LOVE.

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What happened?!?

It has been decided. The new record has a title. It’s going to be called “LOVE.” All caps. Period.

To be honest, this title has been banging around my head for a while. It was something that Scott suggested to me several months ago, actually after this blog post. But I wasn’t ready to think about it. I had been avoiding this title. It was uncomfortable for me. In the end, I figured out that it was because I was so uncomfortable with this idea was the reason I needed to choose it. It’s ballsy, but now I’m okay with that.

So here we are. Record number three is nearly ready to drop. We are making some final edits to the mixes. I have decided on the song sequence. The design is underway. I have to figure out how we are going to master it. Then, I have to figure out what to do with it. Or not.

The new album will have 14 tracks. 12 of them are original songs I wrote. 1 is a cover, and 1 is a different version of 1 of the 12 originals. I’ve been spending a little bit of time with the rough mixes we have now. They sound good and I think we hit on a good overall feel for the album.

So what to do with the record? With this third record, I am no wiser on what to do. Ideally, I want it to be heard, but I’m not entirely willing to do everything that one has to do to make that happen. I think I could put together a really great band to play live, but I don’t know how to get enough tour support to make that happen. To be honest, I don’t really want to do that hustle. If there’s a right gig to do and I can get the band I want to get, I’ll do it. Otherwise, I’ll play some solo shows and see how those go. I have been considering investing a little bit into publicity which might get some more reviews, for example. Someone has expressed some interest in making a video for one of the new songs and it’s fun to discuss creative ideas on that front. I think that some of the video ideas I’ve discussed with people would be really cool, but then I’m guessing that getting people to watch your video is only slightly easier than having people listen to your album.

All of this uncertainty regarding what to do with the finished product should probably bother me more, but it doesn’t. I’ve discussed this point with others. Making records is kind of my old man thing. I don’t play fantasy baseball or football. I don’t fish. I don’t ski. I don’t have a thing for expensive cars. I just want to write and record songs.

So here we are. My third album is entitled, “LOVE.” I’m looking forward to you being able to hear it. Stay tuned.

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Sounds like a really good stereo

It’s the Monday morning after recording the songs for the next record. It’s a peculiar feeling sitting here, sipping a coffee, and being reflective.  For the past several days, I’ve had to be transmittive (I just made that up. Or did I?).

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Hanging out at The Root for my first breakfast in Little Rock this go-around. Indy took this picture when I was sitting back to relax after the flight.

When Jason and I were in LA last year to record the duet with Syd, we met up with some of my friends for drinks and dinner. My friend Jade asked me how I would describe the new (at the time) record. Up until then I didn’t have a good answer. I punted and made Jason answer. He had an interesting response. He said that the first record was more of a singular voice, while the new one was more centered around a band. I’m paraphrasing here because my memory of what was said exactly is poor. Nonetheless, that’s the essence of what I remember from that conversation. It struck me as so obviously true at the time, I felt silly for not knowing that myself.

It’s true. The first record is very much about a single voice. I made a conscious choice to minimize backing vocals, for example. I designed the arrangements to be as sparse as they are on purpose. I campaigned for dryer mixes for production. And so on. Looking back, it all makes sense. I had written a bunch of songs in various states of isolation about various states of isolation. That’s where my head space was, so naturally, that’s what I was going for on that record. I hadn’t played in a band for many years, so I had forgotten what that is. I had the notion of trying to make a vocal-based record, and so that’s what I tried to do.

With the second record, I had gained a bit of confidence in my writing and regained an appreciation and understanding of what it meant to play in (as opposed to “with”) a band. Without being too explicitly conscientious about it, we gravitated toward a live feel. The bones of every song involved the entire band, including me, in one room playing the song. I’m not sure I can articulate the difference between playing in versus with a band, but I definitely rediscovered how much I like playing in a band.

Having Al Gamble in those sessions was a revelation. First of all, he’s an incredibly gifted and thoughtful musician. But more importantly, it set up each and every song very differently than before. The organ parts became an integrated part of the foundation of the song rather than an afterthought. Everything for me changed from that point. I’ve now become very sensitive to hearing songs where parts sound or feel too overdubbed. That’s fine, but if that’s all there is, I don’t like it unless it’s hip-hop or techno, but that’s a different thing to me. I want to hear a band playing together. I want records to transport me into that room with the band. I want to hear moments when the drummer and bassist lock it down, or the emergence of a deep pocket emanating from the band. That’s the rub.

In retrospect, this makes a ton of sense. I have always gravitated toward live records. I want to hear what the band can do as a band, not what they can manufacture in a studio. The extreme for me is NRBQ. To me they were/are the ultimate band. The feature of the Q is the band itself. When I listen to their records, I hear it “backwards.” I hear the band first, and then I figure out that the songs are actually great, too. I don’t think there’s another group for which that happens. To me, that’s their magic. To some extent, that’s the greatness of the Nick Lowe records. His band is really great. You can tell they record it all live on the floor. In contrast to NRBQ, though, Nick is clearly the feature.

So what’s this record about? Now that we have it mostly done, it seems like we have put together a record of music we would want to listen to. That might sound weird, but that’s what’s going on. More than the last record, this one is about the band. Paul Griffith and Al Gamble are back again. We got the great Ron Eoff to play bass. That rhythm section is rock solid. It just so happened that Jesse Aycock was in town playing with the Secret Sisters, so Jason and I wanted to seize that opportunity to have him play guitar, lap, and pedal steel guitars on a few songs. On the other hand, I had lined up Greg Spradlin and Chris Michaels to come in and play guitars, too. We had an embarrassment of riches!

At one point in the session, all three, Jesse, Chris, and Greg, were hanging out in the studio. I campaigned to have them all in the song. I was doing it to be a little silly, but then something happened. With all of these great guitarists playing live on the floor with a bad ass rhythm section, none of them felt obligated to carry things as is often the guitarist’s burden. Each of them carved out small parts that banked off one another. Before that track, Jesse and Greg were in the room together with me playing, too, so that was happening this whole time. Later, Chris and Greg were playing. This approach started off with me basically not knowing how to deny having any one of these great players on the floor to becoming a thing for this record. The only song we used one guitarist for tracking is the extra cover we decided to do at the last minute.

So how did this work? Really well. What it did was give each of the song a finer finish. Instead of having bones for a song that we then do something with, we have the whole song and just have to decide if it needs a little more of this or that. The difference is the feel. I hear all of those guys in the room with me. I’m pretty sure each of us wouldn’t have played what we played if it were us along overdubbing. I like that.

I have a joke I sometimes say in sessions when we listen back or listening to someone play which is “that sounds like a really good stereo.” It’s meant to be a bit of a jab, but all in fun. Now the joke’s on me. While we have been listening back to songs, they sound like a really good stereo. They sound like the kind of music I would want to listen to at home on a really good stereo.

Yet to Be Titled

Mongoose: “What should the next Yellow Hope Project record be titled?!? Ahhhh!”
Cobra: “I don’t know! Ahhhh!”

Three.

세.

Trois.

Tres.

Kolme.

Here we go.

The dates are set.

The songs are chosen.

It’s time to make the next record. It will be my third.

I’ve been talking about writing new songs in recent posts. At the end of the day, I had 15 or so written, including some carry-overs that didn’t make the cut last time. I sent my demos to Jason. He chose 11.

I forget that  choosing the songs for the record is always the most awkward part. I develop strange attachments to certain songs I’ve written. I get caught up in the details of the demo rather than the overall feel of the song. That’s problematic because the quality of those demos depends largely on my own musicianship. Although I think I’m getting better at drums, bass, and keyboards, I don’t think I ever achieve a consistent “feel” on my demos because I don’t play them well enough. Sometimes I get it pretty close, though. That’s not immediately apparent until well after the record is done.

For example, I got the song, “When We Make Our Most Important Decisions” pretty close on the demo. I just listened to that demo again for a goof. I’m still very proud of that drum part I wrote. I spent a lot of time listening to a bunch of records and trying different patterns out. Even in the stupor of my sickness during the session, I was really flattered that Paul responded so positively to the drums on the demo. In fact, one of the key drums parts I listened to while trying to write this one was his part on “Vanish” from the first record. The key ingredients missing in the demo was the bass and organ parts, but still, I feel like I established the vision for that song pretty solidly when I wrote it.

I don’t have a title for the record. Although I have listened to the latest batch of 11 songs together, I am not entirely sure how to characterize the group of songs. It’s definitely more band-oriented. It’s not a lyrically deep set of songs, not that my songs are ever that lyrically sophisticated. But for these set of songs, I didn’t explore particularly deep or overly personal subject matter. I suppose this go-around, I have been really focused on more harmonic aspects of song-writing. I’ve really tried to explore different chord voicings and different chord choices altogether. Although most of the songs where I felt that I was really exploring different chord choices didn’t make the cut. That’s really okay with me.

The first record was so focused in its subject matter that a title kind of came to me naturally. The second record was titled by Chris Michaels. In fact, the title came before we even chose the songs. It just had to be. Now, I don’t have any particular notion. Anybody got a suggestion?

If I was to keep up the “yellow” verbal pastische, here are some titles that have been mentioned at one point or another.

  • Mellow Yellow
  • Yellow Is the New Black
  • Channel Yellow
  • Kind of Yellow
  • Tangled Up in Yellow
  • Yellow Rain
  • Songs In the Key of Yellow
  • Yellow Moses
  • None More Yellow

Yellow Rain. Eeeeww.

Playing Slide, Joe Perry, and Emeril

I’m working on a new record. We have a dates set tentatively to record it. The band is in place. Seems like yesterday that I was working on the last record. It will have been just a year ago.

I’ve been writing songs, but it doesn’t seem like I have been. When I stopped to take a look at what I have this week, I found that have written 13 or so songs with 1 or 2 more on the way. Not all of them are keepers, but there they are. I guess I haven’t been paying attention to the group of songs I’ve written as a whole. I’ve just spent a little time here and there writing songs over weekends and cutting demos during my spare time. It isn’t like last time with Fifty Shades of Yellow. For that record, I actually took a writing retreat for one week, focused on the idea of a project, and managed to hammer out a bunch of songs at once that mostly ended up on that record. From that week, I carved out an overall shape. I had a vision for what the record was going to be. I felt good and confident about the songs. At least it feel like that how it felt back then.

The first record was very different, too. For that one, I had amassed a large number of songs over a bunch of years never thinking that I was ever going to make a record. Then I did. That record was about stepping up and making a first record. That defined the project. My apprehension was focused.

This time around, I’m not sure how I feel about making another record. On the other hand, I have two records I’m very proud of under my belt. I’ve managed to play on several other people’s records, which has given me even more confidence and comfort in the studio. That has led to a new found confidence about making records that I never thought I’d have. I’m just not as sure about the songs, or the shape of the record. So I put that all on Jason. He’s sitting with my demos and seeing what sticks and what doesn’t. I think he has a better idea of what this record is than I do. I’m glad to not be producing my own records.

I might play more guitar on this record than I have in the past, especially slide. For a long time, I was focusing on my slide playing. It’s something that I used to play a lot. I first got interested when I saw the movie, Crossroads. (Surprised? Of course not!) From there, I tried to play this and that. Then I got into Leo Kottke and started to mimic his style of fingerpicking + slide playing. I have his signature brass slide sitting around somewhere, but I can’t find it at the moment. It’s really heavy. Too heavy for my pinky. Then there was my real introduction to Ry Cooder through listening to Bring the Family and Little Village. From there, I started listening to his solo records. I listened to other players like Sonny Landreth and David Linley. It’s only then that I started to realize that George Harrison played a lot of slide. I also started to notice that Steve Hackett played a lot of slide on old Genesis records, too.

Slide is one of those mystical things. I suppose you could take lessons, or watch instructional videos, but it’s such a feel-based thing that I’m not sure those would help. To get a decent tone, you really have to know your guitar. Not all guitars like slides on them. I remember when I asked my guitar teacher about how to play slide well, he told me to sit in my room and keep trying until it starts to sound good. I think he’s right. People don’t sit around and talk about slide playing like we tend to do with other styles of playing. I think it might be because it’s a nerd thing. You have to sit in your room, suck for a very long time, work at it, and possibly emerge with a few decent licks.

My little Gibson and slides

My little Gibson GA-5 Les Paul Jr. and slides. The Joe Perry slide is third from the left.

That being said, I think I’m an okay slide player. Just okay. This is not modesty. It’s the truth. Now that I’m trying to play slide again, I’m watching videos of Blake Mills play slide. He plays slide really well. He plays everything really well. It’s not a fair comparison, but still, he’s there playing slide supremely well. I’m just playing it okay. Nonetheless, I think I play in a way that others don’t seek to play which makes my okay playing somewhat unique.

So, what’s the deal with Joe Perry and Emeril? There’s actually a connection going on between those two and me. I had forgotten about it until recently. Let’s see if I can explain.

A few weeks ago, when I decided to get back into slide playing, I went to Guitar Center to buy a few more slides. I have a steel one and one I cut from a wine bottle in college. Both sound fine, but I wanted to try some others out. I picked up a standard glass one that’s light and nice for quick playing, but the tone is a bit thin. I also picked up the Joe Perry signature ceramic slide. At first, I was hesitant to buy it. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Aerosmith fan in the world, but it is a nice slide and the idea of pulling it out in Little Rock and showing everyone made me smile, so I bought it. I have been playing with both a lot lately and I’m pretty pleased with them.

For research, I listened to the latest Ry Cooder record which is a live performance he did in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall. That record is stupendous. His guitar tone is ridiculous. When the horns come in on “Why Don’t You Try Me” it’s just an amazing moment. I can’t believe I didn’t go to this show. It would have kicked my ass. It is now kicking my ass, and I didn’t even go. Anyway, that record has made me try to find the right amp that has the smooth growl like his that’s so great for slide. That led me back to this little Gibson GA-5 Les Paul Jr. amp I picked up a few years ago. This amp is really scrappy. It breaks up really quickly and gets pretty nasty. I never really used it for recording because it gets kind of out of control pretty quickly. But with slide, it seems to work great. I’ve been practicing slide on it and it’s working out great.

So what’s the connection? Well, I already mentioned that I picked up the Joe Perry signature slide. When I bought this amp at the now defunct Rocker Guitars in San Francisco, the owner saw that I was interested in the amp. To “seal the deal” he told me that he just saw Joe Perry play through a GA-5 Les Paul Jr the night before while watching Emeril Live. That struck me as probably the strangest reference I had ever heard in a guitar store. I totally forgot he told me that for a long time until I started playing it again using my Joe Perry ceramic slide. There you go. BAM!

“All art is, is just stealing. And all love is, is just dealing.”

I’m writing songs again. It’s been good to dust off my chops, and to focus on songwriting. Of course this is perfectly timed with the beginning of the school year which means my time is even less mine. I always struggle this time of  year with my obligations and responsibilities. But perhaps I need that sort of situation to force me to value the time I do have to myself to work on things like songwriting? Probably.

I’m not thinking too hard about what I’ve been writing beyond the particular song. I don’t have any concept in mind although I’ve certainly toyed with a few ideas. One was to try and write a New Orleans style dance record. Another was to write several songs that The Love Boat band could have played back in the day. Neither of those ideas have stuck. Instead, I’m just writing to write, and that feels pretty good. Maybe after writing a few more, I’ll see what’s forming. Of course, now that I’m writing about what I’ve been writing here, I’m starting to think more about what I have, but I’m going to try and resist.

As a self-diagnosed workaholic, I used to put all my time and effort into my academic career. You wouldn’t necessarily associate what I do for work with being creative at first, but it used to be a very creative activity for me. I would work on thinking about new approaches to solve problems, novel methods of implementing these ideas, propose them to others to try to gain acceptance, and eventually convince others that my ideas were reasonable and useful. There’s also a deep set of aesthetic principles involved in developing new theories. It’s true. Some theories are prettier than others. I don’t really have the pepper in my step that I once had. Maybe that’s because I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve lost the buzz. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good life. I like thinking about what I think about. I’m still motivated to do it, and I think I have some interesting things going on, but it just doesn’t excite me like it used to.

Nowadays, I feel more compelled to focus my creative energy on songwriting. I’m still having my honeymoon with songwriting and making records. I’m excited by it and by seeing what I can do here. I want to see how far I can push myself. Have I ever written a good song? If so, could I write several good songs? What would that mean? What would I do with myself I were to establish that? There’s a healthy anxiety for me about these things. I’m motivated by that.

I realize that this post is rather ego-centric and introspective. You’re probably needing a picture of some sort. And it’s been a while since I’ve talked about food, so here’s a picture of some pork chops that I had for dinner last night at Wool Growers, a French Basque restaurant in Los Banos. Although I’ve lived in Merced for nearly ten years now, this was my first time here. Everything I’ve heard was true. It was a tremendous amount of very good food. Let it be known that when I have a cheat day, I make it count.

Pork chops (no applesauce, thank goodness) at Wool Growers.

If I have the good fortune to make another record, I’ve started envisioning it with less songs that my previous two (the first one has 13 and the second one has 14). Ten seems like an appropriate number. Since the release of Fifty Shades of Yellow, I’ve managed to write four fully-formed songs and some little bits here and there. If these were good songs that worked well together, that would be approximately 40% of a new record! Of course these sorts of numbers are arbitrary. Thinking about this sort of stuff is just a way for me to manage expectations until I have the next batch of songs.

I posted a video of me doing one of my new songs called “The Lesson” on YouTube. I was pretty hesitant to do it. I have been worried about self-promotion and getting a video presence out there, but now that I’ve done it, I don’t care that much. I guess it’s analogous to when I first started using facebook. I used to worry about who would see this or that. Now, I don’t care. It’s there. It might be embarrassing, but I find that after the initial shock, having it there helps me diffuse any embarrassment I had about it in the first place. Plus, I get to obsess over how many hits it has had!

Now about this post’s title. It’s a lyric from a song I wrote yesterday tentatively titled, “Shoulder the Pain.” I got the idea for this song from a magazine interview with Marc Maron that I read on a plane. I noted it as a memo on my phone. In the interview, he was saying some typical Maron stuff, but seeing it on the written page affected me differently. I was able to read it from a third-person perspective (rather than have him talk at me in his WTF podcast). From that perspective, I was able to distance myself from his words. I cannot articulate exactly what the difference was, but my reaction was “Wow. Really?” Anyway, he didn’t say “All art is, is just stealing. All love is, is just dealing.” I wrote that. In case you’re worried, I don’t believe that to be true. Well, I don’t believe that to be entirely true.

One and a half guitars

This past week was a busy one for me. I headed down to LA on Friday to celebrate my friends getting married. Just as I pulled into LA, I managed to stop by Old Style Guitars for a short visit. I saw a posting on facebook a while back of this Airline amp that just called to me. It was a bit expensive and I hadn’t been able to come down to try it down until this day. Well, I tried it out and it was amazing!

Meet my new Airline!

Meet my new Airline! Don’t be jealous M8. I still love you, too.

The tremelo (which is what I cared about most) was deep and thick. The surprise is the reverb. The spring is encased in this cardboard box and sounds crappy in the grooviest way. It’s like a slapback delay/reverb in that it has this harsh first reaction which then smooths out. If I can figure out how to play it right, I bet it will be super cool and give an unfamiliar nuance to a tone.

After trading a flurry of texts with Jason about the amp, I decided to get it. The key point is that I will never regret owning this amp. It’s true. I won’t. I’m going to enjoy learning how to use it. It’s the only amp of mine right now with 2 x 10″ speakers which I always thought was the right combo setup. I can already tell that they make a big difference. The low end feels great. The highs are clear without being too sparkly.

After making this profound purchase, I had a great time celebrating with my friends in downtown LA. The next morning, I went with some friends down to San Diego to surprise one of my oldest friends for his birthday. That was a great day and I was really happy that I could make it down for that.

After a relatively painless drive back from San Diego to LA, I then made the drive back to Merced. That was relatively painless. I listened to a really cool podcast interview with Johnny Marr which I found to be really insightful. Then I listened to another one with Allen Toussaint which was killer, especially since I’m spending a lot of time these days listening to old Lee Dorsey records.

The very next morning, I packed the car with two of my acoustics and set out for San Francisco. I got called by JJ at Decibelle for a session with Rachel Garlin. The band consisted of me on acoustic guitar, John-Paul McLean on bass, Rusty Miller on keys and electric guitar, and Michael Urbano on drums. Rachel played and sang on each song. It was pretty great band to play with. Everyone was really nice and supportive. Everyone but me ordered Hunan fish at lunch. I was the outcast.

To be honest, I didn’t know about Rachel or her music until this session. I had just received a few demos by email and that was my introduction to her. I like her songs a lot. The more time I have spent with them, the more I like them. Plus, getting to know her was also quite cool. She brought cuties and mambas to the session. Killer!

Tracking with Rachel Garlin at Decibelle. Rusty is in the back on the wurlitzer.

Rachel has a really earnest voice. She doesn’t sing in ALL CAPS. Her guitar playing is really good. She fingerpicks very well. In fact, her solid playing was the reason for the key challenge I faced in the session which I’ll talk about in just a minute. With respect to her songs, they are structured quite differently from how I structure songs. I had a hard time following some of her changes since they are moves I hadn’t made before. They’re subtle things: holding a chord a little longer here, changing it there, but if it’s out of your normal routine, it can really mess with your head. Working on this session has caused me to think about getting out of routines I have in my own songwriting. That’s definitely an enormous positive experience to come out of doing this session.

For each of the songs, Rachel played acoustic guitar and sang. Like I said before, she plays very well. For some of the songs, her acoustic guitar part is the foundation. So, for me, the key challenge in this session was figuring out what the heck to do. The question becomes, how do you play an acoustic guitar part that compliments a solid acoustic guitar foundation, but doesn’t add anything more to busy-up the song? For the recent Scott Gagner session I played, there were a couple of songs with a strong foundation of acoustic guitar that Scott played. For those songs, I was playing electric guitar, so I could mimic the kind of atmospheric parts that Bill Frisell did on Shawn Colvin’s last record, for example. I was rather pleased with myself about how those turned out. But for this session, I was playing acoustic guitar and those kinds of parts don’t work on acoustic. They sound trite, and don’t serve the songs. Anyway, I figured out some parts, and I think they came out okay. I must have played alright because Rachel asked me to come back and work on a few more songs with her. I gladly accepted since I was enjoying it and learning so much.

For the next sessions, it was just Rachel and me playing. I think it was the very first song we did where she Travis-picked while she sang. Her Travis-picking is rock solid, so this challenge became even more acute. With some anxiety and panic, I asked JJ and Rachel for advice on what to do. I think it was JJ who first said something like, “pick along with Rachel, but not as much” or something like that. After that, Rachel and I played along a bit together to try and work out parts. When we were listening to playbacks, Rachel and I kind of agreed that it sounded almost like one guitar, but a little bit more. That’s how Rachel and I coined the term “one and a half guitars” for the sound.

Travis-picking is based on an alternating bass line in quarter notes. With one and a half guitars, the idea is to play a sparse arpeggio of a different inversion of the chord in a time that weaves in and out of the alternating bass line. The nice thing about this is it can respond to and compliment the vocal melody naturally, which should set the rhythm of the part. Now, all of this technical speak is a posteriori based on my faulty memory of the situation. I wonder how well the tracks actually sound and how successful the approach worked. At any rate, I’m planning to spend some time trying to work out this approach to a guitar part since I think it could be really handy. So thanks to Rachel Garlin for inviting me to play on her records. I learned a lot and we managed to invent one and half guitars!

A gig and a review

I recently played a gig at The Partisan in Merced where I live and work. Except for a private party many moons ago which doesn’t really count anyway, this was the very first time I’ve played a gig in Merced. I had always been a bit apprehensive to play in town to keep my music and work personas separated. At this point, however, enough people at work know that I play music, so there’s not very much to protect and keep separated anymore.

I was grateful that many friends and co-workers came out for the show. I was also psyched that my friends, Los Bandidos Guapos, played a few songs to open. I thought they did a great job and I hope they’d be willing to do it again. It’s hard for me to know exactly how the gig went. I think it went well. I managed to sell a few CDs. I got some very nice compliments. A few people even danced a little. Still, when you’re up on a stage with lights in your face, you can’t really see anything going on except a few silhouettes here and there.

partisan

Blurry shot of me playing “Oops! I Did It Again”

I put together a few mashes of my songs with covers. I like to do that because I don’t have to remember so many words. As predicted, my mash of “A Final Plea To A New Prescription” with The Smiths’ “There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out” seemed to get the deepest response. Playing “Oops! I Did It Again” with “Vanish” worked well, too. I had finished the set I planned, but there was a bit of talk to play one more. I ended up playing “Just Like Heaven” since I had already broken the sad-seal with The Smiths.

All-in-all, I am glad to have finally played a gig in Merced. I think it was the right time and just the right event. If it works out that I can play again, I would.

In other news, I have been very slowly trying to push the new record around to get heard. I received a review of Fifty Shades of Yellow recently by Andrew Greenhalgh. I found it to be quite favorable, which makes me very happy. The review was very complimentary, especially toward Al’s organ and piano playing. For example, he says:

Whether he’s playing the organ or tinkling the ivories, Gamble delivers each and every time, providing nuanced textures to these tracks that would leave them feeling hollow and empty were that influence not there.

I couldn’t agree with him more. The album sounds the way it sounds because Jason and I arranged to have these guys in the room playing together. If I can possibly help it, I’ll never do it any other way again. I also liked the fact that he highlighted Chris Michael’s solo on “Unhinged, Unglued & Undone.” He’s not the first person to mention that particular song in the context of listening to the record.

In light of a previous post I had written, it was very interesting to read his comment about my singing:

…Kim has a great voice and knows how to use it. Never once here does he over-sing the lyric, rather keeping things in his wheelhouse and doing the best with what he’s got.

I would have felt a little silly talking a bit talk about how people in ALL-CAPS, but at least I’m safe for now.

I sent Jason the review as soon as I got it. He was pleased with it, too. I told him that I’m hoping to push a little more on getting some reviews. Jason was encouraging and told me, “This record has legs.” I think so, too. Well, I hope so, too.

Speaking of which, do any of my lovely readers/followers have any comments about the record? I would love to hear them. Also, if you are so inclined, I would really appreciate a review on iTunes or Amazon. Thanks!