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This month I’m releasing two recordings and a short commentary relating to a book I’ve been reading. The first recording is the latest completed track from my Earthsongs album project: The Spires of Callisto (Truth is Always Unexpected). I’m particularly excited about releasing this one, as I think it’s one of my best pieces of work yet, both in terms of the song and the arrangement and production. It’s pretty cool! My second release this month is another track from my Basement Tapes collection of early songs and demos, For the Quiet Morning Hours. You’ll find that further down this page!
The Spires of Callisto (Truth is Always Unexpected) is a song about the reality that many of the things we accept as true will eventually turn out to be false—something that’s happened countless times throughout human history. My recording engineer Bill Filer and I had a lot of fun producing this one, playing with many, many background sounds and parts to create the result. Some terrific playing by keyboardist John “JT” Thompson and drummer Kevin Lowe add to the mix. (I recommend cranking up your speakers to fully appreciate it!) As always, you can click on the player below the cover to hear it, and/or click on the cover to download it! Also, check out the lyrics by clicking here!
The Basement Tapes is a collection of songs written in my early years as a songwriter—many while I was in college—that were demoed in my home studio a few years later. I’m happy to have a way to share these with you! Enjoy!
For the Quiet Morning Hours was written about my first real love affair, which took place when I was in college. It ended disastrously and had a major impact on my life. By this time I’d written quite a few songs, but this one was the first that was about a life-changing, first-hand emotional experience.
For the Quiet Morning Hours
Reaching “the Audience of Your Audience”: A Request!
Recently I’ve begun reading a fascinating book called Hit Makers (author Derek Thompson) about what causes one thing to become wildly popular while another similar thing remains obscure—despite being as good or better than the first thing. Assuming the item in question has a basic level of quality and offers people some amount of pleasure, what is it that makes it become a hit, or causes it to remain unknown? It turns out the answer is very straightforward: exposure. People tend to like what they become familiar with as a result of being exposed to it multiple times. That’s why a number of songs (for example, Randy Newman’s song Short People) have languished in obscurity until a DJ played them over and over for four or six or 12 hours in a row; the repetition made people notice and like them. Those songs always go on to become hits.
The author makes another interesting point: If you’re not well-known, you can’t put your work in front of thousands (or millions) of people by yourself. To use his words, it’s the audience of your audience that counts. If you spread your work around to the people you are able to reach, some of those who like your work may share it with others who care about their opinion. In fact, it appears to be a rule: Without the additional boost of your audience sharing your work with their own circles of friends and contacts, your work will never become a hit or go viral. To succeed, you need to reach the audience of your audience.
I’m doing my best to spread positive ideas, inspiration and optimism, but in order to reach a larger crowd, I need to reach not just the folks I’m able to reach, but the folks you’re able to reach. So, here is my request: If you like my work—whether it’s my Earthsongs project, or the Backyard Bird TV illustrated poem, or the video of Piece of the Puzzle, or my book Staying Off the Wheel of Misfortune, or one of my essays—please do what you can to help me reach the people who care about your opinion. Share it with everyone you think might also enjoy it. Post it on your Facebook page. Share it in an email to your friends and colleagues. And pass it on to anyone else who—in turn—might have an even bigger network of followers to share it with.
With your help, I can reach the world; without your help, my reach is far smaller.
Thanks for helping me spread the word!!
IN CASE YOU MISSED THE NEWS: Nominees for awards in the JPF international music competition were recently announced. JPF is a grassroots organization with more than 50,000 members from 160 countries around the world. They hold a song/album competition every few years. Out of about a quarter-million song submissions (to the overall contest), two of my releases have been nominated as finalists for best holiday recording: Songs of the Season and ‘Twas the Day of Thanksgiving! The winners will be announced in early August! (If you’ve never heard the two tracks, just click on the covers below!)
Songs from the Upcoming Earthsongs project, already released:
You can hear and/or download each song by clicking on the cover picture. Thanks to all of the folks who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for the Earthsongs album…your contributions helped to make these recordings possible!
Look for more Earthsong releases in the coming months!
Click to hear the songs!
Click to read (or listen to) the poems!
Meanwhile, my book and CD set Help and Hope is still available and doing great!
My book Staying Off the Wheel of Misfortune is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, on Kindle, and as an audiobook at Amazon. (To hear a sample of the audiobook, click here: Wheel of Misfortune—Audio Book!) To learn more about the book and read samples, click on the drop-down menu About the Book at the top of this page. To check out the songs on the companion CD, Piece of the Puzzle: 12 Songs of Hope, click on the cover icon, above left, or check out the Free Downloads page on this website!
As always, my previous music releases are also available; click on the icons to the left!