Friday, 31 May 2013

A Preview of Things To Come...

So I have almost finished my time in the studio! Colin is working on some hard-core technical editing, and I can now sit back and wait a bit while the magic happens. ;)

Here is a preview clip from the album. I am very proud of it, and grateful to Colin for his collaborative spirit.  This sounds very different than it ever has (and it's been around since 1996)!

If you like it, donate and get the whole darn album!
Click the link below to be taken to the Indiegogo site and be able to tell people at dinner parties that you "support the arts".  ;)

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

And the Beat Goes On...

I cannot express how great it is to be back in the studio and working on the album again after an almost two-week break!!  Colin and I are going back through some stuff that we were just sketching out before and tweaking the last couple of things that were bugging us. We retooled the opening and ending of a few songs already today to make the songs stand more on their own and not sound "same-y" (my eloquent term, of course).

Colin still astounds me with his ear.  I am so blessed to be working with someone who is such a natural musician and has spent a lot of time honing his technical craft as well! The care he puts into everything is enormous!  He also has this crazy ability to hear me describe a vague concept and create something concrete to match it within just a short time; it blows me away.

As any of my regular readers know, I have launched an Indiegogo campaign for the album to fund its release, and we are at 46 days remaining, and have reached $225 in donations!  I am praying and hopeful that people will still find it in themselves to donate to the project before the time lapses. I occasionally feel pangs of guilt about essentially asking friends and family for money in this way, but My Beautiful Wife reminded me that whomever invests in the project is simply paying for their copy of the finished product in advance! This is not simply donating- it is truly investing in something! I am going to keep including the link on these posts, as this is a big deal in my life right now, so why not? As always, a donation is one way you can help support this, but sending the campaign to others via email or social media and promoting it is a big one too!!

Click here to be taken to the Whispered Words: The Revelation Sessions Indiegogo page and see how you can get involved!!!

Click HERE to be taken to my Whispered Words band page on Facebook! Browse it and "LIKE" it to get regular updates on the project! I will be posting a song clip from today's session soon, I think!

I am including the photo that will most likely be the cover art for the album! I took it myself at Westminster Abbey in London. Not bad, Jared... not bad. ;)

Until next time,


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Goodbye To A Good Dog.

My family's dog, Suzie, just died today.

She was diagnosed with cancer just a couple of months ago, and was fighting mightily this last while just to stand up and walk normally or eat. My Mom couldn't stand to see her suffering like this any more, and took her in to the vet to go to sleep.

Suzie was a good dog.

She was a rescue from the SPCA about 9 years ago, and had been abused by her previous owners;  she was therefore really grateful to have a loving family around her.

She turned my old-school Dad into a softie.

She was my Mom's constant companion.

She shed all over our home, but we didn't care.

Though I had already moved out when they got her, I have always thought of Suzie as "my dog", too. She was gentle and playful with me in a way the pet I grew up with never was, and she was one of the only dogs My Beautiful Wife has ever really expressed affection for.

She was a good dog.

I will miss her.

That dog loved cucumber.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Do You, Uh, Indiegogo?

I have just launched the new Indiegogo crowdfunding project so I can finish my first studio recording!!

Colin Richet and I have been slaving away in the studio at this (and enjoying ourselves IMMENSELY) for a couple of months now, but it is clear that more funds will be needed to really make sure this is everything it should be. I do not know if there will be any more albums after this one, but the idea is to make sure we do this one right! That means physical media- actual CDs and packaging! I could really use the support of everyone who reads this blog; family, friend, acquaintance, stranger danger, it matters not! ;)

I am posting the link straight to the project here, and will be keeping everyone updated about where we are with our goals and such as the days tick closer to the end of the campaign!

I am so excited to share my music with you- let's make it happen!! Just click on the project link below, donate a pittance, and please share with as many people as you can!!!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

It's A Celebration, Charlie Murphy

Well well well!!!

It appears this little blog has just gone over a thousand views!!!

I have come to terms with the fact that it is not JUST my close family members checking this thing 80 times a day to boost my self-esteem, sooo...

Thank you so much, all of you kind people, for reading and caring. It means a lot to me, and validates me in a way I do not care to dig deeper into.   ;)

The grand experiment is over, and I have decided that I will continue with the blog indefinitely. I won't just be posting about my new musical endeavours, either- it just happens to be what is consuming me right now. I plan to keep mixing it up in the future, so stay tuned!  You never know what might happen next.

As for what's happening to me right now?  THIS is what is happening to me right now.

So... pretty...

My Mom gave me an iPad 32GB Wifi out of the blue a couple of years ago, and it has been my most Loyal and Staunch Companion (I am sorry, My Beautiful Wife, but I am just speaking the truth), and has never failed me. Even when I accidentally abused it, it forgave me, healed (for a nominal fee), and we moved on, stronger than before. 

I saw my Mom, yesterday, and she told me she needed my Most Loyal and Staunch Companion back. I caught my breath, but I was not going to protest- I knew this day could come, and I was just happy that I got to know my iPad for the short time we had (That is a lie. I was actually very unhappy, and considering what the fallout would be if I annexed My Beautiful Wife's android tablet).  Then she dropped the bomb- she wanted the 32 GB Wifi for my Dad, and she was going to replace it with a new 64 GB Ipad 4!!!  I was flabbergasted. I still am. So I went down to the closest thing we have to an Apple store in this one-horse town , talked to a pleasant young man there (I even taught him a thing or two about impact-resistant cases), and left with the 64GB Ipad 4 with Retina Display, a Defender Otter Box (the one they just released for the new ones is muuuuch nicer than the last generation), and a big, smug, satisfied grin on my face!!!

Summary: My Mom is the Best.

That is all.

Update: I returned the Defender Otter Box because it is STILL a massive beast compared to the Reflex case, and I discovered my Reflex fit on the new iPad perfectly, despite online reviews to the contrary.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

History of Whispered Words pt.2

... And here we are again,
with part 2 of the history of my "musical journey" (props to Larry Mullen Jr.) so far.  I gotta confess, I dropped an awful lot in part 1, so I am not going to be able to keep up the sheer volume of words I set as precedent!

I am with a new church family these days, and have been playing it cool a bit, as I had done a lot of "up-front" work at my last church, and felt a wee bit burnt out.  I also had a lot to examine about why I was doing the things I was doing; was I on stage because I just enjoyed being on stage in front of people singing, or was it for a higher purpose? The music I have written and am still writing has always been about Christ and my relationship with Him; my struggles, my hopes, my failures.  I also still have questions about why God keeps giving such a flawed guy like me music to write and songs to sing. After talking to an old acquaintance in the music program, I asked if they needed any voices to sing backup, and began!

Soon after, I met a singer/songwriter in the church who has been a bit of an inspiration to me, and who I have been able to work with in a couple of different capacities, namely: child-wrangling and music-playing. Her name is Julia Dawn. Check out her page! It has been fun watching a young and confident musician and singer with a STELLAR voice make her way, and it sort of rekindled a hopeful little fire that I had always had about making a real album of my material. Really soon after I met her, I got to see her open for one of my all-time favorite musicians, Derek Webb. That's right, I got to meet one of my all-time musical heroes and I did NOT blow it (for those of you who don't know me, I have a favourite saying: "Never meet your heroes. Only one of two things can happen: Either they disappoint you in some way, or you blow it."). I repeat, I did NOT blow it.

Around this time, I had an old friend named Colin come back into my life as well, and he and I got along amazingly right off the bat!  He stopped by my work to talk business, and the subject of his current work came to the forefront- he runs a studio here in my beautiful hometown, and actually had just finished working on Julia Dawn's album!! We got to talking, and I told him about my music and what I had (and hadn't) done with it up 'til now.

A brief aside: Colin Richet is the owner and proprietor of Revelation Studios, and does sound engineering, mixing, producing, multi-instrument session work, composing, and mastering- all in-house. He specializes in taking a simple melody and turning it into a fully-orchestrated experience, as big as you want it! If you have some music in you that you need to get out there, Colin is just the amazing person to help you make it happen. I highly recommend that anyone who is interested check out the site and get in touch with him to talk.

When Colin left me that day, apparently the wheels started turning, and he got in touch with me the next day, and we started talking plans to record. Problem: I had no budget for it! His solution: let's just see what happens. This was around the end of November 2012. He said he was going to see when in the new year we could sit down and plan something out.

In the meantime, I was getting a bit more involved in the church programs, and was asked to sing for the Silverspring Spirit of Christmas event that the church hosts for the surrounding community each year. I asked my good friend "L" to play guitar for me, while I sang a song of mine called "Carol for A Child", and the response I received after was very affirming!

Fast forward to March: We started recording.  It seems almost criminal to have this much fun while working. A couple times, Colin has hit PLAY, we listen through the most recent version of a song that has been with me for 15 years, and I have to hide the fact that I am tearing up at how amazing it sounds.  That brings me to now! I have taken a band name- Whispered Words. I haven't named the album yet- I figure that will come after it is formed. I have started a Facebook band page under the name Whispered Words as well, and already have some fine people supporting me there!

I am going to be trying my hand at crowd-funding the project, as I do not have the resources available to come out of this with a finished product. I will be launching an Indiegogo project with perks for anyone who donates to a finished album, and I hope that this will help us get over the finish line! I will be starting the Indiegogo push soon, and will keep all well-informed via blog, Facebook, Twitter, carrier pigeon, etc.

I went and created a Youtube channel this week just so I could upload this: the first real sample of what the finished product will sound like!! The song is called "In Your Presence".  If you like what you hear, please consider joining the others who will be donating to the finished CD! Enjoy!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

My Beautiful Wife

My Beautiful Wife is one year older today, and has never been more vibrant!!! We are getting close to 14 years of marriage, and I still love her FIERCELY because:

she is kind,
is gentle,
is an amazing listener
is a voracious learner,
is driven to help people,
is a natural beauty,
has a rapier wit,
gives her time to friends,
challenges me to be better,
devours books,
gets my jokes,
tells me when my jokes are crap,
sits through stupid guy movies and doesn't complain,
likes quality music (except Adele),
forgives others their faults... and so much more.

It has been said that no one is just one thing; even an outwardly horrible criminal can be, oh, an opera enthusiast, or support a genuinely good cause! People are multi-faceted and often unpredictable.

Well, I want to spend every day of the rest of my life learning about every facet and hidden gem quality that makes up My Beautiful Wife. I am so blessed to share my life with her!


History of Whispered Words pt.1

Hey all!

I am recording an album, and if you are at all a geek like me, you like to hear the story behind the music. If so, here you go, and enjoy! If not, you are in for a rough ride below! ;)

The Music:

I have been writing music since the 10th grade. I was listening to my dad's old Doc Watson recordings playing in the house on a quiet Saturday, something hit me, and I sat down and wrote my first song, "Works of Glory". It was an old-school hymn, I was done writing it inside of ten minutes, and it has survived in that same completed form ever since.

The first time I sang one of my songs, it was at a youth conference at Covenant Bible College, just outside of Calgary in Strathmore, Alberta. There was a talent show on one of the evenings, and even though I didn't (and still don't!) play any instruments, I just felt it was something I should do, and signed up. It went well; I got a standing ovation from the crowd of teens and CBC staff, and I was very humbled and pleased. It didn't seem strange to me that this song had appeared very much out of nowhere at the time.

A few months later, I had another epiphany, and I wrote three songs in a two-day period- "Face of Him", "You Are", and "Thank You". The first two of these still hold up so well that I am putting them on the recording that I am working on. (The third... not so much. It sounds a little juvenile these days, lyrically speaking.... but that doesn't mean it couldn't turn into something else someday!)

I still had a problem, though- I could not play anything, intrument-wise. When I write, I sit down and write a fully-formed song in about twenty minutes, usually. The melody and lyrics arrive at the same time, and as soon as I am done, I sing it into a cell phone recorder or something similar to make sure I don't lose the melody. So, without someone in my life who could play a guitar and help me "chord everything out", I just sort of sat on them.

A few years went by. I finished high school, got married, and moved to Saskatoon, in fairly short order. My Beautiful Wife and I started attending a church, got jobs, and a year went by. I met some friends at the church, but we eventually stopped attending and started looking for another church that suited us better. And by "looking", I mean "sleeping in on Sundays instead of looking". After a year and a half, we eventually decided that we needed to start paying attention to our spiritual lives again, and had heard that the situation at our original church had changed somewhat. We went back, were welcomed with open arms, and we had found what was going to be our church family for a long time.

One of our first few Sundays back to the fold, I sang Works of Glory as a special music thing in one of the services, and caught the attention of "L" and "T", two music-minded men in the church who were going to be hosting a "coffee house"-style shindig. They asked if I was interested in joining them to sing backup, and I was very flattered. Eventually, the subject of my having some original music came up, and they asked if I wanted to do something with it. Having musicians at my disposal was too good to pass up, so I not only had them help me suss out the stuff I had already written, I started writing again in earnest, and wrote a good chunk of material in the 2004-2007 period with their help. "Broken Man" and "Old Letters" both came out of this period, and will be on the upcoming recording as well.

Through this time, I also made two of the longest-lasting and rewarding friendships of my life! "T" and "L" are still major influences in my life, musically and otherwise.

"T" moved on to a promising and exploratory solo career and is headlining his own alt-country band now, but "L" and I played together often, on the church stage and off. We continued to play little coffee house gigs here and there, and even got paid to play at a wedding once (the high point of the old band, for sure)! In the last couple years, though, we hit some major life changes- "L" and I both decided, for different reasons, to move on from our church home to see what was out there.

 Around the time of the move, I wrote a few songs (the last in 2011)- "In Your Presence", "We Come to You", and "Carol for a Child" (my one and only Christmas song). I actually sang and performed "We Come To You", an exploration of prayer, on my last Sunday service at our old church, and was moved to remember how much growth and change My Beautiful Wife and I had been through there, and how much we had to thank everyone there for. It remains a precious memory to me. "We Come to You", "In Your Presence", and "Carol for a Child" are all going to be recorded during this project, as well- I will just be holding on to the Christmas song until the season is right. ;)

"L" and I moved into other church families, but I absolutely did not want our musical relationship to end there! Over the years, I joked with him that if I ever recorded a real professional studio release, he was going to get a co-writing credit for music, as his sensibility and skill absolutely informed every single one of the songs in my catalog! Joke or no at the time, it was and is absolutely true- I plan to keep playing music with him as long as he and I are both able, and he will be getting a co-writing credit on the album as well for everything I have played with him over the years. I can't even remember what some of these songs were like before he helped me shape them. He has been a true brother, musically and otherwise...

End of part 1- part 2 to follow soon!

What I am listening to:

artist: Phoenix
Album: Bankrupt!

Phoenix had released a couple of albums that flew under the radar before they released their opus, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, in 2009. I found that CD in early release for 8 bucks, and played the crap out of it for that summer. And the summer after. And every subsequent summer. They are not a well-kept secret by any means now- a couple of their songs ended up on car commercials and the like. Their new album, Bankrupt!, is destined to become another spacy summer classic. Standout tracks are Entertainment and Trying to Be Cool, two sure-fire feelgood songs for Sunday afternoon lazing about with a cold drink. If you do not know Phoenix already, go out and buy Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix first, marvel at your good luck, and then NEXT summer, buy Bankrupt! after you have given that first release the attention it deserves. ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Earth-Shattering Announcement!!


I am recording my first album! I will be launching an Indiegogo campaign soon to fund it!

Okay, maybe not EARTH-SHATTERING, but long-overdue, at least.

I have held off of officially announcing this project for a wee bit because I was unsure how the funding was going to all work out, and also unsure about whether this was going to be a small project for posterity, or whether it was going to be My First Album. After spending some time in the studio with my producer/sound engineer/studio musician extraordinaire, I have decided that this will be My First Album.

 The aforementioned studio genius is Colin Richet, owner and purveyor of Revelation Studios; Colin's specialty is taking a basic melody and a voice and turning it into a fully fleshed-out song, produced to whatever level you require, and it has been amazing to hear my music (some of which I wrote back in late high school) taking a shape I never imagined! Colin and I go a ways back. We reconnected in late 2012, and after some deep conversation realized that it is our destiny to work together! I waited while he finished some projects and cleared some space for me, and I am super-pumped about taking this journey with him!

I will be giving updated progress reports on this page as well as my Twitter and Facebook accounts, and I have created a band page on Facebook as well for anyone interested to follow and keep up with the project.

The name of the project (and the band name I have chosen) is Whispered Words. I was leaving work and walking across the street when the thought "I wonder what a good band name would be?" Instantly, "Whispered Words" appeared in my frontal lobe. I gave it some time to sink in (and checked registered band names) and it looks like it is all mine, and it just FEELS right.

The E.P. itself (six songs) will get a title later on.

Despite praying for peace about this, I still can't get over the scariness of not having all the funds I need to complete the project; but here's where you can help! I have had many people ask me when I plan to record a CD over the years, and have had a few even tell me they were looking for something to invest in re: my music, so I intend to launch an Indiegogo crowd-funding effort very soon to finance the E.P.! You will be able to donate the amount of your choice, and depending on the amount, you will get certain perks in return, i.e. an advance digital copy of the E.P., a physical copy of the finished CD, your name mentioned in the liner notes, I mow your lawn, a house concert, etc. So when it launches, please consider funding the album- you won't be sorry! Colin and I are working some magic here!! I am really excited about this, and very nervous as well... being able to put the funding issues to rest and give you nice folks some audible chocolate in return would make me very happy. 

Thanks for listening!!


P.S. The cat's out of the bag now! Here is that particular self-satisfied-looking cat in the studio, seeing his dreams take shape!