OCTOBER 28 MY FIRST REVIEW
Courtesy of Michael Pickett, from the North Columbia Monthly:
Aaron Gabriel Quietly Crashes the Party
With pristine layers of stringed instruments and vocals that clock in somewhere between Evan Lowenstein, Paul Simon and the incandescent charm of John Denver, Aaron Gabriel's 'Uninvited Guest' blends beautiful songwriting and simple delivery in the space of eleven stately songs.
It's a bold move, because as 'easy' as it sounds to create a simple, mostly-acoustic record, it can be a monumental task to fill up a space with confidence and understatement over sequencers and bombast. Letting melodies do their job and then getting just the right combinations of instruments to speak and not clutter is the real trick.
Take tracks like 'Only You Alone' or album opener 'Lovesick Blues' (featuring Molly Kate Andrews) with strong, heartfelt melodies breathing easily over the top of shimmering strings. It's a superb formula and requires just the right touch. Possibly the best of the bunch, however, is the bright, harmony-laden 'The Late Molly Kate,' with its ringing vocal storytelling over the barest of instrumentation...absolutely masterful.
In actual fact, 'Uninvited Guest' is so well-paced and produced that you never get the sense that the album is 'stripped-down.' It would almost be a shame to hear these songs arranged for anything bigger than what occurs here. Aaron's voice is the perfect vehicle for these stories, backed with just the right accompaniment and harmony. Nothing lays this out better than album ender 'Senorita in the Sunshine,' a closer that rises and falls with strong-and-simple guitar punctuated with angelic harmonies in a way that never feels forced or over-done.
SEPTEMBER 15 WEBSITE TAKES OFF
Who knew that putting a website together would be such a pain? Okay, that's probably one of the stupidest comments I've ever made. Sorry -- I'm not what you'd call "technologically savvy." Plus working on this really cuts into my sitting-around-time. But we all have to sacrifice for our craft, right? Right.
AA singer you can bring home to mother.
OCTOBER 13 NEWS, MUSIC, & STUFF
Well, this is exciting -- a whole bunch of new stuff for you! The album is now available on CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify, God knows what else. It's drifting around in the ether, for good or ill. I've also got a new track uploaded in the Music section: a short one called "Be My All." I rather like it. I'll also be performing in a local talent production, of sorts. Check out the Live section for more information!
AUGUST 25 BUSKING IN THE PARK
The tiny town of Chewelah has a very nice park, with a very nice stage that is sadly under-utilized, so I decided to go play some music during the afternoon and see what happens. Soon as I got there, I noticed that there was some sort of honky tonk-themed wedding taking place in the park, with the stage covered with hay bales and a rickety altar. I shouldn't be too shocked, because a friend of mine did remind me where I live -- these sorts of things are rather common.
DECEMBER 29 THE CD RELEASE
Well, the CD Release has come and gone. Overall, I was very pleased, especially considering the circumstances: I had been dealing with a cold for the better part of a week, and it caused my voice to stop cooperating with me, especially when I sang. And while my voice wasn't 100% for the show, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.
A nice audience, and my musical guests were outstanding! Molly Kate Andrews, who sang with me on "Lovesick Blues" on the album, joined me for three songs: reprising "Lovesick Blues," an absolutely gorgeous rendition of a new song I wrote called "Still Falling," and our own take on the Everly Brothers classic "When Will I Be Loved." Her sister Megan Andrews, who also has an astonishing voice, took the lead on Leonard Cohen's masterpiece "Hallelujah." Molly Kate and I sang harmonies with her, and many in the audience considered it the highlight of the show. Mellad Abeid of the Celtic band An Dochas joined me for a few songs, "Ballad of the Flowery Trail" and "Mexico City Blues," towards the end -- amazing guitarist, and one heck of a nice fella. And the very end of the show was a bit of fun, because I had all of my guests back on stage, including my lovely wife, to bust out "Senorita in the Sunshine."
Of course, I have to mention the tremendous job my brother Thomas did, volunteering his time to not only run the sound, but to track down people to borrow the sound equipment itself and set it all up. The man's got skills.
All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I cannot wait to perform again. I'm hoping it's sometime soon. Pictures should be up before too long!
DECEMBER 13 NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
A very nice interview/quasi-review in the Statesman Examiner.
DECEMBER 26 RADIO APPEARANCE
I'll be appearing on the 8:15 Morning Show on 102.7 FM Chewelah! Very excited.
DECEMBER 31 NEW PICTURES
The pictures from my radio appearance and CD Release are up! Head over to the Gallery to check them out.
JANUARY 11 THE BLOG
Yes, I have entered the world of blogging. Strange as it may seem, but every place that offers advice for expanding your fan base recommends starting up a blog about your music. So here I am -- you'll notice the new tab at the top of the page. I don't have much on it at the moment, but I'm hoping that'll change. Let me know what you think!
JANUARY 28 THE CURSE
I have uploaded a video from my CD Release, a cover of Josh Ritter's amazing song "The Curse." Just me and my ukelele -- I hope you like it. Head over to the Music section to see it!
FEBRUARY 5 NEW VIDEOS
Two new videos uploaded in the Music section: me and Molly Kate Andrews doing the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved," and me doing "You Don't Know My Heart" all by myself.
FEBRUARY 10 LINKS&AN INTERVIEW
I went ahead and got rid of the Live tab, since this main page is used to keep you all in the loop, anyway! I replaced it with a Links tab, instead.
Now I have all my various locations for the album, other pages I've created over the interwebs, and various interviews and reviews all in one convenient location!
And speaking of interviews -- check out mine on a very cool indie blog called Musical Magnificence. Their emphasis is on independent, under-the-radar musicians, and they interviewed me! How very nice of them.
FEBRUARY 24 BANDCAMP
My Bandcamp site is up and running. Just head over to the Links tab or click on the link.
MARCH 9 CHEWELAH PACA
I will be performing at the sixth annual Chewelah PACA Event. These events are an effort to get funding for a much-needed performing arts center in Chewelah, WA. I am Chewelah PACA's 2012 Featured Artist, which is quite nice them -- I'll be playing some pre-show music, as well as during and at the end of the evening. There will also be a slideshow presentation about me; my first thought when they asked me for music, pictures, and a biography was, "Wait, am I dying?" Good news: I'm not.
MARCH 24 RADIO BLAH BLAH
I am now available on Jango Internet Radio -- just click on the button on the right side. Also, if you hop over to the Music page, I've got a clip of "Lovesick Blues" that I did on KCHW 102.7 Chewelah this past December.
Apparently I've been getting regular air-time on the station. Pretty sweet.
...Aaron's voice, sometimes haunting, sometimes heartfelt and sometimes playful is the best instrument on this new album...
...The track 'Lovesick Blues' pairs Aaron with the beautiful voice of Molly Kate Andrews in a duet reminiscent of Rhett Miller and Rachael Yamagata in the song 'Fireflies'...
...His music is variously moving, funny, haunting, exciting and appeals to most everyone...
...You may discover your new favorite here...
From Michael Pickett, North Columbia Monthly:
...Aaron Gabriel's 'Uninvited Guest' blends beautiful songwriting and simple delivery in the space of eleven stately songs...
...Aaron's voice is the perfect vehicle for these stories, backed with just the right accompaniment and harmonies...
From iTunes Customer Reviews:
...Each song has a little something different, all are heartfelt, and harmonies are wonderful -- all in all someone worth keeping tabs on as he and his music continue to grow...
MAY 11 EVERYTHING IS NEW
My goodness, it's been a long time since I've been in touch. Apologies.
- First off, the website! I'm trying to stream-line it a bit more, make it more user-friendly and a little more eye-catching. I've tweaked the tabs along the top a bit, plus I included one about my House Concert Series that I'm quite excited about. Also put up buttons on the right side of the page, so it's a lot easier to track down my other pages.
- I've finally started working on the next album, and I'm very excited; I think it's going to be a good one. I'm shooting to get it out within a year.
- "You Don't Know My Heart" took 5th place in the Indie International Songwriters Contest. Rather proud about that. Here's the *link* to the Winner's Page.
- I was also awarded an Honorable Mention in the "Chewelah's Got Talent" Competition, which was pretty big for me, considering there was a crazy amount of talent competing. My lovely wife danced for the show, as well -- it's always nice to see ballet done so beautifully.
- My Jango Online Radio station has been getting a lot of attention, and I've been getting fans from all over the world -- Canada, the UK, Chile, Ecuador, Vietnam, Israel, Italy, Sweden, China, Iceland, Belgium, Thailand...it's been pretty sweet.
MAY 17 PLAYING WITH FIRECREEK
I'll be playing with local band Firecreek at the 1st Street Grille in Deer Park on Friday, May 17th. Show starts at 9 p.m. This is a bit different for me, as I'll be playing the part of multi-instrumentalist. Should be exciting, though -- I'll be playing guitar, of course, but also get to play my "new" mandolin (it belonged to my wife's great-grandfather), as well as banjo and harmonica. Mainly I'm just going to be making crap up on the songs that I'm not familiar with, but hey -- should be fun.
JULY 1 NEW VIDEO
I've got the *official* video for "You Don't Know My Heart" up in the Music section. Also available on Youtube. Nothing terribly fancy -- just a picture slideshow. But people were strangely insistent that I make one, so here you go.
JULY 31 SHORT UPDATE
Wow, an entire month since I last posted anything. Apologies. However, there hasn't been a lot of free time -- my wife and I are expecting a baby at the end of January (our first!), so I've been working on getting the new album done (at least the majority of it) before then. But if you're so inclined, head over to my SoundCloud page (just click on the button on the right side of the page) to hear my rendition of the Cactoid Jim theme. And just who is Cactoid Jim, you ask? King of the Martian Frontier, voiced by the incredible Nathan Fillion, and a recurring character on the radio-themed podcast program, Thrilling Adventure Hour. You should check them out. But that's pretty much what's going on these days -- if you really want to stay up-to-date, check out my blog every now and then. It's a little easier to stay current on that.
SEPT 5 ALBUM PROGRESSING
Work on the new album is proceeding exceedingly well. Four songs left to tackle -- I've already laid down rough tracks, so it'll just be a matter of tinkering instead of having to start from scratch. I'm very excited to announce that, should all go as planned, I should be adding a fiddle solo to one of my songs (played by someone who knows what they're doing, not me), and that the very talented Merideth Kirry will be providing guest vocals to a few songs. I don't want to over-sell it, but I do think this album is going to be pretty good. Stay tuned!
SEPT 30 OVER 1,000 VISITORS
You guys rock. What more can I say?
DEC 24 MERRY CHRISTMAS
And a happy New Year! For your enjoyment, a Christmas song I wrote: