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.

DC’s “Pop Art” album tops Mark Daly’s half-year charts!

So yeah, I do know Mark – we met a few times when he used to live in Melbourne and we keep in touch occasionally. He’s a good guy! He makes it clear that I’m a friend in his review. But I was incredibly chuffed to read the nice things he’s said about my latest music. He writes beautifully and I feel like he “gets” my music in the way I would like it to be “got” (if you know what I mean!) He’s given me kind permission to quote him in full so here it is…


 

Marky Awards: Album no. 1

I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow to announce the number one album for 2015 (so far) in the ‘Marky Awards’. I don’t know if the suspense was killing you, but it was certainly killing me!.. Now, part of me thinks I need to justify my selection. That’s because the gong goes to an independent release by a friend from Melbourne. It’s not unheard of for me to fawn over minor releases, look at Ka and Josef Gordon as examples. Look at Shane Howard down at number 10 on this list following a crowd-funded release. Look at every other act you’ve never heard of but which has appeared on my lists since 2012. Now look at DC Cardwell as he knocks it out of the park with his fantastic sophomore album, “Pop Art”.

DC's new album, Pop Art

DC’s new album, Pop Art

I was lucky enough to get my copy of this album last November before it officially went on sale at the beginning of this year and, I kid you not, it has not been out of the CD player in my car since I got it, it also gets played on Spotify at home or when I’m out and about. DC Cardwell makes no secret of his love for The Beatles and their contemporaries, but rather than engaging in inane, jangly guitar homages like many fans tend to do, or effectively re-recording the actual releases with a few minor variations (as The Rutles did so well, though with tongue firmly planted in cheek), he has found the essence of what made The Beatles’ songs so special and distilled it into a completely original album. Even the cover (not a Beatle song) is recorded such that it’s immediately familiar, yet completely new. It’s a hard gig but DC Cardwell, with help from a few family members, has pulled it off with aplomb.

Something which isn’t immediately apparent until you get to know the songs intimately is the astounding ‘honesty’ in the recordings. Whereas the Brian Wilson album (which took the number 2 slot) is well polished, it feels a little cold. It’s all very precise and clean. You know there’s a plethora of computers and electronics standing between the artist’s performance and what’s coming out of your speakers. The thing that’s missing on many of the albums released in 2015 is a soul, something that reminds you that the instruments are being played by an actual person. In The Beatles recordings the reminder might have been a squeak from a shoe or piano stool (depending on which text you read) followed by a sharp shushing by Paul McCartney, it might have been Lennon coming in too early for his vocals or Harrison too early for his guitar solo… or Ringo at all – here, it’s the occasional clunk as, presumably, DC’s guitar connects with the microphone stand in his home studio in suburban Melbourne.

So what of the songs themselves? Well, you know what you’re in for when “In The Cloud” kicks off the album. You get the immediately familiar ‘oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumpah’ beat from the “Magical Mystery Tour period” which inspired Jeff Lynne’s production style and which all came together again on “Free As A Bird” exactly 20 years ago. No sooner has the song settled into a groove then it swirls away into a crescendo of Harrison-esque lead guitar and McCartney-style ivory-tinkling. The song, which has just reminded you that the physical things we used to hold dear are now nothing more than a collection of ones and zeros stored in a gigantic supercomputer on the other side of the world, then settles back into a comfortable ‘calm after the storm’ ending after just over four minutes – the average length of most tracks on “Pop Art”. Perhaps the next track “Don’t Know Why” is a tribute to the white album. Is it “Martha My Dear” or is it “I Will” that we’re supposed to be thinking of here? Or is it neither one and we’re just supposed to be thinking of the world as it was when that album was made (if you were around then of course)? Next we have what sounds to me more like DC’s own voice and own writing coming to the fore, “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” is possibly the most original song on the album, it’s certainly one of my favourites and in analysing it I find myself wanting to talk about some kind of fusion between The Byrds and The Velvet Underground… even though I can’t say it sounds like either of them – perhaps it’s DC’s voice that sounds a bit like Roger McGuinn’s while the guitar does a very good job of sounding like a 12-string Rickenbacker. “Have I Got News For You” feels a bit like a throw away tune, one that DC’s put together because he knew he was a song short or, more likely, the creative muse to flesh it out found a home on other tracks. It feels a bit like “Dig A Pony” from “Let It Be” but, at the same time altogether different… though similarly, slightly unfinished. Next we have “Magic For Everybody”, a fantastic cover of the Sam Philips song, re-imagined as what ELO might have done had Jeff Lynne gotten his mitts on it back in the 70s when he was recording “Evil Woman”. That takes the listener to the half-way point of DC Cardwell’s stunningly good album – I suggest you experience the rest of it for yourself! – I’d also recommend his previous album “Some Hope” which itself has some fantastic material on it (even if I do like “Pop Art” better!)… I’ll add a comment with links about how to buy it or congratulate DC Cardwell on a job well done for the album, and being the winner of the ‘Marky’ award for best album of 2015 (so far!).

j.mp/markys-album-2015A


 

Marky Awards: Song no. 1

DC Cardwell “Magic For Everybody” – I covered the ‘why’ yesterday for why DC’s “Pop Art” nailed the top spot for albums released in 2015 so far. It’s usually pretty consistent on these lists that the top 1 or 2 albums spawn the top 1 or 2 songs. It’s not a fait accompli that the number 1 album holds the number 1 song, though, in fact this is the first time it’s happened. Now for the ‘what’…

Of the 10 tracks on the standard “Pop Art” album it was a difficult ask to work out which one really stood out as a cut above the rest. As with “The Avener” (album 6, which was admittedly all covers) the stand out track on “Pop Art” was a cover, this time of “Magic For Everybody” by Sam Phillips from her 2010 album of the same name. Like every great cover, though, DC’s treatment of the song works with the source material and makes it better – there’s no point doing it if not. He’s picked up what is, to my mind, a nice but ultimately uninspiring song and made it his own – made it his own by re-imagining it as a rediscovered Electric Light Orchestra track. I mentioned in my review of the full album that this song sparks comparisons to “Evil Woman”, however on reflection I’d say it would have fitted in nicely on 1977’s “Out Of The Blue” (maybe straight after “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and replacing “Across The Border” as track 4). I think “Magic For Everybody” just beats out “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” as the best track on “Pop Art”, I think it’s the familiarity we all have with the in your face jauntiness that so many ELO tracks start with that grabs your attention. If you’re not familiar with ELO then you might need to choose a favourite from the other 9 tracks (but I’d suggest “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” is a good place to start…)

j.mp/markys-song-2015A

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

To receive news about future webcasts, please sign up to our newsletter using the form to the right, or simply go here!

 

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

DC Cardwell’s “I Am Still The Same” video at US film festivals

Student film official selection at SoCal and Newport Beach Film Festivals!

Newport Beach Film Festival -logo
SoCal Film Festival 2012 Badge

“I Am Still the Same”, the remarkable video for DC Cardwell‘s award-winning song, has been selected for two film festivals in California –  the 2012 SoCal Independent Film Festival and the 2013 Newport Beach Film Festival!

The film was directed by David McGorlick, a young Melbourne film student. This is a very well-deserved recognition of his talent, especially considering it was his first serious film.

To further illustrate how remarkable this achievement was, at the Newport Beach festival the film was screened amongst a set of major videos from some particularly stellar artists, including The Black Keys/RZA, Sigur Rós, Alt-J, No Doubt and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros!

 In 2011, McGorlick, who was studying film at university, had asked his friend DC if he could use “I Am Still The Same” in a video for an assignment. DC was happy to allow the use of the song and expected the end result to be proficient but not particularly remarkable as it was the first “proper” film young David had ever made. McGorlick ran his broad ideas past the songwriter for approval, but apart from DC’s firm request that there should be “no overacting!” (he needn’t have worried), the entire creative side of the project was left on McGorlick’s shoulders. 

David McGorlick and DC Cardwell Mar 3 2013 (12-CP)
David McGorlick & DC Cardwell

McGorlick shot the video on a borrowed Canon 7D digital SLR, noted for its ability to impart a “film look”. No extra equipment was used and friends were roped in as actors and crew.

The result was an incredibly profound, thought-provoking and even disturbing statement which took some of the ideas in DC’s award-winning song and cast new light on them.

“I think David is an exciting, emerging talent. I’ve worked with a lot of well known directors and can already see David’s aptitude for storytelling and strong visual sense. Definitely keep an eye on him.” – Michael Garcia, former Creative Vice-President of HBO (Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, True Blood etc.

You can watch this astonishing short film here:

I Am Still The Same: The Story Behind The Song
http://dccardwell.com/i-am-still-the-same/

“I Am Still The Same” on IMDb:
http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi3021120025/

“I Am Still The Same” at Newport Beach Film Festival
http://newportbeach.festivalgenius.com/2013/films/iamstillthesame_davidmcgorlick_newportbeach2013

[Updated May 2013]

Postcard for DC Cardwell, David McGorlick music video I Am Still The Same

Review of Marjorie’s album in Strutterzine

“Ireland-born, Australia-based singer Marjorie Cardwell’s In Another World was inspired by the diagnosis of a brain tumour in 2012 so, as you might expect, there are some pretty personal songs included. Fortunately, Marjorie’s sense of irony is firmly in place on an album of retro pop with a generally upbeat feel that’s life-affirming. Cardwell’s voice is the perfect vehicle for these classic 60s-influenced songs and is particularly effective on the bittersweet ‘Not On Your Own’.”

Strutterzine magazine, Jan 2013

 

Strutterzine-Marjorie Cardwell-In Another World-review 2013

Full page

Strutterzine-Marjorie Cardwell-In Another World-review 2013

Marjorie’s review

 

 

 

Merry Christmas! Plus new videos!

Thanks for your support throughout 2012 and if you only found time to open and read one email from us, we really appreciate it!

It’s been an interesting year for us, with DC finally giving up his day-job 100% and Marjorie being diagnosed with a brain tumour

That experience precipitated Marjorie’s very swiftly conceived and realised album,

And both our “boys”, Joel & Samuel, (whom you will know from some of our recordings and videos) graduated from university just recently. Samuel received his BA from the University Of Melbourne, and Joel passed his law degree at Monash University to add to the BA that he already has! They’re clever boys and we’re very proud of them, needless to say. Although we’re slightly worried that they’ll end up in academic careers or high-powered legal jobs when we’d prefer that they carry on the family tradition of being ROCK STARS. Haha.

We’d also like to share two new recordings with you: The first is DC’s cover of the famous, and very moving Christmas carol, “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” which he just finished yesterday. Actually, Samuel did half of the work – he plays bass and drums and also the amazing guitar solo. The aim was to make it sound like The Byrds and whether or not that was successful overall, Samuel’s solo is a dead ringer for Roger McGuinn!

There’s an interesting and touching story behind this song, the words of which were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the American Civil War. The story is related in this video, along with the complete lyrics to the song.

Please download it for free from Bandcamp by clicking HERE so that you can add it to your Christmas Music collection! But you can also watch (and share) this video which includes the very moving story behind the song.

dc cardwell - i heard the bells on christmas day (with lyrics - in the style of the byrds)

The other song we’d like to share an old standard that Marjorie has covered for an upcoming Rick Nelson tribute album. It’s called Stars Fell On Alabama and it was written by Mitchell Parish and Frank Perkins in 1934. It’s previously been covered by many artists including Lee Wiley, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong; John Coltrane; Jack Teagarden; Jimmy Buffett; Billie Holiday; Anita O’Day; Dean Martin; Kay Starr; Frank Sinatra; Doris Day; Frankie Laine; Erroll Garner; Don Rondo; Kate Smith; Mel Torme; Renee Olstead; Ricky Nelson; Stan Getz; Ben Webster; Ralph Marterie and Cannonball Adderley.

Marjorie also made this quaint and amusing video using a very famous old (VERY old) film called A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la lune), a 1902 French black-and-white silent science fiction film directed by Georges Méliès.

marjorie cardwell - stars fell on alabama (from legacy: a tribute to rick nelson)

Have a very safe, joyous & peaceful Christmas with your family and friends, and may you have a very blessed New Year!

~ Marjorie & DC xo