#AtoZchallenge — G is for Guitar

Posted by admin on 8th April 2013 in Songs, Techniques

Week 2 of the A to Z Challenge! I love it, it has forced me to get back to writing words regularly.

I love playing the acoustic guitar and writing songs. Practicing, learning more about the scales, chords, and progressions, and seeing what new and interesting tunes develop. I am self-taught, now being improved by DVDs from the late, great Artie Traum.

A dear friend of mine, the gifted singer songwriter from Austin, TX and formerly of Milwaukee, WI, Todd Rusch, once told me that if you can write a compelling song on just an acoustic guitar, it has the potential to be a great song. You can always build up and add on from the sparse arrangement, but if you have to follow a stale formula like m0st of today’s popular music, you will not have anything worth your time and effort when it’s just you and the guitar.

I am rehearsing both a solo show, and recording full arrangements of my new songs. I hope you enjoy them both as you hear them in the weeks and months ahead. Carpe Diem!

The Time of Dreams

The Time of Dreams

#AtoZchallenge — F is for Full On Fandango

Posted by admin on 6th April 2013 in Songs

“Full On Fandango” is the first full-length album of my original songs to be publicly released in 20 years. Sheeesh! Where does the time go? Actually, that 20 years was flushed down da crappah, but I had my reasons.

I am in the zone now. Better than ever before, actually. I have 22 new finished songs ready to record. 8 of them will make up the sequenced playlist for “Full On Fandango.” I know “Angel Mine,” “This Living Mask,” “Dying to Be (Mr Normal Dying),” “Drowning in the Shallow End,” and “The Art of Blue Living” are going to be on it. The others are yet to be determined. I am more excited about my music than I have been in 20 fokking years!  Eeeeyyy!

This is how I envision the cover. This is ONLY a mockup.

Full On Fandango Album Cover Mockup
Full On Fandango Album Cover Mockup

Full On Fandango Album Cover Mockup

#AtoZchallenge — E is for EBow

Posted by admin on 5th April 2013 in Techniques

The EBow is a handheld, electric bow that causes your guitar to infinitely sustain notes. I learned how to use the EBow 25 years ago, and now can deftly control one. You need a steady yet nimble touch and you must slide up and down the neck like a cello or violin player. If you run your sound through interesting outboard guitar effect, you can make it sound unlike anything a guitar normally sounds like. You will hear the EBow regularly on my new songs, and it appeared on nearly half of the songs on the compulsives’ 1993 album “Songs for the Numb.”

If you go to the C is for Candle in the Rain post in the #AtoZchallenge from a couple days ago and listen to the MP3 sample, the keyboard/synth sounding melody is not a keyboard, it is me playing the EBow!

The Man playing The EBow.

The Man playing The EBow.

#AtoZchallenge — D is for Dying To Be (Mr Normal Dying)

Posted by admin on 4th April 2013 in Songs

Dying To Be (Mr Normal Dying) is a compelling tune raging against the mediocrity and conformity rammed down our throats and shoved up our arses by the various delusional tribes in power in 21st-century America.

It starts mellow and haunting, builds up with muted, quarter-note, percussive playing and then explodes to a glorious, ranting ejaculation. The finish returns to a haunting and mellow final kiss… I left the money on the dresser.

Dying to Be (Mr Normal Dying)

Dying to Be (Mr Normal Dying)

#AtoZChallenge – C is for Candle in the Rain

Posted by admin on 3rd April 2013 in Songs

Candle in the Rain is one of my favorite songs, written during the compulsives days (my Washington, DC-based band from 1990 to 1995). This version was recorded for the second CD, which was stabbed in the back and left to die by a certain Iago-like individual named Yon Dung. Since I wrote the music and the lyrics, it was, is, and always will be, my song. I include an mp3 sample of about half the song for you to hear for free.

Candle in the Rain Poster

Candle in the Rain Poster

Click on the link below to hear me singing my song…

Candle in the Rain 2013

#AtoZChallenge — B is for Super B’s Eyes

Posted by admin on 2nd April 2013 in Songs

In 1994 I nicknamed my exuberant nephew Bradly Thomas “Super B.” I would regularly return to the homeland Milwaukee to visit my familia while living in the Washington, DC area. The true enthusiasm and joie de vivre that burned in Super B’s eyes fascinated and appealed to me. I treasured the rare moments we spent together. I often gaze at the picture we took during one of my visits and imagine opening up to such unbridled joy.

I wrote the song “Super B’s Eyes” to exhort myself and anyone who hears it to get beyond the heavy load of American 21st century adult and find the life in the moment of Super B’s Eyes. My favorite lyrical snippet:

“Wish I could live in Super B’s Eyes.

Joyously sailing the Seas of Surprise.

Let’s run away, join the Circus of Dreams

Soaring the High wire to the Extreme”

 

Jobediah & Super B circa 1994.

Jobediah & Super B circa 1994.

April A to Z Blog Challenge! A is for Angel Mine, Plus a Bonus A!

Posted by admin on 1st April 2013 in Songs

A is for Angel Mine

Welcome to the full launch of my blog documenting my return to professional music after nearly 20 years.

We begin the launch by joining the A to Z Challenge. Welcome to the first entry of our A to Z April 2013 Blog Challenge. This is my first attempt at this growing, most-excellent, world-wide phenomenon! We will blog the alphabet every day except Sundays in April.

The cocoon is torn. I am out, and I am spreading my wings. I am beginning to fly, with the intent to soar.

My passion is playing music, writing songs, singing, creating original music that truly represents all that I am. In 1995, so many accumulated and untreated emotional and spiritual wounds caused me to withdraw from regular public music expression. I have played out on rare occasions since then, but so infrequently that I may as well have not played out at all. For so many years I would dabble, start and then stop from my frustrations, my pain, from my wounds, from the darkness that would feed on my depression and sorrow. All the while I wielded the power of This Living Mask to keep most of those in my world blissfully ignorant of my living hell.

One year ago, I made a decision to own my power, to transform my life. I had terrible food issues and had ballooned to an obscenely obese 340 pounds. From 2005 to 2008 I went through rigorous and hellish schooling to become a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, but did not live my own good health, my own balance of body, mind, and spirit. That has changed. Since April 2012, I have lost 101 pounds and am in much better health. After a terrible 15-foot fall in August 2011 when I snapped my wrist and required surgery to put the pieces back in place from a severe comminuted fracture (the distal head of my radius bone was snapped into multiple pieces). I did not know if I would ever play guitar again. I pushed my healing and for the past year have rehearsed as never before. I now have 22 new songs I have written or finished in the past year, along with a back catalog of 50 waiting for their turn–plus plans to revisit my band days 1990-95 and the 30 songs written then for compulsives.

A is for Angel Mine. I wrote the lyrics in 2001 for my Angel, my beloved wife Tonya. She has literally been a supportive angel doing everything she can to help me heal and break through my self-imposed cocoon to spread my wings and fly, perhaps to finally soar.

She was deeply moved by the lyrics, but I could never write music I was happy with for the sublime beauty and raw honesty of the lyrics. I could never match the lyrical power with worthy music. Until six months ago. I was noodling around in the key of B and strumming in ¾ time. I found a hauntingly beautiful song that perfectly matched the lyrics. Angel Mine will be recorded and released on my first album under the music project This Living Mask, which will be known as “Full On Fandango!”

Tonya framed the lyrics I gave her in 1991. I include a picture of the framed lyrics. Soon you will hear Angel Mine. Perhaps you will like it.

Bonus A: ARLEE BIRD. Thank you Arlee Bird for starting the A to Z Challenge. Your vision is now realized, as the founder, you must be proud!

The original lyrical gift of Angel Mine from 2001.

The original lyrical gift of Angel Mine from 2001.

My World

Posted by admin on 13th November 2012 in Uncategorized

To introduce you to my vision, and some of the work I’ve been preparing over the past several years, I’m joining the A-Z blogging challenge.