A Flurry of Notes – May 2 2019

mervin Uncategorized Leave a Comment


In this week’s edition: A Red Lion Showcase, the Joy Of Studio, some Advice for keeping things interesting, and a F(ourp)eat Of Strength.


Tonight (Thursday 5/2) we present a Showcase at Red Lion featuring performances by Allman Brothers Band tribute THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER (Lou Clark, Joe Fortine, Jeff Hennefeld, Ed Howe, Jim Jeffery, Dave Kaminsky, David Kra, Jeff Schneider), a Bluesy set from TWO NICKEL GUN, Eric Clapton tribute SLOWHAND, Beatles and more from NO MERSEY, and Rolling Stones clones THE ROLLING BONES (catch Ed Howe playing in the first four bands – that’s gotta be some kinda record). Admission is FREE for Premium Jam members (as always), and $10 for everyone else. Those under 21 are welcome up until 10 pm. The Kitchen’s open until Midnight. Live music continues until 4 am.


Good shows/recordings keep your attention by moving it around – players and sounds popping in and out of the mix, retreating and coming to the forefront, accenting and supporting different parts of the music. Here’s one I didn’t even realize we were doing until someone pointed it out: another guitarist I play with naturally favors accenting the “1”, while I tend to accent the “2” – a simple but effective move that adds variety and pulls focus from one side of the stage to the other. This is just one more of the many ways to make a band more DYNAMIC – and more interesting to see and hear.


Every musician should try recording in the studio at least once in their life – I find it to be a BLAST: fun, educational, creative, rewarding. It also is a perfect reflection of how accurately and evenly you’re hitting your notes and marks (in my case: noticeably better than a year ago, but not quite as smooth as I thought (or as I’d like). Best of all is that you leave with a touchstone that you can cherish, share, and reminisce about for the rest of your life – THIS is where I was, what I was doing, and who I was. You might even be able to prove to your great grandchildren that you were young and cool at one point.

The tools in the modern digital audio workstation (DAW – Logic Pro and ProTools being the big guns) are AMAZING – accomplishing things that were impossible in the old days – or even a few years ago. Along with staggering amounts of virtual instruments, amps, and microphones, there are thousands of third party “plugins” that replicate the functions of traditional outboard gear (EQ, reverb, compression, effects) as well as do things that were previously unimaginable. One of my new faves creates reverb by letting you place 3 virtual microphones (of the type you choose) at three different distances and locations from your virtual amp, in a virtual room – then adjust each one for tone and level. Almost every legendary expensive piece of gear is available in plugin form, lovingly re-created in aesthetic, function and sound – and new ones are being dreamed up constantly (I asked: is there anything that can make my note spin around the room, slowly at first, then speeding up? There IS.

We can now easily edit in ways our predecessors couldn’t imagine – moving notes or phrases by milliseconds, stretching and squeezing them, removing noise, adjusting vocal pitch, vibrato, and drift. Creating variety by introducing virtual instruments or switching “amps” or tonality is a snap. In the studio, the answer to the question “can we maybe…?” is almost always “yes.” Finding the solution to a problem and improving your recording is very satisfying. Doing that hundreds or thousands of times is VERY satisfying.

So what could YOU do in the studio? Record a version of a favorite song – the way YOU’VE always wanted to do it. Edit, Mix, and Master a live multitrack recording. Make remixes of songs by re-ordering sections, splicing in YouTube recordings (instrumental bits, mashups, etc.), adding instruments. Sing to (widely-available) karaoke tracks, removing whichever elements you don’t like, adding those you do. If you’ve never built something in the studio, you’re missing out on a wonderful way to make music.


Thursday (5/2) Showcase at Red Lion (see ENTERTAINMENT, above).

Saturday (4/6): Saturday Jam with Arnold Vargas, from 3 to 6 pm. Open to everyone. We’ve got drums, keys, guitars, basses, amps, cables, percussion, mics – and a Facilitator to make sure we stay on the rails (more or less). $20 for Jam Members, $35 for non-members.


“Don’t play everything (or everytime) – let some things go by.”

-Thelonious Monk

Live Like A Warrior.

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