My Latest Sam Phillips Cover Shaping Up Nicely

Most people who know my music know that I adore Sam Phillips. Not the rock and roll producer known for his work with Elvis Presley (although he was good too!) but the fabulous singer/songwriter.

I’ve recorded a handful of her songs before, but this is the latest, “No Time Like Now”. Here is my son Samuel overdubbing some Behringer Neutron analogue synthesizer. 

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Newish album by Pesky Bones AKA Peter Farnan, feat. Paul Kelly, Rebecca Barnard & loads of other brilliant artists!

Pesky Bones is Peter Farnan… Plus

Wow. With all the distractions of the last little while I missed the fact that my Melbourne friend Peter Farnan, brilliant singer-songwriter-musician, member of esteemed Aussie rock hitmakers Boom Crash Opera, and all-round nice guy, has released Pesky Bones Vol. 1, an album featuring other artists singing his songs.
And not just any artists, but the crème de la crème of hip Antipodean artistry. How about this four, for a start…
See below for the complete list but I want to get a song in without you having to scroll down.

Paul Kelly & Rebecca Barnard

To draw you in, here’s an empty-nest song that a lot of us can relate to, with Paul Kelly & Rebecca Barnard in a captivating duet, here harmonizing, there weaving carefully around each other:

Pete in his studio

Nice, eh?  But I also want you to see this – Peter doing his own  energetic, stripped-down version of “Intuition”. At one point he sings into his electric guitar. And his faithful vintage Casio keyboard gets a spin too.

And I like the fact that his studio doesn’t look like a studio, and it hasn’t got a big mixing desk or, really, any visible fancy studio gear. And there are loads of books. And he uses an all-in-one guitar effects unit, not a carefully curated selection of arcane, boutique devices strung together in a big wooden box.

In other words, it’s like mine.

Who else is on it?


Pesky Bones is Peter Farnan with:
  • Rebecca Barnard – vocals
  • Ali Barter – vocals
  • Shannon Birchall – double bass
  • Simon Burke – vocals
  • Paul Capsis – vocals
  • Deborah Conway – vocals
  • Tony Floyd– drums
  • Charles Jenkins – vocals
  • Paul Kelly – vocals
  • Sean Kelly – vocals
  • Emily Lubitz – vocals
  • Peter Maslen – drums
  • Richard Pleasance – double bass
  • Tim Rogers – vocals
  • Dan Tobias – vocals
  • Sarah Ward – vocals
  • All other instruments and singing by Peter Farnan
So check it out on Bandcamp, and buy yourself a copy, or get it on  iTunes.  And say hi to Pete on Facebook.

Multitasking And My New Studio

While I was playing the guitar and downloading some stuff I read this article about the problem of multitasking. And… yes, I already know I have a real problem with multitasking. Like most of us, I do it too much instead of concentrating on doing one thing at a time.

It may be something that’s been exacerbated everywhere by mobile phones and other modern distractions, but I spent most of my life having to multitask, because it was absolutely essential in my old career of pathology lab science. I had to spin plates* hour after hour, day after day, year after year. Even before the ever-increasing modern curse and horror of downsizing staff and upsizing workload, I had to be able to do lots of things at once – things that were literally a matter of life and death. And I still have nightmares about it… always about not having enough time to do everything.

So even today, after being out pathology for four years, I still feel like I have to be doing several things at once, and at the same time thinking about half a dozen other things that need done!
 
And I’ll bet it’s the same in most jobs. What about yours?
 
I love it when I do actually let go and focus on something. It happens when I’m recording or playing music… but not all the time. I might still be checking emails and Facebook every five minutes, on a bad day. However, on those days when I really get into it I can focus for hours on end and those are the days when I achieve something.
 
Or reading a book – something I don’t allow myself enough time for any more – but that can absorb me enough to stop thinking about other things. The problem is that I expect the book to absorb me, rather than me absorbing the book – you know what I mean? If the book isn’t riveting enough I’m likely to put it down rather than put the effort into it. It shouldn’t be like that because that reduces the act of reading to mere entertainment.
 

Anyway, it’s interesting that this article came up in my emails today because, on the very day that my new studio here in Tasmania is finally up and running (yeah!) I had already been thinking that I now need to actually get down to making music again. My fingers can hardly even work the guitar! I’d better get them back up to speed before my new Dean Boca electric 12-string guitar arrives from DW Music in Canberra! 🙂

* If you don’t know what plate spinning is, you’re too young to have watched old-fashioned variety shows on TV.  Check out this clip from The Ed Sullivan Show.

John Lennon at his most eloquent – enhanced!

To me, this is John Lennon at his most eloquent, his thoughts beautifully animated in this short film produced in 2008 by Jerry Levitan, who interviewed him as a 14-year old in 1969.

You should watch this if you’ve got five minutes, and even if you don’t agree with everything John says or the way it’s interpreted, you might agree that a masterful work of art has been built on his generous impromptu interview.

The film was directed by Josh Raskin and the illustrators, James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina, have beautifully enhanced and elevated an amateur “rock interview” with arguably the greatest rock star of them all.

I Met The Walrus - screenshot from video

Click on the screenshot to watch the video!

PS: John’s kindness to this kid, in contrast to the more acerbic (or worse) way he might often treat other people, reminds me of the scene in that Imagine film where the stoner guy comes to the door of his house, and Lennon really goes out of his way to spend time talking with him and try to help him. It conjures up in me an idea that he may well have been being similarly nice to Mark Chapman in his last moments.


DC Cardwell now on Pandora Radio!

My music is now on Pandora!

I think this is good! To tell you the truth, I’d never previously used the service before, although I’ve signed up for it now, as a user as well as an artist. I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with it. (At least those of you who live in the US, Australia and New Zealand – it’s restricted to those territories for the time being.)

What is Pandora Radio?

DC Cardwell on Pandora Music

Yes, that’s me on right after Fairport Convention

It’s been around for a while. Much longer than Spotify, in fact it was founded in 1999 – that’s the last century! A long time ago in the world of music streaming. Many years ago I was visiting a new acquaintance and, to my amazement, she and her teenage kids were happily enjoying music streamed from Pandora into their living room. I’d vaguely heard of it but was actually quite surprised and impressed that people I knew were actually using it! It seemed a bit Jetsons to me. In a good way. Oh yes, this was just down the road, but my friend was American so that explained why she was using something so cool and modern! Some things never change – she probably had a microwave too.

If you’re not familiar with it, basically, the deal is that you tell it some of the artists you like, and it suggests other music that it feels is similar to what you like. You can then give  thumbs up or thumbs down to what you hear, and Pandora will refine the music it plays for you.  You can listen to it in a web browser (i.e. what you browse the internet with) or with an app on your iPhone or similar smartphone.

The Music Genome Project

This is all done by a combination of science and human experts, as far as I can tell. You may have heard of the Human Genome Project, which was (very loosely speaking) a massive scientific project to identify the components up of human DNA. Well, Pandora is based on The Music Genome Project, which, according to Wikipedia, was “developed by [Will] Glaser with musical input from [Tim] Westergren. The idea was to create a separate, individualized radio station for each user having just the “good” music on it, with none of the “junk” that other users like. In order to achieve that goal, they had to bring different styles

The Beatles followed up by John Lennon live on Pandora

The Beatles followed up by John Lennon live on Pandora

of music together into a predictable pattern for analysis. They created 400 specifications for each song that is then compared to the listener’s preferences in order to suggest other songs or artists with similar characteristics.”

The writer of this article assumes that “Pandora’s team of curators expects excellence from all the music they accept. As Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder, has said:  “You have to earn your way into Pandora.”

So that’s nice 🙂

Is it Really A Good Thing?

There has been some controversy recently about Pandora’s rates of payment to the artists. I’m not really interested in getting into that argument in this post.  At this point in my career I only know one thing for sure – that my main aim is to get my music heard by as many people as possible! And it seems to me that Pandora is a good way of getting it into the ears of the very people who might like it, but would never have heard it otherwise. We all know that algorithms are changing our lives in ways that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Well, for me, right now, I’m happy to have the Music Genome Project’s algorithms on my side.

What can YOU do to help?

Don’t sign up for Pandora simply because of me! But, on the other hand, it’s easy to signup, and, well, I’ve had it trundling along in another browser tab while writing this post and, I have to admit, it’s been really effective at playing music I like.

I’m really fussy about the music I listen to (“No! You’re kidding!”my sarcastic friends), but it has kept it on the right path so far – I have enjoyed practically everything I’ve heard, to my amazement, really.

OK, I’ve helped it out by clicking the “Add Variety” button and typing in the names of artists I like, and you can do that to, but it’s also come up with a lot of other artists I wouldn’t have normally listened to. I’ve given two or three thumbs down, that’s all. (Not telling you who to!)

So if you’re already using it, or fancy giving it a chance, you could help me by typing in MY name. Or just find me at http://pandora.com/dc-cardwell – and when my songs are playing, click on the THUMBS UP button!

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How To Get Your Music On Pandora Radio

Having said that, until recently it really was difficult to be featured on Pandora unless you were signed to a major record label or publisher. But they have at last made it possible for anyone to apply for submission. There are certain conditions you have to fulfill, and even then you’re not guaranteed to be accepted. Obviously they still want to maintain their reputation of serving up good music for their listeners. But if you’re an artist, you can submit your music at Pandora Submission Page.  You should set up your own listener account first, unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have the service, in which case you should first email musicandcomedy@pandora.com and they will help you.

– DC  (http://pandora.com/dc-cardwell)

Goodbye Farewell (Larry Norman song) with Lyrics and Chords

From our Numubu webcast

on 26th April 2014: our cover of Larry Norman’s beautiful song “Goodbye Farewell”

Samuel is playing our Tanglewood TW15CE-B  guitar and I’m on my old Mugen “the ’78”

DC and Samuel on webcast

Still from the video

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This is taken at a bit of a clip, I think! But you can hear the songs at a more stately pace in this old video of me performing it a few years ago:

LYRICS & CHORDS
(written by Larry Norman)

Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again (D, Bm, F#m,)
Somewhere beyond the sky. (D, Bm, F#m, A7)
I pray that you will stay with God (G, Em, D, Bm)
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)

The light grows dim but in this hour (D, Bm, F#m,)
I have no tears to cry. (D, Bm, F#m, A7)
My heart is full, my joy complete. (G, Em, D, Bm)
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)

I feel no loss of hope as I’ve grown older. (Bm, G, D)
Only this world’s weight upon my shoulder. (Bm, E7, Em7, A7)

My heart beats to a slower song, (D, Bm, F#m,)
So softly in my veins. (D, Bm, F#m, A7)
The night is warm, but in my sleep (G, Em, D, Bm)
I dream of heaven’s reign. (D, A7, D-G, D-G)

Everything I am I’ve tried to show you, (Bm, G, D)
In this life I’ve been so blessed to know you. (Bm, E7, Em7, A7)

Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again (D, Bm, F#m,)
Somewhere beyond the sky. (D, Bm, F#m, A7)
I pray that you will walk with God (G, G#dim, F#m, Bm)
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (Em, A7, Bm, E7)
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye. (Em, A7, D)

For my original music videos go to http://www.youtube.com/DCCardwellsMusic

More covers at http://www.youtube.com/dccardwellcovers

Thanks for listening! ~ DC

Another webcast already! DC Cardwell on NuMuBu OzFest, 25/26 April 2014 (depending on your timezone)

DC Cardwell-20140426-webcast-BANNER

I enjoyed our last webcast so much that I'm doing another one on 25/26th April, 2014 (depending on your timezone!) ♫ To find out the exact time in your timezone, see my amazing time-chart at bit.ly/dcwebcast3 ♬♫ It's part of an Aussie special "Flash Festival" on Numubu ♬♫♪

And for the actual webcast, go to numubu.com/dccardwell and click on "Live Broadcasts" on the left hand side. (You don't have to be signed up to Numubu!)

And if you want to get an idea of how the last one went, here's a highlights reel with some short snippets at the beginning, and if you keep watching, longer segments and complete songs later on. ♫♪♪♬♫

I can't guarantee that either of the cats will show up the next time, though!

If you want to be sure not to miss out on these live webcasts, make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and I'll send out a note for each event with all the details!