Come to Me, Goo Goo Dolls, for String Quartet

January 30th, 2016

Over the summer I handled music for a friend’s wedding, arranging five songs for cello, banjo, and flute. Hey, you make do with the instrumentation available for these kinds of things! After the wedding, I took a bit of extra time to arrange for the more traditional and robust ensemble of the string quartet. You can view a one-page sample of the score below, and you can now purchase the arrangement on Sheet Music Direct »

A Life Elided Releases “Lear”

January 30th, 2016

ALE-album-artAbout a decade in the making, my long-term side project, A Life Elided, has released an official album. The 12-song debut, Lear, is the best of the 25+ songs written and recorded in between other projects since 2005. Some of the songs are so old that I no longer have the original recording files, which meant that wrapping up the release mostly consisted of adding parts as I could and remastering work. The age of some of the songs shows, but it felt great to finally put a bow on all of the effort in an official way!

Wedding Season

September 27th, 2015

… 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 »

{ELSE} Releases “Who WIll Cry”

March 20th, 2015

11034419_581041585366316_1258135275416596239_oAfter a ton of hard work which began all the way back in December of 2013, {ELSE} is releasing our debut album! It’s 8 songs long but still clocks in at 40 minutes and took probably hundreds of hours to finish. I laid down most of my guitar parts and recorded our bassist in December of 2013, and then things sort of stalled as our original singer quit and we hunted for a new one. During that hunt, I ended up recording ALL of the remaining guitar parts and added FX and mixed and mixed and re-mixed and mixed some more. Finally, in September of 2014 we had a new singer and new vocal parts so we recorded those. In February of this year, guitar tracks from our other guitarist and drums were finally added. I ended up going back and removing some of my guitar parts to add Nate’s in, and mixed drums for the first time in my life. There were TONS of mistakes and lessons learned along the way, including one frantic call to the CD pressing company to throw out a disc which had an error on it. We’re holding a CD release party tonight and I don’t think I’ve been more excited for many other things in my life, except maybe my wedding and the 1-year anniversary trip to Europe I have planned with my lovely wife!

Whiskey Doubles Releases Nightcap

February 26th, 2015

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.

Nightcap-for-CD-BabyLike 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!

Recording Pay the Devil

February 9th, 2015

Just two weeks after recording with Whiskey Doubles, and in between performing and writing new songs with {ELSE}, I took a Sunday to record my old chums, Pay the Devil. I used the same kind of set up that we used for Whiskey Doubles, running 4 Tascam instrument mics, a large diaphragm condenser for main vocals, and a few additional dynamic Shure SM58s for backup vocals and percussion. With a large semi-circle layout, we were able to achieve pretty clean and separated tracks and with some light mixing and processing, and the end result was fantastic!

The album, tentatively titled “North Avenue Free For All”, will contain about 19 songs and should be available on Spotify, iTunes, and of course in person in a few weeks!

{ELSE} Poster Design

December 20th, 2014

With {ELSE} booking more shows, I’m designing a lot more posters to try to reach the biggest audience possible. It’s good for me to have additional design projects as I don’t get many opportunities to flex those muscles. Per our brand and style, there’s a lot of black, white, and orange, as well as some grungy elements. Check out some of my favorites!

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Whiskey Doubles Christmas Music

December 14th, 2014

IMG_2620Whiskey 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.

Those Who Dig Roundup

December 1st, 2014

I’ve been in the groove of an album review every Thursday for a while now, and with the sporadic reviews I made earlier this year, I’ve now reviewed 16 albums for the website. It’s a great opportunity to hear some new music, exercise some critical thinking skills, and provide some good publicity for local and independent bands. There’s a lot of great music to be found, so read Those Who Dig’s album reviews »

I also take the time to write some longer pieces, like this write up comparing Pomplamoose’s and Direct Hit!’s articles about the financial realities of touring with your band. I really enjoy writing these and it reminds me a lot of writing papers in college. I usually begin with a disorganized swirl of thoughts and through organization and editing, find my theory, and then build around it. Read the result »

Sofar Sounds

July 15th, 2014

Last Friday I had the privilege of being a part of Milwaukee’s first installment of Sofar Sounds, a series of guerrilla living-room concerts held in just about every major city you an think of. The series began in London and is now in cites all over the US and Europe. Due to our experience shooting Dig Sessions, Ivan and I were brought on to record the bands. 4 Wisconsin bands played to a packed crowd in an East Side flat and what proved to be a truly incredible evening. It even wrapped up early enough for me to finally catch my first The Fatty Acids show! I know there are more Sofar shows on the way already and I’m greatly looking forward to them even though, by definition of the series, I have no idea who is playing!