Open Mics

 

    I played another open mic tonight.  Open mics are interesting creatures.  They are, in my opinion, essential for any singer/songwriter to take part in.  Whether you are new at the craft and hoping to get some experience performing in front of an audience, or been at it for a long time and use the open mic as a chance to try out new material or just keep sharp in between gigs they serve a very important purpose.  

     There are two distinct types of open mics.  Some nights you'll show up about 30 minutes before start time, and the place is packed.  You search for the sign up sheet, a quiet place to tune up (good luck), and drop off your case and find a place to stand or sit while you take in the performers who got to the establishment several hours ago in order to get a good performance slot.  Your time comes, you perform your two or three songs to a very noicey crowd, all kinds of conversations going on around you, the sound of the blender revving up just as you get to a very delicate finger picked passage.  Then your done, the next performer standing just off stage waiting for his/her 15 minutes of fame.  As you walk through the crowd back to your waiting guitar case you get lots of head shakes, "great job man", "really like your songs", etc....  As hectic and crazy as it seems to you post performance, it does serve an important purpose.  It keeps you going.  In the large crowd that is attending there are some people who are really there to listen to the music, and they will make themselves known to you.  They seek you out, or maybe bump into you while ordering coffee and let you know whole heartedly how your music affected them.

     The other type of open mic is what I attended tonight.  I showed up about ten minutes before the start, walked upstairs to the performance space and met the host and one other performer.  A few other people came by and took a seat as we chatted amoungst ourselves.  By the time the host took the stage and welcomed everyone, there were about 10 people in the audience including performers.  At first I felt disappointment, and thought that it was not going to be a great night, but I was wrong.  I was at the Lifesong Cafe, which is on the second floor above Luna's Restaurant in Three Bridges, NJ.  It was one of the most satisfying open mics I've ever played.  Even though there were only about 8 people in the audience, they were very attentive.  You could hear a pin drop, they were all there to hear the performers, and yet we were all strangers to each other.  Myself and the other singer/songwriter, Carolyn Messina, each played about 5 songs, then jammed with the host on a few tunes.  It was a great, easygoing, fun evening.  Several of the attending audience members came up to me after and really had a conversation with me, delving into the songs I played, what they meant to them, etc..

     So what am I saying here?  It's simple, whether your playing to 80 people or 8, the number doesn't really matter that much.   It's reaching people that matters.  Sometimes, just playing to a sparse crowd can make all the difference in pushing your career/experience forward as a performing songwriter.  So get out there and play that pizzarea, that church fund raiser, and that open mic.

Keep Strumming!

Phil

 

Kicking Up Stones

CD release update

 

Down to the last few weeks before my new cd is all wrapped and packaged and ready for delivery!

All the tracking is finished and currently in the mastering stage.

Cd will be titled Kicking Up Stones, and will have nine cuts on it.

Hopeing to have it out sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Will keep you posted!

 

Phil

 

Update

 

Ok, so it's been a little over a year since I last posted anything here.  Been working on a new cd since the end of March.  Working with the very talented Mike Lozinski behind the mixing board at Windmill Studios in Stockton, NJ.  Going pretty well, and looking forward to a release hopefully by Christmas.  Have the basic tracks recorded to 11 songs and now am spending my time filling in the "empty spaces".  Of course working with Bob Manger on drums and assorted percussion parts.  Have done all the acoustic guitar, bass, and vocal parts myself (so far).  Other then the long drawn out recording process, (don't get me wrong, it's also lots of fun), Bob & I have been doing quite a few live gigs throughout the summer. Been a part of a local music festival (Clinton Come Together Friday Nights Music Festival), which has had us playing about every two weeks in Clinton.  Lots of positive vibes!

Right now, my aim is on getting the cd finished and out there by Christmas so i can get it on itunes, available through my website and on cdbaby.com

Keep the music playing!

See ya,

Phil 

 

Been Awhile.....what we've been up to

 

Been a long time since I wrote anything in here, but we've been pretty busy lately.  When I say we, I've had the privilage of having Bobby Manger playing with me recently on percussion (set, djembe, various percussion).  We've played several gigs together throughout the summer culminating with a gig at Bereduce Vineyards this past weekend (8/10/14).  It was great!  Really nice atmosphere, played outside,responsive crowd.  Hope to get back there this fall/winter.

Plan this winter is to get into the studio and get some of these new songs that we've been playing all summer down on tape for a new cd release sometime in the coming year.  Got lots of new material and still enjoying a pretty prolific writing period.  The muses are with me I guess, at lest at the moment!

For those of you who check out the website, thank you for take the time.  For those of you who caught us somewhere this summer, thanks for comin and lending your ears to my music.  Hope to do more with this website in the coming months so keep checkin back!

Talk to you soon!

Phil

 

Going Places

 

      Took a road trip recently down south to pick up some of my sons stuff to bring home from school.  All by my lonesome, which was kind of cool because I got to listen to my choice of music the whole way down and back.  It was amazing!  Put the old ipod on shuffle and let it ride.  With todays ipod technology it's kind of like having your own personalized radio station, but better.  The dj doesn't play any crappy songs and theres no commercials to surf through, so you can just sit back, drive & listen.  What's really cool is when the little alien creachers that live inside your ipod really start to groove and pick all those old tunes that you haven't heard in awhile, one after another.  You know the songs I'm talking about, those tunes from your past that as soon as you hear the first few bars of they take you back in time to the instant the memory was created.

     I've got several of them;  dancing with my wife at our wedding to Genesis  "Follow You, Follow Me",  falling asleep in college with Pat Metheny's "It's For You" playing in the background.  Anytime I hear an old Kiss song like "Rock n' Roll all Nite" or Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic" I'm brought right back to high school.  Joe Walsh's slippery slide playing on "Rocky Mountain Way" or XTC's kenetic yet melodic pop from the 80's.  Music marks the time in our lives, saves it to our hard-drives so to speak.  We hear that particular song and we're brought back to the home page.

So as I'm sitting here writing this mindless babble, music is once again playing in the background providing me with the soundtrack for the moment.  Oh well........enough said.

Phil   

 

Music in our schools

 

I recently participated in a visiting musician day at my daughters school for her music class.  Even though my participation only lasted about 15/20 minutes, it was very inspirational.  What a thrill to see these young kids turned on by someone sharing music with them.  Brought in two guitars, both tuned differently, and we talked about sound & different styles/ways of playing.  Kids were very interested, had lots of questions, then played one of my instrumentals for them (Awakening) which is in open D tuning.  We then talked a bit about Woody Guthrie and say together his well worn classic "This Land is Your Land".  So to get to my point here; on the ride home I started thinking about what a shame it is that in this age of what seems to be endless public education budget cuts the music department is almost always the first to feel the knife.  Those kids where all listening & soaking in every note. 

Imagine a world without music in our lives.  No birdsong, no rush and hum/whistle of wind, no notes on the breeze, complete and utter silence.  Remember, the human voice is also an instrument so there would be silence.  Music soothes and creates harmony (no pun intended) where there is chaos.  Without music in our lives there would be only chaos, a world of black & white, totally void of color.  Just something to ponder.

Just finished recording a new song called "Train in the Distance" with my good friend Bob Manger on drums.  Hope to have it up on ReverbNation and Radio Airplay pretty soon.

Keep your ears to the wind!

Phil 

 

Christmas CD Release!

 

Recently released a Christmas CD via cdbaby.  It is intitled "Reflections of Christmas" and is available through cdbaby, itunes, spotify, and several other social media sites I believe.  A little back story is neccessary here I believe.  For the past three or four years I have been producing a Christmas CD to send to family & friends as gifts around the holidays.  They consisted of my own interpretations of some carols, a few original instruments and my own holiday themed tunes.  So this year I thought why not make one available to the general public.  So this years is kind of a compilation of the best cuts on those "self-released" CD's, although I have re-recorded parts and remixed several of the tunes.  There is also a brand new original tune entitled "Still Have Christmas"

Check it out,

Phil

 

Interesting read

 

So.......... I'm a reader, in fact, I tend to get on a roll and read book after book.  This usually happens in the summer when I tend to have a bit more time on my hands.  Anyway, back to the point at hand, I recently finished a book by David Browne entitled Fire And Rain.  It's a chronical of the end of the 60's and the dawning of the 70's with a focus on the music/artists of that time period.  The Beatles where in the process of breaking up & the whole Apple Records fiasco alongside the release of their last album together "Let It Be", and solo albums by all the Beatles.  The emergence of James Taylor to usher in the dawn of the Singer/Songwriter era.  The rise and fall of Simon & Garfunkel, as well as the subsequint rise of Paul Simon's solo career.  And also the rise of what some people considered the American Beatles at the time, CSNY, and the whole circus-top rollercoaster ride that was that bands rather short career.  Anyway, I found it a very enjoyable read especially if your into music as heavily as I am.

A note concerning my own music, the Traveling Light EP will soon be available through CDbaby and also on itunes so keep an eye out.  I'll probably send out a blanket email when that happene.

Until later......

Phil 

 

Here we go!

 

Ok, so here we go....

The site is being published today.  I'm new to this so please bare with me on the content or lack thereof.  The songs currently on it are all from my recent EP that I produced myself recently, entitled "Traveling Light".  Hope you like it.  Right now its just streaming only, but hopefully soon you'll be able to purchase the music here or through a link.

Take care,

Phil

 

RSS feed