Giving away music for essentially free is a problem that Spotify is both remedying and exacerbating. How to make the platform more musician friendly?

Emulate freemium app strategy. If a song is favorited or an artist streamed for a certain number of times/songs, encourage the listener to support that artist. Establish kickstarter-esque “projects” for every artist and fund their next album in exchange for pre-established thank-you’s such as merch, special edition music, pre-orders, vinyl, etc.

Make it easy to support artists via premium subscriptions and dedicate a certain amount of their payment to monetary support for the artists they listened to most, or allow the subscriber to choose where that slice of their money goes.

Auto-translate (with pre-approval) streams of a certain artist to Facebook likes and Twitter tweets.

What are your thoughts?

I just felt like putting this up tonight.

It’s a fine Summer night. Is it the end of Summer? That’s what I hear. Me and Cinco are tending to the empty home while the rest of the pack is off at FYF Fest. Slowdive is playing. Hmm. I wish I was there. It was sold out.

I’ve mostly finished up on a big buffet of music I’m going to serve up in the near future. I’m happy with the work done and mostly the feeling of the songs.

Los Angeles for me: still and ever just past my fingertips somehow. It’s there, I push at it, brush it aside like curtains. But I have yet to pass through.

It’s a good city after all, and there are just so many surfaces you could attach your mirrors to here. Everyone is beautiful and larger than life, even if just in their own minds.

There aren’t country lanes, nature revery is rare, and the general balance leans one way and then the next, undecided. It’s menacing and inviting at once.

Blah blah poetic yada yada. Meaning: I’m here, making music in my dear studio with my dear cellos and my dear thoughts and I’m not on that damn stage at this damn point in this damn city.

That’s my check in.

Hope this version of this song fits with your time and place.

Just got back last weekend from camping with my three brothers, three of my favorite people, at the mountain of gold. Where this video was made last year exactly around this time:

And so The Faraway was so half-assedly “released” to the world. Really it was my birthday and I was going to be gone and I had self-imposed deadlines and thus, hence, I released an album. Without thinking! Without mastering! Without caring.

But that’s fine… right?

Camping now with my girls, my dog Cinco and the ever-amazing Katy Unger. Between last weekend with my brothers and now this, it doesn’t really get better. What a crazy blessed life!

#blessed

Yeah. Well. Anyways. I thought I might do the same this year with The Faraway part 2. But I’m going to hold off until my return from the ocean and woods and just being faraway. It’s ok. I can do that, I’m indie.

I don’t want to rush it. And, truth be told I’m going to fold in the impatience of that album “release” last year with this one, and it will all be well and good in the universe. You’ll see.

So stay tuned. Hopefully I’m far enough from cell phone coverage to not be bothered with any thoughts of anything at all but guitars and walks and campfires and maybe a beer or two.

Or don’t stay tuned. Stay out of tune. Stay golden. Stay, though, please.

I promise I’ll give you music if you do.

More music.

I hope you are feeling good and able to get some good things out of your day. And that it all adds up to beautiful. Thanks for being here. I’ll see you there.

Working on a thing, you have this moment before it’s finished where it’s time to take stock. Same with building a bookshelf as it is making an album as it is planning an event, there’s a moment where you can begin to visualize how it all will turn out, and whether some serious reconsidering needs to be done. Is it a ton of things? Just a few details? Was something fundamentally wrong with the inception? That’s the time, and unfortunately you only get to that point after you put in that much work.

This is definitely where I’m at with my latest group of recordings/album. It’s all laid out and I’m got my hands on my hips just kind of nodding my head up and down trying to decipher it, like a crime tv detective looking at the pins on a map.

And it’s either discouraging or re-invigorating.

And I guess my point of bothering to write this moment down is that I realized just now that whether it is discouraging OR re-invigorating is YOUR choice at that point. It’s a choice.

Your bookshelf is a mess all wrong angles the screws are poking through, the shelves aren’t level. That could be it… forget it, other f it, get mad, burn the scrap wood and move on. OR recognize that fixing the fundamental flaws is not only necessary but maybe… (I’m definitely inserting my own optimism here) just maybe this is the most important part. Not the work you’ve already done. But the evaluation of it.

That’s what I’m going to tell myself at this point. And ideally make the most of this moment. Or just burn it as scrap wood. No. I don’t think I’ll do that.

It’s been a while between actual posts. This blog. It’s so old. So young. For a while there I thought Facebook would be the way to go to have it all in one place. Before that myspace. But like MySpace Facebook has been eaten up by profiteers and there’s no real connection between me and the folks who like the music I’m lucky enough to make.

Tonight in Los Angeles under a few clouds and hazy moon I’m thinking about what’s next. Last year I “released” The Faraway in great haste, on my birthday, April 14. I knew it wasn’t done but I needed to push forward and also I knew it wasn’t done and kinda didn’t care. I was in the midst of a couple year’s long crisis of confidence. I needed to just say “hey I did this.”

Almost a year later I am coming out of that cozy but lame place of self doubt and have a bunch of new material, or more importantly, the inspiration to act on it. I’ve decided to rework The Faraway and re-release it (one of the perks of being indie, I can do whatever I dang feel like) and also to add a new chapter to it with another album.

It’s good, I wasn’t done, and now I can finish it.

I’m aiming for another birthday release date. I think it’ll be scruffy and delirious as an album, like how it is lately.

So gotta get to it then.

It’s good to share with you again, dear reader. I think I can get behind this ol’ website once again.

I realized just this afternoon that I’m basically almost done with my latest album. Kind of by accident. Right now it’s clocking in at 11 songs with three interludes in about an hour. The best part is that I’m having to narrow it down from roughly 25 or so songs, meaning I’ve got a lot of material to work with going forward.

The goal is to have the album in your hands by my birthday, April 14. Goals are cool.

As is the habit lately, sadly, this archive is rarely being updated, which is too bad for me perhaps more than for you, as it is such a good record of my music persona and all the things “that” does.

You could easily deduce that on the music front I am more a crockpot on warm than a roiling boil. Nonetheless the pilot light is lit. I have this project that feels very organic, an album that, go figure, is a return to what I’ve always done. Guitar based acoustic based songs earnest and emotional. I would like to keep the production very minimal with it. Meaning: instead of writing a song and recording the main parts, then adding and layering and tweaking from there, I’d like to have all the songs under my belt and record them in a space I’m comfortable with and that sounds good. I’m not terribly concerned with having other musicians on the album, I would LOVE that, and the more the merrier, but if I go forth with just cello, guitar, and singing, then that is great.

So yeah, the songs are mostly there. I go back and forth on the lyrics. What happens with my lyric writing generally is that I kind of spew out as stream-of-consciously as I can, as little editing as possible. This sounds easy, but for me lately it has been the hardest part. I suppose I would say that the more you TRY to “craft” your music, the more you hold a certain standard above your own head, ironically the more difficult it can be to just produce the raw materials to work with. For me at least.

So, but, ideally I’ll take that pile of lyrics and if I’m really really lucky I won’t touch a thing and I’ll make the guitar or cello parts underneath it as interesting as I can make them while still being able to perform them while singing. Usually it’s not quite that easy, and my literary editor declares that what I’ve created is nothing short of a horrible embarrassment to the history of songwriting. What it is is that I am fully aware that I am not writing heady story-telling songs, and I’m not even actually aiming for high literary achievement… I aim for honesty and I tend to believe that rock and roll is better for it, from me. In other words, the type of music I love walks the razor’s edge between profound insight and simple truth. And, unlike a lot of songwriters, I don’t allow myself to rely on pure whimsy and irreverence. This is a very, very common songwriting “technique” that I hear ALL THE TIME in indie music these days. It sometimes works. It works for everyone, apparently, but my tastes lean to actually abhorring the smug indifference of pretending not to care, or not caring. I just feel that the music that I am aiming to make is all about emotion and the transference of. I’m not saying that all music has to be uber-emotional, and obviously it can be quite terrible/embarrassing when it is. But it’s what I resonate with so it’s what I attempt to do.

Woohoo.

Anyways yes, so there is an album in the works. My songwriting is just SO SLOW lately.

It’s because I’m not playing. I’m really not playing as much in L.A. as I hoped/expected to. I just can’t seem to crack the shell of the scene or find my happy place in it. I suppose that’s the nature of the big pond. I really need to play it turns out. It’s truly what I feel I am meant to be doing. And I’m not! Yeesh. That has to change. Even if it means returning to small towns to play.

Ok, I’ve got to paint a box I made now. Yeah that’s vague but true. Tonight my lady is putting up an installation for a Twin Peaks based art show/cocktail party at The Falls in downtown Los Angeles. I made the box and stand. It’s neat.

Thanks for being amazingly loyal considering my own lack of enthusiastic input into this here weblog. Rest assured though it shall continue, and be more exciting soon!