Sunday, October 25, 2009

Radio Free Nashville

There were a lot of components to my trip to Nashville last week. I wanted to try to meet some strong country co-writers and hopefully pitch a professional demo of “Crossing the Threshold.” I would up doing some good writing with people I already knew from Just Plain Folks and the Muses’ Muse, as well as my friend Jen Foster. And I had a good mentoring session at NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association).

I criss-crossed paths with Coles Whalen, getting to see her perform twice (but not getting much of a chance to talk), and go to a couple of the better “see new writers” spots, like the Commodore Grill and the Blue Bar. (Coles continues to impress, and got to open for Pat Benatar this summer; her new CD, “The Whistle Stop Road Record” is out, as is Jen Foster’s “Thirty-Nine”)

I did meet up with Wendy Vickers, one of the songwriting community’s most active boosters. A Minneapolis transplant, she moved to Nashville and is almost always seen at writers nights at the Commodore and other places. I had a chance to have coffee with her during my visit, and she gave me background on Radio Free Nashville.

RFN is just about to move to 107.1 on the dial, so as I post this, it’s actually off the air for the transition. It’s a more left-leaning voice in the right-leaning Nashville community – an alternative voice for political discussion, and a celebration of the wide-ranging songwriters’ community. Wendy hosts a weekly show on Sunday morning called “Never Too Old” which features the music of the Baby Boomer generation.

Wendy’s MySpace spotlights a songwriter each week, and I was honored to be last week’s designee – Thanks, Wendy!

The trip ended with writing a song, literally on my way to the airport. I had brunch at the justly famous Noshville (a New York deli in the center of barbecue country – very good but they had no idea what a “corned beef special” was). I left Jen with a handful of lyrics I thought she would do well on, and she buzzed me as I approached the airport, with melodic ideas and suggestions for lyric cuts and changes. My trip conclued with me on my laptop and cell phone at the airport, writing a song with Jen. A fitting farewell (for now) to Music City.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Man With No Blog

It's simply an outrage that my blog has lain untended for over two months. But I got involved with a performance project (just acting, no musical involvement) and it took over for a while. I will post more details at a later time, as I think it's a timely topic for musicians as well (travel, perform, travel, exhaustion, no energy or time to write).

But my performance duties culminated last Friday night at a cabaret, a fundraiser to benefit the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation (PKD). This disease affects members of my family and we do several events every year, including this cabaret.

Last year, I performed the Rumplestiltzkin song, but this year I managed to get a few songs that were cabaret-worthy, and get some extremely talented people to sing them. There were four in total but I have audio right now for two of them. We had video camera malfunctions and I resorted to my trusty digital voice recorder to capture these two. So the quality is just middling, but the performances were worth capturing.

Carlo Pocklington, who wrote "Yearbook," came up with a wonderful setting for "Man With No Name," a rat pack sort of bar song, and the extremely talented Joe Southard picked up a martini glass and sang it. You can read the (revised) lyrics while you listen.

I was also delighted to have recording artist Liz Seymour on hand, to sing a new song by Eduard Glumov and myself. This fun lyric, "Just a Cup of Coffee," has been sitting in my folders for a while with a very cool pop/jazz setting in an unfinished demo by Eduard. But I knew the song would work not only as a studio recording, but in a simplified jazz/cabaret setting as well.

Both songs feature arrangements and piano by John Waldie, with bass by Paul Graefe.

I'm grateful to both composers for making these songs happen, and to the performers and musicians for letting me hear them live.