From the T of F Music Factory

Six more days until another single is up, and other news! 

So yeah, there will be one more single release next week before the full album comes out. You might already be familiar with the song, if you've caught it on West Coast Golden Radio or The Border...it has lots of words starting with S in the title.

In non-musical Trembles news, this week hasn't been all that fun. I'm currently recovering from surgery to remove a large, ugly cyst on my upper right arm. (No, I don't have any photos. Gross!) Pain and fatigue are my houseguests for the week, but I'll be fine, in a short time. I'm very fortunate - I have a good job with insurance and convenient access to proper medical care. Millions of people don't have these things, and what is a comparatively minor life interruption for me might be major or even catastrophic for them. Which is utterly unconscionable bullshit. I don't deserve these advantages one bit more than anyone else; I'm just lucky. Something is very wrong with this picture. I'll leave it at that.

My healing music for the afternoon, the legendary Lyle Mays (RIP), here with Alex Acuña, Duo #1:

 

New song up soon, and Trembles on the (Internet) Radio 

I hope everyone's enjoying Turn Out The Lights, the first single from the new album...though if you're not, no need to fret, because you're on the Internet and there are probably fifty million other artists and musical works to check out. Some of them are pretty good! But seriously, thanks for listening - I always appreciate when anyone takes the time to listen to Trembles music.

Speaking of which, another song from Sucker In The Promised Land is going up next Wednesday, February 12. It's called You Don't Even Know Her At All, and the first chord of the song is a Bb major ninth. There are other chords in the song as well! I think you'll dig it...

A happy recent development is that some Internet radio stations have started to play some Trembles. (Well, at least *I'm* happy about it...)  I mentioned before about Late Night Dream's podcast called the Border, which can be found here: 

https://www.latenightdream.com/the-border

The Border is a great place to hear both classic and new artists in Westcoast and other nearby styles - you might hear anything from neosoul to sophisticated jazzy pop to bluesy horn-driven funk to old-school soft rock to driving AOR, and every time a new episode comes out I discover a number of new artists and songs to enjoy. I'm not at all biased because they've played songs from the new Trembles of Fortune on the last three episodes, of course. Anyway, it's fantastic.

Another excellent Westcoast online radio station, which like Late Night Dream is based in France, is WCGR:

https://www.westcoastgoldenradio.com

They play an absolute ton of classic jams from the heyday of the 70s and 80s, and they also have Powerplay segments that feature newer artists working in Westcoast and related styles. Some new Trembles should be playing there soon as well...

And from the other side of the globe, in Chile, we have Radio Definitiva 90.5, spreading the Westcoast gospel:

Radio Definitiva

70s, 80s and Westcoast: ahhh, heaven...and yep, some Trembles coming here too so yay!

Many thanks to everyone at these stations!

Also, some folks have asked about the possibility of getting physical CDs of Trembles of Fortune. The answer to this is yes, there will be some! I'm working on it now, and I'm guessing CDs should be available sometime in the next couple of months.

 

Peace and smooth music to all,

 

Geoff

 

 

 

Groundhog Eve (and more about Turn Out The Lights) 

Well, it is, right? February 1st. Therefore, Groundhog Eve. I hope you remembered to hang your stockings up and gather with friends and family to sing those classic, heartwarming groundhog carols on this fine winter evening. "Shall We Gather By The Burrow" is one of my favorites!

Ahem. So I thought I'd use this week's post to share a little more about the new single that came out the other day, Turn Out The Lights. (You can hear it on the Music page, and I'll be putting up a couple more songs from the new album there soon.) Turn Out The Lights was the first song written specifically for the new album. A thought I had in mind at the time was that the first album didn't have anything with a 6/8 kind of groove, and I like a lot of songs with that groove (think "Black Friday" by Steely Dan, or "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears for Fears, or...well, many others), so I should write a tune that uses it. I'm not usually that calculating when I start on a song idea, but anyway...I had the main riff and the chorus together on piano fairly quickly, nothing too complicated yet. Maybe a week or two later, I was playing around with a few lyric lines for a different song idea and decided to try them on this one - those became the chorus ("So you don't have to tell me twice/I think I'll call it an early night/would the last one to leave the party turn out the lights"). 

Really, though, I didn't have a strong idea of what those lyrics would mean within the song yet - they could be describing a lot of different situations. Why does this person want to leave? I'm often fascinated by characters who find themselves trapped one way or another, and I started thinking about conspiracy theorists locking themselves away and going further and further down rabbit holes on the Internet, pursuing their pet theories. Each day getting more isolated, becoming more convinced that everyone's crazy and only they see the truth...well, this guy COULD be a cockamamie conspiracy buff. But I'm also fascinated by stories where someone actually stumbled on an amazing breakthrough, only to have everyone disbelieve it. (Alfred Wegener, who came up with what we now know as tectonic plate theory, had this happen to him - it wasn't until well after his death that scientists could verify he had been right all along.) Maybe THAT's this guy.

The song never tells you which one it is, but the paranoia is steadily closing in either way. Someone who heard the song and read the lyrics early on wondered if it was about suicide. I wouldn't say I had that in mind, though I'll leave it open for interpretation - I wasn't going for anything that specific, just more of a vibe, someone's misshapen world closing in on them too fast. 

 

 

The Latest 

Just three more days until Turn Out The Lights, the first single from Sucker in the Promised Land, is available!

Plenty of T of F news to catch up on here...the latest episode of The Border podcast is up from Late Night Dream now, and the Trembles are along for the ride again, with a different song from the album this time:

https://www.latenightdream.com/the-border

Late Night Dream was also kind enough to interview me about the new album here:

Trembles of Fortune Late Night Dream Interview

Blue Desert, another excellent Westcoast site, has also included the album in New Releases:

Blue Desert

Many thanks to Late Night Dream and Blue Desert!

***

I virtually never participate in Facebook memes of any kind, but my sister-in-law nominated me for the one where you post covers of 10 albums that had a big effect on you. Very difficult to limit my choices to just ten albums - I could probably name 100 without stretching things too far...three days into it, I've chosen Steely Dan's Royal Scam, Stevie Wonder's Innervisions and Yes's Close to the Edge. All of which I got into retroactively, because I was a small child when those albums were released! Not all of my choices will be from the 70s, I'm sure. That's what's kind of good about being a music listener and musician now - so many eras and styles to dive into. I'm way behind on my music listening, actually - I could easily spend a year or two devouring all the music I'm interested in but haven't heard much , without coming anywhere close to exhausting what's out there. We have the same endless possibilities for making music of our own, too.

***

In the magical land of Sweden, where Westcoast is given much love and attention, they have Pages tribute shows. This really seems like a place I should go sometime:

 

 

 

Song of the day, Monday, January 13 

One of my musical heroes passed away last week - and judging from the sheer volume of testimonials from musicians and fans all over, I'm far from alone in my admiration. Neil Peart was one of the rare people in any field where you could say he was the absolutely, undeniably, inarguably the best at what he did. I became a Rush fanatic as a teenager back in the 80s, and all three of Alex, Geddy and Neil have had an outsized influence on my life both as a musician and as a listener. They were my gateway into progressive rock, as I'm sure they were for millions of people, and their music taught me a lot about what was possible with intense attention to detail and a musical vision without compromise.

I couldn't possibly pick a favorite Rush song, but this deep cut from Permanent Waves (1980) would be way up there. It's a nine-minute suite that earns its length by taking the listener on a voyage through so many different motifs, grooves and moods. And that stately intro was more or less the start of my enduring love for suspended guitar chords!

 

 

New Trembles song on Late Night Dream! 

I'm happy to report that Trembles of Fortune was featured on Late Night Dream's The Border podcast this week! The link below will take you to this week's playlist, where you'll see that "Turn Out The Lights" made its debut. I highly recommend listening to this podcast (even when Trembles isn't on it!) - you're bound to discover some excellent songs and artists with each episode. Many thanks to David Lucarotti, Malone Di Mano and Late Night Dream for giving T of F a spin and being a great place to hear music in Westcoast and other related styles.

Late Night Dream - Border podcast

 

 

Song of the day, January 10, 2020 

I was listening to Late Night Dream's The Border podcast today (highly recommended for any Westcoast fan!) and was introduced to this thing of beauty, "Pie Time" by Talc:

 

 

A) This band cranks out some excellent AOR-style tuneage, and B) this song is hilarious! Some quick Googling seems to tell me that Talc is a two-member band consisting of Dr. Fun and The Gift. 

Song of the day, January 9, 2020 

Hey y'all - I said I'd start posting songs of the day, and so here I am! Half the battle won. "Song of the Day" usually means a song by someone else, but today, we're keeping it Trembles:

First song, first album. Most of the first album was made up of songs I'd had around for many years, this one included. It was written sometime in 1999 or 2000, I think, though the roots of it can be traced even further back. WAY back, as it turns out:

https://hannah.wf/has-it-ever-occurred-to-you-that-you-might-be-wrong/

Yep, it's from a Peanuts comic strip - but that's not how I discovered the phrase, and I didn't find out about the comic strip until many years after I'd written the song. The story of how I picked up the phrase is funny, too: I had seen it in a string of bathroom graffiti in the early 90s when I was in college - two graffitists were taking turns arguing about some salient point of religion or human nature or I forget what, and there it was. I thought it was hilarious in context, and the phrase stuck with me. 

When I finally did write the song, I was in a band called Banana Seat, which mostly did (super fun) 70s and 80s covers but branched out into originals as well, and we ended up recording it on an album. That version of the song, which I'll need to find for you guys sometime, had a completely different intro and bridge/solo section. They were nice enough parts and I liked the chord progression, but when I revisited the song for Trembles of Fortune later, I felt like the song seemed to lose some energy at that point, so I rewrote those sections entirely. I made a demo of the song at home in 2012 and was pretty happy with the arrangement, but when I eventually got into recording Trembles of Fortune, there was still one change to make. By this point I'd started working with John Hegner, a name you'll hear a lot here; he's the engineer for lead vocal recording and mixing for both Trembles albums, and his work on these albums has definitely taken them to a level way beyond what I could do on my own. When we were recording lead vocals, John mentioned that the piano section after the bridge felt a little stiff to him, and while I thought I liked the part fine, I did have to admit that, yeah, it was good but nothing special. It wasn't a full-blown solo at that point - more like a few bluesy licks and rhythmic patterns, rather sparse. So I went home and played around with some ideas, and that's what became the more frenzied piano part that ended up on the album.

One other odd thing about the song: unlike every other T of F song, there's no guitar. There was guitar on it originally, but I wanted things a little simpler. If I ever rerecord it, I might try adding some back in, though very sparsely. (The Banana Seat version had horns on it too, and they might be cool here in spots. Only have the budget for so many horn songs, unfortunately!)

 

The latest 

A lot of you are reading this blog for the first time - hello, I'm Geoff, glad to meet you. As you see, there are some entries here from last month, as I figured that visitors here would enjoy having a few quick things to read or listen to. I'm planning to restart the song of the day thing for real this week, though it might turn into an evolving Spotify playlist instead, because that would probably be cooler...I'll also try to give you some of the story behind the new album as we go, and there will also be looks back to the first album and how it came together.

The next big day on the calendar in Tremblesland is January 29. That's the day a song from the new album will be available for everyone to hear! I'm planning to put up a second song two or three weeks after that, and then the full Sucker In The Promised Land album will arrive on March 11. 

And yes, more Trembles of Fortune music is in the works! A third official T of F album won't be arriving until sometime in 2021 at the earliest, but I have a good pile of songs and I'm working on a number of new ones. Hard to say what the schedule looks like just yet, but I'm excited to dig in - it seems possible to have a pretty good set of demos by midyear, and I'm sure some of them will appear here.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm still figuring out a lot of things about Trembles of Fortune besides the music itself. So if there's anything you'd like to see or hear more of, or any Trembles questions you'd like me to answer, I'm all ears! Thank you for checking Trembles out, and take care...

 

Geoff

 

Sucker in the Promised Land album cover 

Here's the cover for the new album, designed by Devan Gill - we had a lot of fun coming up with this one! The eye from the first album is back, this time to observe a beautiful courtyard where little is as it seems. A lot of the songs on Sucker talk about illusions people are either having or trying to break free from..