Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, all

I want to wish everybody a merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and all that good stuff.

Just to bring you up to speed, the enormously talented Merideth Kirry has recorded her vocals for the new album.  Needless to say, I am incredibly pleased with how they came out -- the downside being that I have to redo some of my harmonies to try to bring them up to par with Merideth's singing.  But it's a nice challenge.

Christmas day will mark five weeks until my wife's due date.  Crazy stuff, my friends.  Crazy stuff.

And finally, what with this being the Christmas season and all, I thought I'd share my lone original Christmas song.  I had toyed with the idea of a Christmas album a while back -- I'm still planning on it sometime in the future.  In any case, enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.  Be well, laugh often, and be good to each other.



Monday, November 11, 2013

A few random thoughts three days removed from my birthday

Hello, my friends.

I just turned 32 the other day -- November 8th, if you want to be specific.  As it turns out, it was also my twin brother's birthday, but since this is my blog, I'm going to talk about me, thank you very much.  Get your own damn blog, Adam!

I kid because I love.  And because it's fun.

My twin brother, Adam Huff, is actually an excellent bass player who will be contributing his considerable talents to my upcoming album.  That's the secret to my success -- I surround myself with extremely talented people, and I exploit them shamelessly.

So...my blog has now reached over 700 views.  I think that is awesome.  I don't know if people are enjoying this blog or not -- I try to be informative, and funny, and, at times, thought-provoking.  That's what I attempt, anyway.  And I really hope that, if you nothing else, you find it entertaining.

But here's the thing -- I've gotten no feedback!  None at all.  But since people still view this thing, I'm going to keep going as I've been going until people tell me otherwise.  I'm assuming that you like this.  Bear in mind, though, that I love getting feedback!  I cannot stress this enough!  If you want to tell me something you like, something you don't like, something you'd like to see done different, whatever...drop me a line!

Just to see if this gets the ball rolling: aaron.gabriel.music@gmail.com  There.  Now you have no excuse.

My website is now in the 1100 visits area.  That is also unbelievably cool.  I apologize for the lack of recent updates -- I've been elbow-deep in editing, re-recording, stuff like that.  It's mind-numbing, time-consuming stuff, but it isn't exactly exciting to talk about.  Believe you me -- when something cool happens, you'll be the first to know.

As it is, I think I'm done with tweaking the various songs for the new album on my end.  I'm waiting to add Merideth Kirry's vocals to a few songs (a very talented singer who also happens to have a crazy busy schedule), ship the songs off to Adam to add bass, and then start mixing and mastering.  All in all, I'm quite pleased with how things are progressing.

My in-laws gave me a hand-made dulcimer for my birthday.  I am very excited about this.

My wife and I are in the third trimester of our pregnancy!  Things are looking good thus far, my lady is still feeling good and still dancing, and some friends helped us get our hanging bassinet set up.  Only a few months to go, and the nervous excitement is really kicking in.

My parents celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary on the 7th.  They are truly inspiring, and a great model to look up to -- my wife and I recently celebrated our 4th year of marriage, and now a baby's on the way.  A lot of stuff is going down.

As I have mentioned time and time again, I am a big fan of the Thrilling Adventure Hour.  Lately they've been taking questions from fans, and this most recent podcast included a question I had submitted!  I felt very honored.  Click on the link and take a listen.  And while you're there, listen to their other podcasts, too -- you will not be disappointed.

As the new album gets closer to being finished, I'll be sure to release a teaser track or two to (hopefully) whet your musical appetite.  And when the album's out, I hope you like it, because I'm rather fond of it...which is saying something, because usually I hate my own material.

Take care, stay safe, and in the words of Kevn Kinney: Life's too cheap for short wine.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Ballad of the Flowery Trail

Today, October 10th, marks the 4th anniversary of my marriage.

Back in 2007, I was just starting to branch out with my music.  As such, I was looking for various venues around the area to see if they had any open-mic nights or things of that nature.  I happened across a small blip in the North Columbia Monthly about open-mic nights every other Friday at a place called Flowery Trail Coffeehouse in Chewelah, WA.

I had never been there before, but since I was living in Colville at the time, a 25-mile trip wasn't too much of a hassle.  After a few failed attempts to find the place, I received directions from a very friendly elderly lady.  I talked to Sally, the Flowery Trail's owner, about their open-mic nights, and she said that they had one coming up that Friday.

That Friday evening, I showed up, guitar in hand, and almost didn't go in -- there was a coffeehouse full of PEOPLE in there.  People I didn't know!  I've often wondered why I'm so interested in being a musician, because (more often than not) the thought of meeting people and interacting with people tends to fill me with dread.  Regardless, I walked in, signed up, and quickly sat down somewhere in the corner.

There are two things I remember from that night:

1. The audience seemed to rather like me.  I played a couple of covers -- at one point, before launching into "Play A Train Song," I asked the crowd if there were any Todd Snider fans there.  When I was met with silence, I replied, "Well, in that case, I wrote this song myself."

2. There was a beautiful young lady there who really caught my eye -- not just because she was a looker, but also because when she walked, she didn't just walk, she glided across the room.

And so I thought, well, maybe there's something to this music thing, after all.  Because, let's face it, 99% of the time, when guys want to be musicians, it's got nothing to do with musical ideals or getting some convoluted message out to the hungry masses -- it's about the ladies.

I was too nervous to talk to that girl that night, but I decided to go back.  So, two weeks later, I returned with my brother Nick and his friend David as back-up.  After all, if she wasn't a regular, I didn't really want to sit around all by myself.  This particular Friday saw a major decline in audience: there was Sally, a few other people, and the girl and her sister.  We got to chatting a little bit and I thought she seemed like a really nice girl.

Two weeks later I returned.

She wasn't there.

Well, my motivation evaporated pretty quickly to be there, but I dutifully played a few songs and commented to Sally how disappointed I was that the "really cute girl who was usually there" wasn't there this time around.  Sally, perhaps somewhat jokingly, suggested I write a song about it.  I laughed, said, "Yeah, 'The Ballad of the Flowery Trail.'"

So I did.

When I went back to the Flowery Trail, that "cute girl" was there, and I was suddenly terrified to play this song in front of her -- I really thought I was going to come across as a stalker.  Happily, that wasn't the case, and at the end of the evening she let me walk her to her car, and I braved up and asked for her number.

And that was how I met Melanie.  Married four years now, and our first baby on the way, due sometime around the end of January.

I didn't think that things like these happened outside of books and movies.  I also know that I am a lucky, lucky man.  I don't know what I did to deserve such an amazing woman, but I am well aware that I really, really lucked out.

And on that note, I'd like to share with you this very sweet love song performed by Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster, as those merry married mediums Frank and Sadie Doyle, from the incredibly funny "Beyond Belief" segment of The Thrilling Adventure Hour.  It's funny, a little sassy, and it makes me think of Mel.

As I type this she's playing "On My Own" from Les Miserables on the piano.  It's very nice.

Thus endeth our origin story.

Bottom line: I love my lady.  Here's to many more!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A shout-out to my father

October 1st, today, marks my father's 75th birthday.  Sadly, it isn't the 75th birthday that I quite envisioned for him, as he is currently dealing with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

I will admit, this has been tough on me.  My dad always enjoyed good health and an active lifestyle, and it's been rough seeing him lose weight at a rapid pace and be unable to move without the aid of a walker; in most cases he needs a wheelchair.

Yes, I am aware that I am mortal.  I know that I will one day die.  But it's an abstract concept that most of us, I assume, brush to the back of our minds.  To spend your time dwelling on your own demise is not a healthy way to live -- the act of living, and of enjoying life while I'm at it, is what keeps those thoughts at bay.

My father's illness has shifted things a bit.  I am confronted with mortality in a very real sense, watching an incurable and fatal disease work its will on a man that I respect and love with every fiber of my being.

Like I said, it's been tough.

I've also had to confront the typical reactions, faith-wise, of such a situation -- why him, God?  What did he do to deserve such a fate?  Don't you care?  Those sorts of things.  Yes, I'm angry.  I'm heartbroken.  I'm confused.  But faith helps ease those stings -- the belief that, when all is said and done, he will be in a much better place.  The relief that, as far as incurable diseases go, this one is relatively painless, and his mind is still his own.

What I had not anticipated, though, was my father's good cheer.  Not that I was expecting doom and gloom, of course -- I'm just not sure I'd be in such good spirits if it was me.  But I remember talking to him on the phone when he told me he had ALS: "Aaron, I'm seventy-five years old!  And it seems a pretty fitting way for this Yankees fan to go out."

And that, right there, is what helps me the most -- his peace with his situation.  Yes, every child loses their parents at some point.  I'm nearly 32; a lot of sons don't get that much time.  But I will admit, I am greedy, and want my dad around as long as possible.  As my wife wisely points out, that's all well and good, but it wouldn't do to sacrifice the quality of life for quantity.  And since I only live about 25 miles away, I'm able to still see him regularly.

So let me just wish my dad a happy 75th birthday.  Will he make it to his 76th?  I don't know.  I hope so, but I'm not going to push the issue.  But in a funny sort of twist, I find that my father has given me a gift.

He's given me hope.


If you're at all interested in learning more about ALS and what you can do to help fight it, check out www.als.net

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Update: new album and Free Range Theatre

Goodness, how the time flies.  The better part of three weeks, and not a peep from me.  Of course, some, most, or all of you might think that's not such a bad thing.  And if so, well...I was trying to think of something clever, and I came up empty.  I suppose you could ask, "Well, gee, Aaron, you're typing this thing and posting it at your own discretion.  Why not take the time to actually come up with something clever?"  The answer is twofold: laziness, and the desire to be as honest as possible.  I'm not going to mislead the (I'm assuming) dozens of people who might be reading this into thinking that I'm a quick-witted master of repartee.  I'm not bad, but I'm not brilliant, and I don't want to come across as otherwise.

Well, that was an odd beginning.  Let's move on, shall we?

Progress on the new album is coming along swimmingly.  I think I can safely say I'm at least 2/3 of the way through the recording process; on my end, at least.  I'm hoping to get the very talented Merideth Kirry to sing on a few tracks -- if that happens, I'm going to be very happy, because her voice is tremendous.  There's also the slight chance I might be getting someone to play a violin solo on one of my songs -- stay tuned on that one!  And once I'm done with that stuff, I'll be passing along several tracks to my brother Adam, to add some bass guitar tracks.

I've said it before, but I am very excited about this album.  It will definitely be bigger than my last album, in that there will be more elements to it, giving it a big, full sound (or so I hope).  It will also be different than my last album, but I don't view that as a bad thing -- I went into this not wanting to make a carbon copy of my old stuff.  I like my old stuff.  I also like my new stuff.  I think they can both live in harmony.

I had my first read-through of my radio show-themed project this past weekend.  Turnout wasn't great, due to conflicting schedules and what-not, so there were only four of us there.  Even so, it was a lot of fun, and something I'm definitely going to pursue.  My brother Nick (one of those in attendance) dubbed this venture Free Range Theatre, which I absolutely love for a title/descriptor.  I'm hoping to get at least one of the skits recorded in the near future and put it up online, see what people think.  I'm not really expecting to make much of an impression with this -- it's just a nice way to get together with people I enjoy and have a lot of fun in the process.

My wife and I are around 18 weeks.  Everything's looking good so far.  Very exciting.

Be well.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

A new video, plus Cactoid Jim

 I figured I'd take a step back from my somewhat political rant last time and focus on more music-related stuff this time around!
Work on the new album is still going smoothly.  I'm trying to take my time with it, which brings its own annoyances, mainly because I'm really impatient, and I'm really excited about the new album.  I think it's going to be good.
After some (somewhat strange) insistence, I went ahead and made a Youtube video for "You Don't Know My Heart."  It is nothing fancy -- just some various pictures made into a slideshow.  But I guess it helps to get a more "official" video out there.  Take a look:
I'm not sure if I've mentioned before or not, but I am a huge fan of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, an online program done in the style of old-time radio.  It is really funny, the music is fantastic, and the actors involved are some of my favorites.  I decided to invoke my inner nerd and do my own rendition of the Cactoid Jim theme.  Cactoid Jim, King of the Martian Frontier, is a recurring character voiced by Nathan Fillion.  I sent them my song, and they liked it!  How about that?

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do after the album is done.  I've mentioned about working on a Christmas album, but what with my wife and I expecting a baby this winter, I'm thinking shutting myself away for hours on end to record would just be kind of unrealistic.  I've got some ideas swirling around for at least two musicals, as well as ideas for my own radio-themed comedy show -- those ideas involve more writing than recording, so it might work out easier to squeeze in while raising a baby.

Who knows?  The future is looking rather exciting.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

My most political blog yet!

I tend not to get into politics on this blog.  People are entitled to their own beliefs and opinions, and I don't want to sound preachy.  However, this is my blog, and I can do what I want with it.  So here I go!

Yesterday, June 26th, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense Of Marriage Act, and in my opinion, it was about bloody time.  I have no idea why people are so horrified at the thought of same-sex marriage -- "It's an abomination!  The Bible says so!"  Well, the Bible also says you can stone your wife and sell your daughter.  My point is, picking and choosing what parts of the Bible to zealously enforce and what parts to completely ignore is absolutely ridiculous.  Also, I'm pretty sure the Bible is anti-divorce, but that doesn't seem to stop more than half of our "sacred unions" from ending  up in divorce.  If people truly love each other, I don't see how orientation has anything to do with it.

Anybody remember Jesus?  You know, the son of God who came among us to preach about love, forgiveness, and brotherhood?  The same guy who told us not to judge, lest we be judged?  I thought you might.  People spend so much of their time and energy hating each other that we forget one simple truth: we are God's children, and He loves us.  And if God loves us, shouldn't we do the same for each other?

Don't get me wrong -- I am by no means a perfect man.  Far from it.  But I don't understand what is so wrong with allowing my fellow human beings, my brothers and sisters, to be accepted by our society, regarded as one of the best on the planet, as equals.

Speaking of equals...what is with the misplaced anger towards women?  And why do politicians seem almost gleeful when showing their contempt of them?  Society seems to be in this strange atmosphere of making women feel ashamed of themselves for just being women, and it's absolutely horrendous.

I'm going to be honest with you: I love women.  I am a big fan of the female form.  Does that mean I'm completely unable to control myself when I'm around women?  Of course not.  Self-control is not a horrible burden on my lifestyle; shaming women into blaming themselves when men act completely inappropriately towards them only reinforces the concept that men don't have to take or accept any responsibility for their actions.  That's the crux of the thing: men pushing responsibility away from themselves and on to others.

I'm happily married to a wife that I love and adore.  Some of my closest, dearest friends are women.  In my life I have found women to be strong, brave, funny, and (more often than not) a hell of a lot smarter than I am.  Do I resent them because of these things?  Of course not!  It makes me appreciate them all the more.  I do not feel threatened or emasculated by them -- I love them, and they love me.  My wife trusts that I will behave myself, and I'm gratified by her trust in me.

I'm going to dip my toe a bit into the issues surrounding women's health these days, particularly when it comes to abortion.  Make no mistake: I don't like abortion.  I am not a fan.  But who is?  Are there really people walking around thinking, "Man, I can't wait to get pregnant, so I can have an abortion!"?  I just don't think that's the case.  That being said, I believe wholeheartedly in a woman's right to choose.  It's her body: I don't believe that I have any right to decide for her what she can or can't do with it.  It's particularly disheartening when old white men (for the most part) feel that they do have the right to decide what they can or can't do with their bodies.  The sad truth is that abortions will happen, and if we remove the capacity to have them performed safely and efficiently, then all we're doing is asking for procedures done in conditions that are dangerous.


I think it's time to wrap this up.  Sorry to get all preachy, but this stuff has really been on my mind a lot lately.  I've discovered recently that I can get really passionate when I read and hear about women being treated unfairly -- it really bothers me.  And I'm sure there are more eloquent ways to say what I'm feeling, and I'm also sure there are things I've left out, but I think the gist is there.

I'm not trying to offend.  Like I said, you are entitled to your beliefs.  I just felt like explaining mine.

I promise my next blog post will have more to do with music.  I'm very excited about the new album: a lot of ideas swirling around.  I think it's going to be a good one.