Hark! The Dorothy Heralds Play...

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season. I know it's not very fashionable to enjoy this time of year, but no one ever accused me of being fashionable.

Item: Short show report[STOP]
The Dorothy Heralds played a show last week with Reason for Leaving and The Optimistic at Madison's The King Club. [STOP]
Fun was had by all.[STOP]
The Optimistic write cool songs.[STOP]
Reason for Leaving rocks.[STOP]
You're sad because you missed it.[STOP]

In other holiday news, I have to mention that I received a copy of the long out-of-print Arcana: Musicians on Music as a gift this year. For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of John Zorn, who compiled and edited this collection of essays. A number of the contributors have been hugely influential players in their respective fields, and not just to me! I was ecstatic to finally have a copy of the book, as I've been trying to track one down for years. I've just started reading and it's already been very challenging and revelatory.

Myra Melford's essay, Aural Architecture: The Confluence of Freedom has already inspired two new compositions. It's also helped me complete a piece that I've been working on for the past six months. The way in which she expresses parallels in her compositional processes with the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture has given me new faith in my attempt to directly connect my own literary influences with my music. She's also renewed my interest in actually studying Varese's techniques.

Bill Frisell, who is a huge influence on my playing and writing, contributed an essay entitled, An Approach to Guitar Fingering. Over the years Frisell has mentioned in various interviews some of the ideas presented in this essay. However, to have his thoughts collected in one place and presented with exercises and a few short etudes is fascinating. The etudes aren't difficult at first glance, but reveal the depth of his approach to the guitar with just a few attempts. I'm sure these pieces will become an integral part of my own study.

Other essays have been just as revealing. This book will undoubtedly become a constant companion for years to come. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking to expand their musicianship. Some of the writing can be pretty dense and may only reveal its value after much meditation, but those that have the desire to uncover its value will be rewarded well.


¡Muy Divertido!

It's finally over! The Dorothy Heralds' release party for our new CD 100 Unnamed Things was last night. We pulled out all the stops for this one. Lights, sound, VIP party and free admission for the first 100 people. Aside from a longer than planned setup time, everything went off without a hitch. Attendance was high as were spirits. We took a lot of chances with this show and I think they paid off well.

We started the night with retooled versions of "Inverno Rosa" and "Now" from our last album Projections. "Inverno Rosa" was made moodier by reducing the instrumentation to piano, guitar and voice. Kevin's keyboard line didn't change much, but the addition of some Frisell-ian swells really ornamented the beauty of the melody. Gary actually sang the high harmony which is still amazing. "Now" was rescued from the noise/improv excesses of the past. Gary and Tim wrote a Medeski, Martin and Wood sounding groove. Kevin and I chose a more minamalistic, Massive Attack style ambience. Then we performed "Angel" by Massive Attack which we combined with our song "I Don't Care" from Projections.

Next came the album in its entirety. Everything was played pretty much the way it is on the CD, with the notable exception of "Play" which we've combined with Björk's "Hyper Ballad". It's one of my favorite pieces to perform. We superimpose "Hyper Ballad" over the bridge of "Play" and then end with the chorus of "Play" being sung over the chorus of "Hyper Ballad". It's an emotionally powerful piece for me, and I think that comes across to the audience.

After performing the songs on the new album, we performed "Interiatic ESP" by The Mars Volta, "Synchronicity II" by the Police and "Sunless Saturday" by Fishbone. Those have to be some of the more challenging and enjoyable covers we've done. It's been a dream of mine for quite a while to perform "Synchronicity II" on stage. We were actually asked to do an encore which was a pleasant surprise. We did "Beautiful" from Projections but improved around it a lot. Thanks to Tim, we've actually gotten to a place where we can improvise as a group. It's so very refreshing!

DJ Anonymous spun some great stuff to close the night. And for those of you that couldn't stick around a spontaneous jam with Anonymous and the band occurred at the end of the night. I really hope that we'll get to work with him more in the future. His remixes of our album sound incredible.

Thanks to everyone who made last night possible and to all the people involved in the production!