Four in a Week (Live Music, Recording, etc)

If you’re wondering why it’s been a little while since there has been a long blog post, it’s because we have been busy! 

One of the things we’ve been working on is recording music. Demo versions of both “Clouds” and “In a Minor Key” were released to SoundCloud a few weeks ago. If you haven’t already had a chance, please take a listen. I’m very proud of the songwriting on both, but they are very different feels. I would really appreciate it if you sent me your thoughts.

One of the key reasons I’m asking for your thoughts is that I’m about to do something with both songs that I haven’t done before. Terrance Reeves – who is a musician, a producer, and a friend – will be taking possession of the original tracks over the next couple of days with an eye towards mixing them properly, and turning them into final products. My vision is that these two songs (along with five others) will eventually become an EP for my favorite songs from the last year.

The waiting is the hardest part….

Getting this done has already been a little bit of an adventure as apparently I have not been updating my recording software as often as I should. In my initial effort to try to get the tracks ready for Terrance yesterday, I was presented with an update for one piece of software that then crashed the core StudioOne engine. It is at times like these that

1) I am thankful that I back everything up to the cloud, so no original recordings would ever have been lost, and

2) I have enough experience to know panic is not the right option in this case. Instead the right option is to step away, think through how one got to this particular crisis, and back up two or three steps.

Short story – everything is back to normal, and now I have a newer and slightly more capable recording system than I did two days ago, with no damage, and with only minimal out-of-pocket outlay to fix the problem.

There’s also a lot going on for us on the live music scene – which is not quite the same thing as the in-person music scene, although there are glimmers of hope here as well. For example, our dear friend Andrew Geano is starting to play out again in New Hampshire – open air and socially distanced, but still live and in person. Tim Ko has a similar set of situations, and the links here will take you to their pages.

As for me, I have now two regular gigs and a couple of upcoming specials.

First, I will be playing at 2 PM on Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21) at the Music Salon. Linda Marks has invited me to do a set, which I am very happy to do. This set might be a little different from my usual sets because I’ll be playing from a slightly different location – should be fun. 

Next, the two regular gigs: Tuesdays at 8:30pm I play the Apocalyptic Open Mic, and I’ve also just added a Friday afternoon gig (5 – 5:30) at Eagles Nest Revisited. Very grateful to Jay Singing Spirit Cunningham for including me in the latter!

Last, but certainly not least, this coming Monday, June 22 at 7 pm we will be hosting our sixth Virtual Necessity Open Mic session. Do you sing? Write songs? Write poetry? Haven’t had a chance to perform in a while? Please sign up and join us. You will be among friends. 

Thanks, and I really look forward to seeing you all in person soon.

-Chris

On a Tunnel 18 Live Event (& Travel Shock)

First a little bit of news, and then a little bit of observation. First, I have decided to do a live stream event on Friday, May 29 at 8pm Eastern, both as a way to play live in a longer format, and also to do a little bit of a celebration. 

img200Tunnel 18 first played live during the summer of 1989. We missed our chance at a true 30th anniversary reunion, and in fact a true reunion sadly isn’t in the cards anymore. However, I do want to take some time not only to play, but also to remember some of the songs we wrote and played together, as well as showcase some of the things I’ve been working on. May 29 will be a series of originals and covers of the type that we used to play when we performed live … the kind we played by the pool in Donald’s backyard or over at Dione Rice’s house. 

I’m hoping that this will be as meaningful for you as it will be for me. Just the sheer fact that there is live music is something that has provided a level of comfort. 

I don’t know about you, but I am still very much in an unsettled place with the pandemic, and the efforts at social distancing and confinement. Even during the simple act of trying to change the strings on one of my guitars I find myself asking “where is…” and as often as not the item I am looking for is in a suitcase, a guitar bag, or some other form of luggage that has been sitting under a bed for the past 10 weeks. 

So much has changed since the last time I was on the road, and the last time we were all physically around friends. As I look at it now, any chance to be around friends, tell stories, make music, laugh a little – each of these is a precious reminder that we will get through this and we will be together again soon. And I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing you. 

In the meantime, please enjoy a little bit of music. Here’s an incredibly eclectic playlist that you might enjoy. Really hope you can join me on May 29!

-Chris

Confinement, Day 20

Man, these are weird times.

First, let me repeat what I said the last time – I really hope that you are all safe and healthy. This is a very scary time, and all of us have been affected.  

On the one hand, I do want to share with you some silver linings from my own recent experience. First, losing my commute and spending all my time in my home studio (which is also my home office and my bedroom) has helped me find more time and focus to write and record music. I already have several songs that are on their way into the world, including “The Head that Wears the Crown” and “Clouds.”  The first one is already up on Facebook, and the second is available today via YouTube. Both will be more formally recorded and shared via SoundCloud and then Spotify in the coming weeks.

There have also been some wonderful online gatherings – ranging from getting together with old friends whom I haven’t seen for many years, to continuing to play live online with friends, particularly through the Virtual Necessity Open Mic2020-03-24 19.59.01 

(Speaking of which, please join us for our first ever live event, coming up this Sunday at 8 PM! Come to share your music, poetry, prose, or comedy, or just join us to listen. We’d love to see you there!)

Still, these are scary times. I have friends who are still on the road, half a world away and not sure whether and when they are going to be able to come home. I have family and dear friends in the greater New York area, who are doing everything they can to stay in their homes as much as possible and minimize exposure. Even here in the Boston area, I have been out of the house for very short periods maybe once a week.

May we all find our way through this healthy and strong. On the other side of this crisis, may we find the opportunity to celebrate once again with each other.

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It’s amazing how many times in a lifetime one lives through an experience that ends up in a history book. 

May you live in interesting times, my friends.

-Chris

 

Making Lemonade (and Music)

Not sure about you, but I am on day three of lockdown due to the coronavirus situation. Have been working from the house, making a lot of meals at home, even baking some bread. I hope to be finishing up some songwriting – some of that has been going on, but not enough yet to put anything out.

One of the things I am missing desperately is of course getting out and playing live. No one is going to open mic nights, particularly in Massachusetts, as there are no bars and no restaurants open. (Editorial statement This is a good thing! We are trying to preserve the public health.)

I watched on Facebook as several friends I have met through playing music mourned their last gig before going into seclusion/quarantine and started wondering when the next time was we were going to be able to play in front of an audience. And then I realized that in today’s day and age, we didn’t actually need to leave our homes to be able to find at least some form of an audience. At the very least we could get together online and play for each other – and then hopefully invite others to watch as well.

OurPerformers

Enter the Virtual Necessity Open Mic page.  We are only two days in, but there are already over a half dozen performances up, and performers are working on new videos every day. This has started as a Metro West Massachusetts thing, but there is no reason that others who have a song to sing, a comedy bit to make people laugh, poetry to make people feel, or stories to tell can’t submit something to the page (send as a link or in a message).

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Art is what will get us through this. Art and the knowledge that we are doing what we can to protect the people we care about. Please go ahead and film your song, poem, story, or jokes and then send them into the page. We’d love to get a little light.

 -Chris

Farewell, My Friend

First, it is my dearest hope that all of you are staying safe, and staying as healthy as possible. For those who can, please work from home, and certainly do what you can to both keep yourself from catching COVID-19 and help keep it from spreading further as well.

Second, I have some sad news related to Tunnel 18’s history. Donald Humphreys – my friend since our first day of kindergarten, the one drummer I have spent the most time with (we played together from about 1983-1996 or so), and the guy who came up with the name Tunnel 18 – died this morning.  

He was diagnosed with glioblastoma (the same cancer that killed Neil Peart and Gord Downie) last spring and had been fighting the disease ever since.

I’m going to take this moment to renew my plea that if you can, please donate to any of the cancer societies who are doing good work and research into battling this disease. My favorite is Sunnyview, but there are many others. Don and C

Aside from this, I’m going to spend some time thinking of my friend and brother in music. I will remember building and then blowing up plastic model planes in his backyard. I will remember model railroading. I will remember riding bikes halfway across Bergen County. I will remember the very first days of Tunnel 18, of learning songs, sounding terrible and then sounding less terrible. I will remember playing parties where we eventually got police officers from four different towns in the county to come by to shut us down. I will remember meeting his kids for the first time, and him meeting mine.

We hadn’t been able to play music together for years because of the separation of a few hundred miles, but just like I have been playing music again, he was as well, shifting from drums to guitar in Outside The Lines, a band in northern New Jersey. I believe they will be soldiering on, and I strongly recommend you go out and take a listen if you can. 

Farewell, my friend – thank you for all of the wonderful memories and for the impact that you made on so many of us.

-Chris

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