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Why I Loathe Concerts

A few years ago, I was at a Sufjan Stevens show, and I found myself distracted and disappointed by several audience members in my vicinity texting throughout the show.

The entire show.

C’mon, people. If you’re going to use your phone the whole time, you might as well have stayed at home. To add insult to injury, many modern concertgoers seem to operate under the illusion that capturing a video of a concert will look or sound anything like the actual experience.

I’m not alone in my dismay, apparently. Rolling Stone compiled a list their ten greatest concert annoyances, albeit a few years late. These behaviors, among which include taking photos/videos, incessant interaction with social media, and inconsiderate chatting, are now considered acceptable by the droves frequenting concerts. It appears people treat the music as a backdrop to social interaction, whether physical or virtual. Throw in a few drinks and some drugs, and things get really out of hand.

What happened to diggin’ music for the sake of music?

Given the option between braving the modern brouhaha and staying home to play guitar, I choose the latter.

Presenting: Wonderland

Wonderland is here. What an effort it’s been!

While Wonderland is a solo album, it is unmistakably a collaborative effort. Featured on the album are twenty-six other musicians, most of whom I’ve worked with in other groups. These performers are: Carlos Adames (cajon, percussion), Glenn Asch (viola), Kaita Bliffert (vocals), Michael “Bootz” Bootzin (guitar), David Burda (hurdy-gurdy), Stuart Dove (guitar), Jahmes Finlayson (claps), Aaron Gardner (sax, flute), “Doc” Jeff Green (guitar), Emily Jansen (vocals), Kirsten Jermé (cello), Matan Koplin-Green (drum kit), Jeremy Kuzniar (drum kit), Marie Kuzniar (violin), Annan Lomotey (organ), Augustin Magdinier (drum kit), Colin O’Brien (banjo, shoe-clad feet), Julio Pabon (percussion), Dumah Saafir (claps), Oumar Sagna (percussion), David Stocker (throat voice, percussion), Kristin Urban (vocals), David Wake (organ), Holly Wake (vocals), Jodi Westmore (vocals), and Matthew Wilson (guitar).

Give it a listen below!

New Album: Wonderland

Roman Rising - Wonderland Album Cover ArtMy new album, Wonderland, will be out on September 4, 2012. You’ll be able to pick it up on iTunes, Amazon, and a bunch of other online retailers (not Spotify, so don’t even ask).

The only place you’re going to be able to buy the album with the companion digital booklet (a 29-page PDF chock-full of lyrics and original art) is on Rambutan Records.

 

The Value of Music

I’ve gotten myself all wound up over the discovery that there are bookmarklets available to enable otherwise disabled downloads on Soundcloud tracks. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t most Soundcloud users independent artists? If they choose to disable downloads, but enable streaming, aren’t they doing that for a reason? Isn’t it worthwhile respecting that, especially since they’re not getting major label funding?

According to some of the comments posted after mine, apparently not. The general gist seems to be that people don’t care – they want a marriage of convenience and not having to pay for something. I never thought I’d get sucked into the recent debate provoked by the honest post by NPR intern Emily White (about her 11,000 song library and how she only paid for 15 CDs in her entire life), but I inadvertently did. The conversation over the Soundcloud bookmarklet is but a microcosm of a greater discussion. Have you taken the time to read any of it? Cracker’s David Lowery provided what was probably the most thoughtful response. Many others followed, ad nauseam: 1 | 2 | 3 | etc.

There’s no point in sugarcoating this. I’ve seen my own enthusiasm about being a musician start off a raging torrent, and dwindle down to a nearly dry stream. Years of gigging with One Drum, De La Buena, Sindoolaa, and Urban Empress & the Urbanites took their toll. I no longer want to play for an audience, and instead long for long hours spent working on songs in the studio. Flip side? I need to pay the bills. Independent musicians typically only make residual income on recorded music, unless they get lucky and sign a sync licensing agreement to get their songs into TV or films. Thankfully, I have skills above and beyond being a musician. Had I put all of my eggs in one basket, I would be in a terrible place. I consider myself lucky.

As for the debate about the Soundcloud bookmarklet, I’ve copied the dialogue below, for the reader’s convenience. Click through to Github to chime in.

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