Eric

Painting the Town

I took Charlie to the airport a couple days ago.  Now I am living alone with Linus the dog until Ashley returns from Thailand.

Yesterday, I had a great day floating around Nashville, checking out a bunch of new spots.

In the morning I attended a baptist church because they needed a bass player.  There was a passionate minister in charge.  The words he used were different but he seemed to be talking about the law of attraction.  The music was good, and i made a great contact with the musical director, a talented and vibrant singer/piano player.

After practicing bass for a couple hours (I have a rehearsal tomorrow night) I set out on the town.  First I went to a bar called Limelight for some free soul food and old school jams.  I was the only white person there.

Then I drove to Carol Ann’s Cafe,  where there is a weekly blues jam.  I got to play with a smokin’ band, and met a guitar player I had played with at another jam last week.  We exchanged numbers.  Small town feel that way.

Then I went to the Station Inn, where there is a weekly traditional bluegrass jam.  It was a blast!  Lots of great pickers, older crowd.  The bassist gave me a bunch of insight into the Nashville scene.  The oldest guy, a fiddler, was in Bill Monroe’s original Bluegrass Boys, the originators of the entire genre!
A nice guy lent me his spare guitar and we all jammed on old tunes for hours.

Then I headed on down the street to the small and lively venue The Basement, where there was a free show.  They were young fearless rockers.  Very fun and intense music.

It was a [...]

By |February 10th, 2014|Nashville|1 Comment|

Larry’s Country Diner – Opportunity Knocks

I spent most of the day yesterday at NorthStar Studios, where I watched the filming of four episodes of the TV show “Larry’s Country Diner.”  My uncle had connected me to Larry, the show’s host, who invited me to come check it out.

Once past the security gate, I entered the huge production facility as the first live audience of the day was filing into their seats.   The studio was set to look like a southern country diner, complete with waitress and coffee machines, drenched in bright light.  One corner was a stage for musical guests.  I hung out behind the cameras as they cut the down-home variety show live to tape.

Each episode had a bit of comedy, trivia, talk-show elements, and three or four songs performed by a musical guest. I met a bunch of people and was even interviewed on camera by a local news crew from Springfield Missouri.    I became friends with the camera people, Larry’s publicity person, the caterer, and Larry’s sons, who worked on the show.  They were gracious and invited me to eat lunch with their family.  I also met Jimmy Capps, a legendary guitar player who was recently inducted into the Musicians Hall of fame.

Throughout the day I had opportunities to explore this state-of-the-art studio facility- there were control rooms, editing suites, radio stations, and huge hangar-studios.  Very cool place, just 10 minutes from my house in east Nashville.

The first musical act was an acoustic country band with sweet male/female harmonies.  The next band was another family band, this time bluegrass style.  They played Rocky Top, Tennessee’s state song.  Next was a Western swing band with a strong female vocalist and an uber-talented blind guy playing accordion [...]

By |February 5th, 2014|Nashville|1 Comment|

Feel Good Now

Today was a productive day.  I set up meetings with two Nashville music industry presidents (thanks uncle Harry for the connections!) landed my first gigs, played some bass, and went on a beautiful hike!

On Monday I’ll be meeting with Larry Black, president of Gabriel communications.  He invited me to the filming of one of their video series, Larry’s Country Diner, where country stars get together to tell their stories and play songs.  I’m hoping to network with some interesting people and explore production gigs and bass playing opportunities.  He liked the American Music Project and agreed to have me in!

In a couple weeks, I’ll also be meeting with Barry Jennings, president of Gaither Music.  They tour Gospel music acts all over the place.  They produce videos of the best performances.  Every tour has a bassist!  Maybe other opportunities in there as well!

In addition, I got a call from Leah Marie King, the rock/blues artist I auditioned for on Wednesday. She all but offered the gig, saying she wanted to let a couple other players try out, and we talked about upcoming tours, repertoire, and her generous pay structure for her band!!  She’s planning a weekend tour later this month, headed to Ohio and Pennsylvania.  She also leads a weekly gig every Wednesday and has a show or two every weekend.

I was also asked to join a ministry band that I applied for through craigslist.  Sounds like a good way to spend sunday morning – rockin the bass, supporting a big choir of soulful gospel singers!!

I also went on a nice 4 mile loop hike at Percy Warner park with Charlie.  Felt great to be out of the city, in pure nature, within a few [...]

By |February 1st, 2014|Nashville|3 Comments|

First Days, First Audition

It’s been a simple and powerful few days.  I have been practicing bass 4-6 hours per day, a good chunk of my time.  In that way, little has changed in my move. The main subjects of my studies are

1. music theory (and how it relates to the bass),

2. jazz standards,

3. the artistry of Motown bassist James Jameson,

4. Latin bass styles, and

5. classic country repertoire.

 

Here’s my room/practice space – bare on purpose .  I want no distractions from music.

 

 

The rest of my time has been spent researching and exploring Nashville, meeting people, and visualizing success.  (My current visualization is playing bass behind Taylor Swift at Madison Square Garden.  Hear that crowd!)

Tonight I had my first audition, for a power trio.   I spent most of the day today learning two of her songs – original blues/rock tunes.  It was intense, quality practice.  This bass playing business isn’t a hobby anymore – it’s about putting food on the table.  I’m playing for keeps.

I showed up at this smoky sports bar just as a couple old loggers were about to beat the crap out of each other.   After watching an opening set, I stepped up and showed my stuff.  We grooved hard on those tunes and some 12 bar blues.

The band wasn’t quite what i pictured – they were older, and they lived pretty far out of town.    No matter – I had a blast playing with them, and it would be fun to do some touring!  Time will tell.    I was happy to get out and play, to experience another little corner of the world (Springfield TN).

A side note – as I was waiting to play, I was reading The Secret on my [...]

By |January 30th, 2014|Nashville|0 Comments|

Getting Started in Nashville

I have always loved playing bass.  So, I have decided to move to Nashville and make a go at playing for a living.  I drove down from NY two days ago – last night was my first night out performing.

In the morning I went to breakfast with Ashley (I moved into her place) and Charlie (my traveling companion also looking to move to Nashville) to celebrate our arrival.  We met Ashley’s friend Davy at the cafe right around the corner from our house.  He’s a road manager for a pretty big touring rock / country act.  Networking is huge here – I’m happy to have met him!

He clued me in to a Facebook group called Nashville gig finder, where people post all types of opportunities for musicians.  I checked it out,  and lo and behold, people are looking for bassists, open jams are being announced, and the like.  I proceeded to update my website so I could apply for a sweet-sounding power trio.  I went to one of the jam sessions, at a place called “South” on Demonbreun Street, and had a blast.  Met a bunch of musicians and sat in on four or five tunes.

Great thing I had done some research on classic country – they called songs that I had been working on!  Chattahoochie by Alan Jackson, Amarillo by morning by George strait, working man blues my Merle haggard, to name a few.  I had a blast playing – the other guys were old salty country pros, and we sat deep in the pocket.

It was a positive experience and people seemed to like my playing – a few guys asked for my contact info.  May it lead to bigger and better things! [...]

By |January 28th, 2014|Nashville|1 Comment|

LEAF (Lake Eden Arts Festival)

I’ve had a great trip since leaving Austin.  Camped at Lake DeGray, spent a couple nights in Nashville with Ashley and Linus, then came here on Thursday for the festival. I heard about LEAF through Facebook, it sounded like a fun time so I signed up to volunteer!

I volunteered for 10 hours (pouring beer) for a thurs – sun camping pass.  Paid $60 more on the spot to get a mountain top car camping spot – near the drum circle, with a nice small community up there.

At my first shift I met Rachel – beautiful traveling free spirit.  Loves to ride her bike long distance.  After we worked 9pm – 2am, we danced the night away.  At Eden Hall rave, on the small island in the dark, at the tribal drum circle.  We spent the $20 she found on the ground to have a nice breakfast (Veggie Thang), followed by yoga, followed by contra and waltz dancing.  It was a fantastic 16 hours.

I met lots of people, as usual at a festival.   Michael and his daughter Zayana, his talkative father, his brother-in-law Niko (swiss-american food entrepreneur). Other classic festival characters – old scraggly guys, several drum circle hippies, an assortment of old and young partiers.

Eric, about 30, who’s life changed forever when he got a girl pregnant.  I saw him one morning walking up a flight of stairs with his little guy on his shoulders, he said “I’m carrying a heavy load…” and those words were true and deep.  We jammed a little while on his guitar and banjo.

Sarah and Taryn, very pretty girls selling pastries and jewelry respectively.
Jack, Craig, Remy, Amanda, Derek, and all the other volunteers I worked with.

Many more I can’t [...]

My New Job Working for Gary Powell in Austin

I have been hired by composer and producer Gary Powell to film his studio sessions with Ensemble 109, an elite group of singers he leads at the University of Texas at Austin.

I met Gary in March while on the road with the American Music Project.  He loved what we were doing and allowed us to film several performances and interviews in his studio.  I kept in contact with him over the following months, and two weeks ago he offered me the job.  In addition to filming and editing videos about his ensemble, I was to move into his open room and have access to his music production classes.  Sweet.

So I got my affairs in order in New York and embarked on a three-day solo drive across much of the USA.  Contemplative driving meditation.  Sleeping in campsites and rest stops.  Endless music.  And then, I finally arrived in “the live music capital of the world” – Austin, Texas.  That was less than a week ago.

The experience has been fantastic so far.  Gary and Amy are treating me phenomenally well and giving me lots of freedom.  We’re friends.  Amy is a kindred spirit – relentlessly positive and spiritual.  She cooks great dinners and keeps things fun.  Gary is a dynamic leader and visionary with many projects.  I’ve been shadowing him and learning bout his successful musical journey.  He takes me out to lunch, and we talk about pretty much everything.

Every morning I do yoga, swim laps, and play bass.  Then I do a few hours of work in the studio – yesterday I sorted all the video and audio from a long day of Ensemble 109 auditions. Today I’ve started working on a video about the auditions.

The audio [...]