Monday, January 30, 2012

Stealing the Sun

So at long last I've decided to work seriously towards a recording project. Over the past couple of years, I've cranked out song after song and have been dissatisfied with my own recording engineer ability using protools out of my workshop. Due to his extensive recorded artist list, uncanny engineering ability, musical talent, and all-around "good-guyness", I've chosed to go with Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenue Studios for the project. The album will be called "Stealing the Sun" from what I anticipate the title track to be.

I'm estimating the disc will have around 12 songs on it, ranging from bare-bones acoustic folk to more emotive and produced pop. Instrumentation will probably be centered on the acoustic, but will have a couple of tunes that are more heavily leaning towards piano. There will be lots of bass, background vocals, harmonica, and maybe even a little drum set to give things a finished sound.

My main hesitation with all of the extra instrumentation is that I still want this project to be something that I could produce the basic spirit of at a live show without tons of extra help.

I've worked on comissioning an artist for the album already and it is now down to collecting funds as the only thing really that stand in between us and the final product.

Check back often over the next few weeks for updates and sample tracks.

Friday, July 15, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, Stephen asked me to take him climbing. We decided on July 12th-14th to set out for Table Rock, NC in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area for some multi-pitch climbing. He had never climbed outdoors or had any experience as a second climber on a sport or trad route. Regardless, we climbed 3 pitches of Jim Dandy (5.5) on Tuesday afternoon followed by 2 pitches of Cave Route (5.4) before heading back to camp. The climbs went REALLY well. Both of them only finish halfway up the east face of Table Rock but, being multi-pitch climbs, were very exhilarating. They also got us extremely pumped for the possibility of reaching the top of Table Rock the next day. As a side note, after we climbed Jim Dandy on Tuesday afternoon, I played the old "see how close to the tip you can catch the rope" game as we pulled our rope down from the last belay station. Usually, a catch within 6 inches of the tip results in the catcher getting a 6 pack of beer from the climbing partner....silly climbers games. I caught it an inch from the tip, but Stephen wasn't aware of the game until I caught the rope....epic fail! no beer! and I doubt I could do that again!

Because of the extreme heat, we decided to start Wednesday off by waking up late and then going to Devil's Cellar for some rappelling. Stephen had never done a long rap like that so it was really fun. It's almost 150 ft from the top of the cliff to the bottom at Devil's Cellar and the last few feet are basically a ranger-styled rappel where you just drop free on the rope without your feet on the rock. 3 other student groups were at the cellar that day rappelling and having a blast too.

We hiked back to the parking lot around 12:30pm to regear for what was supposed to be a Cave Route/My Route combo to the top of Table Rock, NC. After finding a group of 4 at the first pitch belay station of Cave Route, we decided to go back and climb Jim Dandy to get up to Lunch Ledge (the halfway spot on Table Rock I mentioned earlier and the beginning of "My Route" 5.6). We were both tired on the start of Jim Dandy and I got a little psyched out about doing My Route. I felt like my climbing was off on pitch one of Jim Dandy on Wednesday...which should have been an easy pitch. Pitch 2 went really well though, and I was feeling so comfy on the rock that I ran out the entire 3rd pitch...stupid really...but fun as all get-out!

At Lunch Ledge, some storms started rolling in to the north. There was a great deal of lightning and we waited about 30-45 min through a short shower before deciding that the weather was favorable enough to make the push up My Route to the top.

Here's the breakdown of difficulty and length of each pitch of the big climb. Total length that we climbed was ~ 435 ft.

Jim Dandy 5.5 = P1 5.5 (90 ft), P2 5.4 (100 ft), P3 5.4 (90 ft)

My Route 5.6 = P1 5.5 (155 ft), P2 5.6 (40 ft), P3 5.5 (50 ft)

I finally got up the nerve and geared up for My Route. The first 40 ft or so is a scramble up sketchy terrain to the first bolt. Pitch one is 155 ft and very intense for the grade of 5.5 because of the great exposure. I feel that I climbed my personal best on this pitch. Stephen seconded like a champ and we took a break at the belay station on the top of pitch1 of My Route (technically the 4th pitch altogether of our push towards the summit). After getting myself pumped, I started out for the crux move on pitch 2. It was a bulge that you have to work out and over with a whole lot of air underneath you! :)

I can't believe it, but I nailed it! I had originally felt very shaky on this move in April when I climbed this route as a second climber with Scott leading. The rest of Pitch 2 of My Route was run out all the way to the belay station. The belay station for pitch 2 was a natural belay, meaning that I had to use my cams to create anchors in the rock. I used 2 #1 Camalots and 1 #3 Camalot to make the belay. An equalized cordellette finished the belay setup and Stephen started working the pitch 2 crux. He took one fall at the move, but found the holds and then crushed it. At the top of pitch 2, there was a blueberry bush in full production. It was VERY welcome after all the work getting there! Nom Nom Nom!

Pitch 3 was GREAT! It was balancy at first, then great hands and feet on a flake to the right. This was the most exposed section of the climb. Pulling out onto the flake to the right leaves you hanging over about 385 ft of air and slick rock. It was exhilarating to say the least!

After Stephen met me at the pitch 3 anchors, we were done! We looked around at a perfect summer day in NC as far as the eyes could see, but then we ultimately walked back to the car. We agreed after that the climb is what was meaningful...not the mountaintop itself.

"we are conquerors of the useless" - Yvonne Chouinard

until music or the great outdoors brings us together again....cheers.

- jeff

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sum Sum Summa Time

So the high school job is coming to a close for yet another exciting summer season. I'm trading in my biology, anatomy and environmental studies for sunshine, climbing gear, a surfboard, my straw hat, home-grown veggies, pool-time, and enough time with Kelley and Moira to make up for an entire school season of what feels like absence.

Kelley's taking me to Bonnarroo for our anniversary!

We're spending a week at Fripp Island with Kel's Parents!

We're spending a week in Foscoe, NC with my parents!

The rest of the summer will hopefully remain unplanned.

So here's to you and yours as you work hard to hardly work over the next couple of months.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Rainy Friday at Brixx

Reese Bolte on Bass, Kelley on vocals, and Jeff on guitar and vocals.

So Friday night at Brixx this past week was a BLAST! We had a rainstorm come through and force us to move inside before the first set was even over. That sent some people away and we totally understand, but some very devoted friends and family stayed for some fun times.

Come catch us this coming Saturday night at Stingers in Irmo!

cheers friends,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shout out to the party people

So Saturday was a whirl wind for sure.

I got up around 8 and drove to Lugoff to help a good friend with some french drains at his house. He let me drive his tractor around as we brought in dirt or pushed dirt around. Guys and "earth moving" machines are always a winning combination.

After I got back from that, Kel and I had to pack up, get little Moira settled with my parents and then we took off to our first playing engagement.

We played a Kentucky Derby party in Woodlake subdivision. The people were super nice and very enthusiastic...definitely into the more folky tunes we play. Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, etc. were perfect for the event.

After that we went to a slightly more energetic crowd in the same neighborhood for a birthday party. They had us set up on a deck overlooking their patio. Instead "playing a party" was more like we crashed a party and turned it into a concert! The people were SO receptive to our music. After our 2 hours, they actually started shouting "encore"...that's a first for us since we mainly play restaurants and parties that never pay that much close attention to the music. It was a big bonus for the night for us.

So...moral of this episode...we REALLY like doing the party scene so far. Keep 'em coming guys!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Best Host EVER!

Kelley and I played a 50th Birthday Party for Bob (names have been omitted to protect the only-slightly-innocent) in Monks Corner, SC last night. The place was completely decked out when we got pit...drink coolers EVERYWHERE....Margarita Machine...eats....and to top it all off, the guy had completely assembled a...dang I don't even know what to call it....good thing you can see it! The shelter we were playing under was furnished with legit light cans and everything! As private parties go, it was completely awesome. The people were super cool and we ended up playing for a good 4 hours straight.

Moral of this story...for all those times that a musician experiences bad hosting, small crowds, marginal payment, etc...every now and then something comes along to make it all seem worth it.

We finally hit the road around 12:20am or so and pulled back into the homestead in Elgin by about 2:30am. Long night, but great night.

Here's what was said about the night:
"Thanks again Jeff & that my mind is cleared of all signs of Pina Colada, Margarita and Daiquiri juice, I wanted to thank you guys again for the most awesome entertainment. My friends are still talking about you guys...I really enjoyed my party thanks "in big part" to you guys. I will keep my ear out if anyone else is looking for some live entertainment. You guys rock...!

Take Care,


Thank you Bob!

- jeff and kelley