Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas for Two

I wanted to write a Christmas song this year, and following the lead of greats like Irving Berlin, I figured that my Jewish heritage from Mom's side of the family, and the fact that I live in sunny L.A. gave me just the credentials I needed to write a good one... 2013 will be an important year for me, beginning with the birth of my first child in early March.  I'm currently experiencing all of the feelings I've heard that expecting fathers do, including overwhelming joy and anxiety, among many others. I decided to write about my impending fatherhood as the heart of this new song.  It's called 'Christmas for Two,' and it's about spending one last Christmas with Nikole as a family of two. Special thanks to Matty Alger for playing drums, Jacob Claret for the artwork and John Vanover for his contribution to the video.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Philly, Thanks for an Amazing night!!

I was blown away by the crowd of great people that packed both shows in Philly on the night after thanksgiving at the Tin Angel.  Thank you all so much for coming!   This was on of my favorite bands that I've ever put you all know, the talent runs deep in Philadelphia...the band featured the incredible Nate Skiles on guitar, Dave Streim on key, Brian Weaver on Bass, my bro Isaac on lap steel and with the addition of the incredible L.A.-based drummer Matty Alger, the fellas took my tunes to higher heights....
With your help, we also raised a few hundred bucks for recovery efforts in Mystic Island, NJ, which was devestated by Sandy.
Below are a some board recordings and a few pics from the night:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Playlist: Politricks

Just tuned into the DNC, and I'm waiting for Obama's speech.  The guy can give a good one...we'll see how he does tonight.  This whole dog and pony show got me thinking about some of my favorite politically charged  songs. Here are a few of them...chime in if you have a good one...

1. Political Science:  Randy Newman has always been a smartass. 2. Your Flag Decal Won't get you into Heaven Anymore:  John Prine nails it with this one.  So many people hide their fear behind what they call 'patriotism' 3. The Fightin' Side of Me:  Don't talk shit on America around Merle 4. This Land is Your Land:  This song is not as pedestrian as you may think, when you consider the context in which it was written.  Woody was the original Rage Against the Machine. 5. Fortunate Son:  John Fogerty highlights the inequities of our country's social classes.  So pertinent still today. 6. I can't write left-handed:  This is such a poignant song, written from the unique perspective of a wounded soldier. 7. Them Belly Full:  Bob Marley is one of my favorite songwriters for a reason.  Here's one for us 99 percenters.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

'Cardboard Baby:' Alone & Acoustic

Here's a live recording of my song 'Cardboard Baby,' from last Sunday, 8/26.

Cardboard Baby is a song I wrote about how our dreams are only real if we believe in and nurture them...and how they disappear the moment we lose faith.  This song takes on such a big sound with band, I thought it might be cool to get it completely stripped down like this.  Look for a massive studio version on my upcoming record.


Thanks to John Vanover for his great work directing and shooting this video.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Under the Covers: 'Going up the Country'

Not only was 'Under the Covers' the puntastic name of a horrible cover band I played trombone in when I was 16, it's also the name I've given these posts where I'll share some cover songs that I record!  Please leave suggestions if you think there are any tunes that I should take a stab at... Let's kick it off with a summertime classic, shall we?  (download it for free!) Canned Heat's 'Goin' up the country' brings back great memories for me...mainly because it was featured in one of the Eastern Exposure skate videos my  friends and I watched religously as teenagers.  Something about Fred Gall ripping up the streets of Philly to this song just made sense... that's matty apples on there playing some drums.   So let your freak flag fly, leave this big ol' city behind and head up to the country!  check out this footage of those goofballs playing it on a 60's tv show.  I find the hairy/stoned flute section hilarious.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dog Days

20120809-160329.jpg It is hot as hell outside...fortunately it stays pretty cool down here in my cave, even with no a.c. It usually gets hot in here by the end of the day, at which point I need to get outta here anyway....I'm happy to be in it today thinkin about new music and projects before I head to rehearse with the band. The great Brian Weaver will be joining us on bass this week.. Suddenly my August got very busy, as among other things, I'm finishing my Witzend residency, and playin in Ojai with Lissie next week, recording and writing for my new record, helping Foster Timms put a band together for his long-awaited CD release show opening for T&S co. at the Troubador on the 24th, playing some horn sessions, and trying to find time to spend with koley and go surfing once in a while. I hope everyone is having a great summer. It's going to be gone in the blink of an eye so enjoy the end of it! I always get a little sad this time of year...I can't wait to share the new recording of my tune 'permanent summertime' that's all about that's a version from an acoustic rehearsal a few weeks back. great things are on the horizon -g

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Videos from 'Las Palmas' release party

A few videos from the crowd have surfaced from the Las Palmas ep Release party at Hotel Cafe on 7/21/12... Here's the closer, 'Boom Boom' and a sing along version of 'Meet me in LA.'  There was a rowdy crowd in attendance and a great band...I was thrilled to have old friends Nate skiles and Mark Smidt join the band, my brother Isaac on his crazy 12-string lap steel, Rosa and Maesa Pullman and Laura Holloway singing and James Salter on the tenor sax.   It was a real family affair, just the way I like it!  Definitely an incredible time and now a joyous memory for me!  Thanks to all of you who came out and made it such a fun night. and thanks to the awesome Geoff Moore for shooting and sending me 'meet me in la!'

Monday, July 23, 2012

'Things I don't Need' Video Premiere

Very excited to share this new video for 'Things I don't need' from the Las Palmas EP!  Get your CD today or, get it on George Stanford - Las Palmas Directed by John Vanover.  Edited by Jessica Chandler, color corrected by Brian Chandler.  Thanks to George Whitman for the Winnie!  

'Las Palmas' EP Out Now!!!

Sometimes where you live is so more than just four walls and a old place on Las Palmas ave. in Hollywood crept into the soul of the music I wrote and recorded there. It was a social and creative meeting ground where so much good music and company was shared! Check out this video about the making of 'Las Palmas' and Get your copy today! also available on George Stanford - Las Palmas

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Watch the story of the 'Las Palmas' EP

Here's a video that tells the story of my new EP, 'Las Palmas.'   Many thanks to my good friend Tony Byrd for shooting most of the video and for many of the photos.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meet the Band

I thought it might be nice for you folks to get to know some of the characters I enjoy playing music with.  These cats bring the thunder and the lightning each time we play, at my shows and in the studio.  I'm honored to have such badasses playing my songs.  First, we have Matty Apples.  Matty knows how to play them drums like a hurricane.  He also just got a cool haircut!  Then we have Spencer, aka SpenbĂ©  Spencer is a stand up fellow and one heck of a good bassist.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rocking some horns for Andy Clockwise's new M.I.A. remix

I laid down some horns for my friend Andy Clockwise's new remix of M.I.A.'s 'Bad Girls.'  Check it out below...Pretty sweet!  Andy is an all around Australian badass and asked me to contribute to this dubtastic remix.  Long time co-conspiritor Mark Goodfeather supplied the trumpet and we tracked them here in my canyon cave.  Check out the super-duper-dubby-bone on the 2nd 'trombone remix' version....trippy! Bad Girls - MIA/ Andy Clockwise Remix by andyclockwise

Watch James get Annihilated in the Studio

This is footage I personally took in the studio the other night of the fiery demise of producer/engineer James Salter.  We just couldn't agree on the correct compression ratio on the snare drum so i called in the air strike.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tracking Guitars

I love recording music, and i especially love recording i'm really stoked to be tracking guitars all day today. You should hear my guitar with the set-up we have going here (and you will!).  I'm utilizing the sound that I play with on stage, splitting my guitar signal to a clean amp and then an amp that i just send my effects/ambient sound. I learned this technique from Martin Sexton when I toured with him a few years ago...Martin is a master.  He was playing solo, and it sounded like he had a whole band behind him.  His setup gave him the ability to add dramatic dynamics and texture to his sound.  (obviously his incredible talent and skill did most of the heavy lifting).  I grilled him a bit about his setup and his basic signal path was exactly what I'd been searching for.  I've incorporated my own twists and favorite sounds into it, but learning his way unlocked a new world for me!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Song: Pepper You're Home

Here's a song I just wrote and recorded about my new friend Pepper.  Nikole found her running down a busy street in Glendale....pepper was with another little dog, and being the kind soul that she is, Nikole took them both in.  I didn't want anymore dogs as our pup Roscoe is already a handful.  But, little pepper stole my heart and was undeniably ours as soon as we got to know each other.  My old friend Mark took in the other dog, which now sings along with him while he plays trumpet! [caption id="attachment_516" align="alignnone" width="300"] lil' peps[/caption]

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Zamir the Tow Truck Driver

Zamir is from Africa. He told me that if I stopped at his family’s house in Ethopia and asked for him, they would invite me in and take care of me, even if he wasn’t home.  He’s been driving tow trucks for 30 years in California, and that kind of open-hearted community is just a memory.

 He left his job at AAA some years ago to start his own towing company....but with the rising cost of fuel, insurance payments, a string of irresponsible employees, and all the added weight of running a business it just wasn’t worth the headache. So, he closed down his shop, cancelled his accounts and went back to work for his old boss, who sounded like a complete asshole from the orders he was barking to Zamir over the dispatch radio. Halfway down the hill, the truck lost power and we couldn’t get it up past 15mph. Between Zamir’s requests for help on the CB and his new/old boss’s demands for him to complete the tow regardless, Zamir said that this was his first day back working for this company again, and he didn’t think he could take it much longer. His buddy owns a locksmith shop and asked him if he wanted a job there. He’s eyeing the door to leave the tow biz all together.

The irony of my tow truck breaking down wasn’t lost on him, and as the engine failed, he threw his hands up in surrender. We pulled over, with the line of cars that built up behind us whizzing and honking past. I told him we should forget about getting my broken jeep to the shop and go get a beer. He laughed with his incredibly warm smile and told me that him and beer don’t mix...he used enjoy it, but he always ended up needing to reach for a bible to straighten him out.

 After a half hour or so under the big hood, he diagnosed the problem and managed to clear a clogged fuel line. He climbed back in the cab covered in diesel fuel and apologizing for the smell. Z agreed with me that he should be payed double for driving and being a mechanic.

Despite all the hassles of driving a tow truck, Zamir prides himself on being a professional. He said he always has a plan and is mentally prepared for each tow, so that there aren’t any last minute bathroom breaks or snafus to delay the customer’s assistance. Unfortunately, his professionalism often isn’t appreciated by his impatient customers, who sometimes won’t help him push a dead car a few feet, and his employer, who pays him $10 an hour. He’s 59 years old and has two girls in college and is barely getting by. He can’t afford health insurance, which he says adds a constant stress on his mind, with the job always keeping him on the dangerous LA roads.

Zamir is an honest, decent man. He taught his girls to be good to others, and appreciate the life they were given, and as a result, people always compliment him on his children. He says that when he dies, people who remember him will say, “Zamir was a poor man, but always working.”

Safe Travels, my friend.