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Thing of the Week

Thing #3: Back to the beach…

Yes, I still write a lot of beach-themed stuff. As long as I can keep it entertaining…

This week’s offering started as a weird idea I got while in one of my favorite “idea generators,” the shower. I don’t know why I get so many creative ideas there; maybe because it’s the one place where I can’t write the bloody things down. :)

Anyway, it started with the old song “Frere Jacques” running through my head, and I stuck beach lyrics on it, following up on one of the likely consequences of falling asleep while lying on a beach. And it was cute and it was clever.

And then I remembered: Frere Jacques is supposed to be sung as a *round*.

And then I remembered: I can do that stuff on video.

And thus was a crazy, offbeat idea born.

Along the way, I discovered that my sense of tempo isn’t always all that great even when I have a visual “click” to follow. (I used a metronome app on my phone, which is why I’m looking down through the video.) So I’m not always in sync with myself…but that wasn’t the point of doing this.

Enjoy it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hu4THK6Ltk

Cheers,

Loren

 

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Thing of the Week #2: New Song – On the Beach

So…this week, I’m sharing a song that I started working on last month, but have only recently “finished” polishing and rewriting.

I’m fortunate enough to live ten minutes from a lovely beach. On one recent afternoon, I decided to head over there to take a walk and let the sounds of the surf mellow me out. Which I succeeded in doing, but along the way, I started hearing bits of a song chorus about the beach in my head, so I played with it and let it work itself out a bit. And then I started populating the rest of the song.

Some of the bits in the song come from that particular trip – for instance, I did see the “family in the water posing for a picture.” Other bits I had to add from other beach and recreation spots – Englewood Beach doesn’t have a food concession, for one thing, and there’s a rule about bringing alcohol there. But in the end, I think I created a rather nice beach that I hope to find and spend some time on, one of these days. With friends.

The song is titled “On the Beach,” and you can enjoy it here: https://youtu.be/aIdPvs0y_ak

Other than that, I’ve been working on two other songs that aren’t coalescing yet – each of them has about two pages’ worth of lyrics scribbled, but not organized in any coherent way. There’s also a possible short comedy skit on handling telemarketers, and I got a concept for something (and a cool title) that needs lots of fleshing out. Back to the drawing board!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Well, we survived 2017, or at least anyone reading this email did. Some folks didn’t, and while we’ll miss them, they will always be with us in our memories.

My year had its ups and downs. I got an album done and out. I played some shows here and there, all of which were fun. I spent time with friends old and new. I watched a total eclipse of the sun, and ran away from a category 5 hurricane. I went back to the Virgin Islands for the first time since I was in my teens.

Going into 2018, I’ve decided to challenge myself a bit and to put that challenge out there, whether I meet it or not. And what I’m going to do involves changing how I create and put things out into the world.

I’ve got a decent set of creative skills and creative tools. I take decent pictures, I can make good, entertaining videos, I write songs, and I have some clues on how to connect all of those things together. I just need to do more if it.

So here’s my commitment to me and to you. It’s not an original idea; artists like Jonathan Coulton have been here before. I’m committing to creating and delivering a new “thing” each and every week for 2018. It might be a new song. It might be a video of me doing a cover of someone else’s work. It might be an instrumental, a photo collage, a poem, or a video travelog of me somewhere. Or a video apology for not accomplishing what I promised that week. :) Because I’m going to be accountable to you as well as to myself.

What this will hopefully accomplish is to keep me from self-censoring as much, which may be keeping some worthwhile bits from getting the exposure they deserve. It’ll make me exercise my creative “muscles” more regularly. And maybe the more regular communication and creativity will bring us a bit closer together over time.

My commitment is to me, but I’m making myself accountable to you. I would like nothing better than to get so into this with you that if something doesn’t come out when it should, some of you will take the time to ask me about it, hold my feet to the fire to see how I’m keeping my commitments. If I screw up, I’ll be embarrassed. Maybe that’ll be enough to keep me from screwing up. It’s worth a shot.

My plan right now is to deliver my weekly “things” using my blog, which has been grossly underused, and then to let y’all know via these emails, Facebook, and other social media. If the increased frequency of messages from me (going to once a week) is too much for you, you’ll drop off, and that’s okay. Hopefully the new content will entice you to stay.

Here’s my first “thing of the week,” an a capella version of one of my favorite songs:

Loren sings “As Time Goes By”

I’ll still be doing shows – I have two scheduled already, and have been talking to folks about others. But that’s not going to be where I’m focused.

I hope you’ll be joining me on this new adventure!

Blood, Sweat, Tears…and Fireworks

A long time ago, in a lifetime that occasionally seems far away indeed…I lived in upstate NY. And I was able to attend a number of awesome concerts at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). Back in the early 70s, lawn admission was only $2.50, to give you an idea of how long ago this was.

 

I went to a lot of concerts there in the time span from 1971-76. Among others, I saw James Taylor, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Eric Clapton, Santana, The Who, and many others.

 

Tonight, sitting out on my lanai, I heard a few fireworks being set off by (likely) kids who just got them at the stands that have now opened up the day after Christmas, getting everyone ready for New Year’s Eve. It’s a Florida thing, really – there are laws about who can set them off and where; they’re mostly ignored unless you’re being stupid about it. And I remembered a Fourth of July in 74, 75, or 76 – I don’t remember which – when I went to see Blood, Sweat, and Tears at SPAC.

 

People were being well-behaved inside the amphitheater, for the most part. Out on the lawn (what Harry Belafonte once called, in his impeccable island accent, “the shitty seats”), it was more of a war zone – I went up to check it out at intermission, and decided I was happier retreating inside the amphitheater itself. Which was tame until the very end of the show. BS&T was doing their signature song, “You Made Me So Very Happy.” And in the outro, there’s this break…they sing, “I’m so glad you came…” and there’s a pause.

And at this point, some idjit sets off a pack of firecrackers *inside* the amphitheater, for the first time all night.

 

Up on stage, David Clayton Thomas puts his hands on his hips and gives that part of the audience a dirty look. And says, “I hope you blow your balls off!” To which there was much applause.

 

When the applause died, he cued the band, and they continued: “Into my life…”

 

Never gonna forget that one.

 

Here’s the original song, so you can listen and find the spot where the thing happened. This was decades before cell phone videos and YouTube, or this would have been all over it.