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#38 “The Gospel According to Me” with Skip Heller and the Carnival of Soul

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Chaka Khan meets Dr Teeth & the Electric Mayhem in a tune that boldly makes a few suggestions on how to show up in the world.

Every now and again someone will approach me in person and request to be a part of the Songography project directly. After my good friend Skip Heller viewed a livestream of “Gospel,” he commented immediately Continue reading “#38 “The Gospel According to Me” with Skip Heller and the Carnival of Soul”

“Sugarfree” at Wonka Sound

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Recorded at Wonka Sound in Lowell, MA
Engineer — Bob Nash, wonkasound.com
Trombone — Tim Lewandowski
Trumpet — Marc Presler
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Kazoo, Song — Olivia Brownlee

A Word on the Song:
All this year so far I’ve been doing a monthly “voting” concert where I pass ballots out to the audience and literally have them vote on which of the unreleased tunes I’m playing they think I should record next. In July I had the privilege of playing a set of ten songs for my friends at the Elements Primitive Skills Gathering in the Sequoia National Forest, and when I finished this song a wonderful woman came to her feet and shouted “THAT ONE!” And fortunately after counting the votes later that evening it seems most of the crowd agreed with her.
It’s funny – I don’t usually think of my songs as feminist statements, but I certainly don’t mind if they are taken that way. 🙂

A Word on the Crew:
I don’t often tour, but when I do I build it around my community, which inevitably includes a passel of wondrous musicians, and this month’s trip to Boston is no different. I have been wanting to record with Tim Lewandowski for years, so I asked him who in town really gets horns and we booked a session with Bob Nash right away. In the absence of a horn band (and a proper arrangement) I recruited our good friend Marc for some snazzy trumpeting and the three of us made up some horn parts in the car on the way to the session.
Wonka Sound is spacious, elegant, and well set up for large bands and soloists to do live takes and/or multitracking. There are several effective options for isolation and large soundproof windows. Bob is a pro and cares deeply about a clean sound on a good track.

Thank you for your support!
Thank you for your support!

2017 Annual New England Tour

I’m pleased to announce some dates coming up next week…ob-ne-tour-poster.png

Wednesday, August 23
Wednesday Jam
Naked Oystah Beach Bar & Restaurant, Hull, MA
Doors at 8:00pm, Songs at 9:00pm
All Ages, Pass the Hat

 Friday, August 25
Carriage House Concerts
The Carriage House, Newburyport, MA
Doors/Optional Potluck at 6:00pm, Music at 7:00pm
All Ages, Suggested Donation $20

 Saturday, August 26
LEMIfest
House of Papa Ricci & Mama Sue, Seconsett Island, MA
Doors and Food at 4:00pm, Music all night by various artists
All Ages, $30

 Monday, August 28
Senses
Fort Point Theatre Channel
Fort Point, Boston, MA
7:30pm Show

Thank you for your support!
Thank you for your support!

“The Ballad of Cooper Young” at The Donkey Den

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Blair Sinta — Engineer and Drummer at The Donkey Den, Los Angeles, CA
Chris Murphy — Fiddle, Mandolin
Greg McFall — Bass

Olivia Brownlee — Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Song

A Word on the Song:
I did a house concert for my friends and built a little tour around it to make some extra cash. At one of these extra gigs a woman wielding a wine glass approached me and said with conviction in her voice: “You have to write a song about my husband.” And proceeded to tell me (while her husband sat with us and nodded seriously whenever I looked at him to see whether she was joking) the true tale I’ve worked to recreate a little bit for you here… #strangerthanfiction

A Word on the Crew:
Blair Sinta totes a bagful of really impressive drumming credentials and lives up to them both in person and professionally. His studio is usually used for creating drum tracks, but when I approached him with the idea of the project he was happy to give multi-tracking this heartracing tune a try (we never would have fit if we’d wanted to do it live, the studio is delightfully tiny). I went first and put down guitar and vocals, followed by our friend Greg McFall on the bass, then Blair on drums. Chris helped us get some really unique drum sounds and worked the mix with us, and then put down a mandolin and fiddle track in less than 15 minutes, creating the catchy instrumental lick you hear on the spot. We were there a little longer than I usually try to be (I like getting in and out within 3 hours and I think we quit around hour 4), but ultimately through teamwork, sweat, and raw determination, the product you hear is something I’m pretty proud of, and glad to have these crazy willings by my side. ❤

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“Poor Tom” at Holiver Productions

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Zak St John — Engineer at Holiver Productions, Los Angeles, CA
Gabriel Wheaton — Fiddle

Olivia Brownlee — Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Song

A Word on the Song:
I was honestly surprised when this song won the popular vote — I wrote it a long time ago (I think I woke up from a dream where I was singing it) and always thought it was a little out there. But according to others, it comes across as timeless, upbeat, and as if it were penned by “Anonymous” 200 years ago.

A Word on the Crew:
I know Gabe through work here in Los Angeles, and a finer, funnier, more affable fiddlin’ fellow I don’t think you’ll ever meet, at least not with red hair. One of the most musically intelligent people I’ve met in a while, Gabe is a consummate improviser, reader, listener, and performer, and has as much classical training as he does practice with his electric loop pedal. He takes direction, has incredibly interesting ideas, and radiates good vibes.

When you enter the garage studio of Zak St John you must first pass through his barrage of adorable guard dogs, two of whom provided the portmanteau of his studio’s name. Draped with hippie blankets, snares, and a couple of remarkable handmade instruments, Holiver is a cozy haven for people who want to get stuff done quickly and with a lot of laughs and innovative solutions. Zak was a laid back gentleman of an engineer, sardonic and swift, and my only regret in the session is that I didn’t use his legendary drumming skills.

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