MP3 Steven Kalas and PaperCymbal - Lessons From the Dead
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19 MP3 Songs
POP: Folky Pop, POP: Beatles-pop
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
!!!!!!! After the Party !!!!!!!
When I'm a decrepit old man staring at the ceiling in a lonely old folks' home, I'll smile as I remember last Friday's CD Release Party.
Wow. What a gathering of friends, old and new. Dear Richard, The Garagemahal is a one-of-a-kind in Las Vegas. Thank you for excellent sound and wonderful hospitality. The boys in the band (and that one girl) played their asses off. It was great to see Digital Insight studio owner Rob Devlin, who also brought a fine, fine bottle of single malt scotch to help celebrate. (I tried to pick friends with really good taste in fine hooch.)
Thanks to Alex Oliver [CD Baby Artist "Poppermost"] for a rousing introduction. A million thanks to our manager, Jackie Robinson, for chasing down every niggling detail so that I could relax and sing.
A splendid time was guaranteed for all.
*********CD RELEASE PARTY!! - May 11, 2007*******
I want to extend a personal invitation for you to join us on Friday, May 11 as we celebrate the release of our 5th CD,Lessons From the Dead,at the Garage Ma Hall in Las Vegas.
This will be a gathering of friends andfans both new and old for an evening of hellos, goodbyes, great memories,and a new future. Times are changing, as are dreams and goals, and thiscould well be the last time PaperCymbal plays together in public.
It wonât be the same if youâre not there.
The Garage Ma Hall is a great place to gather with friends and listen tomusic. You are welcome to bring your own refreshments: wine, great scotch(does Steven have any friends that drink great Scotch?), or a cooler withyour favorite beer or soda. Munchies, if you want.Take-out from Macaroni Grill. Or KFC.Whatever makes you happy.
Invite friends. Teens and kids are welcome.
Our opening act is ZenLizard. Music begins at 6:00 p.m.
The Garage Ma Hall is located in Las Vegas at 6300 W. Tropical Pkwy. To get there, takeI-95 Fwy north to Ann Road, right to Rainbow, left to Tropical Pkwy, right to 6300 (on left/north side of street). Parking on the street is ample.
Check out www.MySpace.com/Garage_Ma_Hall
If you prefer parking valet, then either bring your own valet,or go to the valet at the Bellagio and walk (about 14 miles.)
Canât wait to see you.
with the number in your group to
**************I n s p i r a t i o n**************
Participating in an art form is different from learning an art craft. With some reasonable commitment and effort, pretty much anyone can learn to play the piano, work a lump of wet clay on a potter's wheel, wield the different brushes and palate knives on a canvas, the hammer and chisel on a stone, or, in my case, the various chord shapes for Cadd9 on the acoustic guitar.
Learning to play an instrument is about good mechanics, learned technique and practice, practice, practice. Songwriting is participating in an art form. Something else entirely.
The source of inspiration? Could be anything, I guess, but it's most often about life experience -- something I'm celebrating, learning, hoping, healing or suffering. Or it could be some perspective I have about how the world is. Or some vision I have about how the world oughta be. And while I don't write religious music, anybody who's paying attention and knows me at all will regularly recognize my particular theological bent in my lyrics. My way of looking at the world.
I write a lot about the inexplicable, humble helplessness I feel in the mystery of love. The way it comes to find you when you're certain your heart is locked and barricaded. The way it erodes, estranges and crumbles around you despite your every felt desire and effort to the contrary. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Such is the stuff of life.
A bandmate once said to me: "Geez, Steven, remind me not to make you really angry or hurt you or disappoint you. I'd probably end up in a song on your next album." He's right, of course. The people who have wrought to me the greatest injustices are just as much a part of forming my identity as those who have offered the most constant love and friendship.
Some people keep journals and diaries. I write songs.
The biggest challenge in songwriting? Two things, really. The first is finding and protecting a creative space. I simply cannot create in three- to five-minute bursts between answering the phone, troubleshooting the dishwasher and breaking up the family fisticuffs over who gets the last frosted strawberry Pop Tart with sprinkles. For me, creative productivity requires protracted time floating, musing and paying keen attention to silence and emptiness. Long about the third time I'm interrupted, I put my guitar away.
The other challenge is mental and spiritual laziness. It's easy to dream great dreams and think great thoughts. But translating dreams and thoughts into a well-crafted song takes enduring effort. Art is suffering. Sorta like giving birth. Like the frustration of trying to dial in a weak radio frequency. A song is something that is both in you and moves through you. If you suffer faithfully, you reach a point where you're not sure if you are writing the song or taking dictation.
Getting started? This varies enormously from writer to writer, so I can only tell you how it works for me. I find a protected time and space, and sit down with my guitar in my lap. I tinker. I fiddle. Cast about. String chords and voicings and rhythms together. It's pretty random, really. Suddenly, and quite apart from my intention, my ear will turn to some series of sounds that intrigues and pleases me.
Now I have a "riff." And the riff has color and feel, which prompts me to "scat around." I make nonsense syllables that attach themselves to notes. The riff invites and shapes a melody.
The riff and the melody create a mood: happy, sad, angry, contemplative, etc. It begins to tell a story. Wordless at first, then lyrics emerge. I swear I'm often four to eight lines into a song before even I know what the song is about.
I wrestle. I narrate. I retch. I prune. Three steps forward. Four back.
Daring to participate in an art form is mystery, agony and ecstasy. When it's happening, I could forget to eat, sleep, make love or make dinner for my children. I am wholly present. Totally engaged. Utterly myself. At once a participant and a member of the observing audience. I have no clue what's about to happen.
I'm waiting to hear this song for the first time, too.
-- Steven Kalas
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