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ALBUM RELEASE

Rosemarie CD Front Semi

Having written and co-written a number of songs in the past 15 years, I have spent this past year recording eight songs for an album titled ‘What Love Demands’

I am also re-releasing four original songs I recorded with HipCity Cruz in 2008 on the same album

Big thanks to my former bandmates Jewl Sandoval, & Bruce and Lynnette Mello. Jewl Sandoval is currently with Broken Shades, Lynnette is currently part of a music duo called Villanelle, and Bruce has recorded an original solo piano CD, and has an album in the works.

I have changed so much personally as a result of the writing, producing, and publishing process that I feel like the album is only a snapshot of what I have gained. I am thankful for having reached this milestone as a singer-songwriter and could not have done it without continuing support of family and friends over the years. I hope that the songs speak for themselves, that they have a reach further than I can imagine, and may be enjoyed for years to come.

Somehow, the miraculous process of carrying and giving birth to my son, James happened simultaneously along with this project. I hear it is not uncommon for a soon-to-be parent to check a few things off their bucket list before their first child comes along. I also felt like creating an album was like being pregnant because of how long-term the project turned out to be; so I guess I am a doubly proud mama this year.

My original music will be available in CD form at my shows and will be available for digital purchase via my music page. It will also be made available through other popular online music distributors and streaming services.

Lyrics are posted on my website and are also printed in a booklet if you purchase the physical CD.

Upcoming shows will be posted through my facebook site. Hope to see you out there ’cause a recorded version is nice to listen to, but the live version has an element of surprise, plus never-heard before songs have been known to show up on the setlist. Stay tuned.

My purpose for this blog is to write about music and culture, artists to look out for in all genres, and personal experiences in being a songwriter and performer

 

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Purple Fox has got the grooves to move you

My Purple Fox is a bay area children’s musical group who like to funk it up to get you and your children moving.  It’s an awesome way to start the morning when you have little ones to attend to or have an impromptu dance party. Their shows are listed here if you want to see them live this spring/summer.

If you just want to groove at home, all their music is available on their website. I LOVE their latest album.The lyrics are fun and the music is really tasteful with a variety of danceable genres (funk, rock, rap).

It has cute background vocals and some more upfront parts by kids.  My favorite song so far is The Flute Song but there are so many other good ones depending on your mood.

They create videos to go with their music which you can find online for free.  One of their songs I enjoy of theirs is  I Got Mad Style 

I encourage you to go check them out, I am sure you will not be dissapointed.pfathj-my-purple-fox-album-cover-v7-2.jpg

Westcoast Songwriters Playlist

Short post for today.  One of the members of West Coast Songwriters, Dan Zalles, has compiled a spotify playlist of songs created and produced by other members.  So if you are wanting to hear a collection of original music, look no further than this link. Happy Listening!9440753309_ca1c8224db_b

Metro(G)nome: a songwriter’s friend

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This post is about renewing my interest in a music tool called the metronome.  If you are a musician you have more than likely used one.

For those who have not, it can help you determine the tempo/speed for your song. From that baseline you can use it in the background to judge if you are speeding through the song or taking it too slow during a practice session. This can be particularly useful for recording.

Cultivating the use has become easier since the smartphone. There is an app for that.

 

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I no longer have to dig around in my music box for a single digital box which may or  may not have fresh enough batteries.  Also, as long as I have my phone charged, I can turn on my metronome.

Songwriters who accompany themselves need accountability when keeping the tempo of a song.  A metronome provides that kind of accountability, but it is really easy to forgo one in the beginning stages of forming a song, especially when you’re wrapped up in getting a melody down and/or crafting lyrics.

Why metro (gnome) you say?

Well, here’s the connection. I have been watching a series from Guillermo del Toro on Netflix called Troll Hunters this past year. There is a minor character whose name is Gnome Chomsky. He is a small gnome with sharp teeth. He helps Jim, the chosen Troll Hunter and his team navigate the Darklands and helps to ward off the bad guys.  He provides comic relief and shows up in the nick of time to help his friends out.

A silly as it may seem, I want my relationship with the metronome to be exciting like Gnome Chomsky’s is to Jim the Troll Hunter. Recognizing that the minor role it plays is actually a crucial part in helping to produce the best song possible.

In conclusion, if you are looking to improve the timing of your songwriting, embrace the metronome as a friend, get familiar with it. Have a party to celebrate when you reach that milestone.

FYI: The series is up to two seasons, and is not just for kids, although some of the jokes are quite cheesy.

Don’t Need To Fix These Broken Shades

I had the opportunity to eat my favorite bbq in Santa Cruz County and listen to two of the three members that make up Broken Shades at Aptos St BBQ this past Thursday evening.

Jewl Sandoval, Richie Cowan, & Terry Shields have been entertaining crowds in Santa Cruz county for a number of years and they rarely disappoint. Their current outfit focuses on country blues, blues standards, and originals. Richie specializes in fingerstyle guitar playing, vocals, and also writes some of his own music. You can find him playing for another local band The Blues Mechanics at the same venue.

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Jewl Sandoval specializes in harmonica, slide guitar, and vocals. His voice can deliver a story to your doorstep as well as get a crowd clapping and stomping to forget the weekday woes. I had the privilege of playing in a couple of groups in the past with Jewl including HipCity Cruz and A Simple Shade of Blue.

Not present with Broken Shades this particular night, but always with a strong performance on his upright bass and vocals is Terry Shields. Terry also has frequent gigs all over the Bay area with Scott Cooper & The Barrelmakers as well as makes guest appearances with numerous groups including Jazz the Dog.

I enlisted Jewl and Terry to help me with my latest recording What Love Demands

Details on what parts they contributed can be found here

Keep up with Broken Shades through their Facebook Page to find out where they are playing next and pick up their album Lovesick Blues. It is a sure way to get your toe tapping while enjoying some fine bbq.

Images taken from Broken Shades facebook page

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Local Music Scene: Otis & The Ocean

 

 

 

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At the March Cafe Lift Open Mic, I had the pleasure of listening to Kelly Beach perform Pink & Bright, an original on her ukulele

Her lyrics are quirky, honest and fun.  She has multiple EP’s posted with lyrics on bandcamp.  Some of my favorites on the Tadpole EP were another original, This Isn’t A Love Song,  & Ten Things which is a pretty good cover of a Paul Baribeau song who is also a fun listen.  That’s what happens when you go down the rabbit hole of the internet when listening to music….never know what you’ll dig up.  Of course nothing beats hearing a person live and the bay area open mic scene is really vibrant.

Last thing to note, her logo is a sea otter which I love.  Several years ago I selected a sea otter cartoon drawn by a friend to be my music logo and this is my first time running across someone who likes otters just as much : )

 

 

Trials of Performing on a Piano

Having written and performed songs on the guitar for 20 years, I have decided to try writing and performing on the piano.   This was primarily in response to a suggestion I heard by performing songwriter John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting) at the Westcoast Songwriters Conference in 2017.

Thankfully my husband and son are not complaining like my parents used to when I first took up the french horn ; ) It helps that with a keyboard you can plug in headphones, and my son does not have discerning musical taste at 9 months.

My baseline for piano skills up to this point have been major, minor, dominant chords, and standard chord progressions I learned from classical music theory courses at Cabrillo College, so I know it is not an unrealistic next step.

Becoming proficient on a secondary instrument at your own home enough to get a song across is a challenge in itself. Translating your work into whatever instrument and microphone setup they have at the venue/coffeshop is an additional challenge I was NOT expecting…but it is very much a present challenge.

Though it can feel like a drag carrying your instrument everywhere you go and worrying about its safety, being able to play on the same instrument feels like a HUGE luxury now.

Based on the handful of times I have performed live on piano, I know I need a plan to improve or I will keep on hitting a wall and losing the audience over technical difficulties.

My plan is to first set up a mic in my office at the piano keyboard and just practice on it that way. I’ll also need to determine how I need my mic positioned when performing wherever that may be.

Another thing I’d like to do is to ask other songwriters on piano what they have learned along the way as they deal with the same issues.

Maybe my current readers have a tip or two. When trying to get songs across to a live audience how do YOU best improvise with technical issues in a new setting?

 

 

 

Book Review-The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook

I came across this book through my Amazon Prime free book borrows.  It looked intriguing because it is about the history of making hit songs.

I listened to popular radio a lot more in college, memorizing lyrics to the hits of the day such as “Hit Me Baby One More Time” performed by Britney Spears and “One Week” written and performed by the Bare Naked Ladies. My dorm mates and I had a lot more fun doing that versus the grueling memorization of Organic Chemistry and Marine Botany terms at 8 am in the morning.
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This book for me shed light on how the creation of pop songs steadily relied on the weaving together of pre-recorded tracks through the artistic direction of producers rather than the artist.  The ‘Factory’ part of the title refers to how a team under the direction of a producer can sculpt a song; each member doing the part they know how to do the best and most efficiently.

The book tends to stick to telling the story of a select group of Swedes, and particularly a man named Max Martin.  He and his team of proteges’ work continues to be highly sought after by the most popular artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake & Katy Perry.

 

There are alot of entertaining parts, funny anecdotes of how artists met these producer-songwriters, details regarding the rise of boy bands and their management woes, as well as background on Britney Spears & Rihanna.

In some parts it reads like a tabloid magazine with the promise of the juicy details of before they were well known artists and for some, what ended up happening to their careers after their rise to fame.

Though I would not say it is the best music read, it managed to keep my attention because there were so many names that I already knew as part of my history which made it relatable being a child of the 80’s.

For those of you who have read this book, what are some of your thoughts about it?