Friday, May 26, 2023
NEW SINGLE "TAKE A TRIP, CATCH A PLANE" AT ALL STREAMING SERVICES HERE
This tune grew from an obsession, as songs sometimes do.
The subject of this obsession was an early ‘50s George Shearing tune called “Lullaby of Birdland” - especially the way the vibes, guitar, and piano play the head/melody together. A tried-and-true jazz device, played exquisitely by great musicians before burning down their solos. One so effective and beautiful in this case that I was inspired to try it with one of my own melodies.
I built the song around a fave go-go-inspired beat / groove that I programmed on an iOS app called Funkbox, which features vintage drum machine samples. The song came to me quickly. I developed it further when I’d play the tune live – first, in pandemic-era solo performance using my looping rig, and later, on the bandstand with fellow musicians.
The lyric emerged from an ennui, and an intuition that a proper getaway might provide a needed reset. It's a kind of lyrical expression that I’m drawn to. Personal, yet universal. Broad strokes. Romantic.
I crafted this version of the tune in my home studio, from tracking to mixing. I had tried a few different approaches to instrumentation; with this one, I landed on spare and guitar-centric, using my trusty Telecaster Thinline for swells and guitar solos and Jaguar Bass for the low end.
I’m interested in a live band recording at some point, but with this recording—as with my 2021 LP Spanish Steps—I wanted to see my original vision through in true auteur fashion, a la Prince, Brian Wilson or Shuggie Otis.
I do believe in a collaborative approach to making music the way you might make a movie, where everyone involved contributes to the creative process and the end result is something you couldn’t have created alone. I also believe that music creation can be approached like a painting or a work of art, where your musicality, your truth and your inspiration can be expressed in total by the art / music that you alone create. My mom is a visual artist, so I come by this honestly. I don’t believe that either approach is intrinsically better, nor do I feel that there is a right or wrong method to make art or music.
I’m not saying that I don’t need any help along the way. I’ve recieved (and continue to receive) crucial support from family, friends and collaborators over the years, including with this recording. In fact, heavily featured on this track is my one-of-a-kind guitar “leslie” speaker cabinet, originally re-built by My Morning Jacket sound engineer Ryan Pickett from the guts of a Fender Vibratone and later re-cabineted by my Hobex bandmate, Andy Ware. One of my all-time choice pieces of gear.
Mastering Engineer Dave McNair put the final touch on the recording with a mastering pass. There is no plan for physical media at present, so your support can best be expressed by streaming, playlisting, and saving the song at your preferred streaming service and following me there. Also, sharing on social media helps. Hope to follow this one up soon with a few more that are on deck. Thank you for listening.
As far as any musical touchstones you might hear, these are some artists that have crossed my mind when I’ve considered where the song might have drawn inspiration (be it conscious or unconscious.)
The music video is a piece of eye candy that I came up with using Stable Diffusion. I’ve come across some incredible visuals recently that were created that way. I went down a wormhole to figure out how to create one for this song. A lot of searching, then a learning curve, then an experimental process to come up with something that I felt worked. And yes, I did use the art of Vincent Van Gogh as one of my prompts. I'm worried the exponential power and growth of A.I., but I am also fascinated. In this instance, I am taking Gary Kasparov’s advice: “Don’t fear the intelligent machines, work with them.”
DILLON FENCE AT LINCOLN THEATER
We had such a great time playing at Lincoln Theater in April! Fantastic turnout. Incredible energy from the audience. We got it on tape! Our friend Mike Westbrook recorded the show and is mixing the recording. Hopefully we'll have a new live release for you before too long. More on that soon. A heartfelt thank you from Chris, Kent, Scott and myself to all of you that attended. You made it a special night for us.
Have some shows booked in the coming months! I'll be at Green Hill Kitchen in Greenport, NY this Sunday, May 28 with Nick Sferlazza on bass and Jake Schott on drums, At 11th Street Bar next Wednesday with Keith Robinson on drums and Brett Bass on bass for the June installment of Greg Humphreys Electric Trio's ongoing first-Wednesday-of-the-month residency there. Trio is taking a break from 11th St. for July and August, but we'll be back on September 6. More show details at greghumphreys.net.
MAY 28 Greenport, NY Green Hill Kitchen
JUN 03 Shelter Island, NY White Oak Wine Garden
JUN 07 New York, NY 11th Street Bar
JUN 17 Shelter Island, NY Shelter Island 10K Race
AUG 05 Shelter Island, NY White Oak Wine Garden
AUG 11 Greenport, NY Greenport Harbor Brewing Company
AUG 12 Greenport, NY Green Hill Kitchen
AUG 13 Shelter Island, NY White Oak Wine Garden
AUG 27 Peconic, NY Greenport Harbor Brewery
SEP 06 New York, NY 11th Street Bar