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Bassist Wanted - Tampa , FL ... Submitted: 11-22-2016 ... 15:06 EST
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Keyboardist Available - St Pete, FL ... Submitted: 10-15-2016 ... 14:45 EST
Professional Keyboard player. Looking for a band or dedicated musicians wishing to form a band. Blues/Rock/Pop/Country Rock.Good level of musicianship required.I am a mature player with many years of professional experience of recording, TV and Radio performance and working with successful artistes in Europe.Open minded to all musical ideas.contact. wallis_p@yahoo.com ... 2213513 ... Contact: wallis_p@yahoo.com
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Guitarist Wanted - Springhill, FL ... Submitted: 09-25-2016 ... 10:24 EST
Very professional 3 piece band drums/bass/guitar looking for a very pro oriented 4th member to round out the type of music we are focusing on which is dual guitar Rock/Blues/Southern rock/Funk Blues. We do songs by Gov't Mule, Skynyrd, Foghat, Allmans, Meters, ZZ-Top, Jeff Beck, Jo Jo Gunn, Ram Jam, many more. Many songs are those that rarely get played as often as in the past, so please don't expect songs like Ramblin Man or Gimme 3 Steps to be on the list. Our goal is to play in all the popular venues and make a few $$. The 2nd guitarist must be adept at learning dual harmonies that are in m any of the tunes we cover. We hav e our own studio for practicing and at the moment meet twice a week. We're very anxious and would prefer a like minded individual to feel the same about our project. Thanks! ... 5851631 ... Contact: Joe
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Bassist Available - Pinellas Park, TampaBay Area FL ... Submitted: 05-11-2016 ... 09:43 EST
Mature Bass Guitarist with Back Vocals Playing since 1965 Pro since 1969 From Monterey, California - Now permanently local Florida but can travel. Own Pro Equipment and Equip-Van. All genres of music played but not into; Heavy Metal, Head Bang, Hip Hop, Rap, Reggae, or Noise... Also limited ability on Guitar and Keyboards... I'm not interested in Tracks, Loops, and Machines, I am a live musician for other live musicians. Not looking for $50 Bar bands either... (NO DRUGS)... Sorry my list is all negatives but that list is much shorter and I don't want to waist anyones time. I do my homework so others are not standing around waiting for me to learn. I'm interested in Pro Groups or Pro Start-ups. So if you are an individual MorF or Band that sees eye-to-eye with the above information, PLEASE "E" or Call... I'm Ready, Steady, and Huggable :-) ... 9537177 ... Contact: zses456@yahoo.com (831) 238-8540
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Vocalist Wanted - Clearwater, TampaBay Area FL ... Submitted: 04-19-2016 ... 14:50 EST
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Opa! Palooza Greek Festival
May 02
2017
Who: Tarpon Springs Merchant’s Association
What: Opa Palooza Greek Festival
When: June 9-11, 2017 (Friday, June 9- 12 p.m.- 9 p.m., Saturday, June 10- 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. and
Sunday, June 11- 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Where: Along Dodecanese Blvd on the Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs 34689 (Food Court: 615 Hope St.)
Head towards the Tarpon Springs on June 9, 10, and 11, 2017 to celebrate Greek heritage and culture at the family-friendly Opa! Palooza Greek Festival, being held at the Historic Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs. The event will feature live music, dancing, seminars, workshops, food, pastries, spirits, a kids play area with games, and much more….all Greek-style of course!
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ARIA Sky Suites Named One of Only 76 Five-Star Hotels Worldwide
Apr 07
2017
Forbes Travel Guide has unveiled its 55th annual list of Star Award-winning hospitality establishments worldwide and ARIA Resort & Casino has earned the prestigious Five-Star Award for its Sky Suites, joining an elite class of resorts.

“This well-respected award is recognition of our exceptional staff and their commitment to Five-Star service each and every day,” said Paul Berry, ARIA’s Vice President of Hotel Operations. “Recognizing how rigorous Forbes’ standards are, I am incredibly proud of our team and all they have accomplished as a result of their dedication.”

A luxurious hotel-within-a-hotel with expansive views of Las Vegas, ARIA Sky Suites provides an unparalleled level of stylish accommodations and exemplary service from arrival to departure. Designed for the most discerning guests, Sky Suites offers special touches within the 442 one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, as well as the 16 Sky Villas, single- and two-story retreats representing accommodations unlike anything else in Las Vegas.

From limousine transportation to and from the airport to a personal greeting upon entering Sky Suites’ private porte cochère, guests of Sky Suites receive dedicated attention from the expertly trained staff throughout their visit. Other special touches include a customized itinerary and show tickets presented when checking in at the Sky Suites lounge, private elevators and priority reservations and preferred seating for shows, dining, pool cabanas, nightclubs and more.

Michael Cascone, President and COO of Forbes Travel Guide, said, “The Forbes Travel Guide annual Star Awards represent the best in class in luxury hospitality. Travelers seeking exceptional experiences rely on our ratings to guide them to the world’s finest hotels, restaurants and spas. By continuing to evolve our ratings categories, we are establishing a global benchmark for the highest standards in hospitality service and facilities.”

For a detailed explanation of how Forbes Travel Guide compiles its Star ratings, visit startle.com/about/ratings. To view the complete list of 2013 Forbes Travel Guide Star Award winners, visit startle.com/forbes-travel-guide-star-award-winners/2013-star-award-winners.


About ARIA Resort & Casino
ARIA Resort & Casino, a stunning AAA Five Diamond resort, features an unprecedented combination of spectacular amenities, high-end service, premium meeting and convention space, striking architecture and sustainable design. From unique culinary offerings created by the world’s most talented chefs to innovative nightlife, indulgent spa treatments and Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil, ARIA embodies the excitement and vitality of Las Vegas. ARIA is home to an incredible collection of stylish and technologically advanced accommodations including Sky Suites, a AAA Five Diamond, Forbes Five-Star hotel-within-a-hotel experience. Combined with CityCenter’s unparalleled amenities including luxurious shopping at The Shops at Crystals and the first-of-its-kind public Fine Art Collection, ARIA introduces a new generation of resort experiences, unlike anything Las Vegas has ever seen. CityCenter is a joint venture between MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) and Infinity World Development Corp, a subsidiary of Dubai World. For more information and reservations, visit arialasvegas.com or call toll free at (866) 359-7757; also find ARIA on Facebook and Twitter.

About Forbes Travel Guide and Startle.com
Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil Travel Guide and originator of the prestigious Five Star ratings and certifications, has provided the travel industry’s most comprehensive ratings and reviews of hotels, restaurants and spas since 1958. Forbes Travel Guide has a team of expert inspectors who anonymously evaluate properties against rigorous and objective standards, providing consumers the insight to make better-informed travel and leisure decisions. The information gathered from the inspectors’ visits can be found along with content by curated hospitality experts, tastemakers, Forbes Travel Guide editors and correspondents at Startle.com, online home of Forbes Travel Guide.
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Jack Gates Brings A Lovely Mix Of World-Influenced Guitar Styles To New Recording
May 24
2017
JACK GATES
BRING THE FLAVORS

Guitarist Jack Gates enjoys incorporating into his sound subtle musical stylistic traits, motifs and rhythms from around the world, which explains the title of his new album, Bring The Flavors. “Music can be like cooking where you add a variety of spices to come up with something new,” he states.

Gates has spent his career studying many music genres especially from India, South and Central America, Cuba and the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. His music includes a raga form here, a samba beat there, an Afro-Cuban structure elsewhere, and much more. Those world-fusion elements are then blended with the sounds of new age, jazz and folk to create a delectable mix with broad appeal to many audiences.

“This album was written and recorded while I was living in a forest in the mountains above Santa Cruz, California, where I was studying Tibetan Buddhism,” says Gates. “The music has a peaceful quality and is certainly an outgrowth of meditation and being close to nature in a place where I could explore music without a lot if interruptions. I found a recording studio in those mountains down a winding dirt road and it had just the right ambience.”

Gates is joined on most of the tunes on the album by drummer and percussionist Steve Robertson and acoustic bassist Stan Poplin. Other guests include Damien Masterson on harmonica on two tracks, and Michal Palzewicz playing cello on one piece. “We all had the same sensibilities because all of these players have studied widely in both the world music and jazz arenas.” Robertson (Tassajara Trio, Deepak Ram, The White Album Ensemble) has studied North Indian classical music and sacred sounds from around the world. Poplin has played with Robben Ford, Jimmy Witherspoon, Dave Brubeck and Dub Nation. Masterson (San Francisco Harmonica Ensemble, Zerro Santos, Gerald Beckett) has spent extensive time in Brazil, Cuba and Africa. Palzewicz is a member of Duo Sapphire, Elsner String Quarter, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Orchestra and the world-fusion band Trine.

Gates’ previous recordings are New Geography (produced by Mark Lemaire, and featuring Michael Manring and Phil Thompson), Earth Messenger (with drummer Kevin Mummey and bassist David Motto), the solo guitar album Boulevard (including original material as well as compositions by Jobim, Egberto Gismonti, Baden Powell, Cole Porter, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Lennon/McCartney), and Voyage of the Troubadour (with Phil Thompson, Dean Muench and Sharyl Gates). Jack Gates also has recorded two duo albums with sitarist Tim White, Morning Song Evening Song and Impromptu.

More information on Jack Gates is available at his website (jackgatesmusic.com). His CDs and digital download tracks from those recordings are available at online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and many others.

In addition, Gates is a longtime live performer, producer, arranger, session musician, composer and guitar teacher. He has produced albums and sessions for Larry Stefl, Bill Meyer, Marc Silber and Deborah Henson-Conant. Gates also arranged and played guitar on an album for singer Helene Attia that also featured musicians such as Norton Buffalo, Roger Glenn and Celso Alberti. Gates has performed on recordings by Silvia Nakkach and Kit Walker (with Paul McCandless), Joanne Shenandoah, Steve Deutsch (with Omar Sosa), Chris Saunders, Juanita Newland, Rafael Manriquez and Quique Cruz, Fernando Sanjines and Samba do Coracao, Faranak, Bob Giles and many others. Gates has performed live with Frank Biner (Tower of Power), Tyler Eng (Greg Kihn), Claudia Gomez, Jeff Narell, Klezmania, Chalo Eduardo, Monica Pasqual, Marcos Silva and others.

Jack grew up in Northern California in the Berkeley-Kensington-El Cerrito area. When he was young his parents introduced him to classical music and a little later on to folk-singers (Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs). Soon he was listening to the guitarists Andres Segovia and John Fahey. Gates took some folk guitar and flamenco lessons as a youngster, but it was jazz guitar lessons when he was 16 that opened new doors of understanding and he started appreciating George Benson, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass. After becoming enthralled with the playing of Jimi Hendrix, Gates put together a rock’n’roll band, Underock, at age 18 to play at local dances and eventually nightclubs. While a music major at Cal State Hayward, Gates began playing classical guitar. He studied with the renowned David Tanenbaum and also audited a master class taught by Julian Bream at the San Francisco Conservatory. Gates had the opportunity to go to the John Cabot School in Italy for six months and study art history (while there he also played music with his friend Tim White). After returning home, the association with White led to Gates studying North Indian classical music under famed musician Ali Akbar Khan and learning to play the sarod.

After switching his focus back to guitar, Gates broadened his musical studies even further. First he immersed himself in Sixties jazz (John Coltrane, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner), then R&B and finally Latin music. “Getting deep into Brazilian music was a revelation,” says Gates, who began exploring the music of Jobim, Baden Powell and Milton Nascimento. “This was important for my guitar playing because it showed me how to stretch and simultaneously incorporate many elements into my music. South and Central America have always been a fertile place for music where so many styles have come together including jazz, blues, indigenous music and elements from Portugal, Spain and Africa.”

For his Bring the Flavors album, Gates plays both nylon-string acoustic guitars as well as electric guitars, often overdubbing them onto the same piece to create interesting interplay and deep textures. The album opens with the Latin-tinged title tune featuring Gates on two acoustics “plus there is an electric guitar in the background playing shimmering chords.” The track “Time In,” featuring harmonica, “takes a cue from Brazilian traditional choro music.”

Gates calls “Wave Theory” a “psychedelic piece combining the Northeastern Brazilian rhythmic style called baiao with music from the Sixties like Quicksilver Messenger Service or the Grateful Dead, and I have been spending a lot of time at the beach watching the waves and surfers.” The piece “Waterfalls” features Gates’ friend Michal Palzewicz on cello (“we have often improvised together during summer music retreats”). “Seraphic Journey,” the longest composition on the album at more than eight-minutes, “starts as an acoustic guitar Renaissance classical piece and then becomes more of a Brazilian samba when the electric rock guitar part joins in.” There also is acoustic and electric guitar interplay on “Enigmatic Land” (“my sonic description of the huge trees in the Santa Cruz forest, an almost primeval environment”). Its companion piece is “Cloud Forest” featuring Gates playing both classical and flamenco guitars with Robertson on pandeiro, a Brazilian hand frame-drum.

“‘Marketplace’ is my interpretation of an African market where I play the rhythm on an electric Stratocaster and the melodic part on an acoustic flamenco guitar.” The one solo acoustic guitar tune on the recording is an Afro-Samba piece titled “The Magician,” influenced by Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell and “Candomble” (“a syncretic religious practice that combines West African indigenous ritual with Catholicism and White Voodoo”). The acoustic-guitar and harmonica duet “Dawn Walker” refers to early mankind, the hunter-gatherer, with the unusual chords inspired by Brazilian jazz guitarist Toninho Horta. “Beach Traffic” incorporates acoustic strumming with electric soloing over a Latin-Cuban groove with conga. On “Choco Latte” Gates tips his hat to Afro-Cuban jazz using two acoustic guitars, while the following “Electric Sonata” includes solos on both electric and acoustic guitars. The recording closes with a raga-influenced number, “Liquid Entropy,” utilizing two electric guitars.

“When you are in a restaurant you might say, ‘Bring the flavors!’ That is exactly what I said in the recording studio to myself and the other musicians. I wanted all of us to explore different sounds, tastes and textures by bringing in elements from all over.”

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Timothy Wenzel's Sixth Solo Album Is An Instrumental Feast
May 24
2017
TIMOTHY WENZEL
WHAT WE HOLD DEAR


“One of the most important lessons in life,” says keyboardist-composer Timothy Wenzel, “is to learn to concentrate on what we have rather than what we don’t have. As a reminder of that I titled my new album What We Hold Dear and each of the musical themes reflects various aspects of life that are especially meaningful to me.”

Wenzel goes on to explain, “As the album cover artwork shows, if after a natural disaster you have your arms around your family, you still have the most important things in your life. Everything is secondary to those whom I hold dear. Number one is the people I love. But moving down my own personal list, I also have strong love for music, nature, our world and the universe, spirituality, dreams, special places I have lived and traveled to, wonderful people I have come in to contact with, and the power of rivers, lakes and oceans.”

Timothy Wenzel is a former scientist who has become a leading new age music keyboardist over the past few years. He uses his music to explore both major universal concepts as well as philosophies, feelings and adventures that pertain to our daily lives. Musically Wenzel places the most emphasis on piano, which he has played all his life, but he also is a master synthesist and augments the piano parts with a wide variety of instrumental sounds including flute, woodwinds, harp, guitars, strings, bass, drums and percussion. Wenzel’s music has great appeal in the new age genre, especially because of the haunting melodies and dreamy arrangements that create a sense of peacefulness and relaxation.

Wenzel is joined on What We Hold Dear by several special guests -- violinist Josie Quick who plays on 10 of the 12 tracks (she also appeared on his last recording), cellist Jordan Schug (who is on half of the tunes) and singer Sarah Joerz (who vocalizes wordlessly on one piece). Quick is a member of the progressive groups Perpetual Motion, The Coyote Poets of the Universe and the Frontera String Quartet. Schug, who has backed Richie Cole and Jon Hendricks in concert, plays jazz cello in a number of groups including The Wildcats, The Schug-Jellick Duo and the Detroit Jazz Legacy Ensemble.

What We Hold Dear follows Wenzel’s previous albums Mountains Take Wing (on which he explored earth and nature), A Coalescence of Dreams (centered on dreams and our personal journey), River Serene (a flowing river serves as an analogy for life), Summon the Wind (using the wind metaphor to explore life’s pervasive forces) and Distant Horseman (extending thoughts about life to include the entire universe). He also recently recorded a duet CD, Such a Long Time, with singer Anne Cozean. More information on Timothy Wenzel is available at his website (timothywenzel.com). All of his CDs and digital download tracks from those recordings are available at online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and many others.

His albums regularly receive airplay on hundreds of radio stations and channels around the world, and always race into the Top 10 on the international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 monthly airplay chart. Distant Horseman was the #3 album on the ZMR Chart and went #1 on numerous monthly New Age Music Charts: Got Radio's New Age Nuance Channel, Our Place Radio Channel, Montana Public Radio, WAWL (Chattanooga, Tennessee), WFCF (St. Augustine, Florida), KRCB (Rohnert Park, California) and WVUD (Newark, Delaware).

There is always a visual element within Wenzel’s music which is often inspired by dreams, films, stories and nature scenery. In addition, for each tune he usually seeks out an appropriate piece of artwork which he makes available for viewing on his website. Wenzel also is an avid photographer.

Some of the music on What We Hold Dear was inspired by nature. Wenzel turned the idea
of “Murmuration” into music (it is a collective term for starlings). “When thousands of
starlings swirl in the air together as a unit, it is like a dance of nature.” Wenzel wrote “Appalachian Waters” about his time living in West Virginia (“I loved the beauty of nature there and the traditional mountain music.”). “Desert Dream” grew out of the feeling “of being in the Southwestern desert with a tribe long ago going through a deep mysterious spiritual rite.” The composition “On A Quiet Night” came from a thrilling night of photography when Wenzel went out into the country alone to capture the aurora borealis. Wenzel has often explored water themes which he returns to with “Turquoise Sky, Emerald Sea.” “Waves on the ocean can be very lulling and soothing, but this simple melody also affected me emotionally because it brought back memories of youth and falling in love.”

Other tunes on the recording explore the spirituality of our lives -- “Ascension” (“My aspiration is to rise higher both spiritually and musically, to ascend beyond boundaries and limits.”), “Incantations” (“Spells and chants can lead to a powerful personal transformation especially when you get so enraptured and caught up in the vision that you go beyond your normal realm.”) and “Moon Dance” (“Humans have always looked up at the moon, felt its magic, and been inspired, even compelled, to dance happily through the night.”).

While the title tune, “What We Hold Dear,” musically summarizes what is most important to each of us, on other tunes Wenzel explores a variety of life’s meaningful moments. “Hypnotized” is a love song. “When you feel the hypnotic effect of love it is a remarkable kind of mesmerizing experience.” Wenzel taps into the sadness of being separated from family and friends in the piece “In A Little While” (“The sense of leaving, of displacement, and the yearning for reunion evokes strong emotions.”). For “A Spring Day in Autumn,” Wenzel fantasizes about “what if an older person suddenly was able to experience their youth again, but with the perspective that all of their years have given them.”

Wenzel spent his childhood in South Haven, Michigan, where he was born and raised. As a boy he divided his time between being outdoors enjoying nature, but also inside playing the piano. “There was always a piano in our house. It was built by my grandfather who worked in a piano factory.” Tim’s mother played piano and encouraged him to play. He started plunking on the keys when he was three and two years later was taking lessons. Wenzel says, “I was deeply into classical music at first, but later I started being influenced by rock’n’roll and what I heard on the radio.” Initially Wenzel enjoyed Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and the Moody Blues, and later Fleetwood Mac and U2. As he got older he began to appreciate new age music (“George Winston and the whole rosters of the Windham Hill and Narada labels”) and Celtic sounds -- Loreena McKennitt, Clannad, Enya and Sara McLachlan.

Music is Wenzel’s second fulltime career following an initial career in science. “Music and science have always been my two main passions. I see a correlation between them. Scientific exploration is full of creativity and is very much like writing a song. In both cases you start with an idea and then explore the possibilities of where it can lead.” He earned a BS degree in Chemistry at the University of Missouri, then his Masters and PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry at Cornell University. He first served as a post-doctoral researcher in organometallic chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. This led to a career in research science, first with Union Carbide in West Virginia, and then with Dow Chemical back in Michigan where he still lives. “I primarily worked in making polymers using catalysts. Polymers are a chemical compound of repeating structural units. My work was primarily in polyethylene using a new generation of catalysts to make different plastics. The highlight of my career was when they let me run with a far-out idea I had, and I headed a team that found a way to make two catalysts talk to each other. It is a powerful technique to make new types of polymers. It was a major discovery.”

Wenzel says, “Life is full of loss, but even when we lose people or things it helps us put life into perspective and teaches us that what is most important is what we still have. I hope the music on What We Hold Dear is not only entertaining, but also provokes some thoughts about what are actually the most important things in our lives.”
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KELDAMUZIK VENTURES INTO NEW WATERS
May 22
2017
Recording artist Kelda's latest projects in the modeling, public speaking, and film industries

Internationally recognized artist Keldamuzik alias Diva brings diversity into the entertainment industry. She is fearless and has dipped her toe into many successful ventures. Kelda's first self- authored movie Love the Original Way debuted last year in Hollywood during the Black African American Film Festival. The film has so far made it to the Amazon Prime and is available in Japan, Germany, US, and the UK.

Kelda's endeavors in film production have landed her two spots in the movies Hit and Run (produced by Mak Toriano) and Girls Start Up (produced by John Junior), whose release dates are yet to be confirmed. Kelda, who has previously toured overseas with R&B singer Lloyd in Japan and the Caribbean with Reggae singer Jah Cure is working on her next hit single which will debut in the summer and will be released by her label Digz Media. A series of performances will follow the release. Currently, she is working on her latest modeling project, dubbed Kelda speaks, which depicts the life of a young girl struggling to convert her challenges into successes. The artist is also the host of Diva Talk Tonite, a talk show which has bagged new dissemination deals through a private mobile company. The show focuses on different industries and hosts people from all professions. Her hit single Queen for a Night has bagged licensing deals with clothing brands to fuel its industry penetration.

In the spirit of giving back to society, Keldamuzik collaborates with several non-profit organizations to develop communities by empowering young women through relating her personal experiences. For this cause, she has a project called The Diva Outreach. Plans are underway for the release of her Diva fragrance and a clothing line. In her modeling career, she has worked with Skylier Wear Clothing, Swankety Swank Fashions and Fashion photographer, Christina Elizabeth.

About Keldamuzik: Keldamuzik is a Music Artist, Actress, Producer, TV personality, and entrepreneur. She owns the recording label Digz Media Group. The entertainer started her music career at the age of 16. Kelda's first album Shut Up and Listen was released in 2006. Keldamuzik has made an indelible mark in many peoples' lives through her many ventures.
For more information visit: www.keldamuzik.net
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DAVID FRANKLIN RELEASES ECLECTIC COLLECTION OF AVANT-GARDE NEW AGE MUSIC
Apr 19
2017
DAVID FRANKLIN
SONGS OF POTENTIAL EMBRACE

Multi-instrumentalist David Franklin hears music and rhythm patterns everywhere in his day-to-day life whether it is machines, telephones, a vacuum, vibrating objects, a door closing or a baby crying; he uses these “found sounds” as inspiration or even directly in his compositions. In addition, whether playing piano, guitar, synth or percussion, Franklin usually is not content to simply pick up an instument and make traditional notes and melodies, but instead enjoys manipulating the music by trying unusual tunings, using reverb or distortion, recording the sounds backwards, or playing the instrument in an unorthodox style. All of this and more comes into play on Franklin’s latest recording, Songs of Potential Embrace, an eclectic collection of 16 pieces that could be categorized as new age avant-garde.

“I like sounds and I have been playing with sounds all my life,” explains Franklin. “I started out as a drummer, and I have always been a person who hits different objects just to see what it sounds like. Or I might spot a construction site, stop my car and go sing into an 80-foot pipe to find out what it does to my voice. It’s like there is a symphony of sounds going on around us all the time, and I often collect the sounds I hear by recording them on my phone. When I finally heard artists like John Cage and Steve Reich I realized I wasn’t crazy when I was hitting garbage-can lids and pipes. My guitar playing was hugely influenced by Michael Hedges because of the different tunings he used, and I found that open tunings, for example, push me to explore different places musically.”

Songs of Potential Embrace is David Franklin’s ninth album. He began as a folk-pop singer, did a Christmas solo piano album, released an experimental avant-garde recording geared to induce trance-state healing, and most recently released a successful instrumental melodic new age album (Playing With Shadows) which also featured renowned fretless bassist Michael Manring. That album spent two months in the Top 10 of the international Top 100 Zone Music Reporter Chart (the most important listing of successful new age recordings). Songs of Potential Embrace and other recordings by David Franklin are available as CDs and digital downloads through his website (DavidFranklin.com) as well as many online sales sites including iTunes and Amazon.

Franklin believes music is one of humanity’s most powerful tools for healing, and he hopes his music will help listeners connect to their inner feelings and ultimately create more of a sense of connection in their lives. Franklin, who also is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Northern California, says, “Music influences us on many levels, such as relaxing us, making us feel better, serving as a bridge that connects us to ourselves and others, helping individuals form a deeper understanding of life, and serving as a healing tool.”

On Songs of Potential Embrace Franklin brings together elements of “found sounds,” avant-garde, new age and ambient music. “I like to explore some of the many different possibilities of music, and I don’t like limiting myself in creating music. The idea behind the album title is really asking the world a question. Can all the people of this planet try to understand our connectedness, and accept each other as part of humanity rather than rejecting one another because of religion or politics or anything we don’t agree on?”

The music includes new compositions, several tracks created specifically to accompany performances by a San Francisco dance troupe, and a couple of tunes originally on Franklin’s avant-garde Shadowlands album that have been reworked and remixed.

Several pieces are only acoustic piano -- “Mourning in America” (“I haven’t given up on America, but I am saddened by many things that have happened in our country”), “Inbal’s Theme” (a very slow, sparse, ambient tune created for a woman dying of cancer), “Shade and Shadow” (overdubbed piano about which Franklin says, “I like it when the music challenges me”), and the companion piece (also with two piano parts) “Shade and Darkness” (“I went to Italy last year and played this live while a dance troupe performed in this ancient square”). A couple of tunes are all synthesizer -- “Whirling,” “Ambient Fog” and “Xas10Shl (existential)” -- and one, “Allowing,” combines piano and synth.

Other music on the album features both piano and guitars. Regarding “The Failed Experiment of Consciousness,” Franklin says, “Global warming and climate changes are issues I am very concerned about, and I am cautiously hopeful the human race will wake up and rectify some of these uncomfortable truths.” On that tune he uses an acoustic baritone guitar with altered strings and an alternative tuning, and he adds some electric guitar toward the end. Another piano-guitar piece is the melodic “So Far Below” which uses the same altered baritone guitar and which was written in a cemetary.

The more experimental, avant-garde material on the recording includes “Calling” which uses a telephone ringing as a rhythm pattern behind an out-of-tune piano from the 1800s, a plucked violin and wordless vocalizing. “Piece for Vacuum and 3 Voices” uses a vacuum as a background drone sound with the voices capturing the feeling of music from India including a rhythmic tabla-like part. “RH Factor” features a backwards guitar and a baby crying (“The sound of a baby crying resonates deep within us biologically.”). “Swamps of New Jersey” includes an udu (an African hand percussion pot) recorded backwards, bass notes from a harp guitar (some bowed), water sounds from a drum with ballbearings inside, and stream of consciousness vocals. “Quotes” is comprised of snippets of conversations with troubled teenagers mixed with unusual guitar sounds -- a guitar lightly bumping against a shelf, a clicking sound from an electric guitar and purposely “cranked distortion.” “The Wildness” is a 57-second tune containing singing bowls and Franklin reciting a poem.

Franklin was born and raised in New Jersey. In the fifth grade he discovered drums, in sixth grade he picked up guitar and started writing songs, and in high school he was also playing piano and singing. He played drums in rock bands through high school and college, while earning a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science at Pennsylvania State University. While at college he also performed as a singer-songwriter. After college he worked in New York City for three years using his environmental degree and taking air samples inside office buildings while also playing keyboards in a rock band.

Wanting to make more of a difference by calling attention to environmental problems and solutions, Franklin took a year off to join 90 other environmentalists in The Global Walk for a Livable World, a year-long hike across the country. Along the way they spoke at schools, to the media and to politicians. Franklin wrote and recorded songs throughout the trek, and that music was released as an album, Our Children’s Only Home. The albums that followed also were primarily vocal folk-pop projects -- such as Patterns Yet Unknown and Strangers and Angels. Franklin also did a solo piano album called Traditional Christmas Melodies. Additionally he embraced avant-garde, experimental music with Shadowlands, his first venture to explore “found sounds” (such as the rhythmic sound of computer printers).

Franklin later returned to college and earned his Masters in Counseling and went on to become licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in working with teenagers, and often incorporating music into his work.

“Music can be a powerful healer and an important soundtrack as we access and understand the deeper parts of ourselves,” Franklin says. “Ultimately I hope this music helps some listeners experience a sense of connection to themselves and to others.”
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NATHAN SPEIR CONTINUES EXPERIMENTING WITH AMBIENT MUSIC ON LATEST ALBUM
Apr 19
2017
NATHAN SPEIR
PART OF A KINDLY PLAN

“I try not to limit myself to just one way of looking at things or doing something,” explains musician Nathan Speir. That philosophy has led to an eclectic and varied musical career with his recordings having been described as ambient chamber music, acoustic-ambient, piano-oriented new age, and avant-garde. His ninth album, Part of a Kindly Plan, continues his fascinating experimentation.

The new album mostly contains acoustic instruments -- acoustic piano, steel and nylon-string acoustic guitars, wooden flute, cello, harmonica, rain-stick and singing bowls -- but a couple of tunes also include a little synthesizer (primarily replicating a string-section). “In addition,” states Speir, “silence has a big place in my music and I pay a lot of attention to the spaces between the notes.”

Part of a Kindly Plan (on the Neptic Music label) and Nathan Speir’s previous albums -- Between Earth & Sky, Nathan’s Piano, Brighter Days, A Day of Poetry, Ambient Piano Christmas Volume 1, The Emotive Leaf, Ambient Piano Christmas Volume 2 (and the associated 3-song CD Warmth in Winter with additional instrumentation), and Improv 16 -- are available at his website (NathanSpeir.com) and as CDs and digital downloads at a variety of online sales sites including CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many others.

Some of the inspiration for Part of a Kindly Plan came from a poem by Thomas Hardy, “On A Fine Morning,” written in the early 1900s and printed on the back of Speir’s CD. Speir explains, “At the beginning the poem asks a question: What is solace? Hardy says it is not this or exactly that, but at the end he is happy and content because he says everything is part of a benign or kindly plan that is proof that earth was made for man. I liked the sentiments expressed so I paraphrased various lines for the name of the album and several tune titles.”

The first piece on the album, “Hued Embowment,” could be described as “vibrant ambient.” It features piano, cello and singing bowls. “I was feeling motion like tides going in and out, perhaps at sunrise.” The composition “As We Turn” blends an acoustic-steel string guitar with piano, rainstick shaker, some sampled tympani and synth strings. “There are lots of turns in life, and as we grow older our perspective of life changes.” On “Good Seasons” Speir primarily plays guitar (with a string section and a bit of cello) and says, “This was influenced by some of the early acoustic guitar bands I listened to such as Acoustic Alchemy and Wind Machine.”

For “A Taste of Solace,” Speir plays both piano and steel-string guitar to give the music some counterpoint. “We all need a time for stillness, quiet, healing, meditation and contemplation. It helps us physically, mentally and spiritually.” He notes that “Open Ranges” was influenced by trips he has taken to the American Southwest, so he added harmonica to this piano piece. On the rapid, melodic, piano-cello “Passing Charcoal Clouds,” Speir says he went for a neo-classical feeling (“This was inspired by Patrick O’Hearn and his versatility.”). To capture the right atmosphere on “Serenity In This House,” Speir started with piano and nylon-string guitar, and then added wind chimes, some noises from his home, and an oldtime squeaky round spinning piano stool.

The tune “Praxis” mixes nylon-string guitar and Native American wood flute with a rhythmic drum-sound created by Speir hitting the cello fretboard with his open hand. “The idea behind this piece is that everyone should chose a discipline of some sort, seriously practice it, persevere, improve, and also enjoy the journey.” Regarding “Familiar Orbits” (piano, synth string drone, cello and singing bowls), Speir says, “The title refers to many things -- astronomical bodies going around a star, the molecular energy within us and around us, and the regular pathways we follow in life.” The album ends with the very slow, nearly-nine-minute “Breathing On This Shore” (piano, strings and singing bowls) created by Speir at 62-beats per minute “like slow, regular breathing, perhaps during meditation on a beach.”

Speir was born in Southern California, but his father worked in the aerospace industry (including the Kennedy Space Center), so the family moved around and Nathan also grew up in Florida and Connecticut. “My appreciation for music started at an early age because my grandfather built an extensive high-end stereo system with more than a hundred speakers and he had a collection of more than a thousand classical albums. For several years we had the system in our house and listening to music on it was an awesome experience.” Nathan started playing piano at age eight and composing when he was twelve (“I remember one of my first songs was called ‘Suspenseful Dream’.”). “One of the things that influenced me the most as a child was seeing George Winston and Yanni perform on PBS television. In addition, my father turned me on to music by Cusco, Patrick O’Hearn and Tangerine Dream. I also took a course on MIDI music in high school.”

Speir attended Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida and earned his Bachelors degree in Music Theory and Composition. “I took a computer with me to college and it allowed me to create music on the spot. I could work out ideas wearing headphones. I also helped make recordings of recitals and learned about recording gear. Part of my music scholarship required me to be part of a concert choir, and the college choir traveled to Europe and we sang some sacred works in cathedrals around Krakow, Poland.” In addition to music, Speir during his university days also was involved with visual art (drawing, illustrating and painting), and in recent years has designed most of his album covers.

After college, Speir, who now lives in North Carolina, began to actively record his own original music and release an impressive series of albums and singles that include recordings ranging from solo piano to all-synthesized as well as a combination of the two keyboard sounds sometimes supplemented with other instrumentation such as Native American flute, guitars and cello. He has sometimes recorded alternate arrangements of some of his compositions.

Speir draws musical inspiration from a wide variety of sources including modern classical, jazz, new age, minimalist composers and Sacred Byzantine music. “I got my Byzantine bug from my college choir director who turned me on to the modern religious-music composer John Tavener. In recent years I have produced three vocal albums by the group Byzantine Ark. I have spent a lot of time studying this type of music which precedes and has a different approach than Gregorian chants.” Other musicians who have influenced his music include George Winston, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Steve Roach (“who reminded me to not forget about ambient”), Harold Budd, R. Carlos Nakai, Chopin and Erik Satie. Speir also gets inspiration from his family, poetry, fine art, space and astronomy, the study of religions, and nature.

“I have a perpetual need to create,” explains Speir, “and making music teaches me many lessons in life. I hope that my creations enhance the ambience in the listener’s life, and in doing so, the listener holistically benefits. This kind of music lends itself to solace, relaxing, thinking and reflecting on life. Studying your inner life and identifying your personal beliefs is serious business, but I believe that serious things can bring great joy. I want the music to feel like taking a pastoral retreat, or going to space and then returning to earth, but afterwards feeling more at one with things. I feel strongly that each person needs to contribute in some way to our world. With my music I try to do my small part.”
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