Thursday, May 27, 2010

Put a Motor In Yourself at Zebulon with The Caribbean and Yer Sweet Chimneys

I sure am excited for this show tomorrow! Very much looking forward to hearing the Caribbean and Yer Sweet Chimneys. I met Matt Byars (of the Caribbean) at SXSW this March at a party put on by the record label Hometapes, which has some great bands on its roster. Yer Sweet Chimneys sound great, too, and have a very interesting blog that I was just perusing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Emitt Rhodes tribute at Union Hall

Last Friday the Silent League played at a tribute concert to the songwriter Emitt Rhodes. The Silent League had recorded one of Emitt's songs for a compilation tribute CD, and we shared the stage with some great bands also featured on the CD, Robbers on High Street, and Grand Mal.
I was not familiar with Rhodes' music, but I took a liking to it instantly. While there's definitely a Paul McCartney-esque spirit to his music, it also reminds me of Big Star and Harry Nillson. The songwriting is very sincere and direct, and the music has a certain quirkiness. While we were rehearsing the song "Fresh as a Daisy", which was one of Rhodes' biggest hits, we had to simplify a few sections that had very irregular phrasing and odd pauses.
You can listen to the Silent League's version of "Somebody Made For Me" here. I love this song!
His career also has an interesting story. He was known as "the one-man Beatles", because he played all the instruments and sang all the parts on his records. He also recorded his first album, "Emitt Rhodes" in a studio he built in his parents' garage! He later signed a recording contract to put out an album every six months (!!) and was sued when he couldn't meet the deadline.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alone Together concert at Launch Pad Gallery

Last Friday I took part in a concert with a very unique format put together by guitarist/composer Myk Freedman. The concept was an evening of 10 minute solo performances, featuring some very wonderful musicians: Alan Sondheim, Jacob Wick, Jay Foote, Jason Vance, Jesse Gold, Kenny Warren, Josh Sinton, Mike Kammers, Owen Stewart-Robinson, and of course Myk Freedman himself. I played a structured improvisation piece that I had developed on accordion. It was the first time I've played a solo accordion performance, (besides busking in a park, once).
Playing solo is such a challenging thing, and I think it's a very valuable experience. It was fascinating for me to see how each performer approached playing a short solo piece. I think the experience has strengthened my resolve to work on solo piano playing. I think that when you play by yourself you really come face to face with how you hear music, and your relationship to your instrument.
The concert was held at a community center in Crown Heights called the Launch Pad Gallery, which was an awesome space run by some very nice people. It would be great if every neighborhood had a venue like this!