The brilliant Andrew Allen and Gordon Hicken of Rogue Two, who commissioned Step Inside for soprano EQ146.jpgsax and marimba, have just released their tremendous first album! The aptly-named Step Inside features the premiere recording of the same piece, alongside other amazing music by composer-friends Jesse Jones, Jay Batzner, and many others. Makes a terrific stocking stuffer for your favorite new music fan! Get it now via digital download here — CD’s available for order soon!

BESSIE_JONES,_A_GOSPEL_SINGER,_LIVES_ON_ST._SIMON'S_ISLAND_-_NARA_-_546990 (1).jpg
Bessie Jones, 1973 (photo public domain, U.S.)

Every once in a while, I compose music for electronics which uses as its source American field recordings. These can include folk songs, narratives, or “found” sounds from somewhere in American life. I use these sources as beginning points, entering into a free dialogue with them and the stories they tell about what it means — and has meant — to be an American and to be an American artist. These pieces are loosely organized into an ongoing project which I call Dead Cowboys. My newest musical offering has its beginnings in the legendary American singer and storyteller Bessie Jones. In the source audio, Bessie is talking with sonic historian Alan Lomax and his wife, Antoinette Marchand. This entry into the Dead Cowboys series is entitled Pray For Rain. 

Special thanks for this project’s completion goes to the Lomax archives at the Association for Cultural Equity, an invaluable resource for hidden sounds from the American past. Thanks also to Hunter Ewen for his help smoothing out the technical edges (Hunter is a terrific electronic composer in his own right — check out his website and see for yourself).

Dead Cowboys: Pray For Rain is available below via Soundcloud, and will be listed on gregsimonmusic.com shortly. Like everything else in my output, derivative works of Dead Cowboys are licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0. For direct download or offline use, contact me directly.

Giovanni Santos – a great conductor, tremendous friend, and the original commissioner of For Angels, Slow Ascending – is taking his wind ensemble at La Sierra University to Europe this summer, and on Saturday, March 11 they’ll be holding a fundraising concert to help them get there. Featuring a ton of great music, and including For Angels, Slow Ascending in the original maestro’s hands. This is one not to miss!

7pm, $15-$10-$5. Tickets and more here.

As the calendar turns to 2017, I’ll be doing some small tweaks and redesigns to this space. Mostly cosmetic, which means you can still do all your favorite GSM things (listen, view, and purchase music by visiting the Music page, and find me on Twitter and Linkedin by visiting the homepage) uninterrupted. If you notice that something is missing or broken, don’t hesitate to let me know by using the Contact function, and I’ll get in touch with you right away.

EQ142.jpgThe University of Michigan Chamber Choir has just released their drop-dead gorgeous album White Hurricane, available on Equilibrium records and for download here. In addition to some really fantastic music by my friends Kristin Kuster and Daniel Knaggs, they offer a stunning recording of my piece Two Lorca Songs. Makes a great belated Christmas present for the choral music fan in your life, and makes even better New Year listening. Order from Equilibrium above, from Amazon here, or find it on Google Play and Spotify!

 

 

Sometimes a break from composing is required. But those needn’t be a break from creativity; in fact, I’ve always believed they shouldn’t be. I’ve also always believed that I need to be updating this blog a whole lot more. So, for the month of November (and maybe beyond), I’m turning part my efforts to my other favorite form of expression: short fiction.

You can take part in this little diversion simply by giving me something to write about. Send me the title of your favorite song, either by commenting on this post, on Twitter @gregsimonmusic, or using the contact page.This can be a piece of music in any genre, a pop song, or even (especially?) the title of something you wrote. For each one I receive, I’ll write a 100-word flash fiction with the same title and post it on this space.

Credit will be given for all suggestions unless otherwise requested. I’ll take suggestions anytime before December 1.

And since more exercise is never a bad thing, feel free to share this call around – new friends are welcome.