Happy New Year. The year 2010 got busy toward the end, so I had less time to be a blogger. The new Rightside CD I mentioned earlier was finished on-schedule and is available at http://rightsideband.com. I also finished (finally) my own solo CD of praise and worship music. I started writing songs for that one back in 2007. For more information on “For The Faithful,” see http://musician.tomsmerk.com/forthefaithful.html. It is a collection of twelve praise and worship songs, including four originals. The rest of the songs are popular church hymns from "a few years ago," before all the modern music took over the worship service in the church. We sang some great timeless hymns back then, and I hope you will enjoy hearing some of them again.
I am currently writing and recording songs for my new CD, which will be an instrumental jazz recording featuring guitar. You can hear some samples of the new CD at http://musician.tomsmerk.com/tunes3.html. So far, I have identified seventeen songs for the album. Now I am thinking that maybe I should find three more songs and then do two CDs with ten songs on each. Or maybe I will go ahead and record all seventeen, then pick the best twelve to fifteen songs to be included on the new CD.
Recently, I have launched a new Facebook page to promote my music. Please follow the page at http://www.facebook.com/tomsmerkmusic. If you are a Facebook user, be sure to click the “Like” button so that you will receive updates of all the posts. Also on Facebook, I am trying to promote a “Facebook Group” named “Backstage Chat.” It is intended to be a place where musicians, entertainers, songwriters, speakers, concert promoters and support staff, music teachers, etc. can have a place to hang out and share information, stories-from-the-road, tips, advice, useful information, announcements, etc. Picture yourself walking in to a room where many of your favorite local or national entertainers are sitting around on sofas or at tables, relaxing, and "talking shop." The Internet makes this possible, and I'm hoping a lot of entertainers find this page and are willing to share a sense of community, from seasoned veterans with a lot of advice to share, to newbies looking for all the resources they can latch on to. A group FOR musicians BY musicians! Please check it out!
I am going to be trying out a new way of delivering my music a local small venue concerts such as coffee houses and open mics. I just recently purchased a new acoustic guitar amplifier, a Fishman LoudBox Mini. It is actually more than an acoustic guitar amplifier – it is a 3 channel system that includes a connector to plug in my iPod (or CD player) for my backing tracks, a guitar channel with a phase switch for acoustic guitar, and a microphone channel with XLR input. Both channels have separate reverb level controls, and the guitar channel also has a nice chorus effect. Each channel has separate volume and tone controls, and the tone controls are active, meaning that if the bass knob is set half way, it is set to “neutral,” or effectively not in use, and then turning it up adds bass and turning it down cuts bass. This allows me to get a perfect tone out of both my guitar and microphone. The aux input for my iPod doesn’t have any controls, it goes right to the master volume, but the tone is perfect without any modification (a credit to the iPod) and I can regulate the volume on the iPod itself. The tone on the guitar channel is excellent for both acoustic and electric guitar. I plan to set up one of each – my Martin D42 K2 for acoustic and my Heritage Golden Eagle for jazz, and then connect them with an A/B box to switch between the guitars. The amplifier has 60 watts of power, and it actually sounds like 60 watts. The whole amp is very small and light, so this new setup should make it very easy to set up for gigs. Plus, my sound will be more consistent from gig to gig since I will be using the same rig and not have to rely on house systems. If I need more volume, the amp includes a direct output (XLR) to plug it right in to the house system! I’m very excited about the possibilities. I think people will be amazed when they hear how much sound comes from this small amp. I will be using it for the first time on January 14, 2011 at Friendly Grounds Coffee in Santee. Show is from 6-7:30PM – I hope you can make it!
My wife, Peggy, had some health problems just before Christmas, so we went to Las Vegas for a week to rest up and have some fun. The Aria Resort & Casino in the new City Center development comped us one of the nicest suites we have ever stayed it. It was a “corner” suite, and had great views of the strip from every room. Even the bath tub sat surrounded by windows for a nice view while you soaked, but I didn’t have time to try it out. After a few days at the Aria, we moved to the Wynn Resort. Next to Bellagio, the Wynn is probably my favorite hotel and casino in Las Vegas. We had a wonderful stay at the Wynn, and also spent some time looking at the nice Christmas decorations at the Bellagio Hotel. We also checked out the new “Cosmopolitan” Resort & Casino which opened just a few days before we arrived. This brand new addition to the strip looks like it is also one of the fanciest,
Back home from Las Vegas, we enjoyed Christmas at home by ourselves, and then enjoyed the company of friends at two different New Year’s Eve parties.
Plans for the New Year are simple – keep working on the new jazz CD until it is finished, play the gigs I have scheduled, and try to get more paid gigs with other bands. I’ve already begun to accomplish that goal by securing a dance job with the Paragon Jazz Band in February. I’ve worked with this band before, and am looking forward to seeing some of my old friends again.
Until I get a chance to write more articles for my blog, I hope you will keep in touch other ways. Here is a list of the many ways you can remain a part of my life:
Other Websites: http://tomsmerk.com
Music Blog: http://guitarwisdom.blogspot.com
Personal Blog: http://tomsmerk.blogspot.com
Music Page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tomsmerkmusic
Personal Page on Facebook: http://facebook.com/tsmerk
San Diego Reader Page: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/bands/tom-smerk
Rightside band web site: http://rightsideband.com
Keep in touch!