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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thoughts on Original Material by Phil

Over my many years of being involved with music I have pondered how difficult it is for any group of musicians to wrap their heads around someones original composition.  Most people have grown up listening and memorizing songs played on the radio, which they are constantly exposed to multiple times a day.  This subconscious rote learning makes it difficult for the average singer songwriter to be able to convince fellow musicians that their original song has merit and should be worked on at rehearsal, which for most, is precious time that they do not have a lot of.  Whether it is a composition on piano, guitar, or just an acappella musing, it is not a complete, orchestrated, work that we have all been conditioned to hear and as such might fall flat to those listening for the first time.  The truly frustrating part is that the writer of the song hears all of those missing parts in their minds and for them it is a complete offering.  So how does one overcome such a large obstacle and bare their soul to others?  Although not an easy or surefire solution, I suggest you find like minded individuals who share your views on original material, not your views on life, where a mix works much better for the give and take needed to create a "good" song.  You will find that a large majority of musicians out there prefer to play "familiar" songs which we all call "covers."  Although many of these musicians are extremely talented, if you are a songwriter you will end up being frustrated by throwing your lot in with them as you won't get the opportunity to develop your songs.  "Chemistry" an oft used term which, as you get older grow to understand and appreciate more,  realizing it is probably the most important attribute for creativity, but not easily found.  "Buy in" or as I like to call it "Creative give and take" where you contribute ideas, little tweaks, or suggestions to enhance the particular piece of material you are working on.  When you find musicians who possess these qualities you have found a home where your musical experience will be much more fulfilling allowing your creative juices to flow unabated.  I have found that home in "NEVAH"

Friday, December 23, 2011

NEVAH's December Newsletter

Hey there fans of NEVAH! Phil has put together the Decembah NEVAH newsletter. For those of you keeping track this is number 2.

Ahhhh, it's the prograssabilly time of year again, can't you just feel it?
NEVAH's 2nd Newsletter - December issue

Nevah a Harmonious Prograssabilly Holiday

We want to wish the entire NEVAH family of fans and friends a wonderful Holiday! 

See you real soon. A heads up, we are planning a concert sometime in January.

Please check back soon for further details.


p.s. please do not get behind the reins of a sleigh after drinking large amounts of Egg Nog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Nevahband Spinoff

Hi gang.  Larry here AGAIN!  I wanted to let you in the blogosphere know about a side project of Nevah - "The Prograssabillies" (or the Prograssabilly Punters if you prefer!).  This motley group includes Nevahband members Phil, Dick, Larry and Ed  - and I suspect others will be creeping in and out as time goes on!  We're delving into some of the musical genres we only get to touch on with our regular band, and - we're shameless!  Who knows how far we'll go to make a buck?  Hire us and find out!  Or better yet, hire the Nevahband (maybe they'll hire us as a warm up act!).

We're making a debut at the Bear Brew Pub on Friday night around 10 or so.  We'll be sharing the stage with Anthony B. and Ish, If and It in a Sasha Alcott-produced event.  Come check it out....say you're all tired from shopping at the mall - come up to Orono, have a beer - see what we've been up to.  All the best for the holidays!

Larry - nevah guitar guy

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Nevah Acoustic Practice Session

I look forward to Thursday nights, it's the day Nevah gets together to rehearse our current repertoire, to work on new material and to discuss our upcoming goals. There is something special about getting together with no pressure, being able to simply play music and to work out new arrangements that fit the personality of the band. Yes, we also have an occasional beer or glass of wine during the nights session.

Lately we've been rehearsing unplugged (for the most part), relying on the acoustic properties of some of our instruments; mandolin, guitar, flute and banjo. By playing "acoustically"(meaning - not using amplification) we tend to listen better, blend our tones easier and work out dynamics in our music.

The loudest acoustic instrument in the band is the banjo. It's a Stelling Sunflower banjo that has a superb tone and an amazing volume using a minor amount of picking effort. We usually try to get all the other instruments "UP" to the sound level of the Stelling for a proper sound balance. This often means that the "banjo guy" plays softer, which is not easy to do.

The other day at rehearsal, Richard, our Mandolin player who usually plugs in and plays his 1930's A4 style Gibson Mandolin used a "Flatiron" mandolin (also by Gibson) and it really held it's own with the banjo. Larry's Martin Guitar did need a little amplification to keep up, but the tiny boost of sound through his Fishman Loudbox amp really helped to level the playing field.

We're an atypical prograssabilly band and do have an electric bass played by Phil, Drums with Dick at the kit, Flute/Sax and Kazoo courtesy of Ed and Congas rhythmically beat by Eric.

Everyone participates vocally on more than one tune and the challenge of blending the voices together, keeping the lead vocal upfront, harmonies directly behind and the "music" supporting everything is why we spend at least three to four hours practicing every Thursday.

Nevah is growing leaps and bounds and working very hard to bring original tunes to the table. So far we've got four completely arranged original songs that have been performed live, several times, and well received at each performance. The exciting news is that we've got four more originals in the immediate pipeline which means we are getting very close to having an albums worth of NEVAH material. So, hopefully in the near future we will be able to offer our first NEVAH album for sale.

Ahhhh, Thursdays, my favorite day of the week.

Hal -
Nevah Banjo Guy