Instruments For Education 1st Annual Instrument Drive and Fundraiser
Listening Room Cafe, November 15, 2018
I was lucky to be in school at a time when music and art programs were considered main staples of education—the schools I attended in California had pretty darn good instruments for music students to use, and most families, mine included, had the ability to rent or buy instruments for their kids. This access to instruments not only made it pretty easy for me to pursue my passion (my music), but could be a large part of the equation that led me down the path to a life in music. My parents were even able to float me loans(with 1% interest, just to teach me about finances..haha) which I paid back with my paper route money.
I never had kids, but I’ve watched my friend’s children attend schools where the music and art programs are being stripped back, or even eliminated from curriculum—this is a damn shame, as music and the arts are every bit as important to human development as math, science, history, or english. It is creativity and learning how to implement it that leads to some of the biggest accomplishments for humanity—even in aspects of life that have nothing to do with music or art. Developing a creative mind is essential to success in life, and as a former private music teacher, I have seen this concept at work. I even helped run a friend’s company that used music as a tool for corporate team building workshops, and we saw the method ignite a lot of fire at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies.
Here in Nashville, we have a knight in shining armor by the name of (Sir) Troy Castellano, and he has started a non-profit here to help counteract the trend of struggling music programs in our local schools—it is called Instruments For Education. It’s mission: “To collect and distribute used and unused musical instruments and provide them to classrooms that may not otherwise have it in their budget to purchase instruments. Allowing upcoming generations a hands on way to learn to play a musical instrument(s).” Troy even goes so far as to drive around picking up instruments himself and fixing them if need be. He has a music store in Spring Hill TN(Bluesman Vintage) that does repairs that he can’t handle himself.
Last night, I attended a great event at the Listening Room Cafe here in Nashville—It was Instruments For Education’s First Annual Instrument Drive and Fundraiser. 24 of Nashville’s best song writers volunteered their time and gave us a killer night of intimate performances, backed by the awesome steel guitar player Smith Curry see the list of performers below. Proceeds from the show went to Instruments For Education, and I believe even some instruments were donated.
In a city called Music City, it is great that we have someone like Troy who supports the very thing this city is known for and helps to make sure future generations keep the roots and lifeblood of this city alive.
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Anana Kaye Halloween Show
The 5 [email protected] The 5 Spot Nashville 10_30_18
We are big fans of the creative and wonderful songwriter and artist Anana Kaye and husband Irakli Gabriel – they played their Halloween gig at the $2 Tuesday at the 5 Spot Nashville and they are always so good and fun!! Check out thier very cool website and videos! Their Website
Anthony Arya: my client on NBC’s The Voice Season 15
It’s been a pleasure working with The Voice contestant Anthony Arya on his upcoming full length album. We recorded the first song, ‘Going To California’, before The Voice thing started, and Anthony and his mother were so happy with the results, they decided to give me the honor of working on 10 or so more songs.
Anthony’s mother Kamela is an avid music lover and seems to be a big part of his introduction to, and love for music. She has an intimate connection to his music and a great vision of how music should be approached, so it was great that she was with us during the recording of his parts to help shape some of the performances and ideas. She is also very helpful on shaping the details of the final versions of Anthony’s songs. Here is a video of Anthony on The Voice.
At 16, Anthony is super focused and dedicated to crafting great songs, and his performances in the studio far surpass the performances of most 16 year olds—in fact, they far surpass the performances of singer-songwriters who have been at it for decades! One thing about him that has been close to my heart is his diversity—he loves many kinds of music and is not afraid to use all those styles and influences in his writing. I have always loved all kinds of music myself, and I love music that has a good range and a juxtaposition of styles that one might not normally hear. If Anthony keeps on his current trajectory, I see great things coming quickly for this talented and level headed young man. I am very honored to be part of his journey.
The process of creating this album has been really fun—Anthony sent me really stripped down demos of his songs—iPhone recordings or videos—and from those demos, I started sketching out basic parts and grooves for the songs here at my studio in Nashville. When the ‘skeletons’ were all in place, I made a trip back to California to record his parts, and his work ethic was focused and precise, so recording went quickly (as his The Voice schedule required anyway). Back in Nashville, I am finishing up parts and having conference calls with Anthony and Kamela—they are collecting parts from some musicians out in California as well, and the process is flowing nicely—we should be done with everything soon, and then the world will be able to enjoy his great music. .
It has been a blast watching Anthony progress on The Voice—I watch the show most seasons, but it’s a different thing to know one of the contestants personally for sure. Working with him on his music and knowing him personally and musically makes it all that more exciting. One of my favorite songs on the upcoming album is a song called ’Slow Train’, written about fellow Team Adam member and fellow contestant, the very talented Emily Hough—really cool to see Anthony writing about all that is happening in his life right now. Anthony started out the season on Adam Levine’s team Adam Levine and after his battle round he was picked up by Team JHud Jennifer Hudson! It’s exciting to see him get to work with two great artists/judges! It’s great to see that he’s made great friends from his experience, and was fun to see that he recently performed in his neck of the woods with fellow Voice contestant Natalie Brady, a fellow Nashvillian who I need to get out and see!
If you are interested in Recording, Mixing or Mastering with me I would love to hear from you, I specialize in Singer Songwriters and just as you’ll hear with Anthony’s album I work in many different genres. You can hear more of my client’s work CLIENT’S WORK – Send me an EMAIL or follow me on social media Facebook or Instagram
OK…gotta get back to work on this great album!!
The Winnie Blues
Photography by Kenny Schick – Kenny is a music producer, engineer, singer songwriter & professional photographer, living in Nashville TN (from the Bay Area CA) (see more photos here)
Contact Kenny if you would like High Rez photos without water marks
Our new gem of a discovery, in terms of place to see music, is just down the street from us: The Bowery Vault.
The Bowery Vault is not just a music venue… oh no no… it’s a clothing and vintage store, it serves beer and food, and is very intimate and super cool. The audiences are respectful and quiet and even the softest of singer songwriters will be heard in full detail… thank you!!
We went to see the Australian duo (now residing in Nashville) The Winnie Blues, apparently named after a brand of cigarettes… it was a celebration of their fantastic new single, ’Settle Down’. Despite singer Alice Beatty having lost her voice almost completely, she, in true rock star fashion, muscled through it and delivered a great performance with her temporarily cigarette/whiskey/road worn sounding voice. Partner Cameron Potts killed it too and as a good partner does, helped hold it all together with his strong vocals and guitar.
It was a pleasant surprise to be treated to sets from a few of their friends, Lauren Farrah and Connor McGinnis, who opened the night. Lauren Farrah is a fantastic writer with a killer voice that ranges from a whisper to an occasional roar—an intimate delicacy and captivating lyrics. Her quirky and funny stage persona is a great balance to her serious material. Connor McGinnis delivered a quiet, understated set with his gentle guitar work and soft, emotional vocal delivery.
An additional treat was the act playing when we got there, Anana Kaye (along with husband/guitarist Irakli Gabriel)—they were not part of the ‘Winnie Blues night’, but they were freekin’ great! They had that kind of cabaret, eastern european vibe with a bit of goth (a bit like Dresden Dolls), and as it turns out, that makes sense, as they are from Tbilisi, Georgia (that would be the country, not the state). Super dynamic and theatrical.
So…great venue, and lots of great performers who are now on our ‘watch list’….