In July I was asked by the Strathmore Music Center to be one of their mentors for their AIR (artists in residence) program. All together there are six young emerging artists. I was assigned two: Deborah Bond and Owen Danoff. When Strathmore first called I had to suppress the thought that screamed through my head… ” Hey, when did I stop being a young emerging artist cross over to the eminence grise category? ” The answer is: years ago. I got over myself and now I am very happy to be part of this. All of the emerging artists are talented. And they have an unbelievable supply of young energy that is infectious. The program is run by Betty Scott, a former schoolteacher, who brings a discipline and structure to this that is somehow strict and relaxed all at the same time. Chaise Lounge is playing at the Strathmore Gala at the end of October and several of the AIRs will be sitting in with the band. Last week we had a rehearsal with Isabelle DeLeon on drums, Integriti Reeves singing, Christylez Bacon on beatbox and personality, and Owen Danoff on guitar and vocals. They all came prepared and ready to bring it. I am mentioning this program in case you know someone who would benefit from this. I think that each of these artists is going to come out of the year long program with a much clearer understanding of all that it takes to have a performing career in music. And in case you are called to be a mentor- Say yes.
I could not live in a small town. I know thqt because I grew up in a few of them. The smallest was 800 people living on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. But I love it when I am thrown, for an evening, into the center of a small town. We played a gig last week in Lexington VA at an outdoor theater in the woods called Lime Kiln. I think that every person in the audience knew everyone else. We were the only strangers there. At the first song they clapped politely, just feeling out this new friendship between town and band. By the intermission we were on a first name basis. And by the end of the concert I feel like we could have gone home for coffee and ice cream with half the crowd. Music is an amazing way to build a friendship. You can leapfrog the years and years of passing on the street, having kids in school together, working on the same block and go right to a powerful personal, albeit non-specific, conversation that would normally take 20 years of friendship to get to. I got the whole experience of knowing everyone in town in the span of 2 hours.
GSSCC sincerely thanks the sponsors and members who supported the 2012 Awards & Installation Dinner this past Wednesday, one of the Chambers most important fundraising events of the year. The money raised through these events is critical to the Chamber’s ability to adequately serve our members.
I just finished up two days of mixing with engineer Ken Schubert. We were two guys sitting at a console staring at a screen of ProTools information with two very good speakers on either side – and not talking much for 8 hours a day. That is some guys’ idea of a great day. I guess it is mine. It reminds me of a story about the famous pilot, Chuck Yeager, flying in tandem with another pilot across the entire country, speaking only a dozen words during the whole trip and feeling like they had a hell of time at the end of the day. I’m not sure if this is a particularly male trait or not. But I have only had these experiences with guys. We sit and listen…. and listen again. then one guy says:” Do you think the guitar is a little wet? ” or “Let’s lose the piano until the bridge.” The other guy answers with ” Hmmm… we could try it?” This would be followed by another half hour of sitting, listening and staring. In two days we mixed three songs and ended up thinking we were flying right along on this project.
At the same time I had to listen to the masters of the new Chaise Lounge Christmas album, “A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas”. Mastering is a completely different level, a much deeper level of listening that I am not capable of. Greg Lukens and Bill Wolf are the two “master”minds ( pun intended) involved here. They also sit in a dark room surrounded by audio gear and mumble about “shelves” and say things like ” Is that getting a little tubby ?” In the end they took an album of 10 songs that were mixed over the course of nine months, and had a variety of instrumentations, and made them sound like they all truly belonged on the same record.
This is not my favorite part of my job, but it is one that is odd and peculiar to this craft of recording music. In some ways I owe my career to the various engineers who have looked at me and said in all sincerity ” for the love of God, can we pull some of the big room back… please?”