Recording an Album is Tough!

I’ve thought about writing this article for a while to explain just how tough it is to record an album and partialy, maybe even an axcuse, as to why I didn’t record my own music perviously.

I’ve been in the studio and recorded a few times with a friend of mine and the very first experience was just as most people have had. You take a deal from a local studio as a package recording session and make a demo or short album. We did it about thrity years ago and it was fun, but rushed, and far from perfect. At that time, I was basically just playing guitar for my friend Jon on his songs and didn’t really have a lot of my own music. I had some nascent songs and a few instrumentals then but those would all blossom into some of the songs I recently recorded for Metal for Morgan. Back then, I never had time to focus on writing due to working and other parts of life that just seemed to get in the way.

In 2007 I had a motorcycle wreck that induced some changes in my life that were positive towards my music in the long run, and some negative. I had spent years playing other people’s music and covers and had a lot of ‘pent up’ creativity just waiting to be let out and that it did. Once my wrists healed from the wreck, I couldn’t hold a guitar pick without pain so I started playing entirely with my fingers and wouldn’t go back to the pick until just recently to record this album. I bought some acoustic guitars and started listening to some of the great acoustic virtuosos like Andy McKee and Tommy Emmanuel. I began writing instrumentals and they just came to me like pouring water from a pitcher. I had so many new pieces of music, so fast, that I struggled with remembering them that I decided I would have to name them to do so and everyone who had touched my life (family) and even my cats got a piece of music. It wasn’t long after that when I started to actually finish some of the songs like Mother Nature and You Know Me, that I wanted to record.

I then did was most of us do, I leaned on my network of friends from the music community in San Franciso and went with one of the people I had met that I knew produced and recorded. My friend Jordan had a space in the city and we fleshed out and recorded one song, Mother Nature, just so I could get an idea of what I wanted to do and see how well we worked together. Jordan is great and has an awesome band and I really liked the first recording, but it wasn’t exactly what I felt it should be inside of me, but I also didn’t really know what that feeling was and how to bring it out. I had only played my songs acoustically at that point and didn’t really have a larger vision for them. I was working for the video game developer Double Fine Productions at the time and we brought on a new audio intern who just happened to play drums. I had a Roland TD20 kit and invited him to jam with me and so the bigger picture became a little clearer. The drummer, Brian, had a more metal background than even I did and loved playing double-bass. We had a lot of fun experimenting with my songs and improvising on new material but we never made it to the studio and only played a few gigs together that were little more than the feature at the Hotel Utah open mic and a few small house concerts at my apartment that were poorly attended.

A few years later, I was just starting to work on an album when I met my son’s mother and that took over my whole life and I put recording on a shelf and became a dad. I figured I would eventually get back to recording with my friend Scott, who is a great producer and engineer and really helped me realize that I could sing, and sing harmonies with little effort. We fleshed out a few songs but again, between working a new job and a baby on the way, I had to stop. The stuff we did was great and I honestly wish we could have worked on more material together but now it’s been so long that I’m a different musician and person and would want to start completely over.

The years ticked away and it took being laid off to really pull me back into the music enough to even think about recording again. I was working far too much before that and trying to be a dad two weekends a month which takes a lot of work and makes it difficult to focus for me. However being a dad is what made me want to really tighten my focus and get back in the studio so that I could capture my songs and music and leave something behind for my son to have to hopefully inspire him and to also leave some solid memories. Not that I plan on leaving this world anytime soon — I just wanted to set that stuff in stone and record some stuff I wrote specifically for him. In fact, that became the entire theme for the album and title ‘Metal for Morgan’. My son, Morgan, fell in love with Crazy Train by Ozzy and mostly because he loves trains and the song mentions them, but it’s also melodic and has a great vocal hook. When I picked him up for our weekends, I would already have the song queued and waiting for him and as we drove off from his mother’s house, we would jam to it.

Morgan likes music with energy, although he equates it with being angry and not just energetic, the fast beat of drums and distorted guitars make him dance and thrash around and that’s where the title of the album came from. I would play guitar for him and he would ask me to play metal. Once I was laid off and started working on the album, the title for it came almost immediately.

To circle back to how I was able to find the time to record, I was laid off from my previous job, and to me, that usually means I do something big in my life to improve it and me, and grow as a person. The previous time I was laid off was in 2013 from Double Fine Productions, my self-improvement was to go back to college and take a full semester of music theory classes. That in itself was an achievement as I crushed my foot in a motorcycle mishap during the first month but fortunately got some help and was able to stay in school and only miss one day. I finished the semester at the same time I found another job so the timing was perfect and I was back to work at just the right time.

I had just picked up my Greenfield acoustic guitar in the fall or 2014 and that had inspired me to record again and it was to be acoustic focused to capitalize on the guitar’s amazing sound. I just want to add and not really get into the details, but my Greenfield is the most amazing sounding acoustic guitar I’ve ever heard or played and just about everything Michael makes will probably qualify that statement but I’ve only played Andy McKee’s guitars for reference and they’re amazing as well!

I kind of got out of order in the sequence of events for this article but I think the explanation works better this way. After picking up my Greenfield and then working with Scott to record a few songs, I met my son’s mother and now we’re back on track as far as the timeline goes!

Shortly after being laid off in 2021, I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a place to record, hang out, and work on my music. I didn’t really care about the order but I do wish I would have had more time to practice and develop my tones as well as practice with a pick before recording, but we don’t always get a choice in the random nature of events that lead us to where we are at any given place in time. A friend of mine messaged me about recording with her husband who was also a good friend of mine. They’re super lucky to both be musicians and awesome people, and it just clicked for all of us. I went to visit them and we jammed and it was good.

We had our first jam and discussion about my project and set a rough date to start working as well as some parameters, and made some basic recordings for a scratch pad to work from. Now, I didn’t know that my friend Ryan, had a love of metal music and really had forgotten my own love and still don’t listen to it on a regular basis. I took my Bogner Uberschall and the guitar I used to test it when I bought in 2004, and there was a little bit of magic going on when we fired it up for the first time. We both clicked immediately and the first few jams were as good as anyone could hope for and some of the base tracks for the songs on the album were pulled from those sessions. We played together well and we were both just in great spirits, eating good food, and drinking good beer, and enjoying the company of each other, and I’m sure that helped set the tone (har har) for us to click and make some great music.

The change to play a more metal based album wasn’t something I was expecting but became obvious quite fast as the combination of the Bogner and my green ESP is a killer match and have quite an amazing sound together. Ryan loved them from the beginning and seemed quite blown away from the pair. I watched him smile from ear-to-ear and swing his drum sticks around like we were playing live in front of 10,000 people. It was pure energy and magic and some of the best first jams I’ve ever had in my life. Like I said, we just clicked and new parts to old songs were improvised on the spot and kept as though they were always there. The song ‘Rule the World’ was an old riff with a new chorus that had never really been fleshed out but the first time we played the song, I came up with the new parts and fit everything together on the spot. That song is my favorite on the album and was the impetus to play heavier and make the album more ‘metal’, even taking songs that I never intended to be played with distortion and make them what you can hear on MfM.

I returned home after our first jam saying and thinking “I’m making a metal album” and even though it’s not heavy metal and only really has three truly metal instrumentals on the album, the synergy and inertia was there and only got stronger when we started really working on it.

When I decided I was going to make this album, I had it all laid out and as anyone who has done this before knows, that changed as we started to work on the music and some songs were dropped and a few added. Again, I intended to make a more rock and roll but lighter album with just my acoustic style songs and didn’t even think about playing more electric guitar than acoustic. Some of the pieces I dropped were three really strong acoustic instrumentals and we did record two of them but ultimately decided to save them for either singles or for the next album. I made a spreadsheet with all the songs, what guitars, amps, and effects I would use, and all my ideas and then used it to track progress and changed it as we evolved the ideas. The spreadsheet was a great idea and I will use the same format for the next album but I also think with the next one, I’ll have a much better idea as to what and how it will be. After the first album, I got a little more in touch with what I wanted to do and what I like. I think I was just sidetracked with the acoustic guitar music and that really, deep inside, I’m still and will always be a rocker. Now, that’s not to say that I wont record a full-length acoustic album, and that is on the list to do but this album went to my roots and I’m glad it did. Time will ultimately tell me how that works out and I completely expect for me to change my mind a few times, because that’s just how it works.

To record the album, I would go to a private studio that’s really just a soundproofed space with drums and a small recording rig, but it has some very nice, professional details that make it great, and the overall product is just about what I expected and wanted. I was fully prepared to painfully record each song to a click track and do it as clean and neat as possible, but I despise click tracks and honestly, my budget didn’t allow for me to spend that much money and time. I divided the budget between recording, food, and art. I could have spent a lot less on the artwork, but I wanted the album cover to be something that my son would love and always cherish and I got that. Of course I wanted the recordings to be as good as I could possibly make them, but there’s a balance when you have a budget and that’s the biggest variable that comes to play when you start to figure out the algorithm for the process. I know that even more seasoned recording artists don’t know for certain what exactly the outcome of the recording process will be and keep their minds open to that. Ideas come to us when we’re feeling really good and happy and although I was unemployed and missing my son, I had some really good times that brought out the best ideas.

Like I said, a lot of the base tracks for the album came from our first two jam sessions and contain some improvised parts. I have never liked clicks and the sound drives me nuts, and even against the advice of Ryan and many conversations about how to proceed, we did the majority of the album live — or to say we just jammed for hours and recorded it and then picked out the best stuff. I actually like the feel of a live album done this way more than a perfectly timed, and to me, more rigid process. Yes, I do agree that we could have made the album tighter and cleaner, but I also could have practiced for a full month with a pick in a cabin in the woods and made it overall better as well. I wanted to do that intially but the reality of time and money were a factor and I wanted to also take a big trip back east to visit family and friends that I hadn’t seen in years, post pandemic restrictions. So we set a time frame and worked out the best way to complete the project which involved a lot of base of tracks being just jams with some improvisation which actually worked out quite well, if you ask me.

Postmortem to the process and the overall project left me with new ideas for the next project and process but I may approach it in entirely the same manner which starts with some jamming and recording and then listening to the material and making decisions based on how it sounds and how I feel. I’ll talk a little bit about anything that I would do differently another time and maybe it’s not that important because there’s little that I would change other than the time of year we worked because it was hot and during fire season so we had smokey air to deal with on top of all that. I really can’t think of anything else that I’d change beyond what I mentioned other than more budget for recording and yes, maybe do more tracks with the dreaded click.

The whole process was a learning experience and one that all my previous experience barely helped. I think the biggest takeaway is that you just can’t expect much to be the same at the end of the project as you expect it to be in the beginning. There are just too many variables that come into play and as we all know, nothing works out as expected unless you’re lucky, and no one is lucky every time. I used to fear recording and would get nervous and it took me time to ease my tension and loosen up. I think I grew a lot in that regard and the next time in the studio is something that I am eagerly waiting for and excited to get back to. My time management during the whole process was a pretty solid and despite the smoke from the fires in California causing some changes, it worked out almost exactly as I expected for the budget. In fact, the budget worked out and the artwork only cost a little more than anticipated however I did make a miscalculation on timing the art and should have set the schedule a little more forward. My expectation was that it would take longer for the mixing and mastering but that was super smooth and the mixes were really good up front and didn’t require a lot of back and forth to get them where I wanted. The masters came really fast after that and I was super impressed with them and how good they sounded. So I could say that again, expect the unexpected and the timing was better than what I feel it was.

The only real hiccup was with my publisher accepting my tax information so that I could accept royalty payments and that took over a month for them to sort out. As a software developer, I’m going to guess that they had a bug somewhere and it took them identifying it, verifying it, then getting it bugged in a ticket for a developer to sort out, then submit the fix to QA for testing and verification, then off to production where my issue was solved. I won’t get into the details but trust me because I’ve worked in software development with web based applications for a long time and it was all too familiar. The information that was eventually accepted was the same as the first time I submitted it.

For this release, I had planned all along to go digital at first and just get business cards with the album cover on one side and a QR code on the back that will take you to a listing of places where you can listen to or maybe even buy my album. I have the cards now and they’re okay — not perfect and I might just get new ones made but I’ll probably still hand them out and go on with it. I may get CDs and vinyl copies made and have kept that in mind during the whole process. I just need to get back to work before I can justify the spend because being a musician doesn’t really pay much and frankly I’d rather be a producer of music than a touring artist, but I will say that I love playing live and if I can work that out, I’ll do it.

I used to think that writing songs was the hardest part of the whole thing but now I think it’s the post recording process of releasing and all the other pieces that need to be put in place where the hardest work resides. I have yet to do a lot of the post production parts but I’ve been busy looking for a new job and visiting family and friends and just taking a break. My son has listened to the album and loves it and that was the biggest goal and well met although I still want to be a full-time musician, I understand how difficult it is to get established and actually make enough money to keep going. For now, I’ll find another job and get back to work and keep planning out the next few albums. I’ll get back to California and back to visiting with my son every other weekend and we’ll have our album to listen to as we play with trains and trucks and have fun. Once I get the groove of life back, I’ll get a schedule in place and I’ll start recording again but probably at a slower pace than the last one, but again, you never know and I’ll take it as it comes.

My first full length album: Metal for Morgan

The album has been submitted for approval and will be pushed to streaming sites and other sites in a few days. Once it’s availble I’ll post links to it and add more notes.

I’ve recorded with friends on their songs, and I’ve recorded a few singles of my own, but I never found the time to record my own full length album until being laid off earlier in the year. I was looking for a place where I could go hang out, work on my songs, and then record them when a friend’s wife saw a post I made pertaining to that idea and he contacted me.

At first, I had planned a mostly acoustic album with the majority of the same songs that are on MfM, but not with electric guitars, or drums, or anything like what I ended up producing. I went to the studio on the very first day with the intention of just doing acoustic and maybe a few instrumentals. Now, mind you, the intent was to make an album so that I could one, record my first full length, and two, have some music online for my son, Morgan, to be able to listen to. I didn’t even think about doing an album like this until I started jamming with Ryan Clark, and then realized that he was an absolutely fantastic drummer and loved metal. I knew he was an engineer and producer, but always just thought of him as this super nice and happy guy who played cajon, and wrote acoustic songs. Ryan even played with me a few times over the years but I never knew more than that impression and was quite happy and surprised after he contacted me.

To explain how I got to the final prduct from wanting to do an acoustic album, I guess the part I wasn’t really thinking about was the Bogner Uberschall that I’ve had for eighteen years and barely used over the last eight. I took it to the studio just in case we might find some inspiration and a few places to use it on the album, not that it would become a hugely inspirational and foundational piece of this entire thing.

The Bogner Uberschall is, in my opinion, one of the finest sounding amplifiers ever made. I originally bought it while living in North Carolina and didn’t understand that it in combination with my old, green ESP Vintage Plus and the Seymour Duncan Vintate Rails, made a matched set of awesomeness and a fairly uncommon tone when combined. I took the same ESP when I tried out the amp before buying it and was immediately hooked on the lush and flavorful tube tones that it produced, but still didn’t get the combination and didn’t truly understand that until Ryan’s eyes lit up and he grinned from ear to ear when he first heard it.

The pairing of the ESP, Bogner, and Vintage Rails gives a metallic and not overly saturated tone. It’s biting and visceral, but still refined enough to cater to rock and roll, yet powerful enough to make a metal song have the bite and growl it needs to fit the bill. I have to say that altough I haven’t tried a lot of new amps for quite a while, this is and will probably always be my favorite amp. Tubes just yield the best tones to me and this baby, loaded with EL34s, makes me smile every time I play with it. It’s the type of amp that you don’t have to turn up to seven to get a rich saturation, and you can quietly play this 120w, 4×12 driven amp in your bedroom at a low volume and it still sounds amazing.

To cover a little more of the gear used on the album, we also used a Bogner Barcelona with various pedals (Keeley modified Rat, Red Bogner) for doubling the guitars, and I bought a new, purple ESP loaded with Seymour Duncan Saturday Night Specials, to help differentiate the tones. The purple ESP, as we refered to it, would end up being used for all the solos on the album and 95% of the doubled rythym. We also used an Orange amp loaded with two ten inch speakers and an SG on one song for a little difference. And to give credit where it’s due: I was against using the Orange at first, but it really does have a great sound and I’m not one to deny facts, and I will always admit when I’m wrong. I was wrong.

The concept of the album came to me quite suddenly, and many thanks to my son for his input, ideas, and inspiration. I made this album for him and the title came after realizing we were making a harder, heavier, and more metal based album because he would ask me from time to time to play metal while jamming on the guitar for him. He loved the more “angry” riffs and would dance around, playing air guitar, and banging his head to them. I would play different riffs for him and ask him to tell me what mood he felt from them and all the metal(ish) stuff was “angry” to him. After establishing the new direction and sound for the album, it easily came to me early on in the process that this album would be ‘Metal for Morgan’. Morgan loves Ozzy and Crazy Train so I had Stella add the T shirt and she came up with a few other east eggs.

To describe the whole album, it’s mostly rock songs, with three heavy instrumentals, and two acoustic songs. I was going to add a few acoustic instrumentals but decided to hold them for the next release. I may even debut them as singles now that I have the momentum and desire to share and document my music. To say the whole album is metal is not true, but rock mostly, and maybe a little bit harder due to the Bogner and how tough it was to turn down the gain on such an amazing sounding amp!

Tracks and Notes:

Diatomaceous Earth — This is an instrumental idea that I’ve had for many years and nearly forgot. Fortunately I had a video of it on Youtube and quickly relearned it. The name came from the substance of the same and was part of the recording experience, which I’ll just leave you to wonder about. No, I wasn’t eating it…

Mother Nature — Most people who know my music or have heard me play out somewhere, know this song and it’s always been one of my more popular tunes. I started writing this when I was about sixteen but put it down for a long time until I came up with more music for it in the early 2000’s, then after moving to California a few years later, penned the rest of the lyrics and finished it. MN is the first song I completed and is about a place I used to walk to clear my head. It was my cathartic process to get all the negative stuff I was experiencing when I was young, out.

Garbage Trucks — I wrote this song specifically for Morgan and worked on it over a few years untli I found the rest of it due to his input. I had all the music down but writing about a specific subject has always been hard for me and I just couldn’t figure out where to go with it until I asked Morgan and he told me to say something about where the trucks take the trash and go at the end of the day. That was enough for me to complete it and after Ryan pushed me to add more verses, I wrote out a few based on Morgan’s input and we completed it. The guitar solo parts I had in my head for a few months and managed to translate them exactly. All I needed then was a good, solid backing with the drums, a tasty bass line, and the smoke to help me sing it with the right tone! Yes, the fires in California at the time played a big role in recording this whole album, but also the vocals for this song.

I Met a Girl — I wrote this song as a concept a few years back, about how I always met the same type of lady. Now, to preface this song description, I’m not saying anything negative about women at all — this is about me and what I attract, not about women in general. I just always seem to attract the wrong type of women to me and I guess I do have an idea why and this song helped me understand it. But there’s a lot more to it, and in chorus I touch upon an empty feeling I’ve always had inside and a lady that I’ve dreamed about my whole life but I don’t know if I’ve ever met her. The song Said and Done is related to that and may give a more clear definition. I took this song to a songwriter’s group I used to attend and co-host, and they always struggled with me reusing the name Mary Ann, but it makes sense to me!

Rule the World — Rule is my favorite track on the album and was one that I had started to write and shelved about ten years ago. I just couldn’t find what I wanted to do with it and kept thinking that the verse was going to be the chorus. I was looking for a harder edged song for the album after our first session and new direction for the album, and off the cuff, I wrote the chorus, very loosely and didn’t fully realize it until we jammed on it in the studio and I’m pretty sure the rythym in the song was the first take with some improvised parts. I quickly finished the lyrics and the song was done. Now, I know it might be easy to assign the meaning to specific people, but it’s not about anyone, but more about everyone who craves power and money. Maybe more to the ultra rich and how every single one of them loses touch with the humble parts and the sickness of greed takes over.

Moving Slowly — You could definitely say that this track is related to Mother Nature, and more of an adendum to it than anything. It’s about being stuck somewhere you aren’t happy and watching others get out while you’re still there. It’s about several attempts I made to get out of WV when I was young and how I had to come back a few times. I was apprehensive about playing this song with distortion on an electric guitar at first but found inspiration from Ryan due to him identifying the Rush in my influences.

Hammification — The name of this instrumental came from a process I use for making Sous Vide steaks. I add a lot of salt and slow cook them at 126F, which is enough to keep them pink and juicy, but it gives them a rainbow, metallic sheen from being basically cured like a ham. The music was some that I came up with a long time ago and we even improvised a few new parts for it and cut down some of the original. I love the raw, rock and roll feel to it and draw a little on a lot of my roots in it.

Gopher Hunting — I was going to originally call this ‘Potty Training’ and still consider both hunting gophers and training a child to use a toilet at about the same level of difficulty. Which is the same as recording this piece after not playing it for years. I have barely used a guitar pick over the last ten years due to a motorcycle wreck that left me with titanium in both arms and pain when using a pick. It was only after our first jam session together that I picked the pick back up. We improvised a few new parts for this and I wrote a few and even cut out an original part. You can hear the original on my Youtube channel as one of the three heavy samples. This is a throw back to my 80’s metal inspirations and was all the purple ESP. We cranked up the gain on the amps and I practiced the riffs over and over until we recorded it. We spent one day and recorded four solid hours of jamming just this piece. I thought it just about killed us! Ryan looked like he had just completed a marathon and my arm hurt for three days! I think this is by far the most energetic piece on the album it’s definitely not something you should drive and listen to!

You Know Me — I wrote this song kind of for my ex-wife and kind of just a general piece about loving someone a lot but feeling a bit beat up from it. The chorus is just me saying that I liked the old us and never wanted it to get some complicated. You could probably say this is one of my punk songs and I intentionally didn’t put lead guitar on it to emphasize that. I really like how it came out and was surprised when Ryan added the harmonies to it that he said he didn’t think it needed! I think they worked quite well and am quite proud of the final version.

Seasons — This is a song that I’ve recorded before but didn’t think I was really nailing what I wanted to say. I’m still not sure that it’s 100% where I wanted it to be but I’m very happy with this version and adding distortion and electric guitars gave it a very different feel and power. The song is about life and merely just an observation of me looking at it through the lens of seasons. It was a concept song that I wrote during my time in the songwriter group when I first realized I could sing and wanted to write more. It doesn’t really have a chorus as tradionally defined, but more of a statement.

Standard Issue Guy — This was originally just a short acoustic song that I wrote to fit a riff I came up with that I liked. I had played it at a few open mics and wasn’t even going to record it until we jammed on it and Ryan mentioned that he remembered it from me playing it out somewhere and that it had a punk feel to it. We worked on it a good bit and some people might prefer the acoutic at the end over the first part but I liked it and the final version is something I’m proud of and thankful to Ryan for helping me understand how it could be.

Said and Done — Here’s a song that’s a continuation of I Met a Girl, but more in touch with my emotions about it. The song basically just says that I’m still alone and probably never will find this lady who I keep seeing in my dreams. Maybe she’s not real and all fantasy, but I’ll probably never know. It’s also about how there’s nothing new that we can say or do and you just need to take people as they are with all their faults and find the parts you love and appreciate them. We all have flaws and the best of us will always try to overcome those and grow.

Birthday Song — Back when Warner Bros made a stink about their Birthday Song, I had this little piece of music and wrote the lyrics to it as an alternative. Nothing more but to say Happy Birthday!

Liner Notes

All songs written and composed by Brent Shinn
Recorded by Ryan Clark

Brent Shinn
Guitars, Bass, Vocals

Ryan Clark
Drums, Sheep Sounds

Special thanks to Melissa Lyn for making this happen and being an awesome person and friend.

Dedicated to my son Morgan: May you always love music and be humble with your ability and talents. And if you never become a musician, I’ll still love you but I’ll sell my guitars! My baby boy; I’m so sorry life has worked out the way it has, but some stones are impossible to move and all you can do is walk around them.

To my brother Mark Shinn for being an influence in art and music, and to my twin brother Brian Shinn for being supportive when I needed it.

Mom and Dad, I wish you could hear this.

Hotel Utah Open Mic 7/30 Comedy / Parody Night

I don’t consider myself as funny as I do just a smart ass, but I tried to write a song about the ever popular topic of flatulence. I wrote a song called iFarted and although I haven’t played in it some time, I decided to take the easy route and not write or learn something to just do what I have. I did forget to practice the song beforehand but I’ve been really busy with a few other projects and I also like to keep my word so I stayed focused on the upcoming gig and then to another project where I’m co-writing with someone and just didn’t prioritize any time to practice the song. Now that I have my excuse for slop out of the way… 🙂

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Hotel Utah Open Mic Feature Spot

Before I get started, I want to thank Brendan Getzell who hosts the open mic at the Utah, and the Utah itself for being ‘The ‘Ute”. You both rock!!! Literally 🙂

I’ve wanted to feature at the Utah for some time and finally, that day came. I played on July 23rd as the featured performer at the Hotel Utah Open Mic! That may not seem like much to a lot of people but it had significance to me for a few reasons.

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Featured performer 7/23/2012 Hotel Utah open mic = me!

I’ve been going to Hotel Utah’s open mic on and off for a while now but only recently started to attend every week, about 6 -7 weeks ago. I like this place – it’s right in my backyard and this open mic, as many others, has its own unique blend of performers and atmosphere. The Utah at my place of work, more commonly known as The Ute, is a popular place for my fellow employees to celebrate things worthy of drink! To that we recognize important company milestones; employee departures; the end of tough weeks; or for a big what the hell – The Ute is the place we go. So I’ve been there’s countless times not just for regular beer consumption but for the open mic. I first played there in September of 2010 when I was just a burgeoning artist and wanting to whip out my first few completed songs and test them.

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Exit Theatre – TONIGHT, Thunderegg and Brent Shinn!

Tonight at 8:30PM at Exit Theatre at 156 Eddy St. right off Mason St., just a short walk from buses and bart – Thundergg and I will perform a show in the cafe. Thunderegg is an awesome performer with quite a catalog and musical history where I’m just someone who has recently started trying to make a name for myself. I’m fortunate to be paired with such a great guy and fantastic musician – this should be a damn good evening. A big special thanks to Melissa Lyn and Songwriter Saturdays for giving us the chance to perform in such a cool place!

I like going to this event to catch a more intimate view of an artist as opposed to what you can only glean from open mics – this is a way to hear more at once and get a better picture and feel for a performer. Now it’s my chance to share my music along with Will – Thunderegg in a place I deeply admire.

I hope to see you there!


Exit Theatre

Exit Theatre – Songwriter Saturdays

This is a great little event hosted by Melissa Lyn almost every Saturday at the Exit Theater on Eddy St. in downtown San Francisco. It’s not too far in to the sketchy area so it’s a safe walk from Powell St.

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Back to the woodshed…

I managed to move to a much smaller and cheaper apartment directly across from my work – which is surprisingly pleasant and makes giving my cats medication much easier 🙂 I do have to say that being so close to the office has been better than I imagined and I do love the commute! Now that I’m moved, I still have a few small lingering items to deal with like a car to sell, and my washer and dryer I no longer have a place to hook-up, and then finalizing my unpacking and organization but it’s coming along nicely and by the end of the month I should be able to relax and record – which leads to the reason for this post.

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UK Vacation and Open Mics!

I just back from my first trip to the UK and had an amazing time! So much history and so much to see – I love visiting new places for the first time and how it just opens up your senses and your brain. To me it feels like an indoor cat looks when you they go outside for the first time – peaked and intrigued!

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Finnegan’s Novato Open Mic

Finnegan’s in Novato has been under the hosting awesomeness of KC Turner for over 5 years and draws and interesting and diverse crowd or fans and performers. I experienced this first hand recently and I have to admit that I was blown away by the reception of me and my abilities as well and the wonderful performers that graced my first evening in this North Bay open mic.

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