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Update from the UK (reposted from Facebook)

June 23, 2014

 

So, yes, I've been in the UK five days and have very few photos to show for it; I know.  This trip is less a sight seeing trip than prior visits, although of course I do hope we have a few day trips interspersed with all the writing & preliminary recording.  After all, the weather has been amazingly cooperative thus far -- not so much as a drop of rain since my arrival!

The few photos I DO have are mostly on other people's cameras, and they're either of the work being done, or unwinding after work.  Or of other performers.  And I will get them up here, eventually.  But they're not a priority.

Adam and I are beginning two separate recording projects, both intended as full length albums.  

One will be a funky, retro-inspired (think funky early 70s Motown) collection of songs that will be a collection between Adam, me, and The Random Hubiak band.  We've got three songs written for this set so far:  Two I wrote on my own; the other, Adam composed music and I later crafted a lyrical narrative.  

The other album will be more of a piano-based singer songwriter set, for which Adam already has five or six fully written songs which he simply wants me to tweak the lyrics on.  That set also includes a song Adam and I wrote today (he had the melody ready and waiting for the verses & choruses; I wrote lyrics to it and then we came up with a middle bridge), entitled "Dumb as Dirt, Slick as Oil (Coal Oil Johnny's Lament)."  It's another historical narrative crafted around actual incidents.  (You can google "Coal Oil Johnny" for the backstory.)  The other is a piece his wife, Christine, and I are collaborating on lyrically, and Adam is composing the music, entitled "Follow Me Into the Snow," based on a short story Christine wrote.  That piece is going to require an epic amount of orchestral arrangement and probably will be somewhere in the eight minute range.  But it's a fantastic story that I won't divulge until closer to the album's release (probably 2016 -- after all, I'm already recording a new album for release later this year, and re-recording ENDLESS STREET and a companion piece of covers for 2015).

Both sets contain a good deal of political content, albeit always in deference to the narrative of the song itself:  We have points of view, but we're not pedagogues so much as raconteurs.  Almost all of the songs are either stories with plots, or vignettes sung from a character's point of view; in some case, both.  And we still manage to make this stuff rollicking a good deal of the time.  Case in point, "Dumb as Dirt, Slick as Oil" sounds like the love child of TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION era Elton John and PIANO MAN era Billy Joel.  Maybe it's not as seductively reductive as Katy Perry's "Fireworks" and the pap peddled on pop radio today, but it IS every bit as engaging "Son of a Well-Known Gun" or "Ballad of Billy the Kid."

Anyway, I'm lucky that I was able to spin out a song that I feel so proud of in so little time; the initial pilot vocal was every bit as fortuitous.  Adam likes to lay down the piano with me singing along, so we lay down a piano and pilot vocal as a placeholder along with the click track and then he builds around that; later I come back to do a more polished vocal as I get more comfortable with the song.  A lot of times, my first half dozen takes are dreadful; after all, new songs aren't always immediately familiar, especially when they come with as many lyrics as mine do.  But we pretty much got the vocal spot on immediately (aside from a false start on one verse, which of course we edited right out), and it's a blast to listen to.  Now I just hope I can do the remainder of Christine's song justice -- it's hard picking up somebody's story where they've left off, and I'm very grateful that she has entrusted her baby to me.  As in all stories, it's a matter of choosing the right details.  Let's hope I'm sufficiently discerning!

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