Summer Happenings

While it might not technically be correct to call the first of August the halfway mark for Summer, it always feels like it is. We won’t be taking a vacation this year since my wife is in an intensive MBA course that considers September to be the right month for a break. Of course the kids are back in school by then. Well, maybe we’ll get to one of the local beaches before the season ends. After all, we’re only about 10 miles inland from Laguna Beach.

Meanwhile, I’ve been taking advantage of the summer non-break to continue doing what I can to create new music and get that music out into the world. Here are a few recent and upcoming highlights.

My latest single, “Bubble Gum”, is finally available on iTunes and various other digital download stores (CONNECT, eMusic, Indiependence Music, iTunes, Lulu, Music.com, Napster, Rhapsody). For anyone who likes to sing karaoke, you can also get karaoke tracks, with and without background vocals, at many of the download stores. An on-demand CD version and downloadable lead sheet (in PDF format) are also available at Lulu, while a ringtone is now available at Music.com. The recording is a remix of an earlier version my longtime MySpace friends may remember. (If you’d like to listen, for free, to the full-length recording, I recommend checking out either the Napster or Rhapsody link above.) I decided to put it out as a single, partly because it is very different from most of my material, so wouldn’t fit any of the album concepts I have in mind, and partly to coincide with an upcoming, highly fun use of the song. I hope you won’t mind if I leave the latter as a surprise for a little while longer. Let’s just say it involves a flying pig on the other side of the world.

Speaking of the other side of the world, I’ve been collaborating with a Russian songwriter and producer, whose name is Alexei Ustinov, on a new song and recording to be released sometime later this year. Alexei is producing the instrumental tracks over in Russia, with production just now getting underway. Once the tracks are ready, I’ll be recording the vocals as a duet with a female singer, whose identity shall remain a mystery for the time being, here in SoCal. This project will be a first for me on a number of fronts. In addition to its being my longest distance collaboration to date, it is the first time someone else will be producing one of my recordings, and it will be my first ever duet recording. It has already been another first for me, though. It is the first time one of my songs has been recorded, as a duet no less, by two “robot” (actually software-based) singers. The song is called “Make Me Feel”, and you can hear the new Vocaloid virtual singers, Big Al and Sweet Ann, perform a clip of an earlier draft of the song at www.jasminemusic.com/vocaloid/05-28-2007.htm. (I think you’ll get a kick out of Big Al. I’m thinking he shouldn’t give up his day job, though.)

Thanks to a challenge from our local Just Plain Folks chapter, which involved writing songs to two predetermined titles, I’ve written two brand new songs (“Wishing You Well” and “The Last Good Day”) in the last month and a half. Adding these to the other songs I’ve written in 2007 is making 2007 a more prolific year than I’ve had in awhile, and adding to my backlog of songs to be recorded. I’m afraid my non-local friends will have to wait awhile to hear the new songs, which are my first solo writes in quite awhile. For you Orange County locals, though, I’ve already started playing both songs in my live shows. I plan to play “The Last Good Day” again this Saturday at the Neighborhood Cup, and will play both songs in my full-length Borders shows later this month (August 24th at the new Tustin store and August 25th at Costa Mesa/Newport). See the Upcoming Shows section of my profile page for details.

I’m currently working on recording a song Mike Parker and I wrote a couple of years back called “Take Advantage of Me”. You can hear the latest working mix on my profile page (it’s currently the top song). In the tradition of country drinking/cheating songs, this is a drinking/cheating song. However, there’s a twist. I won’t spoil the surprise, though. You’ll just have to listen if you want to find out what makes it a decidedly non-traditional cheating song. It’ll probably take another week or two to finish the recording, and I’ll update my profile with the final recording when it’s done.

Man, I’m tired just rereading this (it’s being about half past one in the morning may be coming into play, too), so I’d better quit and get some sleep. Have a great second half of the summer!