Musician/Producer

- David Guilbault Podcast Posted

It’s time for the Spring cleaning edition of the Songwriters in Seattle podcast! Out with the old, in with the new – you’ll be happy to know we did something a little bit different this podcast. My guest, David Guilbault, did such a cool experimental project recently, we centered the entire discussion around 4 recordings of his songs. The idea for his project was to give songs to 4 different producers and, only using his vocal, see what they would come up with. It was an idea that yielded some great results and you get to hear the stories behind them!

Each producer had a different stylistic take, arrangement, production approach, etc. and it is fascinating to hear the results. As a songwriter with a huge back catalog that has yet to be recorded, David was looking for some inspiration and fresh ideas to bring to future recordings…and I think he found them! You can hear all the recordings from the different producers and connect with David at http://www.reverbnation.com/davidguilbault

Big thanks to David for sharing this project with us and a personal thanks for including me in the project itself. Yes, we talk extensively about the songs that I did for David, especially the one we play: Where I See. David’s history as a broadcast TV journalist/producer means that he is easy to interview and his deep, mellow voice is easy to listen to. So kick back and sink into the music and stories of David Guilbault!

Now please go have a listen to the podcast and enjoy!!

 

- Erin Jordan Podcast Posted!

We take a fascinating genre turn for the podcast in April with my interview featuring Erin Jordan. The descriptors read “Old time Americana and Lounge” or “Retro-cabaret” and the songs have a fascinating blend of a New Orleans or Dixieland music flavor wrapped in colorful storytelling and fantastical character vignettes. This is some really interesting music, people!

Erin talks about the journey from a more “typical” singer/songwriter background to the development of her unique sound and the band Bakelite 78. They have a new album out called What the Moon Has Done and are currently playing shows throughout the Pacific Northwest. Look for them at a lounge or cabaret theater near you!

Erin w/Robert Rial - Bakelite 78

I also want to thank Erin for playing one of the songs off the new album live – a hauntingly seductive song called “Jim.” Who is this mysterious “Jim” you may ask? These are the types of questions that Erin’s songwriting and storytelling pulls you into and paints a vivid picture of the lives of interesting characters. It was a real treat to talk with Erin in depth and I hope you enjoy the discussion and music that goes along with it. Catch you next month!

Now please go have a listen to the podcast and enjoy!!

 

- Rebekah Ann Curtis Podcast Posted!

Welcome the warmth of spring with a voice you can just melt into, my podcast guest this month, a wonderful singer – Rebekah Ann Curtis! I’m so glad we had the opportunity to talk and discuss her background, her songwriting, and all the other musical work she’s doing these days. Not only will you get to know her better, but she brought new, unreleased tracks! This is a real treat to hear the latest music she’s working on.

While she does already have one album out, Stay Close, the podcast features songs from her upcoming album, Lessons. The first is a great demonstration of that beautiful voice she has – it’s called “You and I Are We.” Second is a slightly rougher mix that is still a work in progress, but shows off an upbeat, playful energy and is called “It’s Magic To Me.” Lastly, she pulls out the acoustic guitar and plays a new song live in the studio, a groovy little tune called “What Goes Up.”

Rebekah will be touring with her band in support of the new album. She also has her own podcast, “The Ebb and Flow,” as well as acting as producer for her husband’s family’s podcast, “The Family Meeting,” both for NWCZ Radio. Make sure to visit Rebekah on Reverbnation and sign up on her mailing list so you can keep up with all the great work she’s doing. Thanks to Rebekah for making this another great podcast. Catch you next month!

Now please go have a listen to the podcast and enjoy!!

 

SiS Podcast: Rebekah Ann Curtis

Chris has been hosting the podcast for Songwriters in Seattle since mid-2010. Also featured on www.songwritersinseattle.com

March, 2012
Singer/Songwriter Rebekah Ann Curtis is interviewed by SiS Organizer Chris Klimecky. Rebekah shares new, unreleased tracks along with stories about her songwriting and performing history. She performs “What Goes Up” live to finish the show.

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- This Journey Has Officially Arrived!

Cover art for the album "This Journey"

Hooray! It’s celebration time – This Journey is officially released! It’s been a huge endeavor of heart, soul, and effort – a dream project to have the time to realize my vision as best as I possibly could. In songwriting, performance, and production, this is a new high bar that I am thrilled to share with you! In celebration, I’ve posted the opening song “Arrival” for you to preview on Reverbnation (check the mini-player on my sidebar here, too).

Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be sharing stories about each song, lyrics, reviews from the press, and more, as news about the album’s release gets out to more and more people. Thank you so much for supporting me and sharing with your friends. This is a critical part of helping an independent artist promote their work, as I have neither the time nor the budget to do a significant marketing campaign on my own. I need rock fans telling other rock fans that This Journey is worth their time and money to check out!

The whole album is available for digital download from iTunes, Amazon, Reverbnation, here on my website, and CD Baby, with the high quality hard copy/CD available only from CD Baby. If initial feedback holds true, this will be a disc that becomes part of your permanent collection, not just a charity purchase from an indie artist that you pass to a friend after one listen. In fact, I’m so confident you’ll enjoy it, if you buy a hard copy/CD from CD Baby, I’ll give you a personal money back guarantee – if you really aren’t happy with it, contact me, send me the disc, and I’ll Paypal you the purchase price in return.

Thanks in advance for your support and I hope to hear your feedback (like the comments below) soon!

“This Journey is an amazing album. ‘Michael W. Smith meets Queensryche.’ I have spun it about five times now and it keeps getting better…an altruistic display of chops and songwriting prowess!! ~Raymond Hayden, Maurice the Fish Records

“Chris, the album is AMAZING! Listened to it the past 3 days in my car. AWESOME STUFF!” ~Jeff Ross, The Aquarium Radio Show (nwczradio.com)

“Wow, your new CD is MAGNIFICENT!!! I’ve spent the last three days listening to it non-stop, and I must say, you’ve outdone yourself this time. Really an amazing piece of work. I think you’ve grown considerably as a songwriter and a vocalist. Your guitar playing was always pretty smoking, and that’s on display here, too. This is definitely going to be one of my ‘summer soundtrack’ CDs over the next few months.” ~Aaron Cohen, Public Radio New York

 

 

 

- Choice Quotes From Market Research Feedback

Cover art for the album "This Journey"

It’s always fascinated me to hear what people think about my music, especially outside the generally protective realm of family, friends, and known fans. In any random and anonymous large group there is going to naturally be good, bad, and ugly responses. It’s important to me to try and get some sense how the songs from my new album, This Journey, would hold up against the mass of music releases the market is constantly assaulted with. Is it actually as good as I think it is? Specifically, which songs are getting the best responses and should thus be put forward to make a good first impression of the new release?

I used a professional music market research firm through Soundout.com to try and get some answers. For each song submitted, I not only received some good market comparison stats, but also the actual unedited comments from the 80+ listeners (who generally seem to have somewhat of a discerning ear and thoughtful comments, though it’s not clear if they are music industry related somehow or not – regardless, it’s completely anonymous).

So here are some of the best quotes that made me smile – maybe some time I’ll share the worst ones (and in some cases, just plain confusing ones) for a laugh. Got to let those roll off the thick skin, y’know…but for now I hope you’ll enjoy some of the warm and fuzzies along with me. Note: not all songs from the new album were submitted, and these were submitted separately over the course of many months, so it’s not just the same person/people all down the line at the same time.

Out of these, can you guess which song got the highest marks?

 

Arrival

- This song definitely has the making of a classic rock song. I love the elements of the guitar and the drums. I also love the fact that this song has a background chorus; a lot of newer songs don’t really have that anymore. This song is awesome.
- It is fantastic how much energy is in this song and how well it is transmitted. This is an engaging song and very fast paced, which would do a party a lot of good, because it would make the attendants dance and have a blast. I think that this is what I can call a real rock ‘n roll song, because I felt fantastic while listening to it.
- This song has an interesting 80′s vibe going on. Mixing Irish Punk with 80′s rock. The singer is really good. The instrumentalists are loose yet somehow remain in the pocket which I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. But it does sound really good this way. I like how it works out. It’s definitely a fun song with cool melodies. The chords and rhythms used are funky and have a ton of groove. Love it!
- This song is really good and the impact of this song is just really solid and the fast paced beat is very lively and energetic. The loud sound of the instruments is also working well in this song – it’s complementing the strong voice of the singer so well. The humming sound in the background really enhanced the main singer and I just loved that harmony. It’s really adding power to this song as well.
- Real rock n’ roll here! This has a great feeling to it. Solid musicianship on the instruments and this singer has a classic rock voice. Sounds like old stuff from the 1980s when music was much more entertaining and well constructed compared to music today. This song rocks! I really like this song and I am putting it into my playlist! Great vibe and awesome backup singers. It just really flows well!

 

Sunshine and Misery

- Strong intro with the song kicking in quickly. Good use of 2 guitars. Good guitar tone. Very good use of dynamics with guitars going from clean to distorted and with instruments dropping out and coming back in. Drums steady throughout. Good vocals and lyrics nice screams at times. Very good structure and arrangement.
- Really nice start to the song made me really intrigued what was going to happen next. The male lead vocal really had a smooth voice and had a wide and clear vocal range. The sound effects were epic. Listening to this song was a quite emotive song for me which music is meant to do. This piece was well composed and has that dramatic feeling it would get cooler and cooler. I applaud the vocals kudos.
- Dude, this seriously rocks. The guitar was crazy strong. The lyrics fit well with the music. I love the voice. It sounded like something I would listen to all the time with my friends. It has an awesome beat too. Thanks for sharing it with me. I’m putting it on my play-list right now!
- Groovy song here, very fascinating to listen to as this song stands alone because it is a unique melody and is a song that is like a rock song but is also relaxing at the same time. Great tune.

 

The Age Old Story

- I think that the song is amazing and really makes you want to have a good time. I think that this song is sexy. The vocals are good. The vocals are unique in that the song is folky but sexy and cool at the same time. The musical composition is really good because the song slows down at the perfect parts. The beginning and the ending is on point and strong. Overall, the vocalist has a good range and is strong and the musical chords are awesome.
- This is an amazing track. It starts out rocking, then makes me feel at peace. It sounds calm, joyful and enjoyable. I really do love the band, and the voice is awesome! I would buy this, I love it and hope to hear more.
- Instrumentals are spot on. The background harmonies blend well with the main singer’s vocals. The lyrics are very well written and go well with the melodies. The singer has an interesting sound and style. The flow of the song is interesting and moves along well. This song could potentially become a hit with continual play.
- I love a song that has a wide variety of transitions in delivery, dynamics and intensity….this song has it. The instrumental movements and vocals move this song as one. This is a clear indication of the level of talent and diversity of the songwriter, recording artist, and production quality in the studio. This is a very well put together piece of music. I can easily see this song being done in a packed arena, and people singing along. Watch the charts!

 

Lap of Luxury

- Ooh, the intro guitars really caught my attention. The first verse brought in the electric guitars and vocals, which actually weren’t bad. First good song I’ve heard all day. The lyrics are interesting and have a message. This is something I’d definitely consider buying to add to my music library.
- This is a great song and performance. The melody is strong and quite tuneful. The singer has an attractive vocal tone and the voice is very attractive too. The vocals come out really expressive and I just love the conviction in them. Instrumentally the song has this full and quite engaging accompaniment which complements the vocal flow really nicely. I think the song has a great commercial potential.
- Cool rock song fast paced and full of energy. I liked the powerful lyrics about taking someone or something down. This song is good because it is motivating and influential!
- Very uplifting and lyrical guitar stringed introduction on this track. The melody was natural and easy going with male vocals that rode with the flow of the music. It was an exceptional performance.
- There’s a flamenco feel to the intro of this song. It almost comes as a surprise that the song changes gears and turns into a rock song. The melodies are cool and the chord progression shows that these guys have paid their dues as far as musical theory goes. There’s a lot to enjoy on this song, and it’s the kind of song that can make many guitars players (and arrangers) envious. The backing harmonies sound great, the guitar melodies are great and there’s idea behind the songwriting also. It’s a rare thing that a song manages to pull all of these elements together. I could say that the song would appeal to fans of artists like Yngwie Malmsteen, but I could as easily say that this appeals to the fans of Queen or REO Speedwagon. You’re putting a lot of influences into one song and manage to make it into something of your own. The playing performances and singing are all handled with style. A great song and band.
- I loved this right from the start. It had this perfect catch and so much energy that made me want to get up and dance. The guys were holding strong and gave their best to charge this piece. It was excellent and so full in all the instrumentals.

 

Energy

- This song excited me while I listened to it. It was energizing because it kept a good beat and mood throughout the whole song. The song made sense and words weren’t just thrown in for the sake of just being catchy. I sure would listen to this song anytime and I would also recommend it to tons of my friends.
- Omg I love the instruments playing at the beginning a lot and I like the singer as well. The song itself is great actually and it filled all of my requirements. I am an addict when it comes to instrumental music and this one is no exception. Filled with energy and filled with spirit as the song itself says.
- This is a great track as it is bold and stands out in a positive way. I love the vocals as they are strong, sharp, and bold which also adds to the greatness of this track.
- The way this song is performed is almost like being at a concert outdoors because the music is created in a way that gives you this happy warm feeling inside yourself.
- The guitar at the start is brilliant, and when the drums kick in, makes it so much better – but when the vocalist starts, that is just pure brilliance. Definitely recommend this song to anyone into indie music – definitely a must listen! Love it, guys!
- I like this. I felt it was well arranged and well balanced. The performance quality was high and the music as a whole came across with style and conviction. The melody was tuneful and it’s the kind of tune that’s easy to recall. Overall, I think it has strong commercial qualities and could do rather well if given the chance.

 

Not Your Hero

- I LOVED the intro for sure! I also enjoyed the lyrics very much. “I am not your Hero” … is now stuck in my head, but it’s a good thing! I enjoy for lyrics to have a memorable line, as all good songs have. The music in the background was well made. I loved the work with the guitars, and the drums, it really made the song very well made!
- Amazing. I like this. Almost reminds me of the OLD Rise Against. I love the beat, perfect melody. Great vocals, I could listen to that voice for hours. I love the emotion put into the lyrics. I love the way the instrumental areas of the song tell a story, put that much more into the meaning. The guitarist is doing very well, percussion is great, overall I think it is great.
- I love how the electric guitar started the song. It matches well with the drums and bass. When the vocals kicked in, the song still had a good melody going. The lyrics also had a good tune to the words. The band is able to harmonize well with each other and the hit potential for this song seems relatively high. This song would appeal to the vast younger audiences. There is also a very rocking tune to it and has a nice rhythm to it.
- Wow intense rock song here very enjoyable to listen to. I think this song is good ’cause it has a lot of passion and energy. I think this band really knows how to play good rock music!
- Right off the bat this song delivers with a rocking guitar beat which is a perfect way to start a rock song in my personal opinion. The band continues to rock on as the track progresses which is very good and I like the lyrical as well as vocal style that the singer is using. It’s a wonderfully edgy and aggressive kicking song.
- This song has a really great story in the lyrics. The instruments such as the guitars are a bit heavy. I would class this as modern rock. It has that kinda Green Day feel. Good song all around with outstanding vocals. Hit.

 

Afterglow

- Strange and beautiful. It’s difficult to find a song like this, with this nice between all the instruments. The voice is special, never boring. At the moment of the guitar solo is spectacular, because there is all the energy of the song.
- What a great rock song this is. The lead singer sounds like Axl Rose to me which is cool. I think this band is good ’cause the band seems to play with all their heart and soul and they know how to make a rocking song!
- I love the music of this song. It is really pretty and engaging, the rhythm let me dance and I’ll listen to it many times in the future. The singer’s voice is strong and penetrating and the words are original.
- This song reminded me lots of old school rock songs, which I was a huge fan so I liked this track from the beginning especially the drums are making this melody and beat very effective and exceptional, The voice of the singer is matching and getting along perfectly with the instruments.
- This track has a great intro that grabs your attention right from the get go. The band performs together well, the song is well structured and remains compelling to the end. The singer has quite a unique voice which makes the track even more remarkable, I’m a big fan of this track and will happily promote the track to anyone I can.

 
 

- The Art of This Journey

I am thrilled (and relieved!) to announce that the new album is officially done! It is at the replicators now and should be ready for distribution, both in hard copy and electronic forms, within a couple weeks. I am so proud of how this came out, both musically and visually, I can barely contain myself! Huge thanks goes out to David Cook of OriginWest, who did all the graphic work and re-design of my visual presentation. While I assume you’ve seen the cover art he did (which I’ve already plastered all over the place), I would like to take the rest of this post to show you more of the album artwork that he did.

First, here are some 3D estimation renderings of what the artwork will look like in the final package:

Approx. 3D rendering of the CD package cover shot

Opening up the tray reveals the back of the insert and the disc itself

A closer view of the disc and the image underneath the clear tray

The back of the jewel case

 

Here are some higher res images that should allow you to read the text on the back of the insert and the back of the jewel case:

Click for a closer look at the credits and thank you's

Click for a closer look at the back of the jewel case

More stories to come about the making of the album and next steps – stay tuned for exciting times ahead!

 

- Jabi Shriki Podcast Posted!

How are you going to spend your one extra day of February this year? Listening to the new Songwriters in Seattle podcast, I would suggest! My guest this month is Jabi Shriki, who brings a great combination of thoughtfulness and emotion to his music and our discussion. His new album, Puzzle Pieces, is out now and has a poetic depth to a pop/rock sound (think echo-y U2 guitars with a mellow tenor voice).

Jabi has a substantial catalog of recorded music and has been playing in bands for a while. For Puzzle Pieces, he played all the instruments and recorded it all himself, so a lot of effort went into it. He’s also a doctor (radiologist) and a book author, which all came into play with the concept of the album. It’s very interesting to hear him describe how he melds the different parts of his life in the expression of his music.

The cover art to Puzzle Pieces by Spiral at www.ToxicPretty.com

As a special treat, Jabi played/debuted a new song live in the studio, called “Mouse” – with just solo acoustic guitar and voice. A lovely song about your thoughts radiating out from the fly on the wall into the world. Make sure to visit http://jabi.us and connect with him so you can keep up on great new music like this. Thanks to Jabi for making this another great podcast. Catch you next month!

Now please go have a listen to the podcast and enjoy!!

 

- Adena Atkins Podcast Posted!

The final podcast of 2011 with my friend and very talented songwriter Adena Atkins is now available for your enjoyment – capping off a fantastic year of getting to know my fellow Songwriters in Seattle! If Adena’s name (and voice) sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve talked about her before as a guest vocalist on my song “Water Colors.” Adena recently released her first EP entitled The Slowest Curve which is a collection of pop/electronica songs representing the seasons. As it is a complete “song cycle” (i.e. they all fit together as somewhat of a single, larger piece), we talk about and play the whole EP during the podcast. What a wonderful holiday gift for Adena to share!

We talk a lot about her influences that range from painting to opera and how she got from the west coast to east coast and back again to settle into Seattle. After a year in the Pacific NW she has started to gain some momentum and have her talents recognized by industry professionals. It will be exciting to see where The Slowest Curve leads her as her music career takes off in 2012! I would highly encourage you to keep an eye on her blog as she is also a talented writer who always has something interesting to say – her passion for the arts comes through in everything she does.

Chris & Adena in the studio

To learn more about Adena, please go to http://www.adenaatkins.com and then follow her links there to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, her blog and more. Also, click here to purchase The Slowest Curve directly on iTunes.

Now go have a listen to the podcast and enjoy!!

 

- Jennifer Cadence Podcast Posted!

My November podcast was a ton of fun as my guest, Jennifer Cadence, has both a great sense of humor and great insight into the music business. Oh, and she’s a fantastic singer/songwriter as well! Multi-talented, indeed. I always come away feeling enlightened whenever I’m in touch with Jennifer, as she always seems to have a few golden nuggets of info that I had never heard before. In this podcast, we not only talk about her new EP Mr. Universe, but she brought a list of five essential tips every musician should follow to help you succeed in reaching your goals. You’ve got to give this a listen and take notes!

We also discuss her challenges with defining her genre as pop, but remaining outside the Britney Spears imagery which would follow that kind of label. How’d she do it? By defining her own descriptive label: “Sapphire Blues.” It’s pop with soul and sass – take a listen and I think you’ll find it a pretty appropriate description. We talk about and play 3 songs from her EP: The title track “Mr. Universe,” “Fallout,” and “Dirt On Your Shoes” (with a great story behind that one!).

To learn more about Jennifer, please go to http://www.jennifercadence.com and then follow her links there to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. Also, click here to purchase Mr. Universe on iTunes.

Now go have a listen to the podcast and enjoy!

- TeeWanz Podcast Posted!

Whether you call him “The Wanz,” “TeeWanz” or just Michael Wansley, you’ll find that this is a Seattle R&B/Hip Hop/Soul artist with a ton of talent. With a beautiful, smooth singing voice, infectious modern beats, and mature songwriting chops, Wanz has evolved his approach from funk rock bands in the 90′s to a one man non-stop mobile production house these days.

This is a guy with some great stories and an understated sense of humor. What a fun podcast this was! Unfortunately, he has so many stories I had to cut some to get the podcast closer to the 1/2 hour target length. This will no doubt make for some great additional material in the future! But don’t worry – there’s still an overtime’s worth of discussion along with three of his newer tracks to get a taste for his style and substance.

You can also go straight to his Reverbnation site for more by clicking http://teewanz.com. He is yet another great example of the variety of talent and experience we have in the Seattle area and as part of Songwriters in Seattle. Many thanks to The Wanz for taking the time out to chat and share his music. Go have a listen!

Chris and TeeWanz doing the podcast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fur-Raising Update

I don’t usually want to tease too much about music I’ve finished and won’t release for a while, but since my last update was a bit of a downer, I hope you’ll excuse a little excess excitement! Since I wrote that a number of weeks ago – and to remind you I was back to having no songs finished for the new album – I’ve been working like crazy to catch back up. So the good news I want to share with you is that I have five songs finished now! You may remember previously I had four – and the cool thing is I still have one of the old ones to update, so that means I’ve finished two new ones. I feel I’m making some progress now!

The whole idea in re-visiting some of these was to improve the quality, right? You may wonder how that part of the process is going…well that’s where it gets interesting. But before I get into that, I want to share a story from way back that I was reminded of last weekend: During my pre-teen through college years, I was a huge Van Halen fan. To give you an idea, Eddie posters covered my room walls for over a decade. Anyway, I read an interview during the making of one of their albums where they were hootin’ and hollerin’ and carry on about how they were measuring how good they were doing by how the hair on their arms tingled and stood when they listened (and anyone else who’d listen). They’d call to each other “Show him your arm!” I remember thinking how cool that would be – to listen and have your body tingle in response – but as they were usually drunk and carrying on about something or other anyway, I considered it as much hype as anything, though the interviewer played along nicely.

Now, because I’m a poor judge of my recordings right when I finish one – I always like them at the time (or else I wouldn’t call it finished) – I’m skeptical about my own excitement. I had my friend Jessica Lynne over on Saturday to do my latest podcast and we had a little extra time when we had finished recording. She was really interested to hear the difference between the old and the new, so I played her the one song she’s most familiar with – “Water Colors.” Somewhere in the middle of the first chorus she turns to me with big eyes and gives me a “Whoa!” and tells me her arms are tingling. Her excitement carried through the rest of the playthrough. Wow! Now I’m pumped – confirmation of the fur raising nature of these new mixes. Thanks Jessica! I think I might be onto something special here, and I can’t wait to play the results of this effort for you all.

There’s more to say about what this album is meaning to me as an artist and the focused vision I feel I am finally realizing after 20+ years. I will save that for a later post as we start getting closer to the time when I can give you a listen. Thank you for indulging me in sharing my early excitement!

- So Where’s the New Album?

The summer has officially ended. I held on for as long as I could, but the kids are in school, the sweatshirts are on, and the clouds and rain have returned. My self-imposed end of August deadline has past and my new album This Journey has not been released. In fact, one could say it’s gone backwards. But before I tell you that story, I have to tell you this story…

I know I’ve been bad about updating lately (sorry), so let’s review where we left off: There were four finished new songs in the early part of 2011 – Energy, The Age Old Story, This Journey, and Water Colors. I like those recordings. They’ve served me well as a preview of the album to come and were a large part of my big promotional push into the Spring. By the time May hit and I had to take a couple months off music to pay some bills, I only had one more song written, Ride the Wind. I envy the prolific writers I know who have way too many songs to record and just pick their best!

Over the summer I was able to write two more that you’ve never heard before: Sunshine & Misery and Afterglow. I’m super excited about these songs – they rock! Two other key musical things happened over the summer:

1. I took voice lessons – people have already been telling me I sound different and better. It might be 20 years late, but I did it (and will continue when I am able)! Better late than never when it comes to the most important part of the band.

2. I bought a bass – this is a game changer, folks. No more MIDI bass on my recordings – Wow!

Schecter Studio 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I won’t go into the boring life stuff that happened over the second half of the summer that really prevented me from being able to dig in and try to finish up the album, suffice it to say I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to work on it. Which brings us back to where we are today – I’ve now had a little time to work on it and assess where things stand. Aside from recording the three newer songs, the two major upgrades listed above (voice and bass) convinced me to crack open the previous four song recordings and give them an overhaul. I’m of course recording bass on all of them, but I’m also fixing some lead vocal spots I wasn’t particularly happy with, adding some harmony parts, and overall re-mixing. Some changes will be more noticeable than others, but I think you’ll find the finished album overall worth the wait.

So where there were four songs done there are now none done. But there are two very close (within final mix range) and of course the others are well on their way. If I can write a few more new songs before the end of the year, I still have a good shot at a release early in 2012. That’s my new goal and I think it’s well within reach. I hope you’ll stay tuned for more updates as it all comes together. Thanks for your continued support!

- Val D’Alessio Podcast Posted!

Val D'Alessio (photo by Toni Pinto www.tonipintophotos.com)

It’s only been a few months since Val D’Alessio started attending events with Songwriters in Seattle, but she’s one of those people who the instant you speak with her and the instant she starts playing music, you know there’s an extremely talented and special person you’ve got there. While very supportive of SiS, she’s also fairly quiet and humble, so it quickly became a goal of mine to try and get her to tell a little more about herself with a podcast invitation. Lucky for me (and all of you as well), she accepted! During our discussion, Val opens up about her musical and spiritual journey that changed her approach to expressing herself well into adulthood. “Allowing” herself to be a songwriter, and really owning that gift when talking to others has been an obstacle that continually challenges her.

We play one song from her latest disc Speak Your Heart called “Your Own Gospel Song,” then a new song she brought a demo recording of called “Roll With the River,” and lastly she played a beautiful new song live called “Late Night Song.” I always love having these unique recordings just for the podcast and I think this one really shines. It was a lovely evening and a great way to cap off the first year of the SiS podcast. Huge thanks to Val for making it happen!

To listen to my podcast with Val, click here. You can learn more about Val and keep up with all her latest musical offerings at www.valdalessio.com.

Chris and Val (photo by Erika Klimecky)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

- One Year of Podcasting!

My 12th podcast for Songwriters in Seattle is now posted! My thanks to Val D’Alessio for capping the first year of the podcast with a great discussion and beautiful music. To account for the larger number of podcasts I now have (and will continue to grow), I’ve re-structured how they are presented on my website, with each getting its own posting. Among other benefits of efficiency, this also allows each podcast to have a unique link and its own set of comments. Also as part of the “one year celebration” I just submitted a working podcast subscription xml link to iTunes (I’ll let you know when it’s available). This will make it easier for people to find it and stay up to date each month. It was also an opportunity for me to properly fill out all the meta-data in the podcast mp3 files, so no matter what platform you’re listening on, you’ll get proper descriptions, file organization, and the SiS logo graphic.

Below is the full 1st year list, so please take a little time to plug in and have a listen. It’s been a lot of fun for me to get to know these talented musicians better, and I hope you enjoy it as well. I look forward to continuing the monthly podcast for a long time to come!

- Val D’Alessio
- Andy “Roo” Forrest
- Thom Schroeder
- Henta Ellis
- Jean Mann
- Bill Derry
- Andy Glover
- Matthew Meadows
- Jillian Graham
- Jeff Hatch
- Todd Christoffel
- David Rix

- Roo Forrest Podcast Posted!

Chris & Roo in the podcast studio



It’s the end of July already and time to get to know another member of Songwriters in Seattle! This month my guest is Andy “Roo” Forrest – a creative entrepreneur outside of music, who brings both a clever lyrical and harmonic sense to his songs. He has a great blend of pop, folk, jazz, and country that feels familiar yet is wholly original at the same time. To me, it is really indicative of how creativity crosses boundaries, and influences from other parts of our lives can gel in a songwriter’s music to produce something unique to the individual songwriter.

For the podcast, we dive into Roo’s new, self-titled CD out now (“Roo”) and we play a couple cuts from the disc as well as discuss the many great guest musicians he has on the recording. As an independent businessman, we tackle a little bit of music business discussion as well for a different perspective than one might usually get from a musician. As a grand finale, Roo plays a new song live in the studio – a sweet solo acoustic and vocal piece perfect for the summer(!) called “I Like the Snow.” A little Christmas in July for ya!

Even though his website is a bit of a work in progress, it’s still a good place to go to find the connections to him on Reverbnation, iTunes, Facebook, CDBaby and more. So please check out rooforrest.com and show him some Songwriters in Seattle love! Then get over to my podcast page and have a listen…I hope you enjoy it and keep an eye out for our next talented local songwriter next month!

- Weekend Double-Header!

Chris at Soulfood Books last month

I haven’t been performing that much recently due to my current focus on finishing recording of the new album and producing multiple side projects, so it’s a rare coincidence of timing that I would be playing back to back shows on weekend evenings. Both this Saturday and Sunday (July 16th & 17th) I’ll be doing unplugged shows at Soulfood Books in Redmond. I love this place and I love the people there, not to mention these will be two great but different shows. I’ll even be doing completely different sets on the two nights. First, on Saturday the monthly Songwriters in Seattle showcase will kickoff at 8pm. There will be four performers for the evening and while I host the evening from the beginning and make sure everything is running smoothly, I will be the closer for the night actually performing around 9:30. My setlist for this one is looking like this:

I Can’t Say
Bankrupt Generation
*What Brings People Together
Certainly
*Colored Life
Angels Don’t Hide
*Cider & Roses

*=band in a box

The show on Sunday is a very special surprise that just recently came together featuring a musician from Nepal, Gambu Sherpa. My wife toured around Nepal for a month last March as a photographer for Gambu and a bunch of other musicians (including Clint McCune from Soulfood), so when it looked like he was going to be in the area, Erika helped arrange me as part of the show. This is going to be a very cool night with Clint playing as well. I will likely open the show at 7pm with a setlist that looks like this:

Come Back To You
Show Me
Ride the Wind
This Journey
Not a Moment Too Soon
After the Rain
It All Comes Together
Water Colors
The Age Old Story

I’m very excited to be a part of both of these and am only moderately nervous about entering these performances straight out of a three-day camping trip. If I can sing for two nights after the sleep deprivation and campfire smoke inhalation that comes with the territory there, I guess I’ll consider myself ready for anything! I hope you can join me for at least one of these two great and very different performances while supporting unique efforts in the community – Songwriters in Seattle and the visit of Gambu Sherpa. You can also visit www.soultribetv.com to watch the shows streaming live. I feel honored to be a part of both of them and thank Soulfood Books for being fantastic hosts!

- Thom Schroeder Podcast Posted!

Thom Schroeder at Chris's Studio for the podcast

The monthly Songwriters in Seattle podcast continues to fascinate and inspire me with the variety of talent and level of musicianship we have in the group. This month symphonic rock pianist Thom Schroeder gives us insight into his classical approach to composition which combines epic forms, extreme dynamics, and modern textures to create a unique sound. Emotional performance and technical virtuosity make for an intense listening experience – you’ve got to hear this!

During our discussion, Thom talks about how he came to this genre, his search for a vocalist, and thinking big! It was a pleasure to have Thom in the studio and thank him for coming by for our 10th podcast to share his music and personal story. Connect with Thom at: http://www.thomschroeder.com

Now go have a listen to it on my podcast page

- Henta Podcast Posted!

Henta and Chris in the podcast studio

The incredible talent in Songwriters in Seattle continues to inspire! This month we get to know Grammy nominated artist Henta Ellis in the monthly podcast. What a fascinating story she has of being drawn to Seattle from Engliand due to music collaboration and then flourishing with the music community here. The details of her Grammy experience are also not to be missed!

We are very fortunate to have her be our first keyboard player to do a live performance for the podcast – and what an emotional performance it was. Her song “Rain” from her upcoming album takes on a very different character live than on the studio recording. I always love that we get a unique version of a song for the podcast when someone plays live!

One of the really interesting things I found about her performance is that she brought a vocal effects box to add significant reverb and delay to various parts of the song. What makes it so interesting is not necessarily the effects themselves, but that it adds an ethereal quality that is not present in the studio recording. I would say generally that other musicians playing solo live have a more stripped down, “natural” sound whereas in Henta’s case it almost has a more electronica sound – her studio recording of the song is with piano, cello, and a drier vocal. Worth taking a comparison listen at http://hentamusic.com for sure.

So head on over to the podcast page if you haven’t already and settle in for a great conversation with Henta. It was a pleasure to record and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

- Grammies and More

Yes, I realize it’s not Grammy season – that passed us a few months ago. However, I’ve recently taken in a couple of great Recording Academy events with the Pacific NW chapter that have gotten Grammies on my mind! The Recording Academy is the group that runs the Grammies if you weren’t aware. Last weekend was a fantastic day long Producer/Engineer Studio Summit which had great panels with insight into the ever changing music business. Keynoted by engineering legend Ed Cherney and his wife Rose (who runs The Record Plant in LA), there were some amazing stories and discussions of where the business has been and where it’s going. It’s definitely a rough road, but passion (and in some cases obsession) seems to still lead to success.

Then on Monday at the beautiful Gibson Guitar showroom in the Belltown area of downtown Seattle was the informational Grammy Awards 101 with VP of the Recording Academy Awards group, Bill Freimuth. Long story short, I now understand the whole process that goes into giving out those little statues, though my chances for getting one is only slightly better now that I may actually submit rather than not at all. I’m really driving to finish up my new album, This Journey, in time to get it into consideration for this year – not that I have any chance in the rock category, but why not? The tough part is that’s a deadline of August 31st…I’ve got a lot of work to do!

Also speaking of Grammies, my podcast guest for this month is Grammy nominated Henta Ellis. We will surely talk about her Grammy experience and lots more so look for that toward the end of the month. She’s also the one who introduced me to the PNW chapter of The Recording Academy, which I have enjoyed being a part of immensely since the beginning of the year. I would highly recommend it to anyone associated with the music business.

Lots of cool stuff still going on – hang with me as I hunker down to get the 2nd half of my album recorded! Thanks for your support and I’ll talk to you again soon…

- Jean Mann Podcast Posted!

It’s been a busy month for Jean Mann: preparing the release of a new album (Dream of Goats), a new tour, promotions and an interview schedule, she is gathering momentum on this 4th release that will surely propel her to new heights and popularity both locally and far beyond. I feel extremely lucky and honored to have gotten a slice of her time to discuss her background, her songwriting, and this bit of a whirlwind she’s creating! Not only did we have a great conversation, she brought her ukelele as well as her regular 6-string and played a few songs for us live. Awesome!

So you’ll hear “Memory’s Dusty Road” from the new disc, a solo uke and vocal live version of “Sweet Peas on the Vine” (also fully arranged on the new disc), and a live version of the beautiful “Blue Sky” from her 3rd album Daisies and Fire. Jean has a warmth and sweetness that I know you’ll enjoy, as well as an honest, artistic, and organic songwriting style that has a lot of heart. As she puts it, “…part poetry set to music…storytelling, and a little bit of journal…”

So my thanks to Jean for taking the time out of her busy schedule and good luck to her with the Dream of Goats release. If you can, try to make it to her release party Saturday, April 30th at Ballard Big House (2007 NW 61st Street) – reservations recommended, see the Tour Dates section of her website for more info.

Now head over to my podcast page to have a listen and visit jeanmann.net for all of her information!

- Radio Show Guest on The Aquarium

In the Aquarium: King Fish, Chris, Big Mike, Scully - photo by Bill Bungard (www.billbungard.com)

It was a beautiful sunny Spring Saturday in the Pacific Northwest (one of the few)…with McChord AF Base on my right and a windshield full of Mt. Rainier in front of me, I soon entered an unassuming Tacoma studio to start my swim in The Aquarium!!! As part of NWCZ Radio (Independent Northwest Music), The Aquarium is a talk show hosted by Ray “King Fish” Hayden and “Big Mike” Renville that highlights singers and songwriters from the Pacific Northwest. “We will focus on getting to know the artists and what drives them to pursue the life of being a songwriter.” In a nutshell, these guys are huge music lovers and supporters of the NW music scene – and they and their crew were not only total professionals, but a great group to hang out with! I had a blast!

Airing Tuesday, April 26th from 7-8pm (then posted later on iTunes), you’ll hear some details of my songwriting and recording history, my current works and promotional endeavors, and my own efforts to support the Northwest music scene through Songwriters in Seattle. Musically, I did a solo acoustic live performance of “Come Back To You” which will be fun to hear back. At the end we got to goof around a little bit with some Bohemian Rhapsody shenanigans so we’ll see what Ryan the sound engineer comes up with putting that together! So please tune in and check it out.

You can also connect with The Aquarium on Facebook and Twitter:

Link to The Aquarium on Facebook
Link to The Aquarium on Twitter

Huge thanks go out to King Fish, Big Mike, Scully, Ryan and photographer Bill Bungard for the fun and support – hope we can do it again sometime soon!

- ReverbNation Featured Artist!

This is an exciting week for spreading the music – for the next few days I’ll be a featured artist on ReverbNation! They get 15 million+ visitors per month and 75 million+ page views per month so this is an opportunity I’m very thankful for. I also want to thank anyone visiting for the first time – I hope you take a few minutes to listen to some of the variety of songs and videos I have on ReverbNation, then drop me a note or a comment. I love meeting new artists and fans through RN – there is a great musicial connection we all have there which I have not found anywhere else on the web. BTW – they rotate 10 featured artists into 4 slots every few minutes, so if you don’t see me up there, it’s just a matter of timing.

For the indie artists reading this, what has been your biggest single promotional push and how did it come about? I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will be a biggie for me and help get that snowball rolling downhill! I’ll report back on that next week. :)

Anyway, I’m working hard to keep new content rolling out so you always have something of interest to come take a listen to or a look at. Videos are the current push as I really get my YouTube channel cooking along. This week I’ve got “Angels Don’t Hide” and “Cider & Roses” recorded performances from my live uStream broadcast a few week ago. A new vlog next week and then one more from the solo acoustic fireside series, “It All Comes Together” – a classic from my Jester’s Crown days, so that should be fun.

Thank you once more and I hope you drop by again sometime soon!

- uStream Event Questions

It’s been a few weeks since my first live event on uStream and a few recordings from that performance are now up on my YouTube channel. It was a fun show that was very different for me in a lot of ways and overall I’m really happy with how it turned out. I’m also SUPER appreciative of the folks who showed up to watch/listen (and chat so there was some audience interaction!). Was the uStream event a success from your point of view? Would you come to another one? If you didn’t attend the first time, is it something you would be interested in logging on to view a different time?

I’ve been thinking a lot since then about what my fans/friends want to hear and see from me. Obviously, I want to put my time into projects people will enjoy the most. I realize new songs are at the heart of it, but I’ve also got a huge back catalog that is as good as new to most people. Would you like to hear more of those songs in current form? More live performances? More studio recordings? Do you prefer video or just audio? Or is it the variety that is compelling and you just pick and choose based on whatever the specific content is?

How do you interact with other artists and what gets you most excited to hear about from them? Am I missing anything important that you would usually see and appreciate from your other favorite bands and musicians? My head is filled with these questions and I would love to hear from you. Any feedback about your likes and dislikes regarding the content I’m putting out or others you follow would be greatly appreciated.

BTW, I do plan on doing at least one more uStream event in the near future, so please keep an eye out for that announcement and I hope to see you there! Thanks so much for your support!

- Photo Gallery Added

The website went through some changes this morning as I re-organized for easier navigation, quicker access to new content, and one big new addition: photos! I found a Flash photo gallery plug-in I liked that had some nice features such as viewing the gallery as a slideshow (the SL button), and easy full screen viewing (the FS button). There are only 10 recent photos in there at the moment, but the foundation is now available to add much more.

Speaking of more, I definitely plan down the line to post some photos from my archives as well as keeping up to date with brand new photos. The only downside to these being Flash based is that you can’t download them yourself if you wanted/needed to for some reason (press or marketing, especially). So please contact me directly if you would like to have an individual image file.

Thanks and I hope you like the new changes!

- Bill Derry Podcast Posted

It’s time for the March Songwriters in Seattle Podcast! This month I spoke with local songwriter Bill Derry, who performs regularly throughout the Pacific Northwest. As he says in the podcast, he just “likes to perform” and has many variations with his band, solo, duo, trio, etc. playing a mix of classic rock, folk, and jazz. To me, he just has a a very laid back and easy to listen to style – no doubt in part due to his smooth, mellow voice.

He has a cd out with his band, entitled “This Old Dog” – which you can get at a live show or on iTunes here:

Bill Derry Band – “This Old Dog” on iTunes

In addition to the song Friday Afternoon that we spin during the podcast, Bill performed 2 new previously unrecorded songs live in the studio. What a treat to be able to broadcast new songs like this!

There are many other places to find and connect with Bill on the web – here are just a few links to get you started:

- Bill’s Website
- Bill on Reverbnation
- Bill on Myspace
- Bill on Facebook

So have a listen to the conversation with Bill, enjoy, comment, and I’ll catch you next month when my guest will be the very talented local folk star, Jean Mann!

- Inspiring Songwriters in Seattle

I just got back from the monthly Songwriters in Seattle networking meetup, and I must say “Wow”! The amount of talent in the room was insane – try to imagine a small room with 20 or so musicians packed in, each playing an original song that showed off their personal style. Every one put a smile on my face. It was super-inspiring to look around and think about what a supportive musical community we have.

There were no “hacks” there tonight. Sure people are at different points in their musical journeys – some played their best song, some played a recent song, some played a song to ask the group for feedback, so it’s not necessarily always a “best foot forward” kind of situation. But the variety and energy that came through whether it was live or recorded was phenomenal. If you’re a musician and you can possibly get to one of these events, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

On a personal note, I played my new song for people and the reaction was great (which is always re-assuring). My friend Jessica Lynne thinks it’s my best song yet! Each new one seems to be her favorite! I am really happy with how it turned out, and that I can play it acceptably this close to writing it is somewhat a testament to how natural it feels to me. I can’t wait to play it for you – stay tuned for an announcement about that!

So what inspires you? Other people? Places? Events? Where do you go for inspiration when there doesn’t seem to be anything hitting you at the moment? I’m certainly inspired to write some more songs and help these other musicians be successful. I think that’s the heart of Songwriters in Seattle and one of the reasons I’m proud to lead the group. Let’s all be inspired and lift everyone up at the same time. It is time to really take it to the next level!

- Video Killed The MP3 Star

Originally video killed the radio star – yes, they’ve been popular since the 80′s but the category of “music video” has changed greatly since then. Especially with the advent of YouTube and the proliferation of high speed internet connections, the idea of making and distributing videos of a variety of musical endeavors is as wide and personal as the musician’s imagination. In fact, I have yet to make a “traditional” music video, but I find myself spending more and more time sitting in front of Adobe Premiere making videos of one sort or another. More time than I’m spending songwriting and recording, even. Call me crazy, but I find video editing to be fun and addicting!

I realize I’m a bit behind the curve here – just as I have only recently gotten on the blogging and Twitter bandwagons, I’ve only begun to post videos to my YouTube channel. But I do have a vision for what I want that channel to look like and I’m beginning to populate it with some content I’m proud of. I would like it to end up as a tasty mix of live show recordings, in-studio performances, vlogs, uStream performance recordings, and at some point hopefully a good old fashioned music video or two. Any other ideas that you’d like to see? Or something you’ve seen someone else do that you liked?

I’m very excited about my YouTube channel and see there is a lot of power in what it adds to my creative portfolio. It is a great way for people to get to know me and my music as well as see different sides of the songs and my personality. It is also nice to shake things up creatively. This month keep an eye out for my “Solo Acoustic Fireside Series” – a group of videos filmed live in my studio in front of the wood stove. It’s a neat atmosphere and some different takes on both old and new songs. I also plan on getting uStream fired up this month so you can even join me live for some showcases from wherever you are! Lots of new stuff to try – I appreciate your feedback on what you like and what else you’d be interested in seeing from me. Thanks for listening and watching!

- Original Vision “Carry On” Re-mix Posted

An artist’s original vision for his/her own works can be an interesting thing. Especially when collaboration is involved, the vision can evolve, shift, even become something almost entirely different, but in the artist’s mind, there is always the memory of that original intent. When I first heard David Rix play “Carry On” I knew it was a great song that had lots of arrangement potential. Over time I formed my own vision for the song and put that into production. David was very happy with that end product, but something was bugging him. His original vision…

He had always thought of the song as a male/female duet where the couple is “discussing” their hard times but pushing through knowing they were meant for each other. Though our Traveling Wilburys-style first arrangement was buttery smooth, it didn’t capture some of the emotional resonance that the presentation of a couple in a longterm relationship would have. So with the help of our local Spiritual Cowgirl Jessica Lynne, I proudly present a re-mix of “Carry On” that more closely resembles David’s original vision. I hope you enjoy it and I welcome your thoughts on how the two arrangements affect you differently. Also make sure you check out my video blog for a quick behind-the-scenes comparison of the two.

I have a lot of fun doing different arrangements of songs and approaching them in new ways. I believe there is almost an infinite number of variations and enjoy the creative process of arranging almost as much as the writing itself. While this re-mix doesn’t stray greatly from the original, even the small shift I believe creates a whole new level of emotional impact and that is very exciting to me. Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the latest from Jessica and David when you get the chance!

- Andy Glover Podcast Posted!

February’s podcast features a fun conversation and live performances from Songwriters in Seattle member Andy Glover. Andy is a great guy and talented musician whose positive attitude shines out brightly in his songwriting. One of the most interesting things about Andy’s songwriting development (that we talk about in quite a bit of detail) is that he has documented it on YouTube at a steady pace over the last few years. Being able to share this growth and artistic evolution in almost realtime video is a great example of how modern technology can build strong connections with fans around the world.

Andy also talks about his new studio recordings that he’s working on, and as an exciting first for this podcast, performs all his podcast songs live! So these are unique recordings that are a great reflection of his personality. I’m thankful to Andy for performing live and for being a part of this podcast. Please connect with Andy at the following links:

- Subscribe to Andy’s channel on YouTube
- Fan him on ReverbNation
- Follow him on Twitter
- Purchase/download his recordings from Bandcamp

Now hop on over to his podcast post (if you haven’t already!) and check it out!

- Lyric Inspiration?

Oh boy, it’s that time again – I’ve finished up with my main group of songs in production and it’s time to start new songs from scratch. There’s a longstanding debate whether creativity can be forced or can only be allowed to flow naturally when it’s ready. I guess I subscribe to a creative philosophy somewhere in the middle, in that I can definitely shut it down – turn it off, or maybe distract it, if you will. But when I “allow” myself to be creative and am open to receiving creative inspiration I generally don’t have a problem finding it. I don’t generally find myself with the proverbial “writer’s block” for any substantial period of time. I can get stuck, but can work myself out of it over time without too much struggle.

I should qualify this as applying only to music, however, as lyrics are always a struggle for me. Always have been and likely always will be. I absolutely can’t force lyrics or process my way to poetic ideas. So I generally seek out lyric writing partners to do the heavy lifting. That being said, I think I’m pretty good at editing lyrics and adding the right touches to finalize them – it’s the starting from scratch part that’s really tough for me. On the rare occasion though – maybe once or twice per year – a set of lyrics will come to me, almost all at once. I don’t know how or why, but they fly through my head and I have to write them down before I forget. Of course, I’m usually in the car at the time, so rushing home to get lyrics down on paper can be a challenge. It happened again this morning!

Energy, Bankrupt Generation, Lost the Line, and What Brings People Together happened in this way. It is not a long process – usually the whole set of lyrics is down in one sitting, maybe two, and then some touchups later when the music is written. Wish I could do that a little more often – it’s fun and exhilirating. I love that feeling of looking at the paper with a set of lyrics on it and asking, “Where did that come from?” Lyric writing just isn’t natural for me and so when it happens I’m always pleasantly surprised.

So between this new one and two more from Cait at the moment, I hope to have some new songs soon. In the meantime, ping me with a comment about your creative process…how do you get inspired? What comes easy and what’s a struggle? Do you have a process or just let it flow?

Good luck in whatever way your creativity takes you!

- New Song Released: “Water Colors”

Red Sky on the Water

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you are feeling loved ’cause I’m sharing the love today with the release of a new song, “Water Colors”. This is the fourth preview from my upcoming album due in the Fall of 2011, This Journey, and the last you’ll hear from that for a while. Sure, I’ve got other songs in production for other folks that I’ll be releasing in between, but as far as the rock tunes for my own album, there will be a few months break.

So, what’s with “Water Colors”? It’s a slight change of pace, a little longer form, and a little more complex arrangement that I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. A guest vocal on the bridge from the lovely and talented Adena Atkins puts this one in a category of its own: the first rock song I’ve ever recorded with a female voice as part of the arrangement! I’m thrilled she agreed to do it as I believe the tone and quality of her voice fits perfectly as a sort of ethereal distant “siren song.” It serves the lyric/traditional phrase well as a reminder that the seductive beauty of life holds both joy and peril.

The lyrics are the third collaboration with Cait Rosellini and follow a sailing metaphor for navigating the rough waters of life. And while the final message may be a bit cliche (life is about the journey, not the destination), I find the presentation to have a poetry and freshness that is quite satisfying. I feel very good about working with this first grouping of Cait’s lyrics and we are currently looking at the next set to put together. Maybe it will even turn out that this whole album will be a single co-lyric writing effort? We’ll see, but I think it’s a good start.

Okay, I’m going to stop yappin’ and let you listen to the song – I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think. :)

- Producer’s Desk: 5 Home Mixing Tips

I’ve been doing a lot of mixing recently, and that tends to get my head in a very detailed listening mode. So when I hear other home recordings during these times, lots of things stick out to me and I thought I’d list a few items here that might help you improve your own home recordings.

Before we dive in, though, remember that of the 4 stages of recording (pre-production, source recording, mixing, mastering), what I’m touching on here is only the tip of the iceberg on the 3rd stage. So by the time you get this far you’re already in the deep end of the pool. These tips aren’t going to make a bad song good or save a poor instrument tone (“you can’t polish a turd”). But if you’ve got your parts recorded well already, these should at least remind you not to make the most common mistakes when actively listening to your mixes.

1. Vocals out front – There are very few styles where the artistic choice of blending the vocal into the other instruments makes good sense. Being able to hear the words and the melody being sung clearly is generally paramount. Especially when it’s your own voice, it’s easy to be self-conscious and back off it a little. Fight that tendency! Put it out front and let it lead the way – all other instrumentation should be in support of the vocal.

2. EQ & compression – As I said above, I strongly believe in getting your source as good as possible when recording, and that includes pre-EQ and compression. Get your signal as smooth and good sounding at the source, rather than at mixing time and you’ll be way better off. Now that being said, if you have to do a little “fix in the mix” still consider it part of the source recording and put EQ and compression as early in the signal chain as possible. For EQ, the rule is always “cut first” but I’ll admit that I break that pretty regularly, especially if I’m just looking for a little added presence/clarity in the highend. Be careful with compression at this stage! You still have another compression point in mastering and you can get wacky “pumping” dynamics results in your final product. There’s a lot more to say about EQ and compression at a later date, but the bottom line for now is – minimal use during mixing is best!! Train your ear to really be able to understand these two tools better and your recordings will benefit greatly.

3. Reverb/FX – FX can be so easy to overuse because they sound so cool! Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for your mix to become a muddy mess. Some concert hall reverb here, a sweeping chorus there, some epic delays everywhere…you get the idea. But leaving your mix bare also can feel unnatural and sound jarring. So what’s the happy medium? I have two thoughts on that: First, for a particular part special effect, have a vision up front for what you are going for, keep the effect to that part, and treat it as the source sound for that part. When you are just fishing for cool sounds is when you can get into the most trouble and overeffect something that doesn’t need it. Second, for everything else that doesn’t require a special effect to achieve the intended source sound, approach it as if you are just setting an overall mood. Generally a light, fairly short reverb is all you need to just make it sound like instruments are being played in a lively, natural room. Then, depending on the mood, some delay on the “solo” instruments (lead vocals, maybe a solo guitar or something like that), will add a really nice touch. Keep it light though, and make sure your delay is timed correctly to the beat of the song (60/beats per minute for the correct quarter note millisecond number to enter into your delay unit – or divide in half for eighth notes). For this use, stay clear of delay units with analog knobs for the delay time setting – make sure you can enter a specific number of milliseconds.

4. Panning – it may seem odd to list panning as its own category, especially given it’s not quite as involved as, say, EQ & compression. But I do believe that good use of panning is a bit of a lost art, at least in home recording. There’s one end of the spectrum that way overuses their panning abilities, making the user disoriented and dizzy. Unless it is an extremely short, specific usage that really fits the context well, I find aggressive pinging around the stereo field extremely annoying and distracting. The other end of the spectrum is having everything right up the middle (or nearly up the middle) or the equivalent when you double a part and hard pan the two equally. The effect is still a single monolithic wall of sound coming at the listener. Here’s my point: There’s a lot more space to use here than I think most people realize – learn to use it to your advantage. There is an immense amount of clarity you can bring to a part by giving it it’s own space in the stereo field. A part that is hidden with everything up the middle, suddenly rings clear with even a 50-75% push to one side, no additional volume necessary. Shift harmony vocals off to the side a little. Percussion like tambourines, shakers, etc. can come through clearly without overpowering a mix. Really imagine your stereo field as a 180 degree space and you will be amazed at how much added clarity your mixes will receive.

5. Fine details: lip/tongue clicks, amp noise, crossfades & fadeouts, etc. – I realize there are times when stylistic choice determines the roughness of the details in a recording. And live recordings (or recordings that try to feel live) are certainly in a different realm for these kinds of details. But on those recordings that have an obvious intention of trying to be polished productions, the details really do count, and in this day and age of DAWs they’re pretty easy to take care of. I recommend looking at the source waveforms in your mix and being a stickler for cutting any parts that are unnecessary. Just clip them and delete them – to me it’s just part of keeping a clean house. Then as you hear other noisy anomalies (string noise, ringing snares, you name it), use your volume automation to fade, crossfade, or otherwise avoid the problem area and smoothly come back to your regular part. The better you get with your automation tools, the finer you will be able to make these kinds of adjustment sound transparent. That’s the goal afterall, right? For people to hear your music as you intended, undistracted by the inevitable imperfections of recorded performance. Dial your ear to detect and eliminate these details and you will be well on your road to that goal.

Well, I hope you enjoyed these tips and maybe learned a thing or two. Please let me know if you have questions or topics you’d like me to address in the future. I’d love to hear from you!

Additional mixing topics to discuss in the future:

- Virtual instruments

- Signal path optimization

- More on EQ & compression

- The great auto-tune debate

- Two Songs Being Mixed

I wanted to give you a heads up on two songs coming down the pipeline. They’re both very close and should be finished and released over the next few weeks. Although it can be an arduous process, mixing and mastering is ultimately so rewarding that it’s worth the pain and fine detail work that goes into it. There is nothing better than pushing play on the final test CD that sounds fantastic blasted out of the home stereo system!

Anyway, the two songs are: 1. Water Colors, the latest from my upcoming album, and 2. A re-mix of David Rix’s Carry On with Jessica Lynne sharing vocal duties. Here’s a little more detail on each of these…

- Water Colors: This is another collaboration with lyricist Cait Rosellini, but has a very different character to it. It’s a high seas adventure and metaphor for riding out the perils of life. There is a special guest vocal part by Adena Atkins, supplying the ethereal take on the old sailor’s proverb “Red skies at night, sailor’s delight…” bridge section. I’m really happy with how this turned out and hope you like the creative arrangement.

- Carry On: The first version of Carry On, as you may already know, has three male voices. Even though this sounds great, songwriter David Rix had always envisioned the song as including a female voice. The theme of the song is about a couple finding their way together and it makes all kinds of sense that it play out as a multi-gender performance. Jessica Lynne was kind enough to record some parts along with and around the original, and it really adds a nice touch. It doesn’t completely change the song, of course, but it’s a different flavor. Regardless of which version you may like better, in my mind it is always great to be able to realize the vision of the artist, and here you will have the definitive recording of that vision.

So those are the next two coming. Lots of other things in early stages so stay tuned!

- Jessica Lynne’s Version of “Colored Life”


Just a quick note about the new posting of my alt-country/Americana duet “Colored Life” now featuring Jessica Lynne on vocals. Jessica and I have been working together a lot lately and I thought it a fitting opportunity to go back and try to improve on this song. I’m thankful to Jessica for doing it (and even coming back for a second shot at the middle break to put it over the top!) and I think it turned out great.

Hear the new version of “Colored Life”

A little note about Jessica, she’s only been in the US and Seattle for a few months now, but is already tearing up the country/Americana scene out here. Don’t ask me how someone from Denmark ends up singing with a southern twang, but here’s the evidence it can happen! She’s working on an EP now and I’m helping her develop some songs and backing her up live. Always nice to work with great up and coming talent from any genre and Jessica’s about as friendly and straightforward as you can get – just my style! She also knows the amount of work it takes to make it in music and I love supporting that kind of effort. So please wish her good luck and if you’re into that style of music, please keep an ear out for her new recordings – I’m sure they’re going to be fantastic!

Visit Jessica’s ReverbNation Page

- Let’s Talk Americana

Have you ever noticed the number of new music genres that have popped up over the last, say 10 years or so? Now, prior to the last couple years, I had my head down in the rock genre pretty solidly, so when I started opening my eyes to the wider popular music world the genre selection was all very confusing and fascinating. As a musician and a fan, I questioned not only what genre I was in personally, but what would you call the music that I liked to listen to? So many of these “smart” playlist systems try to push specific genres on you and I’d choose one and then say, “oops, that’s not it” when I heard the artists they thought fit there.

One exciting genre I had never heard of before recently is Americana. Now, I’m not much of a country fan, but I grew up listening to a bit of John Denver, the occasional Kenny Rogers, and even watched Hee Haw here and there. Not necessarily big into folk either, but folk/rock a la Crosby, Stills, and Nash or Simon and Garfunkel are okay with me. But as country itself has gone more toward rock, and folk has people going every which way, I hear more and more about “alt-country” and “Americana” as a description for a style of music that’s not quite country, not really folk, not rock, but perhaps a bit of all three. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong on that description or has a better one.

To add to the possible confusion, it seems each artist who calls him or herself Americana has a slightly different take on it. Even in my small circle of friends, I’ve got David Rix, who adds a bit of bluegrass, Jessica Lynne, who leans more country, The Lucky Suns, who push toward roots rock, and Charles Danek (aka Coin), who has a jazzy edge. All of them are excellent musicians and songwriters who fall into the Americana category yet sound distinctly different.

My curiousity in the genre is also piqued as I’m involved with a number of Americana side projects, mainly with Jessica and David named above. You can even hear a few relevant songs that I’ve done working with them both live and on recordings. These collaborations continue and you can expect more from these creative and fun side projects. Songs like “Carry On” and “Colored Life” would probably count in my book. Speaking of Colored Life, I’ve got a new final mix of that one with Jessica that I think is the best yet. I’ll put that one up this week and I think it will become the definitive version of that song.

So what are your thoughts on Americana? New genre or just re-imaging of old genres? Can you define it better than I? Who are your favorite artists you would put in the Americana category?

- February Preview

Down to the last few days in January, already? Wow, it’s been a productive start to 2011 and I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the fruits of that labor. There have been two major song releases, a podcast, a start at Twitter and YouTube, my regular blog, and then lots of behind the scenes effort to get all of my web presence pages looking consistent, easy to use, and packed with as much content as the various sites will allow!

There’s still lots more to do and tons of content in the pipeline for February. Here’s a glance at my upcoming “to do” list:

- The third major song release for this early group of new recordings, “Water Colors”: It’s another with lyrics passed to me by Cait Rosellini. It’s got a different feel that I am really digging – those who have heard it think it has a David Bowie sound. I’m a bad judge of these things, but perhaps because of the metaphor-style storytelling? Anyway, I’m excited to have you listen and tell me what you think of it yourself.

- Two new recordings with Americana singer Jessica Lynne: I’ve got two recordings coming with her that are cool variations on already released songs. One is a version of “Colored Life” – you can hear a preview of that from the (horrible visual quality!) live video that was taken of us performing the song together. Jessica has a great voice that fits the song perfectly and I’m very happy to have a fully produced version of the song with her. We also got her recorded on a version of David Rix’s “Carry On” which takes the song in an interesting duet direction.

- Recordings with other artists: Speaking of David Rix, we’ve got 3 of his songs in pre-production that I’m hoping to start rolling out in February. He’s a super-talented songwriter and it’s a lot of fun arranging his songs for full production. I also have a very different “sparse electronica” project moving forward with Adena Atkins. Trying to hit somewhere in the Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush/Imogen Heap realm with this one. I can’t wait to hear how that turns out!

- Videos: I filmed nine songs for my “Solo Acoustic Fireside Series” last week of which I hope to release at least five finished videos. While these are mostly for March, I’m really itching to get one out during February so stay tuned for more on this project.

- Photos: One thing that’s conspicuously missing on ChrisKlimecky.com is a photo gallery. It’s my goal for February to correct this with at least a roundup of existing photos from my other sites into a single reference area here. Then I can start sprinkling in some new photos as they come with a lot more ease and tell you about them here.

- More useful blogging: In January, you got a tiny taste of my thoughts on the music business and producer perspective. I want to crank that up a lot more and really get some discussion going about best practices, tips and advice, lessons learned, etc. These are important topics that I’m hoping you find interesting enough to contribute comments and insights from your experience as well. Look for more “Producer’s Desk” articles, thoughts on Social Media, the local scene here in Seattle, and more.

- Podcasts and other Songwriters in Seattle-related news: I’ve gotten good responses on the podcast, so I’m going to keep the monthly release of those flowing. And no shortage of artists wanting to chat about their music, so keep an eye out for the announcement of my next guest. Also, I’m hoping to have a major announcement with regard to moving Songwriters in Seattle forward – I’m just going to tease for now as I’m not sure we can get it done in February, but we’ll certainly give it our best shot!

- More live shows: I’ve taken a bit of a break from the live shows lately to focus on creating content for online release. Now that I’ve got a good baseline established and lots of projects in the pipeline, I’m ready to go back out and perform! I’m starting with a test of some of these new songs at the comfortable Songwriters in Seattle monthly showcase at Spotted Cow, then will be branching out to at least a few other performances this month. I’m going to try to get a steady ramp up toward the spring and then hit it hard during the summer in advance promotion of the release of “This Journey” the new album due for Fall 2011.

Whoa, I just read this again and realized February is a short month – I’ve got to get moving!!! Catch ya later and have a great February yourself!

- Producer’s Desk: 5 Non-Technical, No-Cost Tips for Better Home Recordings

What does “polish” mean to you in a recording? And is it even something you want more of, especially in a rock setting? Can you have a polished recording of an unpolished sound? In my mind, everyone should want a polished recording – this would represent their sound in the best, most appealing way possible. To me it’s about clear translation of the artistic vision, no matter how sloppy or gritty that vision is.

So there are certainly ways that you can spend lots of money to get better recordings (equipment, studio time, engineering & mastering help, etc.) and lots of sound engineer techie ways to improve your sound. Those tips are for another blog post! Let’s start with what you can do to polish your recordings using what you have already.

1. Pre-Production – Start with disciplined practice, lots of practice. Practice with a metronome so you can be consistent in tempo. Record rough versions of the song so you can hear it back and start to think more about arrangements. Make your song better – really evaluate it and refine it. A great recording of a so-so song is a lost cause. Does it need an extra chorus? Can you cut an interlude or long intro? Cutting is usually better than adding, and this is your time to be brutal. For example, I’ll often cut a verse during pre-production if I have any sense that it’s getting too long. Make your decisions now, before you start recording in earnest, because the farther down the road you are, the harder it is to make significant shifts. You’ll still have plenty of opportunity to be creative – in fact, you’ll be more free to be creative since the basic decisions are confidently locked in.

2. Time = Quality – Caution: I’m not advocating a perfectionist attitude here. While a general “spend a little more time” mindset can yield a significant increase in quality, infinite time does not equal infinite quality. So what’s the right balance? That’s one of the decisions you should make during pre-production. Are you making a simple demo of the song? Are you going to be selling an album? Licensing? Do you have a deadline? Often deadlines are good as it keeps you within bounds. Here’s another marker I use: when I hear flat out flubbed notes and other correctable mistakes in someone’s recording, my first thought is always, “I wish they had spent a little more time on this.” Do a couple more takes. Tighten up the mix. Get a second opinion and then go back and do touch-ups. Especially if you release something, your fans can’t “unhear” your recording – spend a little more time to do each small part better and your finished product will be a lot better for it.

3. Intonation – I honestly can’t believe it when I hear out of tune guitars on a recording, yet it happens pretty frequently. Guitar/bass tuners are easy and common tools. Make sure you’re using one regularly. Same for any stringed instrument. When doing final takes, make sure your drummer tunes his drums, too. It can improve your source sound quite a bit. For vocals, it gets a little more complex. Not that the singer has any more right to be out of tune, but how much flexibility they have can vary. And then there are auto-tuners, which have their own strings attached. My take is that you should get a great, in tune vocal track to start with. Then a little subtle use of the auto-tuner can smooth out the rough edges. I also tend to automate the auto-tuner so that it’s off during slurs, glissandos, and anywhere else the vocalist might be doing some expressive gymnastics. The point is to enhance a great performance, not stifle it – use your ears!

4. Timing – Along with intonation, timing can be one of the key areas that seperates an amateur sounding recording from a more polished recording. Especially when it comes to the drums and bass combo, if they are not locked in tight, the whole recording can sound off. There’s always a lot of debate regarding feel and emotion in timing, and I’m not saying it’s better to be a robot with perfect timing. There are sometimes only subtle differences between great sloppy playing like The Rolling Stones (where bass and drums were still incredibly tight), and just plain bad timing. Inconsistent rushing is what most have a problem with – and I’ve certainly been guilty of it in the past, so I’m pretty attuned to it. It can often be the case of just pushing your 8th notes too close together, so really try and get them even. If you consistently play on the back side of the beat and your band moves altogether smoothly, I’ve got no problem with it. A great groove does come out on top every time, but people tend to underestimate how hard that is and simply accept poor timing as a weak substitute.

5. Producer’s Ears – Somebody needs to play the part of Producer. That certainly can be you, but it is easy to get too close to your recording and lose your priorities. You can lose the big picture and get bogged down – I’ve certainly done it when I’m in an intense session recording my own songs. Sometimes you just key in on certain details and completely miss fixing areas that could make a bigger overall difference. A second pair of ears may not hear everything you’re hearing (or they might hear more!) but they can at minimum re-align your priorities so you focus your attention where it needs to be. Another thing I’ll do when producing my own recordings is just drop a song for a while and come back to it with fresh ears. Suddenly those little things I got bogged down in before fall to the background and I’ll realize I need to redo something like a lead vocal line or adjust the overall reverb for the song. Keep your priorities straight! If you’re going to produce your own stuff, be aware of when you’re really putting on the producer hat and analyzing your recording from a different perspective.

- Matthew Meadows Podcast Posted!

The January podcast with my special guest Matthew Meadows is up and ready for your listening enjoyment! Matthew is a rock guitarist and singer with a new EP, Etherati, and a great approach for getting his music heard. He talks about some of his songwriting process as well as his recent run up the Reverbnation charts (reverbnation.com/matthewmeadows).

In addition to two guitar instrumental tracks from Etherati that are discussed and played, Matthew also was kind enough to perform his song “The Mistress” live in a solo acoustic setting. If you’re already familiar with the song, you don’t want to miss this very different arrangement! It’s always great when a guest performs live at the podcast and this is no exception.

It was a fun evening and a great conversation – check it out!

- 50 Songs in the Store!

With the posting of “The Age Old Story,” I thought it was interesting to take a second and celebrate a cool milestone – 50 songs in my store! Two Jester’s Crown discs, two solo discs, a handful of old unreleased singles and a handful of previews from my upcoming disc “This Journey.” These are exciting times! :)

I’d like to think that there’s something for everyone in there, from the dynamic modern rock of my newest work, to the old school heaviness of songs like “The Chimes.” From the delicate pop sounds of “Cider & Roses” to epic prog like “A Voice of One.” Songs that border on country or folk like “Colored Life” or “Don’t Tell Me Why” to Billy Joel/Elton John inspired songs like “What Brings People Together” and “All It Takes.”

These are all quality recordings – no bedroom demos or half-finished sketches here. Every song represents a work of art that I’ve poured my heart and sweat into and I feel is truly worth the $.99 for you to buy from the store. And don’t forget that when you buy an album, they are priced so that you get the equivalent of two free songs over buying them all separately! So please browse the collection and take something you like home with you tonight. That simple act will allow me to bring you more great music, faster than ever. Thank you so much for supporting this music!

- Hear Ye, Hear Ye: “The Age Old Story”

Have you ever wished upon a star? I’m proud to present to you the first song I wrote with lyrics from Cait Rosellini, “The Age Old Story” – now streaming free from my music players and available for download from my store for $.99. I was inspired by the different thematic material and sense of wonder in the words. This was a fun one as it just came out so smoothly and naturally – I’m very excited about this song. I hope you enjoy it and share the link with friends. Thank you for your support! Here are the full lyrics:

The Age Old Story
Lyrics by Cait Rosellini and Chris Klimecky
Music by Chris Klimecky

How young were you when you saw your first star?
It’s like angels called your name from afar
They aren’t just happy accidents awaiting your reply
How many times have you ignored that beautiful sky?

It’s the wind that steals your breath
It’s the lights that shine up high
It’s the age old story
Precious time will pass us by

Many years ago I never thought of such things
but then I looked through the lens and started to believe
I stared for hours but no one ever asked me why
I could read the pages written in the night

Chorus

Don’t falter now, you know how, how to watch and wish and just hold tight
Remember now, you know how, they’ll be waiting for you every single night

The sunrise breaks and the wonder fades
The glowing of the cycle fast invades
This humble pause won’t last for long
They’ll still remain way after we’re gone

Chorus

- “The Age Old Story” Drops This Week

Heads up, All! Incoming mid-week I’ll be posting my second new song of 2011, “The Age Old Story.” It’s the first song I wrote with lyrics by Cait Rosellini and I think it’s one of my best EVER. I know, it’s always easy to think the last thing ya did was the best, but I gotta tell you, I think this is a special one. I hope you agree!

It’s also the kind of song that I think really represents my creative identity at this point – strong melody, dynamic flow, buttery harmony vocals, and a kickin’ guitar solo all wrapped up in a tight pop/rock structure. Not too heavy, not too light. It’s just right! ;)

The lyric theme is one of star gazing and seeing your place in the universe. Discovering the wonder and being swept away by the beauty and power of the night sky. Faith and comfort in in its steadfastness, while humbled by its timelessness. Have you ever wished upon a star? This song is for you.

Keep an eye out for it Wednesday, when I’ll post more info and full lyrics here.

- Musicians and “Day Jobs”

I was recently pointed to a great little writeup from CDBaby asking the unfortunately neverending question, “Should Artists Have to Work a 2nd Job?” This really hit home with me as I’ve struggled with this question for a long time. In fact, for the first time now, I am 100% focused on my musical career in 2011. This is strange and exciting territory for me – when I was in school, I of course had school to focus on in addition to music. Then I went directly into the videogame development industry, where I focused in addition to music. This continued for over 16 years.

I always considered the day job as the only way to fund the musical endeavors. So above and beyond normal living expenses and month to month bills, there was constant gear purchases/upgrades, recording studio time, promotional expenses, cd manufacturing, etc. It can be an expensive passion pursuit, even as I consider myself extremely frugal with my musical investments! On the plus side, I never had to play the part of “starving artist” – which I’m thankful for. BTW – I totally respect anyone who’s willing to sacrifice for dedication to their art. I haven’t been willing to take the risk until now and know it takes guts no matter what level of success you’re having.

Where push comes to shove is in the time/money exchange. Having real success in the music biz (or likely any artistic endeavor) and building an actual career requires an inordinate amount of time, energy, and focus…things that obviously go away when you are holding down a day job. Can’t afford to live without a day job, can’t build an artistic career without the time and focus. How do you break out of this catch-22? I certainly know some that have, including my former drummer, Tom Sharpe, and I went to high school with many, including Jewel, whose starving artist story is part of her celebrity rags to riches aura at this point. Of the stories I know, themes of lengthy struggle and even getting to the edge of breakdown and complete failure are common before breaks and momentum toward success were gained.

I don’t have the answers and am pushing into unknown territory myself (perhaps this diagram will help), but I do have a new sense of dedication and confidence to my musical career. I will be pushing that as hard as I can for as long as I possibly can. I hope you will join me for the wild ride and comment your thoughts on this important topic. Oh, and while you’re here, buy a song from my store, so I don’t have to starve, okay? ;)

- Playing Live w/Jessica Lynne This Friday

Just a quick announcement about a show I’m playing with my friend, Jessica Lynne. She’s a great singer in sort of an alt-country/americana style. We’ve got a nice little band going with a few other Songwriters in Seattle members David Rix, Adena Atkins, and Derek Medina. We do all original songs, some of which I’ve had a hand in, such as Colored Life. See the video of Jessica and I doing that one on my video tab here.

Anyway, the show is at Skylark Cafe in West Seattle, Friday, January 14, starts at 9pm with a $5 cover (the flyer is wrong that it says “free”), and includes Lucky Suns and Guns of Nevada. It should be a fun time for all and from my perspective, I really enjoy stretching out creatively from the big rock guitars once in a while. Collaborating with good people and excellent musicians is always a plus as well.

Hope to see you there!

- Jester’s Crown Now in the Store

Who is Jester’s Crown, you may ask? Well, they’re my old band from the 90′s! Known for epic rock songs, deep arrangements, and excellent musicianship, we put ourselves in the genre of “melodic prog.” Progressive rock is a niche with a lot of variations and we were by no means hardcore, but there was enough of a tilt towards the complexity that fans of the genre liked that we held appeal to that group. If you listen to enough of the songs, you’ll understand what I mean. Some songs certainly lean more in that direction than others.

While the songwriting had moments of collaboration between all members, the majority of the songs were written by me with my brother Pete’s lyrics. I still play many of the “classics” today when I do solo acoustic sets: After the Rain, It All Comes Together, The Chimes, A Voice of One, Certainly, Not a Moment Too Soon, Anyway, Setting Sun, and more still pop up now and then. Many of these songs hold a special place in my heart and I enjoy performing them, often evolved slightly toward my current tastes.

I have posted our two main releases for sale at my store – Above the Storm (1995) and Away (1998) – along with a number of extra singles and unreleased tracks. You can of course pick and choose individual songs from those albums as well. I would encourage you to check them out as I believe they still hold up quite well.

If you are interested in a little more info and a few pictures from the era (check out my huge hair!), including previewing these tracks for free, visit www.reverbnation.com/jesterscrown. Enjoy!

- “This Journey” is Now Posted!

Starting off 2011 with a bang! New rocker “This Journey” is now available for streaming from any of my music players and you can download it at my store for just 99 cents. Many thanks to Cait Rosellini for the lyric inspiration – you can look forward to a few more coming from Cait and me over the next few months…I hope you agree it’s a winning combo! Full lyrics below:

This Journey

Lyrics by Cait Rosellini and Chris Klimecky
Music by Chris Klimecky

The sun burns on my back but I keep going down the road like nothing’s wrong
Over and over in my head plays this long forgotten song
My past is looking younger, the headwind gets stronger
I don’t know if I’ll hold out much longer

I strive to reach the top until I hear you say stop
And I know you won’t give up on me too soon
You’re my partner in this journey, do or die – it’s not too early
Take my hand, together, we will make it through – me and you

My legs are all scraped up and I can’t feel the hard steps pounding on my feet
Aching in my head but I’m finally feeling my heart beat
Lately it’s been racing – this goal I have been chasing
Seems impossible with all the hills I’m facing

(chorus)

This journey let my soul come out
This journey keeps me believing
This journey taught me how to love
This journey is deceiving

- New Song, “This Journey” Coming This Week

All right, folks, it’s time to start showing off the new songs!!! I’m very excited to have the first of this group to be posted be “This Journey” which is in fact my newest song at this point. It was only written last month and went through full production exceptionally fast. It shows off a different side of me, not only from a songwriting point of view, but vocally as well. Split into two unique sections, no guitar solos or thick harmonies are employed in this arrangement. I hope you find it to be as refreshing a track from some of my usual productions as I have. It has been a lot of fun to put it together!

A little bit more background on this song. It is my fourth collaboration with lyricist Cait Rosellini, whose name you’ll be hearing a lot more of as these songs get released. Also, this is the first song in a long time that I wrote outside of my home environment, without one of my own instruments! Maybe that’s why it came out a little different? I was down at my brother’s house in Portland, playing his guitar as I helped his family through my niece’s surgery. So it came together in one afternoon as I had a little extra time during her recovery, and as much as I fought myself against the two separate sections, it was just one of those things that felt right. So I went with it and ended up loving it. I very much hope you do too!

Look for my mid-week posting announcement for “This Journey”.

- Jillian Graham Podcast Posted!

Time to go check out the latest on the podcast page – the last for 2010! Finished the year on a high note with singer/songwriter Jillian Graham. See my previous blog post for more info on this great conversation and Jillian’s new music. Also make sure you check out www.jilliangrahammusic.com for details and the latest happenings with Jillian and her band.

Happy New Year to you all and I’ll catch you on the other side with new music, more podcasts, and lots of surprises as the creative momentum hits high gear!

- Podcast w/Jillian Graham Posting This Week

Coming off the Christmas weekend I’ve got lots to post and news to tell you about! I’m going to spread it all out early in the new year, but first things first…I am anxious to post the December podcast with fantastic up and coming Seattle musician Jillian Graham. We had a great conversation and heard some music off her new album Movin’ On, including an in-studio live performance. Jillian is a Korean born American adoptee who has some fascinating stories about taking her American folk music back to Korea recently and having some incredible performance opportunities there. Many thanks to Jillian for coming by and sharing her music! I will make a short blog announcement when I post it, but for now here are some pictures of the evening as a tease:

Jillian prepares to perform

Chris and Jillian during the podcast

- Three New Songs Coming Early 2011

I’m excited to announce that I’m putting the finishing touches on the production of three new songs of mine, to be released early in 2011! These songs were all co-written with a new lyric writing partner Caitlyn Rosellini, so they all have a fresh sound and a different perspective. Being recorded in with my new home studio setup also gives them an upgraded quality in the production I am thrilled about. So far only Energy and Carry On have been released using this studio configuration, so producing more at that level is something I want to get out as soon as I can.

The three songs, in the order I will likely release them, are called This Journey (just need a final mix & master), Age Old Story (a guitar solo away), and Water Colors.  Each has unique qualities and each rocks in its own way – no acoustic numbers in this group.  I’ll give more detail as each song is released, so for now have a very Merry Christmas – musical presents from me are coming soon!