Making Decisions is hard...

Well, I'm nearly funded for this project. I've raised $1500 by saving my gig money over the past year or so. With a few more July gigs on deck, I'm going to hit my goal of $2000 to put into the record! 

Recording isn't cheap. I was lucky to find Jeff Gillhart, the engineer recording me. He is a very well credentialed engineer with a lot of experience and the best news is that he very reasonably priced: $50 an hour for session time and $200 for his mixing fee. I have enough money to pay a band, book two follow up overdubbing sessions, and still have some money left over. Tentatively, I'm hoping to finish the recording process by August 1st with a release date of October 20th. We'll see how it all plays out...

How to spend my money isn't the difficulty the title of this posts suggests... it's deciding what songs to put on the record. Don't get me wrong, it's a good problem to have. This year has been my most prolific year as a writer. I'm writing songs way faster than I can record any of them. They keep getting better, so I keep holding out for one that'll come in the next two weeks that's the best of them all. Idealistic, maybe, but you never know. 

Here is the current list of songs that will likely make the cut:  

  • Picture of an Indian 
  • Blankets
  • Naked Bourbon
  • Flower City
  • Life on Wheels
  • This Won't be the Last Song

^ I wrote that last one last week. It's a good.  Good enough to make the cut if I can swing it. I can probably get it on there as an acoustic guitar/vocal track only. I'm going to debut it this Friday at the Skylark Lounge. 

So these are the songs I think best show case my writing, are marketable, catchy, and wholesome enough to represent me. I have many other good choices: Monroe County, Ibuprofen, Didn't Use All my Love on You, Pair of hard to decide! I've based a lot of this decision on how they are received at gigs, and so far these have been popular. It's possible my mind might change in the next two weeks, but I made the lead sheets yesterday... As far as production goes... you'll just have to wait and see. 

For those who receive my newsletter, I offered a pre-release copy of the CD and a personal invitation to a barbecue prepared by yours truly for anyone who donates $20 or more to production costs. Contact me through my contact page, facebook, or instagram for more information! 

The Road to an EP

The last EP I put out was over 5 years ago. I had just graduated from the University of Rochester and had committed to a two year teaching stint in Nashville, TN with Teach for America. At the time, I thought I could move to Nashville, teach on the side, and dive in to the city's music scene. I had to have something presentable when I got down there. "Introducing Chris Bethmann" was the result; a five track demo that featured some of my earliest songs. I've learned a lot since then and my writing style has evolved.

 5 years later, I'm still a teacher, but this time in Rochester, my little hometown in Western, NY. It's a classic rust-belt, great lakes town. Much more mid-west than northeast. Industrial. Segregated. The school I work in is trying to make a comeback.

I ended up resigning from TFA after 6 months in Nashville. After I moved home, I was unemployed and aimless. I started grad school and didn't play a gig at all for two years. I wrote a few songs, but they weren't anything I was proud of. My Nashville experience taught me that I liked country music more than I thought I did. On Spotify I followed the bread crumbs from artists like Zac Brown and Eric Church to Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. Then I was hooked.

Suffice to say, the songs on this EP reflect my experiences reacquainting myself with my hometown, navigating a new career in a challenging environment, and immersing myself in a new style of music and lyric writing. 

This series of posts is meant to chronicle the journey to my EP release, which I hope to complete by the end of this summer. I'll write about the recording process, tell stories behind lyrics, deliberate on the title track and which songs to release as singles. In this way, I hope to bring you, readers, into the creative process. 

Enjoy! Never stop thinking.