5/9: This week’s Music Monday was once again inspired by the scenery and weather here in Duluth. The main theme was composed while I was improvising one day during some down time, and I recorded it on my phone so I could come back to it later. The rest of the tune fell into place as I did the official recording. Enjoy!
4/25: A special Music Monday is presented this week in honor of my wife Julie’s birthday. This track is a little jazz tune that I wrote mostly while improvising during solo gigs; it quickly became one of Julie’s favorites. The melody came about after jamming on the chord progression during performances, and eventually a hummable tune came about. It existed without a title for months until Julie started specifically requesting it, when it officially became Jazz for Julie.
4/4: Today’s Music Monday has been a staple in my solo live set for the past year, but I decided to flesh out a few other parts and record a full demo of it. The main part of the song was written here in Duluth, MN and an early version was performed for the first time at Sir Ben’s in the fall of 2014. Since then it has undergone a few changes and additions, bringing it to its current form. “Minnesota Point” is below – enjoy!
3/7: Much of my compositional inspiration comes from the area in which I live. That is certainly for this week’s Music Monday, “Sea Glass.” The main melody is one that popped into my head one morning upon waking up, and I immediately grabbed a guitar and recorded the basic framework on my iPhone, before I forgot it. A few days later, I tried the melody out for the first time at a solo show at Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake here in Duluth. Then, this past weekend gave us beautiful spring-like weather, and my wife and I went out to enjoy the charms of Lake Superior and Canal Park, where we went on a hunt for some sea glass. A few bits were found, and I used the sunshine and surroundings as inspiration while I was recording this track, where the rest of the parts came together to make the final structure. A note for guitar geeks: the solo was recorded in one take on my main Stratocaster.
2/22: This week features an improvisation that I recorded during some lake effect snow showers here in Duluth, MN. It features ambient background guitars, bass guitar, and a lead part. All parts were done in one take, with no editing.
2/15: Music Monday is back with a track from my time in Norway in July 2015. The song, The Blue Hour, is one I wrote while in Duluth and is inspired by the time just after sunset when all on Lake Superior has a blue tinge. This particular version was recorded during a trip to Norway last summer. On rhythm guitar is Haakon Kjeldsberg, keyboard bass is Scott Junkert, and Kaare Holm is on drums.
1/11: This track was composed for my sister’s wedding in Oct. 2015. She asked me to play the ceremony and I wrote this as a processional; a “waltz” feeling seemed appropriate for the occasion. It was originally a solo guitar piece, but I changed the arrangement and added some new stuff as I recorded it for this week’s Music Monday.
1/4: The first Music Monday of 2016 was inspired by a wintry hike that my wife and I took over the weekend at Jay Cooke State Park here in Minnesota. I’ve always been influenced by beautiful scenery, of which there is plenty at this State Park. This track was improvised after our hike, starting with the rhythm guitar part. I then overlaid bass and lead guitar, one take each.
12/28: Music Monday for this week is a complete improvisation that I did featuring lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass. The bass guitar track was played first, followed by the rhythm guitar, and then the lead. Each track was recorded in one take, spontaneously.
12/21: For today’s Music Monday, I wanted to feature a more unique Christmas song. Since Christmas is coming up in a few days, I thought this song, Making Christmas, would be appropriate. It was composed by Danny Elfman for the Halloween/Christmas movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Elfman has been a big influence on my own work. I have long appreciated his unique harmonies, sense of melody, and ability to conjure up moods and images musically. This is my own take on this fun and slightly macabre Christmas tune.
12/14: This week’s Music Monday brings another appropriate seasonal song, “O Holy Night.” I’ve done other versions of this song in the past, but it’s one of my favorites, so I keep coming back to it. Enjoy!
12/7: Today’s Music Monday comes from this year’s edition of the Christmas By the Lake CD, a collection of holiday songs by artists in (and from) Duluth, MN. My entry for this year was “Carol of the Bells,” one of my favorite Christmas carols. The proceeds from each CD sale go to the Bluebird Foundation, dedicated to helping children in the performing arts. For more info, visit www.bluebirdfoundation.org. Check back next Monday as well for more holiday fun.
Music is an art in progress, and objections leveled at every musical innovator are all derived from the same psychological inhibition, which may be described as Non-Acceptance of the Unfamiliar.” -Nicolas Slonimsky