Ralph and I work together at UT. I’m a web guy, he’s an IT guy. We both love music and play guitar. So we teamed up last week to put on a little peace concert in a sweet corner of campus as part of the Hearts of Texas Charitable Campaign. This was a fun gig for me because I had Ralph backing me up, and because it was the first time I used my new portable, battery powered pedalboard and vocal amp.
Now I can sing my softer, sweeter songs and still be heard outside. Now I can layer loops and delays. And I can do it in the most scenic, remote locations, because it can all be battery powered.
Here are three tunes from the beautiful concert on Waller Creek last Friday. Thanks to everyone who came out and for the perfect weather.
This first video is of Ralph playing over a loop I laid down before the concert while Earl took pictures and I finished setting up. This is one of the things I’ve been wanting to do, be able create this rich soupy ambient background music outside, for sweet spaces like this one. I love how the loop and Ralph’s improv get mixed with talk, trucks, beeps, birds and other background noises.
The first song we played was an old one of mine that I love but rarely play, The Train Into The City. Again, this fingerpicked song is too quiet to be easily heard outside without the amp.
Here is one of the covers we played, Van Dieman’s Land, the only U2 song I know of by The Edge.
This morning’s singalong was a great official public debut – at Little Stacy Park, 11am-12pm – and the weather was ideal. So was the crowd of 20 or so friends and a strangers who sat on the stage or laid and played on the grass.
My old-school transparency projector did the job and we almost made it through all 20 of the songs I had printed on film before the hour was up. Kids played and made chalk-art while we sang.
Here is the end of the last song we sang together, the trippy Beatles ending on Revolver, Tomorrow Never Knows, followed by our closing bell.
I began and ended the set with a ring of my new singing bowl and a moment of silence. A few people mentioned they liked the ring of the bowl. I think it added a nice cue for entering and exiting the musical meditation.
Our singalong set (with a few we didn’t to crossed out):
- One Love
- Three Little Birds
- With A Little Help From My Friends
- Take Me Home, Country Roads
- This Land Is Your Land
If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out (With intro and sing verse/chorus)
- Mr. Tambourine Man
I Shall Be Released
- Forever Young
Blowin In The Wind
- Lean On Me
- Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
- Across The Universe
- Let It Be
- Amazing Grace
- Rainbow Connection
- This Land Is Your Land
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking
- Tomorrow Never Knows
I love new years, and better than a new calendar year is a new birthday year. So after turning 42 earlier this month and feeling like it had brought many answers, I set out again to refine my sound and vision for Fall’s shows.
This meant getting some new (battery-powered) gear that will allow me to bring some of the sonic magic I make in the studio, outside, to remote settings. It meant playing with new loop and delay pedals, many nights in a row.
It also meant bringing new ideas to the music-council for feedback. Thanks to Earl and Airshp for all the help envisioning and refining it with me. Channel J is on the way!