Settling In…

I have now been in California for a few weeks and life is beginning to resemble something close to normal. We have been renovating the house we moved into and are slowly turning  it into our home. I have spoken to a few music education companies while out here, and it is so nice to see places that cater to kids who want to learn about popular styles. I hope to soon be teaching a few classes, a few private lessons and offering time in my personal studio. School starts for me in a few weeks so I am trying to get as much done as I can before then. At times it is stressful, but so far, California is great.

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Its been a while…

The blog has suffered with all that has been going on, but now that Im in the writing mode, I felt like I could drop a few lines. Im in the writing mode as I am currently filling out applications to earn my PhD. This year I have decided to apply to schools in the UC system, and have directed my interests towards various departments, depending on the strength of each school. It can be tiring, but anything worth doing is not easy.

I havent been able to write too much as I am in my first year of teaching music and am still working on earning my HQ certification. Elementary music was not where I thought I would be, and the challenges I face on a daily basis take up a lot of my time and effort. Through it all, my band has suffered the most, and I appear to be headed back to being a solo act.

Disappointed? Yes. Disheartened? Absolutely not. New directions mean new beginnings, and I think the coffee house and lounge were better suited for me anyways. Be on the look out for upcoming gigs that should be completely family friendly :)

I hope I can tour this summer, and if not, I would like to record an unplugged, raw album featuring only my voice and a guitar or piano. If this happens, Ill be spending a week or two in NYC with my manager Larry Graber working with the amazing engineer/producer Anthony Paganini. At this point, I cant see myself working with anyone else. When you find a person you work well with, you dont make changes. Especially when it comes to recording engineers.

Although my efforts of late may not have all been directed at fortune and fame, I am always a musician working on new music. My time in the classroom is keeping me on my toes with my sight reading and singing skills, and keeping kindergartners entertained for one hour is way more demanding on any performer than a room full of music loving adults. By the end of this year, I will be ready for the most rigorous of routines. After all, I have been putting on 5 shows a day, every day for almost 5 months now ;)

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Performance at the state capital and tejano monument unveiling

Yesterday morning, I was invited to play with the UT mariachi and conjunto ensembles at the unveiling of a monument on the grounds of the state capital in Austin, TX. It was a crazy day. I had a total of 4 gigs between the two ensembles, and spent a lot of time running around and changing in between sets. It was exhausting. So much so that I just came home last night and slept until noon. But, I had a lot of fun being part of such an event, and really enjoyed playing traditional music for such a large and enthusiastic audience.

I first performed with the conjunto ensemble, and had the opportunity to sing and play bajo sexto. We did great, and I was really proud of how we sounded together. Immediately after, I had to try and throw on my mariachi traje, and run over to the other side of the area to join that band. I was throwing gritos, singing, and contributing guitar to this group. After we warmed up the crowd, we hung around to play some patriotic music (in our own style) for the ceremonies.

Once the dedication was finished, we had two other gigs throughout the city for potential patrons and donors to the UT mariachi program. Although I will be graduating this Spring, I think that our efforts will make a difference for future generations of longhorn musicians, as the room was buzzing with talk of several thousands of dollars being donated and generated for our struggling program.

People often ask me what the importance of music is.  Had you been able to attend the tejano monument unveiling, perhaps you would not need to ask.  The sense of pride that you could see in the peoples eyes made every note sound that much sweeter.  It was a great day.

You can see me here at the 0:38 mark:

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The best band you didn’t see at SXSW

Okay, okay…I know that the title of this post is a little pretentions (especially considering the source), but I was really proud of how our band performed this year at the 13th Annual Heart of Texas Rockfest. We weren’t an official SXSW artist, but then again, I dont think that really matters. Most people in Austin that week dont care much for why you are playing where, but usually just like stumbling upon some free jams. As my family came down from DFW to support, there were also a lot of new fans in the audience, jamming along to what we were doing. I saw a lot of heads and feet bopping to the beat, and one really excited guy tried to get the lighters going in the air…it was just too windy. Our set went off without a hitch, and sounded pretty great considering we didn’t even get a sound check. I know we at least touched a few people, and we had a great time being a part of downtown Austin on St. Paddys Day.

After the show I met a really cool cat. He was a member of the 13:1 rock band out of Delaware who would be playing later that night, but he was also really enthusiastic about our set. He came and gave us so much positive feedback about our performance, and told us that we were the change of pace needed for the venue. I was worried we were a bit out of our element, but he made me realize that any music you put your heart into has a place in a rock festival. Although we didn’t stay late enough to see their show, I wish them well, and know that musicians with that kind of attitude are usually the most likely to succeed.

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Getting Ready for SXSW!!!

I know most people use their spring break to party and get crazy, but this year, I have been spending time in DFW taking advantage of the opportunity to get in as many rehearsals as possible with my band. We have a show coming up on St. Paddys Day in downtown Austin, and are trying to be as tight and entertaining as possible for the droves of people who flock to ATX during this time of the year. We have rehearsal tonight and Thursday, then we drive down on Friday to get ready for our Saturday gig. Come out and enjoy some great original music (absolutely no covers), and stop by the Heart of Texas Rockfest on the corner of 7th & Neches. Im sure it will be an awesome day!

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