Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kickstarter Min Goal Nailed!

Well, we did it -- reached the $2500 minimum* goal. This is big news. It means we can actually do the recording. The response was quicker and more generous than I expected.

Was also a big day musically. The producer took what Chris (guitar/arranger) and I developed earlier to another level (chop, adjust, rearrange, repeat). The drum sounds are amazing -- we start recording them for real tomorrow. Surprises for everyone ahead...

The art: after almost two months of work ALL the canvases have paint on them. Here are some pictures of the work in progress -- remember this thing is 15 ft. long.

* $2500 is the minimum goal because it's the least we could get by with and still put a record out. We hope to do much more (including cover materials costs for the painting, do a better than minimum job on things, cover travel costs and pay participants something!) If you want to help, visit (or revisit, or send a friend to) the Kickstarter page and make a pledge. We got the boat in the water now - help us take it all the way to the ocean! It's a pretty long trip from the source of the watershed to its destination, but it looks like it'll be a great trip!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cooking Watershed Style

Making this album is a little bit like cooking -- at least the way I cook. I usually look at the ingredients I have, find a recipe that has at least a little overlap, and then experiment, using the recipe as a rough guide. Sometimes this works great and I develop something that I refine into an actual recipe, sometimes its horrible (like the curried macaroni and cheese incident) and most of the time it's pretty good.

The Watershed Project is like a big meal we're planning, with each part -- songs, art, ideas -- being a dish or drink. We have the meal date set (by May we will have a cd recorded, a big artpiece done, two little books finished and a tour started) and a recipe to roughly follow. We're collecting ingredients, scanning recipes, firing up stoves and ovens and checking the cellars.

I've made many song and album dishes over the last 15 years, and I'm hoping to take what I've learned and refine it into a great main dish. Christa has become quite good at mixing up large scale installation pieces that remind me of great wines or well-aged cheeses. Grant is a great production chef. Nate consistently serves up tasty grooves and has good presentation ideas. Chris is well known for the riffs and textures he chops, sautes and delivers.

The joy and challenge is bringing all of this together into a tasty, unique yet unified banquet delivered on time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Make a record with Jonathan

I've been blown away by the ideas and help I've gotten during the brainstorming and planning phases of this recording project. The art looks great. Plans for recording and touring are progressing well. And funds are coming in.

To complete the Watershed project, I need between $2500 and $10,000 (the amount raised will determine how far we can take the project -- and whether we cover our costs, get paid, etc). Just as a reference point, my Sonchild album (recorded in 2000) cost between $6000 and $7000 which was all raised in donations or album album presales. So while this goal stretches me, there is a track record of similar things working well.

The amazing thing here is that we can even attempt doing something like this -- the only reason we can is that a number of people are willing to take the risk with us, donating time, skills and labor. While we appreciate this we hope to be able to more than cover materials costs (which for the art alone is currently around $1000, not to mention travel, etc).

The Kickstarter page was an attempt to simplify this giving process, making it easy for people to help make the vision a reality. Please check it out.

This project is way too big for me to do alone, and while that's a little scary it's also exciting and it's the right way to do this project. If this is going to be the best record I've made yet, it will require the best team I've had yet, and part of that team is listeners and friends who put hard-earned cash into it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Aerial View of the Watershed

Today we mapped out the project. I started with 21 songs, we ended with 12 songs that fit together well thematically and musically. I think this is probably the final track list -- or else pretty close. It was amazing -- Chris had a lot of arrangement and production ideas for the songs, most of which were brilliant. Can't believe it's coming together so well. Now we've got the aerial view musically -- there's a lot of work to do and I'm sure many unexpected twists ahead.

Want to know the track list?

We're Live and Kick(starter)ing

The Watershed Project kickstarter page is launched!!

Grab a couple minutes and check it out -- there's a video explaining the project and some practical ways you can help bring this vision to reality (and get some great music and art in the process). There's a place for comments on the kickstarter page, so let me know what you think about it.

In Detroit, getting to work

We started arranging songs today

Everything Change Clip from Jonathan A Reuel on Vimeo.

I made it to the Detroit area after a very, very, very long day of travel from California.

Detroit from Jonathan A Reuel on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Saturday Kickstarter Launch

I'm launching my Kickstarter page on Saturday. From there we'll have about 30 days to raise the money for the Watershed Project. I'll post a link and more about it here on Saturday. Be sure to check back.

I'm pretty excited about it -- I like the adventure. The way it works is people pledge money and then if the project goal is reached or surpassed (I'm hoping to go way past the minimum goal) they get stuff (cds, art, etc). If the goal isn't reached, no one pays anything.

Thanks for your interest and support as this project rolls forward.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Leaving California

Untitled from Jonathan A Reuel on Vimeo.

Shot this last week. Reedley, CA has been great. Here's one of my favorite spots, the river close to our little apt. Going to miss it. Found out today Barry McGuire lives in this town; dang, now it's too late to do Eve of Destruction part II with him...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Carbon Blanket on Watershed?

Untitled from Jonathan A Reuel on Vimeo.

Here's a very early version of Carbon Blanket which may make it onto this record called Watershed I'll be recording next week. We'll see. I've got 20 songs competing for 10 or 12 spaces. Thoughts? Remember this is a rough early version...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Naming this Record

I want to name this recording something with "Watershed" in it since the project brings together songs, ideas, art and images -- like water draining from all over into one river or lake.

So what name exactly? Watershed? The Watershed? The Watershed Project? Watershed Change? Watershed Down?

Bring your great ideas (like you did for JRL...)

So what is a watershed?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Clip of song from upcoming album

Untitled from Justin Clemons on Vimeo.

Here's a video of one of the songs that will most likely make the album, albeit in a very different form. The song is called "Keep Me" or "Thumb." Getting pretty excited -- almost ready to post my Kickstarter page and started booking the spring tour.

Video by Justin Clemons, one of my heroes. Seriously, though, photography is an adventure, an artform, a discipline and a dialogue with God for this guy. He did a photo shoot for the upcoming tour -- I'll blog about it at some point. Amazing.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Taking Lessons

I talked to a friend today about taking guitar lessons. I've got three months until the tour (and two weeks until the studio) and I've got a lot of room to grow. It's been a LONG time since I studied guitar. I've got some very specific things I want to work on (timing and lead playing) and it will be a challenge to find the time to make it to the next level, but I'm leaning towards trying to make it work.

There is no try, only do.

Becoming Fountains

It's not that this love (capital L) is earned, or that it is only available to the gifted -- on the contrary: it's more of a sliding scale. The gifted or strong have to put out much more to unlock it. It's like addiction in that it takes more and more to get the same result -- only the more that is required is positive (like stronger muscles from exercise or better playing from practicing) and the result is always more than enough, like a faucet that doesn't run out (as opposed to the constantly reducing positive feelings that are associated with addiction). With this love there's always an endless supply -- the issue is what it takes to tap into to it.

It feels to me like receiving divine love is often closely connected with giving everything you have, pouring out all your attention, energy, gifts and skills however great or small, and in the vacuum created by that pouring -- or to switch metaphors -- in the gasping space after that last pushup you couldn't hardly do -- in rushes this overwhelmingly generous (unending even) flow of life -- filling that empty space, spilling over into the cracks and crevices and out to other places in need. It's as if in the emptying of ourselves God not only pours into us but begins to make us a fountain, a spring, a source to bring love (which is life: living water) to people, situations, and other deserts.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Playing as Trio part Two

The rythm section was powerful, loud, locked in and they brought the funk. My voice went to those places at the edge of its range that it has to stretch and fight for but which somehow are part of ploughing into that place where people forget about themselves, loosen up and focus on something greater. Together with the band and the audience, and in my opinion God -- it created space. Or space opened up.

When I walked off that stage the room felt different. Like people were more themselves. What the preacher said was part of that too. And how the people listened. There was a riskiness and a sense of rest that cohabited both the music and the word.

In the midst of playing the music I alternatingly listening with glee to the bass licks, wholehearted aimed my being towards God, and received from that infinite supply of love that surrounds us all and is offered to us at all times and all places -- and yet which, I think somehow, the receiving or ingesting of often takes an act of will, discipline, courage, focus, abandonment, or surrender.