I Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart…

It’s a sad day, for Rock and Roll…
As you probably figured out by now, I love music, passionately.

Not just playing it, and writing it, but listening to it…

It boggles my mind, that with 12 notes, you can create endless masterpieces…

People that use those 12 notes wisely, sometimes get to be famous, and influence other musician’s lives.

I have different areas of focus, when it comes to music. On bass guitar, I can do almost anything I want, I’ve been playing for 17 years, and studied the likes of anyone who’s ever used the instrument in a unique way… I’ve taken inspiration from every walk of Bass guitar and formed my own style…

That style translates into my acoustic playing.. I’m not your ‘typical’ guitar player… I approach guitar, like a bass player, and have my own unique style.

But aside from bass and guitar, there are vocals. I take singing very seriously, because it’s something I love to do. As my wife has noted to me: “I don’t think you would be able to function, if you couldn’t play music. It’s like it’s a part of you, an extension of who you are.” roughly states what she told me, not too long ago.. That’s one of the greatest compliments, I’ve ever received as a musician!

That being said, one of my vocal icons passed on, last evening. Mr. Chris Cornell, the hard-hitting vocalist from Soundgarden, Audioslave, and a successful solo career.

Cornell had one of the most powerful voices I’ve ever heard… Anyone who’s ever heard “Hunger Strike” has heard that spine-tingling belting in the song…

A lesser known ‘vocal cameo’ is with Alice in Chains, in the song “Right Turn.”
There is this haunting, eeriness about this song, and near the end there is a soul ripping vocal, from none other than Chris Cornell..

“Its hard to believe that somebody tricked you
When you can see as far as I have
Its hard to believe that someone you cared for
Put your face into the fire”

He was not only a man of extraordinary range and talent, as a singer. But he wrote some songs that really hit home, with me…

He died, while on tour… which I think is appropriate… I think anyone who dies doing what they love, dies the most noble death that there could be.

So, Rest in Peace, one of my favorite singers. Prayers for your family.

Thanks for reading!

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Precipice (daily blog thinger)

So, I went to the daily blog suggestion page thing.. and the word Precipice is staring me in the face.

There’s a place in my beautiful state of Pennsylvania that some, from my generation, call ‘Band Rock.’  It’s a beautiful cliff-side overlook of Ralston PA, and the surrounding western Ralston region.

I’ve spent many hours on that cliff side, in many different parts of my life, for many different reasons…

Back in the day, this beautiful overlook was a cool place to hang out (outdoors?! who would have thought!). They would sit up there and talk, or hike around the area, even camping… but the most interesting thing that would take place up there would be the times when people would set up and have concerts up there… That’s where Band Rock got it’s name from. Regardless of style, or genre people would just go up to hang out and listen to music. It truly was a magical place!  Unfortunately, things like that grow in popularity and eventually draw a crowd to ruin it. As the littering got worse, and the destruction of the areas natural beauty, the laws became more strict. Now, all that’s left are the stories, and the memory of how this fascinating little nook of the world used to be a happening place!

Here’s a picture of my old Jeep (which I miss dearly) sitting on band rock. 397901_10150636087850792_1821292281_n

Hmm, I’m glad I looked into the writing prompts today… Thanks for listening to me ramble, as I enjoyed the memories of this perfect precipice.
Thanks for reading!

Precipice

I just remembered why I quit blogging before

Man, getting anyone to look at your site is hard! I know I’m not the world’s most interesting man, but I got a lot to say!!

I think I’d be better at this if I had a prompt to write about…

Give me some suggestions! I can argue about anything!!

In the meantime, I’ll tell you about my week!

Been busy, I stacked 3 cords of wood on Monday, and built a trampoline for our kids.

Let me tell you something about Trampolines… I spent most of my middle school years jumping on one, and it was a blast!! Apparently, when you turn mid/late 20’s you turn into a bitch and can’t jump like that anymore… I hopped on that thing for about 30 seconds, and about puked! So, needless to say, I won’t be doing that anymore…

Yesterday I did a ton of yardwork (and have the sunburn to prove it!) Removed some raised planters and cleaned up a bit…  OH!! Our Barred Rock chickens finally started laying eggs, so there’s a win!

Anywho, how is your week going? What do you want to see here? I really want to keep this moving, but need the motivation to do so!

Have a great day everyone!

Struggles With Singing (smoking is bad, m’kay?)

Good afternoon (non)followers!

It’s a beaut-.. well.. It’s kind of alright, out side, here in Pennsylvania.
To be honest, it’s cold and windy… and it’s going to rain all damn weekend!

Enough about that , though.

I quit smoking back in November of 2015, best decision I’ve ever made in my life, as far as my health is concerned, but I swear… I used to have a better vocal range.

Either because I’m getting older, or I’ve just done far too much damage to my vocal chords, I can’t sing as high, consistently as I used to… Anyone else ever deal with this? It’s a real pain in the ass…

That being said, I can still recover some of my range for gigs by REGULARLY doing vocal warmups.. I found a fantastic set of classic vocal warmups by an artist named “Pete Faint,” on Spotify.  This has been my pre-show and sometimes even my daily morning ritual on the way to work.

I commute about 20 minutes, each way, for work. During that time I often pop on the vocal warmup album, and at least make it through the first 6 exercises: everything from humming, to vowels noises, sliding up a 5th, sliding up an octave, legato/staccato warmups, and anything you need to warm up them pipes…

I’ve played with far too many musicians who don’t take the time to do this, and they just can’t keep up for days at a time, of long gigs. My acoustic gigs can go anywhere from 1 hour to 3+ hours, and I often have multiple gigs a weekend! (For example, I have 4 gigs between May 24th and 28th, for a total of at least 7 hours I am going to have to be able to sing and play.)

Vocal warmups MAY sound corny, but I can not stress how important they are… I’m not by any means a “lead singer” and I think the ego of those types, tend to get the best of them… They’re also the ones spraying God knows what down their throats 5 minutes before they go on, and then are often complaining about sore throats the next day… (let’s not forget how they also cup the microphone, which is the most irritating thing in the world for a sound guy… more on that later…)

Speaking of spraying un-known chemical compounds down your throat to preserve your vocal ability… Try drinking some water instead…

We as people (ESPECIALLY Americans), go through our lives practically dehydrated… You should be drinking about a gallon of water A DAY!! It’s a lot harder than it sounds… but totally worth it… I can usually get 3 quarts in, which is better than most, but it really does help.. Let me dispel a couple rumors about things that ‘help’ your throat.

Tea w/ honey & lemon – Nope.. Just.. Nope… Caffeine dehydrates you, lemon juice (or anything sour really..) doesn’t do you any favors, and sugar just makes ya feel gummy..

Any kind of alcohol – I used to believe this one… I’d try ginger brandy to ‘loosen things up’  The truth of the matter is, alcohol relaxes you… So, when you’re relaxed, you’re obviously less tense, even in the throat muscles… the alcohol contacting your vocal chords does nothing good.

Smoking – I’ve heard singers that tell me they sing better when they smoke… I think this may be related to my previous statement about alcohol… Hot smoke from a cigarette just dries you out…

There’s just a few of the many ridiculous things I’ve read on the internet before.. The fact of the matter is this: You need to drink water, NOT strain your voice, and do vocal exercises to keep your voice in shape. Do not rely on ridiculous home remedies to do it for you. If you want the job, you gotta do the work.

Alright, well, I’m done scolding you for today. I’ve gotta go suck down another half gallon of water, before the day is up!

Until next time!

 

-Joe

First blog post… sure, we’ll go with that

This is the post excerpt.

So, I had a blog before… I didn’t have the focus I needed to make any sense of it, because I thought my career was going to take a much different direction than it has, but being “young and naive” has left me plastered in the same place I’ve been… which is fine with me.. It’s given me a chance to give responsibility a much-needed middle finger, and focus on what I love to do: entertain people.

Here I sit, on the edge of spring and summer, and I look at my schedule for the upcoming months, and hope to God my voice can hold out for all of these gigs!

For anyone who’s thinking about doing an acoustic solo act, just do it, you can’t go wrong.  I now have MAYBE 1000$ into my current acoustic setup.. BUT, my initial rig was a 130$ Yamaha guitar, a 25$ microphone, and a second hand set of powered speakers I paid 50$ for.

Now I have 17ish gigs lined up between now and August (not including gigs with my full band Audiobox) and the way I book myself; I’m making more, hourly, than I do working overtime at my day job.

All because I took the time to learn about 70 songs and have the nerve to play them in front of people

More on that later though, I’m just rambling at this point.

Please follow me! My goal here is to inspire aspiring musicians with knowledge I wish I’d had, at the beginning of my career.

Thanks for checking out my page!