Overdue updates – the site, performances, recording a CD (!!!), and looking forward

So I haven’t posted since December. Bad bard. Bad, bad bard. Well, busy bard. Which is good. (And it’s not like the handful of you out there aren’t catching all of this on Facebook anyway.)

Still, what’s the point of a “blog” about my “bardic career” if I don’t take the time to post about said “career” when I’m actually “doing things” in it? Probably because I have the grace to be at least uncomfortable with the implicit narcissism involved, but if I can deal with it, I trust you can too (or you’ll stop reading, and we’ll all just have to find a way to cope).

So here are the updates:

The blog

I’ve made updates to the site. I had been puttering with my GarageBand recordings, trying to improve on them, and in the process of trying to upload slightly cleaner recordings I deleted some of the MP3’s and clearly hadn’t updated the links, so “House of Dancers” and “Bastard’s Tale” links weren’t working. Oops. I’ve uploaded them again and corrected the links. Let me know if I’ve missed something. (And no, the recordings aren’t really any better, because my recording conditions stank for the vocals and I have no great skill with GarageBand. But never mind, better things are coming–see below.)

New Performance

My family’s plans to attend the Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins this weekend were aborted at the last minute due to alarming weather conditions up at Syracuse, so in the end we went to the event I’d been hoping to go to instead: The Queen’s Meadhall in Carolingia (near Boston), where the King’s and Queen’s Bardic championship would be held. Our friend Don Levey (he of the wonderful guitar playing on my first YouTube video) invited me, saying it would be a good place to be as a bard, and that he was going to be there in persona, something he hadn’t done in years. I opted to perform in the first round but not compete for the championship–my plate is full, I’m way too new at the bard thing to take on such a responsibility, and it’s the height of dishonesty and selfishness to compete if you don’t intend to accept the position if offered. I sang my newest song, “Changeling”, since it was the only thing no one in the audience hadn’t heard yet. It was well received. (And since it has now been publicly debuted, I’ve updated and opened up the song page for it.)

Recording Project

I’m recording my first CD. (Avert your eyes from the squeeing and the little dance, it’s undignified of me, I know.) My good friend Dave Lambert of numerous bands, currently The Fuzzy Lemons, offered me support when I mentioned I was going to do the bard thing with full intention. I finally got up the courage last November to ask if that would extend all the way to producing and lending his instrumental talents to a CD, and that got a heartfelt “yes”. So the project is underway. Dave and I had our first recording session together in January, and it took some getting used to. I’m a novice at this and Dave was a little rusty at doing a home recording with someone else. It took my voice a couple of hours to get warmed up, but by the end, we got into the swing of it, and I had a lot of fun. We recorded vocal tracks for “The Bastard’s Tale”, “Call Me Will”, and “The Name of the King”. I’ve reached out to a couple of other musicians with experience, and they have signed on as well. We have a joint recording session scheduled for March. I’m hoping to have some of songs completed before Pennsic, but we’ll see.

I believe my music is good enough to find out if people are willing to pay for it, but this is a passion project. So we’re planning to donate all proceeds from sales of this album to a worthy cause: Education and therapeutic services for bright children with special needs, a cause very near and dear to my heart.

Planning for Pennsic 2013

One of my other intentions around growing as a bard was taking an active part in the SCA bardic community. Participating in the King’s and Queen’s Bardic this weekend was a piece of that, but I know that a big part of being a SCAdian of note is service. I have received (with pleasure) the praise of other well-known and respected bards for fostering a vibrant online space in the Facebook group, but the place where people want, need, and recognize service is at events. And as events go, there’s no better place than the epicenter of the SCAdian calendar, the summertime Pennsic War.

I’ve managed to get onto the PBards mailing list, which continues the Bardic Collegium discussions after Pennsic, and turns out to be where the planning stages for the Bardic aspect of Pennsic takes place. I’ve been contributing to discussions about a planned 3-hour Bardic Exposition at Pennsic this year to highlight some of our best performances, and discussions about planned topics for this year’s Collegium.

And one final leap I’ve decided to make: I’m going to teach a class at Pennsic this year: “Songwriting to Tell a Story.” I have enough ideas that I’m pretty sure I can fill a one-hour class, and my trial balloons online (and at yesterday’s event) met with some enthusiasm. So I’ll start putting together the course outline, and register the course offering when the Pennsic University website accepts submissions in a few weeks.

It’s gonna be a busy Bardic year.

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