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The Christmas Show Is On!


I think the Failed Economy Christmas show is a go. Setlist is done, the Rap is done, and we have a lead guitarist—Mike Simpson, the music teacher for the school district. (Mike was the organizer of last month’s “Rocktoberfest,” and has trained a couple of neat middle-school rock bands.) And we have “Doc” Wagner—probably the best blues harp player in the Northwest. I think it’ll be one heck of a show. Wish we could record it.

I delivered CDs and setlists to everybody today (with lyrics for those not familiar with the material). No luck—at least, right now—at re-recording “Test Tube Baby” in a key I can sing it in (the recordings I have are both in A, and I want to do it in E); the old soundhole pickup keeps cutting out. Hey, Santa—if you’re handing out gifts to the possibly undeserving this year, I have a list…

Assembling the Christmas setlist was an opportunity to listen to some stuff I’d done on the Tascam a year ago, and I can tell I’ve become a better guitar player over 12 months’ time (and if I notice, it’s got to be obvious). It’s nice to know my unemployed period has been good for something.

Making the setlist CDs was also an opportunity to use “Alice” the ‘puter’s Audacity program for more than just generating click tracks and adding sound effects. A number of my recent recordings on the Tascam have come out at really low volume (that may mean the old Tascam itself is wearing out—Santa? Are you listening?), but I was able to dump the recordings into Audacity and boost the volume to what might be “normal” levels. I used it to equalize the volumes on all the tracks on the CD while I was at it. I think when this is done by a professional, it’s “mastering.” I’m not sure what you’d call it when I do it.

Audacity also has a nice feature that lets you change the tempo of a song without changing the key. I used that on the Nashville recording of “Dead Things in the Shower” (the band plays it a lot faster than the record), and also on Gem Watson’s recording of “Test Tube Baby” (because I’ll play that a lot faster, too, when I’m with the band).

I’d like us to get together to practice mid-to-late next week (Doc will be out of town until then). That will hopefully give everybody a chance to at least listen to the stuff. I am curious to see what “spin” everybody puts on it; I may have recorded these songs as country music, but I’m the only “country person” in the band—John (bass) and Chris (drums) have heavy-metal backgrounds, Mike (lead guitar) is rock, and Doc (harmonica) is jazz and blues. The product could be very interesting.

I have the poster to design—I’d like to use the soup kitchen photo I had on the last Failed Economy Show poster, but am not sure how to give it a Christmas theme. I might have to find a different photo. I wonder what sorts of Depression Christmas photos might be out there in Internet-land? I have the radio station DJ to contact about publicity, and Jane Scott Productions to try to enlist in videotaping the show for re-broadcast on cable TV (in two counties—it’d be nice if we could get that). And a little over four weeks in which to turn this into the Biggest Event of the Season.

Music this week at City Hall (Friday) and the library (Saturday); the ArtSpace Restaurant in Bay City is open again, and I should take them one of my CDs. The Old Mill RV Park is about to start their Christmas bazaars again, too, and I should hit them up to be part of their live music (they do pay), even though they flatly rejected me last year. I should be used to rejection by now.



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