The Journey

Entry 12 - They're not done yet?! 

I know, I know. Remember when I said recording is like moving? I forgot to add it's like moving from a house you've lived in your whole life and you've kept all of the momentos and gadgets you've acquired over the years! Geeze Louise!!! While we're making progress, it's like pouring molasses in the winter. However, including Time For Letting Go, I'll have 4 tunes done within a week or two, with 3 more coming along. So a 7-song EP just in time for Christmas is within reach.

In the meantime, I'm working on writing cues for TV and commercials. In case you're wondering what a 'cue' is, one application is that little piece of music that you would here between scenes of your favorite reality show. My guilty pleasure is the home reno shows. I don't own a home. I'm absolutely, hopeless with power tools, measuring, visual design blah de blah de blah. So I'm always impressed when they transform some of these time capsule homes into modern/showroom homes. Alas, I digress. The music that you hear on those types of shows are called cues. You may not notice them, but they play an important role in setting the mood, and helping to transition from one segment to the next. It's a lot like playing the lottery. You write something, produce it, send it in and cross your fingers.It's very much about servicing the needs of a show, and being in the right place at the right time.  At least that's the impression I get from what I've read and seen from people talking about the process. I'm learning to produce these cues on my own, so I doubt the first ones that I do won't be very good. But it's another skill, and like everything else, it will take practice. Wish me luck.

P.S. I'm also playing the lottery, which would render this all moot, but we all know what the odds of that happening are.

www.nigelbarnesmusic.com

 

Entry 11 - New bandmates for The Puppy Sale? 

Hi everyone,

As completed music draws ever closer, (more on that later) I am concurrently assembling musicians to play the stuff, but I also think I will play some solo shows. I'd like to kick it off with a band... or a bang. I haven't booked a venue, since we haven't even had our first rehearsal yet. I didn't want to jump the gun. So far, in addition to the stalwart Gloria Hall - vocals, drummer Ambrose Pottie, bassist Nate Ploasis, and keyboardist Rob Murphy. They have all been very positive about my tunes, so I"m really looking forward to see how they approach them. I hope we can put something together for the first week of November. Fingers crossed. Here's a picture of my friends old cover band Karneval left to right: Jamie Habkirk - drums, Kevin Treffinger - lead guitar, Gloria Hall - vocals, Shawn Sage - Bass/vocals, moi - rhythm guitar/vocals, Stephen Douglas - keyboards/vocals. Good times!!

www.nigelbarnesmusic.com

Entry 9 - The tedious stuff 

Ok, recording is coming along. I'm writing a few new tunes. In the picture; Gord from Oak Recording Studio, and my dear friend Gloria Hall, who added her dulcet tones to the track. I'll have some product soon. Now I just have to find an audience. Where could they be? Who could they be? Well, there's my family and friends.. That's a tidy 20 or 30 people! Yes, this is where the real work is. Welcome to the glamour of the present day rock'n'roll life. I've been compiling a list of university campus radio stations/shows that might be interested in playing my stuff. Granted, it's not may favorite thing to do, so I haven't been very disciplined about doing it. That has to change. Also, I have continue to invite people to visit the website and join the mailing list through Facebook and LinkedIn. More discipline. Then I have to write this blog, and publish it to Twitter and Facebook. I don't have many followers on Twitter, so this has dubious benefits at this stage, but it doesn't take much effort, so why not. If you're reading this, please follow me on Twitter, if for no other reason than to boost my self-esteem. I'll try not to fall into the trap of measuring my self-worth by the number of followers I have, but it does provide some level of validation. Anyhoo, back to work. :)

www.nigelbarnesmusic.com

Entry 7 - Beaches Jazz Fest. Workshop 

I got the opportunity to go to a workshop at the Beaches Jazz Festival featuring the wonderful Laila Bialli this summer. Talk about talent! This woman has an area 51 warehouse full of it. (area 51 is where they keep all the UFOs ... or where they were developing the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft (spy plane) no UFO's) Anyway, she is an outstanding Canadian jazz pianist, vocalist, songwriter, has sung with the likes of Sting, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega and Chris Botti. During here interview with Bill Evans, she said she hasn't spent enough time on her piano playing.  She thinks it has been relegated to support of her wonderful voice, a voice that almost went unheard. People told her she couldn't sing and should stick to piano. Needless to say, no one says that to her now. After her performance, she talked about her career, the ups and downs, and some of the fortunate breaks she's gotten along the way. (e.g. singing for Sting and Paula Cole) It was also interesting to hear about the struggles and bouts of depression. But she keeps going. "It's a labour of love." she said several times. I suppose I could take that one of two ways; persevere and things will work out eventually, or "success" is an illusion, and you only recognize it when looking back on a long career. You just have to celebrate the successes along the way, and pick yourself up from the failures. I'm not sure how it will go for me, but I'll give it my best shot and we'll see how it goes.

www.nigelbarnesmusic.com

Entry 6 - Mitch Magic 

I resisted the urge to entitle the post Magic Mitch, but clearly I don't have enough restraint not to point out that I resisted it. It's kind of like water resistant boots. They'll resist the water, but eventually, they give in. Perhaps some context is in order. I'm working with another brilliant artist/producer named Mitch Girio. Check out his website http://mitchgirio.com. Mitch and I are working on 3 more tunes that should be out in the fall some time. Mitch is the type of producer that artists like to work with because he does what the music requires. He also understands what artists require and does his best to give that to them. We're a neurotic bunch, so I'm sure that's more difficult with some than with others. (I can speak for myself only of course) I'm sure there a some artists that are completely balanced, well adjusted human beings. Anyway, tracking is going very well, and Mitch is a wizard behind the console. He just knows how to get good sounds. There's a saying... something about a silk purse and a sow's ear, but he actually can... Anyway, you get the point, if not, that's what the Google machine is for. I'll be posting links to the tracks as they become available.

Entry 8b - Supplimentary Post: Should I get a dog? 

My sister Yvette, who has two adorable Yorkshire Terriers named Mama and Jake, sent me a picture of this little guy:

His name: Nigel.

I know it sounds like serendipity. Believe me I WAS tempted. Look at that face, with his one ear up and the other one down! Honestly! How would I ever get anything done? However, this does illustrate the principle of The Puppy Sale. For those of you that may not be familiar with this concept... my friend Ellen suggested that this term may not be as widely known as I thought.:

The puppy close, or puppy sale, is when a sales person offers you a "try and buy". If you don't like it, you can bring it back for a fully refund, no questions asked. Now, imagine that what you're "trying" is this puppy. Add to that, perhaps you have a child that has been begging you for a puppy for some time. I don't, but I think this is a common scenario. What are the chances that this little guy is going back to the store? I'm thinking slim to none, and slim left town.Certain people in my life were advocating for me to adopt Nigel. In addition to the name confusion.. i.e. I would think people were talking to me, when they were actually talking the puppy, and vice versa, he would be a irresistible distraction. Fortunately, the decision was taken out of my hands as Nigel had already been adopted, and was just waiting until he is strong enough to leave his mother. Whew!! Needless to say, I'll stay clear of animal shelters, and pet stores... for now.

www.nigelbarnesmusic.com

Entry 5 - Oak Recording 

Scheduling problems not withstanding, I love working with Gord Richards at Oak Recording Studio. He's a real pro and his energy and enthusiasm keep my spirits up when I tend to get down on myself. I can't wait to release the track we're working on... but as always, terrified too. (insert nervous laughter) We just finished the vocals, then Gord will mix and master it for me. It may even be done at the time of this post. It will be available from my website. I have to look into getting the songs on streaming services too. (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music, etc) So much to do, so little me.

www.nigelbarnesmusic.com

Entry 8 - Hydrogen Powered Vehicles 

Okay, this has nothing to do with music, but I think it's worth talking about. I'm sure most of us are concerned about the environment and our dependence on fossil fuels. One of the biggest challenges to reducing our carbon footprint is transportation. To that end, we enter the electric vehicle era. The electric vehicle market has two options; Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen powered vehicles or fuel cell  electric vehicle (FCEV).  While BEVs are becoming more and more popular, and the price has been coming down steadily making them more affordable, (not to me necessarily, but to more people). There are some inherent problems with this technology. Range and charge time, are the big ones from a consumer perspective, but also Li battery production and its dependence on Cobalt is another issue. While the other choice, FCEV, sounds very exciting, currently, the costs of production are prohibitively expensive, due to things like the reliance on Platinum and fuel delivery. However, the advantages of both BEV and FCEV far outweigh the disadvantages in comparison to internal combustion engines. Several car manufactures, and surprisingly Shell, are backing FCEV as the future, (me too) and that's just cars. What happens when the technology is applied to aviation and trains, and shipping etc? Here are a couple of YouTube videos (God bless YouTube) to keep the conversation moving:

https://youtu.be/xU-LDZ0HTGc (Ask Joe)

https://youtu.be/tajigZ2e6tQ (Toyota)

I like the Ask Joe video best. It has just the right balance of optimism and cynicism, while presenting what seems to be all of the relevant information. Warning: It does get a bit nerdy, but hang in there. Joe has a bit of a "Bill Nye" delivery, so it's not completely dry. The Toyota video has some marketing, but also some good information. Sorry for the long post, but it's a fairly important and complicated subject. I hope you find it useful.

www.nigelbarnesmusic.com

Entry 4 - Designing a website 

I feel like a dog chasing a car. What do I when I catch it? Well, catching it isn’t the problem. Now I have to make it look good, and be functional, and of course, the 3 rules of websites, content, content, content. Uh-oh, I don’t really have much yet, but I’m working on it. At least I can work on the design for now. Again, why re-invent the wheel. One of my favourite people and good friend, Emma-Lee has an amazing site! http://www.emma-lee.com/ It’s simple, elegant, and loaded with content. She is an accomplished and very talented artist. And she's been doing it for a while now. I would highly recommend checking out her 2012 release ‘Backseat Heroine’. I know I’m setting the bar a bit high, but it’s a good goal to set. A friend of mine mentioned that I should include the link to my website so that people can just click on the link instead of typying/copying into an address bar. Good advice. Here ya go:

www.nigelbarnesmusic.com

 

Entry 3b - Recording 

Supplemental post: Recording is a.lot like moving. When you look at it initially, it always seems like much less work than it actually is. 9AM: 'Oh yeah, we'll be done be 4:00 no problem'. ... 'one more trip. What time is? 1AM?!!' With recording, it more like, 'Oh yeah, we'll knock these out in a couple of weeks no problem... 2 months later...;' Anyway, I'm in the home stretch on a couple of tracks in addition to Time For Letting Go, which is already out. Although, I'm not sure how to "officially" release it. I guess I better figure that out soon. Who knows, maybe this is it. Anyway, stay tuned.