While Radio Underground is on hiatus, in an effort to keep playing and not go bonkers, Arty and I have enlisted RU drummer Andrew Bedard and Bardela (R.I.P.) bassist Jeff Barrows to bring some of Arty’s newer songs to life. Originally conceived as a semi-autobiographical song cycle, Winooski Falls has also become the name of the band. The sound of the band can best be described as… well, it’s tough to describe. An Americana influenced singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar accompanied by a jazz drummer, jam band bass player and a prog rock guitarist and sonic weirdo. You try and describe it.
We rolled out the new sound at the Double E in Essex to a crowded room that danced, cheered and sang along. We had our sound guy and human security blanket Bennett there so the sound was tight and the pressure low. A pretty good night. I hope we can get back there soon.
We are getting close. The Radio Underground album (now titled Dark and Getting Darker) is available for pre-order. If you order now you get two songs immediately and you help us wrap the whole thing up!
Had an amazingly fun time recording an in-studio performance with Bardela for the Burlington Music segment of Tim Lewis’s WBKM radio show. Cranked out 4 songs and some banter between. Tim is a great champion for local music (and has really similar tastes to mine – example: he plays at least one Fish song each week and we kept referencing the Genesis track (well, album side) Supper’s Ready. Things went pretty smoothly, tho’ fumbly-fingers, yours truly did drop the ball a couple times but recovered quickly if not gracefully. Just have to remember – make sure you can hear your instrument at all times and DO A VOCAL WARM-UP!
The session was done at Robot Dog studio, and it was a blast. Everybody was in a good mood, and a huge part of that is attributable to Tim’s supportive environment and (engineer/owner/mastermind) Ryan’s demeanor and efficiency. Robot the dog was also helpful in keeping the vibe relaxed. I think he’s my spirit animal.
Started mixing the first couple of songs for Dark and Getting Darker, the forthcoming Radio Underground album. I am hoping we will be able to release a tune or two as a digital pre-sale incentive. More on that plan as it formulates.
Bennett demonstrates how the hat is the most important accessory for mixing sessions.
Radio Underground have been working on basics at Lovetown in Middlesex, VT with Bennett Shapiro handling the engineering. Arty and I had such a good experience tracking the Bardela EP that this choice was a no-brainer. So far, things are going pretty smothly. In an effort to keep things focused and moving forward, I am limiting the number of guitars I bring on any given day. So far the Rickenbacker 12-string and the Burny LP have been the heavy-hitters with the Frankentele and Gretsch baritone making brief but fiery appearances.
Through an amazing stroke of luck and an act of kindness, I got a pass to the annual N.A.M.M. (the National Association of Music Merchants) show in Anaheim, CA. This is where/when all of the musical instrument manufacturers roll out their new products for the folks who sell them to schmucks like me. One of the things that makes it fun is the sheer number of semi-to-very famous musicians you run into (more on that later). Outnumbering them are the wanna-be rock stars who are always fun to watch. It is a Dionysian Bacchanal of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.) and I was under strict instruction to NOT BUY ANYTHING. This was easy as I am not a music store. The real danger is in the weeks that follow but I reminded myself periodically that I pretty much have all that I need/can use and no disposable income. As I was still having a lot of spine-related leg pain, and I knew this was going to involve a LOT of walking, I brought along some painkillers (to aid in mobility and legitimately prescribed!). So, here I was in Southern California, feeling poor, surrounded by wanna-be rock stars and relying on narcotics to get through the day. It was like I’d never left.
There were lots of neat toys to drool over but nothing I really needed (well , there was ONE guitar that would be very useful). Years ago I adopted the process, when tempted by this or that new noise-maker, of taking a moment and asking myself: “Do I already own something that does whatever makes this new thing attractive?” I was continually surprised how often this served me well. So, it was really just a sight-seeing tour, wandering about, shooting pictures of the vistas, artifacts and (occasionally) the odd celebrity. Now I am not a big believer in the “hey can I get a picture with you, Mister Rock-Star?” For the most part, famous folks that I have met or spent any time with have turned out to be just like your average citizen – and I don’t really need my picture with the average citizen. There are exceptions; extenuating circumstances that warrant some sort of documentation so the following shots are accompanied by the excus- er, I mean reasoning behind their being taken. So without any more rambling…
Finally, being back on the streets of SoCal made me wonder two things: (1) did everybody here learn to drive playing Mario Kart? and (2) how long have turn signals been optional equipment in California?
Been a bit quiet, hasn’t it? Good reason; I seem to have ruptured a disk in my lower back (between L5 and S1 for you medical types). The bulging portion of the disk is pressing on my sciatic nerves (on both sides now). The result is constant leg pain and neuropathy in my feet. In other words, what doesn’t hurt is numb. One of the strictest prohibitions is lifting of any sort. Nothing heavier than a pencil. This does not bode well for musicking in the near future.
Before bidding an final farewell to our Spear Street rehearsal space (formerly a.k.a. “Arty’s Mom’s Place”), we did a mad dash of demo recording. While not really releasable, a song or two might get leaked in the coming months.