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.
The first performance of my original music in my new town! Marble and Glass is performed by the UNL Jazz Orchestra (with me at the helm) this Wednesday night, April 26 at 7:30pm! Kimball Recital Hall – admission is free. See you there!
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!
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.
The 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!
Yes, this place has been awfully quiet for interminably long. As it turns out, writing a doctoral dissertation takes a lot of time. But there are some exciting things in the works, and during my first summer of DOCTOR-HOOD I plan to be spending a lot more time here! Remember that you can keep up with my day to day by following me on Twitter.
In the meantime, a humble offering: a performance by the Georgia Tech concert band, dir. Chaowen Ting, of For Angels, Slow Ascending – enjoy!
After being gifted with a performance for the record books by Alarm Will Sound at the Mizzou International Composers’ Festival, I was recruited to write a profile and recap of the Festival for my dream publication, New Music Box! You can check out my debut for them here. It’s full of pictures from the field at MICF, samples of the incredible music featured at this year’s festival (sorry, no Draw Me the Sun quite yet), and the same questionable standard of writing you can find on this blog. Enjoy!
Dragonfly, for mallet trio, has been named the Grand Prize Winner of the 2013 TorQ Percussion Seminar Composition Competition! The TorQ Percussion Quartet will premiere the trio next week at their annual Percussion Seminar at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. A big thanks to Rich, Adam, Jamie, and Dan – can’t wait to hear the premiere! To find out more about Dragonfly, see the score, and purchase it from Greg, visit the Chamber Music section.
As of today, all scores listed on gregsimonmusic.com are equipped with PayPal “Buy Now” options! To purchase a score as a digitally-delivered PDF, just click on the “Buy Now” button, fill in your information, and you’ll get the materials within 24 hours of your order! Remember that you can always contact Greg for information about perusal scores or with any questions about the music.