May 28, 2012

What are Oldies?

It's crazy to think what is considered oldies music these days. As time rolls on I guess the definition changes but the older I get the harder it is to consider some songs as being called oldies when I was alive or not far from it when the songs first came out.

When I think of oldies music I think of the birth of rock and roll. I think of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys and maybe even Johnny Cash. Basically music of most any genre from the 50's and 60's. That usually is the kind of music I would hear if I were to turn on an "oldies" radio station when I was younger. But now as I reach 30, more often than not I tend to hear The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and crazy enough, Huey Lewis and the News!

How could this be that music that came out around the year I was born could be considered oldies? Until I started to think about this blog post I never really thought about what classified oldies and oldies music. According to Wikipedia, which is also right by the way, "oldies is a term commonly used to describe a radio format that concentrates on music from a period of about 15 to 55 years before the present day." But  apparently as the years roll on, 80's music like good ol' Huey, Phil Collins, and Hall & Oates is commonly referred to as classic rock to distinguish it from earlier oldies music as I've always seen it. 

It just makes me wonder, what will the music that I've listened to growing up and the music I listen to now be called in the 15 to 55 years it takes to be considered "oldies." I know bands like Guns n' Roses and Metallica are being considered classic rock, but it's hard to imagine the harder music that I enjoy to ever be called classic rock or oldies. So what will be the term applied to all of todays popular music be when I'm reaching the end of my days? I guess time will tell.

Apr 18, 2012

Going Old School with "It's Over"

This seems like it was ages ago. This is the one music video that was made for my old band Now Transmission, created by my now sister in law.

Mar 25, 2012


Thanks to Roman May

I have really gotten into watching an old show lately on Directv that I never thought that I would ever like. I was flipping through the channels one day and a rerun of the “X-Files” was on. I remember hearing about the show in the nineties, but honestly, it was before my time and I was a little too young to watch it. I remember my parents being fans of the show, but I never watched it. I have always been terrified of all things UFO and ghostly. I thought that the “X-Files” was just going to be terrifying, but I was wrong! The show has a great story line. The two agents that work together for the FBI have great chemistry and now I know why the “X-Files” was the longest running Sci-Fi show in history! It is science fiction mixed in with “Law and Order”. I love all shows that have to do with crime investigation and I think that the “X-Files” now is by far my favorite. I just hate that it only ran for nine seasons!

There's Reading Then There is "Confusing the Seasons"

I'd consider myself a pretty avid reader. Well, the interest in reading comes in waves I guess. I'll get in these crazy kicks when I pick up a book and get totally sucked into the story and then I try to pick up another and I can't seem to get through the first couple of pages without my mind wandering. I always felt that reading would have a positive effect on my songwriting simply based on the fact that it put words through my brain and gives me ideas and "experiences" to draw from.

As much as I'd like to be reading right now for the improvement of my songwriting I seem to be in one of those little funks. But of course, this is following one of those spurts where I busted out a few books that I couldn't put down. This particular spurt lasted a little longer than most others including 3 books that I got for Christmas: "Micro" by Michael Crichton (a posthumously released novel), "11/22/63" by Stephen King (my favorite author) and "Confusing the Seasons" by Dan Cavallari (a new author to me).

The burst was all started by "Confusing the Seasons".  I've always felt that the mark of a well written story is how easy it is to put down. I had a lot of trouble. In the span of the couple of days it took me to fly from cover to cover, there was many a time where I stretched my break at work a little too far just to see what was going to happen on the next page. I was really engrossed in the characters and the narrative kept dragging me in and tugging at my heart strings. Being from Maine and reading this story about a Maine family going through some really messed up times made me feel even more involved in the story.

I highly recommend "Confusing the Seasons" by Dan Cavallari to help out a new author and get you going on your own reading kick that hopefully lasts much longer then mine did.

Feb 25, 2012

Beach Vacay

Content by Mitch Osborne

We looked into Direct TV Deals and have decided to switch. I made an appointment for next week when we are going to be on vacation so that it would be set up when we got home. I am going to have my sister go over there and let them in after I tell her exactly where I want everything to go.

We are so excited about our vacation next week. It has been a while since we have taken a family vacation. The last two years, my husband had some personnel changes at his office and just really couldn’t feel comfortable leaving for a week. If we had gone on vacation, it really wouldn’t have been a vacation for him. I know that he would have been worrying non stop about the office.

This year, he is at the point where he can go and enjoy himself. We are going to go to Anna Maria Island in Florida. It is located on the Gulf of Mexico. It is only about thrity minutes away from Sarasota. We have been there before and love it. I just can’t wait to sit on the beach, sip margaritas, and get some sun!

Inspiration In Simple Places

When it comes to writing music I don't think it's necessary to stress out about the lack of inspiration. Ultimately, inspiration (The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative) comes when you least expect it and is actually best served as a surprise. Sure, it's a great feeling to do something with the intent of poking at that creative area in the brain to get something moving and it actually works. But for me, I like just going through life and letting that inspiration hit me in the weirdest places and sometimes some of the most obvious places that I wouldn't even think of looking. Whether it be a magazine article, a news broadcast, a simple sentence that my wife speaks or a song on the radio. Even that painting on my friend's wall or the piece that I hung in my own creative room.

I mentioned in my last post ("Only Apart," Still One of My Faves) about one of my favorite songs that I've written "Only Apart". I had my wife recreate the page from the lyric book of the original lyrics of the song. (I didn't have the heart to cut it out of the actual book.) I then got a float frame so I could see both sides and hung it in my creative room. My intention was merely give the room some decoration and an artistic feel while also reminding me of accomplishes past, but I never thought it would be a rich source of inspiration. With all the scribbles and crossed out words that plaster both sides of the page from top to bottom, this lyric page is exactly what I like to see in my lyric book when I write a song. A messy scrawl of thoughts and even doodles is the ultimate proof that a song has been thought out and toiled over for a good period of time. You can actually leaf through my book and pick out all the songs that have died or stalled and the ones that have been become finished pieces pretty easily (with some rare exceptions).

It's not very often that I get to see a physical representation of my music and it's time like these that I can actually "see" my music as a piece of art instead of just hearing. It might not seem like much but having that lyric page on the wall here behind me is a great source of inspiration just for the sheer fact that I want to make more lyric pages that look just like that and songs just like that one of which I can be just as proud.

So whenever I need a little push when I'm struggling on a song I just sit in my creative room facing that frame and I float away into thought. Really, that was the whole intent of the room anyway with it's orange  walls and comfy feel. It looks like I accomplished what I was going for even in the places that I didn't intend. Rock on!

Feb 19, 2012

Teen Mom

Guest post written by Derick Burks

I convinced my sister to start watching the show “Teen Mom”. She and her husband just got satellite TV from, so she was excited to find a new show that she could consistently watch. I’ve been watching Teen Mom since its first episode and honestly, it’s like watching a train wreck. I think it is so sad that these girls have babies at such a young age and have no family support. Many of them are not in a relationship with the father of their babies. You would think that having a baby would cause these girls to grow up, but many of them are still very immature. I will be interested to see what their children are like when they grow up. Statistically, people who were babies of teenage mothers will most likely have babies when they are teenagers.

I often wonder if this show is deferring teenagers from having children or making them think that they should have children at a young age. I cannot imagine having had a baby when I was in high school or college. I had our first child when I was 26, and only then did I feel that I was truly ready to begin raising a child.

"Only Apart", Still One of My Faves

Out of all my songs, "Only Apart" is still one of my favorites to listen to and perform. I wrote it more than 4 years ago (it feels like longer than that) and it was actually one of the last songs that we worked on as a group in my band Now Transmission. We never quite finished the full band version before we parted ways. As a band it had some cool things going for it but I'll always have a fondness for it in the raw acoustic form. I recorded the video below about 3 years ago but it still pretty much holds the same basic form today.

I've always been really proud of this song and I even framed and hung the page of hand written lyrics on my wall here in my creative room. It really adds to the creative feel. Sometimes I just take it down and look at it. Is that weird? Rock on!

Jan 24, 2012

Technology Central

Guest post written by my buddy Aldo Mays

There's nothing like the drone of the TV from the living room when you're trying to have a family dinner and I can't get my daughter to eat with us to save my life. She's pretty much obsessed with technology and when I told her last week there would be no texting at the table she said "Fine! Then I guess I just won't eat!" That won't really work. So anyway, I finally got her to agree to eat if she could watch TV during the  meal...I figure it's baby steps.

Anyway, we got internet at home, too, and my intention was that it would help her with her homework and I'd be able to do some online banking but really she spends all her time now on social networking sites and "chatting" with her friends. I don't mind a little technology and it sure has made my life easier in some ways but it's really ruining our family dynamics and I think my daughter's technology obsession is getting a little bit out of hand.

Not Even Close To "Done With This"

I'm continually writing new material and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. Sometimes I feel like I've only just begun. But occasionally I can't help but look back at old material and bask in my few but very pride filled musical moments of my past.

I will always remember the story behind the creation of my song "Done With This" very well. It was my senior year at the University of Maine, the last week of finals before the end of the fall semester. It was getting down to the nitty gritty of my core business classes, final projects, long papers and extremely boring group presentation sessions that everyone was required to attend. In the last presentation of the session in one of the biggest lecture halls on campus I could barely stay concious. The only thing keeping my nodding head from drifting off to dream land was my pen as I wrote down every angsty feeling that flowed through me at that moment. The more I wrote, the more I woke and the more I woke, the more I just couldn't stop.

The rest of the session flew by in a sea of words and a rush of inspiration that almost carried me all the way to the neighboring town of Old Town where my guitar waited in the small upstairs bedroom of the house I was renting with some friends. Quickly a guitar a riff floated into the air and the lyrical melody soon after. It couldn't have been more than hour after I got home when I had a rough version of "Done With This" recorded on my computer.

 I don't know how many times I've told this story but no matter how dull it may seem to anyone else, it never gets old to me. Recalling this moment in my songwriting history makes me think of why I love writing music in the first place and why I don't think I can ever stop for as long as I live.

Rock on.

Jan 22, 2012

Mom's Worries

Guest post of the week by Brittany Booker

Mom's been so concerned with money lately which I guess I can respect but she needs to chill out a bit. I love her to death but it seems like every other word she says is about coupons and taking money out of the bank and looking for good Internet Packages Deals that she can save money on...I think it's because she's going to retire relatively soon and needs to make sure she's got enough money to live on but you know, at the end of the day mom worked really hard for a lot of years and I know she's got plenty of money. I don't she felt financially secure since dad dies but she knows that me or my brother would take care of her if anything every happened and we needed to - I don't know why she's such a worry wart. I love her to death but she needs to chill out otherwise she's going to have a heart attack or something from being so stressed out all the time!

The Best Laid Plans...

You can't say that I didn't have good intentions. You can't say that I don't have the skill or the desire to create. But you can say that I don't have the absolute go-getter attitude that gets things done.

In my post, It's About Time To Let The Music Flow, I mentioned on online course that I was pretty excited about that I was sure was going to get the music flowing once and for all. Honestly, it started out great. I spent the first 2 weeks jamming out a half hour of ideas everyday. With the Garage Band running I just played, not really thinking about what I was doing just basically going with the flow and letting my unconscious mind send those notes down to my fingers to be played and recorded. It was a little frustrating at first but as the sessions added up the ideas became more complete and more interesting.

By the last session I was feeling good with the amount of original material I created as well as the quality of that material. But when it came to listening back and picking out those ideas the momentum quickly faded. Those ideas that I was so excited about were few and far between and even the ones that I was most interested in still seemed dull and overall uninteresting. At that point I felt like the last 2 plus weeks had been wasted and the album that I was going to have to show for all that work wasn't even one song closer to being in existence.

Since then, things have changed a bit. I've continued to write like I always have before, letting the ideas come as they do and building them slowly into a somewhat cohesive piece. I currently have 2 or 3 songs stuck in that oh so common phase of mine that involves me playing what I've completed over and over again until it makes me sick only to be perpetually stuck without a bridge, a solid ending or an interesting enough hook.

It seems to be my curse and overall I feel like it comes down to confidence and the lack of drive to just sit down and get things done. I so badly want these songs to be completed and see the light of day. I want to share them and be proud of them. I want to jam with some other musicians and turn these songs into a complete composition. How I do that is the question of the century.

I'd really like to take a lot of these principles from the course and run with them. I already know that they have a major difference in my songwriting by the quality and number of ideas that have been arising even after I kind of gave up on the program. I know I've probably said it a hundred times but I just need to do it, as insanely hard and idiotically simple as that is.
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