Maytime

This is a short but sweet one. I had the pleasure of heading out to the west coast (Spokane, WA) to play a show with my friend Maurice Brown. It was a heavy travel weekend, but the show was an absolute blast and I enjoyed the change of scenery for a couple days. I flew into Seattle, rented a car, and drove to Spokane. I had a leisurely drive back to Seattle the next day after the gig and stopped at some beautiful spots along the way, which included the overlook of the Columbia river in Vantage, and enjoyed a picnic lunch and meditation at a small park in Snoqualmie Pass on the Keechelus Lake. I made my way into Seattle where I found a beach, read a book, and watched a stunning west coast sunset. What a nice way to spend a couple days!

Upon my return I had my friend Tristan up and we did some editing and prepped all his songs to be mixed for The Tristones album. Following a couple days of editing Tristan’s stuff, I tracked a new artist, Lauren Crosby, who is an absolute gem of a human. We had a blast in the studio and her songs are great. I’ll be editing and mixing those in the upcoming weeks for her EP to be released later this summer.

The Gainers EP is OUT! You can hear it on any of your regular streaming services (I recommend pretty much anything except Spotify…I use Tidal). I wish those fellas all the best on their musical journey and look forward to working with them again in the future.

I’ve been chugging along on making my own music, which I hope to release in the early fall. For me, it’s a very revealing process about my inner workings and when to say ‘enough is enough’ on a piece because I find myself experiencing reversed-productivity due to my perfectionist nature. I hope people enjoy the music when its released, but I feel strongly that I have to like it too! I’ve heard the old adage ‘you are your own worst critic’, but for me, I am over-critical to the point of trashing pieces I like ok in order to get to the stuff I love.

As always, I’m grateful to anyone who reads these posts. Often times it’s just catching up on what I’m doing and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to catch up. Be safe out there and keep your ears open!

Projects and thoughts

Hey there universe, been a moment, but I’m glad you’re still out there. I’ve had quite a run these last couple months and parts of it I’m excited to reveal while others are depressing at best. I guess the depressing part first.

My good friend, collaborator, colleague, and confidante, Dave Noyes, passed away on March 7th from what I presume to be a heart attack. He was 45 years young and is survived by his loving wife and two sons, one of which has yet to be born. It is a tremendous loss for our little music community up here, but things are slowly getting normal again. Dave was maybe the kindest person I have ever met. His willingness to ‘go get it’ and make a situation better was contagious. I am very happy to have known and worked with him and even happier to have his friendship as long as I did. He is missed, but would want us to move forward with a smile.

I have been writing a lot lately and practicing a ton in lieu of the winter doldrums and ‘lighter’ schedule. It is spring time now and everything is waking up, including my schedule. Check out my shows page for some great events coming up that you should definitely check out!

I am happy to report I have a reggae 45 completely mixed and ready for mastering and duplication. Be on the lookout for that. I am proud of it and happy to have it done so I can move forward on some new stuff.

I have finished mixing The Gainers’ EP which has been mastered and is off for duplication as I write this. I am super excited for these fellas. Their songs are fun and they perform them well. I wish them all the best and hope you have an opportunity to hear their stuff.

The Tristones album is now fully tracked and we will be stepping into the editing phase sometime in the next few weeks. This is the full-length album I had the pleasure of producing in the fall time with my friend Tristan Clark. The guitar tones we achieved on this are mind bending.

My friend Andrew Bailie’s new album is about to be released. Andrew lived up here in Maine, but now lives in Omaha. We enjoyed playing up here for the year that we overlapped. His album is spectacular and I am humbled he asked me to tour with him in support of it. Congrats Andrew!

I enjoyed playing a show with my friend Nikhil Yerawadekar at City Winery earlier this month. His band is killing and I always love heading to New York to play with that crew. I hope he asks me to play more shows!

That’s pretty much it as of right now. I have some other things I can’t really release any info on right now, but if they lock in, are very exciting. Thank you for reading this and keeping up. I’ve said it before, but I’ll do a better job of regular blogging and keeping my shows updated.

Long time!

I really got be better about blogging on the reg. My last blog was in July and so much has happened between then and now. I’ll do my best to recap.

The summertime saw lots of inspiring moments, shows, hangs with friends, books read, guests came and went, songs written, and music recorded. I took a fair amount of time to work on my house while weather and time was on my side. My Tuesday Night Hangs with The Nightshades (the New Orleans band) have been gaining great momentum and it’s been fun being a part of the growth of a regular Tuesday night hang. I’ve met some really nice people and have enjoyed seeing many familiar faces.

I took on three production endeavors this fall. Zesty!, a band from my hometown asked me to produce 2 of their singles. The fellas are young and hungry and write great music. It’s nice to see some great talent come out of that little town! In addition to Zesty!, The Gainers asked me to produce their full length record, who are also from the midcoast Maine area. We are currently in the middle of tracking that record. They came super prepared and we tracked 8 of their songs in one day, which was fantastic. Finally, my friend Tristan Clark brought his band The Tristones up from NYC and we recorded his full length at the Rustic Overtones space with my good friend Jon Roods engineering. So much talent and great music coming out soon and I am humbled to be helping sculpt the sound of these bands and bring them to the public. Keep an ear out!

This was the first year Jenny and I hosted a Thanksgiving. We enjoyed the company of our roommates, so friends from town, and the Marcus King Band and crew. It was fun bringing those fellas up to our home and cooking food for everyone. We had a 25lb bird!!! After the mega feast, I made a turkey soup that reached 4 gallons…needless to say we’ll be eating that all winter. (I froze most of it:)

I played at the Blue Note with my friend Maurice Brown in early November. It was one of the best shows I’ve played all year. I play really well the Maurice and his usual band; Joe Blaxx on drums, Marcus Machado on guitar, Chelsea Baratz on tenor, and this fella I had never played with, Taka (sp?) rounded out the group on keys. The music was so free flowing, intense, delicate at times, and GROOVY AF! We played the same day that Maurice’s mentor and trumpet phenom Roy Hargrove passed away. The show was dedicated to Roy and Maurice brought his brother in brass, Keyon Harold, on stage to pay respects and play with us. It was a beautiful albeit mournful night.

That pretty much generalizes my last 5 months or so. Lots of music, working on the house, and other life stuff. I appreciate anyone who reads this blog post and as always, if you have an questions or want to drop me a line, please do. Take care of yourselves out there!

Move on up!

How's it goin' y'all?!?  It's another beautiful summer day up here in the 207.  Here's what's been going on and what is coming up.  

I had some liberating experiences over the last 6 weeks and I'm excited to share them with you.  My friend Nigel Hall asked me to play with him for a VIP performance benefiting hungry kids.  The show was so fun!  It was essentially Lettuce and me.  Jesus was playing so there were two bass players.  I paid careful attention to not step on any toes and find space for me to add to the music rather than muddy everything up.  Everybody in the band was very kind and encouraging and I am extremely humbled to have shared the stage with those guys.  

Paco Naviera's project Octopus Kid has released the vinyl version of his debut album 'Demonstration', which I co-produced, co-arranged, played bass, wurlitzer, and percussion among various other things.  I love Paco's music so much and am grateful he included me on this project.  I look forward to working with him again and am very excited for people to hear this music.

Aimee Bayles has released the first two singles from her upcoming EP.  We worked diligently on this record over the last year and the results are wonderful.  She'll be playing some shows coming up pretty soon here and the EP will be released in the fall, so be on the look out (ear out?) for everything Aimee Bayles.

Two of my personal projects have bore their first fruits.  Arbelos, the improvisational group, had its first show at Apohadion Theater and my New Orleans funk night kicked off last night at Local 188, both venues in Portland, Maine.  The Arbelos show was interesting, but insanely good and fun.  It was interesting because our guitar player, Zach Bence, broke down on his way back from another show in Vermont, so we asked our friend Kyle Friday to come through.  Kyle brought his keyboard and guitar, created interesting loops and other sonic textures, and filled the space beautifully around Henry and my playing.  It was lightly attended, but the people who came were enthusiastic.   I'm looking forward to seeing how Arbelos evolves.

The Nightshades (NOLA funk/soul) was a large step for me personally in that it was the first band where I sing lead vocals tunes.  It brought me a lot of comfort to have incredible musicians backing me up...Ryan Curless on drums, Max Cantlin on guitar, and Emmett Harrity on keys.  We all sing and do our best to make shit groovy af.  People REALLY dug it!!!  We are doing a residency every Tuesday for July and I am so excited for the next one.

Kenya Hall's band has been picking up some momentum.  We opened for the legendary Roots on 6/29.  Kenya has a talent for uplifting everyone around her wherever she goes and the 500+ people we played for are no exception.  The cheers were as thunderous as her voice and it felt good to be next to her on stage...playing guitar!  

Speaking of playing non-principal instruments, I played keys on a Jaw Gems show in Brooklyn too!  Those guys are so fun to chill with.  I did my absolute best to bring the heat with that crew and it was super fun to approach music from a keyboard perspective vs guitar or bass.  I anticipate more of this in the future :)

'City of My Mind' has taken a back seat while I get these other thing rolling.  It certainly doesn't take away from my love of that song though.  For anyone who reads this and is interested, it will be coming out soon, I promise!!!

I went to NYC to play with my friend Swerling a few weeks back and caught up with a bunch of friends while I was there.  Swerling continues to grow immeasurably as a songwriter and frontman.  I have enjoyed watching his process, it really inspires me.  Stay tuned for all things Swerling as well.  

That's pretty much the long and short of it.  I have some production endeavors on my plate that I can't reveal at this time, but I am stoked about them.  If anyone has any questions or comments, please drop me a line.  In the meantime, keep it greasy!

Progress Report

How's it going y'all!  I'm currently enjoying a ginger-turmeric tea with plenty of honey, giving my immune system all it needs to fight off these damn allergies.  I have some exciting news and updates for ya!

This last month has seen some great progress with all of my projects.  The currently unnamed Nola Night Band (Emmett Harrity on keys, Ryan Curless on drums, and Max Cantlin on guitar) has been rehearsing and is tightening up nicely.  We're going to be hosting a New Orleans vibe night somewhere in Portland, probably Local 188, so keep on the lookout for that if you live close to there or are in the area.  

The single 'City of My Mind' has its final vocal performance DONE by Dave Gagne!!!  I am so stoked for y'all to hear this...Royal Hammer crew on rhythm section and Gagne on vocals makes for some serious heat!

Bence/Redman/Mahan has our first performance booked!  We are playing at the Apohadion Theater on July 8.  We've been working on getting our ears sharpened up for this and we are talking about releasing some recorded material that night as a celebration for the new project.  

I traveled to NYC recently to record on Bonehart Flannigan's new album, which was really fun.  Bonehart (Jon Dell) is a great songwriter from Lincoln, Nebraska and he got a stellar band to cut his new record.  Be on the lookout for that gem!

Binky Griptite throws a blues jam hang on Sunday's in BK, so I went after my session and sat in.  Somehow, the next day I found myself working on Binky's new album at Electric Ladyland Studios in the A room!  The other bass player couldn't make it, so Binky asked if I could come in and dial in sounds and such.  I humbly accepted.  Thanks Binky!

I play guitar in Kenya Hall's band and I've been shedding a fair amount to keep sharp.  I played my first guitar solo in a performance setting and got a ton of positive feedback, so I must be doing something right.  While guitar is similar to bass, the role of the guitar is different and I love exploring new territory on different instruments, it makes me approach music from a different headspace.  For instance, I've been singing a lot lately and I feel like my bass playing has gotten much stronger as a result.  I'm fully intrigued now and can't wait to dig deeper into instruments I am unfamiliar with.  

Well, you're up to speed.  Keep on the look out for new music, more performances, and other happenings as they come up.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get more past recorded music up on my audio page, sorry for the delay!

Stay well out there everyone!  These beautiful summer months are upon us and there's a lot of positivity floating in the air :)

May May Maaaaaaay

I am so damn glad its warm out again.  I've been walking around in shorts and flip-flops, turning heads towards these bleach white legs of mine.  TMI?  :)

The last few months have brought an encouraging amount of clarity and focus in my life.  I've been practicing and creating nearly everyday and have some great things on the horizon.  Kenya Hall asked me to play guitar in her band, which I enthusiastically accepted.  Additionally, my friends Jaw Gems asked me to go on tour with them this summer for a week...playing keys!  I have been shedding piano/keys for quite some time now and I am tickled to death that these fellas think I'm good enough to keep up with them.  I am so humbled that my friends asked me to play in their bands on instruments other than bass.  

I have been listening through the material Zach, Henry, and I recorded over the last few months and I can safely say its dooooooope!  I am rolling around the idea of releasing a 'clips' album, where we take the best improvisations and let them loose into the world (with minor mixing due to the nature of recording all three of us with one microphone).  One of the jams is really vibey and we're talking about releasing that one as a completed idea.  Lots to consider!

This reggae track I've been working on found its way into a final mix, which I'm stoked about.  I sent it over to the talented Dave Gagne, who sang on the track, and he requested to do the vocals again.  While it's taken quite awhile for me to get this thing out, I allowed him to recut.  While the original take is stellar, I want him to feel good about his performance.  I am eager to hear what he changes/how he improves it!

Young Joon and Andi over at Moollon have generously sent me their new '56 Tele bass, which I have found nothing short of stunning.  I am absolutely thrilled with this new instrument and you'll be hearing me play it wherever I am in the future.  I'm not retiring my old p, but this thing is bonkers and makes me approach things differently.  

Keep an ear and eye peeled for my goings-on.  Thanks so much for the support!

Recovering quickly

Whatuuuuup!  Here's what's been happening for the last few weeks...

Many of my projects were put on hold due to an emergency gallbladder surgery that left me laid-up for a month.  I pulled it together and played some local shows about a week after surgery, then made my way to NYC to play with Andrew Bailie the following week, which left me exhausted.  I had been trying to see a doctor for abdominal pain for over a month, which never happened.  I was at a rehearsal for the Zach Bence/Henry Redman project where we were listening to a tune Zach wants to rearrange and after the tune was over I said 'cool tune man!  one of you guys needs to drive me to the hospital immediately!'  Both of those dudes were pretty shocked.  Good story though :)  I'm happy to report I'm recovering quickly now, but the whole process has certainly thrown my routine and schedule out-of-whack.  

My wife and I organized our first living room concert at our home in Damariscotta.  My friend Aimee Bayles, who's upcoming EP I had a hand in producing and writing for, came up with Nat Osborn (keys), Seth Johnson (gtr), and Nick Falk (dms).  Our humble living room was the first stop on a mini-tour drumming up some interest in the EP.  I can safely say it went over resoundingly well and everyone was so happy with the show.  We kept it BYOB/pot luck, which, with everyone's contribution, provided a great feast.  I am eager to get more of these performances happening in the future.  Jenny and I are planning on moving the performances to the back yard in the warmer months.

I'm currently in NYC preparing for a performance with Swerling, the southern rock band lead by Bryan Swerling.  Great guys, great tunes, super fun.  After this post, I'm diving into the studio to spend some much needed time writing and shedding before I venture out tonight to hang with some friends.  

As always, I encourage anyone who reads these blogs to reach out and say hi.  Have a great day!

Happy 2018!

Welcome to a fresh new year!  

December was remarkably busy for me.  It was filled with recording sessions, rehearsals, shows, writing sessions, holiday traveling, and more!  I had the pleasure of flying down to Miami to play Faena with Octopus Kid (Paco Naviera).  Paco has an infectiously positive spirit and is so fun to be around.  His songs are fantastic and I am eager for his album to be released, which I co-produced.  While in Miami, I enjoyed the sun, swimming, and many cuban sandwiches.  

The Stevie Wonder Tribute at the State Theater went over beautifully.  I put a ton of time into making those basslines sing and sound right and I am very happy with the results.  I feel like that experience boosted my musicianship up a notch.  There were so many tunes to learn and those basslines are not simple.  Big THANK YOU to Kenya Hall for including me in this year's celebration.

I have some really fun and exciting things coming up, many of which need to stay under my hat until it's the appropriate time to release.  Things I can reveal are shows with the enchanting Aimee Bayles supporting the upcoming release of her 2nd EP, which I am humbled to have written two tunes for the project.  The reggae band I work with, Royal Hammer, out of Portland, Maine has been working on some new material as well.  In addition to Aimee's new EP, I have some songs written for that project too!  I am very excited about the project with Henry Redman on drums and Zach Bence on guitar.  It's not safe music.  We have been getting together and making sound and noise in an uninhibited environment and the results have been very encouraging.  We record all of the jams, which we have about 15 hours worth now, and are in the process of weeding through and finding ideas we like to develop.  There are a lot of gems in there!  Finally, I have been working diligently on my own music in hope to record an EP sometime in the spring.  It will be instrumental music that is influenced by the late saxophonist Cedric 'Im' Brooks.  There will be some heavy grooves on this record...keep your ears open!

I have been trying to get music up on this page, but have run into a fair amount of obstructions and can't seem to figure it out.  I will probably be calling in the big guns to help me, but if anyone reads this blog and has some insight, please email/message me.  Being a musician, I should probably have music on my page first and foremost!  

Many thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing you at a show or hearing from you in one way or another!  Peace

November updates

November has been a very busy month for me.  In addition to bass and guitar, I have been practicing a ton of piano lately.  My Language Arts teacher from high school gave me her old Steinway M, a 5' 7" grand piano.  It sounds incredible and has great action.  I am very grateful for her generosity...thanks Ms. Roberts!  

The Jake Freeman EP is coming along nicely.  All the edits are done and it's off to Snow Angel to be mixed.  I played with guitar phenom Andrew Bailie at Bayside Bowl last Saturday and it was super fun.  We had Tyler Newsom come up from Brooklyn and rawk drums with us...that dude is KILLER!!!  I've been getting a project together with my friend Henry Redman, which is currently just drums and bass.  Henry is an incredible improvisational musician and the project will be springing from that place.  Dan Boyden, from Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, had a meeting regarding songwriting and some other projects too, so be on the look out for that.  I've also been speaking with my friend Joe Crispiano, 2nd guitar for the Dap Kings, about getting into the studio and working out some new stuff.  I am eager to see where that hang will lead us!  Finally I am pleased to announce I will be playing with Kenya Hall at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine for here annual Stevie Wonder Tribute on New Year's Eve!  I am so stoked to play this show.  I have been shedding the S%$# out of these tunes already...they're so challenging, but SO FUN!  If this interests you at all, please come through and hang with us!

Thanks again for taking the time to read this lil ole blog.  I am doing my best to bring y'all the  current info about what's going on with my music life.  Please feel free to contact me sometime.  Cheers!

Fall back!

Whatup!  It's been awhile since I've posted, but here is what I've been up to.  I recently bought a house with my wife and we are trying to front load all the work it needs, so I've been super busy with both working on the house and coming up with the dough to do so.  In addition to my regular music life, I took up a job picking apples and another farming job.  It was an incredible experience being in the quiet solitude of the apple orchard every morning.  The air was crisp, there was a sheen of dew on everything, and the apples were at their freshest and sweetest.  I really embraced these zen moments.  Truly inspiring.  

My friend Jake Freeman came to Maine from Idaho to record his upcoming EP.  His style is very derivative of western country, but there're some tinges of Junior Kimbrough and 60's Californian psychadelia in there too.  It was such a blast producing this session!  We had the pleasure of Andrew Bailie's guitar work, Jackson Cromwell's drumming/percussion, and the ace-engineer Jon Roods at the console.  I look forward to getting this out to you all so you can enjoy the sounds!

I have been writing a ton of instrumental music when I'm not grinding on the house.  I am writing 30 ideas in various stages of development (currently at 19), pairing it down to 15, then showing some people to collaborate with and we'll choose the best 10 to fully realize.  I've been using the simplicity of Logic X to record these demos.  When it is time to get the band rehearsed, we'll be cutting live to ProTools 12.  If I had the budget, I'd record to tape, but alas the money is not there...yet.  

Last week I traveled to New York to play with Swerling, a band fronted by my friend Bryan Swerling and MD'd by Scott Chasolen.  The band is great and the tunes are super fun to play.  Bryan is starting his music career a little later than some, but the potency, drive, motivation, and eagerness are not often found in younger players.  Bryan is a badass.

I absolutely love being in the studio with Maurice "Mobetta" Brown.  He has become a great friend of mine over the years and we work really well together.  We took a day to write last week and came up with some SUPER FIRE material.  Guitarist Jeff Andy helped us fill out the sounds.  We will present it to some different artists in hopes to use on someone's album...fingers crossed someone likes it and wants to collaborate with us!  

That just about wraps it up for these last few months.  I'll be posting more shows and music soon, once I figure out how to navigate this crazy thing.  If you're interested, here are some books I've read/am currently reading...You're a Badass by Jen Sincero, Moby Dick by Herman Melville (I need to finish this, it's been slow going, but an incredible read!), Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  

Looking forward to seeing you at a show, hearing from you via internet, or hanging out in real life!  Cheers!

Enjoying the pre-Fall

I'm currently sipping on an americano, enjoying the pre-fall weather, and exchanging production notes with Wooley Jackal, a singer-songwriter from Idaho who I had the fortune of meeting in Brooklyn.  We're cutting a 4-5 song EP in the middle of October, so we're getting our ducks in a row and making some arrangements for the upcoming sessions.  I had a blast playing at the Bitter End in NYC this weekend with my friend Bryan Swerling, great show, awesome energy, good people.  I had the pleasure of working with my friend Spencer Albee at this festival in Biddeford, ME, this weekend too.  It felt great hitting the stage with an old friend supporting his new music.  

I've been working on an old Volvo 240 wagon, trying to get the ol' gal back on the road.  It's been quite a learning process, but fortunately my friend Jonas is an excellent mechanic and he shows me the easy stuff while he attacks the difficult tasks.  Hopefully the car will be drivable this week.

That's pretty much it.  This blogging thing is kind of fun...I'll try to be more frequent with it! 

Here's the new site!

What's up y'all?!?  I am happy you're here to check out my new website.  My plan is to have all the current info as to my whereabouts and goings-on with my music.  Please check back occasionally for new music, shows being posted, videos, and more.  Drop me a line to say hello!  I also teach lessons via Skype, if that's something that interests you.  Bye for now!

Stu Reel!