Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Spain 7" Release Date Has Been Delayed

As you probably already know, Daniel, Billy, and I have been locked in the studio for weeks making improvements on the new Spain song "I'm Still Free". Matt's and Randy's parts were already perfect. We finally finished the song last night and now its ready for mastering but, alas, not in time for the strict deadline of December 15 set by label Acuarela Discos. Those guys are slave drivers, really. Anyways, in result we've delayed the release of the 7" and iTunes digital until January 26, 2010. So, you'll have to wait until then to hear the first official release of new Spain songs in, well, a long time. I may put the new version of "I'm Still Free" on the Spain Myspace page soon. I'm undecided about it. Acuarela president, er, dictator, Jesús Llorente, a friend of mine, and a good man, would rather us not, but I say, let the people hear the music. Free their ears from monotony and let them get a sneak preview of a song that took four years to write, and three to record, concurrently. Its Myspace, for crying out loud, it doesn't cost anything, and people can't download it. No one's making any money off of it, but, what the hey? Oh, wait. My Myspace uploading privileges have been temporarily suspended. Something about copyright violations for uploading songs I wrote. I should take care of that. In the meantime, what do you think? Should I break down and take the humiliating "myspace copyright law quiz" so I can upload the new version of "I'm Still Free" for you to hear, or would you rather be surprised on January 26? That way I could avoid having to "talk" to Myspace. But I'll have to contact them sooner or later. Who knows? Who cares? You be the judge! Leave a comment!

As an addendum, the Spain 7" release party at Spaceland on December 19 is still happening. I'll be selling a very special limited-edition cd of the new single at the gig. The show must go on.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Charlie Haden Family & Friends At Walt Disney Hall - The Report

Thanks to everyone for coming to the Charlie Haden Family & Friends show at Walt Disney Hall! It was a lot of fun, and the music was amazing. I loved singing Donovan's "Catch The Wind", its one of my dad's favorite songs and we'd been trying to find an opportunity to play it for some time. All of the musicians sounded so great! Special thanks to Jerry Douglas for his amazing dobro solos on "Spiritual", can't get much more inspired than that!

If you thought the music on stage was good, you should have heard it in the halls backstage before the show. One of my favorite things about playing with this group is hearing the guys (Dan Tyminski, Bryan Sutton, Mark Fain, Jim Mills, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, and Jerry Douglas) jamming impromptu before we hit the stage.

Its always fun to watch my brother-in-law Jack Black ham it up on stage. My sisters, Petra, Rachel, and Tanya, sang in perfect harmony. My dad's wife Ruth Cameron sounded incredible, and my dad, as bandleader and bluegrass diplomat, held down the fort with his full bass notes and entertained and enlightened the audience as always with stories of his bluegrass past and words of inspiration and encouragement.

It was great to see my friend Ravi Coltrane backstage.

Meeting of the violinists: Lindsay Stella & Petra Haden

Spain keyboardist/guitarist Randy Kirk & Spain
guitarist Daniel Brummel made an appearance.

My dad Charlie & I backstage after the show.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

UC President Mark G. Yudof Is A Lying, Ungrateful, Despotic, Selfish Hypocrite

Protesting at UCLA

I've been waiting for a chance to post a blog entry about Tuesday night's Haden Family & Friends show at Walt Disney Hall in downtown L.A., but I've been so busy I haven't had any free time!

Now I have a moment to write about what a great experience it was but before I do so I just wanted to make a brief comment about the student fee hike imposed by the UC board of regents today.

As a UC alma mater I'm particularly concerned about it because every year around this time I'm hit up for money by some UC student telling me UC is broke and needs all the help it can get. How can they expect me to want to donate money when they're raising student fees? They should be lowering fees and showing that they are serious about giving every Californian a chance for an education.

As recounted by this L.A. Times article, UC President Mark G. Yudof said, regarding the fee hike, "I hate to say it, but if you have no choice, you have no choice." The article went on to say Yudof "empathized with student anger, but said it would be better directed toward state lawmakers who have cut education funding."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if President Yudof is saying he has such "empathy" with students, why doesn't Yudof himself take his own advice, march up to Sacramento and tell Gov. Schwarzenegger how angry he is? Why doesn't he not support fee hikes? Or better yet, why doesn't he cut his own salary to show students he too is willing to make sacrifices for higher education, or, even better, call a general student strike until this situation is remedied?

I'd like to say a couple of things about the convenience of this fee hike. First of all, higher fees means more money in President Yudof's pockets. Secondly, higher fees means more money to be made by the student loan companies that are in cahoots with UC, and have been ever since student loan companies were invented.

On the front page of this morning's aforesaid L.A. Times is a photograph of students protesting the fee hikes. One student holds a sign that reads "California...#1 in Prison Spending[,] #48 in Education." And this to me is the crux of the matter. A financial crisis gives certain lawmakers excuses to cut education funding while letting the root causes of poverty and crime continue. As long as people are uneducated, crime will continue to rise, prisons will continue to be overcrowded, more money will have to be spent on police and law enforcement, and conservative politicians (due to the uneducated citizenry) will continue to be elected, allowing the cycle to continue ad infinitum. When will it stop?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spain At Crane's - The Report

Thanks to everyone for coming to Spain's show last night at Crane's Tavern in Hollywood. We had a lot of fun and it was great to see folks I hadn't seen in quite awhile. It was our first gig in a long time - and our first with new guitarist Daniel Brummel - and it felt good to get my stage feet back with such a welcoming audience.

Its also been so long I'm out of practice -- forgot to bring my camera!!

It was great to see: Daniel's dad (longtime Spain fan!), Ron Frank, my cousin John Wells, music producer John Chelew, Loveless Motel (studio where Spain has been recording lately) owner/engineer Billy Burke, Jamie Drake (great set, Jamie!), and many other friends and familiar faces. Even our friend/practice space-mate Jud showed up, on his bicycle a few hours late, but its the thought that counts. He rode all the way from West Covina!

Crane's is a great intimate venue with two rooms (full bar and performance area) and a cool back patio. A lot of the people who attend are locals and regulars which gives it a cozy, familiar vibe that's hard to find in L.A., even though its right off Hollywood Blvd. Rare indeed! Highly recommended. Thanks for having us Crane's! And thanks to Jamie for inviting us to play during her residency there, check out her music!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spain In The Studio, Again!

Over the weekend Spain's Daniel Brummel and Loveless Motel owner/engineer Billy Burke worked diligently on the new Spain song "I'm Still Free", making improvements in anticipation of its Dec. 15 2009 release on Acuarela Discos.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Open Question For Liberals

If Man's nature is essentially good, then why does he need to be governed?

"GOP healthcare plan isn't about helping the uninsured"

Found this great article today (where it was entitled, "GOP plan is a bogus effort"; the article is titled differently in the Times online edition) on the front page of the L.A. Times Business section, of all places.

Republican Rep. John Boehner spoke yesterday of the "sanctity of life" when opposing the anti-abortion funding amendment to the health bill. That's all fine and good, but for Boehner, and his Republican and certain Independent and Democratic allies, the sanctity of life stops at the fetus; after a person is born, its straight to hell.

Saturday, November 7, 2009