Posts Tagged ‘cello’
Milwaukee’s favorite “shanty-grass” ensemble, the gruff and lovable, Pay the Devil, released their sophomore album, “To Hell Luck” last night at the Walker’s Point Music Hall. Though I don’t play with the group regularly anymore, I actually did contribute bass to all but one track, and played cello on three others.
The band recorded all of their parts at banjo-Ivan’s house (yes, there are two Ivans in the band, one on banjo, one on guitar), usually in a group setting with the vocals added later. I then rented a stand-up bass to lay down the bass tracks in my home studio, where I also recorded the cello parts. Harmonica was layered in all the way from Erie, Pennsylvania, performed by banjo-Ivan’s dad. Once everything was recorded and mixed by Ivan, he headed into my home studio where we sat down to a night of mastering and Thai food. It was a long but enjoyable and collaborative process.
A particularly collaborative song is “Buffalo Bill”, written by a friend of the band, Lucas Riddle. Banjo-Ivan plays guitar and performs lead vocals, I play cello, Ivan’s dad added harmonica, and the band’s new bassist, Jacqueline, provided backup vocals. The track turned out fantastic despite none of the performers actually sitting down to play the tune together!
MKE-based rock band, Eponymous, just released their second full-length album, Sea of Tranquility, featuring myself on cello on two tracks!
The first song, “So They Say“, features some cello throughout, has an aggressive bridge breakdown where I added some wild cello parts, and ends with a small passage featuring two cello voices.
The second, “Extortion“, also features cello throughout, slowly building, and rising to a counter-melody in the last refrain.
Make sure to give a listen to the whole album on Spotify!
… is over. This year, Ellie and I attended and performed in three weddings. Each wedding had a different ensemble and type of music, and for each, we had to arrange the music. It was fun and I know it’s a greatly appreciated contribution, but it did sideline much other composing, arranging, and practicing. Read the rest of this entry »
My folkestra (folk orchestra) band, Whiskey Doubles, just released our second E.P. The 9-song Nightcap shows off the matured natured of the band as all of the songs were written specifically for this quartet. Our previous album, Honey Creek EP, by contrast, featured a few songs originally written for the now-defunct Of the North. Another change in this CD is that all parts were recorded simultaneously in a makeshift studio, as opposed to the individual track approach of our previous recording. I think we achieved a much improved sound through both the new songwriting and recording approaches, and couldn’t be more proud of the album.
Like Honey Creek EP, Nightcap features a variety of instrumentation. Because the tunes were recorded live, I do not do as much instrument doubling as have done before, but still alternate between cello, various percussion (spoons, snare, open snare, bass drum) and vocals. Other instruments in the recording include our signature folkestra blend of flute and clarinet, harmonium, guitar, banjolele, baritone ukulele, and the new addition of harmonica.
Nightcap is available on iTunes, can be streamed on Spotify, and we will have physical copies to sell at all of our shows!
Whiskey Doubles recorded two holiday tunes yesterday, all in a span of about 45 minutes. We used my new Focusrite 18i20 to record 6 simultaneous channels in my living room. I spent about an hour mixing each song, designed a quick cover photo for it, and we published less than 24 hours after recording! This is definitely how we’re recording our next effort.
Whiskey Doubles debut effort, Honey Creek EP, is now available on iTunes and Spotify! We recorded, mixed, and mastered everything ourselves and are incredibly proud of it.
Buy Honey Creek EP on iTunes »
After playing in the 6-pieces folk outfit, Of the North, for the last year and a half, the band is disbanding. I joined a band at a time when they were getting a bit bored with their material and added my cello to help change things up. As Nate, the bandleader and songwriter, started working on new material, it started to head down a pretty different path than the previous material. The new material is smaller and more intimate, and works better with a smaller, more melodic ensemble. Therefore, the band is reforming as Whiskey Doubles, keeping Nate as the singer/songwriter, me on cello and percussion, Nate’s wife Kristen continuing backup vocals, ukulele, and percussion, and adding my wife, Ellie, on banjolele, vocals, flute, and percussion. Kristen will also bring out her clarinet for the first time with the group, so we are expecting a lot of small chamber orchestra instrumentation.
We’re practicing hard, working on recording, and have already begun setting up a website. Read more about Whiskey Doubles on our website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates!
Pay the Devil made an appearance on MSOE‘s radio station, WMSE, on Friday morning to promote this last week’s show with Of the North. I had already taken the day off of work to get some Christmas shopping and other errands done, so it was great to throw in an extra trip to be on the air. We did some interviews, played 3 songs, talked about the show, and then at the end an Of the North original was played on the air.
Listen to the archive recording (12-13-13), starting at the 52 minute mark »
This last weekend I acted as music supervisor, recording engineer, composer, and performer for a film entered into the 48 Hour Film Fest. The genre we drew was Western so I partnered with my friends in Pay the Devil and Of the North, using some originals from each band as well as new music written for the short film. The writing and recording was a blast and everything turned out well. I’m incredibly proud of how the music integrates into the film, and I really think the film crew, writers, actors, directors, did an amazing job.
The film, “Tooth and Nail” premieres this Thursday at the Oriental Theater at 7 pm. You can see it and the rest of the entries for $10.
There are three new Of the North videos after our last gig, which was March 14th at the Up and Under on Brady St. Oh, and there are two bonus videos of the Echelon String Quartet performing some of my arrangements as they opened up for us! We had the full 7-piece band, now including Tyson on additional percussion, and we even closed the show with two Of the North songs that I arranged to include quartet. Read the rest of this entry »