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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:

 

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!

 

 

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, December 10, 2019 

We're enjoying a quiet night at home, and this one came up on a Spotify jazz mix:

 

Wes Montgomery - A Day In The Life (1967)

 

It's certainly recognizable as the Beatles song, though Wes's legendary sound takes over and makes it something else. Hard to imagine the range of smooth, jazzy 70s sounds emerging without Montgomery pointing the way. The jazz press of the era gave him a hard time for going more commercial in the late 60s, and I suppose you could argue that Wes covering the Beatles isn't jazz in the traditional sense - but who cares, Wes playing anything is going to sound great. This version of the song isn't a life-changer, but not every song has to be - in a sympathetic playlist, it's extremely comfortable listening.

Song of the day, December 8, 2019 

Here's the first song I heard this morning. Not a bad soundtrack for doing the dishes:

Ozzy Osbourne - S.A.T.O.

 

Introspective lyrics with a vaguely nautical theme, from 1981 - hey! Well, no, it's not any kind of yacht rock. ("Saiing Across The Ocean" is the most straightforward explanation for what the initials mean, but there are plenty of other fan theories about it. I've known about the song since middle school and never knew what S.A.T.O. stood for.) This triumphant-sounding metal shuffle wasn't one of Ozzy's bigger songs, and it's not stick-in-your-head memorable, but it still shines brightly. Of course the guitar playing is otherworldly good, it's Randy Rhoads, and the rhythm section is intense and powerful throughout. What actually elevates the song for me, though, is that big sweeping filtery synth, both in the intro and especially when it comes back near the end. It creates a sort of epic feeling of closure that works well with the discovery in the lyrics. It's the second to last cut on Diary of a Madman (or at least it was on my cassette version back in the day), and that's the right slot for it - not a hit, not a finale, but something to lift you up before the big finish.

Oh yeah, speaking of finishing things: I'm approving the final mixes today for Sucker In The Promised Land! We should be able to send the album off for mastering later this week. Really thankful to John, the mix engineer I work with - these songs have a lot of layers, so they're time-consuming and challenging to mix, but I think you'll be very impressed with how they came out. I'm planning to post a song from it in late January/early February, with the full release available in early March.

Song of the day, December 5, 2019 

Ah, did I say these were going to be daily? Oh well, anyway...how about something that isn't 35 years old?

 

The New Pornographers - Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile

 

From their latest album...listened to this earworm a lot lately; so, so much ear candy here, vocally and instrumentally, and a fantastic song title. 

 

Song of the day, December 2, 2019 

Howdy folks...the album's getting close! One more final mix review tomorrow night should do it, and then Sucker In The Promised Land is off to be mastered. 

 

Today's song of the day is in a category I've always liked a lot - deep cuts from well-known artists or albums that don't get recognized often:

Toto - It's A Feeling

 

This one's from Toto IV, their huge-selling 1982 album - you know, the one with Rosanna, Africa, etc....so no surprise that this one slips under the radar. Love the subdued, lonely kind of mood they set here, and so many beautiful little details weave in and out through the song. The strings really take this to another level, too.

Song of the day, December 1, 2019 

Here we are, at the last month of 2019 - it's as good a time as any to start a new feature on the blog. Nothing too complicated here - just a song each day that I like or want to talk about.

Ernie Isley - Fare Thee Well, Fair-Weather Friend

 

One of my favorite guitarists, from his album High Wire (1990). It's rare I hear a song where everything about it hits me in the sweet spot - the solid mid-tempo funk/rock groove, the breezy jazz (and even Latin-flavored) multitracked guitar...a bright, easy production that makes the song's harsh lyrics sting even a little more. And, of course, a gnarly Hendrix-infused solo in the outro, because it's Ernie Isley...which is great, but the rhythm work is what really grabs me here, with all those interweaving lines and grooves.

The Waiting Game 

"The Waiting Game" is the name of two songs from the later 80s I really like, by two artists I really like:

Todd Rundgren - The Waiting Game

Swing Out Sister - Waiting Game

 

The phrase also describes the Trembles of Fortune album-making process at times - writing the songs doesn't usually take that long, and the basic tracks go down fairly quickly. But then there's a long phase of polishing those tracks, and then there are the tracks I don't record at home (drums, horns, lead vocals), and then there's the mixing and mastering process. I admit I'm a little jealous of artists or bands that can choose to lock themselves in a studio for a couple of months and just knock a whole project out! But that's cool - like I said before, there are advantages to doing it over a longer period of time, too.