How is life treating you all? How are you treating life? Or maybe what I should really say is – how do you perceive life, and does that which you see agree with your view?
I really hope everyone is doing ok. It has been nice to see what people have been up to via FB. I apologize for not being as engaged in the great collective as as some of you, but I do surf around to see if you are up to anything interesting. Today I wanted to add an update and send a ping for my own “goings-on” into cyber space.
It was an interesting winter. How did you manage it? It was nice to see some snow in PA, although only a single exuberant burst of it... and now, here we are back in spring, or at least the shift from grey to green. The robins are back. I have had some good springs over the years and I’ve had some poignantly bad ones as well. March seem to be a landing zone to couch these bad ones like that sticky flypaper people used to buy. I think Gaius Julius Caesar would agree, March isn't our month. Is that flypaper still around these days?? I think they make it for mice these days. Weird. Anyway, the good springs abound and in that space I will bounce – hopefully avoiding the sticky goo.
My band echolyn is gearing up for some shows this fall. We have one booked. This is not a sign of the apocalypse. It is instead a cathartic healing burst of antibodies. The gig is Saturday October 14th in Rahway NJ. This is a three-day festival, with us headlining the second evening.
The ticket information is here
It’s at a beautiful theater, here
Echolyn hopes to play a couple low-key warm-up gigs before this festival and then, in a perfect world, organize some other gigs at our favorite places. We have not played the material from our last two albums in public (I Heard You Listening and the untitled 2012 release). If you want to hear these songs played by the people that wrote them, well, this coming fall is a rare time to do so. Hope to see you at a show!
Regarding my solo material:
My solo album – Open Skies Exploding – has been infiltrating people’s music collections in 2017. I’ll be singing those songs (and a bunch of others) on the 22nd of April at Roxy and Dukes in Dunellen NJ. I’m grabbing my acoustic guitar and singing the hell out of 45 minutes. To add to the evening, my trusted compatriot and inspiration Ray Weston is joining me, to play bass and also wring the juice out of those 45 minutes. This night happened because the band Frogg Café was cool enough to ask me to do this to help fill in an evening of spectacular hopefulness. I'm looking forward to seeing them. It's been awhile. I’m very excited to play with Ray again. We have a chemistry that is like Roman concrete. If you are in the area come out and say hello, have a few adult beverages, and give a glorious YAWP in between songs. Who knows what will happen, but I’d love to see you and say hey.
What else? May 7th I’m warming up the crowd for Kim Richey at the Kennett Flash.
How cool is that! I’ll be plugging my guitar in and singing the heck out of who knows what. It’ll be great; it’ll be authentic. I’d love to say hello to folks that come out. The Kennett Flash is a wonderful intimate place outside the realm of city parking and anxiety driving. It really is a chill venue that works perfectly for checking out musicians in an intimate setting. I’ve played there once with Francis Dunnery and his Sensational Band. We had a blast!!
Ray Weston and I are warming up the plebeians and patricians for a very special night with Valdez on May 20th at Kennet Flash. Why is this special?? It’s special for many reasons. One reason is because Thomas Franklin Hyatt from our band, echolyn, is in Valdez! How cool is that? Another reason is because I had a chance to work with, engineer, and mix the wonderful songs of this band. Simon Godfrey is an amazing singer and songwriter and his band mates, Tom, Joe Cardillo and Scott Miller make a cohesive group effort that creates excellent, well-crafted songs. The songs are spot on and not overwrought… perfectly stated. Who knows what will happen at this show? Be prepared for the best and come on out! It's a record release for their new album!! - So it'll be a special night. I'm honored that they asked me to warm up the crowd.
Lastly, Im working on some collaborative projects as we speak. Perhaps I’ll find some time to bring those to the live stage as well. I actually just finished two songs with my friend Kevin Wiggins. He’s a true original. I love working with him. The first songs is Dancer’s Hand. He and I wrote this song at my place one evening (a few years ago) in the time it takes to eat a bowl of Lucky Charms. I remember at the time working on my cover of the Beatles, She’s Leaving Home (which you can get for free here), and having that lyrical style fresh in my head. What I mean is that there is that sort of longing and mundane "normalness" of life in the lyrical quality. I tried to capture this in Dancer's Hand. When Kevin and I work together we tend to write songs in the two and three minute range. This is no exception and one I feel reflects the beauty of the craft I hold dear.
The second song Kevin and I collaborated on is called Elephant Dreams. This one is an exception to our unspoken song length criteria. Yet at the modest 5:28 it feels perfect in arrangement (IMHO). This song started when Kevin sent me a poem he wrote after crashing at Chateau Fornance one night due to a lot of bourbon and moonlight. The poem was beautiful, poignant, and got me thinking. A few weeks later he surprised me with a lo-fi recording of what I deemed a wonderful chorus of a song – with him playing piano and singing part of the poem he had written. This inspired me to step up to my metaphoric "tin pan alley" desk and write the music and words around this chorus (keeping in mind my original emotional response to his initial poem). Voila, Elephant Dreams! The hard part was making the rest of the song as good as his chorus Idea. I believe I succeeded. To record the song properly I had Kev over to Catapult Sound one night to record him playing drums and sing his chorus over my arrangement. I really love the ease of working with him. It is always a joy with unfettered creativity.
I've embedded links for the songs in the text above. Check them out, i think you'll really like them. They are beautifully recorded and available as high-quality downloads (24 bit 96 kHz) or whatever your device of choice handles. My goal is to build on these collaborations with my favorite songwriters (folks i've had a chance to work with) and share the music we make.
That's it for now. Hope to hear from you. Come by the gigs and see me play, or shoot me a message to say hi. Lots to do in the coming months. I'll try to keep you posted. You do the same.
Brett William Kull ~ 15 April, 2017