I recently scored a short bio of Nelson Mandela written by Kadir Nelson. He also did the wonderful paintings that illustrate the story. Here's a link to the score in the film music section of this site.
I recently scored a short bio of Nelson Mandela written by Kadir Nelson. He also did the wonderful paintings that illustrate the story. Here's a link to the score in the film music section of this site.
I just finished reading "The Summer We Lost Alice," by my pal Jan Strnad and i highly recommend it. It draws you in with it's vivid descriptions of life in a small rural town, seen through the eyes of young boy from the city. But everything is not as it seems here and before the end of the summer, children start to go missing. This story grabs you and won't let go. Be prepared to stay up late with your ipad! THE SUMMER WE LOST ALICE
In the PopMatters review of Susie Glaze and the Hilonesome Band's fabulous new album, WHITE SWAN, they have some kind words for two of my songs. It's such a privilege to have two of my songs included on their stunning new album. They've taken great care in their arrangements and all the songs on this disc are top notch. This band is smashing live and if you don't have WHITE SWAN go and get it here!
I've been finishing up composing the score for NIGHTCOMER--a few smaller cues left and the END CREDITS. I'm starting to mix the music now. I'll try and post more cues as they're finished.
I've also been reading short stories by William Maxwell--a collection called ALL THE DAYS AND NIGHTS. Maxwell was an editor at the NEW YORKER for 40 years, but also wrote many of his own stories. Beautiful, elegant writing. Check him out.
I just posted a video from this January's McCabe's show. The tune is "Weary Traveler," which was the last song of the night and lots of fun. It's on the home page. Hope you enjoy it!
I've had requests to hear some of the music I'm writing for "Nightcomer." Here's a short cue. I'll post a longer one soon.
Nightcomer 1M8 Drug Dealers by Ernest Troost
I've been composing music for this vampire movie, Nightcomer and I'm having a great deal of fun with it. As I'm using a lot of orchestral samples, I'm experimenting with numerous reverbs to give the illusion of space and placement to the instruments. It gets pretty technical with early reflections and reverb tails, but the results help make the sampled instruments sound more real. I'll try and put up one of the cues soon.
I've been reading Cormac McCarthy's THE CROSSING. It's the second book in his western trilogy and I highly recommend it. During the day I've been splitting my time between scoring a vampire movie, NIGHTCOMER for director Alain Silver and rehearsing for my performance at the West Valley Music Center this Saturday with Susie Glaze and the Hilonesome Band. It's good to be busy!
Here's a video a German fan put together of some images and my music from the film, Canterville Ghost. It's very nicely done!
This will be a great evening and the venue is small, so get your tickets soon! You can
call the number above or visit the website here for tickets.
Thanks to all the friends and fans that braved the chilly weather Sunday night to come out to our McCabe's show. It was such a delight to play for such a full and warm house. Nicole Gordon opened the evening with her beautiful set, aided by Johnny Hawthorn's sweet guitar playing and Laurie LeGore's warm harmonies.
I had great fun playing my set and Nicole joined me on harmonies and then Debra Dobkin added her tasty percussion and vocals and Mark "Pocket" Goldberg laid down the groove. What an evening! Thank you all for being a part of it.
It's been fun rehearsing for my upcoming McCabe's with Nicole Gordon, Mark "Pocket" Goldberg and Debra Dobkin. We've got the songs down and are looking forward to the show. Join us at McCabe's, Sunday, January 13 at 7:00 for an evening for stories and songs and a little rock'n roll. The above photo is from last year's show.
Hope to see you there!
I traveled up to Point Richmond to open a show for Peter Case. The concert was in a beautiful one hundred year old octagon shaped church with great acoustics, all decorated for Christmas. Bruce Kaplan and Claudia Russell were our gracious hosts and the evening was truly special.
Louise and I stopped in Cambria on the way home and the gray skies reminded us of our New England roots.
I'll be returning to McCabe's for a show on January 13th at 7:00. The fabulous Nicole Gordon will be playing an opening set and also joining me during my set. These shows have sold out the last three years, so get your tickets soon!
Tickets are on sale now here.
I heard this great band at NERFA last week. You're going to be hearing more about these talented folks.
Ths week I'll be heading east to play some showcases at the NERFA conference up in the Catskills. This is a big folk conference with over 800 artists and venues expected. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of friends and hearing a lot of great music.
This is a great book by Alex Ross I just finished. Here's more info on it. Check it out.
The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross
Winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism
A New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book of the Year
Time magazine Top Ten Nonfiction Book of 2007
I played the Venue's Choice Concert last Thursday and shared the evening with a lot of great performers. I was especially taken with the music of Brian Wright. His songs are sharply written, but manage to have a casualness to them that makes them all the more appealing.
He's got quite a few albums out so check him out here.
I had a great time at SWRFA in Austin. i saw and heard a lot of great musician and songwriters. There were over 100 artists and venues represented from across the southwest. My official showcase on Saturday night was a blast--the crowd was warm and the sound system was top notch. Some artists that were new to me that are worth checking out are: Dana Cooper and theseathesea.
This week Johnny Hawthorn dropped by the studio and played some tasty lap steel on my tune, WEARY TRAVELER. He's a pro!
Read more about it here.
Here's the setup for a string recording I just finished. A couple of Vin-Jet ribbon mics over the violin and viola going into a AEA mic pre and a AKG 451 for the cello, going into a BAE 1073 pre. It sounded sweet with no need for eq.
I'll be heading to Austin for the SWRFA Conference. This will be my first SWRFA and I'm looking forward to playing my official showcase and seeing and hearing all my Texas friends. This is going to be a blast!
I'll be guest hosting Beth Wood's showcase at the Marine Room tonight at 8. We have a great line up of some of my favorite songwriters. Come on by.
Here's a great tune from the brilliant young songwriter, John Fullbright. How do you like it?
I've been busy recording drums and bass in my studio. I had the fabulous Ralph Humphrey here last week playing drums. I used a 57 on snare, a RE320 on kick, a ribbon on over heads, and finally a 414 in front of the kit for a room mic. Ralph and I were amazed how this produced a nice fat retro mono sound. Also, a few days ago Mark "Pocket" Goldberg stopped by and and cut a groovy stand up bass part on STORM COMIN'. I recorded him using a Telefunken AK47 into a BAE 1073 and got a cool sound. I'm very excited about how these tunes are coming together. I'll post some rough mixes soon.
My friend Tom Kell turned me on to this great new song from Sara Watkins. Simple songs are the hardest to write and she makes it sound easy.
I read a new novel by Donald Ray Pollock and it's potent stuff. Set in the town of Knockemstiff Ohio, it is American gothic writing at it's darkest. Serial killers, corrupt cops and preachers that prey on teenage girls. Some of the passages are hard to take, but the writing is so compelling I kept turning the pages.
The impoverished characters, the crime, and lack of education reminded me of William Gay, Larry Brown, and Flannery O'Connor stories. They do what they must to get by and have plenty of bad habits that they revel in. It's hard to find a likable character, but the young boy at the center of the story, Arvin, is the most likable and he perhaps finds some redemption at the end, even though it's through violence.
Pollack worked at a paper mill for 30 years before he got his first book published, a collection of short stories called Knockemstiff. He got an MFA from Ohio State and proceeded to write "Evil All the Time." This book is not for the faint of heart, but I highly recommend it. If you like Tom Wait's darker stuff, this is for you.
Read more about Pollack and his books here: http://donaldraypollock.com/
I've been selected for an official showcase at this year's South West Regional Folk Alliance Conference in Austin! It will be exciting to be in Austin again and play at this great conference. I'll be seeing lots of friends from Texas as well as songwriting pals from Los Angeles, who have been selected. This is gonna be a blast!
Here's a list of the songwriters selected for official showcases.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 28
Batdorf & Stanley - All Wood & Stones
The Flyin’ A’s
Gleny Rae Virus & Her Tamworth Playboys
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 29
The Sea The Sea
Claudia Russell & the Folk Unlimited Orchestra
I scored this documentary a number of years ago and it aired on A&E. I scored it for string quintet, flute, clarinet, and harp. Lynn Redgrave did the great narration. It was directed by my friend Paul Gagne, who did a wonderful job. You can hear the cues I've posted here.
This is an electrifying performance of Steve Earle's Galway Girl by Mundy and Sharon Shannon. Hard to keep from tapping your toes.
I recently had a lot of fun taping an interview/performance with host Roz Larman for her show Folkscene The list of artists that have performed on this show is amazing, so it was an honor to be asked. Roz was charming and engineer Peter Cutler is a prince. The show will air this coming Sunday, July 22nd 6 PST. In Los Angeles FolkScene can be heard on KPFK 90.7 Los Angeles from 6-8:00 PM, and on the internet at www.kpfk.org
I just shared a fun night with songwriters Linda Geleris, Deanna Pino, and Zackery Provost at Dave Harvey's Songsalive showcase.
The Cahuenga General Store with it's old-time vibe, is a great little room to hear music.
I posted cues from this score on the LISTEN TO FILM SCORES page. Click here to listen. The score is for strings, percussion, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contra bassoon and horn. With the addition of some samples, this little group makes a very big sound!
I really enjoyed opening Saturday night for Joel Rafael at the Folk Music Center in Claremont. The space is filled with instruments and the walls vibrate when you play. I love playing here and I made a lot of new friends. If you haven't seen a concert at this intimate venue, you should try it soon. There are plenty of cool shops and restaurants in the area to enjoy before the show. Folk Music Center
I had the pleasure this weekend of opening for the fabulous Jack Williams at the Living Tradition Concert Series in Anaheim. Jack is a great writer, singer and an extraordinary guitarist. Here's a video I found of him playing YOU'RE THE ONE on youtube. Enjoy!
Somehow I missed hearing that William Gay, a terrific southern writer, had passed away in February. I had dreamed that one day, on a trip to Nashville, I would look him up and tell him how much I loved his work and about its impact on my songwriting. I regret now I didn't make that visit a priority.
His collection of short stories, "I Hate To See the Evening Sun Go Down," is one of my favorites and each story has a title from an old blues tune. Gay had an ear for great music, as well as dialogue. Here's a sample from his first novel, "The Long Home."
“Your pa lit out, didn’t he?”
“I don’t know what happened to him. I never did believe he lit out and I don’t believe it now.”
“Well, folks is funny. I don’t care how close you think you know somebody, you don’t know what wheels is turnin in their head. Course you don’t remember but times was hard for folks back then. Times was tightern a banjo string. Lots of folks was on the road. He might’ve just throwed up his hands and said fuck it and lit out.”
“Well. I ain’t tryin to tell you what to think about your own daddy. But seems to me me and you’s a lot alike.”
After writing part time for 40 years, he was finally published when he was 56, which alone should be an inspiration to all struggling authors and songwriters. But the real inspiration can be found in his writing--beautiful, dark, sublime stuff. Here's an essay about his works by William Giraldi at Rumpus.
The Long Home
Provinces of Night: A Novel
I Hate To See the Evening Sun Go Down: Collected Stories
Twilight: A Novel
We stopped in Baird TX on our recent trip to Dallas. These are some pictures of the old part of town near the train tracks.
A little bit of "The Last Picture Show" kind of vibe.
Here are a few of our favorite spots we visited on our recent 3,000 mile road trip to the Wildflower Festival in Dallas.
In Tucson, El Charro, great Mexican restaurant in Tucson's old town.
In Abilene, The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature. The museum is located in old down town Abilene and dedicated to illustration in children's books.
In Fort Worth, The Kimbell Art Museum, one of Louis Kahn's greatest buildings with a beautiful art collection.
Also in Fort Worth, the Museum of Modern Art. Another amazing building with huge spaces for artwork. It's right next to the Kimbell.
The Wildflower Festival was a blast! I wasn't one of the winners of the song contest, but I enjoyed meeting a lot of nice people and hearing a lot of great songs. Robyn Landis, Conner Garvey, and Nicolette Good were the winners of the song contest and their songs were great. Mary Beth Zamer won the audience award. Check out their music.
I'll be heading out to TX as a finalist in the songwriting contest at the WildFlower Art and Music Festival. If you're in the Dallas Fort Worth area, come on by! The songwriting contest is Saturday, May 19 from 11:15 to 1:30. There are 10 finalists and we each play two tunes. The contest will be streamed on the internet. Here's more info if you want to watch: Live_Streaming_Schedule.pdf
We visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West on our way to Tucson. This was our second time there and we took the 3 hour behind-the-scenes tour. The place is very inspiring. We got to talk with architect's who live and work there now and saw some of the areas not on the basic tour.
I had a wonderful time playing the Tucson Folk Festival on Saturday, May 5th. It was such a thrill to be part of that line up. Some of my new favorite musicians played Saturday evening. Check out RUN BOY RUN, NOWHERE MAN AND WHISKEY GIRL, KEVIN PAKULIS, and BEAUSOLEIL.
I'm excited to be performing this Saturday night at 8:00 at the Tucson Folk Festival. I'll be sharing the Plaza Stage with Kevin Pakulas & Amy Langley and BeauSoleil. The festival runs all weekend and there are 130 artist performing! More info here: Tucson Folk Festival
Also, next weekend on Sunday at 4 EST Robert Sherman will start off his legendary radio show, WOODY'S CHILDREN on WFUV with two of my tunes. It's an honor to be included on this show's playlist. Woody's Children
I've posted cues from one of my favorite filmscores, Calm at Sunset. This is a wonderful film directed by Dan Petrie for Hallmark Hall of Fame starring Michael Moriarty, Peter Facinelli and Kate Nelligan. Great acting and beautiful Nova Scotia locations were an inspiration. The score was nominated for an Emmy, my second nomination. This was the beginning of my working with the great music editor Chris Ledesma and engineer Don Hahn and of course we had the great LA players at Capitol Studios in Hollywood.
I recently discovered the Irish singer Imelda May--I know, everyone else discovered her years ago! She's terrific and there's lots of her video performances on youtube as well as interviews.
Her 2011 album, MAYHEM is available at http://www.imeldamay.co.uk/#. She's also on the new Chieftian's record. She's very cool.
This band has an original approach to folk and blues styles and I love how they mix in some contemporary compositional effects.
My mom passed away today of natural causes. Luckily we had a chance to go back east and spend ten days with her while she could still smile and talk a little. She was very comfortable in a beautiful nursing home and had many visitors.
I have been working on a song for about a month called THE END OF THE DAY, which is sort of a note from my dad to my mom about what to pack for the final trip. Here are the lyrics. I'll post the song when the recording's done. Peace, mom.
The End of the Day
verse 1 Bring along the laughter and the rueful replies
Pack up your troubles, say your final goodbyes
Bring along the hurt that will not wash away
Bring it all, when you come, at the end of the day
Verse 2 Bring along the times when we barely got by
Bring along the bitter and the sweet tears we cried
Paint me a sky of blue and gray
Bring it all, when you come, at the end of the day
Bridge Bring along the stories we both know so well
And bring along a hammer, to ring all the bells
Bring along the sad songs heard ‘long the way
Bring ‘em all, when you come, at the end of the day
Verse 3 No need for your glasses, your toothbrush or comb
No need for directions, it’s like going home
And all of the dreams that you once stowed away
They’re all waiting for you here, at the end of the day
I’ll be waiting for you here, at the end of the day
I recently watched two movies that are worth mentioning. The first is a British mini-series called Any Human Heart, with Jim Broadbent and Mathew Macfadyen. It follows a writer's journey through the 20th century, where he meets various famous artists, writers and politicians all the while struggling to write his own masterpiece. Some segments don't work as well as others, but the acting is great and production is beautifully done. I especially liked the score by Dan Jones. The second film is a French one called Queen to Play, starring Sandrine Bonnaire. This inspiring film, filmed beautifully on the island of Corsica, caught me by surprise. It's a joy to watch Bonnaire, a maid at a resort hotel, come to realize her true potential with the help of a mentor. Check them out.
Here's how the Cd is doing on Folk radio.
Here is a list of some of the radio stations airing my new CD
If you live near any of these stations call and request a tune!
Tangled Roots, hosted by Pat Baker
Americana Matinee, hosted by Kat Griffin
WEFT, 90.1 FM
113 N. Market St.
From Joshua Tree Inn, host Kevin Elliott
T.G.I.Folk, host Gaye Auxier
Our Kind of Folk, host Craig Huegel
The Waking Hours, host Craig Huegel
Nevada City, CA
Click Your Heels Together, hosted by Ruby Slippers
Acoustic Harmony, host Mark Michaelis
Folk Directions, host Gerry Goodfriend
Acoustic Planet, host Steve Clarke
Iowa Public Radio
The Folk Tree, hosted by Karen Impola
Baton Rouge, LA
Here's Hootenanny Power, hosted by Taylor Caffery
Santa Rosa California
Your Average Abalone, hosted by Johnny Bazzano
Acoustic Connections, hosted by Walt Graham
Acoustic Alternative, hosted by Henry Hallett
A Variety of Folk, hosted by Ray Baumler
CKPC AM 1380
Ontario N3R 7C5
Just Us Folk, hosted by Jan Vanderhorst
New London, CT
Out of the Woods, hosted by Jon Colcord
Community Radio 2mce-fm, 92.3
New South Wales, Australia
One of the Folk, hosted by Terry Fatseas
Auburn Hills, MI
The Old Front Porch, hosted by Maggie Ferguson
Folk n Roots, hosted by Colin Fielding
The Midnight Special, hosted by Rich Warren
75% Folk, hosted by Bill Revill
Hillbilly Rockhouse/Roots, hosted by Gerd Stassen
Country Stew, hosted by Martin van der Laan
Dutch Roots Radio
Landslide, hosted by Michael V. Bruggen
Upper Room with Gi Dussault
RTV Katwijk Radio
Acoustic Rain, hosted by Bart van der Pol
I'm busy in the studio this week. Here are some of the toys I'm using.
I love the Keeley Distortion Pedal and the Memory Lane Delay.
You can create some really nice sounds with these.
My little Carr Raleigh amp with a ribbon on it sounds sweet!
I've been busy recording a studio version of my tune BITTER WIND. There's a solo acoustic version on my LIVE AT MCCABE'S album, but I wanted to do a fuller arrangement for my upcoming love song album. I've added some electric guitar parts and pump organ and had a blast using some of my new guitar pedals-Memory Lane Delay and Keeley Overdrive. I hope to record some drums this week and then finish up the mix. Next song up, WHEN IT'S GONE.
I've been listening a lot to George Antheil's string quartets and Serenade No. 1, which are delightful. His music sounds a bit like Stravinsky, which is not surprising given Stravinsky's influence on the music world in the early part of the 20th century. There are also some of the repeating patterns found in today's minimalist music in these string pieces. Perhaps this was Antheil's interest in duplicating the sound of machines, as in his Ballet Mechanique. Another piece that's great is his Symphony for 5 Instruments. You can check out his music on Spotify and I found this on youtube below.
Entrance to Taliensin West
Built on the brow of the hill
More about Taliensin West here.
We just got back from a great trip to Tucson where I played at the Abounding Grace Sanctuary. Leading up to the concert I did a performance and interview on the local TV show, Morning Blend, on Friday and then Saturday morning, a performance and interview with Henry Hallett on his radio show, Acoustic Alternative on KXCI. Henry is a great host and it's always a joy to be on his show.
The Abounding Grace show is part of a great acoustic music series run by the wonderful Bonnie Vining. I shared the bill with Robyn Landis who played a beautiful set. This was my second time at Abounding Grace and we had a warm friendly audience, many of whom I got to meet after the show.
On the way back to LA we stopped at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, in Scottsdale. This place is an inspiration and seeing these buildings spread across the desert floor was like seeing music spread out across the desert floor. Just amazing!
I've posted a couple of McCabe's videos on this website for anyone who hasn't already seen them on Facebook.
You can see them here: Videos
I'll be posting more as the videos get edited.
On Friday night we had another wonderfully satisfying night playing McCabe's. The room was full and with all those people and all those guitars on the walls the place just vibrated. Shaun Cromwell played a marvelous opening set--he might just be the best writer in LA. When I played I had the pleasure of being joined by Mark "Pocket" Goldberg, Nicole Gordon, and Debra Dobkin and they get my songs on an instinctive level and take them up a notch. What a joy.
I had a rehearsal with the band yesterday, which went great. The older songs have settled into some nice grooves and I'm very excited about the new songs we've added to the set. More rehearsals tomorrow. Today, more practice, clean and put new strings on the guitars, and check batteries. Tickets are selling well, so it looks like we'll have a full house! Tickets One more thing, we've got free market totes for folks who purchase a CD at the show. The totes have Steve Vance's amazing artwork from the album on one side and a quote from one of several of my songs on the other.
See you there!
I’ve been reacquainting myself with the music of George Antheil. He had some success with his Ballet Mecanique, which was written as a score for an 16 minute art film in 1925. Interestingly, Antheil’s finished score was twice as long as the film it was written for and went on to have a life of its own as a concert piece. It called for 16 synchronized player pianos, which was not technically possible at the time, so he rewrote it for multiple pianists playing in sync as best they could. It also included airplane propellers, sirens and percussion. Here’s the 1925 film with Antheil’s music. Good luck!
Craig T Hall created this cool video for my tune Travelin' Shoes. Thanks Craig!
Music Think Tank is a website packed with information for indie musicians. Lots of important topics from marketing to performing are covered. This is one of the best music sites out there. Check it out. http://www.musicthinktank.com/
The amazing Shaun Cromwell will be opening for me at McCabe's on January 6.
He's one of my all time favorite songwriters and performers. He's a one of a kind guitarist, with a soulful voice and killer lyrics. Having him on the bill will make for a special night at McCabe's. Here's his website where you can hear some of his tunes. http://www.shauncromwell.com/
This is Sarah Jarosz at Jerry Douglas' Transatlantic sessions in Scotland. She performs Bob Dylan's RING THEM BELLS. This is a great tune and it's wonderful to hear her play it with these amazing musicians in this beautiful setting. Sarah played McCabe's in 2011 and hopefully, they will get her back in 2012! Get on the McCabe's mailing list! McCabe's concert info
I've been working on some new songs to premiere at my McCabe's show on January 6th. The amazing Shaun Cromwell will be opening. It's going to be a great evening in the best acoustic venue in Los Angeles. Tickets
I did the score for this Sesame spot for Michael Sporn back in 1981. It was one of about 20 spots we worked on together and we went on to do some great animated films together too. Michael was always full of wonderful ideas for music and he taught me a lot about scoring and how music works with film. In this film Michael wanted the crocodile to be singing opera and as I was listening to a lot of Rossini at the time, I was delighted. Michael had shared with me a lot of his old animated films from the 1030-1940 and I tried to make the music sound like one of those old animated soundtracks. This film was shown at the International Animation Festival in Annecy and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. The lyrics are by Maxine Fisher. Unfortunately, I've lost track of who did the wonderful vocal. Michael has more info on the films we worked on together on his wonderful Splog. Go here and scroll down: Splog
I've recorded a demo of a new tune WEARY TRAVELER, which I'll be sending to the band for rehearsals. We'll be premiering this tune at the McCabe's show on January 6th, 2012. Tickets are available now at: http://www.mccabes.com/condata.html
Weary Traveler in A demo mix by Ernest Troost
I just got my copy of Tom Weber's film, Troubadour Blues, and it's great. This is worth watching for any fan interested in the world of the traveling singer-songwriter. There are performances and interviews with Peter Case, Chris Smither, Dave Alvin, Mary Gauthier, Slaid Cleaves, Mark Erelli and more. Tom spent 10 years gathering the footage and putting it all together and there are wonderful performances and moments when the artists talk about why they do what they do. I encourage you to support this project and buy the DVD. You won't regret it. You can buy direct from the film maker at: http://www.troubadour-blues.com/
Today I put down basic tracks for FEATHERS AND BONES, a tune I've worked on for a few years. It's gone through a lot of revisions and now it's ready to be recorded. I also added another guitar to HARLAN COUNTY BOYS and started working on a new tune called WEARY TRAVELER.
I just added some cues to this site from Beyond the Prairie. This movie tells the life story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote the "Little House on the Prairie" books. This is one of my favorite scores, which I did for CBS and the wonderful director, Marcus Cole in 1998. I wrote a bunch of folk themes and developed them through out the movie. This was recorded at Capitol studios with 10-12 amazing musicians. I had a great team working with me; Don Hahn at the board, Chris Ledesma my music editor running auricle, and orchestrations by Rick Giovinazzo. Check it out on the LISTEN TO FILMSCORES page. Beyond the Prairie Cues
I've been digging this version of Black Dog. How can you beat a backup band of T-Bone, Buddy Miller, Marc Rebot, and Jay Bellerose on drums!
Here's the demo for Harlan County Boys so far. I'll be adding another guitar track, banjo and vocal harmony part as I work out the arrangement.
Harlan County Boys demo mix 1.1 by Ernest Troost
I've been recording a demo of my new tune HARLAN COUNTY BOYS and I've spent the last couple of days figuring out a mandolin part. I've finally got it and will record it tomorrow. Some of these things just take a lot of time to get right. I think I've got a good arrangement now and I'll post the demo when it's finished.
Jim Parker is one of my favorite film composers. I first heard his music on the British series Foyle's War and subsequently on the delightful Midsomer Murders series. His music is melodic and charming, two attributes that are in short supply these days in music written for film and television. The Midsomer theme, which uses a small chamber group and a theremin, lets the viewer know that though there will be many murders in these bucolic hamlets, it's all very tongue and cheek. His many variations of the theme are what make this exceptional film music and keep it fresh after 13 years of the series!
There is not too much information about Jim Parker on the web, but there is a wikipedia page here:
I've been enjoying Cormac McCarthy's Suttree. His language is amazing. His character Suttree lives on a river and McCarthy captures the atmosphere and sounds of being on the water early in the morning beautifully. I grew up spending time on a quiet lake and can relate to his vivid descriptions.
Another wonderful recent discovery for me is the music of Bo Ramsey. His album Fragile is a minimalist masterpiece. The grooves and arrangements are subtle and potent. Check him out here: http://www.boramsey.com/
I recorded a string trio and bassoon in my home studio today for an animated film. It came out great and blended well with the other instruments I had already recorded. I particularly loved the sound I got recording the violin with my Telefunken mic into my DW Fearn preamp--nice and warm! Also used the same setup for the bassoon with beautiful results. Now it's on to mixing!
I got to hear David Serby's set at the Roots Roadhouse show on Sunday. He was joined by Ed Tree, Matt Carsonis, Carl Byron, Mark "Pocket" Goldberg, and Debra Dobkin who all added their special talents to David's finely crafted songs. I wish I could have stayed longer, as there were many great bands and solo artists on the bill--maybe next year.
The Roots Roadhouse is an annual event with three stages of music, crafts and food for all ages at the Echoplex in Silverlake.
I had a blast playing the Back Porch at the Grand Ole Echo on Saturday. Julie Richmond did a wonderful job putting together the day with music inside and outside from 5:30- 9:00. Folks drifted out to the patio and sat and listened as Mark "Pocket" Goldberg and I played a 90 minute set of my tunes--a good work out!
Lots of fun. I hope to do it again.
I've been listening to Bill Morrissey's album, "Come Running," which is chock full of vivid imagery. I need to spend more time listening to his music. Also, Darrell Scott's new self-produced album has some real gems, especially "Crooked Road."
And just to mix it up, I've been listening to one of my favorite chamber pieces, Roussell's Serenade for chamber quintet. Just delightful!
We had a great show at the new Westwood Music Center venue Saturday night. Thank you to all of you who came out. The host Leslie Chew, did a fine job on the sound and we look forward to playing this intimate room again.
We had copies of my new CD, ERNEST TROOST LIVE AT MCCABE'S for sale and I'm very pleased at how this CD came out. It has a great "live" sound and the packaging is striking. It's now available at CDBaby and iTunes.
We had a great time in Camarillo playing the Camarillo Cafe, hosted by Gary and Kathy Lynch. They did a marvelous job putting together a splendid evening. John Zipperer and friends opened with a lively and engaging set with full band. After a break for food and beverages Mark "Pocket" Goldberg and I played our set for a warm attentive crowd. What a great night.
Work on my two new CDs is going well. I recorded acoustic guitar tracks for ALL I EVER WANTED and redid some vocal takes today, as I continue working on my new studio album. I'm also awaiting the arrival of my new BAE 1073 mic preamp. This will give me an additional color for recording and an alternate to my Fearn tube preamp sound.
In the meantime I'm very excited that we've just completed the packaging design for another album of mine, my LIVE AT MCCABE'S CD. We should have product by late July. Stay tuned.
I've been recording tracks for my new CD and have been using some of SoundToys plug-ins on the electric guitars. I've used their Echo Boy the most, with its nice rich analog echoplex-like delay. I've also used their Tremolator for a warm tremolo vibe. I'm finally getting a good sound out of my little Carr Raleigh amp. All I needed to do was turn it way up!
I've been enjoying the new Steve Earle CD, "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive." This is one of his strongest albums in a while and once again New West Records includes a "Making Of" DVD with the CD package--Buddy Miller's new one had a DVD too.
Stand out tracks are EVERY PART OF ME, LITTLE EMPEROR and WAITIN' ON THE SKY. The album has an organic vibe brought to you by T-Bone Burnett and you have to love Jay Bellerose's signature drumming and Greg Leisz's pedal steel work.
Go buy this album!
I've started doing the final recordings for my collection of love songs. Some of the demos sound good and just need various parts redone. Today I'm going to redo the guitar on THE LAST TO LEAVE. I never got the guitar to sound the way I wanted in the demo, so I'm going to try some different mics and setups. Then I'll move on to replacing the mandolin part. Bit by bit this album is coming together. Time for headphones.
I've been listening to this early Stones album, as I never listened to it when it came out--I was not a Stones fan. This album has a raw rootsy sound I really dig. The guitar parts work especially well within the band arrangements. There are some really cool sort of primitive things going on here. The various parts all have their place in the mix with nothing extra. I'm not sure how much of this was overdubs, but it has the sound of everyone playing in a room at the same time. Pretty cool.
Pat Baker, the wonderful host of KCSN's Tangled Roots radio show, has been playing selections from my upcoming LIVE AT MCCABE'S CD. Sunday he played BITTER WIND, one of my darkest songs. I find his show very inspiring, as I always hear songs and artists that are new to me and I immediately have to go buy a bunch of new CDs.
Catch his show on Sunday afternoon 3-5 88.5 KCSN here in LA and on the web at: http://www.kcsn.org/
Wednesday I did a phone interview with Stephen Lomas on his radio show, Mudd Club in Tumbarumba, Australia. Stephen is a great guy and a big fan of roots music. He played a selection of my songs and we discussed some of the stories behind the songs and my writing process. It was great fun and the time flew by. His radio station is going to be on the internet soon, so folks around the world will be able to enjoy his take on roots music. Thanks Stephen!
This weekend Pat Baker, host of 88.5 KCSN's Tangled Roots show played two tracks from my upcoming Live at McCabe's album. Thanks Pat! Pat's show is one of the best roots music radio shows in the LA area, so it's a thrill to be played along with a mix of music by The Band, Eilen Jewel, Buddy and Julie Miller, and Sonny Boy Williams.
The album is mastered and we are in the process of creating the packaging, which I'm very excited about.
This weekend I was privileged to hear Susie Glaze & the Hilonesome Band performing as part of the Caltech Folk Music Society Concert Series. It was special because they were premiering their new arrangement of my song EVANGELINE. What a thrill to hear Susie’s take on my little murder ballad in the full Beckman theater. You could feel the tension in the room as she spun out the tale, ended the song quietly, with a haunting harmonic on the fiddle. Susie & the Hilonesome Band are great entertainers and if you haven’t heard their music you should check them out. http://www.susieglaze.com/
Been listening to Justin Townes Earls new album, Harlem River Blues and I'm really digging some of the retro arranging and writing. I love the stripped down sound and the mix of old-time country and distorted guitar in the band. I think it's an old archtop with a P90 pickup I'm hearing. I'd like to get one of those and add some of that vibe to my new album. Time to go shopping.
I caught these fine songwriters at McCabe's last night. Great songs in very different styles. Alvin's songs are paired down to the basics, Smither's words and music are blusey and intricate, and Case's songs are a mashup of roots and pop melodies. All these writers craft beautiful lyrics and it was an inspiring show. Rick Shea accompanied Dave Alvin with some beautiful guitar and mandolin playing--it would have been nice bonus to hear one of Rick's songs from his Shelter Valley CD.
If you don't know their music, check it out:
I'm catching up on some sleep I missed while scoring this TV movie, Truth Be Told. It will be on FOX April 15th at 8:00. It stars Ronny Cox and is part of the new Family movie night series of films. I played all the guitars in this score--great fun!
Writing, mixing, proofing orchestrated cues, and preparing prelay tracks for my music editor! Deadline approaching!
I’m having fun recording some distorted guitar sounds with my new Keeley over drive pedal. The tone controls make it very flexible and combine with the overdrive channel on my Carr amp it really sings. I was thinking my Carr’s overdrive was fat and warm, but hard to hear the center of the note. By adding the Keeley in front of the amp, I can tweak the sound just right. I just recorded some wailing guitar that will be blended in with my orchestral score for this TV movie I’m scoring.
Here’s my recording chain. A Strat through a Carr Raleigh amp, miked with a Fathead II ribbon mike, into a DW Fearn VT-2 Preamp, into a Manley ELOP compressor, through Apogee converters and into the computer. Pretty sweet sounding!
I just heard one tune, “Travelin’ Shoes,” from the upcoming “Ernest Troost Live at McCabe’s album.” It was pretty cool to hear. Dennis Reed, who is doing the mastering is doing an amazing job on this one. Wayne Griffith, the soundman at McCabe’s did a great recording and hopefully, the CD will include the whole January 8th, 2011 evening of fifteen songs. Playing with me are amazing musicians, Nicole Gordon, Mark “Pocket” Goldberg, Dave Fraser, and Debra Dobkin. I can’t wait to hear the whole thing put together.
Right now I’m working round the clock on a TV movie starring Ronnie Cox. A lot of the music is guitar based and I’m having a great time writing and playing it. It’s a lot of music, but it will all be done by the end of the month—deadlines have a way of inspiring.
Saturday I played the opening set for Peter Case at the wonderful Folk Music Center in Claremont. I love the vibe of this place. The walls are filled with instruments from all over the world. The sound system is great and when you play, the whole place resonates. Jerry and Ellen are kind, gentle hosts and you can tell they put on the shows for the love of music. The crowd seemed to really enjoy my set and it was fun to talk with them after the show. Peter played an energetic set, switching to electric guitar for some greasy tunes and rootsy rock. I had seen him a few times before at McCabe’s, but I was impressed again. He is such a good songwriter and performer. Check him out at: http://www.petercase.com/
This weekend I was up in the Colfax, Nevada City area for some radio show interviews and a performance at Evangeline’s Cafe. Saturday morning I played live on Larry Hillberg’s radio show, “Back Roads” on KVMR. Larry has become a good friend and it’s always fun to be on his show. He has lots of colorful stories about the mining and railroading history of the area and this year he told us about the Chinese workers cutting the treacherous Cape Horn grade for the transcontinental railroad—there might be a song in there. At 2:00 I appeared again on KVMR on Wesley Robertson’s show “Rockin’ and Stompin’.” This was my first time meeting Wes and he had great questions and real enthusiasm for roots music.
Saturday evening I played at the always special, Evangeline’s Café. This is one of my favorite venues. Evangeline is a great host and the music fans that come to the show are her friends and neighbors, so there’s a warm family-like feel to the evening. Some of the audience had been to my show here last year and it was great to see them.
I had lunch with Mark Adler, a terrific film composer and all around great guy. He recently did a beautiful score for Hallmark’s “The Last Valentine,” which aired on CBS.
We got to talking about some of our early work experiences and he mentioned working on Phillip Kaufman’s “Unbearable Lightness of Being” and “Henry and June,” two of my favorite films.
I mentioned I had been the film editor on R.O. Blechman’s “The Soldier’s Tale,” a Great Performance special, based on the piece by Stravinsky. It turns out that Mark not only knew the film, considers “The Soldier’s Tale” one of his favorite Stravinsky pieces, but also knew R.O. Blechman’s work as an illustrator and animator. Wow, I didn’t think anyone was aware of that film.
As it happens, Mark is not just a composer, but also does some animation—he whipped out his iphone and played me a terrific clip he had animated. For more info check out his website: http://www.markadler.com/.
I'm working on a new song, which is a real simple country flavored tune that uses a strum instead of my usual finger-picking style accompaniment. Strumming with a pick feels really awkward to me, so it’s going to be a challenge to get this right.
I’m also working hard on music for a Chinese version of the classic children’s story, STONE SOUP. Ethic scores are so much fun because of all the unique instruments I can use. This score has an erhu, a pipa, alto and C flutes, cello, harp and a big collection of percussion—I’m really enjoying it. There are some nice tremolo textures used on the pipa, the Chinese mandolin, that I’ve been practicing on my mandolin.
Hopefully, they’ll help my strumming!
I’m deep into Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and this is definitely a dark ride. Whole towns are wiped out in one sentence. Folks that think my songs are dark best leave this book unopened. It's bleak, but the language is really amazing in this book. It’s almost like poetry--beautiful rhythm and flow.
I’ve also been trying to get my cheapo mandolin in shape and spent some time working on the intonation and bridge. I discovered the nut is too high and I’ve ordered some special files from Steward-Macdonald,(http://www.stewmac.com/) to cut the string grooves deeper. No project too big in 2011!
I did a short presentation on songwriting at the Los Angeles branch of Songsalive! Members presented their songs for feedback and then I played a couple of my tunes, SWITCHBLADE HEART and RESURRECTION BLUES and shared some of my songwriting experiences. It was a fun afternoon with lots of good questions and some really great songs. I'd like to thank Dave Harvey for putting the event together.
McCabe's Show January 7th, 2011
We had a great time playing to a full house last night at McCabe's. Mark "Pocket" Goldberg and his band (Nick Kirgo, Dave Fraser and Debra Dobkin) played a rockin' opening set. It was Mark's CD release show and he played many of the tunes on his smashing new record, "Off the Alleyway."
I started my set solo and then was joined by Nicole Gordon on vocals and Mark on bass. Nicole sang lead on a new arrangement of my tune, "This Field," from my first album--it was stellar! Debra and Dave joined us to finish the night with a full band version of Disturbin' Blues.