PHOTO: Wedding ceremony in small Tuscan chapel.

Wedding ceremony in the chapel of a Tuscan villa.
Photo by Matthew & Katie Moore.

Music

In Which I Serenade at Miss Havisham’s Wedding

Last year my cousin put on the most stunning, lavish, elaborate, and carefully executed wedding in modern history. I had the honor of singing a few tunes during the ceremony. But I had no idea until I arrived how carefully orchestrated my role was in the whole production (and production is definitely the only word for it).

Pure magic. My cousin, Elizabeth, describes it eloquently beneath this jaw-dropping photo gallery.

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Music

This pretty much sums up Fooled By April’s response to placing our songs on national TV.

If you get your music in a TV show be thrilled with the check, not the exposure, most of it’s just gonna float down the river into the great big sea, i.e. be forgotten.
Bob Lefsetz on The Lefsetz Letter

My understanding is that now getting paid for music placement in movies and TV shows is even more difficult, since it’s essentially the only game in town. Glad that’s not my paycheck anymore.

Lefsetz: The Truth About Getting Your Song on TV

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Music, Random Musings

“20 Feet From Stardom” is a chronicle of exploitation and appropriation — in other words, the music business — and also a series of tales of professional commitment and artistic triumph.
A.O. Scott in NYT

This is a story that needs telling. I can’t think of a better example to show the celebrated but tightly restricted role of women and minorities in our country than these bad-ass rock-and-roll back-up singers.

Back-Up Singers’ Story Needs to Be Told

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Music, Random Musings

Find a Steady

I used to be a musician. It was my job. I toured, I rehearsed, I wrote songs. I booked gigs, I had dysfunctional and codependent relationships with my bandmates, and I stress-tested my relationship with my then-girlfriend/now-wife to an unwise (but apparently forgivable) extent.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to get back into it.

Let me be clear, though. I’m two kids, two mortgages, and four day jobs past those years. No more band drama. No more cumbersome load-ins. No more late nights in bars, waiting around to get paid less than the gas it cost to get there. This time I want it on my terms. And I have no idea how to do that.

Fortunately, the other day I had a chance to sit down with a sort of mentor of mine, a guy who’s made a lifelong career of playing music in almost every form imaginable, and succeeding at it. He had two recommendations.

“Use your digital toolbelt.”

This seems like a natural fit, right? I mean, in my professional life I’m looked to as an expert in online communication and social media. Surely somewhere between Garageband on iPad and Tumblr and Facebook I can manage to find an outlet and an audience for any art I wish to produce.

“Find a steady.”

That is, find a steady gig. This immediately made sense to me. Even after I stopped playing in clubs, I kept up my chops by busking in the subways on my lunch hour, and it’s some of the most fun I’ve had playing music.

However, lately the CTA and the CPD have been cracking down, pointing out the Jackson stations are the only authorized pitches. This is draconian and defeating, and I should really start a petition and try to change that. But in the short term I just need a more regular and reliable place to share my tunes.

You can help

If anyone has ideas for where I could find a regular gig, I need your help. Contact me through your preferred contact mechanism at the top of this page or post in the comments for this post. Much appreciated!

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Music

American Idol

As a joke, A-Is-For-Aric and I decided to enter the American Idol songwriting competition. This is schmaltz like your Bubbe would spread on her bagel. Try to listen without gagging. Actually, Aric plays the 80’s ballad keyboard masterfully. And the lyrics are particularly bold.

Breaking a Record
By J. Gordon Wright

Face the light
Face their eyes
Ask myself
Is it time

Turn the page
Take the stage
Ask myself
Is it mine

Look without seeing a thing
Hear without listening
To the sound that’s calling me

| Maybe I’m breaking a record tonight
| Breaking through something I’ve held inside
| Maybe this time when they shine the light
| I could be the one
| Maybe this is something I have to try
| Never did I think I would get this high
| Suddenly it’s starting to seem like I just might
| Break a record tonight

Used to think
It’s out of reach
Tell myself
Not to feel

But now I see
This could be me
If I tell myself
That it’s real

So many things I could be
They will come if I believe

] Excuse me if I repeat myself
] I just want to get it right
] Say it till there’s nothing left to hide
] I try to hear what’s etched inside
] I try to hear the track
] It’s time to turn the tables right
] ‘Cause now’s my chance, I’m breaking a record…

Wait… what’s that? Is it…? Could it be…? That’s right, key change! Damn straight.

| Tonight…
| Breaking through something I’ve held inside
| I know this time when they shine the light
| I will be the one
| This is something I knew I had to try
| And I always knew I could get this high
| Suddenly it’s starting to seem like I just might
| Break a record tonight

Listening to it now, I don’t think the schmaltz will hurt our entry. But we went waaaaay over the recommended time limit. Get comfortable:

[audio:breakarecord.mp3]

Hmm… It might be the right length for Celine, maybe I should give her a call…

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Music, My Old Blog

3.com

As much as I love busking down in the subway, I hardly feel as authentic and entitled as some of the other guys who play down there.

Phil, Norm & Joe are some great guys who play down there seemingly at all hours. Indeed, someone saw fit to give them their rightful place on the YouTube stage.

You guys are awesome. But lord, find a new band name.

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Music, My Old Blog

Appreciation Gap

As I was saying, Stanklin & I have been discussing the need for a new term to describe music that you have to learn to love. Stanklin even took it one step further, wondering what to call those pop confections that you can’t get enough of for about two weeks, and then never want to hear again.

His best effort was “appreciation gap.” I thought this was actually pretty good in describing the temporal phenomenon. But it’s a bit limiting to use the same term for the flame-out of bubblegum as for the slow build of a masterwork.

We noticed that Pitchfork uses “grower” for the latter. Neither of us liked that. Too… jam-band. The terms don’t have to sound as derivative of an econ textbook as ours, but certainly someone else has already coined something fitting.

Anyone?

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