Thursday, January 29, 2004

Well, it's been a busy month, and I'll be at the Six String next Tuesday for the first time in a few weeks. Been snowed in for the past two days.

Have written two new songs this month, "Fragile", and the blues-rock'ish "Face the Dragon". For lack of better description, I'll call "Fragile"... acoustic... emo... folk...rock...

Will perform those next Tuesday night, which will be February 3rd. To give a sneak preview, here's some snippets of the lyrics...

You are priceless, that's reality
If you leave there'll be a void
And empty hole in hearts that love you more
Than you might love yourself

"Face the Dragon"
Momma wakes when the world is sleeping
Baby cries out loud
Ain't a nuclear family
But momma, she's still proud

Down the street in the dead of night
Patrol car passes by
Wife prays that he'll return
Safe, sound, and alive...

Michelle Hunter
My favorite performing artist, Michelle Hunter, is going to be playing a concert at Rocketown in Nashville in mid-February. Rocketown is a venue set up by Michael W. Smith-- an amazing place, from everything I've heard. It's a music club, dance hall, skate park, coffee house... The website has a few issues on some pages right now, but if you look at their list of performances in the next month, you'll see that it's unbelievable.

On any given Friday or Saturday, Rocketown may have around 15 performers in 4 separate performance areas, ranging from a large concert hall to a more intimate coffee house setup-- simultaneously. Craziness! Booking must be absolute madness!

There's an open mike at Rocketown once a week, that's usually booked solid by performers for months in advance (from what I've been told). Anyways, I think Michelle is actually doing a separate concert, cause she'll be accompanied by two talented professional musicians, whose names I won't mention yet. One is an upright bass player. The other is a percussionist for a very famous band who I won't mention yet until I get permission to say so...

Her new website will be up in mid-February. I'll post when it's up. A friend of hers who does websites for professional musicians and record companies is designing her site... Her old site was somewhat crippled by MP3.com's buyout by C-Net's Download.com.

The demise of MP3.COM
MP3.com is still offline, but is supposed to come back online bigger and better than ever. We'll see. Or, they could just get folded into C-net's Digital Music Center. That would be a bad thing, in my opinion. MP3.COM had a strong "branding" on the internet. It would be a shame to lose that, and just have a redirection link to C-net. C-net just doesn't cut it as a brand name that you'd associate with MP3's.

New Band Site
Check out www.theaudiobiography.com, for Seattle-based Audiobiography's new website. MP3's from their latest CD are up there. My good friend Sean Wen is the lead guitarist/vocalist/songwriter, and he writes some remarkable songs. Abe, the bass-guitar-rocking-other-half, designed the graphics, and I made the website work. They rock!

See you at the Six String! And eventually, at some local coffee houses and bookstores.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

A Good Six String night...
Tuesday night, I did the most emotional performance of "The Jewelry Box" that I have ever done. It made people cry. When I finished, I had to take a step back and breathe, because I was trembling.

Shelby Merchant was there, and he had requested that song about a month ago, and then I didn't see him at the Six String for a long time. So he was there, and he is about to move out to Nashville to pursue songwriting and performing, and I played him his request. Shelby is really really good. I hope he does well.

Wrote a new song afterwards, that I'm tentatively calling "Fragile". I'll play it next week if I can hone the verse. My first DADGAD tuning song.

I'm planning on playing at the Six String each week from now on until further notice.

Shout out to Nathan Asher. Thanks for the CD, and I'll be sure to check out "Built To Spill" on your recommendation... Catch you around, either at the Six String or maybe elsewhere!

Warped Tour
A friend of mine might be joining a band that's been playing on the Warped Tour for the past two years. It's not official yet, so I can't say nuthin' more, but if it pans out, I'll post it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Six String Tonight
January 13th, Tuesday, 2004, I will be at the Six String. Performances start at 7:15, and run til closing. I usually play around 9'ish, but it varies.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Six String Review
Okay, I chickened out and played two keyboard songs, and one guitar song. See previous post if you're wondering what I'm talking about.

Did an old song written six years ago, "Tear Dreams". Then did Amazing Grace, set to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun". Experienced guitarist Dave Cox joined me for Amazing Grace, soloing over the verse. Then I closed with a guitar song, "Got to Move On", which is one of my favorites, and the loudest song I sing. I'll have to post a recording up on my site soon.

I thought I did poorly on the keyboard songs, and couldn't help myself from grimacing at my mistakes. A terrible thing to do on stage, I know. But Mack, the soundman, told me that I did well on the keyboard songs. "Believe me," he said, "If you sounded awful, I WOULD TELL YOU!" True, Mack, that is true. He would. With an evil smile, too. So Mack has singlehandedly rescued my beloved Roland keyboard from public retirement.

Later, accompanied Mandy and Andy. Mandy has an awesome voice. "I Will Trust In You", and .. "Amazing Grace" I think (a modern version, not the same one I did).

They were gracious enough to allow me to close out their set with a solo song-- surprisingly, some people in the crowd actually requested "The Jewelry Box", which overruled Lin's request for me to play "Shopping Mom" (sorry, Lin! Majority rules!). A shout-out to Daquiri, one of the guys who requested "The Jewelry Box". Thanks, it's always nice to hear someone call out for one of your songs. To date, more people have asked me to sing that song than any other of my songs.

I find that curious, because it's such an intensely personal song, though not written about myself. Each verse is just the story of the broken engagement, and the chorus is simply... well, it's really just a cry out to God. That's all it is, just a cry and a prayer for a shattered heart.

And angels weep for shattered people on the earth

God reaches down to make right all that we've made wrong

Heal our hearts, Lord, they are crushed beneath our feet

Hide us in Your wings of Grace

That's my prayer. Sometimes there's little that needs to be said.

Next Six String...
I showed up at the Six String today mainly because Andy (friend of Mandy) asked me to come. Thanks to everyone who showed up to support me, it's much appreciated, and I hope you were encouraged by the music.

So, next week I resume my regular schedule of every-other week. I may start on a weekly basis again soon, but for now, put next week down on the calendar. I'll be at the Six String on January 13th.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Six String this Tuesday
1/6/2003 I will be at the Open Mike at the Six String Cafe. I usually get stuck in a 9pm - 10:30pm time slot. Come check it out! I'll be playing an all-keyboard set, so I'm not planning on playing the guitar this time around, unless I change something at the last minute.

It has the potential to be a major disaster, so if you like watching people crash and burn, come on out! Or, it could turn out really well. Hard to say ;)

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Michelle Hunter
Woohoo! Michelle Hunter was in town, and I got to see her, 3 months after she moved to Nashville. Her site is currently having some issues, because of MP3.com's recent business acquisition by the owners of Download.com. Well, a LOT of band sites are hurting cause MP3.com was hosting their songs. She's having a new site designed, which will be up early this year, but until then the site is going to be a little broken.

I dragged my guitar with me, and we swapped some songs outside of a coffee house in Raleigh. Later, when we went in to get tea/coffee, the people behind the counter insisted on giving us drinks on-the-house! Some of them were outside and heard us play, and liked the music! Wow! That was really nice of them to do that. I promised to go back and play them some songs, but I discovered today that their work shifts are very unpredictable. I'll track them down. They will hear Dan Tan songs whether they want to or not!

One of my New Years resolutions is to record a full-length CD in my home studio-- which has recorded OTHER people far more often than myself :). Songwriting has slowed down because things have been tremendously busy lately, but I hope to pick it up again. If I can get back up to a new song every 2 weeks like during the summer, I'll be happy.

My Christmas project was to start dumping out worthwhile extracts from the 40 - 50 hours of minidisc recordings I've made over the past six months. Concerts, songwriting ideas, Six String Cafe open mikes, worship services at two different churches, a retreat in Texas... Have finished mastered two CD's worth of live recordings so far. Live recordings are often non-ideal conditions, and I'm having to do a great deal of sound shaping during the mastering process. Sometimes quite severe. Am also dumping out the TYF concert with Koo Chung that I opened at. Recorded digitally into a multi-track straight off of the board, and also stereo crowd mics (Oktava MC012 condensor pair). I love working with live recordings.

I'm now Dolby 5.1 surround-sound capable. Maybe I'll do my recordings in surround-sound and release a DVD instead. Still learning about Dolby 5.1 mixing.

Oh yeah, my other New Year's resolution is to gain weight and work out more. According to my friend, who works out so much that he's beginning to look like Lou Ferrigno, I have to increase my caloric intake by almost 1000 calories per day. He calculated and broke down the proteins, carbs, fats, etc for me by grams.

God is good. Life has been crazeeee for the past year, but amazings things have happened. We live in a broken world, where we most often hurt most those whom we love the most. God continues to change my life, and lives around me. I am forever thankful for God's grace and mercy and love, and the compassion of Jesus Christ.

Several years ago, a good friend of mine wanted to know why I believed in God, Jesus, and the bible. I told her, "I HAVE to believe. I cannot deny God's existence. I could try, but based on my life, I simply have no choice but to believe. It's impossible for me to deny it."

I spent three hours on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, one intense afternoon, telling my life story. When I finished, she was crying, and said, "If I had lived your life, I would believe too. I understand why you say that you cannot ignore it." And yet, she said, "I feel like I have to try to live life on my own first."

You can call me a fanatic, or a freak, but if you had walked in my shoes, you would not have been able to escape the conclusions I have come to.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Six String Recycle
I played last Tuesday at Six String. Ha ha, got to play six songs, and got on stage twice! It was an unusual night. Only 5 performers signed up initially, and I opened. Then, all these large groups of people showed up just to eat dinner and chill to the music. Uh, but by then we were almost done with the performers, and the customers hadn't even gotten their food yet.

SO, most of us performed AGAIN, as if we hadn't played yet. Ha ha!!

Songs I played:
1. Make It Right
2. Shopping Mom
3. River of Tears
4. The Jewelry Box
5. Got to Move On
6. The Wind Song

Shared how despite often-sad theme of my songs, I believe that God is in the business of making right what we have made wrong. Got good feedback, particularly for "Shopping Mom", "River of Tears", and of course, "The Jewelry Box", which is becoming a trademark.

Fun with Chainsaws
Spent the first day of 2004 with a hard-working brother from our church, clearing more storm debris from my parents' property, chainsawing logs, and felling a dying fir tree. Worked from morning until the sun went down, and got a LOT done. Have a pile of debris wood that is taller than I am, waiting to be lit up.

Saw sparks and flames from the chainsaw blade a few times, which is a BAD sign. It means there's too much friction in the cut, and risk of kickback is high. Chainsaw kickback could have a permanently detrimental effect on my songwriting ability.

I felled the old fir tree almost exactly where I wanted it to fall, but it did not separate from the stump properly. Thinking that the top of the tree was securely leaning on the debris pile, I assumed tension was on the top fibers, and thus proceeded to perform an "up" cut (from the underside) with the saw to finish off the tree. I was wrong. The tree had fallen just shy of the top of the debris pile, tension was therefore on the LOWER fibers, and I had just cut through the tensioned fibers with my "up" cut. In a spectacular flash of sparks and flames, the tree seized the chainsaw blade as the whole weight of the tree pinched my cut closed. Doh. An old-fashioned handsaw eventually freed the trapped chainsaw, but not after much embarassment and beating myself on the head.

Learned a valuable lesson on properly assessing the lean and tension of a tree, and didn't lose any limbs. Tree felling and wood cutting is dangerous work, and your brain, properly applied, is the best safety measure. If you're going to use a chainsaw, learn how to assess and control tree falls, otherwise we won't be seeing you again.

Teach yourself about how to cut down trees without killing yourself from this and many other New Zealand government publications. It seems like everyone in NZ is expected to know how to operate a chainsaw properly... Must be the wild nature of "Middle Earth"...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?