Just a quick update to let you know that I’ve entered NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. I made a video at my medium-sized desk of one of my newer songs called “Where The War Is.” Here’s a link to the NPR page that features my song. I hope you like it! Keep your fingers crossed for me!
When I was a kid we would always go to the antique show at the fairgrounds every month. I was always looking for new Monkees things that I didn’t have, whether it be records, trading cards, or anything really. I was pretty young when my Dad bought me my first music book at this antique show. It was for The Monkees’ third LP, Headquarters. I definitely didn’t realize how important this book would be to me in my life at the time, I thought it was just another awesome Monkees thing to collect. I never had any music lessons but this exact Headquarters music book was what I used to teach myself how to play guitar and how to read music. For some reason, the songs on the album are out of order in the book. The first one is my Dad’s favorite Monkees song, “Shades Of Gray.” I never did become a very accomplished piano player but this song is just about the fanciest thing I can (kinda) play.
I’d like to thank you for getting me that first music book. And for everything before and after that of course. I don’t know where I’d be without your constant support and encouragement for all of these years. I hope you have a great birthday, Dad! I love you!
Hey! Remember back in January when I posted this video?
Spring 2018, huh? Sorry about that. Quite a few things have held me up as far as completing the album. But it’s all for the best! I have written some new songs this year and I’m really excited to share them with everyone. It’s always good to have too many songs for an album, now I get to pick the best of the best. I’ve been working extra hard lately on finishing up all of the vocal arrangements for the songs.This is the first time I’ve ever notated my own wordsongs, believe it or not. It has been such a valuable tool for me with arranging my own vocal parts. I’m no stranger to standard notation, it’s just not something I’ve ever considered using for my own arrangements, however odd that may sound. I’m sure that a big part of that was my ego, thinking that I needed to do things my way instead of the proper way. Since I have my songs transcribed and notated now, I’m also preparing sheet music to release with the album as well. The way I started learning how to read and play music when I was a child was because I had a copy of the sheet music for the album Headquarters by The Monkees. Since I am a music educator now, why not create something that someone else can learn from with my new album too?
As I start to tidy up things for the new album, I’ll post more updates about it here. I have a nice track list of 13 songs and I can say for certain that I’ve never written better songs than these 13 in my entire life. I’ve never been more proud, nor more eager, to share my own songs with everyone. In fact, I’m so eager that I’d like to share one that still only has a vocal from my demo recording on it. I have plans to record the vocals properly in the coming days. But here’s what I have so far of one of the new songs from Time Enough, a track called Never Let Go. I hope you like it!
I just posted a couple classic pop tunes from the 1960s that I arranged for a middle school or high school jazz ensemble. Head over to my Arrangements page to hear previews for Daydream Believer by The Monkees and Yellow Submarine by The Beatles. As always, any edits, additions, or substitutions are always welcome. And any requests you may have, I’m always ready for something new!
I recently had the pleasure of learning how to arrange music for a bassoon trio. That’s not something I ever really thought I’d say! My good friend Maia Hamann teaches bassoon at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, MN. She formed a trio with two of her students and wanted to play an open mic night at a local coffeeshop with them. I had just arranged a quick piece from the Jem & The Holograms theme song for one of her other groups, the Twin Cities Trio. I went ahead and rearranged that for three bassoons. I asked if Maia or her students had any suggestions for other songs. I arranged a few more pieces that they suggested as well as rearranging my first Twin Cities Trio piece, Super Mario Bros. Suite. I then got the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal with them so I could get their feedback and change whatever they wanted. After all, they’re the ones delivering this music to the audience, not me. They should get as much input about what’s in the arrangement as anybody. From start to finish, it was really a rewarding experience for me. I think they had fun performing at the coffee shop too.
Here’s the playlist with the full set by The Local Bocals from their only performance, July 13, 2018. Have a listen and enjoy! What would you like me to arrange for your bassoon trio?
One of my earliest musical memories is hearing my mom listen to Carole King’s “Tapestry” on 8-track. She had it on almost everyday it seems like. I loved hearing that album. I knew that she had written some of my favorite Monkees songs too, so I’ve always had a soft spot for her music. Tapestry wasn’t just background noise, it was a soundtrack for my mom. I know it still is because she just recently asked me about it since she temporarily couldn’t find her copy of the CD (I don’t think she has an 8-track player anymore).
From The Monkees to The Gilmore Girls, every time I hear anything by Carole I think of my mom. And I also hear a lot of her influence in my own music. I feel like I learned a great deal about how to craft a good melody, how to make things sound beautiful and sensitive when needed, and also how to appreciate the beauty in other music more. And because of those skills that I feel like I have as a songwriter, that has helped shape my personality and is a big part of who I am today. It’s one thing to be inspired by the music itself but it’s a completely different thing, on a completely different level, when you can get inspired by someone else’s love of music.
Mom, for your birthday this year I wanted to record a version of the title track as a thank you. It’s the only thing I could think of to get you this year that you didn’t already have. I hope you like it. And I hope you know that I couldn’t ever have asked for a better mother. I hope this is your best birthday yet. I love you!
(I know it’s not a copy of Tapestry, but it’s still a nice picture ok?)
This is not my new album! While taking a break from my new album to give my ears a rest, I found a handful of covers I’ve done over the years. The oldest recording is probably about 10 years old and the newest is from this past November, 2017. In one case, I believe this cover is actually the first available version of the song (so it is still a cover?) Some tracks are full productions with tons of guitars and keyboards and whatnot, some are just acoustic guitar and voice. One doesn’t even have any real instruments. One track features a musician other than me for the first time on one of my albums. And one isn’t even in English. All of this for the low cost of free. Refunds will be given on your way out if you don’t have a good time.
A sample of something else. Coming February 1st…
Happy new year, everybody! I have some good news to share! I’ve been working like crazy lately on my new album. It will be ready this coming spring. It is easily the best album I’ve ever done, and I’m only about half way completed. I’ve never been more proud of a musical project, or of myself. It’s been a while since I’ve done this, so I’m making sure I take my time and make this as good as I can make it.
Also, my birthday is this month. I really don’t like gifts. So instead, I’ve made my previous album, “Songs For The Moon” from 2010, available for free on Bandcamp. Just visit my Bandcamp page by clicking here and press “buy now”. Name your price as zero and continue to the download page. You’ll get a link in your email to download the album. If you want the quickest and easiest option, just select one of the mp3 options (Bandcamp allows audio nerds to specify which file type they want the audio in… are there any Ogg Vorbis hipsters still around?)
Please share this with your friends, both the new album trailer and my free album link.
I greatly appreciate all of the support over the years, near and far. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2018 for all of us! Cheers! Kippis!