Friday, December 28, 2007

Red Eye Special

Well. THAT was hilarious/predictable. I just woke up (6:25am, CDT), and I'm listening to a piece on NPR about blogging. This week they ran a story on blogging every day in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the word 'weblog'.

I thought that I should update this neglected page, and I mused that would write something like, "it's way too early in the morning, but I'm going to try to write anyway since I have the time and inclination...". Well, I promptly opened the page, wrote the title, and posted a blank page. For the four or five folk who subscribe to this, well, they got a blank page.

I met with Ken Valentino and got pressed copies of the Contraband CD. When they told me that they were going to do a double CD, I thought that there would be two CD's in one package. Not so. We did record two sets, original songs and covers, which they put in two separate packages that look alike except for the color tint of the cover shots. The original CD, entitled 'Ours' and the cover song CD called 'Theirs'. The final effort looks great, and as usual for me, sounds even better with the art work and packaging done.

I also received finished packages from JJ Worthen and Anne Loo. Both CD's look beautiful. Anne's CD is a very 'high finish' piece of work with elaborate graphics, drawings by her children, Hannah and Peter, and a detailed book of liner notes. All three are digipacks (no plastic jewel cases to loose, break, and throw into a landfill. I'm having a real end of year moment looking at the physical manifestation of so much work. Excellent work, I might add. I've written extensively about how these three projects have been some of the best I have ever done (major label artists included in this assessment, btw). For some reason, I keep being blessed by incredible music and wonderful people showing up in my life wanting to do the work.

My current roster includes some more amazing artists. Will Aldrige is a poet. He's also the son of Melissa Cherry whom I've known from back when she worked at the Houston indie press paper, Public News. When Will came to me to talk about doing some songs, I thought that he is a rapper. Turns out that he's a poet whose performance experience is centered on readings and poetry slams. Will is unassuming, and has a literary, almost theatric style of writing. We are creating soundtracks to support his readings and I love it. What we are doing defies the normal music performance vocabulary, so I'm constantly asking him to sing, rap, speak or declaim. I can't settle on the worlds to describe his performance. In my mind, I'm writing and recording the music to a film soundtrack or theater musical (or track to a hip hop song, but I'm trying to stay away from that low hanging fruit only because I feel like that would be giving up too early). Yesterday, while we were working, we started to add orchestral elements to our 'beats' and the soundtrack idea was sealed in my mind. I can't wait to work on it some more.

Speaking of soundtracks, I got to mix another Jeff Walton movie soundtrack! Jeff scored an excellent film for Regent Entertainment, and as usual, I had a total blast just being with Jeff. There is something about my relationship with Jeff. As I've written before, he and I have a common reference point in music when I was playing in Culturcide, and his band, the Judy's were our contempories in the nascent punk/new wave scene here in Houston. Jeff and I never really knew each other back then, but I was a Judy's fan. When I got the opportunity to work with him in the mid '90's, he and I instantly hit it off. Jeff is one of those men in my life with whom I have an instant and deep connection each time I'm around him. I have the greatest respect for Jeff as a musician, and as a person. Besides working on his killer orchestral score, I got to play guitar and mix a separate project-- a cartoon theme song for an anime cartoon being pitched to a certain cartoon cable network, called Sgt. Frog. The song has the entire cast of the original Judy's playing the music,... and.... ME! This is an honor and a thrill. Hopefully, Sgt. Frog will get syndicated, and I'll get the chance to work on the series with Jeff. (Fingers crossed!).

This afternoon, I will be equally honored to return to the studio with The Southern Backtones. Hank (lead gtr., vocals) is a talented photographer/videographer. He's shot a movie, and of course, the Backtones have some music in the film. Today I get started with John, Hank and Todd on what is so far just called 'the movie song'. We're going to record bass, and some backing vocals. I'm changing the batteries in the SK1 as soon as I get to the office. Working with the Backtones, like working with Jeff Walton, is a day with some of my favorite people and dear friends who also just happen to be very talented. Awesome.

Well, I'm awake now. If I don't screw it up, this post should follow that blank page and make it safely to the net...