LAYING DOWN THE TRACKS: SOHO

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I want to give a big HELLO to all of you out there reading the Burning Oak Studios blog. For today’s post I have decided to take things in a very different direction. The company confronted me with a very interesting task a couple of months ago involving making studio music for artists to listen to as they create. And I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to make an album by myself and publish it through the company.

I LOVE MUSIC. Always have and always will. Ever since I was a child I would always beat on things trying to keep timing and sing along to everything that I heard. I started playing guitar and bass when I was 16 and it became what some called an “unhealthy obsession.” I played for hours everyday, taught myself many techniques by figuring out songs and watching other people play. When I went off to college and majored in art, I did not have as much time to devote to music unfortunately. I was able to take a few interesting music classes along the way before graduating. One in which I learned old time music on the banjo. Through all this time I have been hanging in there, occasionally playing with some of my best friends from high school in a band called Two Layne Highway.

So needless to say, I try to keep music very fresh on my mind and practice when I can. Writing music is perhaps my biggest passion. I used to write bits and pieces of songs every day. So when I was approached about this project, I was quite enthused. The first subject I was to focus on was music for the urban artist, and the themed title for the first album was “Somewhere South of Houston.” Working on this collection of songs by myself was an ENORMOUS task. I had the theme and some ideas, but there is an amazing amount of work that has to go into a production like this, especially considering one person is doing it. I must say that this project kept me on my toes every bit of the way and I am thankful and pleased with the way things have turned out. Conceptually, the album started to evolve as sort of a “day in the life” of the urban artist. So track number one being titled Early Morning Zen is the start of the artist’s day. It’s a nice relaxing way to start off the album before getting more into the groovy-techno side of things to bring out that spontaneity in your artwork.

I also had the task of designing the packaging for this CD, which was another unique challenge as I have only done a CD design once before. It may sound pompous but I listened to the music I created over and over while brainstorming design ideas in order to see if the album worked like it should, inspiring me too create something with an urban feel. I came up with many different images and layouts to choose from and got help from the guys in the studio to narrow down the designs. In the end, I came up with the cover below.

SoHo-CD

Somewhere South of Houston will be available to the masses soon. In addition to the CD in the flesh, digital downloads will also be available through Amazon and iTunes. So if you are interested, by all means go out and pick up a copy when they are out and leave me feedback, I would love to hear opinions and suggestions.

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