Casually sitting about with a guitar on my lap strumming away is all well and good. Alas, I am one of those people who needs even his hobbies to serve as means to an end.
So what to do with that I am learning from CirdecSongs University?
The answer is simple: record an album.
There’s only one small problem: I’ve been told that people don’t really listen to albums anymore. Streaming has made it more common to bounce from artist to artist and song to song.
The key is to get and maintain the listener’s attention, if only for a few minutes. I have 15 challenges to record written down. So why not release a series of EPs? Five volumes, three songs on each.
There. Problem solved.
I’ve been down the recording path before, and I’ve learned more than a little in the process. Lesson One is the most important of all:
Nobody — and I mean NOBODY — is sitting around wondering when the new Cedric Hendrix project will be released. The first time I recorded with my band, I set an arbitrary and completely unnecessary deadline for the album’s completion. To this day I can’t fathom why I did that. I was running long before I could walk.
The result is an album that sounds … well, rushed! The dynamics aren’t as good as they could be; some of the parts are ragged; still other parts probably could have been reduced or eliminated altogether. But, I was determined to get this done by Date X. There was no talking me out of it.
I haven’t played my guitar consistently in 15 years. I’m back at Square 1.5 — not the very beginning, but pretty damn close. Why not take the time to do all I wish to do competently, then record it properly? After all, NOBODY is looking for it!
I’ve been asked to post video online of what I’m currently working on, rather than the pictures of my gear or stills of me trying to play. And while I understand the anticipation, I have repeatedly and politely declined. Why? Because my chops aren’t up to outside consumption yet! When will that happen? When it happens! There’s no rush.
The plan is to keep doing what I’m doing, slowly and deliberately. Only then will my musical ship experience smooth sailing and clear horizons. I’ll be there when I get there, and not a moment before.
So, I work on my 15 challenges: a personal arrangement of the “Westworld” theme song; re-recording my favorite song from my band’s album twice (once alone with a new arrangement and then live with a band); a piano improvisation; songs surrounding one of my guitar’s effects pedals, and so forth. When I have three well-recorded pieces I’m happy with, I’ll give them away on Bandcamp and Spotify.
The songs are done when they’re done. There’s no release date. There are no plans to lead or join a band (I’d rather be poked in the eye with a sharp stick). I’m just having fun. And at some point, I’ll share it. All things in time.
Wish me luck.
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers. I’m currently working on my next book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell.
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