Thank you sincerely for your interest in my debut LP, Music Is Your First Language. All told it is the culmination of years of work, playing, recording, composition, joys and setbacks, although I promise you will get through it in much shorter time. I composed, played all parts (with the exception of my programmed drum parts on Ghetto Baby and technoMuse), mixed and produced this album: live drums, keyboard, and electric guitar. Everything you hear is played by hand, from the heart. My lifelong training, experience and focus is in music performance, music theory and composition. I have great respect for the practitioners of the science, but I am not a mixing engineer. My study of signal path and the elements of good mixing, assuming I grasped any, were more by necessity than design. Many of these songs are eighty tracks deep. I fought against hunger, poverty, bill collectors and that nagging, joyless script so many of us struggle with that threatens a culminative project by telling us we are not worthy, that the work is not valid, that we shouldn't really attempt it until we achieve such and such, or have better infrastructure in place, etc. I did it anyway, and it was worth it. It is a great joy for me to share this with you, and a sincere honor that you have any interest. Most of all, I just want you to listen. . All through the winter I made incremental changes, mixed down, ran out to a cold car to blast it on the speakers, dashed back inside, repeated. I feel so grateful to do it. I am forever fascinated with the vibrational art form of tonality, rhythm, the dovetailing intricacy of good harmony, melody, feel.
I was born for music. My dad blasted the best of R&B through the house from the first day they brought me home from Berkshire Medical Center... a fat little May 3rd baby, the happiest you could find when Ray Charles, Etta James, or Freddie King graced the turntable. It remains the most exquisite stuff in my life, and I took it seriously from the first days. I plunged into the formal study of music in my late teens, and soon my exceedingly gifted drum teacher was sending me on gigs. I went off to music school and dove into music theory, piano, played two to three professional gigs a week on drums as well as the ensembles and academic work I had in music. I loved it! I soaked it up. In class, I was like a lifelong drug addict in an advanced course in chemistry. I sat up front, asked questions, and devoted myself with obsessive intensity. When you share your time with me, whether I succeed or fail, you will get a most sincere offering of this magical stuff. I have the deepest love and respect for music. I feel it is imperative that music producers offer something sincere, genuine and heartfelt.
I am astonished music has in many cases degraded to a thin, lifeless, mechanical and compulsive offering generated by computers in Los Angeles, lip synced by male and female models fronting a corporate entity. These people certainly have a strong drive and a dream of fame and narcissistic supply, but that is not the same as a deep, heartfelt love for music and desire to share it. You can hear it, too. Let's not kid ourselves. As with our food supply, the nutrition, feeling and joy is systematically removed from music, along with harmony, dynamics and performance. Technicians micromanage every note and render a joyless, lifeless product that offers no nutrition and no humanity. Bad music, if sincere, we can stand. It is insincere music, driven by economic greed, vanity and belligerence we should guard against, because music is the purest language of emotion and humanity we have in this life. There are always gifted artists making amazing stuff out there, and they inspire me. I experience the whole world as magical, and most of all this art form of sound and vibration.
I wanted to share a few lifelong influences:
Etta James, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Sting, Frank Zappa, Robben Ford, Meshell Ndegeocello, Steve Winwood, Sade, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Beck, Jan Hammer and Simon Phillips, Billy Preston, Joni Mitchell, Seal, Zapp & Roger, KD Lang, Trent Reznor, The Beatles, ahh... too many more to mention, right!? I was profoundly influenced in childhood by an album called The Real Ellen McIlwaine. Artist of the same name. That was Ellen McIlwaine's third album, and anyone who loves music should have a listen right now.
A few current artists I listen to and enjoy: Snarky Puppy, The Pretty Reckless, The Bird and The Bee,Jill Scott, Saint Motel, Zero 7, Laylah Hathaway, Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies, John Mayer, Thievery Corporation, Kathleen Edwards, Regina Spektor, Kacey Musgraves, Mary Mary (Go Get It)
Thank you to these exceptional people for their humor, support and encouragement:
Dave O'Neil, Mom, Dad, Sarah, and Angel, Ana Wolf, Ellie Dufresne, Steve Tornicelli, Wanda Houston, Lana, Seth Fleischman, Emmet Warren, Shady, Kevin Collins, Brian Rabuse, Tux, Kali McConnell, Ed Moran...