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The CD is finished!
The new CD, Off Kilter, is finished and back from the duplicator. The official release will be at the Metamora Old Time Music Festival, where I will be playing at 5:00 PM on the Wagon Stage on Saturday, September, 4. Of course, if someone wants to buy one before then, I’ll be very happy to see that you get it.
This Celtic-themed CD has thirteen songs, including one self-penned song called “Going Back to Avalon”. I am very pleased with the final product and have already received some nice comments.
My daughter, AKA The Daughter Who Wishes to Remain Nameless, did the cover photography and literally put blood, sweat, and tears into the project. We live just a few hundred yards away from a picturesque gorge formed during the last major ice age. I thought it would be a good place for the cover shoot, so I put on my kilt and off we went. We went into a small woods and that’s when the bugs decided it was lunch time.
She had just begun taking the photos and the feast began. She was wearing shorts and was bitten so badly that her legs were bleeding. Sadly, I was so intent on getting the photos that I didn’t pay attention to her plight. By the time we left, The Daughter Who Wishes to Remain Nameless was more than a little upset, and rightly so. The bites were so bad that we eventually had to call the doctor for treatment. Strangely, I wasn’t bitten once.
Fortunately, the bites are now healing and she’s talking to me again. I haven’t figured out a way to ask her about doing the next photo shoot though. Maybe I should wait until the scars are gone.
Most of the CD’s I’ve acquired in the last few years have been purchased directly from the artists after seeing them perform. More often than not in the concerts I attend these days, both the headliner and the opening act are solo singer-songwriters. Often, these shows are the first time I’ve been exposed to the opening act’s music, and if I liked the music, I’ll pick up the CD. It makes me feel good to support up-and-coming musicians, and in these days when illegal downloads have become the norm rather than the exception, I like to do what I can to make sure the artist can continue to pursue his or her art.
The problem is that more often than not, when I get the CD home and listen to it, I find myself disappointed. The CD is almost always slick and overproduced, lacking the warmth and intimacy of the live performance. The human element seems to have disappeared and been replaced by all of the bells and whistles the modern recording studio can offer.
I have been hard at work recording a new CD, and I find myself guilty of the same crime. Well, rather than guilty, I plead temporary insanity. In the excitement of discovering what my equipment is capable of, I started putting together an elaborate production for the sake of showing off my so-called studio prowess. That would be great if I was Jim Steinman in the studio with Meatloaf working on the next epic rock opera, but I’m a folk singer. My best performances have been with just a guitar while sitting around a campfire with good friends. That is the feeling I want my CD to have.
With that in mind, I have deleted everything I have recorded so far. I’m starting over. This time, the music is basically being recorded live in the studio with me singing while playing acoustic guitar. I am adding a little bass and bodhran to fill out the songs, but the ultimate goal is to make it sound real. That is what good folk music should sound like.
The recording process should go much quicker and easier, which is good because my deadline is approaching quickly. I want to have this finished and back from the duplicator by Labor Day weekend. It would be nice to have the CD for sale at the Metamora Old Time Music Festival. (See how I couldn’t resist plugging the event?)
Big Labor Day News
This Labor Day weekend, I will be playing at the Metamora Old Time Music Festival in Metamora, Indiana. I will be on the Wagon Stage at 5:00 PM on Saturday, September 4th. Oh yeah, did I mention that the festival is free? I guarantee that my set alone will will be worth the price of admission. Metamora is about half way between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, Ohio.
I was in the audience at the festival last year and had a blast. This year, they’ve added a second stage and booked more acts, so come on out and listen to some great music. And me.
Be sure to check out the festival website at http://metamoramusic.pbworks.com
Information about Metamora can be found at http://www.metamoraindiana.com
New CD in Progress
Work has begun on my first CD. This will be a collection of traditional Celtic music with one or two original songs. I had also considered recording a couple of cover songs, but after giving it some thought, I decided that if I was going to pay royalties, I’d prefer to pay them to someone I have a connection to. With that in mind, I put the word out to the Dayton/Cincinnati Songwriters Workshop and the Just Plain Folks forums that I am looking for new, original Celtic-style music.
This has given me an entirely new perspective on the music industry. On some of the on-line forums, it’s common to hear songwriters complain that their material is as good or better than what is being cut by the major artists. I used to think this was just sour grapes, but that may not be the case. I have had to turn down some very well written songs.
Not all of the songs submitted were great. Some were quite bad. Others were good, but weren’t really Celtic. So far, I have placed three “on hold”. (Do I sound like an industry big wig now?) These I will record and see how they turn out and how they fit with the rest of the album.
The real surprise has been how many excellent songs I have had to turn down. Some were rejected because they were too similar to other songs I have already chosen or they just don’t fit with the theme of the album. A couple were turned down because I don’t think I could do them justice. I have more of a rough, folksy kind of voice, and I think those songs would work better with a smoother, more polished sound.
I’ve only had a dozen or so songs submitted and it has already been somewhat daunting. I can’t imagine what a major artist has to go through, wading through hundreds or thousands of songs, with hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on the line. The pressure must be overwhelming.
Fortunately for me, my project is on a much smaller scale, and no one’s career is on the line. My goal is simply to make something available that will put a smile on the face of whoever listens. I think I can pull that off!
Well, FAWM is over and while I didn’t meet my goal, I still count it as a success. FAWM, February Album Writing Month ( www.fawm.org ), encourages writers to write 14 songs during the month of February. I wrote four. All four were in different genres. Number one was “My Muse Done Left Me”, a blues tune about not being able to write a song. I broke a longstanding personal rule for song number two and did a love song, “Now ‘Til the End of Time”, the first love song I have written since I was in high school. It was composed and performed on piano. I ventured into rap for song number three, “My Life in Rap”. I actually came up with the melody and chords for song number four on the first day of FAWM. With just a couple of hours to go before the end of FAWM, I still didn’t have the lyrics but since the powers that be allow lyrics-only works to be counted, I went ahead an uploaded it with the working title of “Memories of You”.
I have particularly high hopes for that last song. The melody is catchy and it has a strong pop/folk feel. I did a very quick recording of the song with guitar, drums, and vocals singing “doo-doo-doos” in place of lyrics, and I find myself listening to it over and over. Call me naive, but this one could be a hit.
The hardest part of FAWM was trying to turn off my inner-editor. It should have been easy to come up with one song every other day, but I found myself abandoning ideas after only penning a few lines. They say that writing every day leads to improvement, which makes sense, but I feel that if a song can’t keep the writer’s interest, why should I expect it to capture a listener’s interest. It just seems like a waste of energy.
For March, I hope to finish “Memories of You”. The title will likely change. I also would like to write at least one song each week. My big emphasis for March will be to learn more about my multi-track recorder. I have a Boss BR-600 which is an amazing machine, but the learning curve is pretty high (and I have a degree in Broadcast Production Technology!) I also need to get to work on recording a CD, but that is really dependent upon learning the ins and outs of the equipment.
“Hey, we’re getting the blog back together!” – Kevin Edward Rose – The Blues Brother 2010 version
Wow. Has it really been seven months since I updated this? OK, I know it has, but I had a really good reason. I’ll let you know as soon as I think of it.
I will try to do this a little more often from now on, but only when I think I have something worth saying. I am going to make some changes to this site, but I will explain more as it happens. I probably will not continue the song of the week videos, but there will be more videos and songs added as time goes on.
So, here’s some of what has been going on with me. My wife Diane, the-daughter-who-wishes-to-remain-nameless, and I attended the Metamora Old Time Music Festival over the Labor day weekend. While there, Diane and I attended a dulcimer workshop led by Tom and Missy Strothers which led to Diane buying a dulcimer kit. We built the instrument in the next few days and both learned to play it. I have since picked up another dulcimer at a flea market for twenty bucks, so another instrument has been added to the collection.
I’ve mentioned before that I am a less-than prolific songwriter, so it is with a combination of trepidation and excitement that I will be participating at FAWM.org. “FAWM” stand for “February is Album Writing Month” and the goal is to write 14 songs in the 28 days of February. I’ve already asked the family to try to bear with me as I give it my best shot. Now I just need to install a pickup in my acoustic guitar to help facilitate the recording process so I can upload the songs for critique. I’ve had the pickup for over a year and have been too lazy to install it. I also need to get my music room/studio cleaned up so I have a comfortable environment to work in.
Speaking of the music room, I have a portion of the room taken up with a six-gallon carboy filled with an apple wine I am making. I used to make wine and even won a bronze medal for a black raspberry Merlot that I made about ten years ago. My plan now is to have at least one or two wines fermenting at all times.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and keep the lasagna flying!
Song of the Week – Whiskey in the Jar
This is one of the most popular Irish folk songs around. It has been recorded by the Dubliners, Thin Lizzy, Metallica, and many, many others.
I have played this song countless times, usually on bodhran and occasionally on guitar, but always backing someone else. In fact, other than supplying backup vocals on the chorus, I had never sung this song until about an hour before I recorded this. I even had to go online to double check some of the lyrics.
Song of the Week – Doe Eyes in the Headlights
(c) 2009 Kevin Edward Rose. All rights reserved.
This is not a typical Kevin Edward Rose song. I have to admit, I am a little hesitant to post it here. After all, if someone visits this site for the first time and knows nothing about me, this song is going to send a very strange message.
Over the years, I have tried to write “dark” songs, but they usually (and inadvertently) turn out humorous. In this case, I challenged myself to write the darkest song I could possibly write. I think I succeeded.
Ironically, I think this song has the most potential for commercial success of anything I have written. It would be perfect as part of a horror or slasher film soundtrack, or it could be used in a documentary or news program. I need to get busy and make a professional recording of this so I can get it in the right hands.
I presented this song at the Dayton N.S.A.I. (Nashville Songwriters Association, International) workshop a few months ago and was rewarded with a moment of complete silence after I finished. I looked at my audience and noticed several people just sitting there with their mouths open. The general consensus was that it was “creepy, but well written.” After the critique session, I offered to walk any of the females present to their cars, and believe it or not, no one took me up on it.
Song of the Week – Loch Lomond
(c) 2009 Kevin Edward Rose. All rights reserved.
First of all, I must apologize for not posting last week. I normally record these songs late at night or early in the morning on one of my evenings off from work, but last week I had to fill in for a sick employee on my recording night.
Anyway, now on to Loch Lomond. This is a not-so traditional arrangement of a traditional song. It is one of the better-known folk songs from Scotland, but most people have no idea what the song is about. So, we will now begin today’s history lesson.
After the failed Jacobite Rebellion, which was the attempt of the people of Scotland to gain their independence from England by placing Charles Stuart (AKA Bonnie Prince Charlie) on the throne of Scotland, the victorious English army was faced with a dilemma; What should they do with their Scottish prisoners? If they let all of the prisoners go free, there was nothing to stop them from further rebellion. If they executed all of the prisoners, they would be seen as cruel and unjust, again giving the Scots another reason to rebel.
The solution was to let some of the prisoners go free, thus showing mercy, and to execute the others, thus giving an incentive against further rebellion.
The song, “Loch Lomond”, is a conversation between two prisoners. One would be set free and would go home by taking the high road, which was the “normal” way: i.e.; riding a horse, hopping a boat, etc. The other prisoner faced execution and would be taking the low road, which was the path of the spirit.
Song of the Week – Ballad of a Middle Aged Punk Rocker
(c) 2001 Kevin Edward Rose. All rights reserved.
Years ago, I played in a punk band called Freddie Fetus and the Embryos. This song is true. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.
The subject of celebrity encounters came up on the Just Plain Folks forum, so I thought I would post a copy of my response here.
I had a good friend who was on the Indiana University concert board and then went on to work for Sunshine Promotions, which was THE concert promotion company in the Midwest back in the 80’s, so I got backstage for a couple of concerts. I got to meet a few artists, but they were mostly “Hi, nice to meet you, goodbye” type things, so I won’t count those.
Later I went to work for the Trinity Broadcasting Network where I met and worked with quite a few B-list celebrities like Gavin McLeod (Love Boat and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and Demond Wilson (Sanford and Son), as well as most of the big-name TV preachers. I even had breakfast one morning with Rosey Grier and Meadowlark Lemon.
I currently work at a hotel, where I have met a few celebs such as American Idol’s William Hung and Prince’s former protegee Denise Matthews (AKA Vanity), who is still one of the most attractive women I have ever laid eyes on.
There are three celebrity encounters that really stand out for me. The first was when I met Bob Euchre. My first job after college was working in the sales department of a small radio outlet in northeast Indiana. We were negotiating with the White Sox to carry their games, so the organization sent me to Chicago. I watched a game against the Milwaukee Brewers from Eddie Einhorn’s private box. (Glass enclosed, air-conditioned, with a private bar and bartender. Now THAT’s the way to watch a game.) Anyway, after the game, I got to go to the player’s lounge, where I sat at the bar with Brewer announcer Bob Euchre, who was regaling a small crowd with tales of his days as a player. He was probably the funniest person I ever had the pleasure of meeting.
The next big encounter occurred at a science fiction convention where I sat at a bar with Jonathon Harris, who played Dr. Zachary Smith on “Lost in Space.” He told me an incredibly funny story about helping Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak better English which ended with the very precisely enunciated phrase “… and the son-of-a b%#ch has never said ‘Thank you'”. I literally laughed until I cried.
The third, and most important encounter, occurred in 1993 or 1994 when Dr. Timothy Leary gave a presentation on “How to Operate Your Brain” at a local college. I attended the lecture and sat just a few rows from the stage. As he spoke, I remember thinking about what a good speaker he was, and how it felt like he was talking just to me. When the presentation was over, several people came up to me and asked if Dr. Leary knew me. I said no, and they all pointed out that he WAS talking directly to me.
I attended a meet & greet afterward, and when I when I finally got to actually meet him, Dr. Leary asked me to sit down and we had a very nice talk. He told me that he thought I was the only person in the auditorium who “got” his message. We talked about other authors and philosophers, and he treated me like I was an old friend.
Wow, I’ve never done so much name dropping in my life.
Song of the Week – Wild Mountain Thyme – Will You Go Lassie Go
[Using my best Jerry Seinfeld voice] A song about gathering herbs? What is up with that?
In the spring of the year, the Celtic folks in days of old would go out and scour the lands looking for flowers, herbs, and leafs that held certain magical properties. They would then take these items to a special place where they would fashion them into a pile or stuff them into a mattress, upon which they would, (how would I say this delicately?) ahem, perform fertility rituals of a most practical nature (wink).
I Need New Songs
I have been attending the N.S.A.I. (Nashville Songwriters Association International) workshop in Dayton, Ohio for about nine years. There are some incredibly talented writers there. In fact, I rarely attend when I don’t hear at least one or two songs that are far better than anything I hear on the radio. It’s a great community and everyone is very supportive of each other.
Sadly, during that period I have gone for extremely long periods without writing anything. It has been stressed that a songwriter should set a regular time for writing. I’ve tried it and the results have always seemed, well, mechanical and uninspired. I normally don’t let that bother me because I have always thought of myself as more of a folk singer and re interpreter of traditional Celtic music. However, at this time I am starting to feel a little frustrated. You see, I am getting ready to record a CD. I’ve thought about this for some time, and I always figured my first CD would be a collection of traditional songs. That was fine until last week when I dusted off an old song of mine, “Going Back to Avalon”, to use as my song of the week.
My daughter Caitlin one time asked me what was my favorite of all the songs I’ve written. I put on a serious face and said, “Asking a songwriter to pick the favorite of his songs is like asking a father to pick the favorite of his children…which of course would be your brother, Chris.” Of course, I really don’t have a favorite kid, but “Avalon” is my favorite song I’ve written so far.
Anyway, I’ve decided to include “Going Back to Avalon” on the CD, probably as the title cut. Having made that decision, I would like to include more original music as well as some new arrangements of the traditional stuff. Unfortunately, none of my other attempts at writing in that genre are close to being good enough. Therefore, I really have to make the time to sit down and write. I don’t hate to write. In fact, I love to write, but I do hate having to write.
I greatly admire songwriter Andy M. Stewart, who penned such songs as “Queen of Argyle” and “The Fisherman’s Lament”. Stewart was the singer for the Scots folk band Silly Wizard, and he possesses a rare talent. He can write a new song that sounds like it is hundreds of years old. When I make the attempt to write an “old” song, the result can best be described as “cheesy”. My plan for now is to take some time, inundate myself with some great old Celtic music, and see what I can come up with.
Song of the Week – Three Jolly Coachmen
Sometimes you know when you’ve raised your kids right.
My daughter Caitlin had just turned six when we bought our house. We had only been in the new house for a few days when she joined me on the porch swing as I was playing guitar. She said, “I don’t think I’m going to like it here.” I asked her why and she told me,” The kids around here don’t know anything about music. They’ve never heard of Three Jolly Coachmen!”
This is an old Celtic folk song. The first time I remember hearing it (well, part of it anyway) was in the old Jimmy Stewart movie “Take Her, She’s Mine”, where Sandra Dee can be heard singing the very last line of the song.
Happy Mother’s Day
I’m a little late with this week’s message. My youngest daughter had the audacity to celebrate her 16th birthday this week, and that HAS to take precedence. So, on to the blog…
There are two special mothers in my life. One is my wife, Diane, who gave birth to my three wonderful children. The two oldest, Chris and Michelle, are out of the house and on their own. I did not know Diane at the time of their births, but they are still my kids just as much as if I had been there at their inceptions.
I was present for the birth of our third child, Caitlin, who just celebrated the afore-mentioned birthday. Just from being there in the delivery room, I can most assuredly say that mothers deserve our love and respect. If fathers had to go through the birth process, the human race would have died out long ago.
Diane was a trooper through the whole process, right up to the point where she began to levitate six inches above the bed and her head began spinning around. I was doing my best to encourage her, as I was taught in the birthing classes. As I told her that she was doing great, and that things were almost over, she reached up, grabbed me by the surgical scrubs, and in a gravelly, almost demonic voice said, “DON’T BE SO #8% %@^=*% PATRONIZING!”
Things did eventually get better.
I was also present when my mother, Becky, gave birth to her only bouncing baby boy, but my memory of that event is somewhat less clear. ( I was very young at the time.)
Growing up, I never lacked for the necessities of life, and I certainly had quite a few luxuries as well, (although I never did get that minibike I wanted.) Most importantly, Mom taught me to know right from wrong.
If I am a good parent at all, it is because of the example my mother (and father) set for me. Any mistakes I’ve made as a parent, well, I don’t know where they came from. It sure wasn’t from my upbringing.
So, to my wife and to my mother, I love you both, and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
Song of the Week – Going Back to Avalon (Arthur’s Lament)
(c)2001 Kevin Edward Rose All rights reserved.
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the Medieval and Renaissance eras. I used to be involved in SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and I still attend Renaissance festivals whenever time and budget allow.
As a child, I particularly loved the heroic tales of Robin Hood and his Merry Men and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. My favorite adaptation of the Arthurian legends is the John Boorman film “Excalibur”, which was the inspiration for this song.
A Favorite Musical Memory
This subject came up in the Just Plain Folks forum, so I thought I would share it here as well.
In October of 2001, I attended the FARM Conference (Folk Alliance Midwest Region), held that year near Battle Creek, Michigan. At that time, they didn’t have showcase performances, but instead held what I believe was called the “Performance Alley”. As I recall, over two nights, 40 performers got to do one song on the auditorium stage, kind of like a big open mic, but with professional performers. As luck would have it, I ended up being the next-to-last performer, with the emcee going last.
As it was only a few weeks after the tragic events of 9/11, there were a lot of sad, navel-gazing type songs performed. There were also a few very memorable songs. One performer sang about a recent scientific invention that induced orgasms at a touch of a button. (Incidentally, this was true.) A young lady sang about about the time she spent in a park in Florence, Italy, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and being homesick. Another young woman sang about remembering how, when she was younger, she used to lay back, look at the stars, and ask herself all of the big questions in life.
My turn finally came. I stepped onto the stage and thanked all of my “opening acts.” (Laughs from the audience). I then began my patter and everything I said just seemed to work. I told the audience that… there are disadvantages to going on this late in the show. I had to throw out all of my planned material. I had to get rid of my orgasm induction song. Then, I also had a song about being at a park in Florence… OK, it was a parking lot at the K-mart in Florence, Kentucky, but still… Finally I too used to lay back and look at the stars and ask myself, “Where the hell’s the roof?” I got big laughs from the crowd and I began to play.
Right up until I was about to hit the opening chord, I had planned to do one of my own songs, “Upper Middle Class Blues.” However, at the very last second, I decided to do the old Scottish ballad, Wild Mountain Thyme. I began to sing and after a couple of bars, I realized that the entire audience was singing along. Remember, this was an audience of a couple of hundred folk music performers. Chills still run up and down my spine as I remember how it sounded. With the recent terror attacks on everyone’s mind, it was a very healing experience. To this day, I don’t remember consciously making the decision to play that song, but I am so glad that I let it happen.
Song of the Week – Upper Middle Class Blues
(c) 2001 Kevin Edward Rose. All rights reserved.
One night several years ago, my friends Paul McKenna and Steve Keefer and I were sitting on a deck playing guitars. Eventually we started playing the blues. As Paul was playing, something struck me as being a little off.
Besides being a good looking, outgoing guy with more musical talent than most of us can even aspire to, Paul is a successful architect and project manager with a beautiful wife (OK, we all three have beautiful wives, but that’s beside the point), a nice home, and two great kids. I had to ask myself, why was Paul playing the blues?
I wrote this song the next day.
A Little Background
Since this is a new blog and many people have no idea who I am, I should start with a little bit of my background.
Right now, I am one of the fortunate people in America. I have a job. While I am thankful for that, it does present problems. You see, I work on the third shift, and I work every weekend with only Sunday and Monday nights off. For someone wanting to become a full-time musician, this makes things difficult. In my area, Sundays and Mondays are not big nights for live entertainment.
As it stands, my only performance opportunities are presenting songs at the N.S.A.I. workshop I attend, and unfortunately, I am not a prolific songwriter. Some people write several songs a month. Heck, there are some writers who write several songs a day. I just don’t seem to be wired that way. I recently saw a television show where Elvis Costello interviewed Lou Reed, and both seemed amazed that there are people who can write that prolifically. If I recall correctly, Lou Reed said he has gone for years without writing, so I guess I’m in good company.
I have one bad habit I need to overcome. (OK, I probably have many bad habits, but I am only addressing one at this time.) I tend to dream about things rather than do them. I put all of my time and energy into researching new ideas, without actually putting the plans into effect.
I have had a lot of opportunities in my life that I didn’t take advantage of. After high school, I had the chance to go on the road with my cousin’s band, but I did the responsible thing and went to college. I formed a band in college and after graduation, I could have stayed with that band, but instead, I figured I would take a job in my field (broadcasting) and just get a little filler for my resume. Well, one radio job led to another, and I eventually ended up spending seventeen years working for a television network. Even during that time, I had the opportunity for better jobs elsewhere, but I always played it safe, staying in pretty much the same geographic area and not taking any chances. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know”, as they say.
I did eventually start playing again, doing the coffee house and bar scene. I even played at some festivals and conferences, but music was only a part-time thing. I wanted to be a full time musician, but I convinced myself that keeping my broadcast career was the responsible thing to do. Eventually, I grew to hate the company, but when that job finally came to an end, I so identified myself with the job that I was too depressed to try the music thing. Since I wasn’t bringing in money, I didn’t think I deserved to enjoy myself. To make a long story short (I’ll tell about my bounty hunting days in a future post), I ended up in my current job, working nights and weekends.
As I get older, (I know, I still look like I’m twenty nine, but I am actually a little older than that), I realize that I don’t have the time to sit around and dream about what could be. I have to make things happen. People who don’t take chances don’t make history.
For now, my plan is to use the Internet as my venue. I have started this blog where I will make music and videos available, and I will have more videos soon on You Tube. I will set up a page on Myspace and Facebook . I have already had some interest from a person who promotes virtual concerts in Second Life, a virtual world where my wife spends a lot of time. I am cautiously optimistic about this, and I will keep everyone up to date as I find out more.
Well, that’s it for now. I guess I need to figure out a regular schedule for new posts here. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and keep the lasagna flying!