After five years of production, I launched MANTRAS on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2018 because it is an album of resolutions. You can stream it below or at Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, and purchase at CDBaby or Bandcamp. For a hand-decorated CDs and t-shirts, buy em right here, directly from me.
MANTRAS uses reggae and ska-infused tunes to chant my intentions, like…
No more shitty gigs
No more waiting to be discovered
No more waiting to get signed
I use my system to capture information
I use my system to structure inspiration
Show up for practice
Everything’s connected, everything’s changing
Pay attention, this is what it’s like right now
Keep your word and do your best
Don’t take it personally or make assumptions
I’m not gonna to try to change anyone but myself
My dreams of having a horn section came true working with Mark Gonzalez, the trombonist and arranger for Grupo Fantasma, Brownout and others.
Dan Bechdolt (sax), Kevin Flatt (trumpet), Mark “Speedy” Gonzales (trombone) tracking at Tonehaus
Robert helped me turn my sketch of my dreaming head with repeating thought bubbles into a great graphic that can be filled with the mantra of your choice. Maile, Anais and I decorated the first 50 CDs by hand with watercolors.
Anais made this great version w paint and Sharpie on wood. (I added the LOVE sticker.)
Along with the album release I am proud to premiere the video for Not Gonna Try, the last and longest track on the album and certainly my most involved video production to date. Grey Gamboa, an RTF student at UT, did a perfectly trippy job editing and creating pulsing psychedelic colors (using oil and water dyes between curved glass).
Lil sprinkled her digital fairy dust on this screenshot from the video.
I made tees and stickers for patrons and fans, and this site now features a shop where you can purchase all the j stuff.
For the third time, I am grateful to have recorded my album with Thomas “Tbone” van der Brook at Tonehaus. In the video above are Gray Parsons on drums and Doug Snyder on bass (getting sounds at the original recording session in 2013) who supported me every step of the way personally and musically. And I would likely not have finished if not for months of great help from Danny P. finalizing and mixing. Thank you all, my brothers in music.
Big thanks to Mark “Speedy” Gonzales for arrangements and trombone parts, and to Dan Bechdolt (sax) and Kevin Flatt (trumpet), especially for their trippy solos on I’m Not Gonna Try. Thanks to Derek Morris for playing keys on few tunes, especially for such perfect accompaniment on Bright Eyes Shine. Thank you, Karla and Maile and Anais for singing backup on several tracks. Thanks to Brad Bell for mastering. And thank YOU for checking it all out, I hope you enjoy the tunes!
I’ve been looking for an opportunity to be part of Outside Voice – Art TV, so I’m happy to have kicked off the collaboration on Saturday with Ron Pippin’s ever-resourceful, ongoing, family-art project. I entertained the troops at Creative Reuse day singing singalong songs to the kids and parents busy with all sorts of projects as part of their open-house for the West Austin Studio Tour.
At the end of two hours of improvising music today, we were tossing out name ideas when Darrel said Amen, Icy Cinema, which is a palindrome. To which I said, Icy Cinema and the three of us looked at each other as if to say, I think that’s it! And so it is, I think we have a name for our Ambient trio.
Here are a number of tracks from our last practice, Feb. 7.
Bryan Stevenson has spent his life giving not just legal aid but himself to otherwise forgotten death-row inmates throughout the deep south. In his understated way, he reveals systematic injustice and dignifies his clients, creating a redemption so powerful that we feel it from just hearing these stories.
Fear and anger are a threat to justice. They can infect a community, a state, or a nation, and make us blind, irrational, and dangerous.
But simply punishing the broken–walking away from them or hiding them from sight–only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity.
Captain Kidd, now in his 70s, makes his living traversing post-Civil-War Texas reading newspaper articles to frontier people. When he has to escort a 10-year-old German girl back to her remaining family after having been in Kiowa captivity for most of her life, he seems to be the only one who can usher her precarious life between the two worlds. This vulnerable and unlikely pair proved extremely charming and heartwarming for having helped each other survive the unforgiving prairie
Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.
Maile has been watching a new series called Schitt’s Creek starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara and we’ve been obsessed with this scene. Moira is trying out for the Jazzagals and I think she nails it.
There are so many funny nuances to her impromptu performance. My favorite is the song itself – stuck in my head for days – with its perfectly enigmatic, absurd opening line featuring the word Log. Makes me laugh, every time.
There are only a few lines before she’s incoherent, lost in loony scatting. And the whole thing is done with such false-modesty and confidence.
Someone held me on that log, it should have been you
Someone’s arms were big and strooong, it should have been you
I warned you I was lonely, but you didn’t seem to care
no, no, no, [starts scatting]… a woman’s tears… [scat solo]
Someone left me on that log, it should have been you
What is it that is so tender and hilarious about bad singing done with utter conviction?! When it’s not intended as comedy, which is most of the time, we have to not laugh. But here we have full permission and it’s a gloriously guilty pleasure.
It’s also such a pleasure to see Catherine O’Hara doing her amateur auditions again because we are already such fans of Waiting for Guffman, and this audition scene in particular from 20 years ago.