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Brad’s Morning Exercise Music Rundown, 12th Installment: Pete and the HoboSapiens, Downtown Merrylegs, Aaron Bowen, Scott Bricklin, Rose Gabriel, Box for Letters and Paolo Alderighi & Stephanie Trick

September 20, 2017
bradspurgeon

Sit Ups

Sit Ups

For my 12th “Morning Exercise Rundown,” – the 11th of which ran in May 2016 – I have seven musicians or groups to talk about, all of which were discovered in the open mics I attended since then. (Although I have known some of them for a few years.)

The Morning Exercise Music Philosophy

First, as a reminder, the idea behind this regular – but occasional – column is that for most of my life I avoided classic daily physical exercise because I felt I was able to do without it and it bored me to death. In recent years, I had a kind of flash of aged wisdom and realized that I might bore myself to death if I DON’T exercise. (No time in life for exercise? No! No time in life to NOT exercise!) That did not, however, alleviate the boredom of doing it. So when not doing my nighttime exercise of riding my unicycle around the neighborhood – which does NOT bore me – or jogging – which does bore me to a degree – or riding the apartment cycle in front of the TV, which staves off the boredom – I do my exercises in the morning (sit ups, push ups, etc.) while listening to new (and old) CDs that I acquire from musicians at open mics (and including EPs on SoundCloud or other sites) or from any other source.

I do not pretend to be a music critic, but simply to talk about and describe, and give my impressions of the music I listen to during my morning exercises. Keep in mind that my impressions and opinions, therefore, will have been formed while straining to reach a record number of push ups, sit ups, couch ups, deep knee bends, stretch downs and simply catching my breath. So maybe my opinion will be warped.

Pete and the HoboSapiens


Pete and the HoboSapiens – Time and Place

The thing that really gave me the kick in the butt to get my 11th edition of this morning exercise rundown out fast was the reception yesterday of this video to a new project by Pete Cogavin, his new band called: Pete and the HoboSapiens. I just loved this song, “Time and Place,” and sound and video so much that I thought I should get the thing up on my blog along with the other stuff I have been exercising to as quickly as possible. Pete I met in 2010 or 2011 when he was hosting his own evening of music at Shapko in Nice, France. He let me go up on stage to sing a few songs, as he did most people who asked, in his informal open mic at the time. We met the following year too, I believe, and have kept in touch ever since. I loved his voice and music at the time, but it is clearly growing and developing. There is a song-writing skill here, the music is bright and uplifting, it just bounces along, the voice has its distinct Pete Cogavin quality, and there has been some nice effort put into the video. You can also find Pete and the HoboSapiens’ full new CD on Spotify.

The Downtown Merrylegs: Pollen Cloud

Downtown Merrylegs

Downtown Merrylegs

I discovered this Paris-based English band through performing at the Rush Bar open mic, hosted by the genial Charlie Seymour, an Englishman who has spent decades playing music in bars in Paris without us somehow having run into each other until he began hosting that open mic this year! I usually arrived at the open mic too late to hear his opening set – of which I am ashamed – but one day recently when I gave him a copy of my CD, he gave me a copy of his. What a fabulous surprise this CD and band, The Downtown Merrylegs, most of the songs of which Seymour writes and sings. This is British folk rock of a kind I like, but the thing that was extraordinary was when I suddenly realized how close this man’s voice sounds to one of my favorite singing voices of recent years: Wally Page. Page is a little-known Irishman who has, nevertheless, written songs and performed with Christy Moore, the great Irish traditional singer songwriter of Planxty fame. But while Seymour’s voice may be a dead-ringer for Page’s, the stories they tell are entirely their own.

Aaron Bowen and his Wide Sky and other CDs

Wide Sky - Aaron Bowen

Wide Sky – Aaron Bowen

Aaron Bowen has a story to tell in his music, sure, like most singer songwriters. But this San Diego musician who visits Paris regularly, also has a very cool story to tell about his music, the latest which release is “Wide Sky” from More Than Folk Records in Paris. Working in a business in his 20s he suddenly had to sell the business, and found himself deciding to make a life in music. One day, jamming with a friend, he had written a song and wanted the friend or someone to sing it. “Oh, you can try to sing it yourself,” said the friend. Bowen, a fabulous guitar player from a musical family, said to his friend that he could not sing at all. The friend pushed him to try. He sang the song, and out poured the most mellifluous and original voice the friend had heard in a while – and it hit every single note perfectly. Comparisons now often come to the voice of Paul Simon. Whatever. A new singing, songwriting career was born, and Bowen never looked back. I love this CD, Wide Sky, one of two he gave me in recent months, the other being a thing call Spring Demo. But I’ll keep that to myself for the moment! Oh, and by the way, I just wrote that story about his vocals from memory after a night at a Paris open mic many months ago. It is quite possible that I got some details wrong, but that’s the gist of it!!!!

Scott Bricklin, Not Lost at all, on Lost Till Dawn

Scott Bricklin - Lost Till Dawn

Scott Bricklin – Lost Till Dawn

Scott Bricklin is a hugely talented multi-instrumentalist from Philadelphia, who had a previous life on a label somewhere in the U.S. with a band with his brother. Now a permanent Paris expat, he is keeping very busy playing here and around Europe, and has just come out with another album of his cool, laid back folk rock. (At least that’s the way I hear it.) What makes this very homogenous album really interesting for me, and maybe for one or two readers of this blog, is that unlike the last CD of Bricklin that I heard – on which he played basically all the instruments – here on “Lost Till Dawn,” a good most of the CD consists of Bricklin playing along with Félix Beguin and Jeremy Norris. These are the same three performers who played on the first five songs on my CD, “Out of a Jam.” (Beguin also played on two of the other five tracks on my CD.) So it was really cool to hear what other fabulous sounds these guys could make, and it was not a disappointment.

Wrapping Up With Rose Gabriel, Box for Letters and Paolo Alderighi & Stephanie Trick

And so I come to the round up area at the end of this morning exercise report. I’m not rounding up these final CDs because they are in any way lesser in my heart, but because, holy crap, if I don’t get this page out there tonight, who knows how much longer I’ll be sitting on it before I finish it! It has already been so long!

Rose Gabriel

Rose Gabriel

I am not one to love country music, but the songs, stories and vocals of Rose Gabriel’s very personal “Desert Flowers” completely subjugated me. Rose is from Austin, Texas, and I have also seen her a couple of times in Paris. But it was not until I listened to her CD that I really sat back and realized the original voice and stories she had to tell – although the last performance I saw of her at the Rush Bar in Paris was so great that I wasted no time at all listening to the CD she had given me that night!! All about life growing up in Texas, this is very coollll… or rather, hot.

Box for Letters

Box for Letters

I met the lead singer, songwriter, for the Malaysian Band “Box for Letters,” on my last trip to Kuala Lumpur last year, and found a highly original voice and temperament, and another extraordinary story to tell: Here was a man with a promising musical career who suddenly, very young, had a terrible motorcycle accident. Among the multiple injuries were a severely fractured jaw. It seemed his singing and playing career was over. But no. It took him a year or two, but he came back with this beautiful recording – Cerap.

Alderighi and Trick

Alderighi and Trick

Finally, and this is not last as least, Double Trio, is the fabulous live album of Paolo Alderighi and Stephanie Trick, a married couple who are both leading stride piano players. I have written about them several times before on this blog, which is why I am not doing more here now, but this CD (with Marty Eggers on bass and Danny Coots on drums) is a real fabulous demonstration of what this couple can do live in their four-hands act. I had the great pleasure of hearing them in Milan recently, and I can attest to it that this CD is a perfect representation of what they do. Alderighi is from Milan, by the way, and is certainly Italy’s greatest young jazz export, and Trick is from the home of stride piano, St. Louis – where they both spend much of the little time they have when not travelling to put on shows!

Well, that rounds that up. Another morning exercise crop of CDs and SoundClouds, my 12th edition since I started doing this in April of 2013….

“Borderline” – Fifth, and final, Song and Video of the Melodium Sessions in Montreuil

August 17, 2014
bradspurgeon

Borderline music video

Borderline music video

PARIS – In recent months, I posted my first four videos and recordings of the songs I recorded in the studio in February, in the posts for “When You’re Gone Away” and my song “Crazy Lady”, and “Mad World,” the Tears for Fears song,
and “When You’re Gone Away,” another of my songs. As I said in the previous posts, I plan to do different style videos each time, and today, with my final song from the session, “Borderline,” I have again added several new elements as well:

As with the others of the five-part series of songs I recorded at the Melodium Studio in Montreuil outside Paris in February, I recorded this one with my favorite lead player, Félix Beguin and drummer, Jeremy Norris – both of whom are in two excellent Paris bands, The Burnin’ Jacks and the Velvet Veins – and also with Scott Bricklin – a Paris expat musician originally from Philadelphia – on bass. Together, as I mentioned, we spent three days in the studio.

The beauty of doing these recording sessions was the incredible cohesion and talent I was surrounded with in Félix, Jeremy and Scott and their wonderful arrangements and Félix’s mixing. All three have worked together extensively, and often at the incredible Melodium Studios, and of course, I have gigged with Félix regularly in the last five years. So it was all just so together.

So with the above song, “Borderline,” I complete the Melodium session recordings. But I still have a couple of other recent recordings and videos to add in the coming months – including a new song I just finished writing last week – so I’ll keep you posted.

“If I Only Had You” – Fourth Song and Video of the Melodium Sessions in Montreuil

June 1, 2014
bradspurgeon

Brad Spurgeon - If I Only Had You

Brad Spurgeon – If I Only Had You

PARIS – In recent weeks, I posted my first three videos and recordings of the songs I recorded in the studio in February, in the post for “When You’re Gone Away.” and my song “Crazy Lady” and “Mad World,” the Tears for Fears song.
Today, from Paris, I am posting my fourth video and song recording, another of my own songs, “When You’re Gone Away”. As I said in the previous posts, I plan to do different style videos each time, and this one is has a completely new element in it – a guest vocalist and…a “co-star” in the video, I might call her.

But this song is also quite different from my other songs, in being the only song that I actually wrote at the request of another musician. It was an interesting exercise, because I wanted to write for this other person’s style, but also put my own spin to it, and equally, make sure that the song was completely true to my own heart. When it turned out that the other musician – actually, a duo – said they liked it but never acted on it, I decided to record it myself….

As with the others of the five-part series of the five songs I recorded at the Melodium Studio in Montreuil outside Paris in February, I recorded with my favorite lead player, Félix Beguin and drummer, Jeremy Norris – both of whom are in two excellent Paris bands, The Burnin’ Jacks and the Velvet Veins – and also with Scott Bricklin – a Paris expat musician originally from Philadelphia – on bass. Together, as I mentioned, we spent three days in the studio.

In the coming weeks I plan to finish this cycle of videos with my final song, “Borderline,” and then I plan to put out a CD of the whole, as well as others of my songs.

The beauty of doing these recording sessions was the incredible cohesion and talent I was surrounded with in Félix, Jeremy and Scott and their wonderful arrangements and Félix’s mixing. All three have worked together extensively, and often at the incredible Melodium Studios, and of course, I have gigged with Félix regularly in the last five years. So it was all just so together.

“Mad World” – Third Song and Video of the Melodium Sessions in Montreuil

May 9, 2014
bradspurgeon

Mad World (Brad Spurgeon)

Mad World (Brad Spurgeon)

BARCELONA – In recent weeks, I posted my first two videos and recordings of the songs I recorded in the studio in February, in the post for “When You’re Gone Away.” and my song “Crazy Lady.”
Today, from Barcelona – although the video was filmed in Paris – I am posting my third video and song recording, which is the only cover song I did during the session, for one of my regular covers: Mad World. As I said in the previous posts, I plan to do different style videos each time, and this one is definitely a slightly madder video than the previous two – as befits a song like “Mad World,” by Tears for Fears (later covered brilliantly by Gary Jules).

As with the others of the five-part series of the five songs I recorded at the Melodium Studio in Montreuil outside Paris in February, I recorded with my favorite lead player, Félix Beguin and drummer, Jeremy Norris – both of whom are in two excellent Paris bands, The Burnin’ Jacks and the Velvet Veins – and also with Scott Bricklin – a Paris expat musician originally from Philadelphia – on bass. Together, as I mentioned, we spent three days in the studio.

In the coming weeks I plan to continue making videos of these songs and releasing them, and then I plan to put out a CD of the whole, as well as others of my songs (and a wicked cover song). The videos, as I said, will all be quite different; the first one I did while walking around Paris and being filmed by Raphaëlle. With “Crazy Lady,” I decided to have a completely different kind of fun doing a completely different kind of video to illustrate my song, drawing on black and white films from the public domain to try to illustrate this song with a story to tell that is a little tricky to illustrate otherwise! With “Mad World,” it too is in Paris, but I decided to add a few mad aspects of my own personality – as you will see – and some mad places in Paris.

The beauty of doing these recording sessions was the incredible cohesion and talent I was surrounded with in Félix, Jeremy and Scott and their wonderful arrangements and Félix’s mixing. All three have worked together extensively, and often at the incredible Melodium Studios, and of course, I have gigged with Félix regularly in the last five years. So it was all just so together.

“Crazy Lady” – Second Song and Video of the Melodium Sessions in Montreuil & Mysterious Elsewheres

April 10, 2014
bradspurgeon

Crazy Lady

Crazy Lady

PARIS – A couple of weeks ago, while in Kuala Lumpur, I posted my first video and recording of the songs I recorded in the studio in February, in the post for “When You’re Gone Away.” Since then I have been working on the second video while I was in KL, in Bahrain and now in Paris (where I’m back again for a few days before taking off for Shanghai). I’ve now finished that second video of the five-part series of the five songs I recorded at the Melodium Studio in Montreuil outside Paris in February, I’m talking about the video for my song “Crazy Lady.” As with “When You’re Gone Away,” I recorded “Crazy Lady” along with my favorite lead player, Félix Beguin and drummer, Jeremy Norris – both of whom are in two excellent Paris bands, The Burnin’ Jacks and the Velvet Veins – and also with Scott Bricklin – a Paris expat musician originally from Philadelphia – on bass. Together, as I mentioned, we recorded five songs.

In the coming weeks I plan to continue making videos of these songs and releasing them, and then I plan to put out a CD of the whole, as well as others of my songs (and a wicked cover song). The videos will all be quite different; the first one I did while walking around Paris and being filmed by Raphaëlle, and adding two bits of “mystery footage” from the past and from elsewhere in the world that I took – see if you can spot it! This time, with “Crazy Lady,” I decided to have a completely different kind of fun doing a completely different kind of video to illustrate my song, drawing on black and white films from the public domain to try to illustrate this song with a story to tell that is a little tricky to illustrate otherwise!

The beauty of doing these recording sessions was the incredible cohesion and talent I was surrounded with in Félix, Jeremy and Scott and their wonderful arrangements and Félix’s mixing. All three have worked together extensively, and often at the incredible Melodium Studios, and of course, I have gigged with Félix regularly in the last five years. So it was all just so together.

“When You’re Gone Away” – First Song and Video of the Melodium Sessions in Montreuil, Paris and a Mysterious Elsewhere

March 26, 2014
bradspurgeon

When You're Gone Away

When You’re Gone Away

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – This post has nothing to do with my location of sitting in a hotel room high above hot and humid Kuala Lumpur, where I will be working and playing music for the next week…except perhaps that high in the air (although not high in the head) is also where I was when I edited this music video of the first of my songs from the Melodium recording sessions last month in Montreuil.

In fact, yes, this post is all about a chain of events that started at the Melodium Studio in Montreuil outside Paris last month, that continued in the streets of Paris’s Latin Quarter over the weekend and that I finalized on my flight to Kuala Lumpur from Paris last night. I’m talking about the video that I put together for my song “When You’re Gone Away,” the music of which I recorded in Montreuil last month, and that I filmed in Paris over the weekend and that I edited on the flight and uploaded in my hotel room in Kuala Lumpur.

That actually seems a fitting chain of events for my song called, “When You’re Gone Away,” that I recorded along with my favorite lead player, Félix Beguin and drummer, Jeremy Norris – both of whom are in two excellent Paris bands, The Burnin’ Jacks and the Velvet Veins – and also with Scott Bricklin – a Paris expat musician originally from Philadelphia – on bass. Together, as I mentioned in a blog item about my session at Melodium Studios, we recorded five songs, of which “When You’re Gone Away,” is one.

In the coming weeks I plan to continue making videos of these songs and releasing them, and then I plan to put out a CD of the whole, as well as others of my songs (and a wicked cover song). The videos will all be quite different; this one was fun, as I did it walking around Paris and being filmed by Raphaëlle, and adding two bits of “mystery footage” from the past and from elsewhere in the world that I took – see if you can spot it!

The beauty of doing these recording sessions was the incredible cohesion and talent I was surrounded with in Félix, Jeremy and Scott and their wonderful arrangements and Félix’s mixing. All three have worked together extensively, and often at the incredible Melodium Studios, and of course, I have gigged with Félix regularly in the last five years. So it was all just so together.

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