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September gigs and October releases: Post-Labor Day Labors

I hope everybody reading this missive had a wonderful Labor Day weekend as we prepare to head into autumn (even if the autumn weather hasn’t quite reached the east coast yet — for which I offer no complaints!). Given how recent my memories of my June tour of PA & NY states seem, I’m still rather reeling from the shock of the end of summer season here at the shore! On the bright side, we have anywhere from two to six weeks of “local summer,” during which I may (if time and work permit) actually finally get my feet wet in the ocean four blocks from my house, a feat I managed only twice all summer.

On to business now… The first bit of which has to do with upcoming shows.

On September 18, I will be participating in Cafe Artiste’s songwriter showcase at the Jersey Shore Center for the Arts on Main Street in Neptune. The show starts at 7:00 pm and admission is only $5, and it’s a wonderful venue, the best place in Monmouth County to catch local songwriting talent in all its glory. Also in the lineup are Matt Cook, Jim Ferrante, Katherine Quintana, and Gwynne Alden (with whom I’ll hopefully be sharing a guitarist, Tom Briant, whom you may recognize also as one of the guitarists for Taylor Tote band, as well as the guitarist of record for all of my official recordings). Add the Facebook Event to your calendar and share with friends, or go to ReverbNation to add the event!

Saturday September 22 will find me participating in Asbury Park’s Porchfest. My set will be at 2:00 at 905 Sunset Avenue, after which Anjelia Pelay will be playing! We’ll be sharing pretty much the same band, so there’s a good chance I may stay to lend her some backing vocals (and she may pop into my set to do the same), so spread the word! Admission for this event is FREE!

The following day, Sunday September 23, you can find me at John and Peter’s in New Hope PA, where I’ll be performing a mix of originals and covers from 3:00 to 6:00. There’s no cover charge, so I highly recommend this one if you’re in the Delaware River Valley and looking for a great way to spend Sunday, since you can preface the show with hiking along the canals or kayaking on the river and then get your fill of free awesome music, and then treat yourself to a dinner somewhere nice! You can check out the Facebook Event if you wish to share with anybody who might want to attend, or you may repost the ReverbNation Event as well.

Finally, on Thursday October 4, I’ll be performing at Cornerstone Cafe in Camp Hill PA (near Harrisburg). This is another show for which there is no cover charge, and I’ll be doing two hours of mostly originals with some covers if the venue allows. The Facebook Event is up for those of you who wish to indicate that you're attending or to invite people or repost, as is the ReverbNation Event.

New Music Coming Soon….

Okay, so technically it’s *mostly* new recordings rather than new music. I’ve been retooling a bunch of older songs to create “finalized” versions. In some cases it’s because the old versions were simply demos; in others, it’s to rectify issues I was having with my voice at the time of recording. Here’s a list of the songs that will be appearing in my next digital release, which I hope to have available before November 1 (which hopefully allows me to get another, smaller batch of re-recordings and another new song before Christmas!).

Vapour Trails. From my ENDLESS STREET album, this song was written back in 1991 and I have had several demo versions floating around, but this year I finally got all the band into Jankland Studios to record a full rhythm contingent (Paul Galiszewski’s awesome drumming and Julian Michalski’s kick-ass bass playing) and a wonderful arrangement of guitars courtesy of the amazing Tom Briant. The added bonus is that I had a fabulous voice day in August when I was able to absolutely nail the vocals better than I’d done since first writing the song back in college. There will be a full length version, which clocks in just under five minutes, and a shorter edit, which I hope to get in around the four minute time limit and with slightly different mix settings to make it more of a radio tune. In addition, guitarist Nick Ryan is working on an acoustic guitar track for us to include as a third version on this upcoming release as the “unplugged” version.

Jaffa Suite. There’s nothing actually new about this suite that originally appeared on THE BLEACED BONES OF TITANS except that I’ve taken all three individual songs and merged them into one long suite. Totally a Pandora move (which has Jaffa I & Jaffa III but not Jaffa II… I figure this full-length version, at about six and a half minutes, will appeal to fans of prog rockers such as Emerson Lake & Palmer, early Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull, and such).

Halcyon Daze. This song is culled from my SURVIVING THE JONESES album and has long been a band favourite to play live (and likewise an audience fave). Previously it only existed in a demo form, but now we’ve got drums and bass and guitar (well, we should have bass by today from Julian). There will be two versions of the song on the release: a full length (about six minutes) rock version, featuring the blistering guitar solos of Tom Briant, and then two shorter versions (hopefully about three and a half minutes) for radio, one of which will be rock-oriented and one of which will be more of a dark pop arrangement.

Memoirs of a Manwhore. While I always loved Adam Silverstein’s arrangement for the title track to our first full-length collaborative effort, he had to build the rhythm section around my scratch vocal. The more I listened to it, the more I could hear the imperfections. I took his perfect piano and synth and horn tracks and nudged them to a “perfect” rhythm, and then I added live drums and bass. We’ll have two versions of this song on the upcoming release: a full length version with a brand new minute and a half intro and which will go on the eventual vinyl re-release several years from now (when all the songs I feel I could have sung better on are re-recroded), and then a pop mix that is shorter than the existing version for radio stations that aren’t afraid of the word “manwhore.”

Affected Disaffection. Also from BLEACHED BONES, “Affected Disaffection” will be getting its unplugged treatment on this digital release courtesy of Nick Ryan’s acoustic guitar strumming.

Come Undone. My disco track (and video single) from the “Anchors Aweigh” EP always had a weak vocal. I’ve re-recorded the vocal to my liking and tweaked the drum loops to be less redundant. For this digital release, there are two versions: the full length 4:30 version, and a 3:45 single edit. Eventually it will find a full length album to go on, although I’ll use live drums and bass for that version. For now, I just wanted something to get onto Pandora.

Dreams from a Stolen Car is another “Anchors Aweigh” track. I felt I could do the vocal better, and I did. I also improved upon my original string arrangement now that I’ve learned more about arranging strings and mixing and mastering.

Static is the closing track from SURVIVING THE JONESES, a haunting ballad and also the first collaboration between Adam Silverstein and me, from late 1996. While I do still wish to get a string version of this song recorded, for the SURVIVING reboot (it’ll be a double-album on both vinyl and CD) I wanted something ambient. So we’ve got that stripped down piano with some electronica under it, and a vocal finally recorded at the right levels.

Crazy Lanie, also from JONESES, will appear on this release, but in demo form just to make it easier for Peter John (a western PA singer songwriter who’s been chomping at the bit to record a punk rock version of the song) easier to register his cover version with ASCAP since it’s not currently in the ASCAP database (even though the JONESES collection was indeed registered with the copyright office). It’s an honor to have anybody want to cover my material, but Peter is a fantastic songwriter in his own right, so I’m stoked to have him so excited to do this song (eventually he wants to do “The Obvious Single” as well, or maybe it was “Pass the Hemlock,” both also from JONESES).

Then, of course, the one *new* track that will be included on the release is one I just wrote a month ago entitled “I Only Come Alive in Dreams.” My collaborator on CAPITAL IDEA, Adam Silverstein, is still trying to get his studio in full working order, so to give him time to get me one more arrangement on the double album we’re working on (I want our ballad “It’s Cold Out” to be our winter single), I wrote something new for

this digital release. The song has a Passion Pit/Temper Trap/M83 feel to it, and this version will be very much a dark pop single. However, whenever I am ready to record the next batch of songs, I’ll get the band to do a rock version, which will be added to the JONESES collection.

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