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

Cold Winter, Bright Future

(Free download of The Things We Wish We Were. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride)

Newton, MA

Boy, what a weird couple weeks it’s been. Everything from losing Bowie and Glenn Frey, to the real doldrums of the winter. In short, not the brightest of times.

Of course on the plus side, it’s only 30 days or so until pitchers and catchers show up for spring training, and that means warmer weather is not that far off.

Until that time, we stay warm, and in our case we try and make a little music.

On that note, it occurs to me we really never talked about how this band came to be. And, first, it’s probably good to clarify what I mean by “we” and “this band.”

Steeling Time is by and large me (Chris Steele) working by myself. However that doesn’t mean that this is a complete solo project.  I’ve had the great privilege of playing with a lot of great musicians over the years, including but not limited to the band that I was part of her many years – Tunnel 18.  Some of the same people that were part of that band – as well as Wellcurbs, and a couple of other bands have all contributed ideas, or at least been really incredible sounding boards on the work I’ve been doing.

A few very good friends have been along for the ride, too.  Pushing for each new song, telling me what works, what really says something, and what’s perhaps a little too clever for it’s own good….

It’s also not to say that it will always be a solo project. I’m desperately interested in getting a full band together. Music on a disk and blasting from the speakers is great, but music in front of an audience is something special. And I think it doesn’t get completely real until that crowd is there.

In the meantime though, I can’t tell you how thankful I am for all of you who have been listening so far, and I wanted to give you a little present. Up on Soundcloud right now is a free download of one of the songs off of the first album (Time & Motion). The Things We Wish We Were is a great song about dreams and making them come true. It’s also a little bit about the fear and excitement that comes when you’re just about to make something special happen. It’s my wish that it does. And I hope that maybe it inspires you to find your dream too.

Thanks so much, and we look forward to talking to you again soon.

Music Matters

Newton, MA

(Find downloadable tracks from Time & Motion here, and all of the new Robbing the Cradle tunes here!)

Thank you so much for clicking through to the blog, and I hope you’re enjoying both what I’m writing here as well as the music our little band is putting out.

It’s been a little while since I put a blog post up, but I wanted to take this particular mom2016-01-06 22.53.26ent to thank you all for listening, and for joining us on this ride. The simple fact that you’re reading this and listening to us means that you must share something of the love that we have for music and what it has meant in our lives.

For me, all this starts about the age of six or seven, listening with friends to the Steve Miller band on an old LP player, pretending that we were playing along.  This then quickly proceeded to using my own money to buy my first LP records with incredible artwork.  Starting with Styx and Kiss, the Cars and then moving on to Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Yes, and eventually Rush.  I listened to everything I could; I listened hard and read everything, and then dreamed…

These bands took the care to put themselves into not just their songs, but into entire albums.  These albums oozed human effort, warts and all.  They weren’t pristine, they weren’t perfect, but they were real expressions of the human heart animg368d mind bringing forth the soul in a way where you paid full and rapt attention.  And these albums were things you had to wait for, because they were being written and crafted in such away (and without the crutches of digital alteration and correction) that there’s real care, and real human performance.

The great thing is is that some of this magic has continued. Bands like Nirvana and Kyuss, and then Porcupine Tree, NIN, Dream Theater, Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters keep putting out great album oriented concepts.  Collections of songs that don’t just advertise for 3 minutes, but instead take you on a journey.

It’s really hard to explain to anyone below the age of 30 what that feeling is like. That spending that seven dollars to get that collection of 10 or a dozen songs that you would then sit there and listen to over and over again. And importantly, these were albums – collections of songs that hung together and told the story, or at least told the story of where that band was at a particular point in time. They were snapshots of life put to music. Dreams in motion.DSC01551a

We are trying to carry-on in that same tradition. Writing songs that stand on their own and tell a story, but which also hold together as a total album.  Collections where you can put the disc in (and maybe eventually put the LP on) and lose yourself in a story or a mood for a half hour or an hour.

Time and Motion does that. What we’re putting together for Robbing the Cradle will do that.  Already have the basics of the songs set up, and we’ll make the collection available in bits as we have it. We will also put a few downloadables up on Bandcamp when we think they’re ready.

But… please reach out to us and let us know what you think! Let us know what you like, and what you’d like to hear more of.  Also let us know about the music that’s made a difference in your life! It’s a grand journey, life. Let us know what your soundtrack sound like!

And… Maybe you could share our music with others like us. People who want to hear real songs laying out stories of life and love and really loud guitars. You know, the good stuff!

(PS – the photos above? Yeah, that’s me, Chris – main songwriter and curator of the blog. One photo from age 16 and one from December….)