Making great progress these past few months in a few areas: Looping, lead guitar, and vocal fitness. The looping and lead guitar are really related; here’s why: a looper allows you to play a section of a tune (and for me I lay down a rhythm guitar on the looper) and then it continually repeats it without skipping a beat. So this gives you a perfect background for laying down the lead guitar on top – really helping to round out your sound and fill in the solo holes in your songs. The trickiest part is getting in and out of the loop at the right moments – you have to tap your foot on the button exactly on the beat, and plan out exactly which chord changes you need to repeat, or your loop gets screwed up! But compared to learning to play two hands on a piano or doing guitar and harmonica at same time, it’s not too bad a skill to master. I bet drummers would find it easy, as they are already accustomed to keeping their feet in the mix!
Vocal fitness is something I’ve been able to do a lot more of in the past few months! My good friend Tamara Beatty is a serious professional vocal coach – she gave me lot of great advice over the years, but until recently I never could manage or find the time to actually practice those exercises regularly (one bonus of being empty-nested now, as getting up early ain’t so hard anymore). Tamara is dead-on right about the voice being a muscle which needs the right kinds of stretching and exercise, and I’ve really noticed improvements from doing this. If you sing, I encourage you to try her “Voice Fit” training programs on her website, or sign up for coaching. When she’s not teaching contestants on “The Voice” in LA, she does offer coaching from her home in Calgary.
In other news, I’m heading back to Nashville this summer for Song Camps – a chance to work on songwriting techniques and collaborate with other songwriters. Very exciting! I have a lot of unrecorded material (as to all songwriters), but I’m waiting for the right moment to pull the trigger on the next album…this one will be a solo (as I’m now not working with a regular band)…so it can sound however I like, and I just need to explore my sound/groove a little longer before I do. Nashville should give me a chance to do some of that!
Thanks for staying in touch – I would love to hear from you; feel free to drop me a line!