New Music in 2019

Happy New Year. Here’s a quick update on what’s happening music wise. I have a pile of stuff I’ve been working on for quite a while, which will see the light of day in 2019. The first to be released will be two covers albums – one consisting of songs written by others (and the follow-up to Wheelhouse). The other is an album covering my songs (and the follow up to A Matter of Time).

Both of these albums are a by-product of my 40 year retrospective ‘Trip Note’. To be released later in the year, Trip Note currently consists of two double albums of music recorded between 1978 and 2018. Volumes 1 and 2 feature approximately 50 plus unreleased tracks.

The Live from the InSync Asylum Podcasts will resume with the release of new music. Till then…

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The Making of Blue Tattoo

After a nearly 13 year hiatus, I got a lot of songs and ideas recorded in 2013-2015.  This resulted in Living with Fiction, my first collection of new songs in 22 years which was released on my 58th birthday. During that same period, I was also dealing with a nasty little thing some might call a mid-life crisis. Some of this turmoil was reflected in the album, which was very personal in spots, and even made me a bit squeamish.  Because of this, I was very slow to share much of it with folks, until I could get comfortable with it myself.  In retrospect I think it was pretty good, and absolutely something I needed to get out of my head.

I followed Living with Fiction with Wheelhouse in 2016, a collection of covers prompted by David Bowie’s passing.  It was a quick and easy project, and I did not have to think too much. The first track I recorded was Everyone Says ‘Hi’, which quickly became my most streamed track of all-time.  I took my time starting a new album after that. Though I had a couple leftover tracks from Living with Fiction that I knew I wanted to release, I didn’t have any new songs. Apart from Wheelhouse, 2016 was pretty dry in that department.

Almost as a rule, everything you hear and see with my music is done by me.  Most recently, I’ve gotten into a workflow that enables me to get a basic track idea down quickly. When working on something new, I often want to hear some vocals over the music. So I’ll record a quick improvised guide vocal track.  Some of the words you choose during this process are quite curious.  As I got deeper into the recording, the one thing I didn’t seem to want to do, and ultimately saved for last, was to write and finish the lyrics.  Funny thing was, after listening to all that subconscious gibberish, I found the path to the lyrics.  And a lot of what began as gibberish remains on the final cut of Blue Tattoo.  Please don’t tell anyone.

When I started working on the tracks that would become Blue Tattoo, I sensed an even darker tone than that of Living with Fiction.  Once again it was something I had to get comfortable with, as it appeared I was intent on plumbing the depths. It is very much a work of my subconscious I guess.  It’s darker and more relentless than Living with Fiction; pounding it’s favorite subjects: getting older, fear, loss, and death.  But to me, it’s a dark beauty. I am very proud of it, but it surprises me. I certainly wonder where it came from. I had lighter fare to include, but removed it, just to preserve the mood.  I view the 10 tracks on Blue Tattoo as a whole. Hopefully there is something that will resonate in there for those who take the time to listen (But please listen to it on some good equipment!). The only real currency in this for me at this point is having my music heard.  I’ve had some pretty good feedback so far, but would love to hear what you think.  Also, if you do like it, please share it….

Paul Kitchen

3/31/18

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Paul Kitchen | The Making of Wheelhouse

In December 2015 I released ‘Living with Fiction’ (LWF), my first new album of original songs in 22 years.  The recording itself took more than 2 ½ years to complete.  In my defense there was a bit of a learning curve involved, due to all of the new hardware and software I was using.  And it definitely took a while before I started to like what I was hearing.  Shaking off the rust indeed.

PK Wheelhouse Color Cover 2016

Fast forward to January 2016, and the shocking news of David Bowie’s passing.  I must say it stunned and rattled me for a while.  In late February, after a month of Blackstar floating around in my head and Lazarus dreams, I decided I would attempt to record a Bowie track.  I ended up recording ‘Everyone Says Hi’ – one of my all-time favorite Bowie songs. I didn’t fret over it like I did with LWF, and had it mixed, mastered, licensed and available online 7 days later.  (The money may be gone in music, but there is definitely a new swiftness to getting your work out there.)

After the Bowie track started to settle in, for some reason I thought I might want to do a Peter Gabriel song.  My wife Sherry suggested I do ‘Solsbury Hill’.  I said no, I’m only going to attempt my favorite songs (commercial or not); so I decided to tackle ‘San Jacinto’. This led to choosing the next artist and song, and the basic concept of an album of my favorite songs, by artists who have influenced me. Who I chose ‘not’ to cover became as important as who I did cover.

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In March I laid down the additional 9 tracks that would comprise Wheelhouse (a remix of ‘Everyone Says Hi’ is the 10th track).  The artists/songwriters I settled on were David Bowie, Joe Cocker, Bruce Cockburn, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Robbie Robertson, Leon Russell, Tony Joe White, and Neil Young.  Joe Cocker is the odd man out here as far as songwriters go, but I had to include him because he’s at the top of my list of favorite singers (The Cocker track was written by Chris Botti and The Blue Nile). April and the first week of May were used for overdubs, mixing, mastering and artwork.

I also decided whatever I did, it couldn’t take years to complete.  In fact, I wanted to do something in the time frame my recordings had been completed in 30 years prior.  A month maybe, two months max. Granted, I only had 4 or 8 tracks to work with back then, compared to 60 tracks on ‘Everyone Says Hi’. I also knew I needed a due date, so I could actually finish the thing.  I believe LWF only came out because of the decision to have it out on my birthday last year.  Without that, I suspect I’d still be working on it. So we looked for a notable date. Thinking of the song ‘Under This Black Moon’ from LWF, I wondered when was the next Black Moon?  Too far out.  How about a Blue Moon?  Bingo – May 21st.  So I had a target and could only fret for a short while longer.  This all contributed to ‘Wheelhouse’ taking a little less than 3 months to complete.

Living With Fiction Booklet Front.indd

I know the album is a bit rough around the edges, but hopefully that’s for the better.  As for the title, I have to credit my wife. After hearing the playback of ‘Unbound’ over and over the night I banged it into shape, she said “that song is right in your Wheelhouse”.  I knew right then that was the title. I’ve since found out several other albums have the same title.  Oh well…  As a side note, I had no idea licensing 10 cover songs could be so costly, but it is. Tell your friends ‘Wheelhouse’ is a must have!

As with most of my recorded work, I played all of the instruments on ‘Wheelhouse’, handled the vocals, engineering etc. It’s something I’ve always aspired to do since I first heard Paul McCartney and Emitt Rhodes do it over 45 years ago, and definitely a homemade thing.  I’m sure it would sound better if I was able to throw more money at it, but….it is what it is.  I play the studio like I play the guitar – upside down.  This being my 40th year of writing and recording music, I figure it’s OK to do my first covers album. Turns out I like this album a lot, with all of the songs having a special meaning for me.  Here’s hoping you feel the same way.  And thank you David Bowie – for the inspiration.

iTunes

Amazon.com

Bandcamp

Google Play

Compact Discs will be available in the next few days on Amazon.com and CD Baby.

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New Music On Tap For 2015

I’m excited to announce that two new albums of music are in the works for 2015. ‘Living With Fiction’ is my first album of all new original songs since ‘And We Dream’ in 1993, so the 22 year drought will finally come to an end. It’s not like I haven’t been recording during that time. I did release ‘A Matter of Time’ in 2001, which included re-recordings of a number of my songs, plus one new song. There are a lot of recordings not released, most of which I’ve never finished, or was unhappy with. But a surge of recording over the past two years has resulted in a pile of stuff, most of it not finished according to my standards (which seems to be par for the course at this point).

Another thing that’s been happening these past two years has been my archiving a lot of my old work: From DAT tapes, Cassette tapes, and most recently 1/2 inch 8 Track tapes. Bringing the 8 track stuff into the current studio setup presented the opportunity to play with it – literally. The result of that is ‘Retread’, a new album of older songs that includes performances spanning 30 plus years on some tracks, while at the same time sounding fresh and current. So keep an eye out for the release of these two new albums, and please join my mailing list by clicking the link at the top of the page to get an taste of early mixes etc.

All The Best,
Paul Kitchen
December 2014

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