Back in November 2007, more than a year into my relationship with my now-fiancee, Alison, I had recorded an early, instrumental version of a song for her. I had worked out some lyrics for the choruses and the first verse, but that was it.
Because Elvis Costello wrote the ultimate song called “Alison” — a song my Alison can’t stand, by the way — I just couldn’t bring myself to call it that. Hence, I constructed the name “Alliel” by combining my fiancee’s first name and her last initial. My Alison only spells her name with one l, but “Alliel” looks better than “Aliel” so I added the extra l into the song title.
Anyway, a few days ago, Alison went to a baby shower, leaving me home alone to clean and do some things around the house. Instead, I fired up GarageBand on my MacBook, finished writing the lyrics, changed/added some of the piano parts from the 2007 demo and recorded a more finished demo version of “Alliel.”
I realize my voice isn’t the greatest, but once I start recording vocals, I seem to always find myself trying to do some interesting things with harmonies. And then I added the “big vocals” at the end of the song, which was inspired by a Trevor Rabin (former Yes guitarist who does a lot of composing for films these days) solo album from the late 80s.
“Vortex (2009)” is a reworked version of a techno instrumental song I originally wrote in 1992 or so, featuring the sounds of a Roland Jupiter synthesizer I used to have. You can listen to it on the song’s TalentTrove.com media page, or you can listen to it using the embedded player below.
It is a tight race and “Vortex (2009)” is in second place as I write this. Voting ends this Sunday night (June 7), shortly before midnight.
Now, you do need to register on TalentTrove.com in order to vote, but I would greatly appreciate it if you went the extra step to support me — and my song — in this contest. Besides, you may have a talent you want to share with the world and TalentTrove.com may be the place for you to do that.
In looking over my previous post about New Jersey’s upcoming music festivals this summer, I thought about another really cool upcoming event held near the Roebling Market in Trenton, N.J.
It is called Art All Night and it is literally a 24-hour arts and entertainment event that takes place this year from 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, until 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 21. Although this is the second year in a row that it takes place during Asbury Park’s Wave Gathering Festival, I did manage to get in a night for the Wave Gathering Festival in Asbury Park last year AND make it to Art All Night in Trenton for a few hours before it closed that Sunday afternoon.
The cool thing about Art All Night is that artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to submit one — only one — piece of artwork for display in the exhibit hall during the 24 hours of Art All Night, which is held in a 50,000-square-foot building that is part of the Roebling Machine Shop that manufactured cables used to construct the Brooklyn Bridge (the building is slated to become the home of the Museum of Contemporary Science). There are some musical acts and demonstrations that take place in adjacent Millyard Park.
There is also a stage inside the main building on which musicians perform throughout the event.
Please check out the photos I took last year (see the slideshow above) and be sure to check out the web sites for both Art All Night and Artworks, downtown Trenton’s visual arts center and the primary force behind Art All Night.
Summer is around the corner and that means it’s almost time to enjoy multi-day music festivals here in the northeastern United States, especially here in New Jersey.
The biggest summer music festival in these parts is All Points West, which returns to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., from Friday, July 31, through Sunday, August 2, 2009. The second-annual APW festival features 65 artists on three stages, including the Beastie Boys, Vampire Weekend, Tool, Neko Case, the Ting Tings, MGMT, Echo & The Bunnymen, and Coldplay. A lot of great acts will be there (although I’m not a fan of Coldplay at all), but APW is very pricey. Three-day tickets for APW cost $199 + applicable fees (for a limited time, so that rate will go higher as the date gets closer) and single-day passes are $89 plus fees (again, for a limited time). However, I did read on the APW web site that tickets can be purchased in installments. Not sure if that was the case last year, but that is a nice option if you really want to go.
For the third consecutive year, I plan on attending WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park on the waterfront in Camden, N.J. This year’s XPN festival takes place Friday, July 24, through Sunday, July 26, and features headlining acts like They Might Be Giants, Aimee Mann, Peter Bjorn & John, Robert Cray, Shemekia Copeland, Guster, and Steve Forbert on the main River Stage. In addition, many local and up-and-coming acts like Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles, Hoots & Hellmouth, John Gorka, and Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby will be showcased on the Marina Stage.
And because WXPN is the home to the weeknight kids program, Kids Corner, there is also a Kids Corner stage away from the main festival area that will include family-friendly acts like Skip Dennenberg and Miss Amy on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.
What’s especially nice about the XPN festival is that, if you buy your tickets before July 11, you get nearly three days of music for just $40. And if you are a member of the station (based at the University of Pennsylvania), the cost is just $30 for the three-day pass…PLUS, you get access to the ever-popular “members only” area where you can get free water, iced tea and lemonade AND meet the artists performing at the festival. After July 11, the three-day ticket prices go up to $40 for XPN members and $60 for the general public. Still a bargain for such a great music festival, but there is no reason not to buy your passes at the early-bird rate.
If you are more into the club-hopping type of festival, Asbury Park, N.J., offers the fourth-annual Wave Gathering Festival from June 19-21. Although the schedule and artists have not yet been announced for this year’s Wave Gathering Festival, last year’s event featured more than 180 artists at 23 venues throughout the city…so that should give you an idea of what to expect. The Wave Gathering Festival has been a big part of Asbury Park’s recent rebirth as both a city and a local music scene, and has featured the likes of Ingrid Michaelson, Ben Arnold, Val Emmich and Nicole Atkins & The Sea.
Three-day passes for the Wave Gathering Festival are also a very affordable $40.00, while single-day passes are $25. You may also purchase admission to individual shows at prices set by the venue (and many of those are typically just $5 or $10).
There are many other music festivals going on in New Jersey during the coming months, but these should be a good starting point before you go looking for others.