The Bleu Note

Sunday  

Good morning! Straight up ten o'clock, a beautiful Sunday goin' on. Halfway down on my first cup of Magic Elixir. Caffeinizing the body. Is that even a word?

Music news.  October 23rd, from 5 to 7 at Pease's Candy, with the Samba Llamas. Brazilian music. I've subbed with them quite a bit over the years. It's a workout, but a fun one. Hope to see you there!

In other news, still in binge mode here. I've been working all week on the other side of the room making new music. Well hopefully more creating than manufacturing. Eight new creations.

And I feel like I've still got more in me. I made an "emergency" run yesterday so I'd have enough groceries to tide me over for a couple days. There are a few more things to do this morning before I get to it, but we'll see if there's any spark left. If my Muse has already flown the coop, I'll just remix what I've already got, and upload it to the computer so I can share with you guys. 

I do have a new recording that's going to be available at the beginning of next month. It's called Homebody Guitar, and is another one of my mutts. An eclectic mix of styles. Lots of guitar and keyboard work, and what I hope are some nice grooves. More on this one as we get closer. 

Skimpy as it is, I guess that's my news for today.  With the continuing COVID craziness, and the endless bickering between our two factions, and the ripples they create in our economy, it's nice to have a creative outlet. Somewhere to blow off all this steam without blowing someone's head off..

I'm thankful to have that, and even more so to have a few folks who get something out of my creations. Life could be better, but it could also be a hell of a lot worse. So there you go. Thanks as ever for stopping in and wading through all this verbiage. Happy Sunday to you! For now, ich bin outa here. More later. 

PS today's pic dates back to 1985. Corpus Christi, Texas. I was on the road with a band that played there on a few occasions. 

 

 

 

Saturday  

Good morning! It's ten after ten, another knockout of a day. I just lost the post I'd started, and after letting loose with a couple of four-letter words which my poor neighbors likely heard, am starting over. But that does frost your ass, seeing everything you'd started just wiped out. 

One morning practice I've been doing just about my whole life is meditation. Took the Maharishi Course back in 1972, which was a lecture and then a private session where they gave you a mantra and taught you how to meditate.  Supposed to be twice a day, but I get in about 20 minutes in the morning.

After all this time, I'm still the same neurotic mess as I always was, but I worry a lot less. I am able to get my mind nice and quiet, at least while I'm doing it. This last incident, losing all my bon mots with the wrong keystroke, really pissed me off, but I'm getting back to where I was.. 

Om Mani Padme Hum- or something like that..

Music news. Saturday, October 23rd, from 5 to 7 at Pease's Candy, with the Samba Llamas. It'll be outdoors, one reason for me accepting the gig(besides the fact that I like these folks!). Hopefully we'll have some nice weather. Hope to see you there!

In other music news, a busy week. All five days were spent in the Music Lab, coming up with some new stuff. I have a litter of seven, with an eighth one in progress. The binge doesn't seem to be ending, 

Home recording is extremely addictive, at least for me. During working years, I used to joke that if I didn't have to earn a living, I'd probably never leave the house. At this point in life, I'm fortunate to no longer have to earn a living.

But I still have a domestic life which occasionally requires my attention. And a body that needs exercise. Hope to get right back on the horse after these things are handled..

So I'm going to have a lot of new music to share. This new batch is mostly full-fledged tunes, with only one of those weird little electronic pieces that nobody but me seems to like. Lots of guitar and keyboard work, and I even dug out the bass for a few numbers. Looking forward to sharing..

This looks like more than enough to read. Thanks as ever for stopping in. I do appreciate it! Happy Saturday to you, especially if you've worked all week. For now, ich bin outa here. More later. 

PS today's pic is me age 16 or so. Got rid of the horn-rimmed glasses a year or so after that. The 'modified Beatle cut''(as one friend put it)was all the longer my parents would let me grow my hair.  PPS today's tune is called Star Tush. It's based on the standard Star Eyes. I think "star tush" was one of Mork's less-than-endearing names for Orson. 

 

 

Still in Happyland  

Hello, whoever-reads-this. It's late afternoon on Friday, about a quarter of six. A day of musicmaking, with now seven new pieces.

Feeling pleasantly spent, but like I've still got at least one more romp in me. In the words of Miles Davis, "music is the most fun you can have with your clothes on". So I'm resting up for the next round, which should be pretty soon. 

I love these creative binges. No matter what they actually yield, in terms of what works out of the batch, they're cathartic. A great release. You get your yayas out in a nice healthy way. And these days, with more tension just built into ordinary life, we all have plenty of yayas to get rid of.

And I know yayas looks wrong. But if I added an apostrophe in there , it would be wrong. I try not to be overbearing about it, but I am a grammarian. Came by it honestly,  having been raised by  grammarians. 

Anyway! Wrapping up another creative period. They generally run about a week. Then comes the fun of mixing all this stuff- which involves setting the relative volume of each track, as well as where you want the sound to go. It's more like work, but is still enjoyable. 

From there, I load it all onto a disk, and then onto the computer. And then just sit back and listen. Several listens. This is when you finally realize what you've got, as far as the music. What works and what doesn't.  Hopefully I'll have a lot that works, thus a lot I can share with you. 

So we'll soon see. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Friday to you, or whenever you read this. I'm outa here. More later. 

 

In my Happy Place  

Good morning! It's 9:45 on this beautiful Friday. Ready to get into some more trouble on the other side of the room again today.

This will make 5 consecutive days in what I call the Music Lab. I have a sort of makeshift recording studio here in the music room: Fostex 16-track digital recorder, Roland Fantom synthesizer, Line 6 guitar processor, Yamaha RX-15 drum machine(my dinosaur. from the 80s.), Ibanez 5-string bass, and a menagerie of guitars. Musically speaking, it's my Happy Place. One of them anyway..

 I've been recording some new things. One on Monday, one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and three yesterday! And I'm still fired up. So today promises to be another such day. With these binges, I just follow my own energy. When it starts to wane, I know my Muse has flown the coop. Time to call it a day, and see if we have anything worthwhile from all this mess..

October 23rd is the next time I leave the house to make music. Subbing with the Samba Llamas at Pease's Candy, 5 to 7.

This group always seems to snatch me from the jaws of retirement. I get along with everybody just fine, and I love how they're organized. A brief rehearsal, and then the show. The tunes are always in order, and you just read them down. Before you know it, you're shaking hands with folks(or maybe bumping elbows)on your way out the door. 

So that's life at the moment. Outside the world of music, I'm still reading the same Mozart biography, and learning a little bit of Geography. In Switzerland, the highest point in the Alps is called the Jungfraujoch, which translates as maiden's saddle, an area in between the Jungfrau and Monch. Billed as the top of Europe.

Germany's highest point is a mountain called Zugspitze, which is at the southernmost part of the country. It marks the border with Austria. Also killer views. 

Even at the ripe old age of 67, I still try to learn something new every day. Forgetting it about as fast though...Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! For now, ich bin outa this place. More later. 

Another day at the office  

Good morning! It's 9:21 here in the Small City. Getting ready for another big day here in the Music Lab. I'm on a creative binge this week, making some new sounds that I hope will translate into music. 

Getting a pretty good variety in there, as far as guitar tone. I just did one that sounds a lot like a guitar synth, a lively minor blues. And I have another one from a couple days ago that sounds like Santana. One of my gizmos is a guitar processor I got at the Rock Shop years ago. More death metal sounds than I think I'm ever going to use, but still a lot of stuff in there. Looking forward to getting going with another day in the office. 

Caffeine first though. I had enough sleep last night, my optimal seven hours and change, but it still takes me awhile to wake up. I like my mornings though, now that I'm retired and all. So peaceful without the jabbering of morning people and disgruntled clients. 

There is a remark I made in here a couple posts ago, which might be misinterpreted. I said that I played jobs for social reasons. I do.  So shoot me... But I'm a musician because I have the bug for it. A lifelong, intense interest in sounds.  A strong desire to express myself and share that expression with other people. 

Playing gigs is an aspect of being a musician, certainly not the whole enchilada. But it's what most people associate with it. And there are certainly enough musicians out there who live for the stage, to give credence to that popular view. 

But there are a good number of us who fare better in the Ivory Tower. I'm still concerned about my audience, but it's becoming more of an online one. This is the challenge I face as someone who wants to keep turning out music but doesn't necessarily want to be out there doing it. Occasionally. yes--particularly a smaller, more intimate crowd--but not all the time. 

Anyway!  That's my two cents for today. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! Happy Thursday to you. For now, I'm outa here. More later. 

 

 

Wednesday  

Good  morning! Another beautiful Summer day here in the neighborhood. Eight hours and change of shuteye  last night. Seven is my norm, so this feels like luxury sleep. Getting ready to put in another day's work in the Music Lab.

I've been doing home-recording this week. My home stuff is of two basic varieties: working up already existing songs; or starting entirely from scratch and seeing what happens. This new batch is of the second variety. I won't really know what I've got until I mix everything together and give it a few listens. It can surprise you either way...

So far I have maybe three new things. We'll see what today brings, and likewise the rest of the week. These little jags always have a time limit on them. I can sorta feel in my bones when I'm running out of ideas--when my Muse has flown the coop. 

I do have a new recording, which will be available effective October 1st. Homebody Guitar will be available through iTunes and Spotify and Amazon and so forth. , Looking forward to sharing it. And I've got another collection, as yet untitled, to go as well. Also available sometime in October I'm hoping. 

As far as any activity outside the house, I do have something on October 23rd. 5 to 7 at Pease's Candy with the Samba Llamas. I've subbed with them over the years, and always had a good time. There's one rehearsal, just long enough to run everything; and then the performance, which always runs like clockwork. Before you know it, you're packing up your stuff and shaking hands with a few folks on your way out the door. 

Outside the world of music, I've been reading a Mozart biography(well okay, that's still music..)and watching a lot of travel videos. I don't travel worth a shit in real life, but have been all kindsa places on the computer. The Swiss Alps, particularly the Jungfrau area. Absolutely breathtaking. The small town of Murren is especially picturesque. At that elevation, they get some hellacious Winters, which would be part of the trade-off of living in such an enchanted place..

Okay. I've filled up the page with my daily whatever. Time to exheunt for today. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! For now, ich bin outa here. More later. 

 

The Fun Zone  

Good morning! It's 9:22 as I start my day here in the best of all possible worlds. Nursing that first cup of coffee. Being that caffeine seems to be necessary for waking up, I suppose I actually jump-start my day. Getting there..

Music news. I have a job next month with the Samba Llamas. Saturday, October 23rd, from 5 to 7 at Pease's Candy. I've subbed with them quite a bit over the years, and it's always a good time. 

One of the things I like about this group is that they're so well-organized. All the music is laid out in order. We have one rehearsal to basically read it down, addressing any problems along the way. The performance is like doing a show. Just read it down, and have fun along the way. 

Gigs are social events, as far as I'm concerned. That's why I play them, schmucky as that may sound.. They're not as social as they were in years past, which is why I don't do nearly as many. Finally had to give up that ghost.. But they are social in the sense of the camaraderie between the musicians. That helps keep me in the game..

In other music news, I'm back in the saddle. Working away in the Music Lab on the other side of the room, coming up with new stuff. So far I have something that sounds a little bit like Santana. Always loved Carlos Santana's playing, but never thought to imitate it. But when I was getting my guitar set up, I found that sound. Stumbled onto it. Sometimes my stumbles end up being more interesting..

So I m doing more today. And tomorrow, most likely. And on, until my Muse decides to fly the coop. And as always, whatever works I end up sharing. But I'm happily working away here, in my Fun Zone. My Nucleus Accumbens, as it were.. That's what s referred to, colloquially, as the pleasure center in the brain. 

Oh no, I'm getting pedantic here. Sorry about that. I'm one of those people who knows just a little bit about a lot of stuff. Just enough to be dangerous.. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it!  Happy Tuesday to you! For now, ich bin outa here. More later. 

 

Monday  

Good morning! About twenty minutes shy of nine on this often dreaded first day of the workweek At least it's a nice day out there. That helps with morale, especially if you have to deal with the public in your job, as I did. Harder to despair with good old Mr Sun shining down on you. 

 If nothing else, I'd think wistfully of the Coronas in the fridge, awaiting my arrival at as soon after 4:30 as I could get there.. Thank you, beer, for helping me to get through some of those times. You've taken off more edges than a Carpenter, as far as mollifying my Mondays. I know that line is usually used in a different context, but it still seems to work; here..

Music news. A new album, coming October 1st. Homebody Guitar. I hope I still like that title by the time it gets here.. One thing I'm very aware of when making these is the groove. I'm not doing dance music as such, but the beat is still an important element. This new one has, I like to think, some nice grooves to it. Looking forward to sharing..

And idiot that I am, I've even got another batch o''tunes to spring on you after that. Also eclectic, but again with some nice grooves. And a few of my weirdo electronic compositions in there for good measure. Bigger contrasts in this one, but it all seems to work. No title as yet, nor any ideas for the cover page, but still coming soon! Probably about midway into this next month.

I haven't given up on making music with other people. It's just been tough trying to put something together, only to have it cancelled. That's happened twice now. I was also working on something at the Chesapeake, thinking trio and possibly quartet. No soap there either.

As far as drumming up business around here, be it gigs or students, I've found that my efforts don't make much of a difference. These things seem to have to happen on their own. I don't belong to any particular group when it comes to religion(although I am on the believer side of things), but in this instance I've had to become a Taoist. Let it happen the way it wants to happen. 

Guess I went all Lao Tzu on you there.. Anyway, that's all I've got for you for now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! For now, ich bin outa here. More later. 

 

 

Saturday in Samland  

Good morning! A nice sunny day here in Samland. More or less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 9:50, with just shy of eight hours' sleep. I'm as they say down for whatever. Not quite sure where that expression came from, but I have heard it. 

Oh my gosh, this is 9/11. Now called Patriots Day. Our Pearl Harbor. A crazy day in our history.. I was working my job at the unemployment office when we  heard the announcement on the radio. We closed at noon- and like most everyone else,  I was riveted to my TV set for the remainder of the day. I have friends who work in New York City, and it took them six hours to get home= to Nutley, New Jersey, just 8 miles from the city!

Music news. I don't think the thing at SHS is going to happen, at least not in the immediate future. I was asked to play with them on their Fall Concert, but I'm thinking that COVID has put the kabash on all that. No emails or calls beyond that first one.  So Spring is fine with me. I like to be at least a little bit prepared for these things...

Salt Peanuts was one of the tunes. Always played at an impossible tempo. I can play fast tempos, but between you and me, they give me the willies...

So I'm settling back in to working from home. As I get older, this gets easier. Getting back out there takes more effort-not the playing itself, but all the concomitant stuff: loading and unloading, finding a parking place, dealing with the elements(if it's an outside gig), equipment/ sound issues..

Remembering one musician who was for a time nicknamed Grandpa because he was always bitching about this very stuff. "Oh no, I have to move my car.."  Seems like we all become Grandpa eventually. 

I do have a new recording, coming out at the beginning of next month. Homebody Guitar is its title, and it's a mix of styles. I tried to concentrate on the groove as much as anything in this upcoming record, but there are plenty of nice moments on the guitar and keyboard.  

For what it's worth, here is my Spotify page, where you can hear pretty much everything I've done in the way of recordings, plus a sample of the new one. 

And that's all I've got for you for now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! For now, I'm outa here. More later. 

 

Thursday  

Good morning! It s currently 10:01 on this bright sunny Thursday. A night full of dreams, some of which I actually remember for a change.

Part of it was back in the unemployment office, where I worked for a lot of years. Someone named Kathy gave me a concoction of some sort, which I ingested before work.  It was some kind of tea, but with some other stuff added in(like THC). She seemed to know me, and knew what I needed. I was running between our building and another edifice someplace else. I was a little bit concerned with being late, even though there was no stress. 

Back to Kathy, my benefactress. She was also standing among the other figures in the room. Blonde hair and glasses. The scenario changed a time or two, from the unemployment office to a schoolroom, and then to some sort of lobby. The lobby and schoolroom are common in my dreams, as is the unemployment office. Kathy was new though..

Music news. My newest recording, Homebody Guitar, is off and running. CD Baby, the company I've gone through since 2003 or so, has sent it to all its partners. Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and the rest. And the individual songs will go up on YouTube before too long. It's only available as a download, but if people like it enough, I ll fork out the extra bucks and make a CD. 

What I hope to do coming up is some more work here in the Lab. Some new grooves, and interesting melodies. And lots of guitar shenanigans. It's been a good while since I put on the headphones and did some exploring..

Still got October 7th on the books as my next trip out of the house. SHS's Jazz Band's Fall Concert. I have yet to see the charts I'll be playing on, but I'm trying to maintain my daily guitar practice so I'll be at least somewhat ready. 

Oh yeah. More musician terminology for you. In Big Band Lingo, songs are called charts. It can also be used for the music played by a smaller group. So you can ask your musician buddy not only when his or her next gig is, but also if they'll be playing any new charts. You're welcome..

So much for my daily news. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! For now, ich bin outa this place. More later.