Help Support the Writing & Recording of Adam Levy’s ‘Lower 48′ Suite

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Pre-order now to support the writing & recording of Adam Levy’s ‘Lower 48′ suite. Your pledge floats the music. #lower48

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From Adam Levy:

adam-levyWhen I was 12 years old, I discovered my stepfather’s Sony tape deck—which was part of his home-stereo system at the time. This thing fascinated me. I’d already been having fun recording songs and skits on a portable Panasonic recorder, but the Sony was a wholly different creature. Not only did the 1/4″ reel-to-reel tape format sound vastly better than the Panasonic’s cassettes—the Sony had sound-on-sound capabilities. That meant that I could record myself playing and singing, rewind, then and add a second layer of music and/or voice. This was, to me, as thrilling as if a miniature Abbey Road Studios had magically appeared in our living room.

You might expect that my early forays into home recording would’ve led me to further experimentation on Tascam Portastudios and the like, but that’s not what happened. I never upgraded from the Sony, and when I moved away from home at 19, that was the end of my home-recording career. Before long, I was making enough money to afford the luxury of renting time in actual studios, and that spoiled me. I liked working on really good equipment, with experienced engineers, and that’s the route I chose when I started recording and releasing records of my own, beginning with ‘Buttermilk Channel’ in 2001.

Lately, though, I’ve become interested in home recording once again. I’ve got Logic recording software on my laptop. I’ve got a few different kinds of mics and a really good Apogee interface. My Los Angeles apartment isn’t exactly sound-proof, but it’s quiet enough for tracking vocals and guitars. To my own surprise, I’m a pretty good engineer. But here’s the thing: I want to get better. Much better. If my experience as a musician has taught me anything, it’s that best way to improve at something is through practice. Not mindless practice, but reflective. Do the thing for awhile. Listen. Are we getting somewhere? If not, why not? Recalibrate. Practice some more. Listen. And so on.

My strong desire to practice engineering has led me to want to record a new album—at home, on my own. And that’s what this crowd-funding campaign is for. I’m asking friends, fans, and family to pre-order the album (to be called ‘Lower 48’). By pre-ordering, you’ll be giving me an incredible opportunity to focus big chunks of time on this process—essentially, paying me a stipend while I toil.

I’m imagining ‘Lower 48’ as a suite. There will be exactly 48 minutes of sound, including songs with words, instrumental pieces, and other good stuff. ‘Lower 48’ will be available as a digital download only—no CDs—and it will be exclusively for supporters of this project, never released publicly. I’ll start the writing process from scratch once my PledgeMusic campaign is successfully funded.

As I did a few years ago with my crowd-funding campaign for ‘The Heart Collector,’ I’m offering incentive gifts at every level of support. You could have a recording of me reading a chapter of your favorite book. You could get a year’s worth of postcards from me, sent from locations near and far. You could own the very Shure SM7B microphone I’ll be using to track all my vocals for this project. (As I type this, the mic still brand new, in the box.) Of course, you can choose to receive no gift at all and just enjoy the music and the warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get form supporting me in this project.

I’ll be running this pre-order campaign for 60 days. I hope to reach my modest funding goal by then. Any pledged funds in excess of my my goal will be used to upgrade my recording rig. (A mic preamp, for example, would be a great addition. So would a sound baffle or two.)

I’m looking forward to getting into the real work—writing and recording this new music—as soon as possible. I plan to release ‘Lower 48’ on 27 November 2014, my 48th birthday.

Thanks very much for your support.
~Adam

Pre-order now to support the writing & recording of Adam Levy’s ‘Lower 48′ suite. Your pledge floats the music. #lower48

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Johnny Winter, Blues Guitar Legend, Dead at 70

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Johnny Winter Dead

According to the American Blues Scene, sources close to the man have confirmed that Johnny Winter has passed away at the age of 70. The cause of death is unknown at this time.

John Dawson Winter III — better known as Johnny Winter — was widely regarded as one of the greatest blues guitar players in music history. Best known for his high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and ’70s, Winter also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues legend Muddy Waters. Since his time with Waters, Winter has recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums and continues to tour extensively. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”



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Come See Us at Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night Tomorrow Night in Nashville!

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We host Muriel Anderson’s bi-annual All Star Guitar Night at the NAMM shows every year. Come out and see us!

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Now in its 19th year, Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night is NAMM’s longest running, most widely recognized, and most successful sponsored event. ASGN is a unique, guitar-centric event bringing together talented musicians for a night of both acoustic and electric music.

This year’s participants include Muriel Anderson, Bryan Sutton, Jack Pearson, Brent Mason, Adam Levy (guitarist for Norah Jones and others), John Corabi (Motley Crue), Anderson Osborne (Government Mule) Brian Grilli, Courtney Jaye, Johnny Hiland, Dave Pomeroy, and surprise guests.

While the evening celebrates the guitar and entertains audiences, it also raises money and awareness for a very important cause – music education for children. The artists donate their time and talent and the sponsors generously fund this event so that disadvantaged children can have access to instruments and music instruction in their schools.

For more info, tickets, and videos from previous shows, visit allstarguitarnight.com.



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Why Do Major Chords Sound Happier Than Minor Chords?

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This post comes via reddit user Yeargdribble – see the original post here.

happy major chordsIt honestly probably has more to do with how we’re socialized into music. The trope of minor being used for sad things and major being used for happy things is sort of an artificially created thing to an extent.

In fact, not even all very young school children will agree about this until we tell them so (my wife used to teach elementary music). Other cultures with less overbearing exposure to Western music are even less likely to always correctly identify these.

To get more complicated, if you look into Arabic maqams (essentially scales for the sake of simplicity) they sound quite different with a bit more microtonality compared to Western ideas of tuning and such. The thing is, when we hear them, they all just sound semi-foreign. The ones that sound most like a major scale or maybe a lydian scale sound happier to us. The ones closer to a minor or locrian scale sound sadder.

But in the cultures to which these are native, the great variety of maqams hold much more subtley of meaning and even the ones we might equate with sadness are not thought of as such where they are actually commonly used.

Below we go into ELI have a basic understanding of theory:

Music TheorySo major and minor are very black and white for us, but if you just wanna talk about chords, what about bigger chords? Start with something like a CMaj7. It’s a C on the bottom with an Em on the top. Does it sound happy or sad? Are you hearing the C major of the primary triad, or the minor triad when ignoring the root? You can obviously grow this idea out like crazy. A Cm9… what do you hear? The EbMaj7 ignoring the root? The Eb major chord in the middle ignoring root and 9? The Gm on top? The Cm on bottom?

Is this a happy or sad sounding chord? I think most people would call it “dreamy, sleepy, or ethereal,” but once again, that’s likely more to do with how we most often hear it used.

Also, context counts. You can revoice a complicated chord for a different sound. But you can also revoice a simple chord and depending on the context and character of the piece, it might throw you off. Have you ever been listening to something and couldn’t quite tell if a given chord was major or minor in context on the fly? What if you have a C major triad and suddenly the bass moves away from the C up to E and the E and G are sustained in the upper voice. Is this implying an Em without the 5th? Is it still implying the C major but in root position? You probably need context to tell you.

How about a C7. This one is great for context. Do you hear the Edim or the C major? Or hell, do you just hear it as a dominant chord because it’s followed by an F or even Dm?

TL;DR – Because someone told you so.

This post comes via reddit user Yeargdribble – see the original post here.



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Participate in Our Summertime Blues Americana Student Jam and You Could Win Big!

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Americana Jam

How It Works:

1. Check out the video below of Mike Zito’s “Subtraction Blues” solo for a bit of inspiration.

2. Download the jam track, craft your own solo and record a video or audio file.

3. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo or audio to SoundCloud, then post a link to it in the comments on the contest page.

4. Make sure “TrueFire Americana Jam” is in the title and put a link to the contest page in the description.

5. Share this contest with friends and like your favorite performances by others!

Prizes:

1 Grand Prize: The person with the most ‘likes’ on their post in the comments on the contest page will win a LIFETIME Pro Student Plan!

10 Runners Up: 10 randomly-selected people who post a link to a entry in the comments on the contest page will win $25 Gift Certficates!

TIP! Share this contest with your friends and family to garner more likes!

Winners will be announced on July 31st.

Mike Zito’s Performance:

This is for inspiration purposes only – when you record your own, feel free to use as much creative license as you would like!

Download the jam track >>

Pre-Order Now!

Use code “AMERICA10″ to save an *extra 10% off! *Combine with TrueFire Cash & Student Discounts for savings up to 40% off.

Pre-Order Instant Download – $19

Pre-Order Disc + Download – $39

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