Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Yet Another Work Tape! Or indeed, a couple of them, both completed over the weekend - though I haven't posted them yet online, will do that soon!

Have also started on another song, hoping to wrap that up over this week and weekend, early days yet though, will have to wait and see if I can get it to sound the way I want as it's a bit of an experiment.

Lyric videos have come to a slight pause - not sure if I want to finish up Pinball Machine, or wait til I try re-singing the lyrics to see if I can get them to sound better (even if it is just a work tape). Did have some technical issues with the audio out of the new video editor I was using, so will need to explore that and decide how best to overcome it, with an aim of still keeping the workflow short and snappy!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Death and taxes (without the death)

Whew, spent this weekend mostly working on all the documenting of taxes for 2017. I want to get that in to the accountant early, so I can figure how much I am due this year, and then I can plan ahead for the move to Nashville that I'm considering!

I also made a video demo'ing the iDea, which I am going to put up for sale now that I have the Elite. Recorded the footage, and chopped it up into parts, and took some photos, but haven't yet put it all together.

Will be kind of sad to see the guitar go, since it has been on every song (that uses an acoustic) for the last 10 years, and I've done a lot of writing on it - but, I can't give in to GAS as they call it! Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, that is. To me, no sense in having more than one sort of guitar that does a similar thing to another. However, it will be like saying goodbye to an old friend, and this one did come with me to the very first Camp Copperhead, so it has sentimental value!

Anyway, look for the video soon. Also, am working on the lyric video for Pinball Machine, I hope to have that out in the coming week. Simple as it is, it still takes time to put together, however, video is the be-all-and-end-all these days. The Facebook feed choses video above any other sort of post to publicize, so getting the audio into some sort of video would appear to be critical.

Something of a shame to have to take time out from writing to create promotional materials, but such is the way of things! I aim to try and convert one song over into video format every week, or every two weeks maybe to make sure it doesn't detract from the writing!

I might also start making the blog into a vlog, for much the same reasons. We shall see, again, it's the question of time away from writing that is paramount!


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ovation Elite Plus Contour overview, and finally found lyric video software!

Weekly update time! When shopping for a new Ovation recently, I couldn't find the information I needed - how much difference does the contour back make vs the traditional Ovation round back? What is the new Op-Pro Studio pre-amp like, and what do the Drive and Expressor do exactly? What does it sound like?

So, I made my own video now that I own one:

The guitar arrived on Tuesday, and is quite a stunner! Always been a huge fan of Ovations, and this one is by far the best one I have owned.

As yet haven't recorded anything with her (except for the video above), but will be doing that in the coming week. I got some great feedback on "Long Time Coming" from Brent Baxter of which is a great place to share your songs and get feedback, and based on that I am going to rewrite it some, mostly restructuring and removing rather than adding. That will give me the perfect opportunity to put the new Ovation (named Spirit :) ) to good use.


I mentioned last time I was searching for software to ease the time involved in making lyric videos, and I found it - under the unlikely name of YouTube Movie Maker.

The beauty of this software is it will import your lyrics in text file format (.txt), and then your mp3, and as you play the mp3, simple presses of a key on your keyboard will define the start and end point of each line, et voila, your lyrics are done in time with your music!

I will be putting this to good use in coming weeks, and getting some simple lyric videos done and uploaded. Using video sites to listen to music is an increasingly common thing, even if the video is just a still photo, so it's good to have the music available on those sites too.


And of course there are new songs on the go, with "What You Don't Know" being well on its way - but I'll be pausing to rework "Long Time Coming" first before I move on to the next one.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Long Time Coming, and Pinball Machine

Two new songs wrapped up this weekend and the one before - Pinball Machine and Long Time Coming. Both are following my current approach of finishing writing the many songs I have on the go, and getting them down as work tapes rather than trying to coming up with more complete demos.

They should be developed, arranged and produced enough to be listenable, but I keep them pretty simple, with drums, bass, rhythm guitar and vocals and that's about it. Denying myself the pleasure of adding layers and arrangements, at least for now!

As part of that focus on writing, have also joined run by the most excellent Brent Baxter, and am taking his Building a Hit course which is proving very educational and inspirational.

Other things to expect - new gear coming this week, all to be revealed later! Working on planning out a move to Nashville later this year; since my apartment keeps flooding, I want to move and if I am packing up everything anyway I am as well moving city and not just apartment as there's nothing to keep me where I am just now!

I'm also considering getting the songs up on YouTube once I figure how to make decent lyric videos without taking time away from the writing - if you have any suggestions for good software that eases that process, let me know!


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Year is on its way!

Whew, 2017 was one busy year!

I just spent 3 days in Moscow and 2 weeks in Prague, not music related mind you - with that, plus the preparations for the trips, I was unable to do anything musical for the last month or so, but getting back into it now.

Moscow, view from the hotel window
I also managed to pick up a persistent cough, so not sure how that will impact my plans to do some recording over the Christmas vacation, but we shall see! I can still write and work on the instrumental side of things of course, so it won't all come to a complete standstill.

Prague, one of the smaller Christmas market areas
It's a good time to be thinking of plans for 2018, and for me I plan on doing some co-writing rather than write it all myself. I am also contemplating a move in May or thereabouts, and may move to Nashville for a bit, because Nashville. I think it would be fun to live there at least for a year or two!

I am also considering working less on production, arrangement and mixing, and more on just writing - there are so many songs I have in progress and if I stop to play around with them all in detail then that will slow down finishing writing them. After all, everything I create is just a demo or showcase of what the song can be, the plan is always that someone else will pick up on a song and record or perform it.

So what are your plans for the year ahead? Whatever they are, may they come to pass, and here's to it being an awesome year!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Old but very serviceable

Not me, the iPad. It's an iPad 4, which apparently makes it about 7 years old. As much as I dislike how Apple manages their infrastructure, I have to say that this 7 year old device is still enormously capable - great battery life, runs smooth, and as it turns out, a very easy and convenient writing tool!

The guitar sounds in Cubasis are very basic, will see if there's anything optional that can be added there to make those a bit more pleasant, but all the same it's very workable for writing. For practicing guitar solos, I might Bluetooth it over to the GT 40 amp (though I won't be able to record if I do that, but it could be good just for practice).

Thanks to that convenience, I was able to do some writing today, and it will only get easier the more I use this combo of iPad and Cubasis!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Making Writing Easier

The set up for songwriting that I came up with today.

One thing I am always looking to do is make the writing process easier. I do main recordings on my desktop, but I don't like being tied to the desktop while just experimenting and writing - inconvenient!

So far I've been using Evernote to sing or play into on my phone, but it's become inconvenient. It used to be easy to add several recordings to one "note" which kept multiple attempts at pieces of a song in one place, but now I can't see how to do that and I have to create a separate "note" each time which gets cluttered fast.

Besides, I wanted the ability to play and sing separately, so I could have my guitar playing away in my ear while I come up with words, or I could use it to work out soloes and or bass lines without heading to the PC.

I have Cubasis 2 on the iPad, which I like a lot as it is just like Cubase on my desktop. The problem with it was Apple - because they don't let you just browse the files on your iPad, you have to go through some app or another to see them. That meant moving anything OFF the iPad to start building the proper recordings on the desktop seemed to be a pain in the arse.

I was considering buying a mini-digital multitrack recorder, but joy of joys, I just discovered that Steinberg actually do things better than Apple - Cubasis has a wifi server mode, where I can see all the Cubase files on my PC and copy to and from the iPad with ease and abandon!

The raggedy collection of not much yet on the iPad, easily accessed from my desktop.
Enable it in Cubasis, enter the URL it displays into a web browser on the PC, and that's it - and like it says on the tin, it's wifi, so I don't even need to bother with all that cable-y nonsense. Well done Steinberg!