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!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Voting for Music

Election day was Tuesday in the US. We chose our "leaders" who will "guide us" and begin the task of... eh, let's be honest, no one is entirely certain what they do. We vote because it's both a right and a duty. We hope we vote for the right person, and we hope that we vote for our lives to be better, happier, wealthier, and a brighter future overall.

Enough of that, let's talk about something far more important: music.

I know, I know, they have that show on TV where you can vote for singers, and the one guy insults everyone, and the other guy calls everybody dog... and yeah, they had the former Laker girl, and then those other two women, but one left, then the new two were let go, and the insulting guy bailed. Now they have the guy with the big lips and the chick with the big butt and what not, but this isn't what I'm talking about. I have no interest in idolatry (although you are welcome to shower me with hero worship). And, for the record, I've looked all of this up on the new search engine Blekko.

What I'm talking about is new music. Voting for songs. Helping me to decide. You see, there are fourteen songs that I've written that I believe all deserve a shot at getting onto my new album... but I'm not planning on releasing a fourteen song album. One song, "Grams", is a definite as I've said before. The other fourteen, however, I'm not so certain. Sure, two or three might be odds on favorites in my mind, but I was thinking of doing a ten song album. That means the other thirteen need to be whittled down to nine. Eh, maybe ten if I decide to do an eleven song disk. Either way, I intend to ask for your assistance.

Already, over on TinyBlueMusic.com I've set up a couple of the demo songs for listening and for free download. Soon, however, when I finish the last demo song (two more to go) I'm going to create a page where you can listen to all thirteen of them. I'm going to ask you to tell me which songs you like. I'll even let you email me at gary@tinybluemusic.com if you have true, genuine feedback about a song or two (or a question). And then... we'll get down to it. Who knows, perhaps we can crank it out just in time for the end of the year! And you'll get to play an integral role.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

not Nearly So Easy

As I sit in my little home studio, recording the demo songs for my new album... flipping to the football games to watch Brett Favre break his jaw (I'm almost positive, poor guy), and watching the George Bushes driving in a golf cart during "God Bless America" for the World Series... I've come to a conclusion. This recording stuff, it sure is not nearly as easy as I keep thinking that it is. Seriously, all I'm really doing is putting together the raw acoustic guitar, lead vocals, and sometimes a lead piece. The concept is for me to be able to listen, make changes to lyrics (already happened for two songs), decide on bass and lead ideas (one song is hopefully getting a muted trumpet solo), and figuring out any harmonies or changes in vocal patterns. It's just raw. It's for my big bass man to listen to and come up with his bass parts. So that Drummer Dave can have a listen and see if he wants to add percussion anywhere.

It has to be right, though. The songs have to sound like themselves. I try to cut down on extraneous string hits, vocal flubs, missed chords, or anything else that you might get if you were rushing through. I've been playing the songs over and over, trying to have them down in my sleep, but still I make a miss here and there - happens every so often with songs I've played for a decade. Any time I do it on the recording, however, I stop, kill the track, and start over. There is no mixing, no tweaking, but the songs have to be right.

And then, sometimes, the software doesn't cooperate. I'm using a slightly older program, on a slightly older laptop, because of the fact that the songs don't need to be perfect, and that I won't be mixing them. I know the program fairly well, and it's easy enough to use - especially when you do it all by yourself. MS Windows, however, despite being on Windows XP (the PERFECT operating system), will randomly decide to update or load something... which interrupted the recording mid-stream. Earlier tonight, while recording "Almost Right" I found that it managed to cut the first 10 seconds of the guitar track, and then intermittently skip a second, or half second, here and there. Argh! No wonder people spend so much time in the studio, eight hours at a time!

That said... two more demos to go. Then we get to vote on thirteen for nine spots (one song, "Grams", is being brought over for certain). I'll be asking you, my "loyal fans" to help me choose the best songs. Hopefully it doesn't take me a dog's age to finish this part.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Your Call Is Important To Us

My latest aspiration is to have my music start appearing as "hold music" for various companies. Have you noticed that hold music can really vary across the spectrum of companies? Many times a day, every work day, I spend time on conference calls. When I'm not the call owner, I sit on "music hold" for a minute, up to fifteen or twenty when the person is running horribly late. The conference company that we use internally has some sort of soft jazz running. Of course, unlike a credit card company, we have the exact same song that repeats over and over and over. While I'm not certain, I believe they used this as a method of torture in the movie Platoon.

Now, you can usually match the music up with the company that you are calling. For instance, if you have rock n roll, it tends to be some place that you can buy "cool" things from. When I've called sporting good stores, music stores, or a handful of e-commerce companies, this tends to be the case. Financial institutions tend to lean more toward classical music or soft jazz. What always kills me, however, is when you call a credit union or law office and get alternative metal or classic rock. For some reason, I remember my credit union doing something like this while I lived in Texas. It's been a number of years since I lived in Austin, so this could have long since changed.

When I was in college, a very close friend of mine worked for 1-800-Flowers.com and we would talk every so often. The deal was that, if he got a call, he would have to put me on hold for a while. That was probably a dozen years ago. To this day, I can still whistle that hold music... and have done so while in his home. You know what that means? Hold music has incredible staying power. I want my music to be on-hold music.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Close to the Music

Tonight I was talking with a musician that I have a great deal of respect for. He actually raised an interesting idea to me this evening. You see, he is in the process of recording an album of his own, and has been looking for high quality production people to make sure everything comes out right. My father gave him a copy of my first album, Lighting the Dark. This gent actually liked it a lot, praised me as a song writer and a singer, speaking "from song writer to song writer" - this praise is just unbelievably amazing in my eyes, and I still feel a bit unworthy of it. That, of course, is for another story.

After listening to my album, he couldn't wait to talk to me tonight. We discussed the writing, the recording, the mixing... and then the mastering. Making the music radio ready. He remarked that someone mastering the music just can't be close to it... needs to be a fresh set of ears. That is a complete reversal from my initial thoughts: that the person who knows the music best can help it sound best to other ears.

When I got my CDs duplicated, I used DiscMakers, a company that specializes in high quality replication. Seriously, the CD came out beautifully, from the art to the label to the sound quality itself. I always assumed that the sound was great too, but I had been involved all along the recording process. DiscMakers didn't do the mastering. Turns out, however, they have something called SoundLab which can do the mastering for you. Fresh ears. Experienced ears. And that left me thinking... maybe the mixing should be done by the guy that I know the best, trust the best, and knows my musical style the best (my brother). Assuming he'll help me. But maybe it's time to take the mastering out to the professionals. After all, I want the sound to be fantastic. Hopefully, since you're reading this, you do too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No Expectations

Every so often, I just fall in love with playing a song. Sometimes, as was the case when I first figured out Rocky Mountain Way, it was just a new song that I had always loved and was shocked to realize I could play it. Other times, however, there is a song that I played in the past and took somewhat for granted. This, dear friends and music fans, is one of those times.

To call it correctly, I have really fallen back in love with No Expectations. It's an old Rolling Stones song that doesn't get a lot of love. No fancy riffs or driving beats or even lovable implications. No Expectations is smooth and simple and really just a basic blues song. It's the type of song, as I will paraphrase the movie Crossroads (if you haven't seen the end of this movie before, click on the video for the sickest guitar duel ever)... No Expectations is just the story of a good man feeling bad. It has some clever lines in it, to be sure, but it's just mellow.

I happen to like mellow. Especially since I need to try and cut back my enthusiastic style of performance until I heal up. I've been playing this bad boy in both E and G. It sounds good either way, although when I sing it, I seem to be channeling a little more Black Crowes. Such is life. It's just a great song, and one that I think I'll be adding to the repertoire for a while. The funny thing is, it's not the best version. A little homework, boys and girls: go to Google and look up Bill Perry's version of No Expectations. Come on, I can't spoon feed you all the links, now can I?

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Edge

My songs have had a tendency to be inspired by women I've loved (or liked), younger cousins and lost loved ones. Even the songs written about women have tended to be a tad more tame; I focused on poetic and romantic.

A former band-mate, Mr. Mike DiMartino (who, as we used to say, "IS rock n roll") was, is, and always will be a massive Van Halen fan. He didn't have a huge issue with most of the songs that I wrote, but he really wanted me to try and do something more in the VH line of thinking. VH songs were more about sex and drinking and wild times and getting laid, and oh yeah, gratuitous images of sexy women. Even in the Sammy years (my preferred portion, truth told), the sex was just under the layers of the music. DiMar always wanted me to write something like that. He appreciated that I wrote a "drinking song" but it was still too upbeat - he wanted it a little more raw.

The man and I don't play together anymore, and we may not have always seen eye to eye (nope, not a short joke if you're reading this, Mikey) but I finally decided to give in a little. Now, it's not raw David Lee Roth, it doesn't have the punch of Eddie's guitar, and it has a little more AC/DC influence than VanHagar... but I've got something that will be going on the new album with a little more edge... a little racier, if you will. Go ahead and pop on over to the music page of TinyBlueMusic.com and download the demo version of "Jingle My Bells" and let me know what you think. The final cut promises to be a little more raw, and a little heavier.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Broke Down and Busted

The name of my father's band - Broke Down and Busted - and not the Todd Rungdren Song seemed like a good title here. Yes, your favorite tiny blue musician has injured himself. What I've learned is that the foot ceases to function when you tear the Achilles tendon. Not certain that I'm overly pleased with this obvious failure in plan, but there is little I can do about it at the moment. The problem seems to come more from my apparent loss of musical mojo. You'd think that'd be spending this chair-bound time blogging or recording or writing new tunes or, at the very least, practicing my guitar! Yet, all I have done for the last few days is watch the clock, awaiting the next moment that I can take a pain killer and relieve the knifing sensation coming from the back of my leg. The only thing I take solace in is that I'm using half the possible dosage.

Note for those who might be screaming what my closest family and friends are: "Don't be a hero, take your pain medicine!" Trust me, I'm not trying to be a hero by any stretch. I just don't like the cloudy sensation that these pills give my head. I realize that I'm a musician, and that statement makes all of the "sex drugs and rock and roll" purists wretch a little. Can't help it.

Still, I also can't help but wonder if that's where the mojo stealing is coming from. Today I'm going to try and extend the gaps between my painkiller consumption. Hopefully, the side effect will be that I do, in fact, feel the urge and ability to sit down and record one of the demos for the new album - I only have three to go for crying out loud! The alternative, of course, is that I start screaming.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Making headway

Tonight I was sitting here lamenting that I managed to injure my Achilles tendon - perfect timing since my parents decided just last night to lend my the exercise bike that dad wasn't using anymore. Got to use it yesterday (great for watching football on while not getting fatter) and this morning before work... and here I'm thinking, "damn, I can't exercise tonight, what do I do?"

So, of course, I shut off the TV, booted up the recording software, and recorded song #8 of the demos for the new album. A few of the songs are already up on TinyBlueMusic.com if you haven't heard. More will soon join them. I'll even, eventually, do a series on what these songs are about (most likely... we'll see). I should probably actually do that for Lighting the Dark since people keep asking about various songs. Since so many of them were written over such vast time frames (and since I can't really remember what the hell I wrote "Added Impulse" about, seeing as the original name was "Fired Up" I might have some trouble with that part. No, I was neither drunk nor high, since I do neither... but this is getting away from me).

None of that is the point. Well, some of it was. The point, really, is that I shut off the TV and motivated to focus on the music tonight. That's what I've been trying to do lately - focus on the music. The song that I just laid down, "Reluctant Hero" actually sounds a little differently now than when I first wrote it. It actually has some Hendrix influence in it, since I've played and listened to a lot more Jimi in the last year. I hear a little something else in it - might be Black Crowes (or might be that I've listened to them a lot lately), but I kept hearing Chris Robinson in my head while I was playing the guitar part and mouthing the lyrics. (Side note: awesome interview with the Crowes friend man). So we'll have to see what you think when I put it all available for listening. And then again when I do the final versions for the album. I actually toyed with leads at the end of this one, so it could be MIGHTY different when it's done.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Musical Style & Inspiration

If you listen to Lighting the Dark you can hear different musical styles in my music. Many of those songs were written between five to ten years ago. A lot of the influence that you can apparently hear would be the bands that my father raised me on - Rolling Stones, Neil Young and a little Clapton, mostly. If you hear other influences, I would be very curious to know what you are hearing. I also believe that the producer, Johnny Rod, added a little of his own flavor as well during the recording; he would make suggestions, have me try a few additional takes with varying styles, and so forth.

What is intriguing me is that the new album, albeit much more acoustic in focus (so far I'm planning zero electric guitar; likely to have some - if not all - electric bass), seems to sound quite a bit different. Granted, LTD was released about five years ago, so I am a different musician now. Yet... I have to wonder if my toying around with cover songs from different artists - Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Jimi Hendrix, John Mellancamp - is making that big of a difference in the new music. If you hear any of the demos, I'm curious about what you think. Go over to TinyBlueMusic.com and use one of the contact methods (Facebook, email, Twitter) to shoot me a line.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cheese Fries and Chardonnay

The most unusual things can seem to inspire ideas for new music. Dropping by my favorite diner the other night, one of the girls who works there dropped by off-shift to just hang out and grab a bite to eat. She sat down and asked for a glass of Chardonnay. Then she proceeded to order a plate of cheese fries. There she said, laughing, smiling, working on her laptop, and eating cheese friends while drinking a glass of white wine. The picture is etched quite firmly in my mind. Two things that you would just *not* find to work together... and apparently, when she needed a smile, cheese fries and chardonnay did the trick. It got me to thinking about a lot of other things that might not seem to go together, and yet they do. Just like cheese fries and chardonnay. Yeah, there's a good chance you'll hear that on the new album.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grams

A few years ago I started a band named "Testing Chester" that featured the amazing guitar work of Mike DiMartino, two different bassists - the thunderous Paul Owen and technical Doug Johnston - and an idiot on drums. Idiot aside, we put together a five song acoustic album, all originals, all my tunes. One of these happened to be a song named "Grams" that I wrote for my much missed grandmother, my father's mother. Unfortunately, nothing much ever happened with that album, "Pleased to Meet You" as we only put together about 50-100 copies, never put it online, and only performed one of the songs on the album - About a Girl - with any regularity.

What I have decided is that the new album will feature a re-recorded version of "Grams" and will feature my father as the lead guitarist. It was, after all, his mother that I wrote the song about. For those who want to hear the original version, it is the second song the music player on the TinyBlueMusic.com music page.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Big Kids

I talk a lot about my little cousins. "Hailey Girl" was written for my then 8 month old, now 6 year old cousin Hailey, and became my top selling mp3 on iTunes. You can see for yourself, if you like: Gary Bloom on iTunes

Thing is, before my older cousins gave me little munchkins to write about (note: before deciding on the current acoustic album, I had started on another album in which 5 little ones had songs), I had two younger cousins. Now legally adults, and college kids, they aren't so little anymore. Yet, I've written songs for both of them for the new album.

Erica's "Little Rikki" was written a little longer ago. It deals more with her youth, in which she was my little ball of energy. Giggling, laughing, electric, she was a smile a minute. The title harkens to a nickname that I never quite got to calling her, but I always wanted to as a small fry. Consider it an inside joke between the two girls and I that you are now privy to.

Deena's "Simple D" was actually written today. I have been trying to come up with a counter balance for a long time, and scrapped many previous attempts, mostly because I couldn't seem to cast into D's munchkin life as easily as I could Rikki's. Credit can go to Slash and his new album, specifically his song "Promise" which features Chris Cornell. The two songs don't even resemble each other, I don't think, but a long walk with my mp3 player in (no, it's not an iPod) and Slash in my ears, helped the inspiration.

Deena, in her elder years, has proven to be both sympathetic and empathetic - and an occasional pain in my ass, as little cousins are want to be. So, I included all of that in the song. I focused on the fact that she truly seems to understand and care about others, leaving people feeling better than when she found them... and the song flew so quickly out of my fingers and my voice box, that I wrote and recorded the demo version in just three hours!

Expectations are to have both songs on the music page of TinyBlueMusic.com along with the other free downloads and tracks, as soon as the two girls have actually heard their songs first. And since my Simple D came first, she gets to hear hers first (sorry kiddo, if you're reading this: the oldest needs SOME perks).

So here is a good nod to two of the ladies that I love most in the world. Soon, they will be forever immortalized in music.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tracks on the Next Album

While Lighting the Dark is still out there - http://cdbaby.com/garybloom if you don't have your copy - I'm moving closer towards the new album. Let's tentatively call it Flashlight. Five songs have been recorded in demo version and five more (at least) are slated to come through. I'm also going to definitely re-record "Grams" - the song that I wrote for my father's mother, which landed on the album I did with Testing Chester ("Pleased to Meet You") - and put that on the new CD. So, we may or may not go with all 10 songs... I might check out more than I need, and whittle down with some help. More on this as it comes.