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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



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New Album Out Next Week!

December 30th, 2011 · Comments Off on New Album Out Next Week!

If we’re friends on Facebook or Twitter, you may already know that I have a new album coming out next week.

It was recorded live in Minneapolis, after a fortuitous sequence of events (outlined in the sleeve notes) lead us to play in an art exhibition by a fabulous artist called Geoff Bush.

The music was all improvised in response to Geoff’s beautiful art. His theme for his work is ‘Believe In Peace’ – which is also the title of the album, and his work is based on the I Ching from which the four track titles come.

So we have four tracks, all played on my fretless 6 string bass (I only take one bass with me on tour in the US), and there’s some clever weirdness going on from my Kaoss Pad.

Here’s the opening track from it. Like all my recent stuff, it’s mixed and mastered for good speakers/headphones, so if you’re listening to this on a laptop, you’re going to miss a lot…

Enjoy, please tell your friends, and look out for the finished thing on the 1st or 2nd of January! 🙂

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Two New Recordings On Soundcloud

December 2nd, 2011 · 4 Comments

I’ve got loads I need to blog about, sorry for the silence here. First up, here are two new recordings.

Firstly, here’s a rough mix of one of the pieces from my improv gig with Corey Mwamba last week in Derby. Corey’s a remarkable musician, and we had a wonderful gig. The whole show should be up on Bandcamp at some point (projects are backing up and I need to start releasing some of them!)

This is the 2nd thing we played on the night – I missed all but the last 15 seconds of the first thing with the recording. Corey starts out on recorder, then switches to vibes. His restraint through the first half is a great lesson in the parameters of improv. Too often, improvisors play all over everything, particularly melody players, rather than ‘arranging on the fly’ and creating space, colour and texture. Throughout the gig, Corey’s choice of when to play and when not to, as well as what to play when he did, was brilliant. A truly remarkable musician.

Please check out the other gigs Corey’s putting on at Deda in Derby. It’s a lovely place to play, and he’s doing good things there. Here’s the tune:

Also recently added to Soundcloud, this is a thing I was playing around with a couple of weeks ago, that I LOVE the feel of. Sadly, I don’t have the recording of how I came up with it, just these two loops that were there at the end. It’s going to be really tough to match the gentle flow of this, and it may be that I end up leaving this as is for the next record. we’ll see…

Please feel free to share both of those with your friends, to click the ‘like’ button, tweet the link to it… all that kind of help sharing the recordings around is SO important to us as musicians who can’t afford promo budgets and magazine adverts to let people know what we’re up to!

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Thoughts On Creative Commons Licensing

August 2nd, 2010 · 7 Comments

You may or may not have noticed that at the bottom of the Bandcamp page for each of my albums and tracks, instead of the little copyright symbol, there’s a ‘Creative Commons’ license note, with a symbol and the phrase ‘some rights reserved’.

Creative Commons licensing is a way of putting a legal framework around allowing people the share/remix/reuse your work for non-profit/non-commercial purposes while maintaining your right to license for-profit usage as you always have done. So if you want to give a copy of one of my albums you downloaded to a friend, it’s perfectly legal to do so. [Read more →]

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“Happy” – Our New Single!

July 5th, 2010 · Comments Off on “Happy” – Our New Single!

I’ve just added a new track to the ‘Live So Far’ album (because, in the future, you can do things like that) – It’s a version of Happy, recorded at our house concert in Plano, TX.

Here it is: [Read more →]

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House Consulting – Like A House Concert, But With Less Tunes And More Talking

June 8th, 2009 · Comments Off on House Consulting – Like A House Concert, But With Less Tunes And More Talking

If you think back to the US tour that Lobelia and I did in Dec/January, you’ll remember that as well as gigs, we also did some masterclasses, teaching and consulting as we went round.

It was a whole lot of fun, and a great way to share some of what we’ve learned about social media for musicians and new ways of exploring artist-to-audience communication, without restricting it to people who were rich enough to hire us for a one-on-one session for a day. Here’s what we did: [Read more →]

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Guest Post – Jemimah Knight: "Bass Soul".

June 2nd, 2009 · 3 Comments

[I have a lot of very bright, creative, wonderful friends, doing fascinating things with music and social media and news and all kinds of other areas of human life that make the world a better place. One such friend is Jemimah Knight, a hugely talented journo – and bassist – who authored this lovely essay as a guest post. Thanks J!]

“Hi, I read Steve’s blog and listen to Lobelia‘s beautiful voice when I can. It’s a privilege I take for granted really, but maybe we do so when we know good people who can make music.

I grew up with a musical family around me, my father is like some musical polymath – he can play most things – although the violin is a bit tiny for him maybe. My mother has a beautiful voice, she sang a lot more when I was small and she was professional. My brother, plays bass, I play bass badly and my dad – as mentioned, annoyingly also plays bass well. [Read more →]

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Announcing 'Beyond Bass Camp'.

April 28th, 2009 · Comments Off on Announcing 'Beyond Bass Camp'.

photo of Steve Lawson live at the Greenbelt FestivalIf you’re an avid watcher of my various online streams – be it Twitter, Facebook or Friendfeed – you’ll have noticed over that last few days I’ve been talking about, and link to, BeyondBassCamp.com.

It’s a series of monthly masterclasses, inspired by the ones I give in California every January – for the last 4 or 5 years, I’ve been doing a day long seminar there, for up to about 25 bassists. Some years I’ve done two – a more general bass class, and then a solo bass focussed class on the Sunday. [Read more →]

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A Foray into Dark Ambient Improv (More New Music)

April 23rd, 2009 · Comments Off on A Foray into Dark Ambient Improv (More New Music)

photo of a painting from the Urban Scrawl exhibitionI spent a lovely few hours today with David Stevens, a wonderful musician working mainly with abstract drones and soundscapes, often using bowed strips of metal to create the most amazing textures.

We met through Tuttle, and have been talking for a while about recording together, and today it finally happened, though not without an hour or so of technical faffing thanks to some problematic gear… [Read more →]

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Lawson/Dodds/Wood album now on CDBaby

February 6th, 2009 · Comments Off on Lawson/Dodds/Wood album now on CDBaby

Screen grab of the Lawson/Dodds/Wood page at CDBaby.comGood news – the Lawson/Dodds/Wood album, Numbers, is now available from CDBaby.com.

CDBaby is one of indie music online’s big success stories – it started out as just a CD shop, but has become a site for hosting band websites and most successfully for distributing digital music to the big online stores like iTunes and Amazon for you.

Anyway, our album is now on there, so use the widget below to head there and get it, if you’re of the CDBaby-shopping persuasion. You can, of course still get it from this site – CD or Download.

LAWSON/DODDS/WOOD: Numbers

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More House Concert magic.

January 5th, 2009 · Comments Off on More House Concert magic.

Lobelia playing at the Nashville House ConcertTonight’s our last night in Nashville, the town that both Lobelia and I think is the US city we’d be most happy to live in were we to move here… It’s so full of amazing people, and has an incredibly vibrant and exciting arts world. Ironically perhaps, it exists a long way outside of the music scene that makes Nashville famous, but throughout the city there are people producing amazing and vibrant art, music, and writing.

Last night’s house concert was at a beautiful house in the woods out near Franklin. Franklin is kind of CCM-ville, the bit of the Nashville area most heavily populated by the people that comprise the Christian music scene that makes up so much of the music commerce in the city.

But the vibe couldn’t have been further from the hairspray and choreography of a slick pop gig. One of the things I most love about house concerts is that they break the binary nature of the artist/audience relationship. Rather than it being about us communicating AT the audience, with house concerts people get to meet, to hang out, to eat together, swap stories, and the artist is no longer the only relevant factor in people having a good time. The space, the hosts, the food and the sense of coming together for something special all contribute to the overall effect of the event.

So being in such an amazing setting, the home of the very wonderful Angela and David, and having Angela open the show with some really beautiful songs, then getting to eat together, chat, hang out and get to make loads of new friends made for another great experience for us, and for the audience, by all accounts.

This site on the big screenImmediately before the show, I gave a workshop/masterclass, advertised as ‘the future of social media for music makers’ but to an audience made up half of musicians and half of wordsmiths – authors, journalists, creative writers. A really wonderful group of creative people to discuss the amazing opportunities presented to us by social media.

Again, the space proved perfect for it, including the million inch HDTV I was using to show some of the sites I was talking about in the presentation.

The reaction was pretty much as it always is – one of relief, that the fear and loathing that has swept through the music and publishing industries is actually caused largely by their short-sightedness in recognising what we can do with social media, how diffuse and varied our ways of connecting with an audience are, and how great it is to not be tied to a record release schedule followed by expensive PR campaign as a way of getting music or books out there.

All in all, an amazing day. More of those please!

More photos:

Lobelia chatting to lovely audience people between the two sets at the house concert:

Lobelia chatting with the audience between sets

the very lovely Julie Lee, who came to the masterclass, and then guested on one song on the gig. She’s amazing:

Julie Lee!

Lobelia and Victor Wooten, swapping looping tips:

Lobelia and Victor Wooten

Lobelia being filmed for the gig:

Girl On Film

Tags: Gig stuff · Music News · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians · Uncategorized