A few nice things happened this month. First, we ran out of songbooks for the first time at our 12/7 Sundaysong Singalong. Time to make more!
Then I got to play UT Night at the Trail of Lights and walk it for the first time (with my wife and 5 yr old girl). What a wonderful evening.
But the big news for me was all the help y’all gave me by taking my survey and helping me get unstuck on some strategy questions that were hanging me up.
Read the Survey Says! post to see how everyone responded. Here are the conclusions I gathered:
- Play outdoor shows and house concerts. Post them to YouTube.
- Focus on original material with a mix of covers thrown in, folk/rock, singalong, reggae, kids, and ambient.
- Keep shows simple most of the time – solo acoustic or with guitar player – but make sure and put on bigger band shows occasionally.
- I’m Jason Molin and I go by J. I should emphasize J and be findable both ways.
- I should use jmolin.com as a musician.
- I should use a mix of old and new funding models.
- Keep the music coming.
Thanks for keeping me focussed!
We opened November with another great Sundaysong Singalong in Stacy Park. They keep getting better and the coolest people keep showing up.
Maile made a pot of Chai Tea and I passed out the first Singalong Songbook. This is the first draft of what I hope will eventually be a nicely bound book of dozens of songs with drawings in the margins. Listen to us sing on Soundcloud:
I’m now on a perpetual search for songs about peace, gratitude, wisdom, friendship, higher love… Please email me if you have or hear any good singalong ideas for a Sunday morning.
As a musician trying to focus on what I do best and present it in the easiest, most authentic way, I’m frequently wondering about the seven music strategy questions in this survey:
Thanks for any help with those question,
p.s. I went to Santa Fe for the week of Thanksgiving, took a ton of pictures and found a few artists I really liked.
It was a gorgeous day and a gorgeous set of people this morning singing along in Little Stacy Park. Maile made a pot of Chai Tea for everyone, Gray played along on uke, lots of old friends and kiddos showed up, and the weather could not have been nicer.
My printed songbooks seemed to be a vast improvement on the transparency projector… we sat in more of a circle and people could actually read the words! Listen below to a few clips from our singalong set, on Soundcloud.
October was a month of fantastic firsts. We threw our first Sundaysong Singalong outside at the park to great effect. A bunch of cool folks came and really dug it, singing Beatles songs while kids make chalk art on the sidewalk. We’ll do it again the first Sunday of November.
And I played my first gig with my new battery powered pedalboard and vocal amp. My dream of amplifying the magic paid off, and I think Ralph and I were able to make that sweet spot into a dreamy space for the Friday lunchtime crew. This stood in stark contrast to the campus gig Ralph and I played the week before, by the turtle pond, without amplification, where I belted out the songs and struggled to be heard over all the distracting background activity.
Maile, Anais and I also checked out a cool festival an hour north of Austin called Art Outside. Considering that art outside is basically what I consider my mission these day, I had to check it out, and I’m glad I did. Cool music, vibe, grounds, and format. Weaving visual and performance art in with the music festival added a real richness that made it feel more participatory and authentic than just a hipster-hippy party.
Ralph and I played a set at the turtle pond this afternoon. It was a gorgeous, sunny, 85-degree day and all the turtles came out, along with a bunch of friends from around the UT-Austin campus. Carlo snapped a great set of reflections in the water, presented here, upside down.
We opened with one of my songs, I Can See You. Check out all the background noises: birds, planes, bells, trucks… the hum of the buildings and the buzz of the Friday afternoon exodus was our backdrop.
We closed with a cover of Cat Stevens’s If You Want To Sing Out Sing Out:
Jessica snapped a pic of me after everyone had gone and caught some cool colors in the sun flair.
Gray and Lauren got married a few weeks ago, so I worked up this old favorite to perform at the wedding. How much more simple, beautiful and true can a song get?!
Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved
Love is touch, touch is love
Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved
Love is you, you and me
Love is knowing we can be
Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved
Meditation takes many forms and for me sometimes the most effortless is losing myself, late at night, in the soupy, loopy delay of a slow ambient guitar progression. (Especially when I have new loop and delay pedals to play with.)
Adding simple layer upon echoey layer bakes a nice end-of-day dream. I use this to help slip past a long day out into the night sea.
For the gear-heads, here are the tricks I’ve got up my sleeve on this track, along with an Ebow.
I’ve finally started doing something I’ve wanted to do for like the last year: Sundaysong Singalong. The idea is simple: have a singalong instead of church. Put another way, it’s like an old Pete Seeger-style folksong singalong, just with a Sunday-morning sort of setlist: songs of love, beauty, gratitude, wisdom, work, wonder… songs that evoke higher powers, that are sacred without feeling sectarian.
So yesterday I finally gathered a small group to test the concept. A dozen of us gathered in my living room where I projected the lyrics on to a sheet hanging from the hearth. I didn’t snap any pics — the one below of Gray and I playing at the back of the room was by Dan — but I did have my recorder going. Here is a medley of seven of the songs we sang to give you a flavor of the morning’s songs:
Rise Up Singing Songbook
- This Land Is Your Land (p.5)
- Moonshadow (p. 30)
- Big Yellow Taxi (p. 34)
- Day-O (p. 49)
- The Times They Are A’Changin (G)
- The Water Is Wide
- Rivers of Babylon (p. 63)
- Lean On Me (p. 66)
- With A Little Help From My Friends (p. 68)
- Keep On The Sunny Side (p. 87)
- Amazing Grace (p. 92)
- I Shall Be Released (p. 102)
- Blowin In The Wind (D) (p. 115)
- Imagine (C) (p.116)
- Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore (p.62)
- Let It Be (p. 206)
- All You Need Is Love (p. 18)
- Across The Universe (p. 10)
We only made it through #12 before it had been an hour and we called it quits, chatted by the fruit and the donuts, and went our separate Sunday ways. The whole thing was an easy success judging by the effortless joining of strangers in song, the sharing and the smiles.
Last weekend I inaugurated the first Sundaysong Singalong’s touring version, because we were in Houston for the weekend to catch the Magritte exhibit at the Menil. I invited a few Houston friends to join us on the lawn of the Menil for the hour before the museum opened at 11, so at 10 AM, Maile, Anais and I spread our blanket beneath a shade tree and laid out our picnic. Before long Ritiban, Jasmine, and their boy Ian had joined us. Before we were done another mom and her girl had found and joined us.
While Ritiban and I strummed, the kids drew with sidewalk chalk and the mothers watched and talked. (Ian had to be chased down the block several times as he made breaks for it.) It was a wonderful hour after which we all went into the gallery to roam around in the cool surrealism.