Here's the latest on my musical adventures, and some thoughts about what's ahead!
This week saw the initial digital release of my second album, Missing Anchor. You can get it here:
Nine songs, adding up to about thirty minutes, of new music, finally, ready to share with the world! From my point of view, I think it's leaps and bounds beyond my first album, Follow the River Bend, that came out last year. My first effort followed the typical pattern found across the world of folk...where the "first" album is largely a solo affair -- but this new one offers a much bigger sound. Easily half of the album sounds like a rock album although it is firmly grounded in folk traditions lyrically.
I recorded Missing Anchor throughout the summer of 2012 at Handwritten Recording in Chicago under the direction of engineer and studio owner Rick Riggs. Instead of playing every instrument myself, as I did in Follow the River Bend, I got wise and recruited a small team of very accomplished and capable Chicago musicians: Andrew Sole on drums, Christopher Elam on guitar and bass, David Keller on cello, Shelley Miller on vocals, and of course yours truly on lead vocals, guitar, ukulele, organ and piano. My family was monumentally supportive and I couldn't have done it without their help: Kirsten, Luke and Hercules should be on the front cover of the album above my name!
Wrapping it up, getting it back from Carl Saff (who mastered it), and saying, yes, it's done, was such a relief a week ago. I had hoped to take it with me on CD down to the Folk Alliance Midwest Region gathering in St. Louis, but one thing then another got in the way of that happening, but finally, this week, it's ready for the world and online.
More about the album...I devote about half of the album to things of interest outside of my inner life, and so far that seems to have been a good way to go in terms of promoting it and having some familiar ground with the audience (I have songs in Missing Anchor about Trayvon Martin, Abraham Lincoln, off-short money sheltering and Occupy Wall Street). And the rest of the songs that are more personal in nature I've tried to give a positive twist even in blue moments. I believe that optimism and having a positive attitude even in the most difficult of circumstances is the only way to face the challenges in the world. To me, that's what courage is about.
In the end, producing the album, writing the songs, getting in the studio, rehearsing, inventing and innovating at every turn, was the ultimate reward for completing Missing Anchor. I'm excited to get the word out and get people interested in my music of course (side note: Chicago musician Kyle Greer did a piano arrangement of one of the songs from Missing Anchor and you can get a hold of it when you get the album from the link above!), but the only thing I banked on was knowing that I would have something to be proud of at the end of the day.
Looking forward, of course I will promote the album and make sure it gets as many ears as I can find. What I'm most excited about it taking everything I learned on this journey and making my third album even one step higher! (yes I said third album!) As I take a breath and recuperate a bit at the end of 2012, I'm looking forward to playing even more shows and festivals in 2013, and spending some time learning how to be a better performer (taking my guitar and vocals to the next level).
Thanks as always for your time, and please say hello!