Listen With Monger is a blog by Roland Monger from West Country, United Kingdom. If you are looking for new music, I definitely recommend checking this out! He’s got really great taste in his selection and he pulls in a lot of knowledge about bands and songs to present music from a cool new angle. Basically, he know his stuff and he knows it well.
Annnd he reviewed Confluence of Anomalies!! So yeah, we are officially big Listen With Monger fans 🙂
So many artists came together to rock Motown songs Thursday night at The Bitter End! The Leave a Lasting Mark event raised over $1900 for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and was sponsored by Noble Steed Music and Funkadelic Studios.
The ladies of the night really made this event special for me. With so many beautiful and talented female musicians there was definitely some strong girl power in the air! Performing covers of Motown’s girl groups, like the Marvelettes and the Supremes, you gotta bring the GP!
Here are some shots from the practice the night before the show. I want to introduce you to some of these lovely ladies and their music!
From left to right
– Amy Rivard Singer/Songwriter, she has performed on Broadway and in over 30 countries with shows like Celtic Woman, Riverdance and The Roy Orbison Story.
– Ebonee Reigne New York based singer and model with a voice that dazzled everyone at the show!
– Jenn Summers Singer-songwriter with the indie record label Noble Steed Music, she brings a feel good beach vibe with her upbeat songs and has a cd release show coming up 6/18 at Rockwood Music Hall.
– Jenni Alpert Pop songstress with haunting, powerful, and sultry voice. She has independently performed in over 14 countries and her music has been featured on many major Network Television shows.
– Kate Steinberg She is a composer, performer, songwriter, session singer, music supervisor, vocal and piano instructor, musical theater enthusiast, and multi-instrumentalist based out of New York.
– and who is that last weirdo all the way on the right?? hehe 🙂
Now above we have Jonatha Brooke here on the right. She has been writing songs, making records and touring since her early days in Boston with her band The Story on Elektra Records. She currently has three musicals in development: Quadroon, with legendary jazz pianist Joe Sample; Hopper, and Death and Venice, both with playwright Anton Dudley.
And on the left is Michele Zayla, an amazing vocalist who has performed with Pink Floyd cover band The Machine. Her vocals will mesmerize you, whatever ‘it’ is, she’s got it!
I didn’t get photos of them, but Wendy LaManque is another talented vocalist who nailed her Supremes cover. And Annie Halo rocked the bass! She is also a sound engineer based in New York.
(PS: to all the guys, you rocked too!)
Now how could I not have an awesome night in the presence of all this talent?! I’m looking forward to the upcoming Leave a Lasting Mark events. There will be a Motown encore in Central Park on July 10th and back to The Bitter End on August 11th!
About three years ago, one of my favorite places to go to see live music in Ithaca was Castaways. It was a large enough space to accommodate big bands, but at the same time small enough that it never felt empty no matter how small the crowd. I think it might have been the big stage, low ceilings, and lay out including the bar and pool tables opposite the large dance area. It was notorious for being run down, but I liked that about it.
When the venue closed a few years ago, it was a huge loss to the local music scene. Sure, other venues gained new shows, but in my opinion, nothing could quite replace the feeling of seeing live music at Castaways!
Now, the same building is under new ownership, and has just opened as The Dock. With a completely new look and atmosphere, The Dock is beginning to book live music and guess who will be playing there at the of this month.. 🙂
With Halloween just around the corner, it is a fun time to think about characters!
Sometimes lyrics can reflect our deepest most personal thoughts and experiences. While I love to draw from my own memories to construct a song, it is equally rewarding, and sometimes even more fun, to put myself in the mind of someone else! Whether a dear friend, an acquaintance, a certain stereotype, or a made up character, playing a role can make for a great song!
Actors go to great lengths to get into a character. Tom Cruise apparently dressed up as a Fed Ex delivery man to sneak through a crowd without getting noticed, just as an assassin would, in preparation for his role villain role in Collateral. Actors might completely change their lifestyles and take on new hobbies for a short period of time while preparing for a difficult role.
For songwriting though, I say sitting quietly and thinking about the character you want to represent is more than enough. Perhaps with a glass of alcohol or some nice warm tea. Decide what and who your story is about.
Who: Depending on if they are strong or frail or troubled or content, etc, completely changes the perception of the experience. Think of someone, anyone, and channel the little nuances that make them so unique. Do they have a short temper? Unreasonable expectations? Unyielding patience?
What: Sit quietly and try to imagine something that you might not have exactly experienced before; a place, certain gains or losses, heartbreaks, historical events like the great depression or the infamous potato famine, a struggle with sexuality, a good day, a bad day, whatever you want to dive into.
Explore yourself! Then let the music and lyrics evolve 🙂
Right now I am imagining being on a beautiful island in Thailand, the song is very sunny!
Porchfest is a neighborhood festival where bands use porches as stages. It takes place each year in September for a full day of music and dance through the streets of Ithaca’s fall creek neighborhood. This year, over 100 bands spread out on porches across the neighborhood and rocked out as audiences walked, biked, and danced up and down the streets and sidewalks. From classical to roots rock to country to pop to reggae to punk rock and from Appalachian to Brazilian to Irish to Swedish to Zimbabwean, porchfest celebrates all types of music.
We played on a particularly special porch. It was the house that we first lived in together when I moved to Ithaca and the house that we started playing music in together! Coincidentally, at the very time that we moved out, one of our friends moved in. So, when Porchfest rolled around, our friend was kind enough to open the porch up to our music.
The weather was sunny and cool, our friends filled the street in front of the porch, and we blasted our tunes through three little amps. Porchfest is something I look forward every year as the summer ends. It is a sign of fall, a chance to share our music with new listeners, meet new people, discover new bands, and play on a porch! Who doesn’t want to rock out on a porch?!
‘Front Desk Runaway’ is one of those songs that Diwas and I have been omitting from our set list. For some reason, something about it just didn’t sit well but we couldn’t pin point exactly what was wrong. So, we decided to avoid this song at our live shows, at least until we would have time to plop ourselves down and give it a good working out. As many of you songwriters know, some songs just don’t quite make the cut. We thought Front Desk Runaway would be one of our ‘close but no cigar’ songs.
Anyway, I’m not sure why we added it to our set last month at the Elephants for Autism Festival. We hadn’t changed anything since I first wrote it back in February, but I guess we both just missed it!
Turns out, we had a lot of fun playing it! So much fun that the song even creeped onto another set list, last Sunday’s show. Not to duplicate content, (I already posted the Front Desk Runaway from Elephants for Autism Festival), but here is a live video of the same song from our Chapter House show last Sunday. This neglected song just needs a little TLC!
Any other musicians out there with their own ‘close but no cigar’ songs??? Lets work on these babies!
So genius could strike at any moment, or a light bulb can suddenly flash on in your head, but don’t just wait for the ideas to come. Seek out inspiration, listen to everything around you, be a sponge and soak it all in! Sometimes inspiration can come from the funniest things. Like at work in meetings, on the bus talking to a stranger, waiting in line at the grocery store, the list goes on and on. I love it when my friends use silly expressions and cheesy metaphors because it gets my mind spinning with words. Be a sponge all day long and you’ll fall in love with the littlest things! 🙂
Since diving into music making I’ve also become a bigger music fan. This could be indicated by the correlation between the decrease of netflix movies and increase of musician/producer interviews watched on my computer. (trying to keep my math skills fresh here!)
I enjoy watching interviews of my favorite artists explaining their creative processes behind songs and albums and I wanted to write a ‘Top 5 List’ type of blog entry to summarize the key writing methods I’ve observed or practiced.
The thing is, my list of 5 kind of ended up at something around 20! Can you really sum up such a dynamic and creative process in only 5 key points? I concluded that each lyric writing technique deserved to be its own entry 🙂 So here is the first tip:
Accept the ideas that hit you!
My husband will sometimes jump out of bed when we’re falling asleep, grab his guitar and the i-touch I got him for Christmas, and fumble around the room in the dark exclaiming “I’ve gotta record this idea before I forget it!” I used to laugh at him when this happened, but now that I’m working on music, I find myself doing the same thing…
Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, explores this phenomenon in her 2009 TED talk, ‘Your Elusive Creative Genius.’ Is it some kind of genius that strikes us with noteworthy ideas when we are least expecting them? Well not exactly genius the way we define it today, but more like an ancient version of the word. Gilbert explains how the ancient Romans identified a genius as a divine spirit that mysteriously provided artists with rich content and inspiration. Instead of the artist embodying the genius, something that Gilbert believes puts unnecessary pressure on artists today, the Romans envisioned a separation of the artist and the mysterious creative spirit.
For anyone interested in watching Gilbert’s talk, here is a link:
Now I had watched this talk for the first time about a year ago, and one thing I took from it was to be prepared. Be prepared for your ideas to hit you at anytime! Be it pen and paper, or cool trendy smart phone, grab them and record them when they strike! Capture them before they vanish back into the mysterious world they came from, whether its a genius spirit or the intricacies of your subconscious 🙂