Category Archives: Music Career

Resurrection

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Hello all… Consider this post as if I were writing you a letter. It’s been too long since I shared something on this blog. My apologies. I used to post at least a couple of times a week, but that slowed down considerably by the beginning of fall. I have been through a rough patch, emotionally, and I doubted that I had anything to say. Then, I started having problems with my hand, experiencing chronic symptoms the likes of which I hadn’t seen for a couple of years, other than the occasional flare up.  Even now, it would be better for me to start using my Dragonspeak software so I wouldn’t have to type. I just bought an upgrade, so I am going to finally learn how to use it.

Yesterday was Easter, the holiday in which people of Christian faith and/or family tradition celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This is the third Easter where we didn’t attend a church service. I am still in the midst of working out my issues with the Church at large, but I firmly believe that God is okay with that and is patient, so I am at peace with it.

Instead of dressing up and doing church, we visited my wife’s father’s gravesite to honor him, bringing him fresh spring flowers. He passed away just last October. She also bought a rose for her mom and cast it into the waters of puget sound. I never met her mom; she passed away a year or so before I met my wife. My parents are still both with us, at 89 and 87 respectively, but they are steadily fading. I am going to write about that in a different post.

Yesterday, Easter, Resurrection Day, was significant for both of us. For me, it is a reminder that in order to come to new life, one must die first. We see that happen every spring, but it would have no significance if there is not a period that precedes it which involves dormancy, decay, and death.

It’s funny that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves when New Years comes around: I’m going to do this different or that different, we convince ourselves. In my particular case, to think that way is to set myself up for disappointment and failure, and that is because I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and it is very hard for me to hit the ground running come January 1st. In general, our mindset about making New Years resolutions is to recognize our disappointment over how we did the previous year and resolve to live differently the next year.

After yesterday, I realized that Resurrection Day is more meaningful to me than New Years will ever be. I don’t think that it always requires letting things die in order to experience new life. Some things just seem to die on their own whether we want them to or not. Such has been the case with my dreams. My dreams of finally pursuing my music after many decades of it being only an avocation at best, and only a hobby at worst. I was full of hope when I first started this blog three years ago. And the hope had slowly drained away, leaving only a residue of disappointment and despair. Things had not turned out like I expected. And so I started to think that the dream was only a fantasy, and it was time to let the dream die.

There is a purpose in death, and we rarely see it. Not until new life begins do we understand that there are parts of the old life that needed to die. I had worked so hard to make this thing happen for two years, and although there were accomplishments and high points along the way–my “Passage” CD the chief among them–so much of my activity was unsustainable and by last fall I was burned out. Still wanting to make something happen, but no energy left.

This year I was faced with a choice: Throw in the towel and settle for something less than what my dreams would inspire. Or…don’t give up, pick myself back up, and start again. Up until last week, I was starting to resign myself to option 1. Supporting that decision was the fact that my hand issues had really gotten bad these past few months. How could I possibly push forward when my body won’t let me?

As they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn. I don’t think it was coincidence that the resurgence of my hand issues happened as I felt the last vestiges of hope drain away. And I don’t think it was a coincidence that as hope started to return, as it has the past couple of weeks, that Easter happened and that this year it has been more significant to me than before. And my hand situation is starting to get better too.

What needed to die before I could experience new life? My way of doing things. My way hasn’t worked. So, I am now looking at new ways to do things, and praying for divine guidance.

And I am filled with hope once again. Details to come. Stay tuned.

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Another Project Wrapped Up

Mission accomplished! I have finished off another music project and it feels good. Scott Burnett and I collaborated on a “light instrumental jazz” CD called “A Glass of Summer” and we had our CD Release Party last Saturday. Thank you to all who came out all the way to Duvall to party with us. We had a great time!

I just put the CD up for sale on my website kellycarpentermusic.com. The introductory price per CD for this first batch is $8 (plus shipping). We will have some music downloads available soon and it will be available on iTunes in a couple of weeks. Here’s a video sampler of the songs on the CD. Enjoy!

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CD Release & Party, Saturday, August 4th

I am very pleased to announce that my collaboration with Scott Burnett, titled “A Glass of Summer”, is currently being manufactured. Woo hoo!! Here are the particulars:

  • Check out the groovy cover that Scott Burnett painted. ->>
  • We expect to have it in our hot little hands by August 1st.
  • On Saturday, August 4th, we will have a CD Release Party atMatch Coffee & Wine in Duvall, WA. First set begins at 7:30 PM.
  • This is a limited release. Only 100 are being manufactured. It will first be made available at the release party.
  • After August 4th, we will make a limited quantity of CDs available through my website (kellycarpentermusic.com) as well as CD Baby. At that time, the album will also be available for download from my site and CD Baby.
  • By mid-to-late August, the album will be available for download via iTunes, Amazon, etc., as well as streaming via Rhapsody.

All to say, if you wish to get your hands on a CD, your best bet is to come to the party at Match Coffee & Wine in Duvall. We will be playing our usual fare of light jazz and pop standards, spontaneous jams, and originals from 7:30 to 10:30. But included in our sets will be all the songs from our new CD.

The place has great atmosphere and the owners, Jolene & Charlie, are nice people. (They seem to like us, so they keep asking us back!) They have great food, wine, beer, and coffee (the latter for those who want to stay up all night). Why not enjoy a panini or cheese plate along with a bordeaux?

Here’s a link with directions to Match Coffee & Wine.

And here is a link to the Event Announcement on Facebook. Feel free to share with your friends.

Video Sampler

And without further adieu, here is a YouTube video I just put up, featuring a sampler of all the songs on the release, about 20 seconds apiece.

Please liberally share the video and the announcement with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, whatever… It’s gonna be a PARTY!!

Hope to see you there! Cheers!!

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Where’s Kelly? episode #19885

Every once in a while, when I haven’t been blogging much lately, I feel compelled to provide an update on my life. This is because I have found out from people that they actually read (and enjoy) my blog posts. Apparently people are interested in my posts about random stuff like my gardening and cooking projects, my attempts at getting a music career going, funny signs and earthy humor. And who doesn’t like a little earthy humor now and then?

So what have I been up to? A lot of catching up. My music partner Scott Burnett and I have been working on a “light jazz” EP titled “A Glass of Summer”. (It’s actually more of an “MP” since it’s about 30 minutes in length.) Our original plans were to have this in the can by early June, but then my 88-year old dad got real sick and Scott went and got a real day job (the nerve of him!). I am happy to say that the project is finally mixed and almost finished being mastered. And now all we need to do is design the graphics and send it off for duplication. Check out the groovy cover art that Scott has been painting. This is the latest picture taken of it, but he is still working on it.

Now that the CD project is winding down and summer has finally come to the Pacific Northwest, I have plenty of house and yard projects to catch up on. Summer here is so beautiful once the sun comes out–and stays out.

By the way, if you live in the Seattle area, Scott and I will be performing at Match Coffee and Wine in Duvall starting at 7:30. Actually, even if you don’t live in the Seattle area, we’ll still be performing there. (tee hee)

Perhaps you are wondering why this particular episode is number 19885. That happens to be the number of days since I was born. It took a while to go through all the calendars and count up the days. Just kidding! Of course, all I  had to do was google “days from birth calculator” and sure enough, there were several sites out there. The one I used can be found at http://www.easycalculation.com/date-day/age-calculator.php. You should try it. Let me know how many days you have been around.

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Do You Get My Newsletter?

I have my fingers in so many pies, (is that the correct metaphor?), I wonder if some of my blog readers know about the monthly newsletter I send out. So here is the one I sent out just this morning. I hope you enjoy. And if you’re interested in receiving it on a monthly basis, just sign up on the little box on the right sidebar.

Read on…

July 2012

Dear friends and family, welcome to the
July edition of my newsletter!

  1. Happy Summer!
  2. Gigs Just Around The Corner
  3. A Glass of Summer is Almost Ready
  4. This Month’s Request

Happy Summer!

Well, summer is finally here. I offer my heartfelt sympathies for those of you in the eastern two-thirds of the country experiencing oppressive heat. Here in the Pacific Northwest, always bucking the trend, the rain is finally expected to go away on July 4, which people around here joke as the official start of summer. It’s definitely going to be true this year. We are looking forward catching up on some outdoor projects, such as lot’s of weeding. (Arghh!)

Did you know that I started a vegetable garden this spring? And I am starting to see some peas. I have never done this before and I feel like a proud papa! Yard work is therapeutic for me, and the veggie garden even more so. My 88-year old dad has been having some health issues, so I have been taking a ferry over to Poulsbo every other night to help my parents out. That and working on finishing up the new CD. You can see why a little gardening therapy is in order!

How about you? Please write back about some of your summer projects.

Gigs Right Around the Corner

This Saturday, July 7, Davenport Cellars 3rd Anniversary Party from 1 to 5 PM. Davenport Cellars is a boutique winery located in the Woodinville “Warehouse Wines District”. The owners, Jeff and Sheila Jirka make great wine and they’re great people, so it will be a pleasure to provide some live music for their celebration. Here’s a recent blog post about them from my blog: http://wp.me/pLGgQ-wM And here is a link to a map: http://goo.gl/maps/8I5z.

Next up, Scott Burnett and I have been asked back to Match Coffee & Wine in Duvall the following Friday July 13 from 7:30 to 10:00. We had great fun last time and had plenty of friends hang out for wine, beer, food, and catching up, so come on out to Du-vall! Here’s a link with directions.

And once again, I will be joining vocalist Hayley Blackwell-Olsby with the Dan Sales Showcase at Grazies Ristorante in Bothell. They have great Italian food and excellent taste in live music, I must say. The date is Saturday, July 21st, the time is 7 PMHere’s a link to the restaurant.

A Glass of Summer Is Almost Ready

Like the nice weather here in the Northwest, the project Scott Burnett and I have been working on is taking longer than we’d like. But hey, life happens. We’re almost there. Four songs have been mixed and three more to go. And check out the CD cover Scott has been painting. It’s still a work in progress, but I think it looks fantastic already. Don’t you? I’ll let you know first thing when we have the new CDs in our hands.

And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the song “Festivale” from the upcoming CD, here is a link below. (Yeah, I feel a little lame for not having a new song posted, but it’s been a hectic month.) Just click on the picture below and you’ll be taken to the Soundcloud site where you can listen to the song.


Click here for Festivale!

The Monthly Ask:
Write Me Back!

So here’s this month’s one thing:
Write me back! That’s it. Let me know what you’re up to, what you have planned for the summer, what your favorite Olympic sport, or whatever. I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers!!

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Working on the Scott Burnett/Kelly Carpenter Project

Scott and I are currently working on a CD which we’re planning to release sometime in June. One of the songs we have named “Catalonia”, a region in Spain, since it has a somewhat flamenco feel. This started out as an idea of Scott’s, and we have fleshed it out considerably over the last few weeks. But when we were first laying down the skeleton rhythm track on my MacBook at Scott’s apartment, I thought to capture some of his playing a scratch guitar track on my cell phone. I only got about 20 seconds of video.

We started out by creating a rudimentary drum/percussion part in Ableton Live, along with backbeat marimba and bass, and then while listening to it on his headphones, he recorded his guitar into a Sony digital recorder. I then took his recording and imported it into Live. A few weeks later when we listened to it at my house, we were amazed at how good everything sounded. It does lend credence to the idea of creating sounds on a laptop, for if you can get it to sound good there, it should sound good just about anywhere.

Since then, we re-recorded the guitar using a better mic and preamp and have added more parts, but the humble beginnings of this track were fun to document. Here are some pictures Scott took of us working on the project last week at my little studio.

A chart of the melody for the “B” section.

Throwing on a little piano.

Knee deep in Ableton Live.

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Birthday Thoughts About Aging

Wow, I’m 54 today. Who wudda thunk it? It sounds so old and yet I still feel so young inside. Carol Burnett shares my birthday–she turns 79 today–and I thought about the age difference: 25 years. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time to me. Only 25 years. I think some varieties of Kim Chee are aged longer than that.

The idea that 25 years doesn’t seem like a long time is strong evidence that I am older. When I was 25, that span of time seemed enormous. I do miss the optimism that is inherent with being a young adult. The sky is the limit. Anything is possible.

Middle age ushers in a rude awakening. The LIST of dreams is now longer than the time left to pursue them. It’s time for triage. Of all the forks in the road that still occur to this young brain, many are now closed. Some I would have liked to pursue back when I had the chance.

Occasionally, I catch myself wallowing (too strong a word) in regret that I did not choose a full-time music career. When I was 21, I put such a life on hold in order to learn some marketable skill that I could “fall back on” and also to keep me out of the front lines of a war with Iran that seemed to be looming on the horizon. (It was 1980.) A career in computer programming offered stability and security, and I met my wife at college while I was getting my degree. The computer gig never became the fallback option but would up being the full-time deal.

Now that I am finally pursuing a full-time music career, I am increasingly aware of how much catch-up work I have to do to get established in this business. Unlike my “lifer” music contemporaries, there are networks that I have never established and industry skills that I am clueless about. I also realize how much I don’t know about music, too. Like, I’m finally getting around to learning how to play jazz standards, getting the licks down to improvise over II/V progressions, and developing piano-bar chops. Learning how to orchestrate is another skill I never acquired, which became apparent when I arranged the song “Ascent” on my Passage CD. I am very happy with how it turned out, but it was a lot of trial and error.

My regrets are about the likelihood that I am running out of time to pay all of the dues required to be fully functional in this business. These regrets are tempered by the relief that I still have computer consulting work to truly fall back on when I hit slow periods, like 2012 when my music sales have all but evaporated. (That’s okay. I’ve got some new stuff coming out in a couple of months.) And I have the wherewithal to be more selective in what kind of music work I do, while other people I know have to do everything and anything that comes their way and are still not able to afford health insurance (or rent). So I am counting my blessings and they are many!

Wow this blog post took a real serious direction, at times even solemn. I had meant to describe all the ways that I still feel like a kid inside. Like the fact that, like most 13 year old boys, I still think farts are hilarious. But so did the judges on Monday night’s episode of The Voice. They’re all in their 30’s. Let’s just face it: No matter what age you are, farts are just stinking funny!

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A Little Market Research

Hey all, thanks SO much for helping out. I am conducting some market research for my music. Given that my music is generally soothing and therapeutic, there are a range of different styles that I perform that fit the overall relaxation category. I am curious about what styles people like best. This sort of market research will be helpful to me as I plan projects for 2013. (I already have 2012 figured out.)

So, taking a few moments to take this one-question survey would be greatly appreciated. And feel free to leave comments as well.

My two instrumental titles are referred to in the above survey. In case you haven’t heard them, here are YouTube videos that play samplers from these two CDs:

Passage (2011) Draw Me Close (2001)

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How NOT To Get a “Music Deal”

Got this email today. I had to share. What more do I need to say? Except that, aside from the likelihood this is just a phishing scam email, can you imagine that there are people out there that are trying to market their music this way? Too funny!

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Music Apps for Facebook Fan Page (part 1)

These days, there are SO many options for putting your music on a Facebook “fan” page, it is hard to know which one is best. And I’ll tell you that I haven’t figured it out yet. So that means I will probably try all of them, or at least quite a few. Here is a current and partial list of ways to fashion a Facebook music page: Reverbnation, RootMusic, CDBaby, BandCamp, FanBridge/DamnTheRadio, OneSheet, SoundCloud and more…

Why do I want a Facebook page for my music? I would like to make it easy for people to listen to my tracks and buy them.

I have been told that RootMusic is way cool since it gives you a lot of formatting options, especially if you go with a paid plan. The only catch is that you have to put your tracks up on SoundCloud. That would be okay if you could easily buy tracks directly from SoundCloud, but you can’t. Instead, you can link a “buy” button to some other commerce service. Now things are starting to get complicated.

One artist has their “buy” button linked to their BandCamp page. Well, if that’s the case, why not just put the BandCamp page on Facebook? So I decided to try that out for starters while I sort out the rest. And for the first time, I actually have a track for sale on BandCamp. It’s an alternate take of a song called “Waiting” with some forest noises that I produced using a wonderful plug-in called Speakerphone. (Now I’m getting geeky, aren’t I?)

Here is a link (click on the picture) to my Bandcamp Facebook page:

And here is the handy Bandcamp widget:

I can put that just about anywhere, along with its Buy and Share links.

And here is the link to my SoundCloud page (again click on the picture) which also includes the song with a buy button which will take you to the Bandcamp page:

And here is that nice picture of a forest that I got off of stock.xchng. The picture is by Jorge Barco who is a designer in the UK. Click on the picture to get to his site.

Hey, and if you found this information useful in your own endeavors, buy a download of my song. It’s only 50 cents, or name your price if you so choose. Cheers!

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