It’s that time of year.

Christmas record time!

So, I’m doing a little solo record. It’s the first time ever for me. It’s an interesting process for a guy that is always trying to help someone else do their music. I’m not sure what I sound like on my own. So, I basically gave myself a narrow niche to fill, and dove in.

It’s a instrumental piano record, but not “solo piano” music. I’m building loops and grooves and “production” out of sounds I’m creating by playing, hitting, strumming and plucking our little Steinway. The vibe is pretty chill… the idea being that it’d be a nice easy background to your Christmas party. But, since I want to be able to market it to my church and some of the Worship Leader Mag connections, I’m keeping it all sacred Christmas hymns. So, no ‘Grandma Got Run Over’ on this one. And harmonically, it’s pretty consistent too… lots of add 9, add 4, plenty of minor 11, and an occasional plain ol’ major chord.

And since everyone that makes a record these days has videos of the process up on YouTube, I figured I’d better get with the program. Hopefully they’ll be somewhat interesting since I’m doing more than just sitting at the piano playing pretty. So, the first two vids are up, on YouTube and on my website. And of course, here.

Intro to the Christmas Record

Meet the Steinway

35 thoughts on “It’s that time of year.

  1. michael

    Very cool, Stick. Looking forward to hearing the project progress.

    I still want to try hooking an ebow up to a car battery, and using it to resonate strings with the pedal down.

  2. Zack

    Speaking of hooking things up to car battery – is that how you powered the camera? The noise from that thing is enough to make my pupils dilate.

    ::digs around in junk drawer::

    Here, I found a camera that works better. You can have it.

  3. Stick Post author

    I know my camera blows chunks. If you’ve got something to donate to the cause, I’ll take it. It’s an old Canon ZR70. And it especially blows that I can’t hook it up to my new Mac Pro. I’ve got to use my old G4 laptop to import the movies, then transfer them to the big computer to edit. Lame.

  4. Zack

    Stick, just go for any ol’ digital still cam that shoots video. (640×480, 30fps minimum)

    Or, pick up a Flip HD. They’re like $170 bucks, shoot in 720p HD, and have no moving parts. Pretty bullet-proof little cam.

    Why can’t you import footage from your ZR70 into your MacPro? That cam should have a firewire output…just connect, rewind, and import MiniDV all day long!

  5. Zack

    And for reference, here’s a video that I just did for Taylor Guitars, featuring the notorious Corey Witt. (Corey shot the fun lil’ intro on his very Flip-esque cheap Kodak Z-something mini-cam)

    http://www.vimeo.com/6604498

    How about you fly me up to wherever-the-eff-you-live and we document the whole process. I’ve enjoyed covering music-related topics lately… :)

    “Bigsby Creative Delay Textures” – Taylor Guitars from Frequent Flyer Productions on Vimeo.

  6. june

    Oh. Babe.
    Zack, I think we need you.

    The Christmas cd is coming along swimmingly, but, um, who is this, well, booooring dude on the vids? That can’t be the same guy who has good hair most days and who I just found outside on the trampoline, trying to see just how high he could fling his two sons (who were laying on the trampoline) into the air via his own jumps and cackling like a lunatic! (It was truly disturbing to see how far and high the five-year-old flies) I didn’t marry “um” boy in the ball cap who likes to “really squash the EQ.” Ok, I did marry that geek, but he’s so much more than that.

    Babe, yer way cooler than these vids. We must do something. Quick. But yes, the tunes are perfection. The youtubiness…not so much. I say that in love.

  7. Stick Post author

    Zack, I dunno what’s the deal with the ZR70. I think it’s just too old for the new computers. I can’t find it on any compatability lists or whatever. And when I do try and plug it in, it messes with my entire FW chain. Dumb.

    We might go grab one of those Flip cams… that’d work well I think, and is probably something we should have around anyway. Does it have a tripod mount thing?

  8. june

    Once we get our quality control goin’ on in regard to the vid upgrades, I think I should interview B in a Inside the Actor’s Studio style. Yes? Or, we could shoot a June version of one of B’s vid clips…perhaps I could translate the geek jargon for all of us nongear peeps. Yes? Maybe we should shoot footage of what our five-year-old thinks the word ‘noel’ means. Yes? Hmmm….

  9. Zack

    Flip cams are great. Yeah, they have a tripod thread on the bottom. Pick up a Gorrila Pod, and you can mount it anywhere for quick and easy shots. The biggest flaw of any small camera is the shakiness and lack of optical image stabilization. A tripod (or VERY steady hand) is a must. The HD footage it creates can be natively edited in Final Cut (and I think iMovie can handle it, too)

    I only have one complaint about the Flip cams – the lens is pretty tight. Meaning you’ve got a pretty narrow/close composition. So, you’ll have to mount the camera farther away that you’re used to for a wide shot.

    For HD under $200 bucks, and the ease of tapeless operation – you can’t do much better. Not to mention, they’re pretty durable and idiot-proof. I’ve given one of mine to my 7-year old niece, and she’s shooting and reviewing footage in 2 minutes. (And it survived a few drops to the concrete)

    Here’s some drunk footage I shot at Lebowskifest this year on my FlipHD: http://www.vimeo.com/4635279

  10. June

    If I knew anything about anything, I’d post the vid I shot of B with our new Flip. I did try…file too big…June too dumb…

  11. corey

    Love the flip. We bought it to use on the Witt Family Road Trip in December (big loop east on Rt 66, into Texas, back home on the 10). The camera was great for snowy days, funny car moments (like funny moments that happened in the car, NOT alcohol-burning drag racing Monte Carlos), and some sweet moments on Papa’s farm with Elle and the chickens.

    Yay flip. Boo shakey hands and scared kids when daddy films and drives at the same time.

  12. Madge

    I SO much wanted to HEAR that Steinway…just a note or two maybe—pictures,talk, piano,talk,tech stuff, talk…but not one note…just mean teasing.

  13. Stick

    It’s coming. Probably tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have clips on my site up tomorrow. I’ll come post a big phat link here.

  14. Stick

    Thanks! It’s sorta like the “Science Project” goes Mannheim Steamroller. HA HA!

    Makes an excellent Christmas gift!

  15. michael

    Mannheim Steamroller is an abomination that desecrates every piece of music it touches.

    Nothing you do should ever be compared to that festering open sore of a musical nightmare.

  16. Stick

    Well, someone hasn’t gone to the website and read the “Currently” blog posts.

    Hensley is the name June bestowed upon our lovely 1948 Steinway ‘M’ in homage to her Dad’s Uncle, whose name was of course, Hensley. Hensley owned the piano, and his daughter Carole was kind enough to let us take it. We really like that it’s a family “heirloom” and a really cool piano to boot.

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