Sunday, August 1, 2010

Three Rooms Reviews

My CD Three Rooms (released November 2009) has been played on WPRB programs (The Worried Waltz hosted by Mr. Various aka composer Thomas Myernick and Clothesline hosted by Ui bassist and composer Wilbo Wright). It's also been reviewed by a colleague at the Asbury Park Press (unfortunately and completely mysteriously unavailable online) and by Rider colleague Christian Carey in his Sequitur21 blog File Under? . Both reviews were kind, but noncommittal. A couple other musician colleagues, Dane Scalise (Penny Nation, Invisible Movie Soundtrack) and Bill Milbrodt (Car Music Project), were more enthusiastic in their postings on the page.

Another friend, Tim Herbert, sent me his compliments recently, calling the CD "an interesting minimalist endeavor". Tim was a bandmate of mine when we were both teenagers in Pittsburgh. Trust me, "an interesting minimalist endeavor" is high praise. But this morning, I got an email from him telling me I sounded like songwriting legend Jimmy Webb in his solo recordings. Webb was never a big influence on me, but I have to admit I'm pleased with the comparison.

"Don't get a big head, now," Tim said.

Like most songwriters, it is hard for me to understand what people hear when they listen to my music, so I'm looking for any sign of trends among the responses. It seems the people that are most excited about this CD are those who have some recording or songwriting background, or both. Some friends who are nonmusicians--who have praised some of my older music--are indifferent to this CD. And almost everyone who has liked it has said they have to listen to it more than once. Some of them have listened to it many times.

So I gather that somehow, in its simplicity, Three Rooms is still something of a challenge for listeners. That's a good sign. I was aiming in this CD to bring my classical and experimental music background together with my lifelong hobby of songwriting. I wanted the music to have some depth, some extra layers of interest, and still have a transparent, intimate feel.

So I'm left sort of back where I started, reaffirming the need to be true to my own instincts. And hoping that, for whatever reason, people will look for meaning in my work. If I'm honest in what I do they stand a better chance of finding it.


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