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


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”

Blood & Water at audioGrand Analog & Digital


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A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer:
Doug Messenger‘s audioGrand is a blast from the past – his studio is fully analog, which was a great pleasure for me, being amongst sights and sounds and even smells I remembered from my childhood when my dad ran a recording studio in the 80’s (if you listen carefully to the beginning of the track, you can hear the tape starting and Doug’s voice saying “Rolling!”). Doug himself has worked with innumerable A-listers, including-but-not-limited-to Jimmy Eat World, Beck, and Milla Jovovich (who knew??), as well as played tunes with Van Morrison back in the Boston days… The man has been everywhere and done everything, and now tends his studio contentedly, happy to take on the shoestring, crack-knuckled projects of maelstrom waifs out for blood and water in the Los Angeles desert. He’s careful and meticulous, was incredibly encouraging to me and my crew, and went out of his way to make certain I was happy with my product and had everything I needed. Thank you, Doug!

A Word on the Band/Co-Producers:
I had the distinct pleasure of bringing three great guys in on this project, who I only knew of because I chanced to catch them playing as the house band for a comedy show called Boobie Trap. I have to say, in addition to being great listeners (read: great musicians), on point and in the pocket in their delivery, totally respectful and supportive of a complete stranger’s music, flexible on budget, punctual, and masters of adapting to a largely ill-conceived plan, these three fellows were also NICE and charming, WHILE communicating their needs and keeping the flow flowing. Their exceptional individual and collective musicality aside, these boys have got a lot of depth and character, and I see where their training and style have helped it develop. I would say I got lucky, but some people wear their awakeness on their sleeves, and you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to notice. Please call them for just about anything, including but not limited to high-profile event-production, composition for film & television, and rip-roaring good fun:
More to be found at Fireleopardshow.com

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Not Being There at 663 Studios

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More than one of my friends have invested time, money, and pain in a tattoo that says “Be Here Now,” and through the pressures of life I figured I’d submit my version. I leave it to the listener to decide how to quell their own dissatisfactions.

A Word on the Engineer/Co-Producer/Accompanist/Studio:
It would seem there are very few people with whom Ted Wulfers has not worked in some capacity or another. Rife with creative ideas, add-ons, and ability – patient with foible, experimentation, and rejection – happy to speak honestly, encouragingly, and hospitably – these are all accurate summations of Mr Wulfers the engineer and producer. There was nothing he boasted as an accompanist that he could not execute. His upstairs studio is a sight to behold: littered with instruments, cases, cables, jerry-rigged objects about whose application you’d be forced to ask, amps of all ages, analog and digital mixing applications, and about a trillion stories on a hair trigger, 663 Studios reeks of good use and good coffee. Well worth it. Thanks a mil, Ted! Good times leading to more good times!
And thanks to Jagger, the Good Vibes Cat, as well.

Deep In the Homeland – Krueger Studios

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So back in January there was a special sort of single – the kind that is terrifying to undertake because it is so bare. The kind that leads me to the soft dry hills of Sunland, where I spent a good chunk of my childhood. The kind that even though you can’t afford the cello and the viola this month, you’re not so disappointed because the alternative turned out to be just as interesting in all its quiet simplicity.

The story of Michael and Sarah is not a new one, and not a true one, but I have to hand it to Dave Morrison and Greg Krueger for bringing it to light in such an honest, laceratingly raw fashion. Thank you, gentlemen.

A Word on the Studio and the Engineer:
I made up the name Krueger Studios since Mr Krueger has never settled on a title for his amalgamation of high-end gear, exceptional resume, and sensitive ear. His sense of humor coupled with his in-studio efficiency made for a truly enjoyable experience. For more information write me. He’s worth a bit o’ diggin’.

A Word on the Accompanist:
Dave Morrison is not accustomed to singing without a guitar. The man has a shining, well-deserved reputation around the Los Angeles scene as one of the finest American songwriters around, and I have had the pleasure of sharing a stage with him, accompanying him, and seeing his genius for myself. He presents a concert series in Pasadena called “Quarter Moon Revue” at an ancient Unitarian church by the name of Throop, makes the audience dinner with his two hands, and never puts on a bad act. Dave is in the process of forming the 2.0 version of the Dave Morrison Band, and for goodness’ sakes, keep your ears peeled.

Music as a Second Language

Help Crowd-Source Music as a Second Language!

I have just launched my first GoFundMe campaign. [insert intense music]

What it’s somewhat about is learning music. I’ve tried teaching music before, and while it’s functional, I just don’t feel it’s as effective as learning music. Like the way children learn their native tongue – nobody gives them lessons, they just listen and watch and absorb. Me I never took a guitar lesson in my life – I was just lucky enough to always be around friends and family members who played, and I would harangue them to “show me that!” As annoying as I probably was, I definitely now feel comfortable and friendly with my instrument, an adequate player at least (jazzed by the notion that I will always have more to learn)!

What it isn’t really about is words: If you know me, you know the love affair I have with words – you know how I agonize over spelling, grammar and punctuation; the bad poems I’ve written and the good ones; the lavish letters I’ve exchanged with some of you over the years…you know how I love spinning an esoteric, parabolic yarn, and how non-contrived alliteration is always appreciated (dang it…). You’ve seen me melt into a puddle after using words badly. Maybe you’ve gotten gifts from me that were nothing but words, but they were words I pulled together specifically for you, and hopefully that meant something more than a giftcard could supply. I love words. But they’re such a little tool.

What this GoFundMe campaign is definitely about is Communication. I went and got two degrees in the theatrical arts and I thought what fun to be an actor or designer or stuntman or a director or something…and I’ve done that and I still do and it is fun…but what’s really cool is the community the communion the communing the common the camaraderie. In the skeleton of this is the notion that there’s a lot to be shared between humans without having to hire a translator. According to the International Diplomacy Guidebook, “the best way to forge a lasting friendship is to create something together.” You don’t really need words to communicate the fact that you’d like to jam.

Which is the core of the workshop I’m developing. Listening and watching is too underrated in our culture (unless it’s coming from an electronic device). It’s a good thing, then, that everyone wants to be a musician, because Music IS communicating – watching each other, listening to the harmony, embodying the groove – collectively endeavoring to make everyone else sound as good as possible. It’s learning a language, it’s creating an experience together, without a script. And like a friend of mine said, it’s hard to practice a language if you’ve no one to talk to!

You are more than welcome to contribute to my crowd-sourcing campaign to get me to Laos to continue developing this stuff! …But if by the end of this paragraph all you really want to do is travel, or call a friend, or make up a song or practice your instrument…that’s good enough for me and I’d love to hear about it.



ImageWhile Olivia Brownlee is learning painful lessons about the nomenclature of websites, domains and their names (and how much they cost) OliviaBrownlee.com will temporarily be found under OliviaBrownlee.wordpress.com. (PS: The artwork is by James Suhr. He’s in LA and i don’t know him but i totally usurped the illustration, because he’s good and it shows what it means.)

In other news, i will soon be writing a regular blog about Doing Music for Therese Barron’s entrepreneurial online magazine entitled, Thriving and Striving Magazine. Come back for news on that!