Austin). It was light hearted, and just a song about hanging with my friends. Strangely, my friends have not piped in for that one... so maybe it winds up on the third album. "Reluctant Hero" was, to me, a journey inside of a song, realizing just how much I did for one person, and drawing myself up to not do so much anymore. To become stronger and more sure of myself. To grow out of some issues. And yet... unless voters step in to change things, it seems as if that is unlikely to make the cut either.

So, of the three, which would I see rallying to make it onto the album? Probably "Low Key" for the surge (but, again, what the heck do I know - didn't expect "Little Rikki" to make such a splash). Now, I suppose, we see if my little cousin gets some of her new college friends to vote her song into unmistakeable top position, if her sister gets "Simple D" to surpass it... or if another song comes up out of nowhere.

How do you listen and vote? Go to http://tinybluemusic.com/demolisten.html where you can listen to the songs, and then vote on your top four choices. One voter will actually win a copy of the new album! Please help the effort and spread the word, promote the URL, and encourage folks to vote on your favorite song!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rolling Along

I'm just in a Rolling Stones kind of mood this morning. Probably has something to do with the fact that I've been working on Brown Sugar lately. And my recent infatuation with No Expectations. The idea keeps bouncing in my head to just do a compilation of Stones songs... more than just "Sympathy for the Devil" for what it's worth.

Yep... I know... I've got my whole "Listeners Choose The Songs" album concept. If you're new to the concept, I've got 14 demo songs, you get to listen and vote on which songs should be re-recorded as the songs for the album... eh, here's the explanation link from a previous blog article for anyone who hasn't seen it before. I'm also giving away a free copy of the new CD to one of the voters.

If you already read that, know about it, voted, etc, here are some Rolling Stones videos for you to watch. They're cool. Stones are pretty awesome live. Saw them a few years ago. Go ahead and spread the word about the "Listeners Choose the Tunes" website, and these Rolling Stones videos. It's good to share music.

Back to where I started. Rolling Stones mood today. So what if I did do a Stones compilation? Need to check the rules on recording copyrighted material. There is a CDBaby article about that somewhere in my email. So what songs should I do? Sympathy for the Devil, No Expectations and Brown Sugar would probably be given at this point. Where else do I go then? Let's say that I was going to do six songs. Do I roll with old standbys in Jumpin Jack Flash and Start Me Up? More obscure and old with Spider and the Fly, and pull out some of the Stones blues roots? (You did know that the Rolling Stones have blues roots, right? That's what the Black Crowes essentially are - the Blues Stones) Maybe I'd go super recent with something off the most recent album... maybe more mellow with Under My Thumb.

I want your feedback here. Post a comment, tweet at me at @gbbloom or email me at Gary@TinyBlueMusic.com but let me hear your thoughts. Maybe it will turn out that I'd have to do it for free, after all, and then you'd just be getting yourself a Stonesy little album!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Musical Freebie

You know, I've gone to shows before and bought the CDs of unsigned or fairly unknown bands and have been happy about it. I absolutely loved The Riddlin Kids (and am bummed they are gone; here a video of I Feel Fine, my favorite RK song). Saw the Spin Doctors, for free, in Boston, and piked up the CD of their opening act, an Atlanta band named Honestly. Their initial album dominated my car CD player for a month or two. Good tune, good times. I also used to check out the now defunct Garageband.com when I was a member. Yes, I was publicizing my own music but I was also looking for new tunes. I'd download mp3s from bands that seemed solid, make a mix CD and toss it in the car, and then go order the albums of a few that really appealed to me. Always, always on the look out for new tunes where I could get them.

What I really loved, though, were the free tunes. A band giving up the free mp3s (like GB.com did, and that's part of why I give up some free mp3s on TinyBlueMusic.com) or even sampler CDs at the music stores. No, I don't mean Best Buy, I mean actual music shops like Sound Traxx II over in Middletown, NY. Sampler disks that would have new bands and established bands, and help you figure out what else you might want to buy. It was fun. Loved it. Love new tunes. So that fueled my next decision.

I already explained in my blast blog posting "You Choose the Tunes" about the new album. The fact that I'm letting listeners decide which of my demo songs will be re-recorded for the new album. Old fashioned voting style (well, except that it's on the Internet, and you get to listen to all of the songs via digital player first, and you can vote multiple times and send the link to your friends to skew the voting towards a song that you like... which my younger cousin is probably doing since one of the songs was inspired by her). The thing with voting these days, though, is that there really isn't anything in it for you. So... I'm putting something in it for you.

The voting is still open: go to the Demo Listening Page and then to the voting page (or over to "You Choose the Tunes" if you want the in-depth explanation first). Then go vote. Be sure to put your email address into the field on the second page. Why? Well I'm going to randomly pick a person (possibly two) and give out a free copy of the new album. If they don't already have a copy of my first release, Lighting the Dark, I'll give them a copy of that too. If they do have it... I'm picking a second person to get copies of both. Because new tunes are cool to have. And I want to be the guy giving the new tunes.

Alright, seriously, why are you still here reading this? Go vote!

Monday, November 8, 2010

You Choose the Tunes

The time has come - it's finally ready! I recorded 14 demo songs - rough cuts with just guitar and vocals, no mixing, no mastering, just there to give you an idea of what the songs will sound like. The basics. Only nine of them will be re-recorded for the new album, however. Truth is, I'm just not sure which nine.

That's where you come in. You get to listen to the songs and vote for which songs you like the best. The top nine songs will get re-recorded, along with "Grams" (you can hear that on the music page at TinyBlueMusic.com to make up the ten song album.

The page is right here: http://www.tinybluemusic.com/demolisten.html

Please go ahead and spread this URL along. I'd like to get the perspective of at least 100 people to help me decide which songs should be re-recorded for my brand new acoustic album.

Thanks for the help ahead of time!