Thursday, March 16, 2017

NEW VIDEO: "Tell Me I'm Alright"


This song was the first I wrote for "WIlderness Hymnal" and is one of the closest to my heart. The main message in the song (and video) is that community has real power to bring you out of the pit. I've dealt with depression and anxiety for most of my life and since it's so intertwined into my personality and my headspace, I have to regularly be in connection with loving people in order to grow into my most honest, healthy self. This is a song for you who feel the darkness inside and are learning to love and befriend even those parts of yourself you don't understand. I encourage you if you're in a place of need, to reach out to the ones around you and let yourself be vulnerable to them. Community heals in ways like no other.

You're never alone.

Love, Brandon

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Announcement! I'm Now Signed To A Record Label!


I am honored to announce my recent signing to the small Indianapolis label Spark Joy Music!

This has been a step I've been hoping to take for the last several years and I couldn't be more delighted to be working with the fine people at Spark Joy. If you're wondering what exactly a label does for an artist, it's more than anything a team of other artists helping me book shows, network, and foster sustainability for the future and passion of my music, all while still owning the rights to all my material.

I want to thank you, my loyal friends and fans for your faithful support and love. There's so much goodness ahead! Stay tuned!

If you want to check out their website and other artists they represent, I highly recommend you visit www.sparkjoymusic.com

Happy weekend!
Love, Brandon

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holiday merch sale, 2016 recap, and a glimpse into the future!

Hey! You made it.

2016 is nearly over and I want to first thank you hanging on for the ride! For those of you I got to visit or sing for, it was splendid and I just want to say I'm so grateful for you!

For me, this year held a plethora of traveling, a new album and music video, live studio recording, a foray into electric guitar land and writing a punk album, got my ear pierced and my first tattoo, Katie and I are now aunt and uncle, East TN caught on fire, we had an incredulously absurd political season, Gilmore Girls came back (WTH RORY) and we still don't have a cat.

a quick word from our sponsors
Before I say anything else, I wanna let you know I cracked. My latest three albums including Wilderness Hymnal are all now available on Spotify, iTunes, and every other online music platform you can imagine! Do me a solid and add me to your playlists, rate your favorite song, and whatever else you see fit to spread the tunes to your friends! As always, you can purchase, download, or order everything from my website to support my future musical endeavors.



super special holiday merch sale! 
Since you made it through 2016 I want to extend to you, my loyal newsletter readers and friends, a chance to grab Wilderness Hymnal if you haven't already for year end sale price that you decide! I'll also be able to mail a physical copy of any album for only $5 until the end of December! ALSO my Christmas album from a few years back is available for just a few bucks here. These make incredible presents for your independent-artist-loving friends and family and for serenading your home during this holiday season!


a year in review
Now that all that's out of the way, I can't wait to tell you about this past year of music! I've never had a year that was busier, more challenging, or more encouraging than this one. Wilderness Hymnal was released in March, I got to do more touring than I'd ever done before, AND I made a real life music video. The first shows I really played in the Winter and Spring of this year were in support of the album release and involved many great adventures all of which you can read about here. I played just a few shows this Summer, and in Autumn I went on the Little House Tour with Edward + Jane.

This year there were seasons of much traveling and exciting things and then there were weeks of not much happening at all and it would just feel like progress stopped completely. I'm becoming more aware of the times of activity and momentum, requiring me to be as present as I can be and then count the slow days as preparation for what I can't see yet. I played most of my shows by myself, but I was blessed to include on several occasions, multiple incarnations of a band and it was dreamy. Just recently, I played a live studio concert with some accompanying videos that will roll out to your precious little eardrums early next year. I was blessed to finish up this year's run in Maryville, TN a little over a week ago with my dear friend Chris and my brother Phillip.

Thing is, no mighty hand reached out from the sky to pull me out of the incremental steps one has to take to be a successful artist by just handing me what I want. Truthfully, nothing especially unprecedented has happened since the album's release. I haven't shot to the top of the iTunes charts or been selected by some record label or been featured by any publications, and when I think about it that way, I have no room to be content. On the other hand, I have no room to be anything but grateful and expectant when I think of it instead as that same mighty hand reaching down from the sky and giving me another breath every few seconds so I can take another step toward figuring out how to be an artist and a human. I'm finding my life and my music are inseparable in that they shape each other and hold the other accountable on principle and in practice. It's pretty meta.

'Man's Greatest Spaceflight' music video!
For instance, this summer I was fortunate enough to meet a friend whose camera finesse would help me create my most elaborate music video to date, Man's Greatest Spaceflight! If you haven't seen it yet, there's no better time than now:



next year's happenings
So. Some cool news is I'm writing a new album (surprise!) and since it's still formative and currently hard to describe, I will say only that it's going to be something I've always wanted to make and will be more experimental than anything I've ever done. If I were to say more, I'd mention that it's a punk album and is going to take the most musical and lyrically heavy parts of Wilderness Hymnal and expound upon it. As you may guess, I'm very excited to share it with you. Recording will presumably begin in the Spring with at least a couple of old friends and myself playing, producing, engineering, mixing, and editing from start to finish, hopefully with a release toward the middle of next year. Funds from anything you buy online will go toward this effort. Wanna be a part of its production somehow? Let me know and we'll talk.

BEFORE YOU GO

I'm scheduling concerts for next year in hopes of seeing old friends and making new ones, so if you'd like for me to come play in your city, let me know and we can set something up! Even if you're just interested, give a shout!



THANK YOU! Just for being you.

Much love and happy holidays,
Brandon

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Man's Greatest Spaceflight - Official Video




Enjoy the documentation of my most recent voyage to music video land! It took nearly eight months since the release of Wilderness Hymnal for this footage to complete its transmission to Earth. If you like it, go ahead and share with your fellow earthlings. I love you all to the moon and back. Over and out.

(too many puns_?)

Love, Brandon

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

This Matters, You Look Just Fine



A good friend (semi) recently said to me, “The Lord loves you so much more than for your gifts and talents to be squandered and go to waste.” 


In the formative stages of writing my latest album, “Wilderness Hymnal,” there was a multi-month stretch when I tried to write and it was just not good. It was a process remarkably similar to unclogging a shower drain. True to my age-old form, I diligently wrote down every clever phrase, thought, rhyme, or metaphor that would occur to me and I’d try to cram it into song form.

The fact was, I was repeatedly experimenting and failing, until it finally became something I was at least able to identify as part myself, as an artist and a human being.


Immediately after I finished recording the album, I went on the longest stint of shows within a span of time I have played in my entire career thus far. It was a time of miracle and wonder and you can read about it here. In the following months, I found myself in yet another desert. I submitted the album (what felt like submitting myself) to a number of licensing agencies, contests, festivals, and requests to open for bands, and received very little response. (Sometimes I seriously wonder if there is something wrong with my inbox that prevents me from receiving emails.) Even so, I carried on applying, presenting, and trying to create opportunities. Alternately, there have been opportunities presented to me that I would've never dreamed of reaching out for. No less than a few touring bands have reached out to ME to open for them, which was exciting!



Unfortunately, two of those cornerstone shows I was looking forward to playing were cancelled or fell through within a weekend for various reasons beyond control, and it was disheartening. I've played a lot of farmer’s markets this summer, singing to parking lots of shoppers as sparse as my performance schedule. However against my will and moping around, it has given me the chance to step back, practice on my own, explore my songs, and write even newer material, as well as repeatedly shed the nerves I still get while singing in front of other humans. I’ve picked up an electric guitar for the first time since around 2008 to write with, and I’ve been selling a ton of old gear to upgrade, all with funds I’ve made from playing shows, which is a really nice feeling and is opening up some proverbial doors of sonic and creative potential. I've always thought you needed a band to play electric guitar on stage, but that wall is being broken down, too.


On paper, these changes are important and apparent, but in real time it often seems achingly, unnecessarily slow. Oh, how narrow my perspective.

I’m telling you all this to encourage you, I promise. Out from all the sage wisdom I’ve heard about how your post-grad-young-professional-twenty-something-years are going to be, most of it has been: “You’re going to feel lost. You’re going to be figuring a lot out. It’s going to be weird.” But I’m here to tell you it’s okay to feel not alright about it. 

It’s going to seem like everyone on Instagram has a career arch that is #perfect. 



More often than not though, I find myself needing to reminded that the glamour is all an illusion. I do not advise comparing your Chapter 2 to someone else’s Chapter 20. It’s also even more ill-advised (and often overestimated) to compare your Chapter 2 to someone else’s Chapter 2. Or your book cover to theirs, or if you have page numbers, or what your chapters are named, or they use bigger words, or sell more copies. Those thoughts are super sneaky!

Sometimes I have the thought that my discomfort or disappointment in my career might not be normal (IT TOTALLY IS) and that can swiftly bridge into the panic territory that something is fundamentally wrong with my dream and that I’m on the road to burnt-out-washed-up-should’ve-quit-while-I-was-ahead-and-move-on-to-a-real-job mindset, which is total bullshit. Just as a human being prone to anxiety, I have to preach this to myself on a daily basis. This happens to be one of my wife's strengths in supporting me.


Art is not born out of thin air, however it may seem like it does from the outside. When you go to a concert and see your favorite band play a song, you witness four minutes of concentrated, focused ridiculousness and mind-boggling insight and power. What you may not see is the lifetimes each of those band members bring to the stage: the years spent as a band, the albums that came before, the failures, the fights, the circumstances, the insecurities, the hours spent writing and being defeated over and over, the self doubt, the grappling, the encouragement from a friend, the hours of practice, the booking agents, the sound guy, the tuning of the instruments, the voice cracking behind the microphone, and what’s going on at home. 

In its most effective form, music takes you to a different place; making you forgo all of that pain and aching, enfolding you so deeply into the moment of beauty that the performance takes you over. This is a mere taste of what God is showing us through our lives of who he is.

When it comes down to it, my role as an artist is to push myself and others toward beauty and truth. Every artist has different interpretations of both of those things, but I know logically that truth is something that is true rather you believe/perceive it or not. 


The truth is that love is the most important thing in the world and that the Master of the Universe is shaping the entirety of Existence itself around showing you that you are royalty. 


The great thing about that particular magnitude of love is it is so big, so indescribably vast, that an avenue of imparting that truth and love is through human vessels creating art and adorning that truth in beauty. 

I want to introduce you to a few songs from a few bands that take me there. Here’s a mini-playlist for you:




The last point I want to make is that you can throw away this word "genre." What is genre really anyway but a quick way to say “You may or may not like how this is going to sound, so here’s an idea,” which is useful in many ways. HOWEVER, when you yourself are thinking about your music or your paintings or your novels, you are by default going to have a different perspective about the potential and weighty brevity your art has to you versus how it may appear to everyone else. The best way for those two things to work together is for that wall to be broken down as much and as often as you can.

I have been recognizing that the more I bend my creative and performance style to my collective perceived audience, I round out the edges and often dilute my energy and message. It’s been a tremendously potent thought in my mind that I have so much more room in reality to become who I am as an artist and a person. By no means is that limited to how I see myself or where I think I need to draw the line of “that’s too weird or off the wall from what I normally do.” Honestly, that thought is so much bigger in your mind than it is in reality. 


Do not be afraid to reach outside of what most people would define your art by. A beautiful thing about art is that it can cross-pollinate; so theater, books, skateboarding, graphic design, sculpture, graffiti, photography, and filmmaking can all give insight and dimensionality to something like musicianship.

Since I began playing music in middle school, the elements that have really got my blood pumping are found in performance, the energy of abandon often associated with what I refer to in shorthand as “that's sooooo punk rock,” but is really tapping into something much bigger than a singer on stage with a guitar playing a song, which is how I’ve presented that for years. 


Call to action: I am on the active lookout these days for a couple committed band members to help make the next steps of performing these songs possible. I’ve been doing the predominantly solo artist thing since 2009 and I’ve had a number of wondrous accompanying musicians to help bring the music a new voice that is more powerful than what I can do on my own. SO, if you or a friend, or someone you know is interested in helping me grow the current and future performance endeavors, singing old and new songs, please talk to me.


What you won’t find in the manual you receive at the beginning of being an independent musician is that there will be countless times of intense solitude, helplessly creating nothing. 


Creativity always comes in seasons, bookended by times of breakneck speed and bookmarked by breaths of quiet. To be totally honest with you, I’m pretty restless these days. It feels often like I am the only one who is keeping the music’s momentum, and even then I am not always the most enthusiastic. Sometimes it will feel like you’re the only one who cares. It will feel worthless and empty, impotent, and like a waste of time. I’m here to tell you, in spite of, and in the midst of one of these seasons for me, that it’s not worthless, empty, impotent or a waste of time. 



You are legitimate and your art is worth it. I urge you to keep going.


Much love, Brandon