Impressions - expressed
I remember driving home one evening from Logan, almost finished recording the last bits of my first solo album. Those drives back home became as much a part of the album as the music itself... It occurred to me I had yet to come up with a "title" for the album as a whole. What a familiar step it was for me in the process of making music... Giving it a name. As if it's name would be the home it resided in for the rest of it's life... The wrong name means the wrong home. Giving a home to a single piece of music was fairly simple, but an entire album? Specifically a fourteen-track album that spanned years of my life and experience? It was a daunting task to say the least. But, I finally settled on the name "Impressions". The word felt like a blanket I could throw over the entire record, without leaving any pieces uncovered. After all, songs come from my own impressions, and hopefully move on to create more impressions for others. Simple as that. Plus, I like vague expressions that give people the opportunity for their own interpretation. That keeps me out of trouble.
As I am writing this, I wonder if I am wasting my time. Will anybody ever read this, or even care about what I have to say in the least? These were my same thoughts while recording "Impressions". As an artist you are always in question of the purposes behind your "work". The realization that you may be creating for the sole purpose of satisfying yourself, finding just another way to fill that empty void we are all so desperate to occupy... it is a debilitating feeling. But it is one I feel is necessary to uncover in order to combat.
So much of the time, your first step into a journey is less of a step, and more of a stumble. At the end of the day, I am proud of my first album. Not because it is perfect, well produced, well-written, ground-breaking, or was even given the full time and dedication it deserved. But because it is honest. It was created during a time of uncertainty, self-doubt, recluse, and general depression. (All human emotions that are regularly felt I will say, don't want to play the bleeding heart card here.)
This album reflects my faith in music. It is the first crop of the garden I began planting when I started writing my first pieces. I hope you, as a listener, are able to enjoy the rawness and variety of music contained in this first endeavor.
A day in the ground - An instrumental guitar ep
After my first album was finished, I began the process of becoming and living up to my own "identity". What I mean by that is, I was now a "singer-songwriter" trying to promote myself as such. This process in itself is a battleground for me. That word... That scary, evil word... P R O M O T I O N. And even far worse... M A R K E T I N G. What am I a business major now? Everything within me wants fight against presenting myself, in any form, to the masses. But I try, and tentatively set my music on the table of the public forum, and hope it catches someone's eye, even though it is immediately buried by the day's top stories, cat videos, bills to be paid, etc... I get it. In the scope of each individual's life, it is hard to even come close to seeing with your peripherals, focusing only on what your OWN next stepping stone is, taking you eventually across the river, and on to dry land where joy, bliss, and contentment exist, and suffering does not. (This is a whole other topic in itself, but who's really keeping track?) Anyway, for a while I sort of gave up. I decided I was not cut out to be a solo musician. I am not bold, confident, or strong enough to combat these issues. I don't like admitting this, as this was a weak move... But honesty is what matters here, so who cares. I'm really just rambling anyway. So progress has been slow, as apathy set in I began to focus on other things. As I am writing about this experience I do recognize that it has been a necessary one.
So here is the conclusion that I've come to - it's really not about me. To stop creating music because nobody is listening... is a cowardly move and frankly, pretty selfish. I do not "deserve" to be listened to. The sole purpose of the music I create is to produce good and clean fruit to nourish others. But I do not *usually* get to see that happen, and so I cannot get hung up on waiting around for it.
Anyway, there is a whole bunch of music I've been writing since the release of "Impressions". Some of it will be on my next EP, which I have to say, I'm extremely excited for. The rest of it, I haven't been quite sure what to do with. I have a lot of instrumental guitar music that I really like, but wouldn't really fit on an "album". As I was listening through some of it, I realized it was a reflection of this time period in my life. The music sounds drawn back, ambient, and somewhat distant. Kind of like I've been feeling... So I've decided to compile all of these songs on a "mini album". The title I chose for this instrumental album is "A Day in the Ground". I am not going to charge anyone for the album, I want to put it out there completely free of cost. A lot of the time when I'm working, I like to have background music, but I don't like it to have words, since they can be distracting if I'm trying to focus on something. I figure there must be some others out there who feel the same way, so consider this my "background music" album. I tried to shy away from norms in these songs, some of the music is literally just me hitting record and playing whatever came first to my mind. I am a musician who thrives on improvisation: there is something magical about pulling melodies and moods out of your subconscious mind and putting them to music. Even without lyrics, these songs tell stories to me about what I was experiencing at the time that I recorded them.
The Pieces of Cadence
It has now been over 3 years since I recorded my first solo album. Since then, there have been many changes, trials, and adaptations in both my musical and personal life. Alas, the journey never ends... Nor should it! I feel this past chapter of my life will be well represented in my newest album, Pieces of Cadence. It is an album full of rises and falls, tension and release. A representation of the balance between the chaos and order of our reality. The cover art is my interpretation of the yin yang symbol - balance through chaos. What began as a few single tracks recorded with the intention of creating a small EP, grew into a full-length, 11 track concept album. I really wanted to capture the imagination with this collection of pieces, to see if I can take the listener on an inward journey. The songs are placed in order very meticulously, as there is a very specific story that I want to tell. I can't help but feel like I'm asking a lot of my listeners, but I do feel that those who are willing to lend their imagination to the 45 minutes of music won't come out empty handed. I've put more work into this album than any other so far, and even had several of my favorites musicians record tracks for it. It's hard to put into words the process of making this album, but for me it comes down to this - triumph in the face of suffering. I was composing the music for this album during a very difficult time in my life, and wanted to give up several times. However, I feel as if the trials contributed to a larger picture - they were the "pieces" of the eventual "cadence" that came with overcoming them.