LA: The Hotel Café – Stage 2; Tues. October 10th, 10 PM.
NYC: Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, Sun. September 24th, 8:30 PM.
I have been on and off the road with American Authors for the better part of four years now, and have been steadily writing and demoing songs throughout our travels. I do my utmost to squeeze in solo shows whenever and wherever I can. After working with these fellas for so long, I have certainly absorbed a lot about pop songwriting and production. In many ways, I feel like there are two barometers in your musical brain: 1) what you love, and 2) what you think other people will love. Of course there would be an overlap if there were a Venn diagram (remember those from 9th grade?), and you can crank either knob at any given time for any number of reasons. You have to find your own stereo mix with these knobs when you’re writing, singing, strumming, beeping, booping, sampling, recording, mixing, etc.
If you have a manager, record label, and other sources of professional expectations, this can affect your work, for better or for worse. Since I presently have none of these business entities hovering over me, no A & R person telling me I don’t sound enough like Ed Sheeran, I can crank that first knob up to eleven. That second knob, the one that is concerned with gratifying the listener, goes up and down from song to song, and I’m less concerned about that one. This (im)balance might not make me stinkin’ rich in a monetary since (but you can bet your sweet ass I hope it does anyway!); but it affords me the privilege to produce the music exactly the way I want–to have “final edit,” to use a snooty director’s term.
So I have a show in New York City this Sunday, Sept. 24 at the intimate downstairs third stage at Rockwood Music Hall, and another one on Oct. 10 at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles. I will basically be ripping off Jeff Buckley’s style of solo performance: one microphone + one electric guitar. While I love playing with my band, it’s next to impossible timing-wise with their other gigs AND my other gigs to even find a date for an actual show, let alone time to rehearse. The boys got bills to pay. And I relish the freedom I have when I’m alone onstage. Unbeknownst to them, I make the audience into my chorus section; they have no rehearsed parts, but I invite them into the moment with me. (At least I try to anyway. So many of you are on your g*dd*amn cell phones all the g*#d*&n time it’s almost impossible to drag you out of the Matrix.)
I hope to see you at one or both of these shows, and I’m terribly excited to play you my new songs.