Blog

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Musical Partner Sought (June 23, 2011)

I just placed the following ad in the musicians’ section of the Nashville Scene (online edition):

Great singer/songwriter/guitarist with music degree background seeks either male singer with high-ish vocals or female singer, who also is an excellent guitar-player. My music is all original songs, covering many bases from pop, to rock, soul to bossa novas (a few, anyway!), show tunes/jazz standards, folk, blues (I use a resonator guitar for those), some bluegrass and country. My goal is to form an equal partnership where I would support your tunes and vice versa; we would generally do harmony on each other’s songs and play backup and/or solos back and forth. Gigs can be house concerts, small venues, festivals (eventually), etc.

My guitar style is kind of a souped-up James Taylor, with even more sophisticated chords than he uses. I use a lot of piano-type voicings with extensions. If you just strum, this will not work out!

Since compatibility of styles and skill levels are important, I will need to hear a few of your performances online before I contact you. My CD is here: www.MySpace.com/gabehizer, which will give you SOME idea of my style, though not completely all the genres I like to cover.
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Video Project (June 22, 2011)

After spending 24 hours researching video cameras, I ordered one online. It is a Canon Vixia HF M301. It has the features I need for my long-incubated video project of self-recording a bunch of my song performances for YouTube upload: remote control, headphone out, external mic in, stereo sound. It arrives in a couple of days.

I then researched consumer-grade video editing software, and found great reviews of the new Cylberlink PowerDirector 9 Ultra – 64. Apparently this latest version is written to take full advantage of multi-core CPU chips in modern computers, as well as the 64-bit processing they incorporate. As a result, √≠ts processing speed beats all the competitors handily. I haven’t ordered it yet, wanting to download the trial version first to make sure it works well with my current system set-up.

My long-planned goal is to shoot 8 or 10 of my songs in the bathroom, where the acoustics are great, but with a black cloth behind me so it doesn’t look like a bathroom. I considered doing a green-screen thing, where you can substitute a different background, but I can’t think of what background I’d use, so I guess I’ll hold off on that one. Apparently the video editing software can change the lighting look digitally, so I’m really looking forward to playing around with that after I record my first song in there. The remote control is wireless, saving me from hopping up and down every time I record a new song or have to stop and re-do one. In addition, the LCD screen flips completely around so it will be visible to me while the camera is facing me on the tripod.
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Lisa Aschmann (June 19, 2011)

Worked on “Break the Cage” with prolific and teriffic songwriter Lisa Aschmann this afternoon, and then we both headed over to Doak Turner’s famous songwriters’ gathering at his house in West Nashville (this marks the 101st month he’s been hosting these, I think). She autographed a copy of her book 1,000 Songwriting Ideas and gave it to me; thanks, Lisa!

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Hundred-Year View of Songs (June 7, 2011)

I had this idea of putting a clause in my will that I’d leave $x to Berklee College of Music if every year at least one song of mine was performed by a group of their students. Sounded reasonable until I thought, OK, for how long? After all, if I had written this will clause 100 years ago, the poor students of today would be digging thru these musty old-fashioned turn-of-the-last-century songs. What were songs like in 1910 anyway? Here’s one “hit” of 1908, Shine On Harvest Moon. Hmmm…So that’s what MY songs will probably sound like to the music students in 2111!

That line of thinking then morphed into me realizing the transitory nature of even my best songs. Ozymandias-land indeed! Well, if such is the case, why do I get so attached to them, so worked up over my place in the musical world? I’ll be just like Ozymandias, not because my work has literally turned to sand, as in his case, but because the understanding of the song milieu and style will be so hopelessly out of date that it will have little impact. How many songs of the 1800s do we still sing? 1500s? See what I mean? Very humbling…

So what is my lesson from the above? Make hay while the sun shines! (This proverb was first recorded in John Heywood’s “A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue,” from 1546, so I guess at least SOME things last for hundreds of years!)

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New Site for Gabe Hizer Music (June 6, 2011)

This site is just about done! I’ve long wanted a site where I could post my best song demos and worktapes, to get them out of the bedroom, so to speak, and available for anyone to listen to. It’s great (even for me) to be able to search through dozens of songs by Tempo and Style and have them immediately arrayed on a few pages where they will play instantly with one click. Thus, if I want to listen to only Country (and not Pop) Ballads, or only Uptempo (but not Mid-tempo) Blues songs, I can easily set the two drop-down menus to find just those combinations, and display it for me on the song page. Also, those songs with lyrics will have the lyrics appended on the separate song page that displays when you click the song name in each song box. Very cool indeed!

While some may question the wisdom of me putting up “raw” songs–many with missing bridges or lyrics, some with no lyrics at all (the famous “la-la-la” songs)–I wanted them all up there for people to listen to and maybe encourage me to finish. If I get a bunch of people who say “I really love that “XYZ” song on your site–you’ve GOT to finish that one and record it properly!” then I will move that one to the top of my list. My long-term plan is to re-do ALL of these songs so they are complete AND of at least demo-quality, so they can be pitched to other performers, entered in songwriting contests, used in movies/t.v./ads, etc.

History: I started with over 1,000 songs. After dumping them all into iTunes, I rated them all from 1 to 5 stars and the 4 and 5 star songs are what are up on this site. While the remaining songs may have some kernels of interest, in general they were either (i) too derivative of other people’s songs, (ii) too similar to other songs of mine, or (iii) not sufficiently interesting in chords and/or melody.

Meanwhile, I continue to write lots of new songs, and it’s encouraging to my muse to have an online receptacle where I can place them for friends and site visitors to listen to.

Welcome aboard!

For more on my song-auditioning process, and my trip to Mexico to write songs, go here. Also check out my article Three Kinds of Popular Music and 500 Songs.